Can a Non-Believer Live a Moral Life?


#73

What makes generally speaking neutral action either good or evil is the motivation behind such actions. Jesus shows that so-called non-believers are rightfully recompensed when they fulfill a righteous action…

Clearly, those rendering assistance are NOT believers but are favourably motivated by or towards those who are, and in so doing reflect a righteous motivation that Jesus says will not fall short of reward.

So, can a non-believer live a moral life? — unquestionably!!


#74

In these scriptures a single act is spoken of, not an entire moral or immoral life. The word “unbeliever” is not mentioned.

God’s power can certainly move an unbeliever to do a single act of kindness for someone who “belongs to Christ”.

Also by God’s power a donkey spoke in human language. That didn’t change the donkeys’ nature from being totally donkey.

“Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam…” (Num.22:28)

"30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”

This says the donkey spoke, not that the Lord spoke through the donkey. Do you conclude donkeys can speak in human language when they choose to exercise their free will?


#75

lhim.org/blog/2014/02/06/three-a … depravity/

Total Depravity advocates would say that the doctrine is not a new one based on old gnosticism, but an even older one based on the Bible.

As to the claim that none of the church fathers believed in it, a total of only 5 quotes are given from 5 ECF. These are alleged English renderings that fail to provide any book or chapter references, & are without any Greek text to see if they are correctly translated.

Total Depravity advocates base their belief on the God-inspired Scriptures. Not on the traditions of fallible fallen errant humans such as the “church fathers”, who contradict each other.

Total Depravity advocates do not believe Scripture is trumped by human opinion. They do not agree with those Christians who think human Traditions are equal to, or above, God’s Scriptures or the ultimate interpreter of them.

Inasmuch as the Reformed(Calvinist) churches, as the Reformation, are Sola Scriptura & Sola Fide [not sola pope or sola tradition] they don’t care what the Church Fathers teach, rejecting teachings based on Tradition alone - such as transubstantiation, purgatory, mariology, LFW, etc - as being unbiblical. Clearly the Church Fathers of the first 500 years had many strange, and unscriptural, ideas. And it only got worse after that.

gotquestions.org/Mariolatry.html
u-s-history.com/pages/h1136.html
puritanboard.com/threads/ea … ion.37047/
christianbook.com/gospel-ac … escription

According to a certain English translation(s) a number of individuals called Early Church Fathers appear to have believed in Libertarian Free Will (LFW). Whether these translations are accurate, how interpolated the originals are, or influenced by the doctrine of reserve, is difficult to say.
Pretending to believe in LFW would have been a perfect candidate for the doctrine of reserve. And it is well known that many of the ECF
writings have been altered. tentmaker.org/books/prevailing/upd4.html

Secondly, there are Total Depravity advocates who disagree with the historical claims quoted above:

apuritansmind.com/arminianis … h-fathers/

John Gill, Calvinism & early church fathers, with Greek texts in his “Cause of God and Truth":
books.google.ca/books?id=Dsw8AA … &q&f=false
grace-ebooks.com/library/John%20 … %20The.pdf
books.google.ca/books?id=6UlBQw … &q&f=false

Thirdly, that “man has the power to choose good or evil” does not affirm libertarian free will any more than dogs who have the power to choose between trees to piss on, which is controlled by their nature, heredity, & the forces of their environment.

Fourth, the author makes a number of other comments in his “Argument #1”, but doesn’t document evidence for any of them either.


#76

Single or multiple acts of kindness typically reflect the goodness that lays within (Mt 12:35)… AND such a simple heart-felt act was in nowise cavalierly dismissed by Jesus (unlike yourself) to the point where he himself said such an act would be rewarded. The fact that such as “whoever gives…” was NOT a believer is OBVIOUS from Jesus’ OWN WORDS. It’s easier to take Jesus at his word… he knew what he was talking about, no contest!


#77

“Total Depravity advocates” are also “fallible fallen errant humans” who “base their belief” on their own INTERPRETATION of “the God-inspired Scriptures.”


