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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Monday, March 08, 2010

Just Thoughts

A lot of different things floating around inside lately. Seems to be 2 different views of the Gospel and just exactly how its applied to us now. One is that Jesus did what He did and calls us to follow in imitation and obedience, seeking to live in holiness as He desires all to imitate Him in committing all to God the Father. Other view sees Jesus as having fulfilled everything for us because we never can ever and He has made it possible for us to be free from any expectations of moral behavior but to seek to live out of the love He has shown and given. Not sure i said that right, just have this uneasiness inside me about living up to a certain standard and how to do so. In Gospel of John Jesus talks alot about obedience. Of course He was talking to His apostles, but His words are meant to be universal for all time aren't they??? Just how to live out the obedience He wants is the thing.

Calvinism believes in limited atonement. Jesus only came to save the elect. The problem I have is just how do you know when your safely in that *elect*??? We are called to holiness, to being filled with and led by the Holy Spirit, to imitate Jesus in thought.word,feeling and action. We all fall short though. We all have thoughts and feelings, as well as words and deeds that fall far short of the bar of Gods perfection. No matter how high we can jump, the bar will always at some point be to high. Paul I believe says that he who seeks to live by law must keep the ENTIRE law. Only Jesus has ever done so. He came to bring Good News...... so does that mean He just holds and iron fist for us to try and live up to His standard now instead of the law????

Inside myself I have this struggle, which is exacerbated by fear which also carries with it guilt and shame. Fear of not living up to how i should, even the call of living love. Guilt and shame over not doing so, which messes with my head and then certain verses take on meanings that make me feel like i have totally failed Jesus and God and possibly never did become one of the ones who know their Shephards voice and whom the Father will not let be snatched out of His Hand.

But then i go back and think how Jesus performed it ALl perfectly and understands my constant human weakness, no matter how much it happens. He knows, understands and accepts. He takes me as I am and with all He knows I will be, failure to perform and all. I can live in freedom knowing He loves and accepts me forever as I am because of what He did and who He is, not because of what I do for Him. May take more contemplating to say all i want to say. Definitely want to hear all your thoughts. You identify with any of this?? You ever feel somehow your left out no matter how much you want to accept you are not??? So glad God is gracious to let me share no matter what the struggle may be.


At 1:41 AM, Anonymous mariam said...

OK. Forget Calvin. He got it wrong and was hardly a model of Jesus-like behavior. I could write you pages about why I think the Calvinists have it wrong but I will just give you one verse:
2Peter3: "God wills that none should perish but that all might come to repentance." Now, let's be logical.

Is God sovereign or not? Well, a weak God is hardly a God at all. So I think we have to assume that God is sovereign. I agree with the Calvinists on that one.

Can God be trusted? One of the over-arching themes of the Bible is the necessity of trusting in God. Could we trust a God who does not love us or have our best interests at heart? Could we trust a God who had determined from the beginning of time that some of the people he created were destined for eternal torment? I know I wouldn't. We trust God because He is ever trustworthy, just, good and merciful. Besides He wills that none should perish, so why would He decide from the beginning of time that most would perish. It makes no sense. God will have what he wills - which is that none should perish.

Is God in charge or is he not? Or is our free will just too mighty for Him? Is He the sort of parent that would allow a 2 year old to dictate terms to Him? Is he the sort of parent that would allow a toddler to run out into the street and be killed and then say, "well, I wanted my child to be free so I didn't want to stop him."

Do we have free will? Well, sort of. Although we have a lot less free will than God has sovereignty. We are often captive to our instincts, fears and desires. It takes a great deal of strength to exert our free will - that is the will to escape from our instincts.

So how do we reconcile our free will with God's will? One word. Eternity. God is patient and longsuffering. Our mortal life is a blink of an eye to him. He will wait until we are ready to choose to forsake everything else and follow him. And God can wait a very long time. He can out wait us.

Doesn't our sin demand punishment?
First of all I do believe in a reckoning. I believe that we will all have to answer to God and that when all our sins and lies are laid bare we will be desperately ashamed. That shame will be like a burning flame. And in that moment of truth we will forgive all the hurts done to us, because we will be aware of the hurt and wrongs we have done. We will cry out for forgiveness. And because we have forgiven, we shall be forgiven. We will finally use the gift of free will the way it was meant to be used - to freely choose to submit to God. And God's will will also be fulfilled. None will perish.

At 6:07 PM, Blogger punishergood said...

Mariam- AMEN SISTAH!!! GLORY HALLELUJAH!! just had to exclaim my excitement and agreement with you there!!! :) I have made a few posts over the last 5 years on here about my disagreement with Calvinism and most of my pointd echo yours my friend. Why would a God who calls Himself Love, and Who actually became a human to die for us even though we rejected Him, why would THAT God decide to save only a handful of special *elect*???
Mariam, if you would, take a peek at rachel held evans blog, shes on my list on my profile page, look at her post about lent,depravity and something. i would like to hear your thoughts on what the calvinists say there. Thanks for sharing your beautiful heart once again.

At 3:01 AM, Anonymous mariam said...

Your profile is not available to me but I did find Rachel Evans and found that her posts on Calvinism pretty much reflect word-for-word my thoughts on the subject. I found I couldn't load the comments with my computer. But that's OK. I know what the Calvinists argue.

I am a relatively recent Christian and was lucky to be led to a loving, inclusive, gentle universalist-leaning Anglican parish when I was in despair. They have made me realize how much more important loving acts are then arguments about theology. We had studied Calvinism in history class but I was gobsmacked when I realized that it was still around. I understand Rachel's grief when she confronts it. It seems so backwards to what God is about. I try and obey God because I love God, not because I fear Him and at the judgement I don't fear His wrath but his sorrow.

On the other hand, in the blogosphere I have encountered humble and loving Calvinists. My belief is that if your belief system causes you to exhibit fruits of the spirit - love, humility, kindness, forgiveness, compassion, generosity, joy - then it is a good belief system. If it causes you to be unloving, arrogant, unkind, mean, judgmental and fearful - then it is not a belief system that comes from God. But then God can redeem anything.


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