Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Shut up!

(Thomas Reade, "Christian Experience")

They tell the prophets, "Shut up! We don't want any more of your reports." They say, "Don't tell us the truth. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies. Forget all this gloom. We have heard more than enough about your 'Holy One of Israel.' We are tired of listening to what He has to say." Isaiah 30:10-11

O what a deluge of evil has sin brought upon the earth!

The heart of man naturally revolts against the faithful exposure of its enormities.
Our pride fondly shelters itself under the 'dignity of human nature'.

We cannot bear to be told how wicked we are, how very far gone, even as far as possible, from original righteousness.

But the Bible is no flatterer!

It is a faithful mirror, in which we may clearly see, (if we have eyes to see) our real state, divested of all paint and covering.

This offends our pride.

We cannot endure the sight!

Therefore we turn away with disgust from this Holy Book, and consider it our enemy, because it tells us the truth.

They tell the prophets, "Shut up! We don't want any more of your reports." They say, "Don't tell us the truth. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies. Forget all this gloom. We have heard more than enough about your 'Holy One of Israel.' We are tired of listening to what He has to say." Isaiah 30:10-11

19 comments:

ExPatMatt said...

Wayne,

Do you think that humans, as we are today, are inherently wretched sinners with a natural propensity to evil?

Thanks,


PS. I left a reply to the old post.

steve martin said...

With all of the advancements in technology and all the modern philosophies of life and of man...the human heart has not changed one bit.

(pardon me for butting in)

ExPatMatt said...

Steve,

By 'heart', what do you mean? I assume you mean it as a metaphor and don't think it actually does anything other than pump blood around the body!

What are you using it as a metaphor for, though?

Conscience?
Motivation?
Passions?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Wayne Dawg said...

Steve - You have the floor anytime you want it...no need for pardons here.

Matt -

"Do you think that humans, as we are today, are inherently wretched sinners with a natural propensity to evil?"

Yes.

Genesis 6:5
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Jeremiah 4:14
O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, That you may be saved. How long shall your evil thoughts lodge within you?

Jeremiah 17:9
“ The heart is deceitful above all things,And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

We can all compare ourselves to another and justify our 'goodness' based upon the false sense that we are better than 'that' person.

Hitler thought he was doing good by wiping out the Jews.

The only way we can truly know what 'good' is - is by comparing ourselves to the standard that God has provided to us.

That standard of course being the 10 Commandments. If we hold ourselves up to this standard, if we are honest, we must say that compared to God's standard I am a wicked wretched sinner (sinner being defined as one who breaks the Law of God).

Of course I am starting with the premise that there is a God who has revealed Himself to man.

Because God hates sin, sinful man is separated from God and thus needs a remedy to reconcille himself back to God.

That reconcilliation took place a couple thousand years ago through the God-man Jesus Christ.

God became a man, walked a perfect sinless life and allowed Himself to be taken into the hands of sinful man. He was beaten and tortured and then hung on a cross to die for your sins, my sins, the sins of the world. He was taken down from the cross and buried in a tomb where three days later God rasied Him from the dead.

You see, you broke God's Law, but Jesus paid your fine. A legal transaction took place in where a good and just God could commute your death sentence (Hell)by what is called sustitutionary attonement.

The Bible says in order for you to be reconcilled back to God you must repent and trust Christ to save you from the second death (Hell).

That is the Gospel truth and I personally know about it. God has changed me from believing there was 'some kind' of supreme being into 'knowing' there is a God.

Sorry to sound all preachy (that is the evangelist in me) but there are many roads that lead to God but there is only one narrow path that leads to forgiveness of sins and eternal life in Heaven.

Dawg

ExPatMatt said...

Dawg,

Thanks for taking the time to write that. I am aware of the Gospel message and, if I may say so, you deliver it extremely well.

I respect the fact that you prefaced it with;

"Of course I am starting with the premise that there is a God who has revealed Himself to man."

It shows a great awareness of your audience and I appreciate it.

As someone who does not believe in God, however, I do not believe that humans are inherently evil.

I think I have a good bead on what your position is, but is there anything you'd like to ask me?

Wayne Dawg said...

Matt -

I sure do appreciate your tone and demeanor. I have been yelled at, ridiculed and mocked by evolutionists and atheists when I have tried to witness to them. To actually have a calm and civil conversation, albeit over the internet, is refreshing.

Sure – I have a question….maybe a few as this conversation goes on.

If you do not believe that humans are inherently evil, do you consider them inherently good….or, would you consider yourself a good person?

