Thursday, August 9, 2007

Eschatologically Focused

I just like to use the word "eschatology," because it makes me feel smart.

Although I don't think I can really turn it into an adverb by adding that "-ly" at the end, honestly. Plus, it becomes really hard to pronounce.

Anyway... One of the things we've discussed (and made fun of, via "Church Musical") is how overly-focused the modern day church has become on all things "rapture" related.

We talk so much about going to heaven. And NOT going to hell. And getting our friends to go to heaven with us. So they WON'T go to hell. We talk about evangelism in very narrow terms, as in "what steps must one take to get to heaven?" We wait for Jesus to return and take us away from this dreadful place.

Because obviously, this world is not our home, right? We're just passin' on through.

And in all of this, perhaps we miss the big picture.

The Jews of the first century weren't talking nonstop about heaven and hell, and going somewhere far away after they die. And really, Jesus didn't talk a great deal about it. His "kingdom of God" was something much bigger than just a place for the faithful to go after death.

I'll fully admit that a lot of the ideas I've gotten lately are thoughts I've gleaned from NT Wright, Rob Bell, and Joe B (the three wise men). And I still struggle to completely comprehend everything that we talk about when we say "the kingdom of God."

Why? Because my entire life in the church, Christianity has been about telling other people about God so we can all get to heaven. That whole "Romans Road" ideal. Not that evangelism is a bad thing -- far from it -- but perhaps we need to rethink what we are selling.

Jesus' proclamation of "the kingdom of God" was much more than just escaping the fires of hell. The fullness of what it is, though, is hard to explain to people. Because yes, we DO want people to be saved and know Jesus personally.

So... [nudge, nudge] What IS the "kingdom of God"? What was Jesus talking about? We know that the Jews were expecting a political and perhaps military savior, to save them from Roman rule. And we know he didn't give them that -- He gave them something entirely different than what they were expecting.

If that something is not just "heaven," what is it?

35 comments:

Victor said...

I've also been greatly influenced the past few years by these guys, except Joe. Nothing against Joe, it's just that I don't know him.

Robotface Shumway said...

Joe is a twit and you all know it! (heh, heh, I don't know who he is, but I like to sound assertive--plus he never seems to post here).

Anyway, recently I've been reading a bit about Jesus and heaven and the NT and heaven. I think they had quite a bit to say about heaven. However, I still see what you're wrestling with. Too bad those boneheads void77, Tonearm, Joe B and darin won't be around this blog to help you. I'm pretty sure they're all gearing up to comment on this blog:

http://cat.textamerica.com/

scott said...

Whatever that website is, it must be some quality stuff, because it's blocked here at work.

I just glanced through the first ten chapters of Luke, and I see dozens of times where Jesus talked about the kingdom of God. I don't see him even mention heaven until a brief mention in chapter 10. Somewith with better Greek knowledge than me might be able to shed some more light on the subject.

Robotface Shumway said...

Read Matthew 6(NAS). Clearly, Jesus wants us to have some sort of focus on heaven (not that we ignore our life here on earth). For that matter, read the whole book of Matthew it's ha-ha-ha-ho-ha ho-ha-heaven-ha ha-ha-heaven bound.

Plus, I think that the "Kingdom of God" that you're speaking of is the "Kingdom of heaven".

Joe B said...

Pleased to meet you, Robo. Quite right that in Matthew Jesus mostly says Kingdom of Heaven (KoH.) It is said 31 times in the gospels, and Kingdom of God (KoG) is said 51 times, plus 16 more times in the rest of the NT. The two terms are used interchangeably, though, and in one passage Jesus uses them back to back in the exact same context (Mt 19:23, 24).

Jesus expounds the KoG/KoH for the biggest part of the NT, with 82 mentions. But he never suggests it is a place you go when you die. "Heaven" is said 119 times total in the gospels, and it is never specified to be a place you go when you die, nor is it specified how you to get there. Jesus does teach explicitly of the resurrection of the dead, eternal life, and he mentions "paradise", the traditional Jewish idea of eternal reward.)

Heaven (apart from the KoH) is mentioned 37 other times in the gospels, and in only 12 of those cases can it be even remotely related to the life after. The 7 most pertinent speak of rewards stored up for you in heaven. That's pretty thin, though, as several other things are spoken of as being in heaven in a strictly figural way (our citizenship is in heaven, we are seated with Christ in heaven, our names are written in heaven, etc.)