#78

So well put. When everything finally ends,… God will let us know - what was a “correct” and “incorrect”, interpretation of scripture. For now, I say pick something that’s either popular or “resonates with you” - and run with it. :laughing:

But - for someone who “apparently” doesn’t believe in total depravity… He or she, is going out of their way - to “sell” it. :laughing:


#79

As I see it, this is the very essence of salvation—to be delivered from our wrongdoing:
As the angel said to Joseph:

Now I know that “His people” may at that time have directly referred to Israel. However, Jesus did save many Israelites of the day from their sins. But “His people” soon included Gentiles who entrusted themselves to Him, also, since:

So everyone who “believes” (that is entrusts himself to Jesus), everyone who “calls upon Him” becomes on of “His people.”

Each of them is in the process of being saved or delivered from their SIN (not merely delivered from hell as so many believe). This is a life-long process, a process in which the non-Christian is uninvolved. The latter can do various works of righteousness from time to time, by his own choice.
The Christian can appropriate by faith the enabling grace of God (made available by Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection). Thus the apostle Paul writes to Titus 2:11-15

Notice Paul wrote that:

  1. The grace of God has appeared for the salvation of ALL people.
  2. That grace TRAINS us to renounce impiety and worldly passions.
  3. That grace TRAINS us to live sensible, righteous, and pious lives in the present age.
  4. Jesus gave Himself to redeem us from all lawlessness.
  5. Jesus gave Himself to purify for Himself a people of His own who are ZEALOUS for good works.

If these could come about through self-effort and choice alone without being trained by the enabling grace of God, then Jesus’ death would have been unnecessary. I cannot explain why Jesus’ death provides this enabling grace, but Paul states unequivocally that it does.


#80

:smiley: Good one, Don!


#81

Are hobbies “worldly passions”?


#82

I gave the Calvinist Got Questions site response - via another forum thread:

Should a Christian have hobbies?

Let’s examine a sentence, on what they say:

Now I like to watch Zombie, Science Fiction, superhero and horror, TV shows and movies. But I also talk part in an Anglican, conservative charismatic church. And watch Christian TV shows, like the Roman Catholic EWTN station, or TV evangelist Joel Osteen. I would say I am in balance, between hobbies and Christian activities.


#83

Mk 9:41 says they do the deed “in My name”, that is, in Jesus name. In Phil.2:9-11 that is associated with salvation, therefore belief, not unbelief.


#84

Yes, but Sola Scriptura advocates are going to the Source, not blindly trusting pontiffs or others who may not even be using Scripture to arrive at their conclusions. Who relies on Scripture more, your average Calvinist or your average Catholic?


#85

Bollox & blasphemy from the link above:

Nonsense. One can be fully human without being a sinner, depraved or fallen. Before the fall Adam was none of those. So Christ could be fully human like Adam was before the fall. In fact in Scripture Christ is callled the last Adam (1 Cor.15:45) & the second man. Those in Christ are called a “new creation”.

Depravity is not part of the God created human nature, but like an infection which has invaded it, like when a person with the flu has been invaded by germs. Depravity affects the human mind, emotion, will, etc.

Also, Christ could not be the Mediator & a pataker of the fallen human nature. He had to be a spotless Lamb. See:

carm.org/did-jesus-have-sin-nat … ians-teach

Furthermore, if Christ had to be the same as humans, all of whom have sinned & come short of the glory of God (Rom.3:23), then He would have been required to be a sinner. But Christ was no sinner & to suggest otherwise is blasphemy.

Wrong again. He was made “like” fallen humans, not exactly the same:

“ὁμοιωθῆναι] is not: “to be made the same or equal” (Bleek, de Wette, Ebrard, Bisping, Delitzsch, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 33; Alford, Maier, Moll, Kurtz, al.), but expresses, as always, the notion of resemblance. Christ was in all things similar to men, His brethren, inasmuch as He had assumed a truly human nature; He was distinguished from them, however, by His absolute sinlessness. Comp. Hebrews 4:15.” biblehub.com/commentaries/hebrews/2-17.htm

“The emphasis in Hebrews is on Jesus’ “likeness in every way” to humans, that is, his full humanity as opposed to an angelic nature, which could not suffer (2:14-16)” (Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & NT Words", 2006, p.410).

