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Re: To keep out of trouble? That is not what Peter meant.

May 3 2017 at 6:01 AM
Michael  (Login tong2012)


Response to Sinful eating and drinking.

 
OP:

Scriptures speaks of faith as such: "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb.11:1).

Faith, as can be learned from this scripture, pertains to things not seen. It is the EVIDENCE of things unseen. This means, that, faith comes, when there is nothing with which man may see with his eyes, nor touch, smell, hear, or taste, that he may believe. As such, the man may have faith, which is the very substance of the things that he can't see, touch, smell, hear, and taste - the evidence of such things.

Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Rom.10:17). Not by anything else.

Now, faith COMES, it says. Here are some questions:

1. Where do you think it comes from?
2. Does it come from you, from someone else, or from God?
3. If you say faith comes from you, can you expound on that?
4. If you say faith comes from someone else, can you expound on that?
5. If you say faith comes from God, can you expound on that?

Scriptures clearly say, faith comes by hearing the word of God. By hearing the the word OF God, it says. As such faith comes from God. And if it comes from God, we need to hear God. And we can hear God through His words. And His words are written, in scriptures. If you can't read, faith can come to you by having somebody read it for you, or by listening to one who reads scriptures. If you can read, read scriptures and faith can come to you.

If somebody tells you that, you are not to read scriptures, then he is a deceiver and is against God.
If somebody tells you that, you can read scriptures, but must not interpret it, then he is a deceiver and is against God.

Here are some scriptures. May faith come to you by reading the word of God. If you have a Bible, read them from there.

Matthew 1:21
And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

John 1:29
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

John 3:16
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Romans 3:30
30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

Romans 10:17
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Ephesians 2:8-9
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Have faith, by reading or by listening to the reading of the word of God, in Jesus and be saved!

TOMAS:

Yes, faith comes to us by hearing or reading about the gospel in the Bible.

So faith does not come to us from someone, but from something, namely the words in the Bible. It is the gift of God, because God has inspired the Bible.

ME:

You believe that faith does not come from someone, but from something.

And so you don't believe that faith comes from God. Very well then for you. As for me, it comes from God. As I have explained, by hearing the the word OF God, it says. As such faith comes not from hearing just anybody else. It must be God that one hears, who is the truth.

One can hear somebody by reading what he has written, say a letter. It is the author that one hears when one reads his words in the letter he wrote. It's not the letter that speaks to him, but the author, speaks to him, through his words in the letter. And so when one reads his letter, it is like the author speaks to the reader. If God were the author, then when one reads, it then means that God speaks to the reader. And the reader could either believe or not what it is that God says, and could have faith. So, faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of not just anybody, but of God.

In my OP, I said:

"If somebody tells you that, you are not to read scriptures, then he is a deceiver and is against God."

Do you agree?

"If somebody tells you that, you can read scriptures, but must not interpret it, then he is a deceiver and is against God."

Do you agree?

Tomas:

Faith in a way comes from God, because he has inspired his word. So God speaks to us with his word.

"If somebody tells you that you are not to read scriptures, then he is a deceiver and is against God." I don't agree, one can be saved from just hearing the word of God proclaimed by someone. Still, it would be a foolish thing to say, the idea like what many Catholics believed, that only priests and monks can read scriptures, others would be confused and come up with heresies, that is wrong. Of course it can happen, but often does not happen. But Catholics tend to think that any deviation from the Catholic faith is a heresy, even though nowadays they prefer to use nicer words like 'separated brethren'.

"If somebody tells you that you can read scriptures, but must not interpret it, then he is a deceiver and is against God." I don't agree. Some churches claim that only the leadership of their church has the right to decide on what is the right interpretation, that there should not be a private interpretation, based on a misreading of a verse about prophecies. It is not correct, it is a wrong teaching, but it is not a deception, much less being against God. I can understand why some churches think so, the principle of sola scriptura, without the leaders being guided by God into the correct interpretation, it naturally leads to a great diversity of doctrines, since many verses are difficult to understand. But that is really a virtue, Christians can have many interesting and even fruitful discussions of verses, and if we are not too stubborn, we can learn from each other. After all, God wants us to be humble and not claim that we are infallible, that we can understand everything in the Bible. But I can see how some are turned off by all the diversity and just want to hear one interpretation, with authority, with no dissent, so there is unity. Well different strokes for different folks. Some prefer one, some prefer another.

ME:

So, if you don't agree that faith in God comes from God, though you at least admit that faith in a way comes from God, from whom does it comes from?

You said you don't agree that "If somebody tells you that you are not to read scriptures, then he is a deceiver and is against God.". So, it is like you saying that, "if somebody tells you that you are not to read scriptures, that he is for God and not against God".

You said you don't agree that "If somebody tells you that you can read scriptures, but must not interpret it, then he is a deceiver and is against God.". So, it is like saying that, "if somebody tells you that you can read scriptures, but must not interpret it, that he is for God and not against God".

Well, what could I say, but that I respect your opinion. In my opinion, those who prohibits one to read scriptures, or seemingly allows them but in fact put a condition which in effect is tantamount to really be not hearing what it is they read, such a one is against God, and not for God.

Tomas:

Faith comes from us hearing the word of God, so ultimately it does come from God, since God inspired his word for us.

If someone tells me that I am not to read scriptures, more commonly he would be against God, he might be a communist or a Muslim or something. But if he was an ancient Catholic, worried that we might misunderstand the Bible and go into heresy, then he meant well, he was for God.
Likewise if someone tells me that I can read scriptures, but must not interpret it, then he could be evil, or he could be for God, just wanting me to accept the interpretations of his church, believing that somebody in his church, like past popes, past church councils, holy traditions, were inspired by God to interpret some verses correctly, or in case of INC, then FYM, Erano Manalo, Eduardo Manalo were inspired to interpret verses correctly, or similarly in case of some other churches. It is not correct, God does not tell anyone how to interpret a verse, since the Bible tells us not to go beyond what is written. So it is better for us to study the Bible for ourselves, God will not give us any interpretations except interpretations written in the Bible. That is the principle of sola scriptura. But many do not believe it. And it seems like fewer and fewer believe it, Pentecostalism or Charismatic Christianity have become so popular, and many Pentecostals and Charismatics believe in messages from dreams, visions, interpretation of tongues. I am not saying there can't be miraculous interpretation of tongues, but those would be like prayers of believers, they would not be messages from God, so they would not be inspired, inerrant. So in such prayers we can encourage each other, or say other things, but we should not expect them to be inerrant. So it is wrong to think that I have received a message from God, and so you should believe it, but if I were wrongly to believe it, I would not be against God, I would just be in error on this. So to be more correct, people should not listen to my interpretations or your interpretations or anyone else's interpretations, as if they are inspired by God, because they are not.

ME:

And so we believe differently. You believe that faith comes from you, while I don't believe that faith comes from me.

You believe that man is saved by his good works and faith, faith in God, am I right? If I got your belief right, then perhaps, you believe that it is man that basically saves himself. Why do I say that? Let me start with good works. Is not good works coming from you, that is, you are the one who cause it and made it happen? Next on faith. You say that faith comes from you, that is, you are the one who cause it that you have faith, by reading scriptures. So, clearly it's you who basically caused it all, and that by it, God will save you.

No one, ancient or not, who forbids one to read the words of God in scriptures, could never be said to be for God, no matter what his intentions are. And further, ancient or not, no one who tells you that you can read the words of God scriptures, but must not interpret it, could never be said to be for God, no matter what his intentions are. That is what I believe. For such a man, by doing so, denies the power of God, that God could grant even the most unlearned man to understand His words in scriptures?

Tomas:

Ultimately, faith is a gift from God. God offers us this gift, if we recognize it, if we know the gospel, we have accepted the gift of faith. If we keep rejecting the gift, by not believing the gospel, we have not accepted that gift. God will not force the gift on us, he lets us have free will. So as we read the Bible, which is inspired by God, and we become convinced about the gospel, we accept the gospel, we have accepted the gift of faith, and also we have read that we need to repent, so we repent of the sins we know of, so God saves us, justifies us, adds us to the church, forgives our sins. We also find out in the Bible that some things are sinful, so we try to avoid such sins. We don't become sinless, we can slip up, but then we repent. But if we decide to rebel against God, refuse to repent any more, start living in sin, doing bad works continually rather than good works, then like Heb. 10:26 says, there is no more sacrifice for sins. So Christ's sacrifice no longer applies to us, we have lost salvation. But it is not like some churches claim, that whenever we sin, we have lost salvation, that is based on a mistranslation of Heb. 10:26. Many modern translations have corrected that error. Now who gave us the information what works are good and what works are sinful? God, through his word, the Bible. And since we are saved, the Holy Spirit dwelling in us helps us resist temptation, avoid sins. But we still have free will, we can still rebel against the HS and start living in sin, and lose salvation. Though normally we could slip up and commit a sin, and we feel terrible, we repent of the sin, so we remain saved. We have free choice to do good works, or do bad works, we have not lost free will when we became saved. Though ultimately even good works come from God, because God tells us in the Bible, what are some good works, like prayer, giving to the church, giving to the poor, helping people in need, discussing the Bible, trying to persuade unbelievers, studying the Bible. But we have free will to do the good works or not. God does not force us into good works.

Now if some saved Christian is misguided enough to forbid us from reading the Bible, he is still for God, because he is saved. Salvation does not depend on believing correctly that one should not forbid reading the Bible.
Likewise in some churches, people are misguided enough to claim, based on misreading a verse, that there should not be private interpretations of any verses, that you should instead accept the interpretation of the church leadership. We see that for example in the Catholic church, the Eastern Orthodox church, the Oriental Orthodox churches, the INC, the New Apostolic Church, and some others. Now plenty of people in such churches are saved Christians, so they are not against God, they are for God, but have the wrong interpretation of this. So they don't like a diversity of beliefs in their church.
But it is not a matter of denying the power of God, that God could grant even the most unlearned man to understand His words in scriptures. No, Christians in general are aware that God is omnipotent, that He has the power to grant even the most unlearned man to understand His words, if that is what He were to want. He could grant all saved Christians to understand every verse in the Bible, so that all Christians would have the same beliefs on every doctrine, like pacifism, oaths, eating blood, women obeying husbands, slaves obeying masters, women speaking in church, women being elders, masturbation, holy pictures or statues, Mary remaining a virgin or not, Mary being sinless, infant baptism, water baptism by sprinkling or pouring instead of always immersing, the words used during water baptism, how many persons is God, and various other beliefs that Christians disagree with each other. Sure God has the power to reveal to us the correct interpretation of each verse. But He does not do it, he wants us to feel humble and not feel infallible, so he inspired Paul to write the commandment not to go beyond what is written. So we should not feel disgusted by the diversity of beliefs among Christians. It is a natural result of many verses being difficult to interpret, and our minds being so limited, that we can't possibly be infallible, and after all, God does not give us the correct interpretation of any verse. So we should be happy about the diversity of beliefs, we can then debate with each other, and we can learn from each other. Yes, God has arranged it wonderfully.

