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What Difference Does it Make?
The Aquilla Report ^ | January 28, 2014 | Marc5Solas

Posted on 01/28/2014 6:40:10 AM PST by Gamecock

What Difference Does it Make? And here I find myself, every single day, failing to trust the one who holds me. That fear never leaves me

_______________________________________________

I’m at a point in my life, with career and family, where I simply don’t have the time I need to accomplish all of the things I’d like to do. I’m sure this sounds familiar to many of you. Some of these things are still important, they still matter, but they just get prioritized out. So, while I still attempt to blog as I’m able, I’ve found that direct interaction with folks through other social media is most often “more bang for the buck”.

As I deal with people who interact with others regarding matters of faith, I’m often fatigued by the tone and content. Sometimes it just seems like it’s just not worth it. I mean, what difference does it make?

It makes ALL the difference.

I’ve been thinking about a good friend of mine, lately. His name is Luis. Luis has a joy for life that only comes from someone who has seen the evil of the world in all its ugliness. In his case, it was through combat. He’s one of the most easy-going, carefree folks I’ve ever known. Until the day he took me rappelling.

As he started to uncoil the myriad ropes, pulleys, and other things-I-don’t-know-what-they’re-called, his mood changed dramatically. His words were direct. There was no chit-chat. Each phrase, each word had a sternness, and an immediacy that let me know that this was serious. And though this phrase is overused; Deadly serious.

Luis made it very clear, that although there were different styles, different views of climbing, different equipment, one thing was constant and non-negotiable. The rope is the only thing between you and death. The minute you believe that you can grab the rope and hold on, you’re in deep, deep trouble. You have to fight every instinct to grab the rope with both hand, he reminded me. The hand tucked behind you is a sort of unnatural surrender to the fact that the rope holds.

This reminds me of many of my recent theology discussions on social media. Does it really matter? If you love Jesus, and I love Jesus, isn’t it all the same without all the drama and theology?

In short; It matters…..tremendously….. to the point of being the difference between life and death.

You see, there are styles. And there are folks who are my, OUR brothers and sisters in Christ who do things a bit differently. And that’s OK. But the problem is, much of what I see in these differences makes it entirely too easy to begin to grab for the rope.

If I believe that it is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone that I am declared righteous before God, I haven’t left much room for me to trust my grip. But change one thing, *anything* in that sentence and I make it easy to trust my grip.

If I make it grace through merit, I’ve grabbed the rope and started to pull.

If I make it faith and works, I’ve grabbed the rope.

If I make it Christ and my decision, I’ve grabbed the rope.

If I trust my wicked heart of fleeting feelings, rather than trusting in Word and Sacrament, I’ve let go of the rope with both hands!

As some dear friends in Christ often say;

I must admit, as someone who is afraid of heights, and a bit of a control freak, I fought the rope through my first climb. Out of panic, I even attempted to climb on my own strength at one point and still have the scar on my leg, 20 years later, as a reminder. But when I began to trust that the rope would hold, it was incredibly freeing; I was able to enjoy the view. (I hear that there are folks who even sleep overnight on some of the most intense climbing locations like Half Dome.) Yet, even experienced climbers must fight the “natural” reaction to grab the rope with both hands. And here I find myself, every single day, failing to trust the one who holds me. That fear never leaves me.

So, my point is this. It matters. It matters tremendously. What seems overly technical, tedious, and often confrontational is often the small difference between life and death.

You’ll be called nitpicky, divisive, unloving, “sharp tongued”, or worse. You will, at some point, be called out as the very reason why people don’t “come to Jesus”.

Skubalon.

As my friend Luis told me, there are many kinds of styles, but some of them make it incredibly easy to make the fatal error of trusting your grip and grabbing for the rope. And it wouldn’t have been loving, or tolerant for him to watch me make that mistake, It was, rather, the most caring thing he could have done to point out that I was in danger.

So, it matters. It matters immensely. Because if your faith is in your grip, you will not be spared from the fall. And to tell those who are on the rock face of this life to stop trusting that grip is not unloving, or petty, but it is divisive. Because these are the words of life which divide those who are held, and those who fall.

Stay in the fight. It matters.


TOPICS: General Discusssion
KEYWORDS:
He’s one of the most easy-going, carefree folks I’ve ever known. Until the day he took me rappelling.