Heb.2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

Christ’s brethren were not made exactly the same as Him. They were not born of a virgin. They were not conceived as Christ was, whose Father was God, but concieved via the sperm of fallen sinful human fathers.

biblehub.com/greek/3666.htm
blueletterbible.org/lang/le … ongs=g3666

That is the same error made earlier, confusing being “like” with being the “exact same way”. See:

biblehub.com/greek/3665.htm

New American Standard Bible
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
King James Bible
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
American Standard Version
For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Douay-Rheims Bible
For we have not a high priest, who can not have compassion on our infirmities: but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin.
Darby Bible Translation
For we have not a high priest not able to sympathise with our infirmities, but tempted in all things in like manner, sin apart.
English Revised Version
For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Also Jesus temptations did not originate from being dragged away by personaly owned lusts (evil passionate desires) enticing from within (Js.1:14), but from Satan outside of Him (Matthew 4:1-11).

Wrong again. Adam was tempted without having a fallen human nature. And that claim that Christ had a fallen human nature is blasphemy and a heresy taught by Christadelphians:

carm.org/did-jesus-have-sin-nat … ians-teach
epm.org/blog/2013/Aug/26/jesus-sin-nature


#86

Origen, Davo is not “wrong” about all of these matters:

Philippians 2:

Prior to His incarnation, Jesus was IN THE FORM OF GOD. Do you think that means He wasn’t truly divine, but only in the FORM of God?
However, He did not “grasp” or hold onto His divinity, but EMPTIED HIMSELF. Yes, He emptied Himself of all his divine attributes. While He lived on this earth He was FULLY human. He could do no miracles. Every miracle attributed to Him was performed by the Father THROUGH Him.

While the Son of God lived on the earth as a man, He was NOT “fully God” and “fully man” as so many affirm. Rather He was FULLY HUMAN, and had no supernatural powers at all apart from the indwelling presence of His Father. Thus as a complete human being, He was the example of what a human being can do when in total relationship with the Father. Yes, the Father is able to perform miracles through such a person.

There was only one aspect of His pre-existent state that Jesus retained, and that was His identity as the Son of God.


#87

Origen said:

Can you explain this?


#88

Wrong about…what?

I was responding to specific quotes from the linked article, not davo who merely gave a general thumbs up to it.

The article assumes an “orthodox Christian” view of Christ’s humanity.


#89

If this is about Christ’s human nature, i cannot explain it, except to say it’s mysterious, as many things are.


#90

I’m wondering about this myself because here Origen says

Furthermore,

Logically speaking, if man became totally depraved via the sperm of sinful human fathers, then to be righteous, we must be conceived via the sperm of a righteous man. Yet, Jesus had no biological children.

So, is sin like the flu or does it come via the sperm??? :astonished: :confused:


#91

Well once again you dismiss the reality of Mk 9:41 due to that dirty little thing you can’t manage called CONTEXT… it makes Jesus’ words all too clear, something you continue to muddy.

You clearly MISS Jesus’ comparison from this where HE in vs. 41 differentiates between the “whosoever” and “because YOU belong to Christ” i.e., the “us” of the previous verses — there’s your CLEAR distinction between the two. The right heart attitude of the disciples themselves course was missing (at that time) in not recognising… the potential for the unbeliever of today becoming the believer of tomorrow; Jesus was challenging their own contentious self-righteous spirit.

Further, “in the name of” is similarly understood in the sense of… on the grounds of or… by virtue of them being as per the likes of the prophet or even righteous man, as per Mt 10:41. Not only that but there is further biblical evidence that ‘claiming the name’ was no sure-fire identifier of a “believer”; just look at this here with regards the SAME “in Jesus’ name”…

Well we know what happened to those Judaic exorcists… “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about… but WHO are you?!” And what happened… they got roundly beat up — hope you’re not thinking this was being persecuted “for the faith”? Along a similar vein you might likewise consider the “Lord, Lord didn’t we… in your name” of Mt 7:22.

Also… I think you’ll find the “every knee” of Phil 2 most universalists would contend such is inclusive of unbelievers who then by the nature of events in confession become believers.


#92

LLC said :

H,m go for it LLC :laughing: