Free Will or Bound Will?

“If you begin with the assumption of freedom, the preoccupation is always how to keep freedom in check, how to bind; But if you begin with the assumption of bondage, the preoccupation is always how to set out the word that frees.”

- Gerhard Forde. The Captivation of the Will. p.21

 

What say you?

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72 Responses

  1. St Stephen

    Great comment and does much to explain the ever increasing set of laws, rules and royal decrees we receive in this country.

  2. Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.(Me and Bobby McGee). We are bound by our human nature(sin) and can be freed only by the Gospel of Jesus Christ regenerating our soul(redemption).Freedom to sin is bondage of the will. Redemption frees the will to love others instead of self.

  3. St. David,

    “Great comment and does much to explain the ever increasing set of laws, rules and royal decrees we receive in this country.”

    Absolutely correct! But what is worse is when it happens inside the “Christian” church!

  4. James Robertson,

    “Freedom to sin is bondage of the will.”

    Another terrific statement that could not be any truer.

    This IS our problem. We ARE bound to sin. We WANT to sin. We don’t want to give it up.

    Be He wants us. He wills to love and forgive ‘real sinners’.

    Thanks James!

  5. Luther’s seminal experience of discovering that he had grown to hate God is significant in this discussion and is certainly relevant to the issue of being reconciled to oneself and to God. Luther had discovered that service of a God who demanded unachievable standards to earn his love was akin to loyalty to a despot. To Luther every confession was to be confronted with his sin and to be made aware that he could never be good enough and ultimately that he could not earn God’s love or forgiveness and therefore he could not gain salvation. If God dealt with his people on the basis of earned merit then no one could ever be good enough and God could only be a God of perpetual punishment. What the church seems to be doing is Christians the message that God does not love them as they are and that they need to totally change before he will over “this sin” or “that sin”: the message that Luther saw as inherently abusive. To Luther the issue was not about “this sin” or “that sin” but about being a sinner per se.

    We know that the theology Luther championed was the theology of a different God: a God who loves his children unconditionally, not on the basis of what they might do to earn his favour. Luther rediscovered what St Paul and St Augustine before him had known: a God whose love is experienced as grace, freely given, not as a demand that in order to be loved, humans must become something impossibly different to what they already are. It was a theology that released Christians then from a bondage that made their lives an unending cycle of failure. It is the same theology which today frees Christians who the church condemns from other unending cycles of failure

  6. “It was a theology that released Christians then from a bondage that made their lives an unending cycle of failure.”

    It inherently conveys that through the liberation of redemption, we can once again be free to begin to relate to both the Creator and Creation in the fashion intended – through a trust which is founded upon, motivated by and grown through love; the manner of fellowship known in the communion of Father, Son and Holy Spirit – that is the goal.
    “The more genuine and deeper our community becomes, the more clearly and purely will Jesus Christ and HIS work become the one thing that is vital between us”.

    In a world which has become totally lacerated and poisoned via the self imposed, works righteousness approach to ideology and belief by men, this wonderful truth so totally sets us free!
    That’s the message for 2009.

    “For God wanted Hid Firstborn Word to descend into Creation and be held by it, and in turn for Creation to hold the Word and ascend to Him, thus surpassing the angels and coming to be in the image and likeness of God” . Irenaeus

  7. Steve,

    Can you give me a hand? I’m unable to access your information on Bound and Free Will. I am also a Lutheran Layman who teaches a lot of Luther.

    Gary Dunker
    Lincoln, Nebraska

  8. Hello Gary,

    Nice to have you visit ‘the old Adam’.

    Please send me an e-mail to sma9231961@aol.com and I’ll see if I have a few things that might interest you on the topic.

    Thanks Gary!

    – Steve

  9. is that quote saying there is ‘no free will’?

  10. I believe the quote is saying that our will is bound. It (the will) is bound to sin.

    This is in respect to the things of God.

    That we have a will to freely choose who we’ll marry, what color shoes to wear, what to eat …is pretty much a given (although psychologists will argue that there are other forces at work even in those things and every thing that we do).

    But, when it comes to the things of God, our wills will choose ‘self’ other than God.

  11. SocietyVs
    There is always the line from Luther’s Bondage of the Will.
    “The will is an ass either ridden by God or the Devil.”

  12. I guess the comment made by Gerharde Forde is really a matter of perspective – how one wants to view free will…is it freeing or is it bound? Well, both – depending on how one see’s their role in the process.

    I choose to think we are not bound in our free will – but free to choose with that will/determinations. If I see it as bound to something – it is bound by my abilities to choose. So what do I need to do? I need to learn more to make better choices (more well rounded choices).

    One gets bound in their free will when they make choices that kind of get them ‘stuck’ in certain positions in life they cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel anymore. Does ‘sin’ account for this? Yes. Usually we truly get bound by sin when we choose to develop sin our lives – or ‘live according to immorality’. That is not freeing at all – our wills become very warped and cannot find daylight…and yes…there is need for salvation in these instances. I have faced this in my years – when I was 17.

    But I am 33 now – and have made choices to live by the word of God. My free will does not feel bound – I am making choices that free humanity – not bind my neighbor. My will feels very ‘free’.

    “The will is an ass either ridden by God or the Devil.” (Luther)

    But what about humanity – are we some empty vessel that gets filled and unfilled by the forces outside us? Where is ‘us’ in the process? It seems like Luther is not taking that into account with this statement – and it seems way too easy a way to look at life – it doesn’t truly account for your role in decision making…which is really everything.

  13. It has nothing to do with how you feel SocietyVs. It is a reality revealed to us in the word of God you say you have chosen to live by. Then go read Ephesians.
    Where is the us in the process? In the predicate, that is where we are. We are the objects of God’s love that saves us.
    And i am very glad to hear that you have not needed salvation since you were 17, and have been able to live a sin free life since then. Could you fill me in on your secret? I mean I still struggle with sin. I eat too much. I drink too much. I have a wandering eye that likes candy dressed up in short skirts. I get angry with my ex when she doesn’t let me see my son, and not just anger but thoughts I would not want to divulge, which also gives way to a foul mouth. And I hang out with Steve. (I’m just thinking that hanging with a heathen like him has to be sinful.)
    So you don’t struggle with any of that? Can you tell me how I too can live a perfect life? I want to know you secret. I don’t want to have baby Jesus have to die for me. I would rather spare him the trouble and do it myself if I could.

  14. “I mean I still struggle with sin. I eat too much. I drink too much. I have a wandering eye that likes candy dressed up in short skirts. I get angry with my ex when she doesn’t let me see my son, and not just anger but thoughts I would not want to divulge, which also gives way to a foul mouth. And I hang out with Steve. (I’m just thinking that hanging with a heathen like him has to be sinful.)”

    Refreshingly honest, my friend.
    I often look at the list of those recorded in Hebrews 11 (and other places) – the men of faith – and then recall some of the deeds from their lives, and then I know:
    1. That there is aid for a wretch like me and
    2. That what really counts is HIS mercy, nothing more, nothing less.

    Thanks be to God that we are rescued in Jesus Christ from the tyranny of sin and death!
    Only there is there true remedy – peace with God through Him and His righteousness.

  15. I can only be so honest in light of Christ who is the truth that sets us free. Free to be honest with ourselves, him, and each other.

  16. I know you, Bror.

    I think you left a few things out!

  17. I know I did. Who can number their sins?
    But I figure I found enough to get my point across. Especially that bit about hanging out with Steve. You know that guy eats sliders for breakfast? We won’t talk about how he washes them down….
    But hey then he is forgiven too.

  18. You show me in the scriptures where sliders at 6am is a sin…and the…beverage.

  19. right next to that verse about smoking, and dancing.

  20. Having eaten dinner in Steve’s home recently I can tell you that sliders for breakfast is just a warm up! I believe Steve’s favorite Luther quote is:
    “Sin boldly, but EAT more boldly still!”…Ha!

