Metaphor of The Father’s House

updated 2-18-19

A central point of the message about Jesus is that the Father sent him to bring about a change in our situation whereby we are rescued from a life of alienation and fear, both in this life and the next.  The story of the work and message of Jesus is found in the New Testament, which is written by his early followers.

This message is often called the ‘good news’, and it IS good news. We discover that we no longer need to be alienated from the Father, from ourselves, or from each other.  This good news gives us joy, meaningfulness, and anticipation of its full implementation. It affects us now but will ultimately result in a complete absence of what we call suffering.

This is good news indeed!

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The Kingdom of God and the Father’s House

In the New Testament, Jesus talks a lot about this state of living in the reality of the good news. Jesus uses the term Kingdom of God, but the Kingdom of God is only a metaphor for that reality and it has taken on a lot of baggage over the years, so we will use a different metaphor.

Since God is the Father and we are his family, we will think in terms of those who are part of his household and those who are not. We will talk about the Father’s House.

With this in mind, let us return to the concept of being rescued from a life of alienation and fear. In fundamentalist/evangelical circles, the term frequently used for this rescue is ‘salvation’, and those who experience ‘salvation’ are said to be ‘saved’. This is well and good, but the term ‘saved’ suggests another group of people known as the ‘unsaved’ (or lost), so that there is a very strong distinction between the two.

The Concept of the Unsaved

This concept is not unique to fundamentalists and evangelicals, but for them ‘unsaved’ is a prominent driving concept. In this dichotomy between the ‘saved’ and the ‘unsaved’, there has developed a confidence that we know some things about these ‘unsaved’ individuals.

  • The unsaved are without hope unless they hear about Jesus and specifically accept him as their savior.
  • The unsaved will ultimately die and spend eternity in torment in hell for not accepting Jesus, even if they have never heard the good news.
  • The unsaved must accept Jesus before they die.
  • The unsaved will account for the vast majority of those who have ever lived.

I no longer believe any of these things. My beliefs are now based on the characterization of the Father presented by Jesus in the New Testament–not an angry, picky, vindictive God but the Father of empathy, compassion, and care.

Let us consider two models. Fundamentalists/evangelicals are known for taking the good news to those who have not yet accepted Jesus. In fact, that is what evangelical means: those who share the good (EU) news (ANGELLION). The term for this activity is called evangelism. The goal of this activity is to bring individuals into the Kingdom of God, or as I describe it—The Father’s House.

But fundamentalists, evangelicals and many other Christian traditions operate from what I consider to be a restricted perspective of the Father’s House. They perceive themselves to be inviting people to come into the house, when in fact we are all already in the house.

Does this suggest Universalism? Not necessarily because I don’t think the Father would keep someone in his house against their own free will.

Are You Part of the Father’s House?

Next time, we will discuss what this means to us and to others. Do you think you are part of the Father’s House?

  • Jesus without Baggage exists to assist and support those questioning beliefs they have been taught in fundamentalist, traditional evangelical, and other groups. If you know someone who might find Jesus without Baggage helpful, feel free to send them the introductory page: About Jesus without Baggage

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41 Responses to Metaphor of The Father’s House

  1. Pingback: The Father’s House—Which Model? | Jesus Without Baggage

  2. jesuswithoutbaggage says:

    Reblogged this on Jesus Without Baggage and commented:

    This post is from my first month as a blogger, but I have always liked it. I suggest that we click the link to the original (now updated) article and make our comments there

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  3. Most evangelicals cannot wait for the many mansions in God’s house, not to mention the golden streets and so on. Jesus taught against materialism, but most evangelicals seem to think he did this ONLY because we get to be rich in Heaven. I say they are missing the entire point and also the metaphorical nature of our Heavenly future.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Prog, I must agree with you. I have often wondered about the literal streets of gold and gates of pearl. Wouldn’t such extravagance devalue the gold and pearls. However, as a symbolic illustration in an apocalyptic writing it works just fine.

      Liked by 1 person

      • theotherlestrangegirl says:

        I agree with you, and I think you’re right about everything.

        The simple fact is that money does not make or break a person. Like I said, there are poor people who are extremely greedy and selfish, and I think Jesus would have a few words to say to them just as he would a rich person who acted that way.

        Money is just a tool, nothing more. It’s no different than a toothbrush or a hammer, and one person’s amount of money is not indicative of anything. It is all about your heart and your priorities.