The best case for heaven as a destination of eternal reward would be that Jesus clearly ascended into heaven, and he also promised that we would be with him where he is. His stay on heaven is explicitly temporary, though (Ac 3:21), and the NT concludes with the heavenly city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from heaven with the twin proclamations that (1) the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our God and his Christ, and (2) that the throne of God is now among men.

That's consistent with all the OT prophecies which never ever speak of a celestial resting place, but repeatedly speak of the establishment of the rule of God in the earth. Isaiah 9:5-7 says: “6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.”

Back to Matthew, read the Lord's prayer carefully and you'll see Jesus teaching on heaven in a nutshell: thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

It is too bad that possibly a majority of bible scholars write books about what the bible means without really examining what the bible says. And what it doesn't say.

The promise of the scriptures is not to escape earth for a home in the sky, it is a promise of resurrection from the dead to live eternally in the kingdom of God, and that kingdom is on earth. It is a promise that God’s whole creation will be redeemed from decay along with the souls of the saints. (Rom 8:21).

The strongest argument against this whole thing? Hardly any evangeli-mentalists agree with me. The catholics are not the only ones who elevate the traditions of men above the word of God.

Joe B said...

Told you I was a windbag.

Joe B said...

I never even touched Scott's original intent, to discuss what it means to live in the kingdom of God. "If that something is not just 'heaven', then what is it?"

Now I'll be short. I think that Jesus gathers a people who would live according to the way of God: to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. As in the Sermon on the Mount.

That People becomes a humble but irresistible force by which the rule of God subjugates all the pretenders from Caesar to Greenspan. His truth marches on in gentleness until all "his enemies are made a footstool for his feet."
In other words, Jesus succeeded in his mission. The kingdom of God has come, and it shall never end.

Very simple. Very powerful. Very consistent. It unifies OT, Gospels, Epistles, and Apocalypse. And it addresses the problem of evil in the world which typical evangelical thought leaves untouched. Think how many controversies evaporate if this is in fact the Way of Jesus.

Robotface Shumway said...

I wasn't thinking that "heaven" was a place where we escape to when we die. So, there's no debate on my end.

However, there clearly are two states of being for believers--the time we spend before physical death and the time we experience as resurrected persons. We are not going to be resurrected and placed back on the planet as it is. So, like I said, I don't think we disagree.

scott said...

I don't think we disagree either. I guess I was a bit jumbled on the points in my post... One popular topic is whether our resurrection after death will be here on the "new earth," when it has been restored as the new Jerusalem. Modern Christianity often teaches of heaven being a far-off place.

The other topic that I was trying to touch on (not very well, perhaps) was whether Jesus' preaching on the "kingdom of God" was something much MORE than just talk of "heaven." We often think of them interchangeably, and in very simplistic terms (or, at least, *I* used to think that way).

Glad Joe finally got off his butt and commented here. Even if he is a windbag.

Joe B said...

So what good is blogging if we aren't disagreeing? RATS!!

Well said Shummy. I suppose there are actually three states of being for believers: Before death, before resurrection, and after resurrection (that is if "before, between, and after" even apply in eternity.) I would contend that the "two states" before and after the resurrection are essentially the same, except for mortality and scarcity. Life is life, but without the futility. I figure God made us this way, and he made us this place. His original beloved creation is restored when his justice is consummated. Just my happy guess, but I know of no scriptural condition that requires otherwise.

Joe B said...

Scott asked whether Jesus' preaching of the "kingdom of God" was something much MORE than just talk of "heaven."

If you examine the occurences of the KoH & KoG in their native contexts, you'll be busy for a couple of days. But it is spectacularly illuminating. You'll find no less than the essential gospel of Jesus. Here it can be found: http://www.studylight.org/isb/bible.cgi?query=%22kingdom+of+heaven%22+OR+%22kingdom+of+god%22§ion=2&it=nas&ot=bhs&nt=na&Enter=Perform+Search
It becomes powerfully clear that what he describes is not our hope of heaven, but his own purpose in his creation. And it is HIS invitation to US to throw in our stake with him in this great adventure to topple the powers & principalities if this present age and subject it all to his rule. We do it by teaching all men to obey all that he has commanded.