ME:

It seems to me that what you take here as faith refers to a set of doctrines or beliefs, which in this case, those that are found in scriptures, or to which you refer, I suppose, as what makes up the gospel. But if you'll get back to the OP, the faith in view is clearly not referring to a set of doctrines or beliefs, but refers to such a thing as the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb.11:1). It is that by which we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible (Heb.11:2). So, I hope you'll take faith as referring to that in our discussion here. And as I said, up there in the message title, the ultimate is that faith comes from God, a gift from God, and not coming from us.

Regarding good works, are you saying then, and of course, in the ultimate and final analysis, that good works comes from God?

Tomas:

Yes, ultimately good works come from God, we were saved to do good works, and God tells us in the Bible what works are good and what are bad.

ME:

I would presume now that you'll take faith as I have pointed out in my post above, in our discussion under this thread.

I'm glad you finally come to realize that, regarding good works, that the Christian was saved to do good works, rather than, the Christian is saved by doing good works.

Tomas:

Yes, initial salvation is by faith, including repentance of sins. But to remain saved, we have to be doing good works, and not live in sin, bad works, refusing to repent. After all, faith without works is dead.

ME:

I don't want to start another issue in this segment Tomas.

So let me just post here what has been settled under this segment:

1. Faith comes from God.
2. The Christian was saved to do good works.
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Michael:

Could you please answer my questions in my posts, so I would not get lost along the way? I kind of find it difficult sometimes to follow the point of our discussion if you don't. Thanks.

Tomas:

Yes, that is what I am doing now, based on your request.
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Michael:

You said "Now who gave us the information what works are good and what works are sinful? God, through his word, the Bible."

That's right. But what has that got to do with the point that if you believe that you are the one responsible for the good work, so that, you believe that you earned the right to be saved by God?

Tomas:

I don't want to take the credit for earning the right to be saved due to my faith, the credit belongs only to God and his wonderful Bible. And we are not saved by good works, but if we are saved we will do good works and repent of any bad works, or else we lose salvation.

ME:

I'm glad to hear from you now, having waited fro a long while now, that salvation is not by good works, and that we are saved to do good works.

You said "I don't want to take the credit for earning the right to be saved due to my faith, the credit belongs only to God and his wonderful Bible."

Am I right in my understanding of your statement, that it is you who earn the right to be saved because of having faith, except that, you just don't want to take credit for it, and give the credit to God? That's a virtuous and admirable thing indeed. But don't you agree that, one does not earn such right? And instead, those who received Him who was in the beginning with God, the Word, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name?

Tomas:

I have heard there is a verse saying we don't earn the right to be saved, though I can't find it in the Bible. So if it is there, we have not earned it, after all, even though we came to faith by our free will, the credit goes to God, who has inspired the scriptures, so that by reading or hearing them we can receive the right to be saved.

ME:

It's good that you admit now that the right to become children of God is not a thing that is earned. That's right, for the right to become children of God is given to those who receives Him who was in the beginning with God, the Word, to those who believe in His name, the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Please consider this Tomas. This is the situation, man sinned, and so he will be punished with death in the lake of fire.

Now, put your focus on man and not on God, and let's go back to the time of Adam. Can man save himself from going to the lake of fire? What can man do, by himself or with the help of other men, to save himself or themselves from going to the lake of fire? Can he do any work that would save himself?

If your answer is none, would you agree that man is helpless by himself? That there is nothing he can do, nor he can do with the help of other men, so that he would not suffer death in the lake of fire? That his only hope of salvation is God's mercy, to whom he sinned against and who will punish him? That only God would be able to save him?

Tomas:

Of course a man cannot save himself from the lake of fire. But that does not mean he cannot do anything. He can learn about the gospel, he can gain faith, and he can repent. And then God saves him. So I agree, his only hope of salvation is God's mercy, only God can save him.

ME:

Good that you agree that man cannot save himself from the penalty of sin, and that the only way is that God will have mercy on him and save him. Now, God knows them who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit and seek His mercy. And surely, God will bring about their salvation, according to His way of salvation, which He purposed in Christ Jesus.

I think this segment comes to a close here.
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Michael:

You say "We have free choice to do good works, or do bad works, we have not lost free will when we became saved."

But what does free will got to do with the point that if you believe that you are the one responsible for the good work, you believe that you earned the right to be saved by God? Or are you implying that, since you are making the choice, that by choosing to do good work have given you the right to be saved by God?

Tomas:

See my comment above.

ME:

See my comments above.
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Michael:

You said "God does not force us into good works."

That's right. God never forces anyone to do anything, Tomas. Did I say God forces us, that you are pointing this here now?

Tomas:

You did not say it. So I guess you agree that we have free will to do good works or not.
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Michael:

I don't know why you say "Salvation does not depend on believing correctly that one should not forbid reading the Bible.", when salvation is not really the issue on this matter. Please stick to the issue. This is what I posted:

"No one, ancient or not, who forbids one to read the words of God in scriptures, could never be said to be for God, no matter what his intentions are. And further, ancient or not, no one who tells you that you can read the words of God scriptures, but must not interpret it, could never be said to be for God, no matter what his intentions are. That is what I believe. For such a man, by doing so, denies the power of God, that God could grant even the most unlearned man to understand His words in scriptures?"

The issue is, whether such people who forbids one to read the words of God in scriptures, or if they allow but forbids one to interpret what he reads, are for God or not. Wherein I say, that I would not say they are for God. For if they are for God, they would encourage the reading and study of the words of God, for by reading and reading the words of God, is good and so is pleasing to God. Why forbid, if you are for God? And the sad thing is, most of these people are leaders of a religious organization, which affect tens, hundreds, thousands, and even millions of people under their authority. This certainly is a serious concern.

Tomas:

I guess to me, when I hear someone saying that a person is for God, I think he means the person is saved. And when I hear someone saying that a person is not for God, then I think he means the person is unsaved. So that is why I was talking about salvation requirement. But if you feel a person can be not for God but still be saved, then OK. It just seems strange semantically.

ME:

Ok. I understand now why you talk about salvation.

On my side, "a person is for God" means he is not against God, and "a person is not for God" means he is against God.

Anyway, I understand that you agree with me on the issue on this segment.

Forbidding reading the words of God in scriptures, or permitting yet forbidding interpreting what is read in scriptures, or the discouraging of private reading and study of scriptures, certainly are man made rules by some religious organization, and are also not supported nor found in scriptures, and are rules that clearly keeps the members far from God and the truth, rather than keeping them close. This thing clearly is a thing that is not for God, but is against God.

Tomas:

If people can't do their own private interpretations of verses, or even can't read the Bible, they can still be saved, by hearing the gospel from others, like from priests or ministers.

ME:

But that is not the issue here Tomas.

Tomas:

It is a big part of the issue. So while telling people not to have private interpretations of verses is not God's doctrine, it is wrong doctrine, still it is not against God, because people can be saved in such a church anyway.

ME:

The issue is not if people can be saved Tomas, but that, forbidding reading the words of God in scriptures, or permitting yet forbidding interpreting what is read in scriptures, or the discouraging of private reading and study of scriptures, is something that is not for God, but is against God.

Tomas:

I guess in a way, any wrong doctrine can be considered against God. So in that respect all saved people would have doctrines against God. But that is a strange meaning of being against God. After all, saved people are said to be for God, no matter how many bad doctrines they have.

ME:

Forbidding reading the words of God in scriptures, or permitting yet forbidding interpreting what is read in scriptures, is leading a believer away from God. Away from God means away from the truth. If that is not against God, then that would only mean the opposite, that is, it is for God. This thing shots one's eyes and ears, if not his spirit, to what God have caused to be written and be read and heard by him in scriptures, and enslave him to the extent that he is only to believe what they have to say to him.

Tomas:

It is true that it can be harder to get saved that way. So it is bad doctrine. But it is a well meaning doctrine, to protect the person from what the church believes is error. Still, when a person is saved, he is for God, no matter his bad doctrine against reading the Bible, or against private interpretations.

ME:

The issue here is not whether the person is saved or not, but that forbidding reading the words of God in scriptures, or permitting yet forbidding interpreting what is read in scriptures, regardless of the intent one says why he commands it on the person, is ungodly. This is against God and not for God, even while, one says he does it to protect the person from what the church believes is error. Each person must not be denied the freedom, as God have given every man, to hear the preacher, any preacher for that matter, and examine what it is he preach, whether it is in keeping with God's words in scriptures or not.

Tomas:

It is ungodly, but then any sin is ungodly. For example fornication, it is ungodly. But if a Christian does not know it is a sin, and has premarital sex with his fiancee, his sin is forgiven due to his ignorance, Romans 14. So likewise if he does not believe in reading the Bible, or in private interpretation of verses, it is sinful, but since it is a sin of ignorance, his sin is forgiven if he is saved, Romans 14. So he is not against God. But for God.

ME:

So, you agree that forbidding reading the words of God in scriptures, or permitting yet forbidding interpreting what is read in scriptures, is ungodly.

Tomas:

I can agree with that, in the sense that every sin is really ungodly. Even a sin committed out of ignorance, is ungodly, because it is still a sin. But if a saved person commits a sin out of ignorance, he is forgiven and remains saved, Romans 14.
Even today, there are quite a number of churches that forbid private interpretation of verses that you read, that tell you to follow the intepretation of the church instead, based on a faulty understanding of 2 Peter 1:20. But even preachers in such churches can be already saved, even though they believe that faulty understanding and forbid private interpretation of verses. The sin is ungodly, but being committed in ignorance of the correct understanding of 1:20, the sin is forgiven to the person who is saved.

ME:

So, you agree that it is ungodly, and is sin. Now, if itis ungodly and is sin, is that not something against God? You may say, if they are ignorant of it being a sin, that they will be forgiven of it. It seems to me that you are saying that their ignorance, if they are, excuses them of such wrong doing as you say it will be forgiven them. If they are not ignorant, will they not be forgiven?

