Man's 'Nature' as Stimuli to Obedience to the Law

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Heavenly Pilgrim, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    Ro 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves

    If man is born in sin due to a sinful nature and can only sin and that continually, how is it that the heathen Gentiles can do ‘by nature’ the things contained in the law? Can a sinful nature serve as stimuli to do the things contained in the law, or does such stimuli come from another source?
     
  2. grahame

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    If you read on to the next two verses I think it throws a bit of light on what the Apostle is saying.
    He is arguing that with God there is no respect of persons. Both the Jew and the gentile will be judged by the same law. Because whilst with the Law the Jews had it written on tablets of stone, the gentiles on the other hand have the law written in their hearts, or in their consciences.

    Therefore both Jew and gentile will be judged in a righteous manner in the day of judgement. Man knows instinctively the difference between good and bad. I think Richard Dawkins thought he was being clever by saying in his book that the notion of good and bad was around long before Christ. And therefore he concluded that Christ's message was not that remarkable.

    Trouble is Paul the apostle thought of it first just here. So Richard Dawkins is not that smart after all har har. For man was created that way and because he has a conscience he cannot escape the judgement of God by pleading ignorance.

    That what I think Paul is saying here. That both Jew and gentile are really on the same level when it comes to the judgement of God. For we read in the two verses before verse 15
    Notice that the verse that you quoted is half of that which is in a parenthesis. For it should read:
    Without the parenthesis it reads:
    So you see his argument? Both Jews and gentiles shall be judged in a righteous way by God at the last day. Because both are just the same morally even though the Jews have the law written on tablets of stone by God, the gentiles also have the law written in their hearts.

    The Jews may boast that they know the law of God. But if they do not do that law then they will be judged for not keeping that law. Yet if the gentiles do that law even though they have it not written down, nevertheless they have it written in their hearts. So it will act in the same way as the written law of the Jews, it will accuse or excuse them as to whether they obey it or reject it. They will be still be judged by God's law, there is no escaping it. That is I think what Paul is saying.
     
  3. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Make no mistake. What you say here is not all that is being argued. It clearly shows that man by nature is NOT necessitated to evil and that continually, even the heathen acting in accordance to the law of God at times.
     
  4. Johnv

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    I hate it when people verse-lift. All are judged by the law, and all are saved by grace.
     
  5. grahame

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    You've got it. That's it in a nutshell. You can't verse lift with the apostle Paul. It is a dangerous thing to do with his arguments, because they are full of parenthesis'. I know what Pilgrim has lifted is part of the parenthesis. But the parenthesis is there to STRENGTHEN the argument, not to add to it.
     
  6. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Who disagrees with your statement John? ( I am assuming that you are saying all that are saved are saved by grace and not assuming the position of universalism)
     
  7. billwald

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    >I hate it when people verse-lift. All are judged by the law, and all are saved by grace.

    All are saved by grace except for those the Bible specifically states are condemned e.g. Judas is not saved by grace but condemned by the law.
     
  8. grahame

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    Yes you are correct, they do. This is that which preserves the world from lawlessness. Man's inner consciousness of right and wrong. Richard Dawkins argues that man's sense of right and wrong was there long before Christianity. Thus demonstrating that there was nothing remarkable about Christ's teaching about loving your neighbour.

    His mistake is of course that the Bible teaches just that. Man does have an inner sense of right and wrong. Paul of course teaches that here. Which is what I said in the first instance.
    But the main teaching in this chapter is what I said. It is teaching that both Jew and Gentile are going to be judged in the same way. The Jew because he has God's Law written on tablets of stone and the Gentiles because they have God's Law written on their hearts, either accusing or excusing each other. Which is what I thought I said in the first instance. So yes I agree with you it is not all that is being taught here, as I said in the first instance.