Isn't it funny though how the way I string these ideas together sounds so foreign?

Some would think that this concept of the kingdom is far LESS than heaven, simply because it is on earth and existing in the present, and everyone knows earth is bad and heaven is good.

Gnosticism is a wildly misunderstood term these days. Nevcertheless, modern evangelical soteriology is chock full of gnosticism, especially the core idea that by some initiation one attains to an elevated state of being by which you become a heavenly being instead of an earthly one. That is what the "born again experience" has become to multitudes, but it is NOT what the Bible teaches.

Robotface Shumway said...

I'm with you on this, but sometimes I think you might be making things too complicated. In Luke 19:10 Jesus offers these simple words:

"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."

We were lost and in need of saving. That's the gospel, pretty clear and simple.

Robotface Shumway said...

Here's an interesting read:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/augustweb-only/132-42.0.html

Joe B said...

Yep, Shummy I hear you about simplicity. But think for a minute…if you had to explain to me what Luke 19:10 means and what you meant by citing it, all that “simplicity” vaporizes.
For instance, what do you mean by “saved?” What do you mean by “lost?” Can I “get saved“ by doing the same thing that Zacchaeus did? Must everyone do what he did in order to be saved? And while we’re at it, what exactly DID he do, and how could a non-tax-collector replicate it?
The simplicity you assert is not vested in Lk 19:10, it is in the fact that generations of evangelicals have agreed on what it means, so that it requires no explanation to THEM. You think some pagan on the street finds the meaning self-evident? No way.

The only reason what I am saying sounds complicated is because I must explain it. Because, it is different.

Let me illustrate where we diverge. The gospel CAN be summed up in one short phrase, but it is not Luke 19:10. Luke 19:10 is a lovely, simple statement ABOUT the gospel, but it is not “The Gospel.” The bible actually says what is the gospel itself.

The Gospel, at its core, is summed up in Mark 1:15: Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, THE TIME IS FULFILLED, AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND: repent ye, and believe (in) the GOSPEL.” (see also Mt 4:23, Mt 9:35, Mt 24:14.)

The actual proclamation is in caps, and that…is…the…gospel. It is what we are called to believe and obey. (1 Th 1:8, 1 Pe 4:17.) How exactly does one “obey” Luke 19:10?

The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent. Obey. Follow. Confess. Proclaim. Love. Serve. That's why it was called "The Way."

This is simplicity in pure form. It requires no fragmented dispensations. It requires no suspension of instinct or logic. It requires no redefinition of terms. It requires no dual-reality. It is what simple is. Jesus is the king. Serve him.

Joe B said...

That was a great little article in Christianaity Today. I would have written it myself had I been smart enough!

darin said...

who is this guy calling bonehead exactly? - robo whatever...

Joe B said...

Darin, there's something we've been meaning to tell you.....

Robotface Shumway (Big Doofus) said...

This thread has switched from eschatology to soteriology. Sorry about that, scott!

Joe B - I agree that the gospel message CAN sound confusing to a non-believer. The entire bible will sound like babble to a non-believer as they do not have the holy spirit to make sense of it all. Thankfully, it is God that does the work in the person to make them understand and believe. He still calls us out to preach the gospel. Aquinas reminds us that we should preach the gospel everywhere we go and that sometimes we should use words. I LOVE that!!!!

I'll go back to Luke 19:10 and lean on it again as I think it IS a good example of the gospel. Plus, most of the people that I know admit that they are lost. They don't necessarily see Jesus as the solution, but they sure as heck know they are lost in life.

I DO have to take issue with you on what the gospel is. For some reason, you seem REALLY upset with evangelicals (seems consistent throughout the blog and the comments). The only thing we need to do is BELIEVE. The entire GOSPEL of John puts emphasis on belief and not repentance. That's not to say that repentance doesn't exist in the NT. It's clearly there. But it's not a requirement for salvation. That seems to upset followers of Christ who seem to think that others should not get off so easy. Does God desire more for us? Yes. The "more" part is what draws us closer to Him. Plus, there seems to be a relationship between what we do on earth today for His glory and what we can look forward to (i.e. rewards) in eternity.

