Wednesday, April 2

The Payoff?

Continued from "Invisible Sidewalks" (below)

So then our goal in all this- What is it? To drop our blessed backsides into a holy hammock and catch a Son tan? Not likely. We so often speak of "Our Heavenly Reward" as it were some kind of trophy home on high that we have earned by our own religiosity. No matter if that religiosity had more to do with the number of prayers we prayed, or the number of sinners we prayed with, or just that we did, one time, pray a "sinner's prayer." Short answer to a long question: It ain't about us! Glory is not about personal gain any more than it is about a jihadist's dreams of an eternal orgy. John wrote in 1st John 3, "..We know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." A Christian's hope, though yes there will be "joy unspeakable, and full of glory," yet all that will be a fulfillment of what has begun here in this life: Our hope is that we will see Jesus, face to Face, and be changed through love for Him to be like Him Whom we see! If that is the goal, then where is the road? Is that is what we are hoping for, what we are seeking now, or is there some kind of "sanctified selfishness" in the picture someplace? Could we ever hope to gain more than Jesus?


  1. No matter if that religiosity had more to do with the number of prayers we prayed, or the number of sinners we prayed with, or just that we did, one time, pray a "sinner's prayer." Short answer to a long question: It ain't about us!

    Good point...Mr Traveller;)

  2. So what is it about? For clues, look at 1 Corinthians 1:30 & 32, 2 Corinthians 3:17,18, Colossians 3:1-4, or 1 John 2.

  3. We shall be like Christ, but still finite creatures. We shall represent his love and kindness. I spent the day with church friends and a good friend today, and these are the kind of people in Christ, I wish to share everlasting existence with.

  4. That may be the "rub," Russ. If we look at "Perfectionism" we see a sickness: A warped view that we must make ourselves somehow free from all sin, ignorance, frailty, bad hair, etc. There is, however, a view known as "Christian Perfection" which admits to both the constant struggle with our own ignorance, frailty, and "bad hair/" It does hold that the same God Who said "be holy" was expressing not an unattainable ideal (wouldn't this be rather cynical?) but rather gives us the grace to choose not to participate in willful transgressions against His expressed will (as epitomised in the Law & the Sermon on the Mount). If we begin to see the number of passages in which God calls us to love Him with our all, to understand what is beyond knowing, etc., we are faced with three choices. Rather like C.S. Lewis' "Lord, liar, or lunatic" summary, either God does not understand the situation, delights in commanding the impossible, or commands the impossible because in His grace (in the Cross and by His Spirit) He has made it possible.

    This is only a summary of the "negative" side of an entirely positive theology about being made partakers of the divine nature, but I've already put too many words down for a simple "comment."

  5. Relevant Scripture must be considered when examining Christian perfection or an idea of total sanctification. There are verses that tell us to seek holiness, and there are verses that point out we still struggle with sin, as noted in our conversation. This must be considered within our theology. We are to seek Christ and to be filled with the spirit, and yet there is still a spiritual struggle, and this is a balanced perspective, in my opinion. Certainly, it is reasonable that God can command us to do things that will be a struggle, and will be fully accomplished in the culminated Kingdom.


  6. Bro, I start off agreeing with you in every point except the S in Spirit (and possibly reserve the option to enter into a discussion on what being "filled" means in Scripture & in everyday life.

    The main question hanging in this conversation is one of definition. Entire Sanctification is not the same thing as glorification, and neither is it a "final" state of flawless existence on this earth. It has been offered that sin is a question of "missing the mark." Might it be that, rather than that meaning not being able to shoot a perfect "Robin Hood" in a competitive match it is more that God would turn us around so that we're aiming in the right direction? Not a perfect analogy, but an interesting side thought. An interesting exercise would be to read Scripture with the question of, "How close to God can He grow me?" rather than, "How much of that does He really mean?" We find, for instance (as you are probably more aware than most in the Reformed & Lutheran traditions) that growth in grace is much more participation than osmosis- in fact, mere osmosis (passive growth) is contrary to Scripture.

    Well, rambled enough. Blessings on ya!

  7. Entire Sanctification is not the same thing as glorification, and neither is it a "final" state of flawless existence on this earth.

    Yes, I somewhat understand the perspective. I was actually taught the doctrine way back in Bible school in the early 1990s. However, as you know many evangelicals, and those from Reformed positions will only understand total sanctification occurring at the resurrection, or perhaps as persons, with Christ in spirit, after death.

