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Author Topic: Can we really "earn" our way into heaven?  (Read 965 times) Average Rating: 0
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neon_knights
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« on: July 09, 2011, 03:18:46 AM »

I was recently watching a video of an Orthodox teacher, and he was saying that the goal of this life is to "earn" paradise in the next.

The video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u13y__BCI60&feature=share

I find this very confusing. Is it really possible to "earn" heaven? Doesn't Paul teach that entry into heaven is a free gift from God?
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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2011, 03:31:58 AM »

I was recently watching a video of an Orthodox teacher, and he was saying that the goal of this life is to "earn" paradise in the next.

The video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u13y__BCI60&feature=share

I find this very confusing. Is it really possible to "earn" heaven? Doesn't Paul teach that entry into heaven is a free gift from God?

St. Paul encourages us to "run the race."

Who mentioned that we should pile up treasures in heaven?
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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2011, 06:10:30 AM »

We don't earn a place in heaven.  However, we do have to cooperate with the grace that we are given.  Salvation is not a matter of grace alone (that's Protestantism).  It is a matter of receiving the grace of God and DOING something with it.

Hope that helps.
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2011, 07:40:30 PM »

I always have a problem with the whole concept of heaven as it is now conceived.

Apart from the fact that it seems to lack any real theological base in the sense that we use the term now, Jesus seems to be saying something else.
 
Certainly Jesus used the word 'heaven' but generally in relation the 'Kingdom of heaven' and then in parables which illustrated what the Kingdom of heaven' was like.  Matthew 13 is full of these references.  In this respect it appears that Jesus is directing our attention to what we do now - the Kingdom that is.  Certainly there are eschatological nuances in his words, but Jesus was not indicating that 'heaven' is some sort of 'get out of jail' free card - heaven was not a reward system for good behaviour.

So heaven is not a 'rewards system' for customer loyalty.  It heaven is not a reward bonus then it appears we cannot, by definition, 'earn' our what into something we have labelled 'heaven'.

But we can present the 'Kingdom of heaven' now on earth if we follow those principles outlined by Jesus.  And ushering in the Kingdom of heaven is achieved by our closer relationship to God - by becoming more 'like' God we also 'bring' the Kingdom.

What happens after death is another matter.     
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2011, 09:27:46 PM »

wayseer, I was specifically referring to the afterlife, and/or union with God.

Paul has warned us in Galatians to not try to achieve this goal by human effort. Yet he also said "work out your salvation". Is he contradicting himself?
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« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2011, 12:18:15 AM »

We cannot earn our way into heaven it is a gift of God dependent on our repentance, turning to God and then doing works worthy of repentance (see St. Paul's directive in Acts 26:20 and then Ephesians 2:8-10).
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« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2011, 06:15:59 AM »

wayseer, I was specifically referring to the afterlife, and/or union with God.

Paul has warned us in Galatians to not try to achieve this goal by human effort. Yet he also said "work out your salvation". Is he contradicting himself?

Saint Paul was treading where no one had stepped before - he working out a theology which understood the risen Christ.  He was convinced that the Eschaton was imminent so he was not too concerned what might have happen after death. 

On the matter of 'working one's salvation' I think the reference is to be found in Philippians 2: 12.  Here Paul is talking about the 'work' one does in the body of the Church.

Paul is difficult to read at the best of time but if you take scripture from different places in order to generate a theology you run the risk of divorcing Paul's statements from their context - which Is what I suggest you have done here.   
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« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2011, 06:58:23 AM »

We certainly don't earn it. Really, the idea of us being worthy of anything God has given us, even our lives in creation, is absurd. How can we judge ourselves to be worthy of such things that always can be seen to be transcendent to us? So speaking of us earning our glorification is naturally errant. But that certainly doesn't mean that what we do will have no bearing on how God will judge us. They are two very different issues.
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« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2011, 10:12:04 AM »

Perhaps the disconnect is coming from the way we sometimes tend to think about salvation - which is more than our eventual eternal destination.
Salvation is healing and wholeness and restoration.
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« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2011, 10:43:55 AM »

We don't earn our salvation any more than the woman with the issue of blood earned her healing by making her way through the crowd, Zachaeus earned the honor of having Christ stay in his home by climbing that tree, or Peter earned meeting Christ on the water when he got out of the boat. Just to name a few examples of how having to put effort into something in order to obtain it doesn't negate the fact that it is still a gift freely given by God, that is biblically speaking.

We have to put work and effort into our salvation, God owes us nothing but gives us that which He promises if we persevere.
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« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2011, 04:19:28 AM »

We don't earn our salvation any more than the woman with the issue of blood earned her healing by making her way through the crowd, Zachaeus earned the honor of having Christ stay in his home by climbing that tree, or Peter earned meeting Christ on the water when he got out of the boat. Just to name a few examples of how having to put effort into something in order to obtain it doesn't negate the fact that it is still a gift freely given by God, that is biblically speaking.

We have to put work and effort into our salvation, God owes us nothing but gives us that which He promises if we persevere.

Yep!
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« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2011, 04:57:23 AM »

We don't earn our salvation any more than the woman with the issue of blood earned her healing by making her way through the crowd, Zachaeus earned the honor of having Christ stay in his home by climbing that tree, or Peter earned meeting Christ on the water when he got out of the boat. Just to name a few examples of how having to put effort into something in order to obtain it doesn't negate the fact that it is still a gift freely given by God, that is biblically speaking.