        As for riches in heaven, I have absolutely no idea what it’s going to be like, but I don’t dream of riches or pretty things, per se. I have different dreams about heaven. My main one is my sincere hope that I will get to see all of my pets again that have passed on.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Strange Girl, you mention pets in the afterlife. I don’t know if they will be there or not, but I have wondered about it a lot over the years. Animals in the afterlife (wild and tame) would be wonderful in my opinion.

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    • newtonfinn says:

      Yes, Prog Mind, Jesus’ dichotomy of treasure in heaven vs. treasure on earth clearly relegates gold and silver and such (mammon) to the latter category. He then goes on to teach, to our great discomfort (since we think we can have both kinds of treasure here on earth), that God and mammon are antithetical, and that we will wind up serving one OR the other. And then he goes even further by saying that if we have too much earthly treasure (beyond that necessary to meet daily needs), our hearts WILL be captured by mammon, implying that there is little we can do about this aspect of human nature. These teachings are about as tough and uncompromising as it gets when it comes to the subject of God and money. The request in the Lord’s Prayer for daily bread thus serves a dual purpose. It asks the Father to meet our minimal earthy needs in a material sense, while also (by not giving us more than this) PROTECTING us from the lure of wealth, which would lead us away from heaven and bind us to earth. Not even Karl Marx was this radical–not even close–when it comes to what we call “economics.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • Dennis Wade says:

        Newton Finn, i agree with what you say here. There is great danger in thinking that the successfulness of a life lived right can be measured by external things like prosperity.
        The purpose of this life lies in learning the lessons of humility and servitude, of putting others before ourselves. Jesus constantly set this example in His life, and always refused to take His Kingdom by force or political or economic means. He never used His “Godhood” to solve all of the problems in the world, but instead made himself the servant of all.
        I have always found myself drawn to people like St. Francis of Assisi, or Albert Schweitzer, who based their lives on how they could be of most benefit to others.
        Unfortunately, I find I haven’t been that successful so far in living up to such examples.

        Liked by 1 person

      • theotherlestrangegirl says:

        Newton Finn, I have to say I don’t agree with this interpretation. I see several issues.

        First, there is an assumption that a person’s external circumstances is a reflection of their internal self. In other words, there is an assumption that poor people are always giving and generous and rich people are always greedy and stingy. That simply isn’t true, and it is often the opposite.

        Second, if we are judging ourselves and others by how much “stuff” we have, we would all be disqualified, except for maybe those in extreme poverty. No, we may not have huge mansions or toilets made of gold, but we have other things that could be categorized as “too much” if we are scrutinizing such things. Most of us have more than one outfit and more than one pair of shoes, unless you’re Mother Theresa. Do we really need more than one? Many of us have a house. Do we really need that? Why not a studio apartment? Do we have knick-knacks in our home that just sit there and look pretty? Isn’t that too material of us. We could go on and on with this.

        Third, we can make the exact same points about money. Almost all of us, if not all, have worked a job and made money at some point. Must we make sure that our boss only pays us the lowest salary he possibly can so that we don’t become too greedy? What if we are offered a raise and a promotion, are we suddenly greedy? On that note, what is an acceptable salary and what is “too much?” Many people would jump in and say if you’re a millionaire, you have too much. Okay, then what is a good amount? Just enough to take care of you and your family, but no more? We could debate about this on and on.

        Fourth, you make the point about “praying for our daily bread.” That’s fine (even though I’m not one for recited prayers written by someone else), but if we were truly living as though we solely depended on God for this, then we would have to simply wait for our daily meals to magically show up every day. But we don’t do that. We go to the grocery store, we go to restaurants, we go and get our own food. That doesn’t mean that we are not trusting in God to provide: it means we are making use of the blessings that He has already given us. That, in itself, is an answer to our “daily bread” prayer. He has given us the means (money through a job or something similar) and the place (store, restaurant) to get what we need.

        Five, I have to go back to the subject of people who have a lot of money. You say, ” And then he goes even further by saying that if we have too much earthly treasure (beyond that necessary to meet daily needs), our hearts WILL be captured by mammon, implying that there is little we can do about this aspect of human nature.”

        I mean, I don’t know what specific verse you’re talking about when you say Jesus said this, but I can’t stress enough how untrue this is. The amount of stuff or money you have has absolutely nothing to do with the person you are inside.