    But seriously. The perpetual problem with sin is that we do not take it seriously enough. When Paul writes that “The wages of sin is death”, he is making it clear that sin is a fatal condition shared by all the human race – including Christians. It is sheer delusion to believe that we can get a handle on sin. We may get a handle on particular sins, but this does nothing to address the fatal condition. Death makes a mockery of all attempts to rise above sin. Luther was spot on when he declared the Christian to be both saint and sinner. And these are not two halves that can be separated. They are two ingredients baked in the loaf! Where does on start and the other end? Who knows. We sure don’t. This is why we cannot judge our works, and why, with Luther, we can say, ‘The good we do does not save us and the evil we do does not condemn us.’
    So, Christ Jesus lays claim to us hopeless sinners just as we are, holds us in the grip of his grace by faith alone, and promises to make a REAL end of sin by raising us from the dead. Thanks be God!

  21. “Christ Jesus lays claim to us hopeless sinners just as we are, holds us in the grip of his grace by faith alone, and promises to make a REAL end of sin by raising us from the dead”.

    BULLSEYE!
    It’s so marvelous to hear a minister speaking straight up like this. So many churches I’ve been to view sin as something we just get over when we become ‘spiritual’, they are so tainted by the idea of sinless perfectionism now, and the focus becomes all ‘do,do,do’ instead of understanding He has and will do all that is required to free us.

    I have no idea what a slider is Steve (not sure we have them in the UK), but live boldly, confess boldly, for He is able to save you and us all to the uttermost. Maybe I could pop over and join you and Bror for breakfast sometime?

  22. Howard,

    Sliders are little hamburgers. Generally not considered breakfast faire by the civilized. That shows you where am at.

    I will tell you this much. I am blessed beyond measure to have a pastor like Mark who proclaims this gospel truth without blinking.(and doesn’t mind hanging out with a real sinners)

    And also my pastor buddy, Bror…another Lutheran pastor who does not shackle his flock with the demands of the law, but proclaims the grace of Christ and Him alone.

    And good friends in Christ (you and many others here) who know these truths and will not flinch in the face of those that would steal the hard won freedom of Christ away from us.

    What Good News He is for us!

  23. You can buy frozen sliders at cub and rainbow food stores.

    I love the quote from martin luther about sin boldly but sin more boldly. You have to use it and see it in the context Martin Luther was using it, however. His fight was against the legalism of the Catholic Church and those that were not resting in the Cross and Jesus purpose on the cross. Outside of that context the quote does not make sense to the casual onlooker.

    “Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong (sin boldly), but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.”

    Just as Paul said that in our weaknesses we find strength because Christs’ power then rests on us. He was saying exactly what Paul said in that scripture.

  24. Personally, I have no issues with free will. I do, however, believe that you can NOT give human will too much credit theologically, however. Scripture consistently contrasts mans sin with its opposite…. being in the Spirit of God and ‘taking every thought captive to Christ’

    Without the holy spirit at work in our lives our will does not stand a chance.

  25. “Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong (sin boldly), but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.”

    As I never tire of quoting (ala Dr “Dad” Rosenbladt on the White Horse Inn) from Luther’s letter to Melancthon:

    ‘Go forth and sin bravely, then bravely go to the cross and confess it – the whole Gospel is OUTSIDE of us’.

    Beware the perils of a piety which snares you to a form of introspection which diverts our vision from Jesus Christ.

  26. Steve, Howard, Mark,

    I love this BLOG!!!!!!

    Keep it up!

  27. societyvs,

    I would love to have lunch and talk about this stuff. :) But I don’t have the time to BLOG all of this stuff. Let me know if your anywhere near Minnesota. :).

  28. I’m, um, a little further afield that that!, but I may make State-side again (I was last there a couple of years back, staying with friends in Colorado Springs and Portland). It’s truly ace to have family around you can really talk with about what matters – i t reminds me a little of that breakfast on the beach after the resurrection – a little foretaste of the fellowship that’s coming.

  29. “It has nothing to do with how you feel SocietyVs” (Bror)

    My critique has nothing to do with ‘how we feel’ – but with our present realities – and the ability to ‘choose’. I am addressing that clearly – concering the traits of free will.

    “We are the objects of God’s love that saves us” (Bror)

    Okay – but then you have nothing to do with your life becoming more free? You are everything in that process – the fact God loved US says a lot about God’s concerns. Maybe if we have those same concerns (us or humanity) then we will also become godly.

    “And i am very glad to hear that you have not needed salvation since you were 17, and have been able to live a sin free life since then. Could you fill me in on your secret?” (Bror)

    I am not saying I am sinless – nowhere did I ever say that – that’s just crazy. What I did say is was I do not live by the passions of sin as my guide – I am not becoming more of a thief for example. It’s not about being sinless – never has been for me – but about dealing with the underlying problem in ‘sin’ – which is our actions/deeds/desires.

    “So you don’t struggle with any of that? Can you tell me how I too can live a perfect life? I want to know you secret” (Bror)

    Of course I struggle with all of that – I just frame it quite differently. I struggle with drink and food and sex – but in essence that’s about dealing with the problems behind those sins – and what causes those passions for such things. Am I perfect – hell no – but am I disliked by God for having some problems – no. God can full well see where and what I am doing to humanity with my actions – and in them I am very answerable – we all are….thus an idea like repentance/reconciliation/responsibility. I am only pointing to the fact faith requires action.

  30. SVs,

    Might not you be diffining sin differently – sin is transgression of the Law (and the Law here includes all that it implies including thoughts, words and deeds).

    “but am I disliked by God for having some problems – no.”

    Well, if God should mark out our iniquities who can stand? There is forgiveness so that he might be feared.

    The reason why we are not consumed today is because God desires all to come to the truth but if ever there is any good we receieve in life, it is due to the fact that Christ died for us. This inherent goodness of God towards us is not generic, it is specific and located only and no where else but in Christ because he took upon himself the punishment meant for us. It is for His sake, Christ’s sake that we are not consumed.

    “faith requires action”. I think better yet, is that faith needs or requires a promise to hang on or to hold on, that faith produces action indeed but what faith requires is a promise, first and foremost.

    LPC

  31. “Might not you be diffining sin differently – sin is transgression of the Law” (LPC)

    I agree with the majority of this definition – but I would go even deeper on the quest. I think ‘sin’ is problematic in the sense it breaks relationships and seeks to harm humanity in some way.

    If we look at the 10 commandments for example – pick one to break – and in some sense you are breaking a relationship of some sort – and harming yourself in the process (and many others in some of the cases). Sin seems to be directly related to human relations – which God seeks to maintain and cares about.

    “that faith produces action indeed but what faith requires is a promise, first and foremost.” (LPC)

    I agree – without a promise is their much hope for faith? I do not love because of the idea it will fail – but because of the idea it works – Jesus proved this in his life (and teachings). Love does require that I seek the greater things of the teachings – like mercy and grace when someone has done wrong – seeking reconciliation in that process.

    If Jesus took our punishment – as it seems to be alluded to by LPC, then why should anyone worry? Isn’t that a done incident in time – golgotha and atonement? Jesus died once for all – not many times for each and every era – once – in 30 AD or whatever year it was – everyone was covered (not some). Is this what you believe?

  32. Jesus died once for all – not many times for each and every era – once – in 30 AD or whatever year it was – everyone was covered (not some). Is this what you believe?

    Yes SVS.
    then why should anyone worry?

    If a sinner is hanging on to this payment of Jesus for their sins in faith to Christ then Rom5:1-2, Rom 8:1-7 applies to him.

    If the sinner is not hanging into this payment then according to John 3:36. He is under God’s wrath.

    Not everyone believes this and lives by faith in this fact, and hence, according to Jesus statement Mk 16:16, those who do not believe will be condemned.

    So the issue is not sin, but unbelief.

    Sinners who are not repentant are not worried how they might be declared right with God. You only repent if and only if you are worried.

    To the repentant sinner, there is good news, God says that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly.

    All of us are sinners but not all of us are repentant of that fact that we are doomed sinners, bound by our sin and could not free ourselves from it..

    LPC

    LPC

  33. Forde was the one who convinced me that the bondage of the will was a real human crisis; but God had a way to overcome our mortal limits. It was pricey; the beloved son’s life was the cost; but the total payment is beyond price.

    thanks be to God.

  34. It is extremely difficult to adequately proclaim the radical nature of the Gospel of our Lord without the charge of antinomianism and/or being accused of the error of everyone being saved eventually.