    I posted another MPhil article. It may interest you, and it is a bit of a change of pace.

    Thanks, Robert.:) about I call you the Mississippi 'Rambla' I dare you to sign your tk68/s&t comments with that name.;) All those shows/movies I have seen featuring Mississippi and some sheriff or prison warden are going through my head now. I really would like to see your state, I am curious.

  8. Ya ought to come down. The "Invisible Sidewalks" art is similar to some of the landscape here. Not a lot in common with the Great White North but most of the language. You might not want to leave!

    This discussion is really a lot more practical than academic. For instance, if we use "Pascal's Wager" in treating such passages as Heb.12:14, then either it is fairly empty rhetoric only meant to lend some hyperbole to the general encouragement to act nice (much like the lying mama in the grocery telling the out-of-control child she's going to get spanked if she doesn't straighten up), or else a lot of presumed Christians are in for a serious wake-up call just after it's too late. If the Reformed are right, it doesn't matter (and the Bible is less dependable), if the Wesleyan / Orthodox holds true, it matters a whole lot. So we try reading the Bible as if the second is viable, and find an amazing increase in the overall integrity of the Scriptures!

  9. Reformed theology places a tremendous emphasis on understanding the entire Bible in context. I do not originally come from that tradition, but find it is the least problematic of the traditions I have examined. Mind you, that is in the context of issues I have studied. I come from a United Church of Canada background, which is liberal and a combination of Presbyterian, Methodist, and Congregationalist. Our discussion does not persuade me towards an overall Wesleyan view, but you need to realize that my 11 years of research on theodicy has moved me into the Reformed camp. I am Presbyterian, but that was after I already had done half of my research on theodicy. I differ from my denomination on the issue of baptism and did an article on the topic in tk68 archives. Even as a member of a Mennonite church and attending a Mennonite Bible college, although I held to believer's baptism, I really struggled with much of Mennonite theology when they compared it to Reformed. When I would look in the Bible, at the Greek, and in commentaries, it seemed the Reformed writers were often more willing to let the entire Bible speak to them. I attended a Baptist seminary.

    Our church has a working relationship with a Nazarene one. We have some joint services.

    My latest on tk68 deals with non-Christians worldviews...

    Cheers, Robert:)

  10. For some years I noticed that most sources, even some not being of the Reformed tradition themselves, tend to define Wesleyan/Arminian theology through the corner of a Reformed lens. As a result, all the key distinctives are caricatured, and even the common ground is ploughed under to appear as something else entirely.

    Something occurred to me this morning- the Greek word, τελιοτεσ: it would be interesting to do a word study on that. I haven't, yet, but I'm speculating that it might show up as referring more often to a crisis / event or a state rather than the in(de?)terminable process that we speak of today.

    Back attit! Blessings on ya!

  11. Looking at Hebrews 12:14, it can be answered like the other verses mentioned. Of course Christians are to pursue peace, but this never cancels out the need for God's grace in culminating his work in persons. Hughes in his Hebrews commentary points out that Peter and Paul make similar calls for holiness. p. 537. Hughes notes we are sanctified and justified in the name of Christ and through the Spirit. p. 537.

    Anyway, I sense we are firmly from different traditions on this point and the compatibilism/incompatibilism debate. But, we can always remain open-minded with God's help.

    Over and out, my friend. I hope your blog brings in many comments.

    HUGHES, PHILIP. (1990) A Commentary On The Epistle To The Hebrews, Grand Rapids, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

  12. I am no Greek scholar, but looking at forms of the word you mentioned, but not the exact word, in Strong's and Bauer...more so the second.

  13. Actually, Russ, I didn't grow up Wesleyan, or attend a Wesleyan church for too long at a time for that matter. Just trying to listen to the Spirit while reading my Bible as a whole, from as blank a slate as I could offer. After a few decades I discovered that the early Fathers had seen the same things I did. This school is strong on classical theology, and so that's where I study.

    From your remarks on that subject, and the general lack of teaching on it, I'll take it that the "Entire Sanctification" issue would take a good bit of defining terms for us to hold any real discussion about it, but I would like to know how you interpret the Hebrews passage.(You don't see it the way I do, but what do you see?)


So what's your take?