As it is, such man, almost always in the category of one such as FYM, the topmost leader of a church organization, who forbids reading the words of God in scriptures, or permitting yet forbidding interpreting what is read in scriptures, does an ungodly thing, as to teach and commands the members of something that is false and ungodly.

Now, of course, there is the possibility that he is ignorant of it. But to them who knows the truth, specially the church members, it is their duty to rebuke him of this wrong. And this must alarm them to the point of reconsidering putting to the test, the spirit in the man.

Tomas:

If they are not ignorant, they will not be forgiven for their sin, unless they repent.
Now as far as FYM, he did not forbid reading the Bible. I am not aware of any modern church that forbids reading the Bible. I am aware just that some centuries ago, Catholics discouraged the laity from reading the Bible, fearing that could lead to heresy, due to alleged misunderstanding the Bible. And they banned reading Bible translations done by alleged heretics, thinking those translations were biased and dangerous. Though certainly at the time of early Reformation, Catholics themselves started producing their own translations of the Bible, and allowed already laity to read those translations, while banning Protestant translations. And certainly with the invention of the printing press, Bibles were no longer rare, lots of people could buy a Bible, and read the Bible for themselves.
But certainly it is true that INC interprets 2 Peter 1:20 as forbidding us from having private interpretations of Bible verses. And they are not the only ones with that interpretation. Catholics have the same interpretation, I have debated with Catholics about that. And such an interpretation of the verse is found in a number of other churches, especially churches that believe they are the true biblical church. So one can see such an interpretation for example in the New Apostolic Church, in the Way International, in the True Jesus Church, in the Philadelphia Church of God and also many other offshoots of the former Worldwide Church of God, which had the same belief about this verse. Simply such churches believe that their leader was guided by God into the true doctrine, so then if you disagree with that leader on any doctrine, you are disagreeing with God too. Therefore you should not have private interpretation of any verse and teach that, you should just follow what your church teaches.
And I can see how that verse can be misunderstood this way, the meaning is not so obvious, that it could not be misunderstood this way.
You say INC members should know better, and should correct their leaders, tell them that private interpretations are OK. But the average faithful INC member really believes, that God guided FYM into the right doctrines and has been guiding the subsequent Executive Ministers. And so since God guided them, then disagreeing with them would be disagreeing with the one who guided them, God. And so that is why there should be no private interpretation, you need to agree instead with what the church teaches.
And similarly I have discussed with faithful Catholics, they are convinced that God has guided their holy traditions, church councils, and popes, into the right doctrines. So to disagree with the church on any doctrine, would be to disagree with the one who guided the traditions, church councils, and popes, namely to disagree with God.
And they point out the alleged chaos that has resulted from private interpretations, in Protestantism, with many thousands of denominations, disagreeing with each other on various doctrines. Like some Protestants believe in baptizing babies, others don't. Some believe that only immersion baptism is valid, others say it can be done in other ways, like sprinkling or pouring water. Some believe water baptism is necessary for salvation, others believe water baptism saves but one can be saved without it, others believe water baptism is just symbolic and has no connection with salvation. Some believe in pacifism, some allow both pacifism and non-pacifism, some reject pacifism. Etc., there are many doctrines on which Protestant churches disagree with each other.
So to Catholics, to INC members, to New Apostolic Church members, etc. it looks like chaos caused by private interpretations. While to us, God allows this diversity of doctrines on secondary issues, allows private interpretations, as long as we believe the gospel, otherwise we are not saved.
And in fact, just like Catholics believe God is guiding the church, INC members believe God is guiding the church to correct doctrines, etc., one can find even some Protestants believing similarly, that God is guiding the Christians into correct doctrines. I have seen that in your own beliefs. Of course then when such Protestants disagree on some doctrine, each one can believe he was guided right and the other one was not guided. So one Protestant can say God has guided him to understand that babies ought to be baptized, another Protestant can say that God has guided him to understand that infant baptism is invalid, and only believers ought to be baptized. Obviously they can't be both right. But when we apply the principle of sola scriptura, based on 1 Cor. 4:6, we can see that when the Bible was finished, that ended further guidance, so only the Bible guides us, and no one guides us to understand the Bible. So we just need to study the Bible and try to figure out from that, whether infant baptisms are valid or not. God does not give the guidance about it to the church, or to anyone of us.
And concerning churches that do not believe in private interpretation, one can see especially in the Catholic church, that many Catholics are not obedient to that, they come up with their own interpretations. So for example the Catholic church teaches, that their holy tradition forbids contraceptives, yet certainly here in the US most Catholics do not believe like that, they use contraceptives anyway. Now in this case, no harm is done, since the Bible does not forbid contraceptives. Though of course some Catholics don't use contraceptives only in marriage, some are unmarried, they fornicate, and use contraceptives, they are of course guilty of fornication.
My father was even more rebellious against his Catholic church, he did not even believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, so he violated Rev. 22:19, so he was unsaved. He was certainly very influenced by religious liberalism, so he differed from the Catholic church on various doctrines, he believed in pacifism, he believed everybody is deep down really a good person, nobody is damned, so like one day I was discussing Hitler with him, he told me that yes, Hitler did some bad things, but it was not his fault, he just was not shown enough love, had he been shown enough love, he too would have been doing mainly good things, because everybody is really good. And he believed that women should be priests just as much as men are allowed to be priests, total equality of men and women in church offices. He believed that the Catholic church should allow people of all beliefs, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists etc. to join the Catholic church, and not tell them what to believe, he told me if everybody became Catholic there would be no wars of religion. So everybody in the Catholic church should believe whatever he wants. He did not believe in the need to go to church. So I never saw him attend any church services. He did not believe in the need to bring us, his children, up in Christianity, after all, nobody is damned, everybody is actually good, so he was just bringing us up to be moral people, obedient to our parents. So I did not even learn that he believed in God, and considered himself Catholic, until we came to America, when I was 15 years old.
So in his case, had he remained faithful Catholic, as he was brought up in his childhood, and had he believed in no private interpretations, he could have died saved, but he died unsaved. Surely he won't find it difficult, when he is resurrected and taught correctly, to repent and be saved. But still, he died without God, even though he believed in God, so he won't be resurrected to eternal life, he will be resurrected to mortal life and not get saved until later.
So it is better to believe in no private interpretations, rather than not believe in the gospel at all. My father's liberal humanistic interpretations led him too far astray.

ME:

I said "It seems to me that you are saying that their ignorance, if they are, excuses them of such wrong doing as you say it will be forgiven them. If they are not ignorant, will they not be forgiven?"

You said "If they are not ignorant, they will not be forgiven for their sin, unless they repent."

Clearly now, I understand you as meaning that sins committed in ignorance will be forgiven. It seems then that ignorance automatically absolves the sinner. And in your previous post, you cited Rom. 14 as to teach us this matter. Can you tell me where in particular in Rom.14 teaches that?

FYM and INC does forbid reading the Bible. Of course not that one who can read words is not allowed to read words in the Bible. But we know that reading goes hand in hand with understanding what he reads. Or putting it another way, FYM and INC forbids its members to read and interpret what he reads in scriptures.

Tomas:

It is especially clear in Rom. 14:6, after verse 1 talks about Christians weak in faith, like some were vegetarians, thought mistakenly that eating meat is a sin. So then verse 6 says "Whoever observes the day, observes it for the Lord. Also whoever eats, eats for the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while whoever abstains, abstains for the Lord and gives thanks to God."
So clearly people weak in faith, who are not well informed about what things are sinful and not sinful, like people who refuse to work on the Sabbath, or refuse to work on Sunday, or do not know that on Sunday they are to give money to the church, or celebrate Christmas, or Halloween, etc., or ignore Passover day, their sins are forgiven, since in their ignorance they are doing what they are doing for the Lord.
Likewise people weak in faith, who think they have to abstain from meat, or from non-kosher meat, or from even moderate drinking of alcohol, or from coffee, or who go to the other extreme, eat forbidden things like strangled animals, blood, food offered to idols, when they know well it is offered to idols, their sins are forgiven, since they are doing their sins to the Lord, they are ignorant of the fact they are sinning, they are weak in faith.
So from that we can see that any sins committed by a saved person ignorantly, are forgiven. So in the example of churches like INC, or the Catholic church, or the Philadelphia Church of God, or the New Apostolic Church, etc., Christians who say there is to be no private interpretation, we should rely on the church to determine how to interpret important verses, sure these Christians are sinning, but when they are saved, their sin due to ignorance is forgiven. So if they die saved, they will be resurrected to eternal life, and then we will all be taught correctly how to interpret such verses, so if we have committed a sin due to ignorance, we will be glad to be corrected, and we will repent of such a sin. After all, God is very understanding, he knows that we can't be infallible, some verses are difficult to understand, or to harmonize with other verses on the same topic. So it is easy to misunderstand something in the Bible, and sin therefore, but if we do it for the Lord, we are forgiven. So likewise saved Christians, who refuse to do private interpretations of verses, and tell others not to do private interpretations, but rely on what their church teaches on such a verse, they do it for the Lord, so they are forgiven.

ME:

You said, "Likewise people weak in faith, who think they have to abstain from meat, or from non-kosher meat, or from even moderate drinking of alcohol, or from coffee, or who go to the other extreme, eat forbidden things like strangled animals, blood, food offered to idols, when they know well it is offered to idols, their sins are forgiven, SINCE THEY ARE DOING THEIR SINS TO THE LORD, they are ignorant of the fact they are sinning, they are weak in faith."

"since they are doing their sins to the Lord"?

In all of the things you said here with regards to what is written in Rom. 14, this what I want you to realize is the point of the matter:

1. the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit
2. whatever is not from faith is sin (of course faith there is qualified that of which is towards God)

Romans 14 really does not talk of sins committed in ignorance Tomas, such as that, about eating or not eating certain food, or observing a day or not. In fact, a verse says there regarding this "It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak". So you see, the point really there is that the brethren do not judge one another, and not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. That we must pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. And finally, we must remember that, on such matters of food and drinks, of observing days, that whatever is not from faith is sin.

So, going back, as I said, FYM and INC forbids its members to read and interpret what he reads in scriptures. And this does not need much intelligence to understand that this is is not in keeping with scriptures which instructs, encourages, and promotes the reading and keeping of God's words in scriptures. So that, when one preaches and refers to scriptures and says that what he preach is in keeping with scriptures, we must be diligent enough to go to scriptures to see if what he says is truly in keeping with scriptures. And the Bereans are a good example of this. So, you see, everyone of us has the scriptures as the final resource and word. And how would that be, when preachers such as FYM and the INC, forbids their members to do just that, by forbidding them to read and interpret what he reads in scriptures?