    One of the most glorious passages in scripture to point out this message is 2 Corinthians 5. In v 10 we are lost without hope at the final judgement. Then St Paul goes on to show us that our works have no effect whatsoever on how God views us. This is fantastic to those who live in constant fear of his or her sinfulness.

    The books are balanced!

    Thanks be to God! †

  35. “So the issue is not sin, but unbelief” (LPC)

    For me, this all come down to defining ‘belief’ then. Is it simple ‘belief’ like I believe in you God – or more depth belief like I trust in God – and are our actions linked to what we believe (proof of what we believe if you will)?

    The issue is sin – but the real issue is how we deal with it – I know how Jesus dealt with it – which is fine and grand – but we still have to deal with it. God forgiving us means very little if we do nothing with the forgiveness…so I would state ‘God does require we do something with the forgiveness’.

    Even you say we need to ‘believe’ and ‘repent’ – and apparently if we do not do these ‘actions’ we are not ‘saved’…so in some sense what you do is part of the equation (as much as you want to remove yourself from it). I am not saying you are saved by what you do – but it is proof positive of what you truly believe (in your heart – not just in your mind). The mind is a tricky thing – we can say we believe something (verbally) but not actually believe it (via our actions).

    I will also state Paul and Jesus both point to the fact ‘we answer for our deeds’ no matter what anyone says. Are we saved by them is the real question? I cannot count them out altogether. If I do – then no matter what you do in your life matters – just that you think that you believe in Jesus in some correct manner (hold some correct doctrinal code about him and his actions). Belief as the ultimate key to heaven is okay – but that belief has to be tempered by action or that belief is useless…like a tomb full of dead man’s bones.

    What I think everyone is scared of is ‘legalism’ slipping in. I admit that is possible from my perspective. I will wonder – did I do things the best I could God? But I also wonder – did I love my mom the best I could in my life? That spurs me on to interact and dialogue with that idea – spurring me to maybe love her more? I cannot say the idea is without merit if the idea pushes people to further their commitments to others.

    I also do not fear legalism – like so many do – because I know God loves me (the story of Jesus speaks that to me). I also in turn – love my neighbor because of this idea – and in turn love God. I guess I could self-condemn – but that is rather unhealthy – knowing that God’s love is like a parent’s – and most parent’s will love their kids through the roughest of rough things – and never abandon them. I expect God to treat me like I treated others – and this is fairness.

  36. societyVs,
    ““It has nothing to do with how you feel SocietyVs” (Bror)

    My critique has nothing to do with ‘how we feel’ – but with our present realities – and the ability to ‘choose’. I am addressing that clearly – concering the traits of free will. ”
    but in your first post you wrote:”But I am 33 now – and have made choices to live by the word of God. My free will does not feel bound – I am making choices that free humanity – not bind my neighbor. My will feels very ‘free’.”
    Then you go on to write in your last post to me:”Of course I struggle with all of that – I just frame it quite differently. I struggle with drink and food and sex – but in essence that’s about dealing with the problems behind those sins – and what causes those passions for such things. Am I perfect – hell no – but am I disliked by God for having some problems – no. God can full well see where and what I am doing to humanity with my actions – and in them I am very answerable – we all are….thus an idea like repentance/reconciliation/responsibility. I am only pointing to the fact faith requires action.”
    here it is Society, The problem behind those sins is SIN. We sin because we are sinners. We are not sinners because we sin. And Faith does not require action, though it might move us to action. Forgiveness does not require action it forgives them all of them even the ones you thing are good it forgives.
    And most of us here are not afraid of legalism, as if we are afraid to do something good, we might lose our salvation if we remain faithful to our wives. What scares us about it is what it does to people who are starved of the Gospel. You may know that God loves you, congratulations. I have spent to many conversations with people who grew up in the church and did not know that because of legalism. Which is why we hate it and fight against it. Which is why I am being such a jerk towards you.
    Get off it. You’re a sinner, in need of forgiveness and you will never be anything but that. You don’t get beyond the Cross in this life.

  37. “I expect God to treat me like I treated others – and this is fairness.” then if you were honest you would expect hell.
    Quite frankly I have no reason to believe God will treat me like I have treated others, because he died to forgive this jerk.
    I’m tempted to go and resurect long past Jerky things I have done to people and wonder if God would do those to me.
    Throw me in a trash can? Call me a B****. Cuss at me for staying to long at a stop sign. Flick me off for going to slow on the freeway. Make fun of me for the way I wear my clothes, or even have the thought. Ditch me at the fairgrounds because I was hampering his chances with a couple good looking girls. And I mean a couple which brings in a whole nother realm of Jerkiness. I’ve been a Jerk to a few girls.
    Maybe you never did or do things like that Society. You were perhaps pleasant to everyone. And God will reward you for that. Or perhaps your best bet is forgiveness.

  38. “The problem behind those sins is SIN.” (Bror)

    That’s it – that’s the answer huh? Sins’s problem is sin – duh. Don’t ever become a counsellor (word to the wise on that one).

    That’s overly simplistic and doesn’t deal with the problems of sin – that we have to face in our daily lives. Jesus may have dealt with sin at the cross – but we still have to deal with sin in our daily lives (oddly enough). To forget that is to forget our responsibilities to become the best people we can be – for ourselves, our neighbor, and God.

    What do we just forget that addiction to porn because Jesus died on the cross? Do we just forget that alcohol addiction because Jesus forgave me? Do we just forget that person we physically injured while trying to stop a fight? At what point do we not ‘deal’ with sin Bror? If we are so enveloped in sin that we have a lot of work to do man. From lust to anger to selfishness – lots of work…do we just forget those things because Jesus died on the cross?

    “Forgiveness does not require action it forgives them all of them even the ones you thing are good it forgives” (Bror)

    Really? You married Bror? Let’s say – for giggles – your wife cheats on you tommorrow and then you have to go through a process of ‘forgiving’ her…if that relationship is going to be retained then don’t you want to know she won’t do it again? Or do you just forgive and throw caution into the wind? Forgiveness requires action – and some serious action – depending on how important that forgiveness/reconcilitaion is to us.

    “Get off it. You’re a sinner, in need of forgiveness and you will never be anything but that. You don’t get beyond the Cross in this life.” (Bror)

    I never said I wasn’t a sinner – I sin – I have exclaimed that fairly clearly. Yes I need forgiveness – everyone does – when we do wrong with our actions – if we want to work these things out (if not – we do not seek anything really).

    But I am not going to believe some of the things you do because you think – ‘oh, he’s a jerk – look at him – he’s not one of us’ – I am not following God because of peer pressure – but because He’s real. His teachings are real and I enjoy them. You also seem to think some things about me that come from left field for some reason – you type-cast me into some mold for some reason – say things about me that are not true.

    “then if you were honest you would expect hell.” (Bror)

    If that’s what you think the worth of a human is – I pity your perspective on life. I am just stating a teaching of Jesus – which I am guessing God must also live by – ‘treat others how you want to be treated’. Why should I think God does not think like this? If I treat people kind – I will receive kindness. If I forgive people their sins – God can also forgive mine. If I repair relationships – God can repair mine. Now I expect to face a judge that has this as His main concern – humanity. Do they deserve hell? No. God loves all of them – so much so – guess what Bror…he let Jesus lay his life down for those people. Yeah, God hates us soooooo much.

    “Quite frankly I have no reason to believe God will treat me like I have treated others” (Bror)

    Why not? This is a teaching of God – delivered from the very mouth of Jesus to us (written down)…or do you not believe this? Doesn’t God have to abide by His own teachings or is He some kind of hypocrite?

    “Maybe you never did or do things like that Society. You were perhaps pleasant to everyone. And God will reward you for that. Or perhaps your best bet is forgiveness” (Bror)

    Of course I have done those things – and more – but I realize that the way I live my life is a form of atonement for those actions (in the Jewish faith – repentance is considered atonement). In specific cases when I am aware I hurt someone – I make sure to make that situation right again. Or do you not say ‘sorry’ to people?

    Of course I am in need of forgiveness – I am a limited human that makes mistakes. But that does not mean those mistakes ‘rule me’. No. I am ruled by the power of God – to forgive, show mercy, have grace, love one another, care about the poor, develop meekness, etc. Most of what I am saying is that forgiveness is meaningless without ‘change’.