ExPatMatt said...

No worries. I have a number of Christian family members so I'm used to discussion religion in a way that maintains a certain amount of civility!

You asked;

"If you do not believe that humans are inherently evil, do you consider them inherently good….or, would you consider yourself a good person?"

I don't think people are good or evil. I think people make choices based on their nature/nurture background and the situations they find themselves in and we label the actions they carry out as either 'good' or 'evil' based on whatever standard we choose to apply to them.

We all have different standards that we apply. For example, I think the concept of 'substitutionary atonement' is unjust. If I have committed crimes then I deserve to pay the punishment for them; sacrificing an innocent on my behalf is not what I would call 'good' even if it was done willingly.

Obviously we differ on this point.


Do I consider myself a good person? Yes, for the most part. Of course, I'm not measuring myself against an absolute and unachievable standard of perfection as decreed by an omnipotent God, so I would say that, wouldn't I?!

I think the most important thing someone can do is recognize their own shortcomings and make an effort to improve; I try and do this wherever I can.

I do not believe in good and evil as any more than concepts that we use to categorize behavior so, no, I don't think anyone is either inherently good or evil.


I hope that answered your question.

Regards,

Matt

steve martin said...

ExPatMatt,

I mean our goodness. Our capacity for selflessness.

Ou capacity to put the other's needs ahead of ourselves.

We have our moments, but overall we are concerned with ourselves first.

Matt, I know your feelings about God(somewhat anyway), but God demands from us total goodness and righteousness. Since we can't (we won't) live up to that standard then we are disqualified from living with Him in His perfect Kingdom.

In that respect, our hearts have not changed.

So, Jesus had to die, To pay the price of our sin, to forgive us, to make us His own by grace through faith.

Thanks Matt!

- Steve

Wayne Dawg said...

Matt -

You said - "For example, I think the concept of 'substitutionary atonement' is unjust. If I have committed crimes then I deserve to pay the punishment for them; sacrificing an innocent on my behalf is not what I would call 'good' even if it was done willingly."

You are very perceptive!

You are absolutely correct in saying that you deserve to pay the punishment for what you have done.

You, me, the whole world, deserves to pay for our own punishment. God has every right to squash and put us into Hell for all of eternity and He would be perfectly just in doing so; after all, we are His creation and He has every right to do with us as He sees fit.

According to the Scriptures He has laid out the plan on how to please Him and when we don't follow the plan (sin) he can take us out whenever He pleases.

Now, is the concept of substitutionary attonement unjust?

Well, we can either believe it is or not depending on our perspective of the nature of God.

There is a verse in the Bible you probably know by heart: For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son and whosoever believes in Him shall have eternal life.

Let me put it this way.....For God sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.....

Matt - God so didn't want you to go to Hell that He sent His Son to die on your behalf (un-just as it might be to you). In order for God to claim you back there had to be a perfect sacrifice. The only person qualified to be a perfect sacrifice was God Himself.

God died for you. This is why it is called grace.

You do deserve His penalty as you said, but God created a perfect system so that you won't have to pay for your own punishment.

This grace is God's unmerited favor towards you. He didn't have to do it, but He did.

You don't have to receive it...

The Scripture goes on to say after John 3:16 this ....For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Matt - you consider yourself a good person because of your own standard, as you said. I consider myself a bad person who has been forgiven by a good God.

There is only One who is good and He is calling you to repentance today. Today is the day of salvation.

Thanks Matt

ExPatMatt said...

Wayne, (apologies for the length of this comment in advance, there's a lot to reply to!)

"You are absolutely correct in saying that you deserve to pay the punishment for what you have done."

What have I done that warrants an eternal punishment? [At the minute, for arguments sake, I am assuming God exists and takes a personal interest in human life/death]

"...we are His creation and He has every right to do with us as He sees fit."

Might makes right? I would say that endowing a sentient being with free-will instantly negates your right to judge their actions, or maintain dominion over them just because you are more powerful.

"God died for you. This is why it is called grace. "

But God didn't die, did He? His mortal shell expired, yes. But as part of a Triune and omnipotent deity; he had nothing to fear at the prospect of death and full knowledge that he would come through the process unscathed.

It doesn't seem to me that He paid any price at all - if God had sent His son to Hell for eternity, then that would be a punishment that would square the balance against mankind, but not three days!

"You do deserve His penalty as you said, but God created a perfect system so that you won't have to pay for your own punishment."

And in setting up this 'perfect' system in the first place, the vast majority of mankind has been doomed to the pit for all time. It would seem fairer for people to receive a Passion-like punishment relative to their earthly crimes, as opposed to a blanket eternal suffering for everyone.

