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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.

JeffLogan's picture

It is appreciated that you

It is appreciated that you took time to clarify a few things to my mind, jwmcmac. Let me bother you once more by expressing some other thoughts which have troubled me.

    jwmcmac comments:

    That's not the way we see it.

    There is no 'grievousness' to the Old Covenant's Sabbath.

That is good that you view it that way. "That old Sabbath", as some have referred to it, must be the view of the Protestant world as they have oft portrayed its observance grievous and legalistic.

    We do not see the Sunday Celebration as a 'liberation' from the Sabbath command at all.

I can only hope that is true today. There was a time, however, when observance of the Sabbath was equated with Judiazers who contended zealously for the laws of Moses--though I find no record in scripture that the Sabbath was ever an issue. Circumcision seemed to top the list and possibly the feast days were imposed on Gentile Christians as well, as we may gather from Romans 14 and Col 2:16-17.

But then, if Sunday is not a liberation from the Sabbath command why is the 7th day Sabbath not remembered?

    We see the Sunday Observation as a minimal 'Requirement' in 'Observing' and 'Obeying' CHRIST's Command to 'Do' the FATHER's Will.

And it is these very words, "minimal 'Requirement'" that suggest a works salvation. In fact, the use of the word "minimal" pertaining to obedience also suggests that loopholes exists that a man might use to excuse himself from the maximum requirements. Does it not?

    We see the Sunday Observation as a Spiritualized Version of the Prior Sabbath Day, but one which Observes the Spirit of the First Sabbath rather than the 'letter' of it.

But isn't the Sabbath command very explicit that it is the 7th day that is to be remembered and kept holy? And, isn't the spirit of all of God's commands that we obey Him? If we alter His command in the slightest then are we still obeying Him or ourselves. In other words, the natural man doesn't like to surrender fully to the will of someone else. We complain if our bosses are too "hands on" or monitor too closely our work. This fault of fallen man causes us to alter, even if ever so slightly, the orders of others so that by not fully complying with their express will we feel we have retained some control over self. I think the same might be true of substituting Sunday for Sabbath. God said remember the 7th day and we said, "Ok, we'll keep a day but it will be a day of our choosing." This subtle modification of God's express will is our way of showing we are still truly the lord of ourselves and manifests rebellion against God in our hearts. Sin is, after all, not merely an act but a condition of the heart. It is not the greatness of the act of disobedience which constitutes sin. But sin is variance from God's expressed will in the least particular. Now maybe observing the exact day God specified seems trivial to some and that commandment may be considered least in contrast to the others. But Jesus said that those who broke the least of the commands and taught others to do likewise will be considered least in heaven.

    Your view of 'legalistic' goes well beyond what legalism is . . . you thinking to call 'Obedience' and 'Righteousness' to be 'legalisms'.

I am merely mimicking the cries of those who claim that keeping the 7th day Sabbath in obedience and righteousness is legalism. If Sunday is made a day of obligation then the same claim of legalism can be pronounced against it. Am I not right? Think of it this way. If God had said, "Remember the 1st day to keep it holy," then men would probably be crying legalism regarding its observance and would establish the 7th day as the Sabbath to honor the spirit of God's law to remember the 1st day. Have you ever thought of it in that way? And, doesn't that shed light on what is truly happening in the substitution of Sunday for Sabbath? Men don't want to fully surrender their will to God so they alter the command ever so slightly and thus make themselves lord of their own Sabbath. And it pleases the carnal mind to do its own thing. So, we hear no cry against Sunday, a command of men, like we do against the Sabbath, a command of God. Do you follow me?

    That is not at all the way we see the Spiritual Practices of the Sacramental Life of the Catholic Faith.

It is good that you observe Sunday in obedience to God. I think God will honor that obedience. Many will find God despite all the confusing voices out there. But oh how many will lose their way because they never knew truth which could have set them free. It is the truth of God that breaks down all the barriers which prevent men from finding Christ. Christ is easy to find. The way has been cleared. No barriers remain. But the flood of disparate doctrines wash many of them off the path before they can reach Christ. At every turn men are waiting to capture souls and make them subjects of their own kingdoms. They appear as sheep and lead oh so many into their own folds.

It is our job, not to make men submissive to us, but to take them directly to Christ without detour and present to them the One who can save them. We are to place them in His care and teach them to trust only to God, to accept only His Word as Truth. That was the work of John the Baptist. "Behold, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world."

“The path of true piety is so plain as to require
but little political direction.” --George Washington,
re: absence of "Jesus Christ" in U.S. Constitution.

Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. -Proverbs 18:2 NIV