  39. “If you begin with the assumption of freedom, the preoccupation is always how to keep freedom in check, how to bind; But if you begin with the assumption of bondage, the preoccupation is alwa ys how to set out the word that frees.”

    As usual Forde can sniff out pietism like a blood hound.

    Most figure the “bondage of the will” is captured in some form of “addiction” to sin where sin = the negative box sin list for the most part, with a little obvious self righteousness of a hand wringing plotting scheming Pharisee thrown in that even a rank atheist could detect. So they go and figure the Gospel frees one from that. But the Cross as Forde rightly points out is first and foremost and ATTACK on sin, a strange attack in that the attacker dies as the sinner. Now we can see much clearer that the Cross attacks our BEST religious effort FIRST and foremost.

    Thus, what is the REAL bondage of the will and thereby true freedom? Robert Kolb captures it best in the mere title to a section in an article he did. “Bound Not to Trust, Liberated to Trust.” God that is and here he has in mind like Luther free to trust Christ FOR YOU as opposed to “not nakedly passively trusting God”. To be truly human, that is the creature in the image of God as opposed to being like God, the pietistic fall ‘upwards’, being more pious than God is to trust God above all, especially for salvation and put no hope in the creature whether it is faith or good works of any kind.

    But as usual the theology of glory is utterly blind to this.

    Ldh

  40. Pastor Marks words were so good I had to add a some more words of my own to this idea. Those words ring so true in my heart.

    http://spadinofamily.wordpress.com/2009/01/08/the-problem-with-sin/

  41. [...] January 10, 2009 at 2:40 pm (Uncategorized) Comments taken from Old Adam’s Post ‘Free Will or Bound Will’ [...]

  42. “The problem behind those sins is SIN” (Bror)
    “If we are so enveloped in sin that we have a lot of work to do man. From lust to anger to selfishness – lots of work”. (societyvs)

    If we are talking about ‘SIN’ (in the sense in which Bror touches upon it, I believe) – the original fallen state of humanity inherited from Adam as a result of our rebellion in Eden (Romans 5:12), then there is simply NO work you or I can do to touch that. The only remedy to that cancer is the unmerited mercy of God made ours in Jesus Christ.

    It is as a result of this inherent condition that we all commit “sins” – these are the fruit of a nature alienated and at enmity with God – lawlessness (Romans 5:13 &14).

    The New Testament clearly teaches us that SIN is still within us even as believers (1 John 2;1), and that this state is why we continue to commit “sins” (acts of lawlessness, which reject or rebel against Divine will – James 3:2). A key part of the reason for this state is because the fullness of human redemption – the glorification of the created order, the Children of God, and the making of ‘all things’ new will not occur until the day of the resurrection at the return of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15). In this life, then, the bearing of the old nature teaches and confirms to us the reality of the Gospel – that we cannot, in ourselves, please God, for we are indeed far from Him and His intent for His handiwork. It aids us to look beyond the pain and often the futility of our poisoned lives here, to understand our need for the new day that is coming.

    The daily reality foe the believer is akin to that outlined by Paul in Romans 6-8 -
    We have been put to death with Christ (objectively) and we should therefore seek to live by faith (be bound to righteousness), giving ourselves to what is good.
    We Recognize the contention in our very members, daily, with regards to this, and that we (in ourselves) fail, but that God HAS rescued us from that.
    That we are freed from condemnation by HIS work, which crushes the power of Sin and Death (note those two together) – where and when – not (finally) in our daily contention, but in the ‘glorification’ (day of perfect renewal) which is to come.

    If Christ is in us, our (present) bodies – our current existence – is inherently DEAD because of Sin – it\s that final, but because Christ is in us, we will be raised to a new life, free of sin and death. That is the reality. That new life, the first-fruits of which are already evident in us (we trust Christ and His work of redemption) will end the tyranny of sin and death.

  43. Howard – I agree with the intent of what you are saying there – all I addressed was the fact we have to still deal with sin and there is no way around that – in this present life.

    I agree – we have no reason to be condemned because of what happened with Christ – no reason to condemn ourselves…but also that we should seek freedom in this day to day living also. If we are going to ‘raised to new life’ by Christ – then doesn’t that work start now?

    I think Paul has a dual message there – one for the later – but also for the now. There is allusion to fact we need to be concerned with the way we treat other people as followers of Christ – living in that promise of being ‘raised’ – not to deny that reality which is to come (if we are being literal).

    However, Paul is also using language that has within it some metaphor concerning life and death – for a believer that currently lives. It seems Paul is asking people to consider themselves ‘dead’ to ‘sin’ – but alive to Christ – so live justly and within manners fitting for someone following Christ – or as I would contend – follow the teachings ‘here and now’.

    I do not buy into the original sin idea myself – however I do buy into the fact we sin and this is a very human problem – from Adam to now (if Adam is real – just that humanity has always had this deal). In that idea we cannot really do much about the condition – even Christ’s death has not even removed that – we still struggle with sin…maybe the 2nd coming will finish that process (which what I think is the blessed hope).

    But until then we will deal with ‘sin’ in this present reality – and its on each and every one of us to do our part to live the kingdom values in our present realities – to continue not to spread ‘evil’ – or immorality (which is the essence of what evil is).

  44. Societyvs wrote: “I do not buy into the original sin idea myself – however I do buy into the fact we sin and this is a very human problem – from Adam to now (if Adam is real – just that humanity has always had this deal)”.

    Many thanks for your reply.
    I was studying a discussion on another blog site yesterday (about how atheists have funded a campaign on London’s buses to promote the view that ‘there is probably no God’) and one of the contributors remarked:
    “Perhaps the reason the universe (creation) “looks” so bad is the entrance of sin, which Paul suggests when he writes that through sin, all of creation groans. Some of the things we see … such as viruses, colliding galaxies, the appearance of bad design … could be the manifestation of the degradation of creation since the entrance of sin”.

    (Uncommon Descent Blog – 8th January).
    I’m always intrigued when people begin to convey a reluctance to accept that there was an actual historical moment when we (and thereby creation) became tainted and detached from it original estate. Why is this a problem? I’ve read contemporary anthropological and archaeological material in the last few years that in no contradicts this as a viable possibility, so where do we get the notion that the early chapters of Genesis cannot be looked upon as a record of what actually occurred?
    There is a second point here – as crucial as the first – if we don not accept a historical point for this condition, where does it begin?
    Were we simply created this way, and if so, then what is all this talk of a need for redemption – how we we be expected to be rescued from what we were inherently made to be?
    The scriptures tell us that there are some mammoth ‘mysteries’ at the heart of reality – that of Creation itself, the Incarnation, the Resurrection and the existence of Iniquity. I look at the revelation of scripture – of God’s communicating with us – as an initial widow of insight into these profound issues – the foundations of an unfolding of truth which is yet to come.

  45. SLIGHTLY AMENDED (improved)

    Societyvs wrote: “I do not buy into the original sin idea myself – however I do buy into the fact we sin and this is a very human problem – from Adam to now (if Adam is real – just that humanity has always had this deal)”.

    Many thanks for your reply.
    I was studying a discussion on another blog site yesterday (about how atheists have funded a campaign on London’s buses to promote the view that ‘there is probably no God’) and one of the contributors remarked:
    “Perhaps the reason the universe (creation) “looks” so bad is the entrance of sin, which Paul suggests when he writes that through sin, all of creation groans. Some of the things we see … such as viruses, colliding galaxies, the appearance of bad design … could be the manifestation of the degradation of creation since the entrance of sin”.
    (Uncommon Descent Blog – 8th January).

    I’m always intrigued when people begin to convey a reluctance to accept that there was an actual historical moment when we (and thereby creation) became tainted and detached from it original estate. Why is this a problem? I’ve read contemporary anthropological and archaeological material in the last few years that in no way contradicts this as a viable possibility, so where do we get the notion that the early chapters of Genesis cannot be looked upon as a record of what actually occurred?

    There is a second point here – as crucial as the first – if we do not accept a historical point for this condition, where does it begin?
    Were we simply created this way, and if so, then what is all this talk of a need for redemption – how we we be expected to be rescued from what we were inherently made to be?

