Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"Do We Have It Now or Will We Get It Later?"

There are a lot of answers concerning the next set of questions I want pose to all of you today, and I have to thank my friend Papa Frank for actually prompting these with a comment he made on an earlier post.

There are those who believe once they have accepted what the Lord Jesus did for them on the cross of Calvary that they are Saved and now have Eternal Life and Victory in Him, and don't have to 'Work' to get to heaven.

Then there are others who believe after you have accepted; then one must continuously 'Work' the rest of their lives in order for them to make it into heaven.

This is the question that came from Papa Franks comment: If we have Victory in Jesus now; then why are we to ''run that we May obtain''? 1Cor 9:24

Do we have it now or will we get it later?

I only asked that you utilize the scriptures as much as possible, and know that we can all learn something from one another. Just try and keep on subject.


Z said...

From I Cor. 9: 24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

This is interesting stuff here...almost Catholic in the suggestion we work hard to win the race, not settle into assured salvation because we 'accepted' Christ. Most of that Chapter is about winning converts to Christ but there's a clear bent that sounds like "good works" are the race...at the end of that chapter, he even says "I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize", which is fascinating because most people believe "once saved, always saved"

Boy, I.H.S., did YOU open a can of worms.!! OR Papa Frank!!?

Papa Frank said...

Great questions and discussion to have IHS!!! This discussion is at the core of the message that I feel it is my duty, as well as my passion, to give to as many believers as I can. I believe that it is something that God has taught me and that it is beneficial for others to consider. Let me start with the verses that I think are at the heart of the discussion:

Ephesians 2:8-10

8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Many people can rattle off Ephesians 2:8,9 but not near as many include verse 10. Once again I think the wrong question has been asked. (Please forgive me those who have heard me say that many times.) This discussion implies that salvation is our goal and wonders how it is that we get to that goal. I do not believe that salvation is our goal. Salvation is merely the entrance fee into the race. Without the free gift of salvation that comes by grace and through faith and not by works we can not even ENTER the race. I do not run to achieve salvation for I am simply not able to earn it. If you could earn it then Christ's death would be for nothing and be insufficient as well. As I did not earn it then I also could not hold onto it. It is the salvation that holds onto me. Salvation is no goal. If we dwell on attaining salvation then we are rendered useless. You've been saved? Great! Now what? God has created you in Christ Jesus to do good works and has even prepared in advance for you to do them!!! Why? Because He needs your help? How silly. Because He knows that by doing those good works you will have the most fulfilling and best life right here and right now. The Christian life is not a matter of denying ourselves here in order to obtain salvation and heaven. The Christian life is about living each and every day in the very best and most fulfilling and joyous way possible. Salvation is a baseline requirement. The good works are what lead you into a loving and thriving relationship with the Almighty Creator of the Universe. After all, that is the greatest desire of God's own heart -- to be with us. That's why He created us and that's why He gave His only Son.

Revelation 21

1And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

4And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

5And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

6And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

Z said...

OH, man, Pops, what a great comment.
I'll tell you something I've always felt and hated to share because Christians would look at me like I grew a third eye in my forehead:
I get very bugged when I hear people treat being saved as it's the only goal, then BINGO!
I mean, it IS the promise, let's face it, but we live so much happier lives HERE when we are indwelt with the Spirit...we WANT to do those works because we're changed creatures in Him. We WANT to, good works we do are not tickets to paradise, they contribute to our paradise HERE.
I hate to bring up infant baptism again but this reminds me of it because Lutherans (and the Orthodox church to name a few) put great store in it because it's not something WE DO, it's GOD'S DOING, HIS GIFT. If, as your Scripture above said "(works)which God prepared in advance for us to do.", that 'advance' means before we were BORN, and we know he knows every hair on our heads before our birth, then HE CHOSE US, before our birth! Voila, infant baptism. Voila, that we are saved by our faith in him who made us to have faith in him. and some people don't and never will.
Am I making sense here? I wish we could TALK and not have to TYPE our thoughts...

I.H.S. said...

What then is the 'GOAL' of the believer? Paul says, 'I press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.'Philipians 3:14 So, this tells me there is a 'goal' or prize we are after, and if it isn't salvation what then could it be?

Could it be Eternal Life? But, don't we have that when we accept Jesus, also?

Let's talk about it.


Z said...

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

17Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.

Maybe Paul means living as in heaven here on earth, witnessing, etc ..."living according to the pattern we gave you"? LIVING. "Let us LIVE UP to what we have attained"?

Like Pops said, this life here, ...the most 'fulfilling, best life here'...? Just a thought!

I'm LOVING this conversation, though I know you 2 guys are WAY more up on this than I am.

Papa Frank said...

IHS -- let's not leave out verses 8 & 9 of Philipians chapter 3:

8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

Notice that the righteousness was not his own here but rather it was through faith in Christ and came from God. The prize that Paul is talking about in verse 14 is clearly not salvation. Paul has continued his thinking as in I Corinthians 9:24 when he speaks of a prize.

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize."

If salvation were a prize and not a gift then Paul would be implying that only one person could win the race and receive salvation. Paul, as myself, did not view salvation as an end but rather as a beginning. Salvation gets us into the race and then it is up to us on how we run. Eternal life is a gift. Heaven is a gift. Are you happy with simply being "in" when it comes to heaven? Is it enough to have obtained eternal life in the future? Not for me it isn't!!! That part is the given. The race is how we choose to live our lives and whether we choose to run hard to get to move towards becoming all that God wants us to be. God wants so much more than salvation for us.

Now take I Corinthians 9:24-27 which says:

24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

And combine it with I Peter 5:2-4

2Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

And I Thessalonians 2:17-20:

17But, brothers, when we were torn away from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. 18For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan stopped us. 19For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

And also II Timothy 4:7-8

7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

And here is the real reason for all the running and all the struggle and all the work. Here is why we run for the prize which is the crowns mentioned in these verses:

Revelation 4

The Throne in Heaven

1After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." 2At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. 4Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. 5From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits[a] of God. 6Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." 9Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
11"You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being."