Tomas:

Concerning Rom. 14, it can't be true that days do not matter at all. After all, 1 Cor. 16:2 commands us to give money to the church every first day of the week. And Col. 2:16 tells us not to be judged in regards to food or drink or festival or new moon or the Sabbath. So then clearly somebody who thinks it is sinful not to observe the Sabbath or the Day of Atonement or Pentecost etc., is unwittingly disobeying Col. 2:16. And 1 Cor. 5:8 commands us to keep the feast, not with leaven, of sin, but with unleavened bread. So clearly Paul is commanding us to keep the Passover day, with the Lord's supper. So days are still important, to obey God. But if somebody does not know some of this, and keeps some day wrongly, or wrongly does not keep a day, then he is still doing it for the Lord, so he is forgiven.
Likewise foods do matter too. I already mentioned Col. 2:16, so clearly we don't have to keep kosher laws, or with drink, any abstinence from wine due to trying to keep a Nazirite vow. Likewise somebody who keeps kosher, is unwittingly disobeying the command to Peter in Acts 10 to eat animals that used to be considered unclean. Or somebody who believes it is a sin to eat meat is similarly disobeying the same command, and likewise Col. 2:16. But they abstain for the Lord, so they are forgiven.
And likewise the HS inspired the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 not to eat blood, strangled animals, or food offered to idols. And Jesus himself confirmed the commandment not to eat food offered to idols in two verses in Rev. 2. So then someone who does not know that it is required to abstain from knowingly eating such stuff, and does so anyway, he is doing so for the Lord, so he is forgiven.
But still, if you are eating with a Christian who thinks it is a sin to eat pork or shrimp or other stuff that was not kosher, then Paul makes it clear it can be advisable not to offend the brother or make him weak, by eating such stuff in front of him. Or likewise if he thinks it is a sin to drink wine, then don't drink wine in front of him. Some Christians think that drinking any alcohol is a sin. They are wrong in abstaining, but they are doing it for the Lord, so they are forgiven. On the other hand, if somebody thinks that drinking alcohol in excess is not a sin, then he can get drunk and it is a sin. But since he did it for the Lord, he is forgiven. But in fact several verses warn us not to get drunk. So the issue of drinking is not irrelevant, as you thought it is from Rom. 14.
And so similarly when somebody tells another Christian, not to rely on private interpretation, but to follow the teaching of their church, he is unwittingly sinning, but he is doing so for the Lord, so he is forgiven.

ME:

You said "SINCE THEY ARE DOING THEIR SINS TO THE LORD". Being a Christian, I am really having a hard time trying to figure out how Christians do their sins, and that, to the Lord. And that, if they do, having done it in ignorance, they are automatically forgiven by the Lord, whether they realize later on that they have sinned and repented of it, or not.

Concerning Rom. 14, I respect your opinion on it. And let me just repeat here what I wanted to tell you in this regard:

1. the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit
2. whatever is not from faith is sin (of course faith there is qualified that of which is towards God)

If you would just try to understand what that these truth tells us, perhaps, you would have a different understanding of Romans 14.

So, again, going back, as I said, FYM and INC forbids its members to read and interpret what he reads in scriptures. And as I have pointed out, that this is not in keeping with scriptures which instructs, encourages, and promotes the reading and keeping of God's words in scriptures. You suggest that, if they are ignorant of this, being a sin, they automatically are forgiven by God of this sin. And this somehow excuses them. But, such a suggestion even is far from being the case. For FYM and INC believes that FYM is an angel sent by God. If so, FYM then will be far from being ignorant of such simple truths. Further, FYM and INC take upon themselves to believe that FYM is infallible on matters of scriptures, and that he alone has the right interpretation and understanding of scriptures, so that, all interpretation of others, are wrong. This is where this INC preaching is coming from, and thus, the deception, the lie, and the false teaching.

Tomas:

Sure, the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. That refers to the kosher laws in the Old Testament. But you need to realize that if someone does not know it is a sin to drink alcohol to excess, and gets drunk, it is still a sin, plenty of verses prove it. But he was doing it for the Lord, so it is forgiven. Or if someone knowingly eats food offered to idols, does not know it is a sin, even though Acts 15 condemns it, and Jesus himself forcefully condemns it in Rev. 2, then it is a sin. But since he was eating it for the Lord, it is forgiven. Or if one ignorantly disobeys the commandment of 1 Cor. 16:2, does not go to the congregation to give money on the first day of the week, it is a sin. But he was acting for the Lord, so he is forgiven. Or if somebody ignorantly refuses to do any work on the Sabbath, it is a sin, but he was refusing to work, for the Lord, so it is forgiven.
So likewise if someone teaches, that we should not do any private interpretation of the scriptures, whether he is INC or Catholic or whatever, it is a sin, but he is saying this for the Lord, so he is forgiven. So if he is sincere, as surely most INC ministers or Catholic priests are, then it is not a deception, it is not a knowing lie, sure it is a false teaching, but due to misunderstanding of a verse. And also due to such reasoning, where they say look at Protestants, they do interpretations of the Bible, and as a result there are thousands of Protestant denominations with a great variety of doctrines. So INC says that is why you should listen to the Administration, how they interpret the verses. Or Catholics say, that is why you should listen to the Magisterium, the bishops headed by the pope, to see how they interpret the verses. Otherwise you have doctrinal chaos. And of course they have a point, Protestants have a diversity of views on many doctrines. It is inevitable. Many verses are hard to understand. But that is in God's plan. God did not inspire the Bible in such a way that it is easy to understand. Some parts are easy to understand, sure, but other parts are not, and I believe it is so that we would not become proud, thinking we understand everything, but it is better for us to continue to study the Bible, at least as long as we can. Of course if we get dementia, then we can't study any more. Or if we are in a coma, for example.

ME:

If you just would understand what it means when scripture says "the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit", you would not have any issue about food and drink. Jesus even taught that "Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man." And in like sense, if you would just understand what it means when scripture says "whatever is not from faith is sin", you would not have any issue about a lot of things such as one esteeming one day above another, or about 1 Cor. 16:2, whether it is a sin or is not.

Now, all of that is very different from what I'm pointing out about FYM and INC, regarding the forbidding of one in going to scriptures to read and understand what God says there, which I have further pointed out to be is not in keeping with scriptures which instructs, encourages, and promotes the reading and keeping of God's words in scriptures. You argue that they are ignorant of this wrong and that such excuses them from this sin. As I have explained, even taking for granted that ignorance excuses the sinner, they could not be ignorant about this Tomas. FYM and INC knowingly believe that FYM is infallible on matters of scriptures, and that he alone has the right interpretation and understanding of scriptures, so that, all interpretation of others, are wrong, so that, this is the reason they put up. It's not because they misinterpret a verse or so Tomas. Is claiming to be a prophesied angel of God, claiming to be sent at this particular era and place, an ignorant thing Tomas? Are you a follower and believer of FYM too?

Tomas:

I see you are like INCquisitor, giving me this argument that Jesus said "Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man."
But the fact is that when he said that, the Law was still in effect for all Israelites. So including Jesus and his disciples. See Mt. 5:18-19, the Law was still in effect, until all was accomplished, until the Law was nailed to the cross. See also Mt. 23:2-3, where Jesus was telling the Jewish crowd, including of course also his own disciples, that they should do all that the scribes and Pharisees say, though not as they do. So when they said not to eat pork, shrimp, horses etc., then Peter, John, etc. had to obey, could not eat such non-kosher stuff. And we can see in Acts 10, that Peter himself had never eaten such non-kosher stuff, as he told the voice from heaven in that vision of the formerly unclean animals being lowered to Peter and Peter was told to eat from them. Did he disobey Jesus by not eating pork, horses etc.? Of course not. Clearly Jesus did not eat such stuff with his disciples. And why did Jesus drive some demons into a herd of swine, with the swine ending up getting killed? Clearly they belonged to some disobedient Jew. Otherwise it would be a sin, if they were owned by a Gentile. And Jesus of course never sinned.
So what was Jesus talking about when he said "Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man."? Look at the context, the context was eating with unwashed hands. The Pharisees had a tradition of men, of ritual washing of hands before eating. No such law in the Bible. So Jesus was saying, it is not necessary to wash hands before eating. Now it might be advisable, especially if your hands are very dirty. But in his day if some disciple of his got sick from dirt on hands, Jesus would heal them.
And in Rev. 2, Jesus himself condemned some for eating food offered to idols. They were clearly violating what the Holy Spirit inspired the council of Jerusalem to decide, in Acts 15.

So now concerning INC and FYM, when I said misunderstanding of one verse, I was of course referring to 2 Peter 1:20, about private interpretation. Same with for example Catholics. Now you raise the issue of verses misinterpreted by FYM as referring to himself. Whether he was lying on purpose or was just wrong, I can't tell, can't read his heart. But clearly the average INC minister sincerely believes it. Just like Catholics take some verses that suggest Peter was the leader of the apostles, and take it that his successors as bishops of Rome are infallible. We can argue with them about the verses, but we are not likely to persuade many of them. So when INC teaches that FYM was infallible, so we should follow his interpretation and not private interpretation, they are wrong, and they are sinning, but if they are saved, their sin due to ignorance is forgiven, Rom. 14, since what they are doing, they are doing for the Lord.

ME:

No need to liken me with INCquisitor Tomas.

Yes, Jesus taught that "Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.", even while the Law is still in effect, as you say. That makes it all the more interesting isn't it Tomas? Why would Jesus say that? It is basically to tell them that they really do not understand the Law.

You wrote "So what was Jesus talking about when he said "Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man."? Look at the context, the context was eating with unwashed hands. The Pharisees had a tradition of men, of ritual washing of hands before eating. No such law in the Bible. So Jesus was saying, it is not necessary to wash hands before eating. Now it might be advisable, especially if your hands are very dirty. But in his day if some disciple of his got sick from dirt on hands, Jesus would heal them."

That's right, the context is the washing of one's hands before eating. But to answer your question there, we need not look anywhere else, for Jesus gives us the answer just a few verses after, which I quote:

Mat.15:15-20
15 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.”
16 So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

Now, in relation to our discussion, in the sense that an unwashed hand is unclean and so whatever that is put in the mouth with unwashed hands is no different from putting in anything, be it food or drink, that is unclean. It matters not really, as is here seen. So, we need not so be occupied by such. And this can be further understood where scriptures says "the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit".

Now you said "And in Rev. 2, Jesus himself condemned some for eating food offered to idols". Did you still not get what Jesus taught in Mt. 15, about what really it is that defiles the man?