    The scriptures tell us that there are some mammoth ‘mysteries’ at the heart of reality – that of Creation itself, the Incarnation, the Resurrection and the existence of Iniquity. I look at the revelation of scripture – of God’s communicating with us – as an initial widow of insight into these profound issues – the foundations of an unfolding of truth which is yet to come. I believe that the key reason behind this great play is the purpose of the Trinity – to weave a vital understanding of the love and fellowship of Father, Son and Spirit into all things – and that is what is fast approaching.

    “I have the capacity of being more wicked than any example that man could set me, and that if I escape, it is only by God’s grace helping me to get rid of myself, partially in science (learning), more completely in society” — James Clerk Maxwell

  46. “Quite frankly I have no reason to believe God will treat me like I have treated others” (Bror)

    “Why not? This is a teaching of God – delivered from the very mouth of Jesus to us (written down)…or do you not believe this? Doesn’t God have to abide by His own teachings or is He some kind of hypocrite? ”
    Well I am not the one to tell God what told do here. My dad taught me not to smoke, even while he was smoking. Now maybe I could call my dad a hypocrite. But I hardly blame him for his teaching even if he found it a little hard to follow himself.
    But God is God. His reasons are his reasons. I tend to think he does follow his own teachings and they led him to the cross. The reason I don’t think he will treat me as I have treated others is he never has in the past, it is inductive reasoning. Romans 5:8 (ESV)
    “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
    Further more I have the continued promise of his love and forgiveness. I’m going to play that card when I get to the judgment seat. But you go ahead and play the I treated others card see how far that gets you. I’m not thinking too far since you have admitted to being a jerk.
    Freedom comes from forgiveness, Society, forgiveness is the only thing that frees. That doesn’t mean we have to return to the vomit of particular sins, or that we continue living in that mire. But it does free us in a way the pop psychology you have latched on to will never do. And when we do return to the vomit, we still have forgiveness. What you will find is as you have said you have a lot of work to do. The sins that bother you now are only the tip of the ice berg. Being honest with yourself you will find you are sinful all the way to the core. It is why you sin.

  47. “I’m always intrigued when people begin to convey a reluctance to accept that there was an actual historical moment when we (and thereby creation) became tainted and detached from it original estate” (Howard)

    Because it’s a moot point. The real problem with humanity is its ability to choose and perecieve things as they choose – here and now – there and then. The problem isn’t we were tainted with the ability to sin or with sin – but what we do with our lives. Sin is a choice…bound by choice. Then isn’t the root problem also ‘choice’ of evil? Can we get rid of evil?

    “so where do we get the notion that the early chapters of Genesis cannot be looked upon as a record of what actually occurred?” (Howard)

    Because it is obviously mythical in nature. The 2 tree’s in the story – do they exist in real life? Adam and Eve’s names – interesting choices don’t ya think? It’s a story to explain the plight of humanity – to expain the situation of humans and this relationship with God. Even if they were real – I don’t see the importance (except we all came from the same original creation).

    “Were we simply created this way, and if so, then what is all this talk of a need for redemption – how we we be expected to be rescued from what we were inherently made to be?” (Howard)

    This talk doesn’t being until Paul – so lets get that clear (maybe John’s gospel also). The Jewish faith doesn’t hold these same ideas concering original sin – why not – they have Torah and study it inside out? Because the idea is not there – not until Paul comes along. As Christians we fail to realize that.

    As for redemption or salvation or what have you – there is a need. Look around the world right now in various places or just at the state of the environment – there is more than a need for salvation/redemption. Humans have problems – with our ability to sin – it has nothing to do with being born ‘tainted’ – the world is ‘tainted’ when we get here. Can our lives be something that ‘untaints’ some of that? I hope so.

  48. “The reason I don’t think he will treat me as I have treated others is he never has in the past” (Bror)

    Then God is a hypocrite? He teaches us one thing – lives by another. But I will explain my view here in more depth.

    God is not a hypocrite. The core truth behind ‘treat another how you want to be treated’ is really intention – what you intend. Jesus dying for you while yet a sinner is in line with this teaching – at its core is love (ie: treatment). What it means is God loves you and was willing to show it…so in turn…what is being asked of you by that action? Love God back – and don’t be afraid to show it.

    Jesus dying on behalf of people of people lowly, meek, and poor is not against a single thing he taught – namely ‘treat another how you want to be treated’. Jesus laid out his intention and wants the same back…as a gesture of respect. Thus we do find a passage like ‘take up your cross and follow me’…asking the same thing he is giving.

    “I’m going to play that card when I get to the judgment seat. But you go ahead and play the I treated others card see how far that gets you. I’m not thinking too far since you have admitted to being a jerk.” (Bror)

    Bror play that card – fiddle – and drum set when you get there – all it shows is God actions towards you (not yours towards Him or others). Is God going to judge His own actions when you stand before Him? Is God confused? This acclamation to righteousness via the actions of God is ridiculous – irresponsible on all levels – and humans function on a higher plane than that. Is your son or wife accredited your good deeds? If someone in your family commits a crime – can you take their place for punishment? Can the courts turn around and accrue that criminal your good deeds in life and thereby let them off the hook? No. That’s not how our human lives work.

    Play that card if you want – that card may not be the answer. God does require something of us – our lives – our actions – our treatement of others. God forgives and loves us – I agree – but that’s His actions – what do I do with His kindness? That may be the question we are asked in His court.

    “Being honest with yourself you will find you are sinful all the way to the core. It is why you sin.” (Bror)

    Maybe – but I don’t expect God to not expect me to change. Just like if my wife forgives me of some sin I commit against her – the onus is on me to change as part of that action. Sure she will love me and what not – but no change – soon I find I have no wife either. This isn’t pop psychology – this is basic reality – and a theology based simply of what Jesus taught and what I see within him. You may not agree with it – but its all there – from the analogy of tree’s/fruit defining someone to the foundation parable (sand/rock)

  49. “Because it is obviously mythical in nature. The 2 tree’s in the story – do they exist in real life? Adam and Eve’s names – interesting choices don’t ya think? It’s a story to explain the plight of humanity – to expain the situation of humans and this relationship with God. Even if they were real – I don’t see the importance (except we all came from the same original creation)”.

    So if data exists to indicate that Eden was a real place, that there was indeed a man named Adam, and that some manner of reckoning occurred there (all of which, is in fact the case from non-Biblical material) then are we actually dealing with a mere myth?

    “This talk doesn’t begin until Paul – so lets get that clear (maybe John’s gospel also). The Jewish faith doesn’t hold these same ideas concerning original sin – why not – they have Torah and study it inside out?”

    I’ve often come across the view that sin is simply a matter of (personal) choice, nothing more, but there are clearly Biblical passages which reveal otherwise (Isaiah 53 and Psalm 51 spring to mind)., especially John’s Gospel. The fact, I believe, is that Paul, as Christ’s Apostle, clarifies what had been implicit in the inherent understanding concerning the nature of sin and it’s origins (in the fall of humanity) all along – much of the Teaching of the New Testament rests upon this understanding of Creation, Fall and Redemption.

    The Fall of humanity is comprehensive – beginning with the expulsion from paradise in Genesis 3 and culminating in the scattering of the nations in Genesis 11 – a reality that impacts totally upon our entire existence as individuals, as social beings and as part of creation. As a result “all derivative relationships are correspondingly debased, by spirals of jealousy, anger, violence and vengeance – Genesis 4 – until the whole race is characterized by wickedness” (C J Wright on O T ethics).
    I think Paul was actually teaching something key, which certainly (as shown in John) was taught by Christ himself.

  50. Society,
    If sin is nothing more than a choice, why do you constantly choose to sin?
    If the Jewish faith never conceived of orginal sin before Paul. (By the way, Christians believe Paul to speak the word of God, so it is moot whether or not it was before or after Paul, the question is did Paul speak the word of God or not.) But if what you say about the Jewish faith and original sin. Why Did Davide write :Psalm 51:5 (ESV)
    Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me. ”
    Was his mother a whore? I think he might have killed me for thinking the thought ih his presence.
    And you’re theology is only there if you ignore half of scripture. Which is why you want to write off Paul. We are helpless to change. Sure we can kick a few of the more or less bad habits. One can quit adultery, avoid porn, give up booze, and other forms of bubbenleben. But one finds that he is never rid of sin in this life. We always have something to confess and be forgiven of. We never really change, any more than a leopord’s spots.