        I have known poor people who were greedy and thought only of themselves. I know wealthy people who are generous and always think of others first.

        I know of a woman who is a multi-millionaire (she has owned several companies) and she is currently running what is probably her biggest company out of all of them. She is also, as the CEO, a complete volunteer in her own company. She donates 100% of her profits straight to charities. Do you know of any other CEOs who donate every single cent of their own earnings? She’s also one of the biggest Christians I’ve ever known of, and she helps thousands of people every single year. She has been doing this for almost three decades now. Yet, by your own explanation above, she would be “greedy” and “bound to earth.”

        The only point I want to stress, again, is that a person’s material circumstances are not an indicator of what’s in their heart. Yes, Jesus stressed against being a servant of mammon. This is a heart issue, not a bank account issue.

        One last point about the daily bread: You mention having just enough for your own daily needs. Do you see how selfish that is? You also mention a life of servitude. How are you living a life of servitude if you are only focused on what you, but no one else, needs?

        Liked by 2 people

        • newtonfinn says:

          I’ve posted this link (at the end of this response) several times on JWOB and don’t know if you’ve read it, but just in case you haven’t, I’ll post it again. The scholarship that informs this link it is of the highest order. But I quite agree with you, Strange Girl, that the teachings of Jesus on God vs. money (mammon) are unrealistic and impossible to follow without incredible, seemingly superhuman sacrifice. Yet I submit that I have accurately summarized those teachings, whether you or I or anyone else wants or likes to hear them. Just read through the 6th Chapter of Matthew for a concentrated dose of these most demanding themes that run throughout Jesus’ sayings and parables. This is, in my theology, where grace comes in bigtime. While Jesus sets the highest standards for genuine discipleship, he also constantly emphasizes the extraordinary love and mercy of God. For example, not only the righteous man is rewarded by the Father, but he who merely receives the righteous man, because he is a righteous man, is given the same reward. Wow! For me, this is the very essence of what Christianity should be: (1) acknowledgment of the highest standards as binding on us all, (2) acknowledgment that the vast majority of us fail to do more than make sporadic gestures toward partially meeting those standards, and, finally, (3) acknowledgment that, only because God is love, we may seek refuge in His forgiveness and grace and still find salvation. Here’s that link:

          https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/christs-rabble

          Liked by 1 person

          • theotherlestrangegirl says:

            I know that wealthy people, at least in the Christian world, are strongly disliked because of the televangelists. They have a bad reputation, and that kind of spills over onto everything else.

            The only point I’m trying to make is don’t be so quick to vilify wealthy people. They are not always greedy and bad.

            I took a look at the article, but it has a lot of rigid beliefs that I simply don’t agree with. The main one is “Jesus said everything is going to be crappy and painful in this world, but hey, that’s just how it is. Sucks to be us.”

            That’s exactly what I was taught in the fundamentalist church I grew up in, and I refuse to go back to that. It’s the reason I had depression and was suicidal for so many years. My beliefs are much different than that now. And simply because it says that, I really don’t trust that article.

            In fact, there is a lot in the Bible that is the complete opposite of what the article says.

            For example, the article mentions that we are not promised any success in this life. Wow, really? Take another look. While it’s true that we are not PROMISED success, as in it’s just going to fall into our lap, we are taught how to achieve success (I’m not talking strictly about money, by the way, I just mean success in general). Maybe success to someone just means improving their marriage or being a better parent.

            The simple fact is that the Bible teaches us how to do everything if we know how to look for it. Now, I’m not an inerrantist, so I know that many things in the Bible have to be taken with a grain of salt. I’m not saying that every word is 100 percent factual and true.

            What I am saying is that the Bible, while it is not an inerrant rule book for all time, it is a guide book. Do you want to learn to communicate better? Be a better spouse? Learn how to start a business? Be a more effective parent? Did you know the Bible teaches us how to do all of that, and more?

            Going back to what Jesus said, I will say that I don’t know exactly what he meant by everything. I don’t know if he meant his words to apply to all of us, or if he meant it only to the people he was speaking to at the time. I don’t know if he was speaking literally or metaphorically. He most often spoke in metaphor, and much of what he said was colored by the culture and context of his time, but I’m not going to assume he meant or did not mean a certain thing.

            But it doesn’t make sense for God to give us a complete guide to life in His word, but then have Jesus tell us we can’t use it, does it?