Concerning INC and FYM, I have perhaps brought up other INC beliefs to point out to you that they don't teach such things in ignorance Tomas. Their take of scriptures and so then their teachings are founded on the claim that FYM is the prophesied angel/messenger of God in the last days, taking him to be infallible and the only one with the correct interpretation of scriptures, and that INC is the only true church that was purchased by the blood of Christ, and so the only ones who are saved. That this is where their false teaching all emanates from and their forbidding of reading and interpreting of scriptures.

Tomas:

Please don't feel insulted that I compared your belief about this to INCquisitor's belief. Of course there are lots of differences between your beliefs and his. I suspect and hope that you are saved, clearly you are not deviating from the true gospel in what you say on this forum, while INCquisitor was teaching a false gospel, with two Christs and with parts of Revelation (just like elsewhere in the Bible), not inspired. So what I meant is simply that in regard of food, I was discussing it with him and he was offering the same faulty arguments as you are.
So I was pointing out to him, that while non-kosher meat did not defile those Jews, it was still sinful for them to eat it. And likewise now, when non-kosher meat is no longer unclean, still, the council of Acts 15, inspired by the Holy Spirit, decided that eating blood, strangled animals, and food offered to idols, is still sinful. And to emphasize it, Jesus himself condemned eating food offered to idols decades later, in Rev. 2. So do you think Jesus was contradicting himself? Of course not. He knew in Mt. 15 just as much as in Rev. 2, that eating blood or food offered to idols is sinful. And at the time of Mt. 15, eating non-kosher meat, like pork, camels, horses, eagles, snakes, shrimp, etc. was still sinful, for Jews, including the disciples of Jesus. Look at Acts 10, Peter received a vision with formerly unclean animals being lowered to him, and Peter was told to eat them. Peter of course protested, that he never ate such animals. Was Peter an idiot? Of course not. Peter was one of the most prominent apostles. Jesus did not choose an idiot for this. So clearly Jesus did not eat pork, rabbits, snakes, horses, or any other non-kosher animals with Peter, since it was sinful to do so, and Jesus never sinned. Peter of course heard Jesus in Mt. 15, but he understood better than you do or INCquisitor does, that Jesus did not declare such meat no longer sinful. So he did not eat such stuff, until Acts 10.
And as I pointed out already to INCquisitor, Jesus drove demons into a herd of pigs, owned by someone. So he destroyed someone's property. That would have been a sin, had it not been for the fact that it was a Jew who owned the pigs for food, so it was sinful for that Jew to do so, so Jesus had the full right to destroy his pigs. So Jesus never sinned. The Jew would not have been defiled by eating the pork, but it would still have been a sin for him to eat the pork. And of course people keep pigs mainly for food. Likewise Jesus said once, if a child asks you for a fish, would you give him a snake? Some fishes were kosher, but snakes were all non-kosher, sinful to eat. So it would have been sinful for the parent to give his child a snake to eat. So clearly Jesus did not declare non-kosher meats to be clean, no more sinful. That had to wait until the new revelation in Acts 10.
So as you can see, Jesus did not contradict himself in Rev. 2. He was consistent, as expected for the true Christ.

Concerning the INC, regardless if FYM was ignorant, his ministers and other INC members were ignorant, they did believe FYM that he was prophesied about in the Bible, and was sent to restore the church, and so INC is the church, where people need to belong to be saved. And that not belonging to INC just leads to all the doctrinal chaos, of thousands of denominations with different doctrines, often because of their private interpretations, violating his understanding of 2 Peter 1:20 about private interpretation. So that is what led them ignorantly to reject private interpretation. So based on Rom. 14, those among them who are saved, their sin due to ignorance, is forgiven.

ME:

Well, one thing is true and definite, you are not my judge Tomas. And I really do care less of whether you think I'm saved or not. God is my Savior. My hope of salvation rest in Christ.

You said "So what I meant is simply that in regard of food, I was discussing it with him and he was offering the same faulty arguments as you are". I would say that it is your arguments that are faulty Tomas, not mine. Here's one that you put up "So Jesus was saying, it is not necessary to wash hands before eating. Now it might be advisable, especially if your hands are very dirty. But in his day if some disciple of his got sick from dirt on hands, Jesus would heal them".

And after all that you said about kosher and non kosher food, I say it again, did you still not get what Jesus taught in Mt. 15, about what really it is that defiles the man? Obviously not. Now, meditate on these truths:

Mt. 15:16-20
16 So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

Romans 14:17
"for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit".

With regards the matter with INC and FYM, well if that is your opinion on the matter, I'll let it be with you then.

Tomas:

Of course I am not your judge. I can't read your heart. Your salvation status is between you and God. Your pastor can't know it, or anyone else on earth. I was just stating my opinion and hope, but I can't know it about anyone else.

Concerning Mt. 15:20, yes, what goes into the mouth does not defile a man, like dirt or even sinful food, but what goes out defiles a man.

Concerning Rom. 14:17, even if your interpretation were somehow right, and so Paul would have superseded for example Acts 15, then Paul would have been superseded by Christ himself in two verses in Rev. 2, since those statements came later. Christ there combined eating food offered to idols, with fornication, in his condemnation, thus reaffirming the commandments of Acts 15.

ME:

Concerning Mt. 15:20, while you got that what goes into the mouth does not defile the man, you seemed to miss the more important point, that is, those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart and are that, that defiles the man.

Romans 14:17
"for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit".

This verse simply teach the Christian that the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking Tomas. That means, it is not about food Tomas. But that, it is about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. If one learn that, he will come to correctly take and understand verses such as those involving food.

Tomas:

I do know that what proceeds out of the mouth comes from the heart and defiles the man. I never questioned the truth of that.

And you just can't ignore the condemnation by Christ in Rev. 2 of eating what is sinful to eat. It is just as bad as fornication, look at those verses.

ME:

As it is, while you may claim to understand the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking (Romans 14:17), you still apparently actually don't since you still don't get to have the right understanding of Rev. 2 concerning the eating part, saying that the eating is just as bad as fornication. Such understanding obviously goes contrary to the truth said in Romans 14:17.

Tomas:

I believe you totally misunderstand Rom. 14:17. I believe Paul meant merely that sinful eating or sinful drinking due to ignorance, does not affect our salvation, so we can still get to the kingdom of God. My evidence is for example the commandments of Acts 15, which are reaffirmed by Christ in Rev. 2, so it is clearly sinful to eat food offered to idols or blood, or strangled animals. Likewise there are verses condemning drunkenness, excessive drinking of alcohol. So that is clearly sinful drinking. But if somebody gets drunk, not knowing that it is a sin, it does not affect his standing in the kingdom of God. Likewise there are verses that our bodies are temple of God, so we should not ruin that temple. So clearly eating poisonous mushrooms or berries, or drinking poisons, that is sinful eating or drinking. But if somebody is not aware that it is a sin, for example there are snake-handling churches where the members drink diluted poisons, to prove God heals them, based on their understanding of Mark 16:18, as a sign that they are believers, still, it is really sinful drinking, but because they are doing so ignorantly, it does not affect their standing in the kingdom of God. Also the Bible condemns gluttony, but if someone does gluttony, not aware that it is a sin, it does not affect his standing in the kingdom of God.
So that is what Paul meant by writing that the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking. Not that you can eat and drink whatever you want, in whatever amount you want. I guess in two churches in Asia they could have similarly misunderstood Paul's writing, so then Christ had to tell them in epistles he dictated to John, not to do it anymore, it should not be tolerated. When they did it ignorantly, it did not affect their standing in the kingdom of God, but now that Jesus told them, they were no longer ignorant, so no more excuse. That is true of both sinful eating and fornication. But some Christians still do not know it, so when they do such stuff, it does not affect their standing in the kingdom of God.

ME:

Come on Tomas. Rom. 14:17 is a simple verse. It says "the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." You try to explain it by saying that it "meant merely that sinful eating or sinful drinking due to ignorance, does not affect our salvation, so we can still get to the kingdom of God." Not even close Tomas. For Rom. 14:17, in this instance, talks about what the kingdom of God is and is not. It does not talk about eating and drinking, that such does not affect our salvation, nor talk about the matter of getting to or not, to the kingdom of God. Now, with your take of the verse, tell me about the last part, that is, "but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."

Tomas:

The verse seems so simple to you, but don't ignore all the other verses that I have mentioned, which prove that you just can't eat or drink whatever you want, in whatever amount you want. No, these verses in Rom. 14 simply mean we should not get all divisive with each other about our doctrines about food or drink. One person believes one thing, another believes another thing, Christians should be charitable with each other about such differences in belief. After all, if you do it wrong, if you sin due to an incorrect belief, still, you are doing it for the Lord, so you remain saved. Of course that does not mean the beliefs are irrelevant, they were written in the Bible for a reason. So it is good if we study the verses.
So the verse in question continues, "but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit". The next verse explains it "whoever serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by others". So we should serve Christ in righteousness, as far as we can know what acts are righteous, and with peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. After all, no matter what troubles we have in this life, at least we have the Holy Spirit, so with that Spirit we have peace and joy, even if in the world we have suffering. So with that peace and joy in the HS we should serve Christ.

ME:

You said "The verse seems so simple to you, but don't ignore all the other verses that I have mentioned, which prove that you just can't eat or drink whatever you want, in whatever amount you want". This just somehow shows how much you don't understand what Rom. 14:17 is about.

Why is it hard for you to understand this statement, "the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking"?

The second part of the verse says that the kingdom of God is "righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Is this too hard for you to understand?

Tomas:

Looks like you don't like my explanation of that verse. And no wonder, since you are still ignoring the other verses I mentioned. After all, Rom. 14:17 is not the only verse in the Bible. So you have to understand it in view of the other verses I mentioned.

ME:

How can you not understand this statement, "the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking"? If you do, can you simply tell me what it says?

And if you really understand this statement "the kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit", can you simply tell me what it says?

Tomas:

But I already told you above what each part means. I think I said it so well above, I don't see how to improve on it. So let me simply repeat it:
The verse seems so simple to you, but don't ignore all the other verses that I have mentioned, which prove that you just can't eat or drink whatever you want, in whatever amount you want. No, these verses in Rom. 14 simply mean we should not get all divisive with each other about our doctrines about food or drink. One person believes one thing, another believes another thing, Christians should be charitable with each other about such differences in belief. After all, if you do it wrong, if you sin due to an incorrect belief, still, you are doing it for the Lord, so you remain saved. Of course that does not mean the beliefs are irrelevant, they were written in the Bible for a reason. So it is good if we study the verses.
So the verse in question continues, "but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit". The next verse explains it "whoever serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by others". So we should serve Christ in righteousness, as far as we can know what acts are righteous, and with peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. After all, no matter what troubles we have in this life, at least we have the Holy Spirit, so with that Spirit we have peace and joy, even if in the world we have suffering. So with that peace and joy in the HS we should serve Christ.