  51. “So if data exists to indicate that Eden was a real place, that there was indeed a man named Adam, and that some manner of reckoning occurred there (all of which, is in fact the case from non-Biblical material) then are we actually dealing with a mere myth?” (Howard)

    No – then we are dealing with archaeology and that fact these places did exist (I have yet to see this evidence presented mind you). However knowing the place exist does not quite explain the story – what if we found Eden…would it look like Adam described – sword and all at the gates? Likely not.

    “much of the Teaching of the New Testament rests upon this understanding of Creation, Fall and Redemption” (Howard)

    I agree – this is Paul’s big theology – and I really have little problem with it. As long as that theology pushes humanity towards ideas of dealing with sin and not ignoring the problems they create in their lives (responsibility for one’s actions). You can only blame having a sin nature for so long before even Paul would throw someone out of a church. Paul was big on change – its all over his letters.

    “As a result “all derivative relationships are correspondingly debased, by spirals of jealousy, anger, violence and vengeance – Genesis 4 – until the whole race is characterized by wickedness” (C J Wright on O T ethics).

    What good is that explanation? What does it accomplish? The race is sinful so the planet is – that’s the problem. The planet is sick and is need of some help. That’s why I think original sin is a moot point – it can point out a problem – but not offer solutions…and when one tries to deal with sin – they can always fall back on the excuse – ‘well I am created sinful’. What good is that? I wonder about that theology and if modern teachers have Paul correct – because Paul was overly concerned with ‘behavior’.

  52. “If sin is nothing more than a choice, why do you constantly choose to sin?” (Bror)

    Constantly? For real? Irregardless of that question – the choice is still ours.

    “If the Jewish faith never conceived of orginal sin before Paul” (Bror)

    Go read their core tenets and beliefs – no original sin doctrine. They don’t prescribe to that theology – and never have.

    As for the David passage – I cannot explain it – I would say we all consider asking someone trained in the Hebrew used there and the background of David – and the Psalms – maybe a rabbi?

    Fact is Psalm 51 is about David’s confession to God concering the incident with Bathsheba. Is he talking about his son there – the child they had in this adulterous relationship? Or is he relating how horrible he felt for what he had done – making a comparison of how bad a person he truly was – from birth? I am not sure David is proporting original sin as an idea – its not something he really gets behind anywhere else. But if he believed it – so what – he is still answering to God for his indiscretion and asking to be forgiven and cleansed from it – to move forward from the ‘guilt’.

    “And you’re theology is only there if you ignore half of scripture” (Bror)

    I don’t ignore any scripture – maybe Paul was about ‘original sin’ – I don’t doubt that. What I do doubt is this idea is all over the place in the gospels – and many various writers within the 27 books of the NT attest to a variety of ideas…its not one big piecemeal piece of literature – there are like 7 authors of a variety of kinds of writing…Paul is just one piece. Matthew does not mention original sin. Mark doesn’t. James and Peter do not. Paul does.

    I look at scripture as it was written – from various writers at various times – to deal with various problems of the day. Even Paul, as much as his original sin idea permeates his writing, does ask the believers to deal with their personal sins. I do not see much of a problem with that. Paul still wants people to deal with their choices to sin – born into sin or not – its not really an arguement of his to not deal with your sin.

    “But one finds that he is never rid of sin in this life. We always have something to confess and be forgiven of” (Bror)

    I agree – we are always alive – we always will face the choices of temptational vice and virtue. Are we pre-diposed to sin? We are selfish if that’s what Paul means (self first – others later). But no excuse for that condition with Paul – even that we have to deal with – so we become more self-less.

  53. societyvs wrote:
    “This talk doesn’t begin until Paul – so lets get that clear (maybe John’s gospel also)”

    and

    “knowing the place exist does not quite explain the story”

    and
    “As for the David passage – I cannot explain it ”

    OK, so let me get this straight, we seek to put together a more comprehensive picture from scripture of what Paul is clearly saying in Romans regarding the nature of sin.
    We touch upon Jesus’ own teaching about this (i.e John chapter 8), and we also seek to relate this to the fact that each of us are born with a ‘stubborn, evil will’ (Jeremiah 16:12) by referring to the confession of David (Psalm 51) with regards to being ‘conceived’ in iniquity, – “an infection inseparable from human nature” (new bible commentary. See also Job 25:4-6, 15:15&16). This all, in the light of what is conveyed in Genesis 3-11, marries with Paul’s teaching in Romans, and yet we are apparently meant to reach what particular conclusion?

    “I think original sin is a moot point – it can point out a problem – but not offer solutions”.

    I would say that with out correctly diagnosing the nature of the malady, we certainly cannot hope to identify or apply the remedy (Romans 3:21-26).
    The aim and intent of God is to KILL the fallen and the corrupt nature we now have, and glorify the new nature, made ours in Jesus Christ. When does this occur? On the day of Redemption. Everything we know until then (in terms of renewal) is but a foretaste of what is coming.
    We live in anticipation of that day.

  54. Societyvs,
    It has become painfully obvious to me that you are a pathological liar. You have stated that you made a choice to follow God’s word, yet you refuse to listen to it. And you choose to ignore it. Rather you would feed your ego with kudos, and “I think I cans” than leave your sin and sins with Christ. Go for it try to become a better person. But you will have to overcome this lying bit, and be honest with yourself.
    It would be one thing if you were convinced Paul was not an apostle of Christ, and therefore did not have the Holy Spirit. But to admit that he is, and still ignore him, because after all there are other authors who don’t write about original sin. Well that is just dishonest. Perhaps if they wrote against original sin… but that would open up another can of worms, we would have to determine who had the Holy Spirit, and who didn’t at that point. But just because others did not address the topic in the same language, does not mean they did not believe in the concept.
    By the way, I, Me, I am trained in Hebrew, and Greek for that matter. And the only Rabbi I am really concerned about consulting is Jesus.
    As for original sin being a moot point, it is not. You are correct it points out a problem and offers no solutions. What it does say is you are not going to over come it. It makes you realize if Christ and his cross are not the answer, we have BBQ waiting for us.

  55. “This all, in the light of what is conveyed in Genesis 3-11, marries with Paul’s teaching in Romans, and yet we are apparently meant to reach what particular conclusion?” (Howard)

    That’s the thing – thats a Pauline conclusion to what is in scripture – and one he lives by. I have no problem with that unless it slips into irresponsibility for the believer (which I am sure Paul would also be against).

    As for this conclusion being some concensus across religious realms of who studies Genesis, Prophets, and Wisdom Lit is not so. Judaism does not hold this tenet – and their rabbi’s are deeply studied in all aspects concering Torah, Prophets, Writings, background literature, halakhh, and Hebrew…they still do not pull that ideology out of the passages.

    Now as Christians we pull that out – why? Paul. Then we seek to find where Paul put this all together and make proofs out of things that we do not know are proofs. The David psalm being a good example. If this was all so obvious – why doesn’t Judaism have this as its core tenet also? It’s not for lack of study that much I can assure you.

    Original sin is a Christian conclusion to what happened in the Garden – it is not the only conclusion. As for the gospels backing this point up – that is also not the clear cut case. Matthew, Mark, and Luke mention very little about this idea – and John, if he even addresses it, doesn’t do so in much detail. Many of the letters outside of Paul do not make the same commentary on the situation Paul does – some never mention the idea. Being a ‘sinner’ is not the same as being born in ‘sin’ (they actually are different).

    I am saying sin exists and is a problem – I just am not sure we are born to ‘sin’ (sculpted in original sin).

  56. “It has become painfully obvious to me that you are a pathological liar” (Bror)

    How can you make such a claim like this (which is extremely rude) without even knowing me? Bror – learn to treat people with some respect – if not for me – for the basis of proving what your teacher is.

    “You have stated that you made a choice to follow God’s word, yet you refuse to listen to it. And you choose to ignore it.” (Bror)

    (a) Grow up

    (b) I follow God’s words/teachings – as in live by them – of that I am not sure you can say much about

    (c) As for refusing to listen – I don’t accept your personal interpretation of it (or Luther’s for that matter) – and I don’t have to. I see some flaws in the logic and simply seek to address them – and see where the talks lead to.

    (d) The claims you made are hurtful and misleading – they are also along the paths of judging another and calling them names – now if that’s your faith – you can let me know so I can not bother with it.