            You see, most people (especially fundamentalists) read the Bible completely wrong. They see it as a prison, almost, as something that is meant to bind us and “keep us in line.” But it’s actually a guide book, and it sets us free. But a lot of people simply don’t know that.

            I won’t make this too long, but let me give you a quick example. Have you ever heard of Steven K. Scott? (you may recognize his name as the owner of Total Gym). Many years ago, he was a complete failure. He was a young husband with a child, and he got fired from nine jobs in a row. He had a dear friend named Pastor Smalley, and Steven asked him for guidance on what to do. Pastor Smalley told him he would pray on it and get back to him. Later, Pastor Smalley came back and told him to study the Bible. Now, millions and millions of people study the Bible already, but they aren’t actually looking for anything. He taught Steven to study the Bible, find the nuggets of wisdom about everyday life, and then apply what he learned every day for the next two years.

            Doing that completely changed his life. He is now an incredibly successful businessman. Like I said, this is not just about money. He also talks about how he was able to restore his marriage, because he learned how to communicate with his wife, and be a better father. He learned how to interact with other people so he is able to make a friend out of anyone.

            Mr. Scott’s story is not out of the norm or a fluke. For the people who realize that the Bible can teach us about life, in every single area: It has worked like a charm for all of them. It never fails. There’s not been a single person who’s said, “I tried to follow what the Bible said, but it didn’t work for me.”

            Going back to what Jesus said again, like I said, I don’t know exactly what he meant or who he meant it to be for. But what I do know is that he was a walking, talking example of every success principle that the Bible gives. Think about it: Jesus knew exactly what to say, how to say it, and how to interact with people. He knew how to create influence, how to make things happen. He made people like him who had previously hated him. He was completely magnetic, and a lot of had nothing to do with him being the Son of God. Many people who followed him did not know or care or believe in his status as the Son of God. They followed him because they liked him and he was kind to them. If you want to think of it in modern terms, he was a master networker.

            We are told many times that Jesus is our example, and I think that’s very true in all areas of life.

            One last point:

            On being a servant of mammon, let me give you two scenarios, both of which are very real for different people:

            A) A person works a 9-5 job, takes home a paycheck that just barely covers their bills, and will most likely not be able to retire. If they lose their job, or something else financial happens, they will be in dire straits.

            B) A person has strategically used their money to accumulate wealth and investments that will care for them and their family for the rest of their lives. They no longer have to work, and they spend their time volunteering and taking care of others who are not as fortunate as them. In fact, they don’t even have to think about money because it’s just not an issue for them anymore.

            In those two scenarios, who is the servant of mammon? It’s A. That person is a slave to their paycheck, no? Person B doesn’t even have to think about money.

            Yes, there are some people out there who get rich and then start buying cars and houses and designer clothes. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. We are talking about people who make money their slave, instead of the other way around like most people, so that they can do what they were put on this earth to do without being bound to the almighty paycheck.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Newton, I read the article. It is a good article but I don’t find it convincing. I do think you did a good job pulling information from various areas of the New Testament–especially with Matthew 6. However, I come away from those passages with somewhat different conclusions as well.

            It seems to me that that Jesus in Matthew 6 is dealing with three issues–none of which is having money per se. The issues are vanity (showing off good works), greed, and insecurity about the future. I think the problems with the first two are pretty self-evident, so that the primary issue for us is insecurity about the future. I know this is where I have to try to maintain a proper balance; I don’t want to lose my house or my health insurance, and, on the other hand, I am not that interested in having ‘riches in heaven’. I assume I will experience security in the afterlife, and I am not looking for riches.

            The article referred to the young ruler who was in love with his riches. Many other people also make this point. And Jesus does say that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God, but I don’t think it is a matter of their being rich but a question of priorities. Jesus and the kingdom should always be our highest priority.

            Jesus asked this one rich, young ruler to sell all he had, and he could not do it. I think Jesus was simply pointing out the young man’s priorities and those of many rich people. Were it someone else, I imagine Jesus would have asked them to make a choice between the kingdom and a different priority. The kingdom cannot be a second priority.

            I have always admired the desert hermits and others who have nothing. But I can’t do that; I live in a different time and I have a family and responsibilities. But I don’t think I am greedy, or vain, or attracted to wealth. I just need to live in this world the best I can.

            By the way, many people talk about the Jerusalem church having everything in common. But, ultimately, it didn’t work. The Jerusalem church were later referred to by Paul as ‘the poor’ and he pushed his gentile churches hard to provide them with financial relief. The Jerusalem church expected Jesus to return quickly, and when he did not they ran out of resources.

