“There is much to support the idea that Jesus died for all without need of any help on the part of mankind to complete the work” (FiddlerPaul, a blogger)
Great quote about salvation and what Christ did on behalf of humanity. Funny that quote might sum up the idea behind mainstream church’s idea’s about salvation.I think the church doesn’t believe ‘mankind participated in the cross’ by simply believing or doing…that’s ludicrous. I think mainstream church thinks the cross is the act of salvation but can we refuse that gift? According to Danny Kaye (a blogger) ‘yes’, according to many of the bloggers on YBMT ‘no’. Basically it’s all in perception.
One group says ‘God did it all and man has no choice but to accept it’. Another group says ‘God did it all but man does have a choice to accept it’. That’s the 2 views in a nutshell. Which one is speaking for God? That’s the tough part to figure out. But you don’t write blogs to hold back so I’ll add my 2 cents in.
What strikes me as odd is that one side is proporting ‘free will’ and the other says there is no ‘free will’ within the salvation process (it can’t be both). Free will means we have the choice to choose Christ’s redemption for our lives by simply believing in Him. No free will means Christ’s redemption was automatically calculated onto us, whether we believe in Jesus or not. On one hand I find some judgement, if you don’t believe you perish but that is strictly your choice. On the other hand I find it doesn’t matter what you believe because God made that choice for you. That’s where I have to draw the obvious line, ‘chose for me’?
How can a man say to me, God chose for me? What reality is that based on? That’s like saying my parents chose to become carpenter’s so I have to and my kids have to, etc. Well that’s just simply flawed reasoning from any human’s point of view, cause I can so choose what my parent’s want not (I’ll be an electrician). Or it has been deemed by the gov’t’s of the world the whole world is capitalist now, does that exactly make you one? No. I still have Che Guevera leanings. Free will (decision making) exists in every situation and unbelievably that makes this colorful world what it is (to deny that is to deny absolute reality). But somehow I have to believe God denies us free will.
Here’s a short OT lesson from the very start of the bible, Genesis page 1. In the beginning God chose to make the world. He chose 6 days to complete that work. He chose to rest on the 7th day. He then chose to make humanity in ‘his image’ (which is why I can see we are a prized possession). He chose to make a man, then the man asks for a woman (choice), so God makes him one. Then man chooses to disobey God & believe a serpent in eating an apple from a ‘forbidden’ tree. Man gets the boot from the garden and this is how sin came into the world. Well, what’s the exact moral of that story? We don’t have choice in our outcome? God made a decision on our behalf to boot us out? God ‘made us in His image all except for the ‘choice’ part?
I can speak like a man, walk like a man, act like a man, think like a man, but I cannot make a choice like a man. If man was totally redeemed at the cross riddle me this: Why doesn man choose to still commit henious crimes against his fellow brother? Why does Jesus mention ‘repentance’ and so does Paul/John/Peter (I call it personal responsibility)? How can a man be saved if there is nothing to be saved from? Jesus recognizes choice throughout the gospel and this one should ring loud and clear ‘do unto others as you would have done unto you, for this is the Law & the Prophets‘. Again, looks like we have a choice to make according to the OT.
I actually can’t find a place in the gospels where choice is not part of the equation, whether that be parables or in the stories of Jesus. If Jesus has to make that choice to die on the cross, what makes our ‘crosses’ any different? The early disciples understood that. If they were preaching such a ‘universalist’ gospel then why do 2 people drop dead in front of Peter for ‘lying’ to God? Why in Matthew 25:31-46 is there a dividing up of people (based on choice) when the ‘son of man’ comes in His kingdom? The only possible reason can be is this: there is a choice to be made.
In the same breath, we are not the determinents of people’s salvation (so we have no right to condemn people), that is between them and God; not their faith judged by a church’s authority (ex: let’s see he’s said the prayer, attends church regularily, now all we need is baptism for the tri-vector – to prove himself to the church he is saved). That’s what Jesus taught against so a lot of the feelings I read coming from people that leave organized church is justified (see Matthew 6: 1-7 for real faith in God – a little too unsubstantiated for organized religion).
That’s why I can draw strength from people that leave the church that preach ‘universalism’, they’ve been in this struggle, can’t change it, so for freedom’s sake they leave…they make themselves more my brothers by admiting the church is failing humanity. I can also say people that say ‘salvation is a choice’ are my brothers for they also believe in the same Jesus I do, but wait til you get burned and seek God’s love and acceptance in full capacity. The rubber hits the road right here, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ and I think the ‘universalists’ have seen the short-comings of mass church practice, I applaud them for God has opened their eyes to see what religion can become. I also applaude the reality of choice taught within churches about salvation, I mean who doesn’t want to choose Jesus once the ‘real Jesus’ is proclaimed. So how’s about a big hand for all the believers in Christ…too peacemakerish?