Monday, May 15, 2006

neither Jew nor Greek

Acts 28:28
Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”

Romans 3:29
Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,

Romans 9:24
even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

Romans 15:8-13
8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,

“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles,
and sing to your name.”

10 And again it is said,

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”

11 And again,

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
and let all the peoples extol him.”

12 And again Isaiah says,

“The root of Jesse will come,
even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;
in him will the Gentiles hope.”

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Romans 3:9-31
9 What then? Are we Jews [1] any better off? [2] No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being [3] will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
The Righteousness of God Through Faith

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one. He will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Galatians 3:27-29
27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.


ckhnat said...

I am thankful that Christ is the Lord of both Jew and Gentile that the Lord Jesus may be lifted up and exalted among all people, to God's great glory.

Machine said...

Heh. I can tell I'm the inspiration behind today's post. However, I don't think your Jesus Christ is the guy the Muslims pray to nor do the Buddhists.

Asia is definitely a unique experience, especially Japan, since they are one of the few countries that has not embraced Christianity to the extent most other free countries have.

A thousand stories never equal one trip.

ckhnat said...

You're correct. Jesus is not the "guy" the Muslims pray to nor do the Buddhists.

I believe that Japan has instead embraced the god of Self and Materialism.

But that is not to say that a man from Iran or a woman from Thailand cannot come to Christ in faith, recognizing Him as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and submit themselves to the love and worship of God Almighty, Ruler of Heaven and earth.

1 Chronicles 16:23-27

23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Tell of his salvation from day to day.
24 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
25 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and he is to be held in awe above all gods.

26 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.

27 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy are in his place.

Machine said...

"I believe that Japan has instead embraced the god of Self and Materialism."

Now THAT was ignorant. Japan's population is Shinto and Buddhist with less than 1% being Christian. I have lived in Asia for a total of 8 years (Japan and Korea) before returning to Europe and it is by far the most refreshing atmosphere I have ever experienced. Unlike Western civilization, the Japanese don't believe that some cosmic hand is going to strike you down if you indulge in a vice or two. A shame I had to leave when I did - otherwise I'd stay there indefinitely.

Perhaps that should be the next topic of discussion - how it is that Christianity has failed to penetrate certain countries and take a significant foothold despite missionary work. Japan, Afghanistan, and China, just off the top of my head. Or perhaps more importantly, how similar Buddhism is to Christianity, yet so different.

ckhnat said...

Really? It has been my experience that Japan is a largely secular nation, most of the population abstaining from religious matters. I'd be interested to know more of your experience. How do you see Buddhism as similar to Christianity.

As for China and Afghanistan, God is doing a mighty work in those countries, 1000s of people daily coming to faith in the resurrected Jesus Christ, Savior of the World, who frees man from his bondage to sin to live a life of freedom for the glory of God.

Revelation 1:4-8
4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood 6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Machine said...

Well just for starters, my observations have been that both Buddhism and Christianity place merit on doing good works. "Faith without works is dead" as you guys always run around spouting, but with the Buddhist mentality it's slightly different - good works will get you to heaven, but it's not the main focus of what they do. Most people think of it as "karma" (system of rewards versus punishments) but have it wrong - it's more so a system of balances that all add up to a bigger picture. Christians similarly equate "sin" to "cause and effect" more so than the natural order of things.

Of course there's the typical stuff both religions talk about - right thought, right speech, right action, etc but it's done without the fire and brimstone of some carpet-bagging charlatan at a Sunday revival. They both speak about the denial of self, which leads me to my next observation...

And let's not forget the final aspect - MONEY. What kind of diety needs money to exist? What kind of religion requires its members to tithe their hard earned money? If people truly believe in something then abstract ideas like money and wealth are inconsequential. Still, I have met more roadside preachers and Buddhist monks begging for change and using guilt trips when necessary in order to extort rubes of their lucre. The true shaman has no need for material wealth.

In a nutshell, that is how I compare Christianity with Buddhism. With observations from a lifetime of first-hand experience.

ckhnat said...

Many faithful Christians have protested the accumulation of wealth of the Roman Church. Wycliffe, a fellow I mentioned earlier, was very verbal in his attack on the church.

During his time, the church was acquiring massive amounts of wealth through property and money. The church required taxes of the people to fund the building of cathedrals and palaces for popes and bishops, not to mention their wars and to fund the artists, musicians, and authors the church patroned. You live in Germany, you've seen the gaudy flaunting of wealth in every cathedral you've visited. Meanwhile, peasants were starving and ignorant.