As he started to uncoil the myriad ropes, pulleys, and other things-I-don’t-know-what-they’re-called, his mood changed dramatically. His words were direct. There was no chit-chat. Each phrase, each word had a sternness, and an immediacy that let me know that this was serious. And though this phrase is overused; Deadly serious.

Luis made it very clear, that although there were different styles, different views of climbing, different equipment, one thing was constant and non-negotiable. The rope is the only thing between you and death. The minute you believe that you can grab the rope and hold on, you’re in deep, deep trouble. You have to fight every instinct to grab the rope with both hand, he reminded me. The hand tucked behind you is a sort of unnatural surrender to the fact that the rope holds.

This story realy hits home for me. In the early 1980s I was a member of a high level, technical rescue team and taught high level techniques at the State Fire Academy.

Faith in the techniques was unnatural, but once I accepted it the results were so liberating. Faith in the finished work of Jesus is unnatural, but the joy I now have!

1 posted on 01/28/2014 6:40:10 AM PST by Gamecock
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To: drstevej; OrthodoxPresbyterian; CCWoody; Wrigley; Gamecock; Jean Chauvin; jboot; AZhardliner; ...
GRPL Ping


2 posted on 01/28/2014 6:41:02 AM PST by Gamecock (If you like your constitution, you can keep your constitution. Period. (M.S.))
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To: Gamecock
I’ve been thinking about a good friend of mine, lately. His name is Luis. Luis has a joy for life that only comes from someone who has seen the evil of the world in all its ugliness. In his case, it was through combat. He’s one of the most easy-going, carefree folks I’ve ever known. Until the day he took me rappelling.

As he started to uncoil the myriad ropes, pulleys, and other things-I-don’t-know-what-they’re-called, his mood changed dramatically. His words were direct. There was no chit-chat. Each phrase, each word had a sternness, and an immediacy that let me know that this was serious. And though this phrase is overused; Deadly serious.

Luis made it very clear, that although there were different styles, different views of climbing, different equipment, one thing was constant and non-negotiable. The rope is the only thing between you and death. The minute you believe that you can grab the rope and hold on, you’re in deep, deep trouble. You have to fight every instinct to grab the rope with both hand, he reminded me. The hand tucked behind you is a sort of unnatural surrender to the fact that the rope holds.

Great thread (sorry - no pun intended).

3 posted on 01/28/2014 6:52:27 AM PST by Alex Murphy ("the defacto Leader of the FR Calvinist Protestant Brigades")
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To: Gamecock
If I believe that it is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone that I am declared righteous before God, I haven’t left much room for me to trust my grip. But change one thing, *anything* in that sentence and I make it easy to trust my grip.

I was given the opportunity to share The Gospel this weekend at a dinner with some friends. The gentleman I was talking with professed he was not a Christian even though his wife and grown sons are. He pointed out how he was as good, or better than, a lot of Christians he had met.

I explained that a lot of people who look from the outside in see our hypocrisy and legalistic attitudes, but never hear The Gospel. We are saved by the willing sacrifice of Jesus Christ. All we have to do is have faith in Him, that His death paid the price for us and He proved it by being resurrected from the dead.

He protested that he is happy who he is and doesn't want to change. Rather than fight with him about this I told him the positive change you see in Christians is not because they have to do something, but because they want to do something. We left the conversation there. We've known each other for years and the next time we go out for dinner we will pick it up again.

We not only see how "Christians" cling to ropes, but these "bitter clingers" are also how Christians are perceived by non believers.

4 posted on 01/28/2014 7:35:40 AM PST by wmfights
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To: wmfights
GREAT story. Praying the Holy Spirit works on this gentleman.
5 posted on 01/28/2014 7:46:37 AM PST by Gamecock (If you like your constitution, you can keep your constitution. Period. (M.S.))
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To: wmfights
I told him the positive change you see in Christians is not because they have to do something, but because they want to do something.

We Love because He first loved us.

6 posted on 01/28/2014 8:08:59 AM PST by sr4402
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To: Gamecock

I just saw your “”Hall of Amazing FRoman Catholic Quotes”” for the first time.

Whoa.

God was gracious to me, absolutely, for saving me out of that snakepit of the rcc....


7 posted on 01/28/2014 8:10:45 AM PST by fishtank (The denial of original sin is the root of liberalism.)
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To: sr4402

Amen, Amen, Amen! A thousand Amen’s.


8 posted on 01/28/2014 9:53:48 AM PST by wmfights
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To: Gamecock
Praying the Holy Spirit works on this gentleman.