Hey, I just brought the discussion back to eschatology. W'hoo.

Joe B said...

I promise I'm not upset. Actually I am a card-carrying evangelical. I know my poeple believe the scripture, I just think they have swerved into a wrong reading of it, sort of like the medieval Catholics did, a sort of selective literalism. And I'm not upset with them either.

I think you state your case unusually well, so I'm just enjoying your company. You challenge me. We provide each other with an occasion for ferment, and its fun.

Love, Love, Love, Shummy!

I have some thoughts, but no time to write. Where are you DArin, Soebs, Scott & Eric? Victor? I'm breathing up too much of the air around here!

scott said...

I've been a big "grace" guy my whole life, and although I haven't seen a lot of Rog in the past 10 years, he can probably still attest to that. But as has been pointed out, the argument is not so simple as an easy line between faith vs works.

They are intrinisically tied together.

So much of this, like usual, comes down to semantics. There is plenty of scripture that ties repentance *directly* to salvation, even though we like to gloss over those and 'explain away' with a "but" here and there.

We could easily say that repentance will, and must, follow a true "salvation." That's the easy way out, and it's what I've always said in the past. There is some truth to it, I suppose -- A person who shows no fruit probably isn't a follower of Christ, right?

I am the least likely guy in the world to lean towards fundamentalism. But I'm not sure we can say that repentance is not a requirement of salvation. Because there are dozens upon dozens of examples in the gospels where it IS.

"Unless you repent, you too will all perish."

"What must we do to be saved?"

"Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins."

I could probably list 50 more.

So then the question, perhaps, should be "what is repentance?" Obviously a "turning from." And it's tied right into faith and the gospel.

Robotface Shumway (Big Doofus) said...

I know it's not all that easy to sort out, but I'll point to two examples which make a great case for grace:

1. The book of John - The entire gospel of John does NOT mention repentance in relation to salvation.

2. The thief on the cross - Did he repent?

Scott: I've become a strong proponent of grace, to the point that a former elder at GFC-New Haven might call me a freak, but we we still get along.

Joe: Peace and love, my brother. Peace and love. It's all good. You challenge my thoughts, too. In fact, it took me 2-3 days to really formulate that answer.

Joe B said...

Fascinating about John/repentance. Only the vaguest suggestions about it. I read thru it to see, and sure enough. He likewise does not mention Hell (just like Paul who also never mentions it.)

The thief on the cross seems to repent as much as a guy nailed in place can repent. He believed in his heart, confessed with his mouth, hoped in Christ's kingdom,and confronted his only neighbor. Not a bad days work for someone in his position.

So you're a radical grace guy? That puts a lot you've said in a different light. I know you think i'm saying salvation is earned, that we mustn't let people off too easily. Bt you're reading me wrong, I have five toes hanging over the edge of Inclusivism.

In fact my objection to your perspective (as i think I see it) is that it creates a buttonhole that people must wiggle thru to find salvation thru "faith." Because "faith" gets capsulized in a lucky moment and a wildly counterintuitive proposition one must embrace--if they don't embrace it in that moment then, well, I guess the spirit just didn't show up to convict them.

Jesus made no "buttonhole" except for himself and his messianic claim. Jesus' propostion was one the Jews of his day understood: "the kingdom is come, be gathered in for God's final triumph." It was not a mere abstraction derived from Pauline letters that would not be written til 20 tears later. And Jesus' gospel is THE gospel, Paul didn't write to nullify it but to expound it.

Like Scott said, some of the difference lay in definitions. You seem to be marking "salvation" as a moment of crossing over from death to life, and asserting that works are not relevant to that moment. Okay, that's fine with me. But I am lookng at salvation as that thing we cross over into -- in that respect repentance is not a condition of salvation, it IS the condition of the one who HAS crossed over. It is not merely a trait conferred at the altar, is is also the state of living in Christ (the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Action, Belief, and Substance)

You see, I'll bet you DO require works for salvation, but you do it in the fine print. Like Scott said, you look retroactively at the guy whose works don't match up to his confession and allow that, "well he might never have gotten saved in the first place." So the only difference lay in WHEN that determination is made. In the etrnal sense there is no difference at all.

