“8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10
“The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” – Psalm 14:2-3
Nothing makes me squirm more than these statements: “I’m a good person,” “You’re a good person,” and “He’s a good person.”
This is a way of saying that you like someone, or that you look up to them, but the literal phrasing, “good person,” is an oxymoron as far as humans are concerned.
We may claim to be seeking God, but often we don’t wish to find Him. We may hope to be wise, but not if it means being holy. We may donate to charity, hug a child, or excel at our jobs, but these things are often done not out of totally selfless love but out of pride, guilt, or fear – wanting to believe we’re “not like those other guys,” that we can somehow “make up” for past mistakes, or that our good deeds will keep us from punishment.
These are selfish reasons to be good. Martin Luther languished in guilt because, despite his overwhelming determination to be the best monk he could be, he knew that none of his deeds were performed with a happy heart. He wasn’t alone – it’s essentially impossible to find anyone whose motivations are completely pure. How often do you see someone sacrifice their needs, desires, and possessions without any hope of personal gain or satisfaction? How often do you perform anonymous, selfless acts of love for strangers and enemies?
I know it’s never my first choice for the weekend.
We are God’s creation, and God called His creation “very good” (Gen. 1:31). But since creation, humanity has fallen into sin. Selfless love still exists, and selfless actions do occur, but these things are “by grace… through faith… not from yourselves… the gift of God… not by works, that no man may boast”; rather, “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works…” (Ephesians 2:8,9, emphasis added).
I can’t call myself a good person, but that doesn’t condemn me to hopelessness, and it doesn’t excuse a sinful lifestyle. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, I can do what is impossible with man, for as Jesus Himself said, “With God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26), and Paul echoed, “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus … I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 1:6, 4:13).
When we finally acknowledge how corrupt and sinful our hearts are, we try everything to change ourselves outwardly – charity, education, health, etc – but only God can change us inwardly and make us righteous.
“Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.” – Genesis 15:6
“… ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” – Zechariah 4:6
“…Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight, declares the Lord.” – Jeremiah 9:23-24
In the violent storm that is this world, I am daily secured by the fact that there is literally nothing that can separate anyone from being loved by God (Romans 8:34-39).
For someone to love me as much as Jesus did, I really want to meet Him.
To meet Him, I have to love Him.
To love Him, I have to believe Him (Ephesians 2:8, John 3:16-17) and follow Him (John 14:15).
I’m absolutely shaken by the immeasurable void I see in the hearts of mankind. Mostly because when I see it, I know I’ve had a taste. I also have the knowledge, from experience, of the only thing that can fill such a void. It’s an immeasurable hole which can only be filled by an immeasurable God.
Jesus was at the beginning of my story, and at the climax of my battle, and will be with me to the end (Isaiah 41:10). He didn’t wait for me to have it all together. Christ just stretched out His arms, crushed sin and death together, and said “come.”
Christ beat everything I couldn’t to give me what I needed: Himself (1 Corinthians 10:13). Forever (Ephesians 2:6-7).
What I’ve learned is that you can believe in Christ and still be empty because you do not know Him, and He doesn’t know you (Matthew 7:21-23). OR you can go, follow, let it cost you anything or everything (Romans 8:18-23) and be more full than you ever were alone (Deuteronomy 31:6)
The choice is yours, but the life you walk into is similar to the life you’re living now in this: it is something you must choose again daily (Luke 9:23).
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”
Compared with Buddhism, Christianity has several distinguishing features that show that it deserves consideration.
First, while both Christianity and Buddhism have an historical central figure, namely Jesus and Buddha, only Jesus is shown to have risen from the dead. Many people in history have been wise teachers. Many have started religious movements. Siddhartha Guatama, the historical Buddha also called Sakyamuni, stands out among them for having special wisdom and a profound philosophy of life. But Jesus also stands out, and He has confirmed His spiritual teachings with a test that only divine power could pass. Jesus’ body of teachings is confirmed by the death and resurrection of His literal body—a fact which He prophesied and fulfilled in Himself (Matthew 16:21;20:18-19;Mark 8:31;1Luke 9:22;John 20-21;1 Corinthians 15). Jesus deserves special consideration.