    But the main teaching of the verse is to demonstrate that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile. Even if they do the law it still will not save them. Because if we offend in one part of the law we offend in all. In other words man wiil not be saved by the works of the law, but by grace alone. I also agree that the thoughts of mans heart is not evil continually, although at times in the history of man it was like that. As before the Genesis flood
    (Genesis 6:5)
     
  9. Tom Butler

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    Let me offer a slightly different view.

    The scriptures clearly say that everyone has the law written in their hearts. This explains part of Romans 2:14, which says "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do my nature the things contained in the law..."

    But let's read the rest of that verse "...these (Gentiles), having not the law, are a law unto themselves." I think this means that even those who have never heard the gospel and know nothing of Hebrew law, have developed a personal moral code of some kind. And their judgment will not be on how well they kept the Jewish law; it will be based on how well they lived up to their own moral code.

    And of course, none can live up to it, so they will admit that God is just in condemning them. They will also acknowledge that they ignored the evidence of God in his creation, so they'll have no excuse.

    In this instance, we cannot say that they will be condemned for rejecting the Christ, of whom they had never heard.
     
  10. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    I believe we are on the same page in your last post, and I do not disagree with your assessment of the main purpose of the passage in Romans. I am dealing with a slightly different emphasis than was Paul, as I know you are aware, yet what Paul had to say still clearly illustrates my point. No man is devoid of the working of the Spirit of God via conscience, unless the Holy Spirit is completely withdrawn. I am trying to point out that the notion that the notion that obedience to the law is impossible due to our nature, and that sin is some necessitated evil God plants within the soul from birth is a doctrine foreign to the Word of God, reason, and any viable conception of morality. If there was no other possibility that to sin, sin would be necessitated, an idea completely contrary to the very essence of sin. Sin is and must be voluntarily chosen as in opposition to benevolence, and if no contrary choice is possible no sin can exist. Sin, according to Scripture, is the willful transgression of a known commandment of God. Sin is not a contagion from birth.

    The nature of man is truly physically depraved within the realm of the sensibilities as a direct result of the fall, but physical depravity or a proclivity to sin, even as a formidable influence to sin as it obviously is, is not sin in and of itself. Neither does the presence of depraved sensibilities exclude the Spirit of God in some measure from also existing, again in some limited measure within the heart of man, influencing him to proper behavior, and to obedience to the law of God via the conscience.

    What I am trying to draw attention to is the absence of truth in the notion of total 'moral' depravity from birth, which mandates an absolute impossibility to do anything other than sin and that continually. I say again, if what we denote as ‘sin’ is in fact necessitated, to punish for sin would amount to the height of injustice. It is a first truth of reason that in order to be praised or blamed, one must have choice. Choice not to do as it wills in some robotic fashion, (as is often portrayed by the mere sophistic comment, i.e., “man is free to do as he wills”), and not freedom to will simply in light of a reward or punishment, but freedom to choose between two or more alternative intents. One must have some idea of the intrinsic value of the command for morality to be predicated of the formed intent and subsequent action. There is not a shred of freedom exiting in doing 'as one wills.' Man can ‘only’ do 'as one wills.' The relationship between the choosing of the intent and the doing is NOT one of freedom, but rather one of necessity. Freedom must lie in the choosing of the intents antecedent to the doing if it exists at all. If there is no true freedom to form an intent, (if there is no alternate choice of intent available) no sin, or righteousness for that matter, can be predicated of the ‘doing.’ Morality is absolutely impossible to conceive of in such necessitated instances.
     
    #10 Heavenly Pilgrim, Jan 9, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2010
  11. David Michael Harris

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    Heathen?

    Explain this.
     
  12. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    I do not know how to say it other than the Gentiles were heathen. They simply did not worship the True and Living God.
     
  13. grahame

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    I think I know what you mean. But just to be clear on the matter. Are you saying that we are not born with a sinful nature? Or do you mean that we are born without sin, meaning that a baby is born sinless and sin comes along later?
     