    “Rather you would feed your ego with kudos, and “I think I cans” than leave your sin and sins with Christ” (Bror)

    What ego? I ain’t writing books, looking for awards, or trying to win some theological award – I am merely having a ‘dialogue’. Man, can you judge the sh*t out of someone.

    As for leaving my sins with the Christ – how can you make that call about me? I am need of forgiveness like everyone else – this isn;t about ducking and dodging God so I can be ‘righteous’ – I ain;t the one being acclaiming God made me righteous by virtue of His actions – but I am claiming I am responsible for my mistakes fully and completely. I find it rather telling you serve a God that let’s you make such accusations/name calling about another – very telling. Why worry – you are righteous irregardless of your personal behanvior.

    “But you will have to overcome this lying bit, and be honest with yourself.” (Bror)

    I have not one time lied to you or anyone on this site – and for you to make such claims concerning my character is straight out ‘slander’ of another person’s character (you have no basis for such an accusation). I don;t buy into original sin – sorry – if that’s me lying to myself and others – then that’s a fairly warped view of what ‘lying’ is.

    Even if I believed in original sin – I couldn’t prove it anyways and I would hope to God it wasn’t true. Cause if that is so – what about kids born into this world and die while young? They cannot choose to follow God – but only their nature – which you claim is ‘sinful’. Are those kids on their way to hell also? What about all the aborted – are they going to hell – they were being fashioned in ‘sin’ (like David)? It’s ridiculous to think this is how God thinks about us – in my personal opinion.

    “But to admit that he is, and still ignore him, because after all there are other authors who don’t write about original sin” (Bror)

    I don’t ignore Paul – I like and enjoy his writings. But I admit the obvious and that makes Paul less for some reason? Paul is the only author addressing this point concerning original sin – which really means little to me – because I want to deal with sin anyways.

    So what if you are born into sin? Is that an excuse to sin? No. Paul never makes mistakes like that in his theology – original sin is the problem – and Jesus is part of the solution – he taught us to deal with our lives (and directs us and mediates on our behalf). I get that. Born into sin or not – I don’t care – I have to deal with my personal life and the problems I put into this world as a citizen of God’s kingdom.

    “What it does say is you are not going to over come it. It makes you realize if Christ and his cross are not the answer, we have BBQ waiting for us” (Bror)

    Why can’t we overcome it? Personal sins I mean? That is not how Paul talks about it – he uses ideas like ‘die to sin’ and ‘live to Christ’…he could of easily as said ‘put away your old ways of thinking’ and put on ‘new ways of thinking – Jesus’ teachings’. What do we think Paul is saying in his letters if not this? Paul is huge on the idea of ‘old man’ and ‘new person’ – which all stems from his ideas on embracing a new way of thinking – which is following the Christ…and we have it quite easy in our time – we have 4 gospels and handfuls of letters to guide us.

  57. Societyvs,
    We can’t over come personal actual sin, because we can’t extract their root original sin from us. listen it is all well and good if you want to stop being a womanizer, and a drunkard I applaud that in you. Great. But it aint Christianity. Any muslim, Jew, Hindu or Budhist would tell you the same.
    Christianity is forgiveness and living in that forgiveness, because only that can deal with the root cause of our sins which is sin. And if you don’t recognize that then you don’t live by Christ’s teachings. If you ignore Paul when he talks about orginal sin and forgiveness, then you ignore Paul. He is an apostle not someone you can pick and choose from you take it all or none at all.
    As for little children what can I say. They are born into sin. Want proof? They die. Death and sin are two sides of the same coin here. “The wages of sin is death.” I’ll leave it to God to judge, but I hold very little hope, and refuse to spread personal opinions and fantasies concerning their innocence.
    And you are the last one to be talking about rude! Inviting a bunch of people to a different venue to talk about me. Nice. I make my accusations based on what you write. One minute you say you want to live by God’s word. The next you write half of it off. That isn’t living by God’s word. God has a lot to say on the matter of ignoring parts and picking and choosing from his word. So I call it like I see it. And I don’t have much tolerance for people who want to make Christianity about them rather than Christ.
    I don’t know that I judge. Ultimately that is Christ’s job. But I do make judgments, that I won’t deny. It is my job actually. To expose sin, so that it might be forgiven. To admonish people.
    As for your last point go re read Romans 7. Paul never overcame sin. Neither will you. Thankfully Christ has and in him we are more than conquerors.

  58. Societyvs wrote:
    “Why can’t we overcome it? Personal sins I mean?”

    There’s a whole erroneous school of thought re: sinless perfectionism (in the present tense), which has been responsible for a plethora of crimes and misdemeanors in Christian doctrine. That is certainly a course away from the safe haven of Christ’s righteousness.

    “and Jesus is part of the solution”

    That’s a very troublesome view – Jesus is the ENTIRE solution, or there isn’t one.

    “The David psalm being a good example. If this was all so obvious – why doesn’t Judaism have this as its core tenet also?”

    Perhaps for the same manner of reason that the majority of Jewish people have failed to recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah?
    I do not say this lightly – look again at Paul’s teaching in Romans 2 & 3 and 9-11. They have the scriptures, but actually MISS what they are saying! That sounds like an essential problem.

  59. “There’s a whole erroneous school of thought re: sinless perfectionism: (Howard)

    I am not going into sinless perfection – never once mentioned either ideas- nor would I – its likely impossible. All I am saying is we live according to the teachings – find our life in them – built by them – and thats it.

    “That is certainly a course away from the safe haven of Christ’s righteousness.” (Howard)

    Teaching responsibility for one’s actions is a step away from the righteousness of Jesus?

    “That’s a very troublesome view – Jesus is the ENTIRE solution, or there isn’t one” (Howard)

    Jesus makes you a better person…explain how you are not involved as part of the solution? You have to ask or whatever it is you think that gets you his righteousness – correct?

  60. “He is an apostle not someone you can pick and choose from you take it all or none at all” (Bror)

    Thanks for narrowing the choices – all or none – I’ll take none then – just give me the gospel of Matthew and I’ll be on my way.

    “I’ll leave it to God to judge, but I hold very little hope, and refuse to spread personal opinions and fantasies concerning their innocence.” (Bror)

    Might have to tell that one to Jesus – apparently the kingdom of God is made of children like the one’s we just mentioned. Now if Jesus did not mention how bad they were and cut off from God because of their condition – should I believe Jesus or Bror? Jesus seemed to admire children and gave them great praise.

    “And you are the last one to be talking about rude! Inviting a bunch of people to a different venue to talk about me. Nice” (Bror)

    To talk about you? No, to talk about yours and my conversation – so I posted it on my blog (of the which I also apologized for). It was to further conversation – not so I could ‘hate on’ you or something – far be it from me to want to do such a thing to you (its not fair to you). I thought you would know, from blogging, that when I linked back here what that meant – I was wrong – I am sorry.

    “That isn’t living by God’s word. God has a lot to say on the matter of ignoring parts and picking and choosing from his word” (Bror)

    Then we are all guilty – because we all pick n choose what is important to us biblically.

    As for ‘living by God’s word’ – I do – your claims are fully unjustified. I may not agree with interpretations of Pauline epistles – big deal – who cares. Original sin – what does it matter? Living by God’s word is not about what ‘I believe doctrinally’ – but what I ‘live by in my personal life’. And I enact these teachings in my life – the ideas of living a moral existence for the love of God, my neighbor, and myself.

    “But I do make judgments, that I won’t deny. It is my job actually. To expose sin, so that it might be forgiven. To admonish people.” (Bror)

    That’s your job – lol – well you’re doing a fine job. Judge as you want to be judged is your standard – and I don’t think you quite get it. Admonish people all you want – but that’s not the same as ‘judge as you want to be judged’ – unless you prefer to be judged that way (people admonishing you back). If so, then whatev’s.

    “Paul never overcame sin. Neither will you” (Bror)

    I find that strange actually. Wasn’t Paul’s argument that ‘the Christ lived in him’ and the Christ was ‘sinless’ wasn’t he? Wouldn’t that mean, if this person really lived in him, that Paul would not struggle with sin – having some sinlessness in him and all? That’s some plain logic there.

