Cost of salvation Compared to Debt of a Lifetime!
Posted by James Lynch (+206) 11 years ago
The Cost of Salvation Compared to a Debt of a Lifetime!

As the costliest of our annual holidays is in full swing, stories of God's love and His scheme of redemption still filter their way to ears besieged by the wars of commercialism's final assault of the year.

Yards filled with nativity scenes and traveling bands of young people singing old fashioned Christmas carols are still a welcome sight to many because they represent the most agreeable of all Bible doctrines, "For God so loved the world." The timeless truths concerning His birth are a blessed respite to the stories of war, treachery, and misery that daily assault the ears of people who yet believe in God. Nevertheless, beyond His virgin birth, very little of the old redemption story finds a welcome and receptive heart among those who believe and give thanks that "Jesus is the reason for the season."

Among those elements of the old redemption story that are not so welcome is the inspired teaching concerning faith. More than one long established church stresses the goodness and the wholesomeness of faith beyond what the Bible will endorse. Such examples include:

1. "Faith is the only response essential for salvation." This quote comes under the heading - Faith and Good Works - and is part of the "Doctrinal Standards" of the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church (p. 47, 1988 ed.)

2. "Justification.is bestowed.solely through faith in the Redeemer's blood." This quote comes from paragraph five of the chapter entitled, "The Declaration of Faith" in the "Church Manual": Designed for use of Baptist Churches (p. 48, 1946 ed.).
"Faith only" or "faith alone" is as welcome and comforting as "Silent Night." But the Bible's ONLY statement regarding "faith alone" is almost never received as warmly. James wrote, "You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone" (James 2:24).

The necessity of immersion for salvation is another part of the old redemption story that seldom stirs the hearts of those who believe in God. Nearly all Christian denominations teach and practice some version of baptism, but what is taught and what is practiced varies widely among groups. Here are a couple of example:

1. "We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer.that it is a prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation; and to the Lord's Supper." (Church Manual, p. 56). In other words, having already been justified through faith alone, baptism is merely a requirement to belong to a church and to participate in the Lord's Supper.
2. "We hold that all children by virtue of the unconditional benefits of the atonement, are members of the family of God, and are therefore graciously entitled to Baptism. It shall be the duty of the Pastor of every charge earnestly to exhort parents and guardians within his constituency to dedicate their children to the Lord in Baptism, as early as practicable." (Judicial Council Decision 142 - see at www.umc/judicial/100/142.html). This statement overturned a proposal that would have postponed baptism "until the child accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior." (Ibid.)

What isn't as pleasing is the command to be baptized for "the remission of sins," (Acts 2:38). Or the fact that it is at the point of baptism that one is "clothed" in Christ, (Galatians 3:27). Though all agree that sin condemns the sinner, the plain teaching that sins are "washed away" at baptism (Acts 22:16) is seldom held in agreement. All agree that sinners need to be saved, but most reject that part of God's redemptive plan which says that by baptism, sinners are saved (i.e. "baptism now saves you." 1 Peter 3:21).

Perhaps you will have an opportunity this season to tell the old, old story soon. So as you tell the story of Jesus and His birth do not forget to include what Matthew wrote so many years ago, "Now the birth of Jesus is as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 1:18). But don't fail to also teach the "whole council of God" concerning the scheme of redemption. The debts incurred during this, our costliest season of the year, pales in comparison to the debt our Savior Jesus Christ paid on the cross. Nor is there parity between credit card debt and the awful cost of losing one's soul. May God bless you and your family during this summer season and beyond. God bless and keep working in the Word.

In His Service,
Jim Lynch, Evangelist
Miles City Church of Christ

[This message has been edited by James Lynch (12/3/2010)]
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2732) 11 years ago
Hi Jim.

Well, you know my stand in these things so I won't bore you and others with yet another explanation. But I do want to say one thing:

I really appreciate your dedication to your mission of outreach, and I applaud you for making use of MilesCity.com to accomplish it. Whether folks agree with you or me or Mr. Magoo isn't the important thing in my mind. What is important is that you stimulate folks to think about spiritual matters - and that isn't something that is easy to do. Where the readers take it from here is up to them and their inspiration - divine or otherwise.

So Jim - Merry Christmas and God bless you, my friend. And Happy Holidays. I've always liked both sayings and I hope you do, too.
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Posted by polar bear (+509) 11 years ago
Salvation must be a very, very simple thing if a small child can be saved.

The reason salvation is so simple is because it has NOTHING to do with what we need to do, or what we need to know, because our salvation happened before we were even born. The moment Jesus died on the cross it was complete. It requires absolutely nothing of us except our acceptance. According to the Bible it is very difficult to be lost and it is God's wish to save everyone.