Amen!

The understanding of how the Holy Spirit guides us is one of the great insights that the Reformed bring to the table. As an Evangelical Christian I am often confronted with the attitude by my brethren that I must push hard for the non believer to get on their knees and ask Jesus to save them. When we "get it" that it is God who opens our ears and hearts and the Holy Spirit that guides us I'm just happy to have the chance to share The Gospel.

The non believer will share that they want to be a believer.

9 posted on 01/28/2014 10:02:48 AM PST by wmfights
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To: wmfights

Yup. Pressure them, close the deal, they may die tonight!

If they are predestined they will not die until the Holy Spirit had regenerated them, or in common language, made them born again.


10 posted on 01/28/2014 10:18:29 AM PST by Gamecock (If you like your constitution, you can keep your constitution. Period. (M.S.))
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To: fishtank
I just saw your “”Hall of Amazing FRoman Catholic Quotes”” for the first time.

It's surreal, isn't it?

And just when you think you've seen it all, another RC comes along and tops those.

11 posted on 01/28/2014 11:32:33 AM PST by metmom (...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith....)
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To: wmfights
He pointed out how he was as good, or better than, a lot of Christians he had met

He does not understand "the point". Christians and non-Christians are all people, and people are all in a fallen state, thus are all sinners.

Rom. 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;".

But for the Grace of God, the true believing Christian is in the same boat as every other sinner, headed for eternal separation from God. It makes perfect sense; if one rejects God and does not want to draw near him, one gets what one asks for in the end.

We must be convicted of our sin before we will see a need to repent. And in our works (those wonderful things we do from time to time), if we deny Christ, if we do not give all the glory to God, then the best of them are as dung in the eyes of the Lord.

Is. 64:6 "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."

That's the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, centuries before Christ.

In order to understand the New Testament, one must understand the Old Testament.
12 posted on 01/28/2014 11:41:58 AM PST by PieterCasparzen (We have to fix things ourselves)
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To: PieterCasparzen; wmfights
He pointed out how he was as good, or better than, a lot of Christians he had met

Problem is some churches foster a Holier-Than-Thou attitude. Nonbelievers see this and think it is the norm for Christianity.

13 posted on 01/28/2014 11:44:27 AM PST by Gamecock (If you like your constitution, you can keep your constitution. Period. (M.S.))
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To: Gamecock; PieterCasparzen
Problem is some churches foster a Holier-Than-Thou attitude. Nonbelievers see this and think it is the norm for Christianity.

Exactly!

As a nonbeliever he's thinking that Christians have to work to be saved and must live very good lives. I did tell him that the only difference between the unsaved and myself is I've been forgiven. We really didn't talk a lot about how you're desires change. I think that's a discussion for someone who is down the road and sees how they are different.

14 posted on 01/28/2014 4:22:55 PM PST by wmfights
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To: wmfights

-— As a nonbeliever he’s thinking that Christians have to work to be saved and must live very good lives -—

“But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” —Jesus


15 posted on 01/28/2014 4:26:07 PM PST by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas

Don’t confuse justification with sanctification.


16 posted on 01/28/2014 4:38:00 PM PST by Gamecock (If you like your constitution, you can keep your constitution. Period. (M.S.))
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To: Gamecock

Wonderful post. Thanks. It is very encouraging.


17 posted on 01/28/2014 5:18:59 PM PST by HarleyD (...one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.)
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To: Gamecock

-— Don’t confuse justification with sanctification -—

Catholics don’t really distinguish the two. We would call “justification,” “initial sanctification.”


18 posted on 01/28/2014 5:23:26 PM PST by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: wmfights; Gamecock
"holier-than-thou attitudes"

As a nonbeliever he's thinking that Christians have to work to be saved and must live very good lives.


Mankind is fallen, all are sinful and in need of Christ's atoning sacrifice on the cross.

Acts 10:34 "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:"

... i.e., we're all on the same level in God's eyes. No one can rightfully boast of their own righteousness.

However, this is not a license to sin as we please.

Rom. 6:15 "What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid."

1 Cor. 6:9-10 "9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."


The epistle continues:

1 Cor. 6:18-20 "18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."


Verse 19, of course, refers to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within the believer, which is referenced in other verses as well:

Rom. 8:8 "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

1 Cor. 3:16: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"

1 John 3:24 "And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us."

I was quite astonished when I first read of God's Holy Spirit and the indwelling within the true believer. Once one calms down and honestly studies the concept even just a little, however, a rather simple set of concepts should surface.