Second, the Christian Scriptures are historically outstanding, deserving serious consideration. One could even say that the history of the Bible is so compelling that to doubt the Bible is to doubt history itself since the Bible is the most historically verifiable book of all antiquity. The only book more historically verifiable than the Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible) is the New Testament. Consider the following:
1) More manuscripts exist for the New Testament than for any other of antiquity—5,000 ancient Greek manuscripts, 24,000 in all including other languages. The multiplicity of manuscripts allows for a tremendous research base by which we can test the texts against each other and identify what the originals said.
2) The manuscripts of the New Testament are closer in age to the originals than are any other document of antiquity. All of the originals were written within the time of the contemporaries (eyewitnesses), in the first century A.D., and we currently have parts of manuscript dating back to A.D. 125. Whole book copies surface by A.D. 200, and the complete New Testament can be found dating back to A.D. 250. Having all the books of the New Testament initially written within the times of eyewitnesses means that the books did not have time to devolve into myth and folklore. Plus, their truth claims were held accountable by members of the Church who, as personal witnesses to the events, could check the facts.
3) The New Testament documents are more accurate than any other of antiquity. John R. Robinson inHonest to Godreports that the New Testament documents are 99.9 percent accurate (most accurate of any complete antique book). Bruce Metzger, an expert in the Greek New Testament, suggests a more modest 99.5 percent.
Third, Christian ethics has a stronger foundation than Buddhist ethics. Christian ethics is founded in the personal character of God. God is personal and moral. His nature is good, and therefore all actions which align with His goodness are actually good. Whatever departs from His goodness is actually evil. For Buddhists, however, ultimate reality is not understood as personal. But morality by its very nature requires personality. To illustrate, consider the morality of a rock. One does not blame a rock for being used in a murder since it is not a person with moral duties. Rather, the moral duty lies with the person who used that rock for evil purposes. Buddhism lacks the personal framework for moral duty. With Buddhism, karma is the framework for morality. But karma is impersonal. It is akin to a law of nature. Breaking a karmic “rule” is not intrinsically evil. There seems to be no significant difference between error (non-moral mistakes) and sin (moral wrongdoing).
Furthermore, many Buddhists even assert that the dualities of “good” and “evil” ultimately break down. “Good” and “evil” would be part ofmaya, the illusory world of sensory reality. The categories of morality are not grand enough to map onto ultimate reality, and enlightened individuals will see that good and evil blur into one. But such a position means that ultimate reality would not be “good.” It wouldn’t be “evil” either, but then what assurance exists that “ultimate reality” is even a worthwhile pursuit? And what grounds would there be for living a morally good life as opposed to an amoral life without regard for moral distinctions, or an inactive life avoiding moral choices as much as possible? If Buddhism asserts that reality is not ultimately personal and the distinctions between good and evil are not actually real, then Buddhism does not have a true foundation for ethics. Christianity, on the other hand, can point to the character of God as personally founding morality and providing a basis to distinguish good from evil.
Fourth, Christianity rightly appreciates “desire.” Buddhist ethics seems to have a core difficulty at this point. Sakyamuni taught thattanha, “desire” or “attachment,” is the root of suffering and is to be dissolved. But some admittedly good things are based on the idea of desire. Love, for example, is “to desire the good of another” (John 15:13;1 John 4:7-12). One could not even love unless one had a degree of attachment in desiring someone else’s well-being. In contrast, Christianity teaches that desire is good when it is properly directed. Paul urges Christians to “desire the greater gifts” of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:31;14:1). In the Psalms, we see pictures of worshipers longing for and desiring fellowship with God (Psalm 42:1-2;84). And, of course, God does not simply act loving, He is love (1 John 4:9;Psalm 136;John 3:16). Sacrificing desire altogether seems to throw out the proverbial baby (love) with the dirty bathwater (suffering).
