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 Moral Character = Intention

Is your moral character derived from your outward actions or from your inward intention?

I believe that as your intention is, so your moral character is. If your intention is loving, you are pure. If your intention is selfish, you are sinful.

Consider the Pharisees. Their outward action consisted in praying and fasting. But their inward intention was selfish, they did it to be seen.

Did the Pharisees have any righteousness at all, or did they merely appear righteous? Jesus said that they "appear righteous outwardly but inwardly were full of iniquity."

Doing a "good thing" which a bad motive makes you a bad person, not a good person.

Also consider the story of The Count of Monte Cristo

Edmond is helped by Napoleon on an Island to try to save his captains life. Though the captain dies, Napoleon asks Edmond a favor. Take a letter off the island (from which Napoleon was a prison) to a friend of his, as sort of payment for the help.

Ignorant and stupid Edmond trusted Napoleons words that the letter was harmful, of nothing but person nature, simply written to an old friend.

In England, Edmond is caught with the letter, which to the surprise of stupid Edmond, was treasonous.

The prosecutor realizes Edmond is innocent, because Edmond did not know any better and was ignorant, because Edmonds intention was pure, yet because the letter was suppose to be sent to the prosecutors Father, who was in on the treason, the prosecute sends Edmond to a secret prison.

Everyone who knows the story becomes grieved at heart at Edmond's plight, because Edmond was innocent. Granted, Edmond broke the letter of the law - he carried a treason letter from Napoleon. But Edmond himself was innocent in the sense that his intentions were pure and was ignorant so as not to have known better.

And so it is, that a man's moral character is derived from his intention. A man is innocent or guilty, harmless or praiseworthy, depending on his intention.

Did he mean well? Then he is blameless! Did he mean harm? Then he is evil!

"To the pure, all things are pure" and "a good tree cannot produce bad fruit".

A man with a pure intention has a perfect intention, and is therefore blameless, which is why the bible talks about having a "pure heart" and a "perfect heart" and of a man being "faultless" and "blameless".

 2007/8/8 16:39
roaringlamb
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 1519
Santa Cruz California

 Re: Moral Character = Intention

Have you ever studied Immanuel Kant?

What you are putting forth here sounds an awful lot like his philosophy, which I would not be excited about.

Sadly, he and Finney both agree that Christ did not die for any particular people, and that He was an example of right living.

The following are borrowed from The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy-

[i]"Unlike original sin, which Christian belief has understood as inherited, radical evil is self-incurred by each human being. It consists in a fundamental misdirection of our willing that corrupts our choice of action. In Kant's terminology, it consists in an “inversion” of our “maxims,” which are the principles for action we pose to ourselves in making our choices. Instead of making the rightness of actions — i.e., the categorical imperative — the fundamental principle for choice, we make the satisfaction of one of our own ends take priority in the willing of our actions. We thus inculcate in ourselves a propensity to make exceptions to the demand of the categorical imperative in circumstances when such an exception seems to be in our own favor."

"Overcoming radical evil requires a “change of heart” — i.e., a reordering of our fundamental principle of choice — that we are each responsible for effecting in ourselves."

"In answer to this question, [b]Kant reinterprets the Christian doctrine of the atonement through the death of Jesus Christ. He rejects the view of “vicarious atonement” — that Christ takes away the guilt of previous evil conduct by standing as a substitute for all of us — in favor of an “exemplary” one. Christ thus provides a model in which we recognize steadfast adherence in both word and action to the principle of moral rightness which we already possess[/b] in the categorical imperative as the principle for the exercise of our practical reason. Such adherence to the principle of moral rightness is fundamental to what Kant considers to be the “religion of reason.”[/i]

This if I am not mistaken sounds a lot like Finney


_________________
patrick heaviside

 2007/8/8 16:58Profile









 Re:

I don't know anything about Kant, and this has nothing to do with Finney. This was about the bible's teaching.

And this is about moral character and intention, not about the atonement.

