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Re: seeking aid from God to be obedient to God

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  • KWhitt@aol.com
    ... Far be it from me to correct anyone, especially you, Brian. In my examination of righteousness in Mt., I have found that righteousness is obedience to
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 14, 1998
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      In a message dated 98-07-14 16:08:01 EDT, Brian wrote:

      > I do not think any prayer attributed to Jesus implies that he is asking
      > God to aid him (Jesus) to obey him (God). In none of his prayers is
      > Jesus saying that he is not free to obey God.
      >
      > Perhaps I need a lesson in basic theology? Please correct me if I am
      > missing something. I shall not be offended.
      >

      Far be it from me to correct anyone, especially you, Brian. In my examination
      of righteousness in Mt., I have found that righteousness is obedience to the
      will of God (Mt. 3:15; 6:1ff.), yet it is something to be sought (6:33). In
      effect, one is to seek the ability that allows one to fulfill the demand of
      God. Another way of looking at the issue is to examine the baptismal event.
      Jesus fulfills all righteousness (is obedient to the will of God) and is
      empowered to do the will of God (receives ability to continue doing the will
      of God).

      Somehow I missed the original post that precipitated your inquiry, so if I've
      missed that mark, please excuse my half-hearted attempt to enter the fray.

      Keith Whitt
      Huntington, WV
    • Jeffrey B. Gibson
      ... I am at something of a loss to know exactly how to answer this, since it seems to me to impose upon texts such as Matt. 26:39-44 and parallels some
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 14, 1998
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        Brian E. Wilson wrote:
        >
        > Jeffrey Gibson wrote (SNIP) -
        > >Some time ago, I provided a list of the times in which Jesus is
        > >portrayed in GMatt and GLuke as engaged in petionary prayer (Matt
        > >26:39-44; Lk 22:32; 22:41-42, 45; and Lk 23:34) and asked list members
        > >to confirm or deny my thesis that at the center of these instances was a
        > >concern to on Jesus' part to secure divine aid to be obedient to God's
        > >will.
        > >
        > I have heard thousands of people say prayers of all kinds over the past
        > 55 years. I am really not sure, however, whether any of them could be
        > described as a "concern to secure divine aid to be obedient to God's
        > will".
        >
        > It seems to me that if we are free to obey God, then we do not need to
        > ask for his aid to obey him. Equally, if we need to ask for his aid to
        > obey him, then we are not free to obey. In the last resort, it is not
        > God who does the obeying.
        >
        > I do not think any prayer attributed to Jesus implies that he is asking
        > God to aid him (Jesus) to obey him (God). In none of his prayers is
        > Jesus saying that he is not free to obey God.
        >
        > Perhaps I need a lesson in basic theology? Please correct me if I am
        > missing something. I shall not be offended.

        I am at something of a loss to know exactly how to answer this, since it
        seems to me to impose upon texts such as Matt. 26:39-44 and parallels
        some philosophical considerations about freedom and determinism which
        the texts themselves seem to have no awareness of.

        Biblical prayer as exemplified for instance in the Psalms is full of
        cries for help to remain faithful. And yet there is also the notion that
        one was still responsible if one, apart from divine aid, was not
        obedient. And as for Jesus calling for help, what else is his petition
        in Gethsemane, and his recommendation to the disciples that they pray
        lest they become involved with PEIRASMOS? And what do we make of the
        report in Heb. 5:7 of Jesus offering up prayers and supplications in
        order to be able to be perfected in obedience?

        Moreover, I think you have erected a false dichotomy here. To pray for
        help in obeying God does not imply that one is not free to obey God, if
        by free we mean not constrained to make the choice to do so. It is only
        a recognition that at certain times, obstacles are thown in the prayer's
        way that an unconstrained desire and a freely chosen resolve to be
        obedient can do nothing to overcome, and therefore that some help for
        reaching the desired end is necessary.

        In any case, what the focus of modern prayers and modern pray-ers may or
        may not be in one's experience is a poor criterion for judging what the
        parameters of the focus of ancient prayers and ancient pray-ers
        actually, let alone what the could have been. And surely, it can not be
        ruled out (since this is *my* experience, and since I know it to be that
        of others) that some modern pray-ers who say "thy will be done on earth
        as it is in heaven" have given (and do give) this petition the intent of
        "God, help me do thy will", especially since this prayer is often said
        with the Gospel assertion that "the Spirit is willing but the flesh is
        weak" somewhere in the background.

        Yours,

        Jeffrey Gibson
        --
        Jeffrey B. Gibson
        7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
        Chicago, Illinois 60626
        e-mail jgibson000@...
      • Brian E. Wilson
        rian Wilson wrote (SNIP) - ... Jeffrey Gibson replied (SNIP) - ... My point, Jeffrey, is that when you write of your thesis that at the center of these
        Message 3 of 5 , Jul 15, 1998
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          rian Wilson wrote (SNIP) -
          >>It seems to me that if we are free to obey God, then we do not need
          >>to ask for his aid to obey him. Equally, if we need to ask for his
          >>aid to obey him, then we are not free to obey. In the last resort, it
          >>is not God who does the obeying. I do not think any prayer attributed
          >>to Jesus implies that he is asking God to aid him (Jesus) to obey him
          >>(God). In none of his prayers is Jesus saying that he is not free to
          >>obey God.
          Jeffrey Gibson replied (SNIP) -
          >I am at something of a loss to know exactly how to answer this, since it
          >seems to me to impose upon texts such as Matt. 26:39-44 and parallels
          >some philosophical considerations about freedom and determinism which
          >the texts themselves seem to have no awareness of.
          >
          My point, Jeffrey, is that when you write of your "thesis that at the
          center of these instances was a concern on Jesus' part to secure divine
          aid to be obedient to God's will", you are importing philosophical
          considerations about freedom and determinism which the texts themselves
          seem to have no awareness of. My "philosophical considerations" are my
          paraphrasing of your ideas in order to try and understand what you
          write.

          In the prayer of Jesus to which you refer, for instance, he says, "My
          Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not
          as I will but as you will." Where in these tremendous words is there any
          reference at all to a concern by Jesus to "secure divine aid to be
          obedient to God's will"? Is this not reading philosophical
          considerations into the words of the prayer?

          Best wishes,
          BRIAN WILSON

          E-MAIL: brian@... TELEPHONE: +44-1480-385043
          SNAILMAIL: Rev B. E. Wilson, HOMEPAGE:
          10 York Close, Godmanchester, http://www.twonh.demon.co.uk
          Huntingdon, Cambs, PE18 8EB, UK
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