Fifth is the question “What do you do with your sin?” Buddhism has at least two ideas of sin. Sin is sometimes understood as ignorance. It is sinful if one does not see or understanding reality as Buddhism defines it. However, in Buddhism, there is still an idea of moral error termed “sin.” To do something deliberately evil, to break a spiritual or earthly law, or to desire wrong things, these would be identifiable sins. But, this latter definition of sin points to a kind of moral error that requires real atonement. From where can atonement rise? Can atonement come by adherence to karmic principles? Karma is impersonal and amoral. One could do good works to even the balance, but one cannot ever dispose of sin. Karma does not even provide a context whereby moral error is even moral. Whom have we offended if we sin in private? Karma does not care one way or the other because karma is not a person. Can atonement come by prayer or devotion to a Bodhisattva or a Buddha? Even if those characters could offer forgiveness, it seems like sin would still be left unpaid. They would forgive sin showing it to be excusable; it is not a big deal.
Christianity, on the other hand, has the only adequate theological view of sin. In Christianity sin is moral error. Ever since Adam, humans have been sinful creatures. Sin is real. And it sets an infinite gap between man and bliss. Sin demands justice. But it cannot be “balanced out” with an equal or greater amount of good works. If someone has ten times more good works than bad works, then he or she still has bad works on the conscience. What happens to these remaining bad works? Are they just forgiven as if they were not a big deal in the first place? Are they permitted into bliss? Are they mere illusions thus leaving no problem whatsoever? None of these options are suitable.
Concerning illusion, sin is too real to us to be explained away as illusion. Concerning our sinfulness, when we are honest with ourselves we all know that we have sinned. Concerning forgiveness, to simply forgive sin at no cost treats sin like it is not of much consequence even though we know that to be false. Concerning bliss, bliss is not much good if sin keeps getting smuggled in. It seems like the scales of karma leave us with sin on our hearts and bliss either cannot tolerate us, or it must cease being perfect so that we can come in.
Christianity has an answer for sin. No sin goes unpunished, but the punishment has already been satisfied in Christ’s personal sacrifice on the cross. God became man, lived a perfect life, and died the death that we deserved. He was crucified on our behalf, a substitute for us, and a covering, or atonement, for our sins. Furthermore, He was resurrected, proving that not even death could conquer Him. He promises the same resurrection unto eternal life for all who put their faith in Him as their only Lord and Savior (Romans 3:10,23;6:23;8:12;10:9-10;Ephesians 2:8-9;Philippians 3:21).
This is no “easy believism” where God, like a janitor, just cleans up all our mistakes. Rather, this is a life-long commitment where we take on a new nature and begin a new relationship with God Himself (Romans 6:1;Ephesians 2:1-10). When a person really believes God is who He says He is in the Bible, and really believes God did what He says He did in the Bible, and a person puts his or her life on that belief—that person is transformed. He becomes a new creation by the power of God (2 Corinthians 5:17). You cannot stay the same once you have that belief. One could just as easily continue reading the morning paper after realizing his house was on fire. That knowledge (the house is on fire) motivates action and changes your life (stop reading the paper and do something about the fire).
Nor is Jesus simply an answer among many others. All the world’s religions have some level of truth in them, but ultimately, Jesus is the only answer to the human condition. Meditation, works, prayer—none of these can make us worthy of the infinite and eternal gift of heaven. None of these can undo the sin we’ve done. Only when Christ pays our sin debt and we place our faith in Him can we be saved. Only then is sin covered, hope assured, and life filled with eternal meaning.
Finally, it is only in Christianity that we can know that we are saved. We do not have to rely on some fleeting experience, nor do we rely on our own good works or fervent meditation. Nor do we put our faith in a false god whom we are trying to “believe-into-existence.” We have a living and true God, an historically anchored faith, an abiding and testable revelation of God (Scripture), and a guaranteed home in heaven with God.
So, what does this mean for you? Jesus is the ultimate reality! Jesus is the perfect sacrifice for your sins. God offers all of us forgiveness and salvation if we will simply receive His gift to us (John 1:12), believing Jesus to be the Savior who laid down His life for us, His friends. If you place your trust in Jesus as your Savior, you will have absolute assurance of eternal life in heaven. God will forgive your sins, cleanse your soul, renew your spirit, give you abundant life in this world, and eternal life in the next world. How can we reject such a precious gift? How can we turn our backs on God who loved us enough to sacrifice Himself for us?