Of course you may be one of the few odd guys that John MacArthur savages in "The Gospel According to Jesus", those who actually assert that IF one believes the certain thing in the given moment and confesses it that certain way, there is truly no connection beteween his character and his eternal condition.

Joe B said...

Fascinating about John/repentance. Only the vaguest suggestions about it. I read thru it to see, and sure enough. He likewise does not mention Hell (just like Paul who also never mentions it.)

The thief on the cross seems to repent as much as a guy nailed in place can repent. He believed in his heart, confessed with his mouth, hoped in Christ's kingdom,and confronted his only neighbor. Not a bad days work for someone in his position.

So you're a radical grace guy? That puts a lot you've said in a different light. I know you think i'm saying salvation is earned, that we mustn't let people off too easily. Bt you're reading me wrong, I have five toes hanging over the edge of Inclusivism.

In fact my objection to your perspective (as i think I see it) is that it creates a buttonhole that people must wiggle thru to find salvation thru "faith." Because "faith" gets capsulized in a lucky moment and a wildly counterintuitive proposition one must embrace--if they don't embrace it in that moment then, well, I guess the spirit just didn't show up to convict them.

Jesus made no "buttonhole" except for himself and his messianic claim. Jesus' propostion was one the Jews of his day understood: "the kingdom is come, be gathered in for God's final triumph." It was not a mere abstraction derived from Pauline letters that would not be written til 20 tears later. And Jesus' gospel is THE gospel, Paul didn't write to nullify it but to expound it.

Like Scott said, some of the difference lay in definitions. You seem to be marking "salvation" as a moment of crossing over from death to life, and asserting that works are not relevant to that moment. Okay, that's fine with me. But I am lookng at salvation as that thing we cross over into -- in that respect repentance is not a condition of salvation, it IS the condition of the one who HAS crossed over. It is not merely a trait conferred at the altar, is is also the state of living in Christ (the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Action, Belief, and Substance)

You see, I'll bet you DO require works for salvation, but you do it in the fine print. Like Scott said, you look retroactively at the guy whose works don't match up to his confession and allow that, "well he might never have gotten saved in the first place." So the only difference lay in WHEN that determination is made. In the etrnal sense there is no difference at all.

Of course you may be one of the few odd guys that John MacArthur savages in "The Gospel According to Jesus", those who actually assert that IF one believes the certain thing in the given moment and confesses it that certain way, there is truly no connection beteween his character and his eternal condition.

Robotface Shumway (Big Doofus) said...

I think you're repeating yourself.

Robotface Shumway (Big Doofus) said...

I think you're repeating yourself. :)

Robotface Shumway (Big Doofus) said...

You see, I'll bet you DO require works for salvation, but you do it in the fine print. Like Scott said, you look retroactively at the guy whose works don't match up to his confession and allow that, "well he might never have gotten saved in the first place." So the only difference lay in WHEN that determination is made. In the etrnal sense there is no difference at all.

Nope. I don't do that. I really think that the truth of our salvation is between that person and God.

I have more to say (I think), but I need to chew on it a bit.

Joe B said...

Okay, but I didn't intend that the person's salvation is determined by you. Rather, just getting at your perspective on the distinction between the saved person and the lost one. What is "savedness"?

Joe B said...

Is "salvation" a mere concept, or is it a reality?

If it's real, why are we so careful to cordon it off from real life? Jesus doesn't do that -- he characterizes the Kingdom of God/Heaven in terms of real life. The Kingdom is NOT a metaphor, it is the REALITY of God's rule in the time and space he created (as in heaven, so on the earth. Mt 6:10) It is not sectioned off in some alternate reality in the sky.

This is what I am crusading against. It is this dualism that supposes that spiritual reality is separate from, and even contradictory to real-reality. I say Jesus brings the two together. What is man but the dust of earth filled with the breath of God? True Life is when flesh is made alive by spirit. True Faith is when the Jesus of our beliefs is incarnated in living. That is what I mean when I say "works." Works are not a condition of salvation, nor are they a mere token of our gratitude. It is the essence and substance of New Life in Christ.

Of COURSE we are saved by grace thru faith, not by works, that's Eph 2:8. But read it in context of 2:1-10. Verse 9 sums up God's purpose for us, which is our very essence. It is our reality. See how the whole chapter unites our spiritual reality (v 1,2,5,6) with the factual reality of life (v 3,10). This passage is the spiritual version of James' very practical "faith without works is dead -- can such faith save?"

