Signs That You Love God

Roosh

Cardinal
Orthodox
Originally posted on RooshV.com

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The book that has convicted me more than any other is What God Has Done For Our Salvation by St. Nikodim of the Holy Mountain, more commonly known as St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite, a prolific saint who produced many written works. His words made a direct impact on the many odorous parts remaining in my soul, igniting a desire to serve God more faithfully and obediently. Below are my favorite quotes from this slim book, starting with a list of items to check your love for God.

8 signs that you love God​

There are eight signs by which you may learn whether or not you love God as you should. You truly love God if…

1) you love Him freely, and not because you are compelled to;

2) you keep His commandments;

3) you love Him from your whole heart, loving nothing so much as you love God;

4) you frequently recall His name, as says Gregory the Theologian: “Those who greatly love someone remember even the name of their beloved with pleasures;”

5) you shed abundant tears when you remember the name of God, as says St. Isaac: “The custom of love is to shed tears at the remembrance of the beloved;”

6) during prayer your mind easily leaves all the cares of the world and cleaves only to remembrance of God and to love for Him, feeling internal sweetness and peace surpassing all sweetness and all peace, and the more time you spend in prayer standing before God, the greater your love is for Him;

7) you rejoice when you endure reviling for the love for God and for the fulfillment of His commandments; and

8) your love for God is not defeated by anything else…

The dangers of pride​

Pride is a mindless lust which, when it has possessed a man, suggests to him the idea that he is better than he actually is, and that other people think the same of him as he does. Thus, one who is proud thinks of no one but himself. As a spider sits in the center of its web, so he also puts himself at the center of everything. And as a spider spins the web out of itself, so also one who is proud, whenever he thinks or does anything, considers himself the source of everything.

[…]

Pride and Christ cannot be present simultaneously in the heart of a Christian: where the one is the Other will not be, and vice versa. It is for this reason that the Lord said to the Pharisees that they, in seeking the glory of men from one another, became unworthy of believing in Him: “How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?” (John 5:44) From these words you may understand that as soon as glory enters into the soul of a man, faith immediately disappears. How terrible a thing it is that the man who despises the law of God and loves temporal glory instead will be eternally tormented!

[…]

If we think that we can heal ourselves of pride, this is itself the utmost pride. The only way to be healed of pride is to turn to the Lord, and say together with the prophet David: “Let not the foot of pride come against me” (Ps. 35:12). That is to say: O Lord, do not allow accursed pride to set foot on the ground of my soul.

[…]

If you are proud, you will be punished as a thief who has stolen the glory of God, for He Himself said these words: “I will not give My glory to another” (Isa. 42:8). How destitute you are, O prideful man! Try to find something good that you have done by your own powers. Try, and you will shame yourself, for everything good that you have, you received from God.

[…]

Come to your senses, therefore: examine your inner world, and if you find traces of pride in your heart, strive to wipe them out. Do not condemn a single sinner who is proud of himself, for you yourself know that one who is wicked now can change in a moment, like the thief in the Gospel, and you yourself, though good now, can suddenly turn evil, as occurred with Judas. Indeed, condemnation itself is already a manifestation of pride.

The ease at which we fall into sin​

There is no evil that we have not committed. We have only not done that which we could not, or for which there was not opportune time: the evil that we were able to do, we did. Our whole will, given to us by God that we might strive toward Him, the fullness of all good things, we have used to house within ourselves all the loathsome things of the world. With what incredible ease we have turned from God—as though neither divine nor natural law meant anything to us!

Even for the evils we cannot do, we imagine committing them in our minds to nonetheless receive pleasure from the possibility of one day committing the evil.

Neglecting God​

God created us out of nothing, yet we neglect Him as though He were nothing. In place of God we give preference to our bodies, which are in no way different from rotting stumps. God gave us His life that we might give Him ours also, crucifying our passions and not aggravating His wounds by our sins, as the Apostle Paul also says: “They crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame” (Heb. 6:6).

Do not laugh too much​

How can we say that our inappropriate laughter is not contrary to the will of God, when our Lord, who became man, not only never laughed, but, in addition to the fact that He wept four times, in His teaching said: “Woe unto you that laugh now! For ye shall mourn and weep” (Luke 6:25). Basil the Great, in his canons for monks, prescribed a week of excommunication for laughter, inappropriate conversations, or joking words: “If anyone should make jokes or laugh inappropriately, let him be excommunicated for one week.”