It just seems like such a broad-brush punishment for 'crimes' in a very complicated existence.
Like a father who takes the belt to his kids, no matter what they've done. Little Jimmy took a cookie? 50 hits with the belt. First son Dave goes on a killing spree? 50 hits with the belt. Middle child Susan hates her best friend? 50 hits with the belt.
He's their father, he brought them into this world and he gets to do with them as he pleases, right?

That's what your God sounds like when the doctrine of Hell comes up. I'm sure you see it differently, and I'd be interested to learn how you reconcile these apparent inequities.

Thanks for your time, as always.

Matt

The Crazy Lutheran said...

We love to sin.

We love to be our own gods and to reject what God commands of us.

We do this, spitting in God's face of our own free will.

God's Word will not be mocked.

So we DESERVE to be seperated from His truth and His righteousness which reside in Heaven.

If God is a just God (which He is) then it can be no other way.

But God is also loving and compassionate. So He became man. Fully man, yet fully God. So the deah that He died was a real death. There was real torment, pain, and real death on that cross.

If you were the only one living in the world at that time, He would have gone through all of it just for you. He did go through all of it...for you.

Because of what God has done, Matt, you are forgiven. All your sin is forgiven.

In your baptism, He has put the ld Matt to death, and raised up the new Matt to the new life in Him.

This is a reality for you, now. You can choose to walk away from that love and reality. But nevertheless...that death and accompanying forgiveness was for Matt.

He loves you, Matt. He wants you, Matt. He is after you, Matt.

Wayne Dawg said...

Matt - A lot to answer here, bear with me.

"What have I done that warrants an eternal punishment?"

I'm just going to be plain and simple about this....

You violated the Laws of God and His wrath is going to crush you like nothing you've ever experienced before if you die in your sins.

Why?

Because God is so holy and so righteous and just, He demands you give Him all the attention and all the glory and honor that is due Him. He is the Creator and sustainer of your life. He created you for His glory and you have repeatedly sinned against Him.

Why eternity in Hell? Because that is how much God hates sin.

"But God didn't die, did He? His mortal shell expired, yes. But as part of a Triune and omnipotent deity; he had nothing to fear at the prospect of death and full knowledge that he would come through the process unscathed.

It doesn't seem to me that He paid any price at all - if God had sent His son to Hell for eternity, then that would be a punishment that would square the balance against mankind, but not three days!"

This is a fair statement to discuss and I don't know if I can completely answer this for you.

Did the God-man Jesus Christ fear death? I don't believe Scripture says that Christ feared death....but here is what it says in Luke right before He went to the cross:

39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. 40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Jesus was so focused on what He would endure on the cross that He asked the Father to take the cup from Him; but not His will, but the will of God be done. What was in that cup that Jesus was so distraught over?

Why it was your sin, Matt.

It was your sin and my sin and the sin of the world. So the question becomes how can just a few hours on the cross make up for all the sins of man? How could that be enough time to redeem mankind from every sin, past present and future?

Easy - Jesus is worth more than everything ever made.

Imagine putting everything ever made...through-out all the universe; every star, planet, galaxy, person,gold, silver, etc. on one side of a scale and put Jesus on the other side of the scale.....Jesus would slam down the scale on His side and fling everything else off into oblivion.

Jesus is worth more than everything because He created it all to begin with.

"It would seem fairer for people to receive a Passion-like punishment relative to their earthly crimes, as opposed to a blanket eternal suffering for everyone."

All sins are heinous to God. Who are we to say to the Creator what is fair?

For the creation to say to the Creator what is fair and what is not would be the epitome of arrogance.

Dude - I deserve Hell.

Jesus said - And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

God has a place prepared for those who rebel against Him and break His Law. But He has also put into place a way for you NOT to go there.

God is just in sending us to Hell for our sins; He is God.

God is not willing that you should perish but wants you to come to repentance.

I don't know what else to say Matt - I believe He is calling you today; right now. He doesn't want you to die in your sins.

Matt - I'm pleading with you...repent and put your trust in Christ.

Wayne

ExPatMatt said...

The Crazy Lutheran,

Thanks for that, but you didn't address a single thing that I've written; you just re-phrased the story of the Sacrifice.

Believe me, I know the story, I've read the Bible, I've attended Bible Study and spent time talking with Christians. I understand what your belief is regarding this matter.