This assertion of mine does not put us on a tightrope over hell, it actually makes our calling and election secure (2 Pe 2:10, 11) Don't fail to read that, beginning really at v3. Peter, Paul, James and John all explain this essentiality of incarnating Christ in our works in various ways. But Jesus' red letter passages most of all. (See 1 Jn 2:3-10 & 5:16-20, 2 Jn 4-6, 9-10)

That is the root of Scott's post, I suppose. And knowing Scott, he'll probably press us on to "how then shall we live."

scott said...

Uh... How, then, shall we live?

darin said...

i got lost somewhere in all of this - i have read it twice and i am still lost - for some reason i don't get lost at starbuck's
the only comment i can muster is that Aquinas didn't say that about preach and if necessary use words - that was Francis of Assisi....
soteriology is the essence of the discussion now i think - i'm going to make a comment but because i didn't get it all - i'm not sure the comment is valid - so forgive me
but i find it amazing if repentance isn't in a discussion about salvation - is there a man/woman who is saved that doesn't have the Holy Spirit? doesn't the Holy spirit transform? isn't this repentance? is one saved without the holy spirit? seems circular to me - interconnected - essential

Robotface Shumway (Big Doofus) said...

Oops. I meant to say St. Francis of Assisi. Sorry about that folks. Also, I didn't mean to quote the book of Nephi earlier. I keep getting all mixed up.

Joe B said...

Now THAT'S a robotface! Is that you in there, Shummy? Who was the tidy-looking woman?

That's the problem with theologizing, isn't it Darin? We make distinctions to gain understanding, but when we fragment things they don't really work any more: faith from repentance, soteriology from eschatology, the conversion event from new life, the Kingdom of God from grace.

When all the theologizing is over, it is important to let the Word stand intact -- beware lest we revise it to suit our brilliant conclusions.

Joe B said...

Regarding belief and repentance, I say that to separate them in the first place is the error. How do you separate faith and faithfulness? It’s like separating the heart from the lungs – they cannot occur by themselves, and to sunder them is to kill them. And WHY would you WANT to, anyway?

Is it just a way to cope with the horror of kindly folks going to hell? It might be better to tackle that head on than to tear out a fistful of bible pages.

Robotface Shumway (Big Doofus) said...

Joe - I haven't even had a chance to deal with some of the other things and now here I go trying to address something you just said. Please don't think that I'm ignoring you. It's obvious that you're compassionate and well read.

Glad you enjoyed the new picture. That's me--but I'm enhanced with some Photoshop colors and a couple of PostIt Note eyes on my glasses. The old lady was Edna Garrett--from The Facts of Life and Different Strokes.

Now, on the subject of "How do you seperate FAITH from FAITHfulness?" That's an interesting question and when you say it like that, a pragmatist might automatically assume that you cannot seperate the two. However, the family and I were recently talking about the Fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) and one of the fruits that the Spirit produces in believers is FAITHFULNESS. So, I think that our initial faith in Christ is one thing and then that continued faithfulness is something a bit different. Perhaps a useful illustration would be your parents. You were born unto them and they will not cease being your parents. When you were little, you probably never doubted them and always thought good things about them. However, as you become older and more soured by the world (assuming your parents were nice to you) you may have doubted them a bit, questioned them, challenged them, even expressed outright hatred towards them. But they were still your parents. As you grow older and wiser, you look back and realize your error and appreciate your parents more for who they are and how they've raised you. The Holy Spirit produces that kind of love and faithfulness in Christ in us.

Two things that get me excited after nearly twenty years of being a believer. 1) We have the Holy Spirit living inside of us and He will produce fruit if we allow it. 2) We have the body of Christ, His church.

The bottom line is that we were not meant to be alone. Once again, I've managed to steer the comments back to the original subject. W'hoo.

Joe B said...

Even JoeB cannot argue with that. Well said.

I am reminded that I keep saying that all thse things (faith/works, etc) are brought together in the man Jesus Chrsit, even if tey seem like fragmented concepts on paper. One might say that accoring to your illustration, the "separate" concepts of faith and faithfullness are brought together in US, we who believe.