Westerners are addicted to humor and making jokes. If you want an American to strike you, simply state that Lord Jesus Christ didn’t make any jokes and that it is not an essential human activity that we need to do or should be vigorously participating in. They will then go on to justify their incessant irreverence and man-pleasing so that their “humor” is rewarded with laughter, dopamine, and social value. I make jokes, more than I should, not because I see value in them, but because I require the temporal rewards of attention and validation due to my human weakness.

There is no such thing as a “little” sin​

Let us likewise think about the multitude of evils that “little” sins introduce into our souls. As illness weakens the body, so little sins remove every good work from our soul and weaken it, destroying the virtues that vouchsafe a man the fragrance of holiness. Every sin, even if it seems little, separates us from the fruits of the spiritual life, sets us apart from the Holy Mysteries, and hinders our unification with the Master Christ, as the prophet Isaiah also says: “Your iniquities separate between you and God” (Isaiah 59:2). Every little, forgivable sin makes our soul grow cold in love, kills piety, dries up tears of compunction, extinguishes repentance, and prevents the grace of Christ from coming to dwell within us. However, there is still greater evil: when, due to little sins, we easily move onto grave, mortal sins, which completely destroy the unhappy man. These sins make powerless the good habits of the soul, and hinder one from receiving help from God.

I see my “small” sins as an early warning system. If suddenly I’m having negative thoughts against my neighbor, or judging my mother, I know that a demon is not far, and he’s “priming the pump” to pave the way for me to commit a bigger sin. Stop his evil scheme right then and there by turning away from the little transgressions.

Are you engaged in spiritual warfare?​

O glorious code of war! In earthly wars the soldiers do battle, while the king remains in a safe place; in spiritual warfare the first to enter the battle is the King, the soldiers following after Him.

What, now, must you do when you are called to this war? You see that the war is short, and the victory and rest following it—eternal. You see that the foes whom Jesus desires to overcome are more your foes than His, since Him they are unable to depose from His kingdom, but you they can, if you do not overcome them. Thus, arise and resolve firmly to unswervingly follow after the Lord, to imitate Him in everything, and to undergo everything necessary to please Him. When you become close to Him you will find great happiness therein.

Two deadly traps of Satan​

The devil sets many different traps to catch human souls and urge them on to their destruction. Two of these are idleness and preoccupation. Both idleness, in which a man sits and rots from laziness, and preoccupation, in which a man is constantly occupied with a hundred different things, are obstacles to salvation. Many Christian sit in idleness for days at a time—they walk the streets of the city, tell each other various bits of news, and discuss the people walking by. If they do go to church, it is only because they have nothing else to do. Thus they spend day after day without any benefit to themselves.

[…]

Working with one’s hands strengthens the body and makes it sound, while laziness and idleness make it weak, sluggish, and sickly. The most-wise Sirach rightly wrote: “Much evil is learned from idleness.” This we see in actual fact: There are fewer passions and less slyness in one who works, while one who remains idle is often possessed by ferocious passions.

The humbling labors of Lord Jesus Christ​

What a wondrous thing! The Master of all, to Whom all things heavenly and earthly submit, Who created all His creations free, humbled Himself to the point of serving men and working whole days for them. The Wisdom that established heaven and earth, and enlightened the human intellect that it might create various arts and trades, humbled Himself to the point of doing rude and difficult work. The Wisdom that with astonishing artistry created heaven and earth, and inspired human thought for the creation of different arts, humbled Himself to the point of engaging in the most humble of these.

It was truly amazing to see Him Who holds the whole world in the palm of His hand rising early in the morning, taking a basket of tools, and going from one task to the next, covered with sweat in the summer and freezing with cold in the winter, and returning home in the evening, weary from work. He Who by His Spirit feeds all that lives, not only animals but even the plants, and fills them with every blessing (“[Thou] fillest every living thing with Thy favor”—Ps. 144:16), worked from morning until night for the wages He needs. The human mind is incapable of comprehending this! No tongue can describe it! At the sight of this the blood runs cold from amazement. Thus, the words which the Lord said were justified: “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister” (Matt. 20:28).

Do you truly love God?​

Your heart is so hardened that not only do you not weep when you hear the sweetest and most beloved name of God—you do not soften even a little when you see God nailed to the Cross and shedding His blood. When you stand in prayer your mind cleaves to every vain and worldly thing; it is here, there, anywhere but on the words of the prayer. If you do stand for a little while in prayer, you quickly become weary and despondent. Behold how little you love God: no sooner do you feel the slightest discomfort than you turn back and forget your former high ideas.