Well, doesn't that explain each part of Rom. 14:17 very clearly?

ME:

You have been telling me your take of the context with regards the first part, but fail to get its simple message. On the second part, what you have said, while it sounds good, is entirely out of context.

Romans 14:17
"for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit".

After Paul dealt with the importance of not judging one another, between those Christians who believed that they should refrain from some practices concerning food and days, that they believed were displeasing to God, and those Christians who felt were legitimate, he told and pointed out to them that the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. He said this to set it as their guide on how they relate to one another. Now, matters of eating and drinking are but external amoral practices. An amoral practice is neither right nor wrong in itself. It does not involve sin, or, therefore, morality. The primary issues in the lives of dedicated Christians should not be external amoral practices, but the great spiritual qualities that "the Holy Spirit" seeks to produce in them ~ "righteousness" (right conduct), "peace", and "joy".

Tomas:

So you say that what I consider sinful eating or drinking, like gluttony, drinking alcohol in excess, eating blood, eating strangled animals, eating food offered to idols, you consider amoral, neither right nor wrong in itself, based on your interpretation of Rom. 14:17.
In that case, how do you interpret the Holy Spirit condemnation of eating blood, eating strangled animals, eating food offered to idols, at the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15?
And how do you explain Jesus's endorsement of the Council of Jerusalem condemnation of fornication and eating food offered to idols, in Rev. 2?
And how do you explain the biblical condemnation of gluttony? And the frequent biblical condemnation of drunkenness?

ME:

Please try to read carefully what I said and understand what I am saying about eating and drinking, as being not what the kingdom of God is about.

Regarding your questions, such does not change the point that eating and drinking are external amoral practices. Try to consider the first commandment, to not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Is eating, the sin or is it the breaking of God's commandment, which is rebellion against God?

Gluttony and drunkenness are sins but are not sins because they are what you call sinful eating and drinking. Consider covetousness.

Tomas:

Gluttony and drunkenness are not covetousness. My Random House College Dictionary defines 'covet' this way: 1. to desire (another's property) inordinately or wrongfully. 2. to wish for, especially eagerly: He won the prize they all coveted.
So as you can see even in the example for the second definition, they did not own the prize, so they coveted it. So if I were to own a bottle of whisky (and I have no intention of buying whisky, so I don't), then I could not covet it, since I would already own it. But if I were to drink the bottle, or even a large percentage of it, I would get drunk, and that would not be a sin of covetousness, but drunkenness. Likewise I own a loaf of bread, but if I were to eat lots of it at one sitting, I would overeat, so that would not be a sin of covetousness, since I already own the loaf, but it would be a sin of gluttony. It would be sinful eating.
You mention the first commandment, to Adam and Eve. They both disobeyed, and ate of the forbidden fruit. It was sinful eating, since it disobeyed a commandment. Similarly if we disobey the commandments of the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15, inspired by the Holy Spirit, if we eat blood or a strangled animal or food offered to an idol, we break a commandment by this sinful eating. And certainly Jesus himself confirmed the commandments of Acts 15 in Rev. 2. So no doubt, they are commandments. They are not abolished. So to eat that would be, if done knowing it is wrong, it would be rebellion against God, just as much as what Adam and Eve did.

ME:

As I said, gluttony and drunkenness are sins but are not sins because they are what you call sinful eating and drinking. Eating and drinking are but external amoral practices, neither right nor wrong in itself. Now, I said, consider covetousness. Covetousness is greed.

With regards the first commandment, to not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the act of eating or the eating itself is amoral. The sin is the breaking of God's commandment, which is rebellion against God.

Now, you take this to the issue in Acts 15. Read what Peter have to say regarding the Acts 15 issue.

Acts 15:10-11 [CAPS MINE]
10 Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ WE SHALL BE SAVED IN THE SAME MANNER AS THEY.

In considering what Peter said here, take note, the "they" refers to the Gentile believers, and the "we" refers to the Jewish believers. Now, the Gentiles do not have the law which includes laws concerning food, as do the Jews.

Now, consider the letter they wrote:

Acts 15: 24-29
24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law”[f] —to whom we gave no such commandment— 25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality.[g] If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.

Considering v.28-29 where it says "to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality.", who do you say is it that would not lay upon them no greater burden? What is that which they clearly described here as a great burden? This is also said in v.10, speaking of it as a yoke on the neck. And why is it said to be a great burden or a yoke on the neck?

Nonetheless, the letter says as necessary things, that they abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. Why is that? Remember what the issue in Acts 15 is all about, that is, the dispute on the matter of the necessity or not for Gentile believers to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses. It is really not about eating, blood, etc. And this issue in fact was decided, and can be understood in verse 24. Now, the matter of the Gentile believers to abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality, being included in the letter, can be understood in v.21, which says "For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath". And obviously too, this is to take care of the trouble of the Gentile believers with the Jewish believers who believe in the keeping of the law of Moses, which James told the council in v.19, "I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God". The intent is well understood in the last statement of v.29 which says "If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well".

All that said, Acts 15 does not have anything to do, nor make eating and drinking as moral matters or sinful.

Tomas:

So if you define covetousness as greed, greed is wanting a lot of stuff, like money, that the person does not have.
So this does not apply to excessive eating or drinking of food or drink that the person has already.
Yes, the first sin, of Adam and Eve, was due to breaking a commandment. What was the commandment? Not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They did eat, so they sinned against God's commandment by eating.
Now similarly in Acts 15. The great burden was the Law of Moses. The Holy Spirit informed the assembled council that it is no longer necessary. But it informed the council that 4 commandments are necessary, not to eat food offered to idols, not to eat blood, not to eat strangled things, not to fornicate. So if someone does it, he violates a necessary commandment. For example if one fornicates, he violates a commandment. So that is a sin. Similarly if one eats blood, he violates a commandment. So that is the sin.
Similarly in Rev. 2, Jesus told John to write to two churches that they are doing wrong in tolerating members who fornicate and eat food offered to idols. So just like in Acts 15, they sinned if they fornicated, they violated a commandment. Or if they ate food offered to idols, they sinned, they violated the commandment. So Jesus made it clear it should no longer be tolerated in these churches. Or by implication, in any church.
Do you agree now?

ME:

I guess no matter how I would explain to you what is covetousness or greed, and that gluttony and drunkenness are sins but are not sins because they are what you call sinful eating and drinking, and that eating and drinking are but external amoral practices, neither right nor wrong in itself, you would not get to understand. And that goes as well with regards the first commandment, that the act of eating or the eating itself is amoral and that the sin is the breaking of God's commandment.

And perhaps, further still, with the issue in Acts 15. I'm sad about that.

Anyway, let me still say something concerning Acts 15.

While you gave your answer as to what the burden and yoke spoken there is, which you say is the Law of Moses, you have not given your answer to the questions "Who do you say is it that would not lay upon them no greater burden? Why is it said to be a great burden or a yoke on the neck?"

You also said "But it informed the council that 4 commandments are necessary, not to eat food offered to idols, not to eat blood, not to eat strangled things, not to fornicate". What we have in Acts is this "to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality."

And considering what you said concerning this matter of abstaining from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality, you apparently have not understood anything I've written about this in my post above, as you have altogether missed the point there as to why these things were included in the letter.

Tomas:

So let me answer. It is of course God who would not put a greater burden on us from the Law of Moses than the 4 necessary commandments in Acts 15. Why was it a great burden? There were, according to at least Orthodox Jewish count, 613 commandments in the Law of Moses. That was a lot. We have far fewer commandments in the New Covenant.

Me:

Apparently you consistently fail to understand the issue in Acts 15, so that you consistently see only what have been laid upon the Gentile believers, and that as if picked out from among the 600+ commandments in the law of Moses as being the only 4 commandments that the Christian must keep. And that by it, it would not be a great burden to them. Of course, obviously that would not make sense at all.

So, let me try to explain to you again.

1. The issue in Acts 15 is the matter of requiring the Gentile believers to be circumcised after the manner of Moses, for them to be saved.
2. That the Gentile believers be commanded to keep the law of Moses.
3. The Gentile believers in Antioch were being troubled by men which came down from Judaea who have these issues mentioned above.

After much disputing over the issue, here's what Peter said:

"Ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they".

So, we can see clearly from what Peter said, that God had put no difference between the Jewish believers and the Gentile believers, in that, God have both purified their hearts by faith, and that they both shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, not through the Jewish circumcision and the Mosaic Law. So this settles the issue on the matter of requiring the Gentile believers to be circumcised, for them to be saved.

Now, on the matter of the trouble of the Gentile believers with Jewish believers who were taught and convinced of the teaching of the necessity of circumcision and the keeping of the law of Moses for the Christian to be saved, and by the men which came down from Judaea who taught such doctrine, here's what James said concerning the troubled Gentile believers:

"Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood."

The reason for this James continued:

"For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day".

And indeed they wrote letters which says:

"Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:"

In this part of the letter, the apostles and elders and brethren in the church at Jerusalem, acknowledges the trouble caused by certain men which went out from them, but to whom they gave no command to require the Gentile believers to be circumcised, and keep the law.

The letter continues:

"...it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well."

In this part of the letter, is what James have put up with the council at Jerusalem, to take care of the trouble at hand, among the brethren in Antioch. And this must not be in anyway mistaken to mean that these 4 things are required for the Gentile believers to be saved. Rather, by abstaining or keeping away from these 4 things, they will do well and kept out of trouble.

I hope by now, you are able to understand what Acts 15 is all about.

Now, on the matter as to what is that which they clearly described here as a great burden, it would be the matter of being circumcised and the keeping of the Law. And as to why this is said to be a yoke on the neck, is because, it had been so to the all the Jews, and no Jew was able to bear it and have succeeded in keeping the law. As to who it is that would not lay upon them no greater burden, it is the Jerusalem council, being convinced, as to them it seemed good and to the Holy Spirit, to not lay such great burden and yoke. These things can well be understood in what is written in v.10, "Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?" This clearly tells us that putting this yoke upon the neck of the Gentile believers to be circumcised and keep the law, which in other words, to require them to be a Jew, for them to be saved, is not God's will, and in fact is sin, as this somehow is tempting God.