Okay! Here’s the first chapter of that Gravity Falls Transcendence AU fic I’ve been working on! It focuses on the time period right after the Transcendence, and on the twin’s relationship with their parents.
The second chapter is written, but not edited, and won’t be posted until the third chapter is about that far along, which should still be soon :) It’s looking like this’ll be about 3 or 4 chapters, though that statement sorta has the ring of famous last words, so no guarantees :P
(Oh, and don’t worry about that intro bible quote- this isn’t going to be a fic about children learning to obey their parents- quite the opposite, mostly. I was just looking up quotes for the title, and the context was so relevant I couldn’t help but throw it in.)
can u make a seventeen version of ‘their reaction when their son gives them an attitude when theyre scolding them’? (that would be me lmao)
admin k: on a side note, i can’t wait for seventeen’s fanmeet here in auckland! is anyone else here from new zealand that’s going? i’m so keen for the photo op or hi touch bc goddamn jeonghan in person would slay me
“No, you’re not hearing what I’m saying! I’m not saying this because I’m trying to be mean, I’m saying this because I just want to look out for you!”
The “I’m trying to relate to you and continue to be the cool dad but at the end of the day all it is is me caring about you so don’t act like this” kind of dad.
“No, that’s final. Drop the attitude. My house, my rules, boy.”
The “I’m not taking anymore of your shit” kind of dad.
“Did I raise you to disrespect your father like this? Did I raise you to be a disobedient child? ”
The “recitesEphesians chapter 6 verses 2 to 3 and Proverbs chapter 10 verse 1“ dad.
“Alright, listen here. I’m not tolerating anymore of your attitude, do you hear me? Go to your room.”
The “I’m in charge here, what I say goes, and I say we’re done here” kind of dad.
“Do you want me to fix your ears for you? Or are you just not processing what I’m saying?”
The “I’m slowly getting angry but I’m going to hold it in because you’re young and it’s kind of my fault you’re like this” kind of dad.
The “what did I do to deserve this?” kind of dad who zones out when he realises that nothing he’s saying is getting through his son’s head.
"What? Did you just say that to me?”
The “lower yourself, being taller than me doesn’t mean you have authority in this house” kind of dad who would probably pull his son down lower than his height so he could scold him properly.
The “you’re giving me such a big headache right now, I don’t want to deal with this” kind of dad.
“Oh, okay, I see how it is now! I raise you and care for you all these years and you want to be like this with me! Okay! Cool!” (note:omg pls let me know if this isn’t mingyu bc i’m rlly doubting myself rn)
The “tries to guilt trip his son by recalling every single thing he has ever done for him, from being Santa when he was little to crediting his sperm with his creation” kind of dad.
“Really? Are you really going to make both of our lives difficult by being a brat?”
The “I’m trying to eat right now, come back later” kind of dad.
“Hmm? Sorry, what was that?”
The “bitch I don’t care if you’re my son, fight me” kind of dad who eyes his son out until he gives up and retreats.
The “raises his voice to get his point across” kind of dad.
The “is taken aback by his son’s attitude that he forgets what he was saying” kind of dad.
We were not called to be like Jesus just figuratively. God’s purpose is that we be like Jesus in every way possible. He became man to prove that this is possible.
We will be changed, we will live forever (1 Corinthians 15:51). Hebrews says that he is sat down at the right hand of the throne of God, and we will be seated together with Him (Ephesians 2:6). In 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 says that we will judge the world and the angels with him.
Do not think that belief in God and his salvation through Jesus will just bring you a little place in heaven, God’s purpose for our lives is far greater. Our responsabilities are too.
Hello, could you write a passage about the Mormons as you did the Jehovah's Witnesses please?
We didn’t write it :) sources at the bottom!
Although Mormons profess to be Christians and say they believe the Word of God, there are many of their beliefs that contradict Christianity. In fact, Mormonism can be referred to as a cult, which can be defined as “a religious group that denies one or more of the fundamentals of biblical truth.” Mormons say they are Christians, but because they reject foundational truths from the God’s Word, they are not.