However, when I ask serious questions (questions that should be evident to anyone with a wish to achieve better understanding) about this subject, I never seem to get any answers. I just get the same story, spun a different way.

Once again we see the same story and the same unanswered questions:

"spitting in God's face of our own free will."

How is it free will if you are threatened with eternal torment for making the wrong choice? That's spiritual blackmail, no?

"God's Word will not be mocked."

How do I know that it is God's word? I try my best not to 'mock' anyone's beliefs.

"So we DESERVE to be separated from His truth and His righteousness which reside in Heaven."

Not just separated from righteousness, but tortured forever; how does ANYONE 'deserve' this?

"If God is a just God (which He is) then it can be no other way."

Is He just because of what He does, or is what He does just because He does it?

"Fully man, yet fully God. So the death that He died was a real death. There was real torment, pain, and real death on that cross."

But He's not dead, is He?

"If you were the only one living in the world at that time, He would have gone through all of it just for you. He did go through all of it...for you."

If I was the only living person around at the time then I would have been the one nailing Him up - that would have been quite ironic. I would also have witnessed his Resurrection, which would be sufficient evidence for me to believe.

"Because of what God has done, Matt, you are forgiven. All your sin is forgiven."

Because of what God has done, I was guilty from the day I was born. All my sins are because of the way He made me in the first place, no? If you say I had free will and 'chose' to Sin then we go back to your first point.

"This is a reality for you, now. You can choose to walk away from that love and reality. But nevertheless...that death and accompanying forgiveness was for Matt."

I am unconvinced that any of this (the Crucifixion) even happened at all, so the question of it being a 'reality' is an open one, I think.

"He loves you, Matt. He wants you, Matt. He is after you, Matt."

That's kinda creepy.


Regards,

Matt

Wayne Dawg said...

"If I was the only living person around at the time then I would have been the one nailing Him up - that would have been quite ironic. I would also have witnessed his Resurrection, which would be sufficient evidence for me to believe."

Man - that is an awesome observation...I have never thought of that.

Jesus once told Thomas:

28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Thomas' belief was predicated on the fact that he could touch and speak to the risen Savior. Because he saw and touched he believed.

My trust in Christ is based on His Word (which I have already laid in this exchange), the Gospel that was preached. I repented and trusted and He changed me.

I am a changed life. You don't know me other than the words I type on this blog. But there are people who knew me before I was changed......they can testify.

Why would I have this blog? Why teach others about Christ? Why would I go out to prisons and on the streets to proclaim this Gospel?

Dude- I'm basically an introvert......only by the power of God can I do this.

ExPatMatt said...

Wayne,

Just time for one quick question (I'll write more when I have time).

"My trust in Christ is based on His Word"

Did you trust that the Word of God (the Bible, presume) was true before you believed in God?

Or, did you believe in God and therefore knew His Word must be true?

I'm always interested in hearing how believers came by their faith; it can be very chicken & egg sometimes!

I don't doubt that you are a changed man and I am certain of your sincerity - I just ascribe these things to a different source than you do.

Cheers,

The Crazy Lutheran said...

MATT,

"I am unconvinced that any of this (the Crucifixion) even happened at all, so the question of it being a 'reality' is an open one, I think."

That's ok.

The whole universe doesn't rvolve around whether one person believes or not.

"He loves you, Matt. He wants you, Matt. He is after you, Matt."

"That's kinda creepy."

If you think it's creepy that the One who loves you wants you, and is after you that you might believe and live forever in Paradise with Him...then you'll think it's really creepy that the one who hates you and wants to see you seperated from God, is also after you. Satan wants you as well.

Luther said that the human will is like a beast of burden...either the Lord will ride it...or satan.

Joseph A. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph A. said...

Man faces eternity with God in mercy or in wrath. We have been created as eternal beings from the get-go, and eternity is what we face after we die. The word merely refers to timelessness. We won't be living in a dimension of time anymore once we die physically, because space, matter, and time itself were all created (constituting physical reality) from the beginning. It's logical in this sense to eventually face and endure whatever may be in eternity.

I didn't understand the 'chicken and egg' comment. That old question always did seem sort of trite and irrelevant.

ExPatMatt said...

Joseph A,

You said;

"I didn't understand the 'chicken and egg' comment. That old question always did seem sort of trite and irrelevant."

I wasn't actually asking 'which came first; the chicken or the egg?' I was asking 'which came first; the belief that God exists and the Bible is His word or belief that the Bible is the Word of God and therefore God must be real?'

I'm just interested in the thought process that lead believers to their faith, that's all. How did you come to believe?

Regards,

Matt