If this were a thread about philosophy, you could respond with philosophy. But since this is a thread about the bible, you must respond with the bible.

Were not the Pharisees sinful in their praying and fasting, because their motive was selfish, because they did it to be seen?

Isn't a man with a "pure heart" and "perfect heart" as the bible says, "blameless" and "faultless".

We are all prone to mistakes because of our finite minds. No man can be perfect in knowledge and understand and therefore no man is above making mistakes, but we can be perfect in intention and therefore blameless, because love fulfills the law.

 2007/8/8 17:05
ANewInHim
Member



Joined: 2005/12/16
Posts: 54


 Re:

Quote:
Sadly, he and Finney both agree that Christ did not die for any particular people, and that He was an example of right living.



Thanks roaringlamb for your statement.

 2007/8/8 17:06Profile
roaringlamb
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 1519
Santa Cruz California

 Re:

Quote:
Were not the Pharisees sinful in their praying and fasting, because their motive was selfish, because they did it to be seen?



The Pharisees were sinful, because they rejected God's appointed means of righteousness which was Christ, and sought to build their own according to their good works. This is why the tax collector who could not even lift up his head, yet cried out for mercy went away justified, and not the one who boasted of his own righteousness.

There is one and only one righteousness that can stand before God, and that is the perfect righteousness of Christ. If one is in Him, He is justified, and if one is outside of Him, he is damned.

We must realize that all mankind is fallen through both original, and actual sin. Thus there is need of a new race of man whose Head is Christ, and by the re-birth alone we are made to become members of this new race.


_________________
patrick heaviside

 2007/8/8 17:13Profile









 Re:

These are questions that need to be asked and answered:

- Is sin some "stuff" or is sin a motive?

- Is sin transgression of the law?

- Does something other then selfishness violate the law of love?

- Is sin something else other then violation of the law of love?

- Is there a sin that does not violate the law?

- Is there a law other then the law of love? Doesn't love fulfill the law?

If all sin is violation of the law, and the law is the law of love, then all sin is violation of the law of love, i.e. selfishness.

Otherwise, there is some type of "sin" that does not violate the law, and there is some law other then the law of love, so that love does not fulfill the law.

roaringlamb,

Are you saying that sin is transmitted through semen like Augustine taught? What is "sin" that it can be transmitted through semen?

Is sin a gas, solid, or a liquid? All sins if of the heart (as Jesus said all sin comes from the heart) consists in a wrong moral choice, or in a selfish intention of the heart.

- "Sin is transgression of the law (1John)

- What is the law? The law of love.

- Sin is transgression of the law of love.

Sin is being selfish, loving self supremely rather then loving God supremely and neighbor equally. Sin is not some "stuff" but sin is selfishness.

Nothing can be sin but violation of the law, and nothing is the law but the law of love. The law requires that we love God supremely and neighbor equally, and so sin is loving self supremely.

--------------------

This is what Jesus said about the Pharisees:

Matthew Chapter 23

25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.

26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.

28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

- Were the Pharisees "full of iniquity" because they had some sin stuff inherited from Adam, or because their motive, was it because "all their works they do for to be seen of men" ??

Mt 6:5 - And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

 2007/8/8 17:23
roaringlamb
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 1519
Santa Cruz California

 Re:

Mar 7:21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
Mar 7:22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
Mar 7:23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Why does the heart produce such vile things? Because it can do no other as it is dead to that which is good in the sight of God(believing on Christ being the highest good).

Again, these men were using works as a means of justification before men, and God. Outwardly they looked wondrous, but Christ was always quick to get at the heart of the matter which is the heart.

The sin nature is transmitted by birth. All men are born dead in sin, and children of wrath(Eph 2), and until they are born of the Spirit, they cannot hear God's word, and be saved.

Consider Christ's words here-
John 8:42 Jesus said unto them, [b]If God were your Father, ye would love me:[/b] for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
John 8:43 [b]Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.[/b]

And what was the cause of this-
John 8:44 [b]Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.(Lit. the lusts of your father you desire to do)[/b] He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.