Tomas:

To keep out of trouble? That is clearly not what Peter meant. After all, it was the decision of the Holy Spirit. So those who accepted the decision of the council, believing it is from God, they willingly accepted it all. So if the decision had been different, like that it is OK to even eat blood, eat strangled animals, eat things sacrificed to idols, even to fornicate, then the Christians, seeing it is from the Holy Spirit, would have accepted that decision. But of course there were Christians who did not accept the decision that was made, who were Judaisers, who kept insisting on circumcision and the whole Law of Moses, for salvation, then soon Paul declared them apostates, so they lost salvation. They later became known as the Ebionites. So the true Christians continued to be in trouble with the Judaizers, even though they still did not eat blood etc. And of course they were in trouble with those who remained in Judaism. Jews who remained in Judaism often persecuted the Christians. Paul, then named Saul, did so too, before he was converted. Of course by the time of the Jerusalem council, he was already converted. But other Jews continued the persecution. And they were even more angry, as the Christian Jews no longer kept the Law of Moses.
So the trouble Peter was talking about, was the trouble between those Christians who still kept the Law of Moses, and those Christians who were following the new revelations, like what Peter got in Acts 10, that the Law of Moses is no longer necessary. So that trouble was resolved by the universal revelation at the Jerusalem council. Except that those who rejected it, they were in trouble. But those who accepted it, they remained saved, and they kept on not eating blood, not eating strangled animals, not eating things offered to idols, not fornicating. And if anyone was later confused by what Paul wrote, then Jesus clarified it in Revelation 2, that the decision of the Jerusalem council still stands. He said explicitly to two churches, that it is wrong to fornicate or to eat food offered to idols, it is sinful. So that is final, at least now for this New Covenant. What the laws about it will be in the millennium, we can't know. Though I would guess that things forbidden in the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, will likely also be forbidden in the millennium. But not necessarily all. We don't know. For example it could be that in the millennium the laws for men and for women will finally be equal. Or it could be reversed, maybe only women will be bishops etc. and men will be forgiven those roles. Maybe men will have to obey women in marriages. Of course those who will be resurrected to eternal life in the beginning of the millennium, will not be married, they will be single like the angels, as Jesus said. But others will be marrying and having children, as Isaiah wrote. Of course those resurrected to eternal life, while they will not be married to each other, they will be part of the bride of Christ, they will be married to Christ. It will be wonderful. I sure hope and expect that I will remain saved, die saved, and be part of the bride of Christ. Much better than having a wife. Marriage to Christ will be perfect, since Christ is perfect. Wives are imperfect.

Me:

I have nothing more to say on Acts 15. So, we have to just agree to disagree on this then.
------------------------






Michael:

Now, I was shocked by your statement here:

" So we should not feel disgusted by the diversity of beliefs among Christians. It is a natural result of many verses being difficult to interpret, and our minds being so limited, that we can't possibly be infallible, and after all, God does not give us the correct interpretation of any verse. So we should be happy about the diversity of beliefs, we can then debate with each other, and we can learn from each other."

Why would I be happy about that? And how could I agree that God does not give us the correct interpretation of any verse? Are you truly happy debating with other Christians? Preposterous and silly, I would say.

Tomas:

You are now talking like a Catholic, or an INC member, insisting that all Christians agree on every doctrine, that the diversity is no good. When I said we can debate with each other, I do not mean angry arguments, I mean brotherly discussions among Christians. And that I am happy to be doing. I am happy to be discussing with you and with other Christians. After all, discussing issues in the wonderful book, the Bible, should fill us with happiness. It is the best book in the world, it is the word of God. And so, since we should not expect any of us to be infallible, we can exchange ideas, learn from each other, and show to each other, where in the Bible our beliefs come from. If neither one is too stubborn and unwilling to change, then at least one can learn from the other. Like I have learned from you.
If God gave us the correct interpretation of any verse, then of course we would agree with each other, we would be infallible on that verse. But that is not God's intention, so God has told us not to go beyond what is written (1 Cor. 4:6). What is written in the Bible of course. So no new revelation of any interpretations. Sola scriptura. So no inspired interpretations by ecumenical Catholic councils or by popes or by executive ministers or anyone else. We are all in the same boat, no inspired interpretations, so we can know we are not infallible in our interpretations, so we will not be proud, but properly humble, as God wants us to be. And we will not be angrily arguing about interpretations, but happily discussing our interpretations, in a loving fraternal manner. So please, don't be shocked about it, be happy about it. Now we are not to go beyond what is written, so now is not the time for perfect doctrinal unity, like some churches, like Catholic, INC, New Apostolic Church, Philadelphia Church of God, and others who insist we have to be united, we get interpretations from God, so we better agree, or else we are outside the church or something. But when Jesus comes back, and we are resurrected, the Bible says we will be going to Jerusalem to learn from God, so God will then give us correct interpretations, and all the saved people will be in one denomination. Sola scriptura will no longer be true. We will be given new laws, as some of these laws are described in Ezekiel, Zechariah, etc. For example the Feast of Tabernacles will be required for all, not just Israelites, as was true in the Law of Moses. And all, not just males, will have to go to Jerusalem for that feast. So then we will have doctrinal unity. But now it is impossible, it is not in God's plan for us.

ME:

Did I say that the diversity is no good? What I said is that I am not happy about such. For scriptures says "There is one body and one Spirit", that Paul beseech of the Christians, to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. And so I see that it's not diversity that scriptures calls for, but unity.

You said "If God gave us the correct interpretation of any verse, then of course we would agree with each other, we would be infallible on that verse. But that is not God's intention, so God has told us not to go beyond what is written (1 Cor. 4:6)."

Certainly God gives us the correct interpretation of His words in scriptures, according to His will and in His time. Only He could help and make us understand His words in scriptures which are about the things of God.

And certainly, God's intention is for us to be united, as I have discussed above. And this includes being one in understanding God's words in scriptures. What Paul said in 1 Cor.4:6 is really not about the matter of unity, but about the matter of pride. The verse says "Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.". What Paul wants us to understand here is that we learn in them (Paul and Apollos), not to think beyond what is written. Why is that? So that, we may not be puffed up or take pride in one over another. This is about pride and arrogance, and not about false teachings as a result of interpretations that goes beyond what is written.

Tomas:

Of course we are one body, and we are united in the eyes of God, even though many of us can be unhappy about the divisions into denominations, or also differences in beliefs among Christians regardless of denominations or being non-denominational. These differences are on secondary doctrines, not on gospel doctrines. So we have one faith, in the sense of faith in the gospel.
And concerning 1 Cor. 4:6, yes, pride would be involved if we were to go beyond what is written, we could be puffed up, thinking we know more than other Christians, that we got some special interpretations that others did not get.

ME:

How can we be united in the eyes of God, when we are not in reality and practically united? That is not at all what being united is Tomas. For example, you say the INC is part of the church of God, and the RCC as well. Now are they united? Obviously not. Do they believe in the same Christ, that is, Savior? INC's Christ is not God, while RCC's Christ is God.

Concerning 1 Cor. 4:6, as I said, what Paul said in 1 Cor.4:6 is really not about the matter of unity, but about the matter of pride. Read again my previous post on this. 1 Cor. 4:6 is about pride and arrogance, and not about false teachings as a result of some special interpretations that others get and others did not.

Tomas:

INC and RCC don't consider themselves to be united, but in God's eyes they are united, because people from both churches are in God's own church. They do believe in the same Christ, that is Savior, that it is Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, etc. Sure some think he is God and others think that he is not God, but that is just what they think, in reality they can't know.
Concerning 1 Cor. 4:6, yes, it is a matter of not being proud, not thinking like I have a special interpretation from God while another Christian does not. We are all equal, none of us get special interpretations from God, we can't be infallible.

ME:

Well, if you believe that, in God's eyes, INC and RCC are united, even while in reality and practice, are hostile to each other, in that, one condemns the other, and says of each other as anti-Christ, then so be it for you then.

And while for you, you believe that you can't know if Christ is God or is not, that has nothing to do with their unity or disunity.

And we are all equal Tomas, whether one knows and understands much or less of what is revealed in scriptures. And sure we are not infallible in so many ways. But relative to 1 Cor.4:6, let me quote what Paul says in v.7 "For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?"

Tomas:

Well, I guess you don't feel united with either INC or RCC, since you dislike that they believe in the saving power of water baptism. But I believe that in spite of such dislike, in God's eyes, you are united with them, at least actually with the saved people in those denominations. Not with the unsaved. Still, I believe God loves all denominations that preach the gospel, no matter what percentage of members is saved in each. But only the saved are in the church.

As far as 1 Cor. 4:7, I am not sure how to understand it. Having something you did not receive, that looks like theft. But that does not seem to fit the rest of the verse. It looks to me like a very difficult verse. Maybe you have some idea of what it means.

ME:

For sure I could not feel united in the spirit with INC, much as I want to. How can I when their messiah is a man, named Jesus, while my Messiah is God, who incarnated, revealed in scriptures as to be the person of Jesus Christ.

Regarding 1 Cor. 4:7, the verse says "For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?"

There is nothing in there that speaks of having something one did not receive that looks like theft Tomas. I don't know what version you are reading. But I checked other versions, and found not one which speaks of such. So, I suggest you read it again.

As to what the verse means, is plain. You are intelligent and could easily understand what the verse means.

Tomas:

You say your Messiah is God, who incarnated. So then you too believe your Messiah is a man, even though you happen to believe he is both God and man. And you both believe he is revealed in scriptures as to be the person of Jesus Christ. So not much difference. Just a little difference in you having the theory he is God, while they have the theory that he is not God.

Regarding 1 Cor. 4:7, I guess sometimes intelligence is not enough. For example let's say you have a book. Now you have received the book, maybe from a bookstore, or from somebody. Or if you have not received the book, then I see no other choice except you stole it. With some objects there is a third choice, let's say you have an orange. You have received it, from a store or from somebody, or you stole it, or maybe you planted an orange tree years ago, and it had flowers, and the flowers got transformed into orange fruit. So now you have an orange. But with books, this third choice does not apply, you cannot grow books in your garden. So yes, the text looks plain, but the deep meaning behind it escapes me.

ME:

Ask the INC, I'm pretty sure, they'll tell you of a great deal of difference concerning this. Ask any Christian who believes that Christ is God, and they certainly would tell you a great deal of difference. If you don't see much of a difference, that I don't know why you do. Perhaps, there is really not much difference for you in Christ being God or not, or perhaps, because of your different perspective of the revelations about the person of God.

