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Ouch, I had considered myself as a spiritual person, but this is a tall order! I think the word 'try' (as in the third line) should be applied to each line........
Seriously (actually I was being serious) this is rather good, and I like it loads.
The power and divinity of God shines throughout creation: Doesn't it also shine through truth regardless of where it is found? The Spirit of God is not confined. This is not to say all religions are equal or all paths good, it only means spiritual people have open hearts able to discern truth and build on that truth where ever it is found.
Universalism believes everyone without exception will be saved, while I do believe more will be saved than lost, I also believe some will be lost!
Quoting countless missionaries, "I had this God in mind, I knew He was like such and such. I wanted to know Him. Now you have brought His story to me and I know him fully. Yes, He is the one I had imagined..."
This statement implies that they had incomplete concept or revelation of God. That's exactly what I'm saying. The Jews prior to Jesus also had and incomplete concept or revelation of God but they were saved based upon them embracing the "shadows" of mercy contained in their ceremonial system.
Would not the true and living God of mercy also provide such abounding grace to the whole world?
“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear."
"This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus"
With regards to the partial incomplete revelation of God Hebrews 11 says
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Jesus is the fullness of God's revelation yet those who believe the limited light that they have and walk in integrety are saved by the same God of mercy who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth ...
Greg, you are right that the sacrificial "system anticipated Christ." What is awesome is that the concept of sacrifice is universal, from primal cultures to the US military (solders die for our freedom). In primal cultures animals are sacrificed to restore balance and bring healing!
Missionaries usually look to such symbols as springboards for presenting Christ, and when they do they are using them much like the apostles used the Old Testament to present Christ!
What you have said above, and what I am saying, highlights well the difference between an exclusive faith and an inclusive faith which ultimately is based upon ones concept of God. My question to you is, do you really think God is in a straight jacket that his grace does not abound to the whole world?
As God's grace and mercy were poured out on OT saints who lacked knowledge of Jesus (the fullness of grace) I believe that his grace extends to all (He is the Light of the world). It comes through creation as well as through rays of truth and wisdom regardless of their source. The fact that the source may be polluted does not change the godliness of the truth they speak, Matthew 23:3-4. Truth will not lead to false gods but to the Creator of the Universe and gospel truth will lead to Jesus!
S- Neither creation nor the gospel is enough to save without the Holy Spirit but with the H S both are vehicles of salvation. What saves is embracing the revelation one has from God, Hebrews 11. Man and his religions (sources or vehicles of truth) are polluted nevertheless God uses them to bring salvation. He doesn't use your church or mine because we are pure but because he has mercy on the ignorant! While God may not be the author of other religious systems that doesn't mean that he would never use the truths in them to bring about salvation in a diminished and incomplete form, He did with Judaism!
Again his grace abounds for all!
In the aboriginal model, their wisdom stories are their Old Testament!
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