[This message has been edited by polar bear (12/3/2010)]
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+14950) 11 years ago
Wow James, that was pretty confusing. So do you believe you are saved by baptism or by works? In your view when is saving faith created? At baptism or is faith something we are born with?
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Posted by Robert L. Reyff (+34) 11 years ago
John 3:18
Mark 16:15
Perhaps the baptism that Jesus baptized with was not the same as the baptism John the Baptist baptized with?
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Posted by Elizabeth Emilsson (+797) 11 years ago
Cost of salvation Compared to Debt of Lifetime!
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If I had started this thread, I would have addressed the need for salvation from eternal poverty that is now plaguing our Judio-Christian nation. Think of it, 15 million Americans who have lost their unemployment benefits and and face losing their homes. Unemployment is now 9.8 percent. Our jobs have been sent overseas, so the the wealthiest 1 percent can get better profits. We are determined to to help the RICH ROB the POOR. WHO is responsible? We all know who and the people who put them back into power. Jim, the kingdom of God, is waiting for preachers like you to take on the mantle of Jeramiah, Amos, and Isaiah and preach against those who abuse the poor. Cry for the year of JUBILIATION in which the debts of the poor are forgiven. You are like like the preachers, Joe Hill sang about who ignored the condition of the poor and said" You will eat, by and by, in the beautiful mansions in the sky, Work and slave, live on hay, You'll get pie in the sky when you die.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+14950) 11 years ago
When did the Gospel become about the redistribution of wealth?
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Posted by C.Kee (+376) 11 years ago
Thanks Steve and Polar Bear.
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Posted by Bruce Helland (+586) 11 years ago
Richard, our 'wealth' has been being redistributed for years. Witness the disappearance of a healthy, vital 'middle' class and the effect on the nations economy. This sure isnt the same world we grew up in..
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Posted by Kelly (+2706) 11 years ago
Right on Bruce!
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+14950) 11 years ago
Yes, but the Gospel is not about redistribution of economic resources. To use the pulpit in such a manner is improper.

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (12/4/2010)]
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2732) 11 years ago
Richard, you're politicizing the Bible. The Gospel may not be about the "redistribution of wealth" as you call it, but Jesus' message was and very much remains about concern for the least among us. Please don't tell me you ignore or deny that.

Betty was simply pointing out what I believe is the central dividing line between people of Christian faith -- those who focus on reaping the rewards of Heaven in the afterlife, and those who seek to continue Christ's work in the current one by making this world a little less Hellish for the powerless and poor among us.

As for me, I'm foursquare with Betty.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+14950) 11 years ago
Wow, I am stunned as to how you come to that conclusion. Frankly, my concern was that others were politicizing the Bible by talking about the redistribution of economic resources. For example:

Think of it, 15 million Americans who have lost their unemployment benefits and and face losing their homes. Unemployment is now 9.8 percent. Our jobs have been sent overseas, so the the wealthiest 1 percent can get better profits. We are determined to to help the RICH ROB the POOR. WHO is responsible? We all know who and the people who put them back into power.


IMO, this is very much a political statement. The great commission given by Christ wasn't about prophesying to republicans or democrats. It was about baptizing and making disciplined followers of Christ.

Betty was simply pointing out what I believe is the central dividing line between people of Christian faith -- those who focus on reaping the rewards of Heaven in the afterlife, and those who seek to continue Christ's work in the current one by making this world a little less Hellish for the powerless and poor among us.


I think your reading things into her statement things that aren't there.

IMO, there should be no line here. Because Christ demonstrated His love to the extent that He redeemed through shedding His blood and rising from the dead and thus redeemed us to the Father and gives those trusting in Christ salvation, justification, and eternal life in heaven, we in turn demonstrate our gratefulness for others by making the world less "hellish for the powerless and poor among us". And we do this mindful that our works gain us nothing in terms of salvation. This is where the adherents to therapeutic decisionism have a problem. They believe that having a soup kitchen adds to their salvation. It doesn't. Having a soup kitchen is a great and noble thing, we should care for the poor, but it doesn't add to your salvation.

The problem is that we are still living with the results of issues like Seminex in which the social Gospel is given preference over the work of Christ on the cross. If we are faithful to the scriptures it is "both and" not "either or" . A balanced approach to scripture is the watchword of the day.

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (12/4/2010)]
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2732) 11 years ago
Hey Richard. I agree with the last part of your post. Pretty darn close to 100%, in fact.

When I talked about politicization, I was referring to the phrase "redistribution of wealth." That phrase reflects a political concept.

Betty was talking about social injustice and the desire to right what, in her eyes and the eyes of many others, is a situation that is not consistent with her Christian beliefs. Such desire is driven by her spiritual beliefs. I know this because I know Betty very well. In fact, you could say I love Betty! So I'm not "reading into her statement something that isn't there" - I'm reflecting on what I know about her and a strong positive character trait that I definitely know IS there.

Now, is the line between politics and social justice narrow and hard to define? You betcha, because the two things are entwined in an intricate dance. But I know it when I see it, and Betty's motives aren't political - they're much more honorable than that.

By the way, how's this year's batch of ale coming along?

[This message has been edited by Steve Craddock (12/4/2010)]
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4463) 11 years ago
If I had started this thread, I would have addressed the need for salvation from eternal poverty that is now plaguing our Judio-Christian nation. Think of it, 15 million Americans who have lost their unemployment benefits and and face losing their homes. Unemployment is now 9.8 percent. Our jobs have been sent overseas, so the the wealthiest 1 percent can get better profits.


Yeah, what are Christians thinking. Those foreign-types working for $2 a day don't need the work! Jesus needs to keep his holy body working here at home... in America!

[This message has been edited by Rick Kuchynka (12/4/2010)]
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+14950) 11 years ago
Umm... Rick, you really shouldn't talk to your elders in that tone of voice.
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2732) 11 years ago
Rick - You don't really expect us to take your statement seriously, do you?
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4463) 11 years ago
Hopefully not. That's why it's called sarcasm.
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2732) 11 years ago
Phew! I'm relieved to hear that, cuz sometimes it's hard to tell...
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Posted by Buck Showalter (+4461) 11 years ago
Rick, despite being too stupid to realize how right he is, is right. America is the plank in our eye.
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