During Martin Luther's time, Tetzel was commissioned by the church to raise money for the renovation of St. Peter's, in Rome. He sold indulgences to ignorant parishoners telling them that should they purchase that slip of paper, a loved one would be released from "purgatory." It was shameful. Infuriating. Deceitful.

Today's TV prosperity evangelists are no better. Many are just as corrupt and just as greedy.

This is not Scriptual Christianity. And I am sorry that these are what you think of when you think of the Church of God.

Yes, I give money joyfully to my local church. But the leaders are held accountable to the members. Close watch is kept over the finances. Any church member can have access to the records to ensure that the money is being used for the glory of the Gospel of Christ, and not for a new 4-wheel Jeep for the pastor. The money we give to the ministry of the Gospel is sent to support missionaries, improve the community, and enable and equip members of the Church through training in Scripture and supporting them as they use their talents and gifts for God's glory, not to mention the daily upkeep and maintenance of our church building. We are in it together, for Christ, for the Gospel, for each other, for the community.

ckhnat said...

In response to your comments about good works, we differ in that according to Scripture yes, "faith without works is dead" ... however, the emphasis throughout Scripture is not on works ... rather, on Faith. Works do not gain us favor with God. Instead, works are a result of faith, the fruit of faith by which one can tell the authenticity of that faith and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 2:1-10
2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body [1] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But [2] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Anonymous said...

Making arguments with but one source is severly flawed. More than likely, YOUR savior had some "secular" education in Logic and Reason. Quoting Scripture, and only Scripture shows a limited level of intellect. Furthermore, to say Secularism and Materialism are one in the same is to say Religion and Spirtuality are also the same. Secular education simply refers to that which the Church/Religion doesn't teach. Many persons who are Christians, goto Church and live quite piously, are very Materialistic. If not, then why only limit required tithes to 10%, and not 80%? Wouldn't the computer you use to access the internet be a material luxury? You say you use it in His name and to learn more of his mysteries, or whatever the excuse is, however you could simply NOT, and instead study the Bible. No, you're simply a hypocrit who will make a Generalization that all Secularism is Materialistic in nature. You seek a "treasure" in heaven. You do "Good" deeds, and attempt to honor your God and Messiah. Yet, you are in fact still seeking a treasure and doing deeds for a reward. Your motivations aren't selfless.

No religion is immune to this. Religions come from humans, and while some will say we are flawed... how can YOU say we are flawed? Humans are the way Humans are. Now if you want to argue Human Flaw, that would be a great topic for Intellectual and Theological discussion. Cause if we are created by God in His image, then we would have no flaws, correct? Yet God is without flaw, then how can we have it. Ahh, Paradox. The only "thing" out there that had said Humans were flawed was the Devil, and that was the reason he would not bow to Adam.

If you want a historical discussion as well, we can trace the History and Lineage of Christianity. It's quite remarkable, especially when you go back to the Hebrews, the Roman Occupation, and even the "Pagan" belief systems from the time and even before the Scriptures/Old Testament were written, and were simple Oral Traditions of a Migratory Nomadic People.

But, discussions of the Intellectual Sort won't happen when one person shouts the same line, instead of making an attempt to Listen.

Oh, and you should try making an effort to travel and be exposed to other cultures. I can say that meeting the Dali Lhama was interesting and enlightening.

CraigS said...

Hey, Christines seminary friends - can't you step in and give a hand??

The Borg said...

If you want a historical discussion as well, we can trace the History and Lineage of Christianity. It's quite remarkable, especially when you go back to the Hebrews, the Roman Occupation, and even the "Pagan" belief systems from the time and even before the Scriptures/Old Testament were written, and were simple Oral Traditions of a Migratory Nomadic People.

I don't know why a historical discussion is relevant. Christianity is still true even if the Old Testament has roots in oral tradition.

But, discussions of the Intellectual Sort won't happen when one person shouts the same line, instead of making an attempt to Listen.

I'm glad such discussions haven't been taking place here; Christine has been very engaging.

CraigS said...

China has 60 million plus Christians. The gospel is advancing mightily there.

Afghanistan long suffered from the oppression of the Tabliban, but now the gospel is free once more, and we are seeing fruit.

Interesting that things are not so bad in Japan as it was thought. Amongst the younger generation, as many as 7% are Christians. Not huge - but a lot better than the 1% that was previously thought.

All over the world the gospel is bearing fruit.

CraigS said...

As for giving money - why should it concern you what Christians do with their money? It is a privilege to give to the work of the gospel.

What should I do with my money - spend it on myself?

Machine said...

"What should I do with my money - spend it on myself? "

I do. And I'm quite happy when I do. "Charity begins at home" as the saying goes.