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          • Dennis Wade says:

            Well, I read the article, and and I have to say it disturbed me.
            I was trying to figure out why, because I have always been moved by the examples of people who based their lives on the goal of being of as much benefit to others as they can, and who were able to put aside any concerns about their welfare in this life.
            It disturbed me that this article came across as very hard and restrictive in it’s conclusions that if we did not try to live by the very strict rules of the early church, then we were somehow missing the mark.
            it disturbed me because it came across as just another example of how taking the Bible literally can lead to an attitude of exclusion and judgement towards others.
            I am sure that the author did not intend it that way, but unfortunately it seems to end up like that.
            His whole argument seems to be based on the assumption that the early church was the best example of how to live the Christian life, and that their understanding of how to build the church as “the body of Christ” was perfect. It seems to me that following this stream of thinking only leads us into the same mess that we end up in when we apply the same ideas to the old testament laws. These people were striving to do the best that they could according to their times and their understandings, but we can’t take these things as “perfect rules for all time”.
            For example, one story in the book of Acts that has always bothered me was the story in Acts 5 of Ananias and Sapphire, who, we are told, lied to the Holy Spirit by keeping back part of the money they received from selling their land and when they were confronted by Peter about this, they fell down dead.
            if we take this story literally, then we are back to dealing with a God who has laid down rules about how we are to live as Christians and who is more than willing to strike us dead if we don’t comply. I don’t know about you, but i am not willing to go back to that kind of relationship with God.
            Therefore, it seems obvious to me that we are not meant to take even the teachings and lifestyle of the early church as literal and perfect examples, but are meant to examine them with wisdom and contemplation. The “body of Christ” is a living movement that is not stuck in the past, but is constantly moving and adapting throughout history, just as the rest of creation is. We live in an expanding universe that is constantly moving forward, and growing into more complex systems, because that is the nature of its Creator. We face problems today that the early church never dreamed of.
            Just because some of the early fathers may have thought that wealth was bad does not mean that we have to also. I don’t know if they did, because it seems to depend on a very literal acceptance of their words as to whether they did or not.
            I do think that we have to be careful with wealth, because quite often it plays to our vanity and to ideas of power and false success. But if we treat our wealth as something that we can use to be of benefit to others, it becomes a tool for increasing our compassion and empathy.
            So it seems that the main idea I took away from this article was that we are not meant to take even the teachings and lifestyles of the early church as “literal truth”, but we must always use the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to guide us in our efforts to live a “proper” Christian life.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            You raise some good points, Dennis.

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          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Newton, it seems you have taken on some significant disagreement on this particular comment and article. However, I want to let you know that you continue to be a very valuable and creative member of the team here. So please don’t feel rejected. All of us disagree with each other at some point.

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      • Chas says:

        Newton, it seems that the focus in the Gospels was on pursuing ‘treasure’: “Do not gather for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths destroy and thieves steal, but gather for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths do not destroy and thieves cannot steal, because your heart will be where your treasures are. No-one can serve two masters; either you will hate one and will love the other, or you will be devoted to one and will despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” As Theotherlestrangegirl has written below, God has already provided for us, in different ways, without us realising that it has happened.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Dennis Wade says:

    It can be interesting when we try to come up with labels or terms regarding where we and others stand in relation to God. I have tried to do this for some years now, and have been unable to put myself fully under any one label.
    Take the idea of “universalism”, for instance. They are so many places in the Bible and in the teachings of Jesus that state quite clearly that God’s great plan includes every living being without exception. But there are also a lot of teachings that clearly state that not all beings will be a part of the plan. So, where does this leave me? Am I a “Universalist”, or not?
    Well, actually, I seem to be both!
    I have come to an understanding that labels are generated by dualistic minds that can only see things as “either-or”, and that there is another level of being that is able to step beyond such divisions and that can see the greater “wholeness” of it all.
    I am “universal” because I accept that God’s plan DOES include everyone. All are accepted, and none are turned away for any reason. In fact, I would go so far as to say that God does not see “christians” and “non-christians”. To God, we are ALL loved, all accepted, all received, even if we have never heard of this “Good News” in this lifetime. God dwells in “the eternal now”, and is more than capable of making sure that everyone has an opportunity to decide whether they will want to live by His values or not, whether it happens in this lifetime or in some future time.
    The labels of “saved” and “unsaved” are invented and seen only by dualistic minds that are always seeking to make sure that they are in the right group.
    But from God’s perspective, we are all in the right group.
    But that does not mean that I believe that everyone will be spending eternity in union with God. And I can say that because already in this world I can see plenty of people who do not care one single bit about the values that Jesus taught we should live by. They are so seduced by the ideas of power, wealth, fame, etc., and base their whole being on being better, more successful, and more deserving and worthy than others that to live in the presence of a God who does not embody these ideas would be hell for them, and they would refuse it.
    Anyone can be “saved” or “redeemed” or whatever we choose to call it, but not everyone wants it.
    And if there is one thing we do know about our relationship with God, it is firmly based on free will.

