1/28/2007

THE EASIEST RELATIONSHIP YOU WILL EVER ENJOY

I left this comment at a friends blog, and I thought I'd share it with you, because to me, this marks the truth of my life, and understanding it is the beginning of freedom and salvation for me. Maybe it might help you, too.

"You are right; it is about relationship. But you don't need to do anything to experience that relationship because He lives within you, and all of your experiences include Him. He is not the needy, clinging God that Churches make Him out to be. What He desired, He did on his own, by welcoming himself into your life. That wasn't a choice you, or any of us made. I guess my advice would be to relax, and every so often, remember God, because try as hard as you might, when you have to force yourself to "spend time with God", you're missing the beauty and freedom of the truth, which is; God is ALWAYS with you, and you don't have to go anywhere, or do anything special to be with Him. "

Just be, and you have already done what you set out to do. Just be, and already, he is with you, and you are with him. Relationships don't get easier than that.

6 comments:

Jonathan said...

anhbHi Tom,

I am just a little curious, if I may, about your perspective about relationship with God, salvation and the role of Jesus Christ.

Would you consider yourself a 'universalist' or do you believe that right relationship with God can only be through individual faith in the work of Jesus on the cross.

I've been wanting ask for a while now since coming to your blog because of your intro paragraph under your blog title. This post just reminded me to do it.

Regards,

Jonathan

Tom Reindl said...

Jonathan,

That's a fair question. I am not sure really what I would be defined as, but I'll tell you what I believe. The work of Jesus Christ was 100 % successful. Now I suppose I could start listing off verse after verse that proves my belief, but I'm not going to do that. I'm just going to say that every person has been reconciled to God, redeemed, if you will. I am going to say that "faith in the work of Christ on the cross" isn't enough, because none of us knows how much faith one would need to redeem oneself; also, the idea of redeeming oneself seems to me a bit impossible.

If our faith is required for there to be a reconciliation between us and God, then our faith is a required "work" , yet Paul was implicit as he states repeatedly that it is not by works, but by grace. If grace implies that we have been given something we couldn't do for ourselves, then our "faith" had nothing to do with our reemption. The faith that is required is perfect faith, and therefore, only the faith that belonged to Jesus Christ was required, and he imparted that faith to each one of us, without partiality.

That's what I believe. Thanks for asking.

What do you believe?

Jonathan said...

Just trying to be quick here (kids in shower...), but I will list the Bible references I miss later, if you wish:

Yes, Jesus work was effective, but not universal. His work was for everyone and everyone can be saved, but not everyone is if they reject Christ.

I believe that the New Testament is very clear that we (every individual) make a choice about Jesus and that there are those that are saved and those that are lost. "Whosoever believes" (John 3:16 and others), "if you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart, you will be saved", (next one is a loose paraphrase about when Jesus was overlooking Jerusalem) "oh that you have let me save you, but you would not", etc.

Like Jesus said to Nicodemus, "You must be born again."

And I guess now, I answer the question more direct: I believe that to be saved (sins forgiven) and have right relationship with God the Father, we must believe in Jesus Christ, confess or proclaim Him as Lord and be baptized by (or have 'the deposit' of) the Holy Spirit. i.e. "born again".

Isn't there an awful lot of teaching, discipline, rebuke and admonishment in the New Testament, written by Paul and other Apostles after what Jesus accomplished on the cross? Wouldn't that be wasteful if everyone was saved by Jesus' work, whether they knew it or not, whether they believed it or not?

I of course, am not simplistic to believe that you will read my profound response (sarcasm) and think, "Duh, he must be right."

May I be so bold to ask if you attend a church and if you do, which one (or what are their 'statements of faith', if you prefer)?

If I may recommend some interesting reading: C.S. Lewis' book, "The Great Divorce" comes to mind (which I've read) and "Mere Christianity" (which I haven't read, but mean to!).

This is of course aside from really digging into reading through the New Testament.

Peace my friend,

Jonathan

Cliff said...

Tom, I loved your comment about relationship with God. Tim King and Frank Martin have a book out called "Furious Pursuit" where they go into to detail about how God pursues us with a passion and love that will not be dennied. What a great feeling to know we our all loved that much.

Tom Reindl said...

Jonathan,

Don't worry about references, I've read the book so many times I don't even bother with verses anymore. We aren't going to redeem ourselves by knowing more verses or pointing out how many times our belief is supported in the bible.


"Yes, Jesus work was effective, but not universal. His work was for everyone and everyone can be saved, but not everyone is if they reject Christ."

I guess that's where we will differ, because I believe God didn't leave the choice up to us. After all, how can I ever know if I believe enough? How can anyone really know? The moment we think we know what kind of faith redeems, we will always be reminded that God's ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts, and therefore, anything we think we know about what kind of faith redeems could be wrong...unless it isn't our faith that redeems at all.

There is one statement that shows up both in the Old Testament and the New, and it is a stateent of both prophecy and hope. "One day every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess you as Lord".
Which, for a long time I viewed as God's threat to the heathens, but I now see as a promise of hope even for those who don't believe, because it is my understanding that it directly answers "if you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart, you will be saved". If every person will one day bow their knee and confess with their lips, then to me, that means everyone is redeemed.

I once believed as you did Jonathan, and I know you are a good man who cares deeply about others. But for my part, understanding that one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess is a promise of universal redemption, and I tried for a long time to get around that, but it's just impossible. Once I embraced that, everything else started making more sense.

You are right, we aren't going to convince each other, and that's okay. These things don't rest on human understanding, and we should all be thankful they don't. I am just glad to be given the opportunity to know fine people such as you.

SteveW said...

Love your heart of grace Tom and the warm acceptance you show to others.