_________________
patrick heaviside

 2007/8/8 17:49Profile









 Re:

In the original language, "heart" is referencing man's will and mind, it is referencing what a man voluntarily wills or what a man voluntarily is minding - a man's preference - choice - selection.

Man is self-determining because man has a freewill. No man is forced to sin by God, the devil, or nature. You cannot blame others for what man himself is responsible for. Freewill is responsible for sin.

A man voluntarily sins because his heart is [i]voluntarily[/i] evil.

Mt 12:35 - "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things."

If a man's intention (will/heart) is good (benevolent), he will bring forth good things. But if a man's intention (will/heart) is evil (selfish) he will bring forth evil things.

A man's intention (will/heart) determines his own character and conduct. A man who wills evil does evil. A man who selects good does good.

 2007/8/8 18:02
PreachParsly
Member



Joined: 2005/1/14
Posts: 2164
Arkansas

 Re:

Quote:

Are you saying that sin is transmitted through semen like Augustine taught? What is "sin" that it can be transmitted through semen?

Is sin a gas, solid, or a liquid? All sins if of the heart (as Jesus said all sin comes from the heart) consists in a wrong moral choice, or in a selfish intention of the heart.



Jesse,

Do you believe that men are totally depraved "physically?" If you do, are you saying that a moral action that would be immaterial (not a gas solid liquid) was transfered into a material substance (flesh)? According to your logic, isn't the below scripture absurd?

Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

PS. I doesn't sound like I agree with what Augustine taught on "transfer of sin" either..


_________________
Josh Parsley

 2007/8/8 18:03Profile









 Re:

Quote:
Do you believe that men are totally depraved "physically?"



If you were totally physically depraved, you wouldn't be able to think, see, smell, or hear.

I believe sinners are totally morally depraved (their motive is always selfish) but that we are not totally physically depraved. We can still touch, taste, etc.

Our bodies are physically fallen and corrupted that is for sure, but not totally. They still have somewhat of a proper function.

Quote:
If you do, are you saying that a moral action that would be immaterial (not a gas solid liquid) was transfered into a material substance (flesh)?



Physical disease, discomfort, and death are a [u]result[/u] of wrong moral action (Adam getting us kicked out of the garden) but disease, discomfort, and death are not moral action transferred into material substance. They are the [u]result[/u] of bad moral action, but not moral action becoming some physical stuff.

If I make a bad moral choice to drink alcohol, that may have physical [u]effects[/u] upon my body. And if a parent does drugs during pregnancy, that has [u]effects[/u] upon her body and her child's body. These are [u]effects[/u] of sin, but not sin itself being transmitted.

Adam has brought disease, discomfort, and death to the whole human race because he was kicked out of the garden of Eden, and consequently so where all of his posterity.

Quote:
According to your logic, isn't the below scripture absurd?

Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:



I believe that 1Corinthians teaches that we inherit physical death from Adam through semen, because what is physical is hereditary and is transmitted through semen.

But I believe Romans 5 simply compares the [u]results[/u] of Adams disobedience to the [u]results[/u] of Christ's obedience.

Romans 5 says [i]absolutely nothing[/i] about sin being transferred through semen nor does it say anything about our birth.

It simply says that the [u]result[/u] of Adam's sin is that all men have voluntarily chosen to sin and the [u]result[/u] of Christ's obedience is that all men have justification offered to them, but they of course must voluntarily take it.

Sin is not transmitted through birth anymore then justification is transmitted through birth. Sinful parents do not transmit their sinfulness through semen anymore then holy parents transmit their holiness through semen. Romans 9:11 says children in the womb have not yet done good or bad, because sinfulness and holiness are derived from voluntary choices of freewill.

What is moral must be voluntary. To send a baby to hell for being born with sin is like sending a man to jail for being born with a certain color skin. Criminality is limited to the voluntary. What is moral and ethical comes, not from what is physically hereditary, but what is voluntarily and avoidably chosen by freewill.

 2007/8/8 18:12





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