  14. billwald

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    >Ro 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves

    In other words, the law is hard wired into our brains even if we don't have it on paper thus civilized people can formulate a civilized law (no stealing, raping . . . ) which parallels the official Law.
     
  15. Jedi Knight

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    A favorate Pastor who went home to be with the Lord last year said, "Every man has enough truth in himself to condemn him,but does not have enough truth to save him untill he hears the gospel". The parabel of the talents illustrates this. If man supresses the light "truth" he already has he condemns himself,but if he crys out for more it will be given him.
     
  16. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: As I said before, if you are using the term sinful nature to depict inherited sin as is depicted by the term ‘original’ sin’, no, I do not believe we are born with original sin. Sin is absolutely impossible to conceive of in a moral sense, (blameworthy) apart from the choice to form the intent necessary to produce an action. The same would go for righteousness. We are not born originally righteous, neither were are first parents.

    Now if you are speaking of the word 'nature' as being something limited to the realm of the physical propensities, that serve as a proclivity or influence to sin, absolutely I believe we are born with a proclivity to sin. That is NOT sin in and of itself until we willingly without force or coercion yield our wills to that proclivity. “Jas 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

    No one can be born sinful or righteous. Both words denote a state of choice in the formation of intents antecedent to any actions, and as such impossible to conceive of until subsequent to the age of moral accountability. We are born with the capacity to become accountable and sin, and certainly are born with our sensibilities depraved, but we are not ‘born in or with sin.’
     
  17. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: I believe you said that very well. We must bear in mind that even if they keep the law in some points, all have transgressed it in some way. All are sinners and in need of the gospel. No amount of obedience to the law, having once sinned, is sufficient to atone for even the least of all sins. It takes repentance and faith in Christ to have righteousness placed on our account as a covering for our sins that are past.

    Ro 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

    It will take faithfulness to Him in obedience to the end to see our faith come to full fruition in the world yet to come.

    Mt 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
     
  18. grahame

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    Oh I see what you mean now. No, the proclivity to sin is not sin. Whether babies actually can or do sin is another question altogether. We are obviously born with the propensity to sin which is inherited from our father Adam. But whether a new born baby sins is something totally unrelated to the verse you quoted in Romans 2. For if we were born neither righteous or unrighteous we would have to ask why there are not sinless adults walking the earth? So we must be born with some bias or inclination to sin, or there would be those on the earth who do not need Christ. Even a baby needs Christ as it has inherited Adam's human nature which dies. Which began to die as soon as he sinned. For death is judgement even in those who have not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression.

    Christ came into the world not only to save sinners, but to conquer death for as in Adam all die. Although a new born baby has not sinned (supposedly, for only God is in the position to judge this) nevertheless it is still under the judgement of death. I personally do not believe a baby who does not yet know the difference between good and evil will be damned.

    but I read in the letter to the Romans 5:12-19
    But verse 19 is intriguing
    It seems to be saying that we are made sinners, thus militating against the idea that sin is a wilful act by us? Also if we are made sinners by Adams disobedience, Paul's argument naturally follows on in that many BE MADE righteous. In other words the fact that we are sinners is not our act, but Adam's in the same way our righteousness is not our act, but Christs.

    Also in Romans 7:14-15 we are faced with the same problem are we are by e not?
    In other words we are all bond slaves to sin and can do nothing else and this is what the apostle is lamenting. That whilst he desires to do good, yet somehow he is unable to do it. Even though he wills to do good nevertheless his carnal nature sins. It seems that sin is not always a wilful act, because it is so part of our natures.
     
    #18 grahame, Jan 9, 2010
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  19. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: You have me confused Grahame. Help me out here. What is sin and are babies capable of sinning? Can one inherit or be found guilty for the sin of another according to Scripture?