    We really do need to move beyond the labels of “saved” and “non-saved” if we are to even begin to understand the “wholeness” and beauty of God’s works.

    Of course, this is how things appear to be for me at this time. Because my wisdom and understanding are not perfect, I accept that things may appear to be completely different to me as I grow and change.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Dennis, my wisdom and understanding are not perfect either; and I also continue to grow and change. And I agree that using labels is not optimum; labels never fit everyone who happens to be part of any group. But I don’t know a better way of identifying one position from another.

      I don’t know the answers to everything. I am not certain about all the beliefs I hold, but I am quite comfortable that certain beliefs like angry god, eternal hell, and biblical inerrancy are not valid. I do believe, though, that both the ‘saved’ fundamentalist and their ‘unsaved’ targets are equally my brothers.

      I like what you say about “dualistic minds that can only see things as “either-or”, and that there is another level of being that is able to step beyond such divisions and that can see the greater “wholeness” of it all.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dennis Wade says:

        I know what you mean about not being certain about all the beliefs you hold. I think the biggest change occuring in my life at present is learning to accept the uncertainties that arise without feeling that their presence is a sign of “bad faith”.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Chas says:

        Tim, it always seems to me that the use of the terms ‘salvation’ and ‘saved’ lead to certain misunderstanding. They both really mean ‘rescued’, so we could imagine someone in the sea who was thrown a lifeline. They might grasp it, and keep a firm hold on it as they are drawn to safety. On the other hand, they might not be able to see it, or might take a hold of it, but not be able to retain their grasp on it, so they are not drawn to safety. This puts the emphasis on the hearer of the good news: they might miss the message completely, or might lose the meaning of the message in due course, or they might receive it and be able to base their lives on it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Chas, I agree that ‘salvation’ and ‘saved’ often lead to misunderstanding. When a fundamentalist’evangelical uses the word ‘saved’, the question I want to ask is saved from what? Hell? God’s judgment? Sin (and what does that mean)? I think the answer to this is necessary in order to have a conversation about it. I believe in being saved or rescued but not as a typical fundamentalist/evangelical would understand those terms.

          Again, I am happy you are here. In fact, I am overjoyed!

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    • Chas says:

      Dennis, an uncomfortable question comes out of your contribution: If people are seduced by power, wealth, or fame, so that they base their life on being more successful, or more worthy in their own eyes than others, are doing so because they are either mentally ill, or have been subjected to certain forms of ill-treatment during their childhood, ought that to condemn them to being regarded as bad?

      Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Chas, I think this is a very good question!

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      • Dennis Wade says:

        Chas, i am sure we could spend huge amounts of time trying to figure out all of the ins and outs of who deserves what when it comes to good and bad, and in the end we would still not be able to cover every permutation. That is most likely why we are taught not to judge others. Only God really knows our hearts.
        And if you read my comment again you will see that there is nowhere in it where I state that people who may be seduced by power, wealth, or fame are to be condemned as being bad. I was just trying to point out why I believe some people would choose not to live in God’s presence because they value these qualities over the qualities of the Kingdom.
        I do believe that no one is excluded from God’s love from His side, and I was speculating why some people would make the decision not to include themselves in that love I would rather have no one make such a decision, and i am confident that God will do everything He can from his side to reach them.
        Please don’t put words in my mouth that I didn’t say. there was nothing in my comment that can be read as “condemning certain people to be regarded as bad.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Dennis, I ponder, as well, what might cause a person to not want to be in the presence of God–if such a condition exists. It is a mystery to me. I think this point is key: “That is most likely why we are taught not to judge others. Only God really knows our hearts.”