Firstly, God is all-powerful. Secondly, his Holy Spirit dwells within the true believer.

Thinking back to the Old Testament - the awesome power of God, all the facts about the mercy seat, the holy of holies, their history, etc. - one can only conclude that such indwelling would bear fruit, for this is the Holy Spirit of God. If there is absolutely no fruit in the life of the professing Christian, i.e., a person habitually commits wicked and grievous sins, then that is inconsistent with the idea of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5 and Galations 5 both use the phrase "fruit of the spirit" in their teachings on this subject.

Of course, this is not to say that the believer is fully sanctified while they live; we are still people and we are not perfect. As we realize our sin, we should be repenting. We should find ourselves gradually conforming ourselves to Christ's image over time. Though this may be a very long and very arduous road, filled with unknowns, fears, pains, rejections, etc.- it's one that we come to realize we should walk with joy.

The actual point of salvation - when the Holy Spirit drew us to God, to a belief in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior (note, not just Savior, but also Lord) - that was by the Grace of God. Man's sinful, fallen nature prevents him from doing this apart from God's Grace. We did not earn it, it is a free gift from God.
19 posted on 01/28/2014 7:19:33 PM PST by PieterCasparzen (We have to fix things ourselves)
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To: PieterCasparzen
Thinking back to the Old Testament - the awesome power of God, all the facts about the mercy seat, the holy of holies, their history, etc. - one can only conclude that such indwelling would bear fruit, for this is the Holy Spirit of God. If there is absolutely no fruit in the life of the professing Christian, i.e., a person habitually commits wicked and grievous sins, then that is inconsistent with the idea of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5 and Galations 5 both use the phrase "fruit of the spirit" in their teachings on this subject.

Amen

Well said.

20 posted on 01/28/2014 8:16:34 PM PST by wmfights
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas
“But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” —Jesus

If you want to promote a works based salvation all I can tell you is you will come up short. If you want to provide book, chapter & verse I can look up what you're trying to say and see if it really fits the context.

21 posted on 01/28/2014 8:23:08 PM PST by wmfights
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas; Gamecock
Catholics don’t really distinguish the two. We would call “justification,” “initial sanctification.”

I suppose that would make sense from your church leadership's perspective. Having family members on my wife's side who are still Roman Catholic it's really sad to see how the more devout anguish over eternal security. One uncle goes to church services every day and he's terrified that he hasn't done something right.

John 6:29 ..."This is the work of God that you believe in Him whom He sent."

If this uncle would "just let go of the rope" and have FAITH ALONE everything else would fall into place.

22 posted on 01/28/2014 8:35:06 PM PST by wmfights
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To: wmfights
If this uncle would "just let go of the rope" and have FAITH ALONE everything else would fall into place.

Luther's doctrine of "faith alone," like his other doctrine of "the Bible alone," isn't in the Bible. He added the word "alone" to Romans 3:28. Below is his justification:

"If your Papist annoys you with the word ('alone'), tell him straightway, Dr. Martin Luther will have it so: Papist and ass are one and the same thing. Whoever will not have my translation, let him give it the go-by: the devil's thanks to him who censures it without my will and knowledge. Luther will have it so, and he is a doctor above all the doctors in Popedom."
So the phrase "faith alone," isn't in the Bible. But St. Paul advises:
Therefore, let anyone who thinks he is standing up be careful not to fall!
And Jesus commands us to "remain" in Him:
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."
A "devout" Catholic who is anguishing over his eternal security is either guilty of a serious sin (doubtful), but more likely suffering from scrupulosity.

Far worse, however, is Luther's erroneous doctrine of eternal security, which led him to utter this absurd blasphemy:

“Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and; rejoice in Christ even more boldly.”
Also, Luther isn't mentioned in the Bible. Why "Bible alone" Protestants put faith in his teachings is beyond me.
23 posted on 01/29/2014 5:28:09 PM PST by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas
Also, Luther isn't mentioned in the Bible. Why "Bible alone" Protestants put faith in his teachings is beyond me.

Neither is your pope.

Just who puts their trust in Luther and his teachings?

Show us the posts of someone who claims to or admits to doing that.

24 posted on 01/29/2014 7:10:27 PM PST by metmom (...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith....)
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bkmk


25 posted on 02/04/2014 9:31:32 AM PST by AllAmericanGirl44
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