[…]

How hardhearted you are, preferring creation to the Creator! The easy yoke of the Lord (“My yoke is easy, and my burden is light”—Matt. 11:30) seems burdensome to you, and you consider your captivity freedom. Remove the heavy cloak of darkness and deception from your mind, and learn that there is no freedom other than that which comes from submitting yourself to God and committing yourself to the will of the Heavenly Father…

You praise others in vain​

Those who [give you praise and glory] likewise give it in vain. These do not know that you are sinful and wretched inside; they see only your exterior. What glory can they give you other than the glory that one might give to a beautiful coffin, which is decorated on the outside with inscriptions and epitaphs, but inside is filled with stench and decay, as the Lord said: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness” (Matt. 23:27). The glory of the world is also vain because it can never compare with heavenly glory. The existence of this whole vulgar world is a mere instant in comparison with eternity. Its glory is vain because it quickly disappears. In comparison with eternity our whole life is less than a heartbeat, less than the blink of an eye, less than an instant.

[…]

People praise you for your beauty, but your true charms are hidden beneath your exterior—just as manure is hidden by snow in the winter. Your beauty is short-lived, like snow, and in the end, “when a man is dead, he shall inherit creeping things, beasts, and worms” (Eccl. 10:11). If you open any tomb you will be amazed at the falseness of the glory of this world, and that such glory, despite the fact that it is nothing, is so greatly desired in the eyes of foolish people!

I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again: if you give me a compliment, it is processed by my ears and then I forcefully eject it from my mind and soul. I may thank you for your compliment to be polite, but I immediately brace my soul to be on guard of any prideful thoughts that may follow. If someone were to compliment me incessantly, I have no choice but to turn away from them. If I’ve done a good thing that you’ve received spiritual value from, thank God because he was its sole originator.

“I’ll be a Christian later”​

In all the world there is no tradesman mindless enough to throw all his good into the sea and hope that they will return to him. There are Christians, however, who are quite ready to lose their purity of soul and the grace of God—the greatest gifts He has given them—and hope to receive these heavenly gifts back again; i.e., that their former purity will return to them as soon as they make confession. These unhappy ones, though bound by the chains of hell, think that they can cast them off at any time they choose. They walk before the Morning Star, who holds in His hand the keys to their souls, and think that they can freely leave him at any time. I will not describe this delusion further, for it is not new to man.

[…]

Great is the harm that sinners inflict upon themselves, expecting to repent in the future, since they sin without shame or fear, and thereby sink still deeper and deeper into the filthy, polluted mire of sin, in the muck of which not even pigs would wallow. They bring harm upon themselves in that they become indifferent to their salvation and begin to despise the commandments of God, as Solomon said: “When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt” (Prov. 18:3). When they reach the final degree of wickedness, their mind becomes darkened, their hearts harden, and they never again think of their sins. Some of these not only treat their sins with indifference, but even boast of them as though they were great deeds: as Solomon says, they “rejoice in evils, and delight in wicked perverseness” (Prov. 2:14).

A similar delusion is when a man says, “I’m going to focus on work and get rich so that I can donate it to God later in life.” What the man is really saying is: “I will worship Mammon with all my heart and soul, become attached to worldly things, tightly grip my hands around money until they become arthritic claws, and then I will foolishly attempt to time my repentance upon old age by giving away a tiny fraction of the wealth I accumulated.”

Idle thoughts and chatter​

The thoughts of idle people are an unbroken chain of gossip and condemnation. The more a lazy person neglects his own affairs, the more zealous and industrious he is in discussing the affairs of others. The less he likes to work, the more he enjoys talking with people, which, after all, requires no effort. He can spend whole days in condemnation—even if he is quiet for a short time he soon resumes his foul conversations.

[…]

If you do not like it when you are talking with a friend and he does not listen to you, but instead keeps asking unrelated questions, how can you wish for God to speak to your heart when there is nothing in it but hundreds of empty thoughts?

Repent before it’s too late​

…the time that God has given us in which to acquire Paradise is as precious as Paradise itself.

Do you now understand the value of the time that the Lord has given us in which to transform our lives? When death suddenly overtake you, you will search for yet a moment more, but will find none.