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          • Chas says:

            Tim, one reason might be that they are mentally ill, and so making an irrational decision.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Chas, that might be true at the present time, but I would expect that God would heal any mental illness to produce a time of clarity either later or after death.

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        • Chas says:

          Dennis, it was not that you were condemning people as bad, but this is the message that comes through from the gospels, and so is a message from a man, or men.

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  5. Ross says:

    Excellent timing Tim, as ever. I remember mentioning in one of my replies recently the joy of looking forward to the time when we move into the room in the father’s house which he has prepared for us.

    Maybe as you say, it is already prepared and possibly He is already moving me in there. The sock draw has the missing socks partnering the singles I have, that Teddy Bear I lost years ago is sitting on the mantle.

    However for me the tension I feel is the alienation from this I currently feel. It is more like I am outside on a cold and lonely night in the glow of sodium lights. Maybe I am both “saved” and “unsaved” myself at the same time. Often feeling the cold of unsavedness.

    Personally my thoughts run to “conversion experiences” not being the joy of passing from death into life as many may view it, but coming to the realisation that one was always “saved” always loved by God, but without the awareness of it.

    I haven’t much idea as to where I stand on those who will spend eternity with God and those who may not, but surely God wants us all safe and “at home” with him.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Ross, I like that! Three socks and a Teddy Bear already waiting there for you! What a great image. Of course, we have no idea what it will really be like–at least I don’t; but I think being in the presence of God is good enough for me.

      I think I have some grasp of your described experience: “Maybe I am both “saved” and “unsaved” myself at the same time. Often feeling the cold of unsavedness.” We all continue to grow and develop, and I am not sure there is an end to it in this lifetime. But I think we can take comfort in God’s love all along the way. And I agree that God wants us ALL safe and at home with him.

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    • Chas says:

      Ross, when doubts enter your mind, an important thing to remember is what you were told about Jesus that first made a difference in your life.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. newtonfinn says:

    As one who likes to read forgotten books by significant authors known for other works, if only to stumble upon a hidden gem of wisdom here and there, I wanted to share a quote from H.G. Wells’ “What Is Coming,” written toward the end of the First World War in an attempt to glimpse the possible aftermath. Lamenting that humanity puts more time and effort into selling products like cigarettes than constructing a lasting edifice for world peace, Wells looks at the institutional church as a potential candidate for this vital task. “With the exception of the Quakers and a few Russian sects, no Christian sect or church has ever repudiated war; most have gone out of the way to sanction and bless it. It is altogether too rashly assumed by people whose sentimentality outruns their knowledge that Christianity is essentially an attempt to carry out the personal teachings of Christ. It is nothing of the sort, and no church authority will support that idea. Christianity–more particularly after the ascendancy of the Trinitarian doctrine was established–was and is a theological religion; it is the religion that triumphed over Arianism, Manicheism, Gnosticism, and the like; it is based not on Christ, but on its creeds.” Whether or not one agrees with Wells in his characterization of Christianity, it is an interesting and provocative position to mull over.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Good points, Newton!

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    • Chas says:

      What we have triumphed over Arianism, etc. because God allowed it to be that way. What we have is what He/She required us to have now. It is worth noting that the emphasis put on the bible by those trying to change the Roman church led to inerrancy and all that goes with it. In the same way, we have now been able to question this, and also hear about the way that all living things came from a single first lifeform through the molecule of DNA that God created. This knowledge overcomes the arguments made against Darwinism that led an upsurge in the arguments made for inerrancy during the 19th century. What we see is a gradual change in what we know, to provide for our present needs.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Sharing about The Father’s House with Others—Which Model? | Jesus Without Baggage

  8. michaeleeast says:

    Tim, I think of the Father’s House as the Church or Synagogue or Mosque or Temple – a place where the Father is worshipped. But God of course is everywhere. Jesus said “In my Father’s House there are many mansions.” Which can be interpreted to mean other religions.
    David desired to be in the Father’s House forever. This would seem to mean living in God’s presence – which does not always happen even in His churches etc..
    I would appreciate your ideas on this. It’s a little bit unclear in the article.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. michaeleeast says:

    Tim, As for the outsiders Fundamentalists always think dualistically. But God is present with outsiders. He is not restricted by black/white thinking. It is time to leave dualism behind. God’s Family includes everyone. Even sinners and atheists. I think this is demonstrated by Jesus.

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