    HP: Help me understand your position better. What sinful nature did it take for 100% of those in the garden to sin? Where did the sinful nature that caused Satan’s rebellion and the host of angels that fell with him? You seem to be saying that we could not help ourselves from sinning and that sin is a necessitated state due to our sinful nature. Is God Just in your opinion? Does he hold men eternally responsible for a state they had no part in becoming? Would justice demand that one have the natural abilities to do something other than sin if they would be held eternally accountable for their actions? What does justice mean to you? When Scripture states that God is Just, what does that infer? Where does Scripture ever represent babies as needing Christ for salvation? Where do Scriptures state that babies inherit a sinful nature that necessitates them to sin and as such are born sinners?

    If we inherit Adam's sin, how could we not help being held guilty for the sins he comnmitted, which would be of th exact similtude of Adams sin, would it not? How can we be sinners due to a sin that we have never committed according to Scripture?



    HP:I wonder why Christians die? Any ideas? Since Christ has already conquered death, why do all men still have to die?
    This is way too long so I will quit here for now. If we can work our way through these problems we can tackle the rest later.
     
  20. grahame

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    Hello Heavenly Pilgrim. There are some things I guess that just aren't mentioned in Scripture. For instance why did God start the whole thing anyway? Why did he allow Satan to sin in the first place? For I believe a great deal of God's plan in Christ lies in eternity before the world began and even before he created the universe.

    We are told that those things that are revealed are for us, but the secret things belong to God. How can I answer whether a baby can sin or not? I just don't know. Neither can I say if God was just in starting the whole thing in the first place.

    What I do believe is that the scripture says that God is just and that he cannot himself sin. (Rom 3:26)
    (James 1:13)
    I think the scripture that I quoted from Romans chapter 7 is sufficient to show that ALL without exception need Christ in order to enter heaven. Even new born babes. Obviously they cannot consciously exercise saving faith. So probably, I say probably because there is no scripture to say if I'm right. But I believe God, from who's love Christ came into the world has provided a way for their salvation. But it still remains that in Adam all die.

    A demonstration of God's love and mercy can be found in the book of Jonah. Remember Jonah was commanded to go to Nineveh to deliver the message that Neneveh was to be destroyed. Jonah ran away and you know the rest of the story.

    But when finally he obeyed God and preached in the streets of Nineveh, they all repented from the king downward. Jonah was displeased and you remember he sat under a gourd and waited to see if God would destroy them or not.

    Remember his words to God when God made the gourd to die? (Jonah 4:9)
    Remember God's answer to him? (Jonah 4:10)
    Who were these people who could not descern between their right hand or their left hand? Probably not only children and babies, but also those`who are mentally ill? What I am trying to illustrate is that although we perform our scriptural acrobatics in order to prove this and that pet belief we have about God (I'm not referring to you, but generally speaking) We tend to forget that God is full of tender mercies towards us. For we read that Christ came into the world to save it, not to condemn it.

    I therefore believe that He most assuredly thought of all these difficult questions that vex us long before we did. For our salvation was worked out in the eternal counsels of God long before man appeared on the earth.

    Why do Christians die if we have been born again and Christ has already conquered death? Well I think the best answer I can give is the answer the apostle gave in his epistle to the Christians at Rome (Romans 8:10)
    You see as Christians we still have our sinful nature, I think I had already referred to this in the verses I quoted from Romans? Remember what Paul said?
    (Rom 7:34)
    The illustration is taken it is believed from the Roman punishment of chaining a dead body to the victim and they were forced to live their lives dragging this dead body around, thus hindering them from living their lives freely.

    The Christian is in the same position in regard to their sinful nature. We must live in this sinful decaying body until our glorious resurrection
    (Philippians 3:21)

    See also 1 Corinthians 15:50-57
    John puts it in this way
    (1 John 3:2)


    I hope this explains things to you concerning these matters Heavenly Pilgrim. There will be things to vex us and things hard to be understood. But let the last word be with Paul the apostle from the end of that last passage we read
     
    #20 grahame, Jan 10, 2010
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