Hi Eli. Thanks for your response.
I didn't mean to imply that a genuine heart in me would merit forgiveness of my sins - I'm sorry if I said it like that. Maybe I was expressing myself recklessly in my emotions. I wanted to be honest. What I've been concerned about is that there has to be fruit by which to discern faith. I don't mean that if I saw the fruit of true faith in my life that it would make the sacrifice of Jesus real. I want to have faith because his sacrifice is real and God really will judge men by their response to the truth. God has shown that Jesus' death for our sins is an undeserved gift. To think to earn even the opportunity to repent by our own filthy works is an insult to Jesus Christ and his blood. Even for me to acknowledge that God exists is an undeserved mercy of God. Yet if I really believed these things and the gospel of Christ with all of my heart I don't think I would have such hesitation and fear to call myself a christian.
I'm sorry if my post was misleading in regards to the idea of earning reconciliation.
Thank you again for responding.
| 2008/7/6 0:33|
Hey, Ben, I saw this song tonight and thought of you and one other person on sermonindex:
Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and power.
I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms.
Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,
Gods free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.
Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till youre better,
You will never come at all.
Here's an audio version
[url=http://www.theopenlife.com/music/erinalderson/era_volume_5/04_come_ye_sinners.mp3]Come Ye Sinners[/url]
If you want to be saved by his free and gracious gift, and you understand that salvation will mean a life of sorrows over failures, attacks from the devil, persecutions and doubts, and many other costs... and if you believe God gives enough grace to endure all of this [b]whomever He wishes[/b]... then understand that the ones He wishes to give it to are called "whosoever". Accept that today, if God wills, you are saved by His grace through repentace from dead works and faith in Christ. Cease from known sin, because it pleases God. When you fail, cease again. Cry out for grace to show you the way! Hw is good to all who come.
If it may help you, here is my testimony, which at the beginning sound similar to yours:
God bless you.
| 2008/7/6 1:09||Profile|
Canadian in America (Bremerton, WA) "A stranger in a strange land..."
I'm a Christian, some days are better than others though. I just wanted to say its really cool that you're open to talk in a real way. Thats a rare quality and I just wanted you to know I thought so.
I love ya man, if you ever need a brother to talk to I'm here for ya 24/7... Send me an email ANYTIME wta @ oomuse.com
In Jesus name,
William Thomas Anderson
| 2008/7/6 2:23||Profile|
Hi Philip, I appreciate you being so blunt.
I agree there are only two options and that one is death.
I try to remember that God doesn't desire that anyone would perish. I've wondered if my weak repentance, my reluctance and hesitation, my fear, if it means that I lack faith, if it means that I'm double-minded in regard to believing God. In a way, i hope it does mean that I lack faith because if my life were the result of faith - I think that could be an insult to God. Hopefully there's more than the church of "you can't be perfect". (i hope you understand me correctly) Thank you for your prayers, I'm very encouraged to see the concern people express for eachother here. If only it didn't have to be over the internet!
| 2008/7/6 17:42|
glad to hear from you.
You do not have to drum up your own resolve for clear repentance. Faith is a free gift. Do not think you can come with any merit of yourself. Come bankrupt, confused, wretched, dirty, foul, poor as you are.
Only the bankrupt can really appreciate the forgiving of their debt.
The lost and confused will be shown the way,
the wretched will be lifted up,
the dirty will be cleaned
and the foul to will have the fragrance of Jesus.
Your are standing at the door, want to come in through the narrow gate or go back to where the rest of the world goes, enjoying their miserable pleasure for a short season until death seals their fate?
Man, your eternity is at stake, you have nothing to loose, the gain is indiscribable.
I did the jump 23 years ago, I am not looking back.
I will continue to pray for you, keep us posted!
I also pray that God will lead you to some real Christians where you live.
| 2008/7/6 20:17||Profile|
That was an intense song.
I think I understand what you said but It seems like something's missing. I've heard so many explanations and summaries (many out of my own mouth..) of "the gospel" that It seems like it's started to sound just like something I heard on the news. I don't think I mean to insult God or Jesus intentionally - it's probably my hardened heart and bitterness. People say "Accept", "Believe", "Trust", "Understand" and I've felt like "Yeah, I've tried that and nothing happened" - I know that sounds kind of unbiblical because God doesn't lie. But I know that SOMETHING happens because I've read about it in the bible without the influence (as far as I know) of extra-biblical "teachings" (I hope you understand). People think SO many different things about what being a christian will be like but in the bible it seemed like there was just one thing. I think I'm trailing on, Thanks for responding - I saw one of your websites and you were talking about modesty (in dress) and I've been thinking about it alot recently so I hardly resisted submitting a book length comment.
ps - I have been studying Romans - It seems like it explains everything in the world before and after someone becomes a christian (or doesn't) but it only briefly mentions faith in Christ and baptism and the indwelling spirit in any way that comes close to being evangelistic. I was thinking that maybe I shouldn't be suprised since it was written to people who were truly born of God - is that right? and if so how could reading it help?
I was talking to a man who calls himself one of "Jehovah's Witnesses" and he said "The bible wasn't written for me". I know that he was refering to something that is likely an unbiblical doctrine, but upon reflection - which parts of the bible ARE written to someone who does not have the Holy Spirit?
I've probably gone beyond the bounds of Welcome and Intro.
| 2008/7/8 17:42|
I appreciate that William! Thank you for putting yourself out there. I've mostly been focusing on inquiring about and considering my first impression (from the bible that is...) of christianity. There are not many (if any) people in my life who have much interest in this.
| 2008/7/8 17:57|
"don't think I mean to insult God or Jesus intentionally - it's probably my hardened heart and bitterness. People say "Accept", "Believe", "Trust", "Understand" and I've felt like "Yeah, I've tried that and nothing happened" - I know that sounds kind of unbiblical because God doesn't lie. But I know that SOMETHING happen" benjoseph
ben, what do you expect to happen when God accepts you?
| 2008/7/8 18:00||Profile|
wow, good question. I almost cried when I couldn't answer that.
I guess what I was getting at is that the faith that I read about in the bible sounded like so much more than the faith that people have encouraged me to have. Scratch that- It sounded like something completely different - like from another world. But the only "faith" I've felt able to have in God accepting me has been so pathetic in contrast. It's seemed more like just postive thinking and mind games rather than spirit and knowledge and power and and a new creation. Could I have had the holy spirit without knowing? Should someone get baptised if they think their faith is unstable? I don't even know what's wrong with me. Am I making up excuses or am I confused by the false teachings that were foretold? How can I stop being double minded? How do i "believe"? Does it mean just fighting doubts? Is that what everyone does? because that seems so fake and powerless. Don't I need the power of God and not some contrived epiphany? How can I even genuinely seek God when my heart is so wretched?
It's like anything I do, including "believing" is just fake. I can do this or think that but how do I know that thinking believing thoughts is real faith?
Thanks Andy. It's nice to be able to share this stuff with people. Nobody I know ever wonders these things or seems like they ever wondered about them.
I don't want to claim that I believe and know that God accepts me only to wake up ten years from now and realize that I didn't understand true faith and was just playing mind games the whole time. "Lord, Lord, I cast out demons and I kept fighting my doubts!"
| 2008/7/8 18:34|
my friend, every chrsitian will struggle with fear and doubt, thats part of the life.. read psalms God's word is an encouragemnet to continue to trust in Him..
Not evertime but most of the time God builds a man slowly, but before he does that he destroys him and then builds Christ in him by the power of the Spirit. it a long and tough and painful experence but once God starts He will finish that work, so be patient and continue to expect God to do what he promises to do..
Listen i know you fell weak but remember what the scripture says " A brusied reed He (jesus) will not break and a smoaking flax He (Jesus) will not put out" bring Him your weak faith with no fire but all smoke and see what will happen, as the scripture says " wait on the Lord be of good courage and he shall strengthen thine heart, wait i say on the Lord"
| 2008/7/8 19:42||Profile|