The love God has for us​

How much the Lord has done for us, enduring for the sake of our salvation a multitude of torments and offenses! Upon seeing this every mind is amazed and every tongue is silenced. The Son of Man had only to say a single word to His Heavenly Father, and help would immediately have come to Him. Instead, however, He desired to free us from the power of darkness, shedding His precious and divine Blood. How can we thank Him for having sacrificed Himself so that we might live forever? Could God have given us anything more than the sacrifice on the Cross, offered by the incarnate Word of God? Has God really required much of us by instructing us to keep His commandments? Of course not. Let us repent, therefore, of our ingratitude toward the God of love. Let us commit ourselves to Him, since He has created us and saved us at such cost. With humility let us ask Him that He burn up the whole of our ingratitude with the fire of His love, so that His love might shine in us and so that we might love nothing in this world so much as Him. Let us no longer offend Him with our sins, but rather let us serve Him with our whole heart, saying with David: “O Lord, I am Thy servant!” (Ps. 15:7).

I did not share the harder sayings from this book because I know that there are many non-Orthodox who read me and I don’t want to expose them to teachings they are not spiritually prepared for, but perhaps no one is ready to be told that their love of God is quite pathetic and that they are attached to the world more than they realize, but for some of us, including me, these are the words one must read. What God Has Done For Our Salvation is less than 100 pages, and can be read in only a few hours, but its potency may be unsurpassed out of all other Orthodox texts I’ve encountered. As if taking a cold shower, it has invigorated me and opened up my heart to know how much more I could be doing to serve the Lord God.

Learn More: What God Has Done For Our Salvation on Amazon
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John777

 
Banned
Protestant
This was another excellent article, Roosh, and I ordered the book. Thank you for the recommendation and excerpts.

One part that stuck out to me was about laughter.

I remember being at a museum once and reading about some primitive culture, I think the Aztecs in ancient Mexico. The surname of the ruling class was "Moctezuma," meaning (I think) "He Frowns Like A Lord." In other words, laughter and joking are servile behaviors, not befitting a leader. I have noticed this attitude in Mexicans I've worked with (although obviously modern Mexicans are not all Aztecs) where there is no smiling or even eye contact or speech expected. In many cases those would be considered stupid and unmasculine when working. It is a very healthy and refreshing work environment for me since that is how I naturally operate when focused on a task. Basically the opposite of the modern corporate "working" environment, but I digress.

This also reminds me of a saying I read from one of the Desert Fathers who said "if we feel like laughing, we should remember we are feasting on charity." That usually sobers me up when I feel like making a dumb comment or stupid joke. Is that how I should behave at the banquet given to me by my Lord, which I do not deserve? Obviously I should be humble and gracious, not vulgar. I think that is what it meant when the Lord asked the man at His feast, "how did you get in here without a wedding garment?" before throwing him forever into the outer darkness.
 

Roosh

Cardinal
Orthodox
That's the first time I've ever heard that laughter might be a problem. I admit that I joke around a lot. Does this mean that Christians shouldn't engage with meme culture?
I haven't encounter any writings of the Saints, both ancient or modern, that stated humor in spoken or image form aids with salvation. In their writing you do not encounter any humor. The only humor I encounter in the Church are priests who share a clean joke or two in their sermons, but many don't share any jokes at all.
 

Kentucky Gent

Robin
Catholic
I haven't encounter any writings of the Saints, both ancient or modern, that stated humor in spoken or image form aids with salvation. In their writing you do not encounter any humor. The only humor I encounter in the Church are priests who share a clean joke or two in their sermons, but many don't share any jokes at all.
The last time I read Acts of the Apostles, I laughed at 3 or 4 things in there. I assumed St. Luke meant them to be funny, but maybe it's just me, and other people wouldn't laugh.

I am not saying St. Luke believed written humor to be an aid to salvation; I'm just saying he might have a sensor of humor and let it show up in his writing.
 

Aboulia

Kingfisher
Orthodox
That's the first time I've ever heard that laughter might be a problem. I admit that I joke around a lot. Does this mean that Christians shouldn't engage with meme culture?

Think of what happens, and how it occurs, Laughter is an involuntary action, an inability to hold one's composure., it's the gateway of breaking things down, as if you can laugh about it, it becomes hard to take it seriously. That's how sitcoms have slowly broken down morality. There are instances when it's used for positive ends, like Elijah mocking the prophets of Baal, and in the modern day memes to mock satanic MSM narratives.
 

John777

 
Banned
Protestant
Same here. St. Nicodemus wrote "...our Lord, who became man, not only never laughed, ..."

I am exceedingly skeptical of this assertion. Our Lord was fully human just as we are, and I've never known of a baby or small child who never laughed.

Laughing out of happiness and joy is pure and clean, in my mind.

I think the point is not to forget God, to not make a stupid or pointless comment in front of God. After all, men will be judged for every idle word they speak.
 

Diocletian

Woodpecker
Catholic
3) you love Him from your whole heart, loving nothing so much as you love God;

This is something I have difficulty with, maybe having that love but not knowing if it is whole and total. This (imperfect) return to Christianity has definitely given me some gifts—in Scripture Christ heals not only the sick in body but also those who are sick in the mind, and I have experienced that. It really is wondrous.

I try to be thankful, I say the words in my prayers, but how do I know that I have really crossed that threshold from mere thankfulness to “love from your whole heart?” Is the intellectual realization that these gifts have bettered my life, along with the commitment to persevere with what I must to do continue enjoying them, a sign of that whole-hearted love? Is it purely emotional? It certainly is a struggle at times since I’m not a particularly emotional person.
 

aguy01

Sparrow
Orthodox
"St. Nikodim (Nikodemos) was one of the main figures in the monastic revival on Mt. Athos in the second half of the eighteenth century. He is perhaps best known as the compiler of "The Philokalia" and the author of "Unseen Warfare.""

That is a highly impressive resume. Definitely purchasing this one at $4.95.
 

fortyfive

Kingfisher
Other Christian
From all persons I know, God has the best sense of humor. No wonder, He is perfection. I have to laugh even now when recalling many situations in which I found myself, that were clearly orchestrated by God.

His jokes or funny situations are just different than humans, that's why many people can't recognize them. He is not making fun of someone or mocking others as we people do. Only the devil and people are putting others down by using jokes.

God's humor is never hurting anyone. The person concerned must laugh at himself when acknowledging in what funny situation God placed him.
But that position is actually good for him and sometimes incredibly funny too.

Many of God's jokes didn't seem like jokes at all when things were happening to me, but later did I get it and have to laugh during the realization of how God shaped time, space, and the universe so that things could happen to my blessing.

There is no one like God.
 

John777

 
Banned
Protestant
From all persons I know, God has the best sense of humor. No wonder, He is perfection. I have to laugh even now when recalling many situations in which I found myself, that were clearly orchestrated by God.

His jokes or funny situations are just different than humans, that's why many people can't recognize them. He is not making fun of someone or mocking others as we people do. Only the devil and people are putting others down by using jokes.

God's humor is never hurting anyone. The person concerned must laugh at himself when acknowledging in what funny situation God placed him.
But that position is actually good for him and sometimes incredibly funny too.

Many of God's jokes didn't seem like jokes at all when things were happening to me, but later did I get it and have to laugh during the realization of how God shaped time, space, and the universe so that things could happen to my blessing.

There is no one like God.

There are a few places in scripture where God laughs. I think laughter is something, like anger, which man cannot experience righteously. Only God can. We should not laugh when we are justly sitting on death row because of our sin, requiring pardon from the Judge. Only God the perfect One should laugh at anything, and what other response could there be to people who so stubbornly rejected His every mercy, and followed the way of Satan? After they purposely persecuted and killed God's people, when they are finally judged, what other fitting response could there be from the Judge? To mourn over their demise would be out of line with the righteousness of the judgment. The Lord takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that he should turn from his way and live. But for those who in the end reject Him, what else can He do but laugh?

From Proverbs 1,
Because I have called and you refused to listen,
have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
because you have ignored all my counsel
and would have none of my reproof,
I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when terror strikes you,
when terror strikes you like a storm
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish come upon you.
Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
would have none of my counsel
and despised all my reproof,
therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
and have their fill of their own devices.
For the simple are killed by their turning away,
and the complacency of fools destroys them;
but whoever listens to me will dwell secure
and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”

And from the 2nd Psalm,
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”
 

Kentucky Gent

Robin
Catholic
This is something I have difficulty with, maybe having that love but not knowing if it is whole and total. This (imperfect) return to Christianity has definitely given me some gifts—in Scripture Christ heals not only the sick in body but also those who are sick in the mind, and I have experienced that. It really is wondrous.

I try to be thankful, I say the words in my prayers, but how do I know that I have really crossed that threshold from mere thankfulness to “love from your whole heart?” Is the intellectual realization that these gifts have bettered my life, along with the commitment to persevere with what I must to do continue enjoying them, a sign of that whole-hearted love? Is it purely emotional? It certainly is a struggle at times since I’m not a particularly emotional person.
Brother, from my own experience, all I can say is that it seems to me that holy scripture and holy tradition teaches us salvation is a process.

Not a one-time event, not once saved/always saved as the heterodox believers claim.

All I can say with certitude is that I've tried to cooperate with God's grace, and He has rewarded me for that with spiritual growth. Thanks be to God. I hope I have posted in all humility.
 

John777

 
Banned
Protestant
Brother, from my own experience, all I can say is that it seems to me that holy scripture and holy tradition teaches us salvation is a process.

Not a one-time event, not once saved/always saved as the heterodox believers claim.

All I can say with certitude is that I've tried to cooperate with God's grace, and He has rewarded me for that with spiritual growth. Thanks be to God. I hope I have posted in all humility.

I think the once saved/always saved misunderstanding comes from wrong-mindedness in reading from John 10,
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand."

I think this is often taken by modern Protestants to mean one can pray a "salvation prayer" and then Jesus will just "accept you as you are" regardless of whether you make any effort to rid your life of sin.

I think it's obvious when taking the Bible as a whole, looking at tradition, and basic common sense, God requires us to strive toward perfection and constantly be mindful of how we are falling short, rather than proudly congratulating ourselves about anything. After all Jesus' first message to mankind when He returned from temptation in the desert was "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand".

Also I don't think the original Protestants were quite so flippant in their attitude toward God. I'm talking about the Puritan, "he who does not work does not eat" types I am descended from.

We fall into complacency if we think God will save us every time we purposely tempt Him. That should be basic common sense.

From John 6,
Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.

Clearly those chosen by God are still free to reject and betray Him.
 

Trewolla

 
Banned
Protestant
I think the once saved/always saved misunderstanding comes from wrong-mindedness in reading from John 10,
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand."

I think this is often taken by modern Protestants to mean one can pray a "salvation prayer" and then Jesus will just "accept you as you are" regardless of whether you make any effort to rid your life of sin.

I think it's obvious when taking the Bible as a whole, looking at tradition, and basic common sense, God requires us to strive toward perfection and constantly be mindful of how we are falling short, rather than proudly congratulating ourselves about anything. After all Jesus' first message to mankind when He returned from temptation in the desert was "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand".

Also I don't think the original Protestants were quite so flippant in their attitude toward God. I'm talking about the Puritan, "he who does not work does not eat" types I am descended from.

We fall into complacency if we think God will save us every time we purposely tempt Him. That should be basic common sense.

From John 6,
Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.

Clearly those chosen by God are still free to reject and betray Him.
I'm kind of on the fence on the subject. I don't believe a person can lose their salvation from the occasional faltering that all humans are subject to.

I do, however believe that a person can throw their salvation away.
 

John777

 
Banned
Protestant
I'm kind of on the fence on the subject. I don't believe a person can lose their salvation from the occasional faltering that all humans are subject to.

I do, however believe that a person can throw their salvation away.

I would agree. I think that's the reason for classic Protestant doctrines like Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints, the idea being that God's power upholds you from losing your salvation. This gives us comfort when sin seems to be getting the upper hand, because as long as some part of us recognizes the sin and is fighting against it, seeking God, then we know He will not abandon us.

In my opinion those are good doctrines when understood with right-mindedness. It means God will use a combination of discipline, grace, undeserved gifts, and circumstances to direct you toward Him, giving you a will to do better and follow Him. And, if you are seeking Him, you know you will win in the end by His power, because He cannot lose you. But like Judas we have the freedom to throw away the gift.
 

prisonplanet

Robin
Other Christian
I'm kind of on the fence on the subject. I don't believe a person can lose their salvation from the occasional faltering that all humans are subject to.

I do, however believe that a person can throw their salvation away.

But Jesus said the gift was eternal life, not life until you mess up. If Jesus gives someone eternal life and they don't get eternal life, does that not make Jesus a liar?
 

Trewolla

 
Banned
Protestant
But Jesus said the gift was eternal life, not life until you mess up. If Jesus gives someone eternal life and they don't get eternal life, does that not make Jesus a liar?
You can argue that, I suppose. But if you indicate that you no longer want God in your life, I doubt that he's going to twist your arm.
 

prisonplanet

Robin
Other Christian
You can argue that, I suppose. But if you indicate that you no longer want God in your life, I doubt that he's going to twist your arm.

Titus 1:2 says God cannot lie, which would also mean that we can't do anything to make God a liar. So if the exchange occurs (Jesus gives eternal life to someone), then according to Scripture it sure would seem that a person cannot do anything to change their salvation, i.e., they couldn't go to Hell even if they desperately wanted to.
On a side, I got a temporary ban a while back for salvation related discussion so I'm hoping these aren't my last posts on the forum.
 
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