Joseph Smith, who referred to himself as “The Prophet,” founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the mid-1800s. He claimed to have seen a vision of God the Father and God the Son, in which they denounced modern Christianity and appointed Smith to reveal and restore “true” Christianity (Articles of Faith, p. 182–185). Three years later, Smith alleged that the angel Moroni told him about some golden plates on which the Book of Mormon was written. In spite of Smith’s questionable background and proclivity toward bending the truth (see The Origin, Rise, and Progress of Mormonism, New York, 1861; and Mormonism Unveiled, Painesville, Ohio, 1834), many believed Smith, and a new “religion” was born. Today, the members of the Mormon Church number in the millions.
The Book of Mormon is purported to be a new revelation, one that Mormons say is part of the new covenant to Israel and “another witness” to the truth of the Bible (History of the Church 4:461, 8th Article of Faith). Aside from the many theological conflicts with the Bible and historical and archeological fact, the writing of the Book of Mormon was shrouded in mystery and false claims. For example, Joseph Smith and his associates asserted that one Professor Charles Anthony of Columbia University verified the Egyptian characters on the golden plates. However, this same professor wrote a rebuttal letter soon after, saying that he never did any such thing and had, in fact, found the characters to be a hoax. In addition, many verses in the Mormon scriptures have been changed over the years, as the church leaders attempt to cover up something embarrassing in their past and to defend themselves against criticism. These facts alone are enough to cast much doubt on the veracity of the Book of Mormon.
One of the many areas in which Mormons fall short of saving faith is their belief that God is merely an exalted man who earned his position by good works (Mormon Doctrine, p. 321; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345). This directly contradicts the Bible, which states that God has existed in His position as God of the universe from eternity past (Revelation 1:8; 1 Timothy 1:17; 6:15–16; Psalm 102:24–27). God was never a man (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Hosea 11:9) and is the holy and powerful Creator of all things (Genesis 1;Psalm 24:1; Isaiah 37:16). Mormons also believe that they themselves can attain the status of gods in the afterlife through their works here on earth (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345–354). However, no man can ever become like God (1 Samuel 2:2; Isaiah 43:10–11; 44:6; 45:21–22), despite what the serpent told Eve in the garden (Genesis 3:5).
Mormons also believe that Jesus was a god, but not God Himself (Mormon Doctrine, p. 547; Articles of Faith, p. 35; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 372). It is essential to Christian faith that Jesus is one with God and that He is God’s only begotten Son who became flesh (John 1:1, 14; John 3:16). Only Jesus’ oneness with God would have allowed Him to live a sinless, blameless life (Hebrews 7:26). And only Jesus Christ was able to pay the price for our sins by His death on the cross (Romans 4:25; Acts 4:12).
Those who follow the Mormon faith also believe that they can attain heaven through works (Doctrine and Covenants 58:42–43; 2 Nephi 9:23–24; Alma 34:30–35; Articles of Faith, p.92). While they claim faith in Christ, they also rely on following the commandments of the Mormon Church (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p 188;Mormon Doctrine, p. 670) and practicing good works (2 Nephi 25:23; Alma 11:37) in order to achieve salvation. The Bible is very clear on this point, stating that good works can never earn the way to heaven (Romans 11:6;Ephesians 2:8–9; Titus 3:5) and that faith in Jesus Christ alone is the only way to salvation (John 10:9; 11:25;14:6; Acts 4:12). Salvation by grace is incompatible with salvation by human works (Romans 11:6).
Sadly, many in the Mormon Church are unaware of the religion’s shady past, amended scriptures, and even the full doctrine of their church. Many Mormons who have discovered these things have left the church and come to a true saving faith in Jesus Christ. As Christians, we must treat Mormons with love and understand that they are among those deceived by Satan himself (1 Peter 5:8). Satan’s goal is to distort the truth, produce false assurance of salvation, and extend a deceptive hope of godhood (2 Corinthians 4:4).
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.