    If I have Einstein living in me – I am bound to be one of the best at science and push it to new boundaries – discover new ideas and processes. Why? Because that’s who Einstein was – and by virtue of living in me – I would also gain that knowledge.

    Now Paul’s claim is ‘the Christ lives in him’ – wouldn’t that make his actions become sinless also? If not – why not – he had someone you all claim was sinless in him? He wouldn;t need to be accredited some righteousness – he would become that very thing – because Jesus was in him. If we take Paul literally.

    Now, for me, I am not going to say God does not abide with us and in us – I think He does. But we are not god’s and God lives in us by virtue of our thoughts and actions – abiding/living by His teachings. This will push us to live morally responsible lives – because the teachings are just that – moral and responsible. But we play our part in that process. To deny that – is to deny the very fact you need to admonish me or we need to banter about theology – or there is a need for evangelism.

  61. Societyvs wrote:
    “Jesus makes you a better person…explain how you are not involved as part of the solution”.

    He makes me a new creation by giving me a new nature, which currently constantly contends in this life against the old, fallen nature I have inherited from Adam – the nature of Sin, which concludes me in death (eternal separation from God) – that is what being ‘better’ in this life essentially amounts to, not becoming some introspective ‘WWJD’ type pietist. The war which is a consequence of human rebellion is evident in the fabric of everything I see everyday – from the ‘natural’ decay amidst the universe and my own frame to the obvious propensity we all carry to deeds and attitudes which are so corrosive.
    I am part of the collapse, the decay – within myself there dwells no good thing – I am, in entirety, a sinner, a rebel, a supplanter, capable of crooked and deceitful mischief of all kinds… that is the ‘fig leaf’ which so dons our present humanity.
    CHRIST ALONE brings into this disorder life, health, mercy and healing. I am DEAD in my sin – HE raises me so I can trust in HIS work, HIS redemption, and it is that wondrous gift of faith (the Just live by HIS faith) that I’m rescued, nothing more, nothing less.
    I live, because I am crucified in Christ, that in this flesh, now, I might live by FAITH IN the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.

    When Luther was questioned as to if we contribute anything to our Salvation, he replied, ‘yes, our hostility, our rejection, our antagonism’ – that’s it!

    RELIGION is a fig leaf that promises to make us better -
    CHRIST calls us to death. Life is only in Him.

  62. “When Luther was questioned as to if we contribute anything to our Salvation, he replied, ‘yes, our hostility, our rejection, our antagonism’ – that’s it!” (Howard)

    Interesting. So humans can offer nothing of worth to God – only God can offer anything of worth to humans – correct?

    That means – we value humans low – and God high? Humans have nothing good about them – yet we choose to marry and reproduce this over and over again – wouldn’t it be better to not do that? Are we not bringing more evil into the world via reproduction?

    Also if God loves us soooo much – doesn’t that also mean He values us a lot? His core concern throughout scripture is not about Himself – but us and our condition of life. Why does he care when He is going to take care of it all anyways? All we need is a few sentences from God telling us this – not 66 books on the matter.

    But I see in His love for us – the purpose of God talking to us…the motivation of God towards us. God loves us and wants the best for us – collectively and as communities and societies and as individuals. Shouldn’t that same love shown us – be the same love we show others (based on the basic commandment)? Does this not make the human self value much more greater than what Luther proclaims it is? Or is that wrong also?

    I have to ask – what is your motivation to change your life then if you can offer nothing of value to God?

  63. “He makes me a new creation by giving me a new nature, which currently constantly contends in this life against the old, fallen nature I have inherited from Adam” (Howard)

    So there is a ‘contention’ – action on your part then? How can you say you offer nothing to the process when the contention is happening in you – and you are the one making decisions on what will prevail and what won’t?

    God set the process in motion – I agree there – but you choose the continuance of decisions you will make afterwards. Does the sinful nature need to win all the time or is that your new nature wins some of the time? If it were the previous – your sin nature can’t help but always win – then I will agree with you – all you are is sin. If not, then agreeing with you is not being honest – because you can make decisions to the contrary – to actually fight the consequences of sin.

  64. “Does the sinful nature need to win all the time or is that your new nature wins some of the time?”

    That’s not zoning in on the point in the manner in which Paul is making it in Romans 6-8. As I’ve said previously, the victory is won in Christ, but not made fully evident until the day of resurrection, so the experience now, as C S Lewis noted, is that we more often than not find ourselves back in the mud. What Redemption brings is the fact that even now, we find ourselves getting up again for another round, because we know we are forgiven, because of the new life which assures us of something better.
    The old nature may be there, every day, but the sure and certain promise of God is there is a day when it is finally gone, not because of physical death, or our the success of our virtue, but because of the renewal of creation itself as the perfection of the work of Christ.

  65. “Only God can offer anything of worth to humans – correct?”

    God “offers” the only thing of real value in our broken universe – His totally unmerited love, conveyed in the person of His only begotten Son.
    Without HIM being the one, who from the very moment of our perishing in Eden, stepped in to promise an end to our fall, there would simply be no hope, no value, to who and what we are.
    We would be completely lost and without hope.
    BECAUSE He first loved us, ALL of life has in fact been shown to be of true value and significance, because Creation exists to know and then to express the revelation of that love. That is the goal of redemption, and because it is HIS work, that makes it of astonishing value.

  66. “The old nature may be there, every day, but the sure and certain promise of God is there is a day when it is finally gone, not because of physical death, or our the success of our virtue, but because of the renewal of creation itself as the perfection of the work of Christ.” (Howard)

    So what does that mean? We will become new creatures – with sin removed – or as we are with sin intact when we go to heaven? Will we be perfected when get to heaven when we are not? Then are we ceasing to be us – and God would be more happy if we were not – only if we were ‘perfect’ then God would accept us into His abode. I fear the idea is about us becoming something we are not when we get to see God – being into something we also are not familiar with (so in fact – not actually us anymore).

    “That is the goal of redemption, and because it is HIS work, that makes it of astonishing value.” (Howard)

    I agree – it is of extreme value – no doubts – God’s value I am not questioning at all. What I do raise question about is humanity’s value in this process – which to me seems quite self evident – if the gospel/letter writers are being honest. What seems to be evident is – those books/letters are concerned about us – God’s concern is for us – all those books/letters are directed at us. Why go through all the trouble to talk to us – guide us – deal with us – 66 books and letters – why…if we are so lowly? That alone speaks volumnes to value God places on humanity – and I for one love it.

    God loves me – and that means a lot – it gives me a self worth that means something. This isn’t only about God – this whole relationship thing – its also about us. We need that confidence and help – and we need to be built up – we are that important to God that He will allow that exact process. God wants us to love ourselves – see our sense of self worth also – the same worth He see’s in us. Removing that from the equation makes no sense to me.

  67. Societyvs wrote:
    “This isn’t only about God – this whole relationship thing – its also about us”.

    To boil it all down to the basics – we can love, because He first loved us. All things of value and significance come down to us from the Father, and are mediated through the Son – the very fabric of all things is held together by Him – that defines who and what I am and what my life should be about. Relationship is essentially defined by the fellowship between Father, Son and Spirit, and all that is of value in terms of our interaction and community will reflect this, just as certainly as they day will come when humanity will once again properly express the image and likeness of its Creator and Lord.

    Thanks for the correspondence.

  68. Thanks for the discussion Howard – I really enjoyed it.

  69. Sorry, I came back to this topic. I find it interesting after re-reading what pastor Mark wrote that many people see “people of grace” as being soft on sin. But what mark wrote says the EXACT OPPOSITE. The moralists, pharisees in us want to use the word antinomianism — or the view that we have a complete disregard for Gods law!

    However, as Pastor Mark wrote … people of grace and mercy have a higher, more global view of sin. One the leads us to the cross and does not drive people away from the cross. One that leads to compassion, mercy, love, and forgiveness and not judgementalism!

    It leads to freedom and seeing the world as a mosaic of colors and not the black and white world of legalism!

    JS

  70. Jon,

    Excellent observation!

    When we leave the cross we come to “religion”. We become ‘fruit inspectors’ and self-righteous, or we become libertine and everything goes so repentance goes right along with it. Then it’s off to the ‘social gospel’ of good works…for what else is there?

    Thanks Jon!

    – Steve

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