We have to put work and effort into our salvation, God owes us nothing but gives us that which He promises if we persevere.

Well said!
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« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2011, 07:11:28 AM »

Is it really possible to "earn" heaven?
No, but you can "urn" your way to heaven.
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« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2011, 07:37:37 AM »

We don't earn our salvation any more than the woman with the issue of blood earned her healing by making her way through the crowd, Zachaeus earned the honor of having Christ stay in his home by climbing that tree, or Peter earned meeting Christ on the water when he got out of the boat. Just to name a few examples of how having to put effort into something in order to obtain it doesn't negate the fact that it is still a gift freely given by God, that is biblically speaking.

We have to put work and effort into our salvation, God owes us nothing but gives us that which He promises if we persevere.

I'd like to clarify what is being said here in case i have misunderstood.

The 'working out' of our salvation, is the journey towards wholeness, towards God, and the gift of God, which is free, lest any man should boast, is the hope of resurrection on judgement day.

~ Dyhn
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« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2011, 10:36:17 AM »

and he was saying that the goal of this life is to "earn" paradise in the next.
You mean, the subtitles say he was. He was speaking Romanian. Could simply be a bad translation.
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« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2011, 11:24:00 AM »

I heard a really good podcast on this on Ancient Faith Radio last night. I can't say who was talking, or what podcast it was, as I joined it a bit late, but it was on the live feed at about 9:30pm ET last night. It was a baptist convert priest talking about the harmony between faith and works, and the distinctions in the EO understanding of these ideas.
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« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2011, 11:35:01 AM »

This would be it:
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/statutes/not_by_faith_alone
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« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2011, 11:45:01 AM »

We don't earn our salvation any more than the woman with the issue of blood earned her healing by making her way through the crowd, Zachaeus earned the honor of having Christ stay in his home by climbing that tree, or Peter earned meeting Christ on the water when he got out of the boat. Just to name a few examples of how having to put effort into something in order to obtain it doesn't negate the fact that it is still a gift freely given by God, that is biblically speaking.

We have to put work and effort into our salvation, God owes us nothing but gives us that which He promises if we persevere.

I'd like to clarify what is being said here in case i have misunderstood.

The 'working out' of our salvation, is the journey towards wholeness, towards God, and the gift of God, which is free, lest any man should boast, is the hope of resurrection on judgement day.

~ Dyhn

Yes. It is the "running of the race" that if left unfinished offers no crown, and the talents that when left buried in the ground earn condemnation but kingship when properly invested.
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« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2011, 11:51:31 AM »

We don't earn our salvation any more than the woman with the issue of blood earned her healing by making her way through the crowd, Zachaeus earned the honor of having Christ stay in his home by climbing that tree, or Peter earned meeting Christ on the water when he got out of the boat. Just to name a few examples of how having to put effort into something in order to obtain it doesn't negate the fact that it is still a gift freely given by God, that is biblically speaking.

We have to put work and effort into our salvation, God owes us nothing but gives us that which He promises if we persevere.

I'd like to clarify what is being said here in case i have misunderstood.

The 'working out' of our salvation, is the journey towards wholeness, towards God, and the gift of God, which is free, lest any man should boast, is the hope of resurrection on judgement day.

~ Dyhn

no gift is ever free
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« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2011, 12:00:43 PM »

no gift is ever free
The gift is free. It's the strings that are attached that cost a bundle  Cheesy. To accept God's gift, the "string" is that you become the slave of Christ! (Hot tip of the day: it's a good deal - go for it!)
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« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2011, 12:05:42 PM »

God's gift of eternal life is free to all who choose to ascend to it.  We must show our acceptance of God by following His commands. This is not earning our way, but rather cooperating and being in synergy with God. 
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« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2011, 12:55:43 PM »

7-11 (a convenience store in America) gave out free drinks yesterday (on 7-11-2011). But you still had to do some work and get out of bed, in order to get it. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2011, 03:06:51 PM »

if its free then i don't want it
if its free then its worth nothing to me

so it didn't cost Jesus nothing then??

its not free then is it if it cost him his life
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« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2011, 05:19:30 PM »

if its free then i don't want it
if its free then its worth nothing to me

so it didn't cost Jesus nothing then??

its not free then is it if it cost him his life

Jesus is alive Poppy.
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« Reply #24 on: July 14, 2011, 07:59:57 AM »

We don't earn our salvation any more than the woman with the issue of blood earned her healing by making her way through the crowd, Zachaeus earned the honor of having Christ stay in his home by climbing that tree, or Peter earned meeting Christ on the water when he got out of the boat. Just to name a few examples of how having to put effort into something in order to obtain it doesn't negate the fact that it is still a gift freely given by God, that is biblically speaking.

We have to put work and effort into our salvation, God owes us nothing but gives us that which He promises if we persevere.

I'd like to clarify what is being said here in case i have misunderstood.

The 'working out' of our salvation, is the journey towards wholeness, towards God, and the gift of God, which is free, lest any man should boast, is the hope of resurrection on judgement day.

~ Dyhn

no gift is ever free
Not earned or merited by ourselves ;~p

~ Dyhn
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