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Christ removes all barriers to catholicity of His church through faith

JeffLogan's picture

Thinking about Christ and how He breaks down all barriers and spoils all principalities and powers which prevent true universality, true catholicity, of His body, the church...

Has anyone ever considered that a living faith is not achieved by adding our works to our faith but rather, that faith is a gift from God which being quickened by the Holy Spirit produces obedience (good works)? (The keyword here is "quickened". It would serve you well to consult your Strong's Concordance.)

Think about this verse and tell me what it means:

    And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. -Acts 5:32 (KJV)

But first, before you answer, tell me what this means to demonstrate your wisdom:

    "Love means never having to say you're sorry." (Love Story, The movie.)

Does it mean...

    1) Love does nothing to warrant an apology

    2) Love takes no account of injury

    3) Other (explain)

Now answer the verse in question:

    And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. -Acts 5:32 (KJV)

Does it mean...

    1) God only gives His Holy Spirit to those who obey Him

    2) God gives His Holy Spirit to men so they might obey Him

    3) Other (explain)

This is a discovery exercise and not a theological debate. Opinions are welcomed but scriptural support would be even better. Be sure to interpret your scriptures so we can understand how you are using them. Commentaries may be insightful but a paraphrase in your own words would be appreciated and would demonstrate you understand your subject matter.

Noshic's picture

The way I read that line is

The way I read that line is that perfect love 'intends' no wrong - something that's understood by both the one who loves and the one who's loved.
In real life though, on one hand is God who's perfect in love AND wisdom - and thus His intentions AND actions testify to that love. On the other hand is man, who being imperfect in both, frequently has to seek forgiveness from both God and men, as he can't always be even sure of his intentions.

Coming to Acts 5:32, it isn't only this verse that speaks of obedience before the gift of the Holy Spirit. See John 14:15-16 (If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Counsellar to be with you forever).
Also John 14:23 - The sequence is obey, and then We'll make our home with you.

But it's obvious that if anyone could completely obey God on his own, then the blood of Christ would not have been neccessary - so what does it mean? Besides it's thru the obedience of ONE man that many are made righteous (Romans 5:19) - not thru our own perfect obedience..

First, how can we best sum up the commands we're given?:
1) Believe and acknowledge Christ as our personal saviour (Luke 12:8,9; Roamns 10:9)
2) Love God above all else - be willing to give up everything for this most precious treasure (Mark 12:30; Mark 8:34; Luke 14:27-33)
3) Love one another (John 15:12, 1 Cor 13:13, 1John 4:7-12)

Now my opinion is that we show our obedience when we come to repentence, and acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Saviour; when we accept through faith the gift that's freely given to us. This is when, if our faith is true, we will also "delight in God's law in our inner beings" (Romans 7:22).
We have the desire now to do what is good, but cannot carry it out (Romans 7:18) left to ourselves. But God who sees our hearts does not leave us helpless and blesses us with the Holy Spirit to HELP us obey what our heart now delights in and what we intend to obey.

The Spirit then teaches us all things, and reminds us of the Lord's words (Jn 14:26), guides us into all truth, tells us what is yet to come (Jn 16:13), helps us in our weakness, intercedes for us (Rom 8:26), acts as our conscience (Rom 9:1)..

However even after recieving the gift of the Holy Spirit, man still retains the choice - to submit to it (which he would if his faith is alive) or to reject it and go back to the deeds of his sinful nature (a dead faith). Which is why, again and again believers are exhorted to live in accordance with the Spirit which is within them - this means that free will is pretty much active here- and can be used to either obey or disobey.

Having said all that, I myself have a few questions (about free will and God's work within us), but I'll raise them later as the thread develops further. I might ofcourse be completely off-base here in my understanding!