You said regarding 1 Cor. 4:7, "I guess sometimes intelligence is not enough". What then do you think it is you need more than intelligence?

As I said, there is nothing in 1 Cor.4:7 that speaks of having something one did not receive that looks like theft Tomas. So, I strongly suggest that you do away with such thought and move on and try to understand the verse.

1 Cor. 4:7, "For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?"

Tomas:

Of course INC considers this to be very important, so important it is necessary for salvation, John 17:3, that we believe Christ is not God. But I believe that is a misinterpretation of that verse. Sure the Father is the only true God, but this God could well include other persons.
Similarly some trinitarians believe it is necessary for salvation to believe Christ is God.
But I say we can't know, so God does not make a big deal of whether one believes Christ is God or not God. I am not saying it is unimportant to God, but it is not revealed to us, so God does not make it important to us.

Concerning 1 Cor. 4:7, I am stuck, clearly there is something you have thought of that I haven't. I mean, if you have a book, and you haven't received it, but you haven't stolen it, then how did you obtain it?

ME:

Not revealed to you, not us, Tomas. Nothing further.

Regarding 1 Cor.4:7, you have not answered my question relative to your statement "I guess sometimes intelligence is not enough". My question is "What then do you think it is you need more than intelligence?"

Now, you are so into the matter of having something one did not receive that looks like theft, for which I say, the verse does not speak about. I can't understand why you are so into that with regards 1 Cor. 4:7.

Let's take the statements in 1 Cor. 4:7, one by one.

First statement "For who makes you differ from another?". Is there anything about having something here? None.

Second statement "And what do you have that you did not receive?". Does this speak of something you have by theft?

Third statement "Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?". There is likewise nothing here that speaks of the matter you are so concerned about.

So, I suggest that you do away with such thought and move on and try to understand the verse instead.

Tomas:

I am sure trying to understand the verse. But I guess I need more insight, maybe you have thought of something I have not thought of.
So far I see only two possibilities of how to have something you have not received. One is by getting it by theft, another is by having grown it for yourself, like you might grow tomatoes or oranges etc. So maybe if you received a tomato, you can boast as if you have not received the tomato, but claim you have grown it yourself. That would be a sinful boast, it would be a lie.
I have thought of relating it to the previous verse, like if you claim you have a message from God that you did not receive. But then the third part would not make sense, who has received a message from God and boast as if he did not receive it? That would not make sense.
But if it is about growing food like tomatoes etc., then why does it follow verse 6, as if it is related to it? After all, verse 7 begins with 'for'. So I think I have not thought of something, I don't have enough imagination when dealing with this verse. Clearly you think you have it figured out, but you are not telling me what then is your interpretation.

ME:

1 Cor. 4:7
7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

You said "So far I see only two possibilities of how to have something you have not received".

I can't see why you have such a problem with regards to understanding the verse Tomas. The question "For who makes you differ from another?" can be understood from the context in v.6 , and far back even to chapter 1. And in relation to this, Paul asked the questions "And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?". Paul, by way of these questions, reminds the Corinthians that they were not intrinsically "superior" to anyone else, an attitude that judging others presupposes. That God had given them everything they had, and as a consequence, they should be grateful, not boastful.

Tomas:

OK, I see now better how you interpret it, and your interpretation seems to make sense. It is true, that whatever we have, is ultimately from God, regardless of who gave it to us. So like the Bible tells us, to receive food with thanksgiving, so clearly we should pray to God and thank him for the food, before we eat. Regardless of how we got the food, it is ultimately from God. Without him, the food would not exist and we would not exist.
So I guess, when Paul asked "And what do you have that you did not receive?", apparently Paul meant that we have nothing that we did not receive, since everything we have we received from God. So then in the next question, which confused me so much, Paul apparently meant by asking "Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?", he apparently meant, you did receive everything you have from God, so then why do you boast, as if you did not receive it from God, but it is your achievement? So you boast about your achievements, but really you are all equal before God, none of you is superior to others.
Yes, I had not thought of the issue of receiving everything we have from God. So I was thinking of things like receiving food from the store, etc. God was not mentioned in that verse, not explicitly. So I was really confused. But you have helped me to understand the verse much better, for which I am thankful to you.
So I now want to make sure, does my new understanding now agree totally with your understanding?

ME:

What Paul says there and meant in those verses is with regards to the mysteries of God, and it does not speak really of other things such as food and drink. These things Paul said, they received, from God who gave it. So, Paul reasoned, that if they indeed receive it, they should not boast as if they had not received it.

Tomas:

I see, so I have still misunderstood what you meant. Clearly you are going back to verse 1, which speaks of us having the mysteries of God.
Personally, I do not believe verse 1 can be connected with that. After all, Paul asks, "And what do you have that you did not receive?" That looks to me like a general question, if Paul were asking about receiving mysteries of God, then he would not have framed the question that way. So I think my current understanding is correct now, the answer to this question should be "we have nothing that we did not receive", with the implication that everything we have we have received from God.
Then the next question is "Now if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?" Even if this question were about receiving the mysteries of God, who on earth would possibly boast of not having received mysteries of God? It would not make sense. So I believe the correct interpretation is that about everything we have, if we did receive it from God, then why would we boast as if we had not received it from God? Meaning we could boast we made it ourselves, or grew it ourselves, give ourselves the credit, boast about it, rather than give the credit to God. Like for example Donald Trump boasts how successful he is, how much money he has made, rather than give the credit to God.

ME:

As I said, the question "For who makes you differ from another?" can be understood from the context in v.6 , and far back even to chapter 1. So, try going as far back to chapter 1 and read.

You said "Then the next question is "Now if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?" Even if this question were about receiving the mysteries of God, who on earth would possibly boast of not having received mysteries of God? It would not make sense".

Read 1 Cor.4:6-8
6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other. 7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

Why did Paul said what he said in verse 6, not to go beyond what is written, and being puffed up on behalf of one against the other? Try considering what Paul said in v.1-2 which goes "Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful". I hope you get what Paul is trying to say to the Corinthians at this point of his letter. It would be clearer still if you'll try to see what Paul was saying in the previous chapters.

Tomas:

The first three chapters of 1 Corinthians speak about various things, like about God, about Christ, about water baptism, about that we should not consider ourselves as belonging to one or another church leader, but to Christ. So that does not help me much. Then you are emphasizing 4:1-2, about us, or at least about the leaders of the church, as being stewards of the mysteries of God. It seems to me more likely that when Paul writes 'us', he means leaders like himself and Apollos. So that already makes it unlikely that verse 7 is talking about us having received the mysteries of God. But let's say what it would mean if it were about us having received the mysteries of God. Now if some received the mysteries, why would they boast as if they have not received the mysteries? Is it something to boast about, that one has not received the mysteries, even though one has really received the mysteries? That does not make sense. So that is why I think verse 7 is an independent thought, that all we have we have received from God, so since we have received it from God, we should not boast like that we have something that is our own accomplishment, not from God.

ME:

Try resolving this by trying to answer the question "Why did Paul said what he said in verse 6, not to go beyond what is written, and being puffed up on behalf of one against the other"?

Tomas:

He said it, so that we would not go beyond what is written in the Bible, or else we could end up puffed up on behalf of one against the other. That seems clear enough, but it does not seem connected with the thoughts of verse 7. So I think my interpretation of verse 7 seems correct.

ME:

And what is your take on what it is to be "puffed up on behalf of one against the other", in the context of not going beyond what is written in scriptures?

If in your opinion, verse 6 is not connected to verse 7, then that is your call. I would just have to respect that.

Tomas:

Sure, if we go beyond what is written, if we think we have some special inspiration from God telling us how to interpret verses, or we think we get visions from God, or dreams from God, with messages from God, then we could end up puffed up on behalf of us against the other Christians. We could end up proud, due to thinking we have this revelation or inspiration. And pride is a sin. Being puffed up means being proud.

ME:

I can see that we quite differ in our understanding of this. To exceed what is written in scriptures would be to go beyond the teaching of the Scriptures. If his readers avoided this pitfall, they would not be "puffed up on behalf of one against the other", that is, take pride in one of their teachers over another. Further, that is taking one as if superior over the other. And this is the very thing that Paul is trying to address the Corinthians here. So, in this regard, in v. 7 Paul reminded them that they were not intrinsically "superior" to anyone else, an attitude that judging others presupposes. God had given them everything they had. Consequently they should be grateful, not boastful. Going at the end of chapter 4, Paul warns them, "Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power".

You will notice, Paul made it clear there that some of them are puffed up, implying that, there were some who have gone beyond what is written, and have become arrogant. Do you have any idea as to how they have gone beyond what is written, that they are puffed up, becoming arrogant?

Tomas:

I suppose that based on the end of chapter 4, some were prophesying that Paul was not going to visit them again, even though they did not get this info from God, so it was not reliable. So they were puffed up, thinking they got special knowledge, that other Christians did not have, but they did not get any knowledge about it from God.

ME:

Some guess you have there. And by that, you take that to mean that some have gone beyond what is written and were puffed up, became full of pride and arrogant by that. Well....

As I have pointed out in my previous post, if his readers avoided this pitfall, of going beyond what is written, they would not be "puffed up on behalf of one against the other", that is, take pride in one of their teachers over another. Further, that is taking one as if superior over the other". I don't think that your guess would result into such.

Tomas:

I suppose your guess could be possibly valid, given the fact that Paul mentioned himself and Apollos, who were among their teachers, apparently their two most prominent teachers. Maybe Apollos himself became an apostle. Well, when we are resurrected, we will find out which guess was right, whether it had to do with their teachers, or with themselves alone, as I was guessing.

ME:

I am not even guessing Tomas. I'm just telling you what can be seen in the last part of verse 6 "...that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other".

Maybe Apollos himself became an apostle? What?

What ideas as to how they have gone beyond what is written, that they are puffed up, becoming arrogant, you have there Tomas. Apparently then, you really do not know what these scriptures here mean.

Well, as you said, you will just have to wait till your resurrection then.

Tomas:

No verse says that Apollos did not become an apostle, or that Paul supervised Apollos or anything like that. Barnabas became an apostle. Others seem mentioned as having become apostles. So why not Apollos?

ME:

And there perhaps you are going beyond what is written, for you reason now that there is no verse that says Apollos did not become an apostle, etc. I would suggest that you don't bother yourself with those beyond what is written, such as those you say here, which are not written.

Tomas:

OK, no need to speculate about whether Apollos became an apostle. We will find out after we are resurrected.

ME:

Yes, you can now refrain from speculating.
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