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December 27, 2009


Ed Fernandez

You say,"The text is not, in other words, about individual salvation. There is none of that here." But does this "community indwelling with each other and with God" have any effect on the individual? How do the people receive or believe in Christ? Don't they do it individually? And can not the God that "lives in the greatest intimacy with his followers" effect the life of a single individual who may be isolated, for one reason or another, from a community indwelt by Christ? Or, are you simply saying that for one who may have no access to a believing community should go elsewhere in Scriptures to find salvation or any other spiritual help (if she can find one) for there's no good news in the Gospel of John for her as an individual person? Is it really necessary to separate the individual appropriation of God's grace and truth from the corporate enjoyment of the same?

John Petty

I think your concerns relate to a separate issue, one that is not addressed in this section of John's gospel.

I don't think the message of the fourth gospel is that we are the ones who "find salvation." Salvation is accomplished by Christ, not by us. That's good news.

The fourth gospel is more about "following on the way," i.e. living in light of the kingdom of God. Salvation is taken care of. Therefore, live like Jesus.

My two cents. Thanks for your visit. Come back again.

Ed Fernandez

I have come back! And thank you for your response. I truly appreciate it.

However, I think that my concern--the individual appropriation of salvation-- is an issue that must be addressed even here, and I even thought that that's the reason why you brought it up, even if the purpose was to dismiss it, in the first place. I fully agree that salvation "is accomplished by Christ, not by us," and I understand and accept the corporate dimension of salvation as shown by the plurals used here and elsewhere in Scriptures. But then, again, my question: Is it really necessary to separate the individual who is part and parcel of the community? Is it even possible, philosophically and practically speaking?

Hope you don't mind my asking again as it may help sharpen a kind-of slow mind like mine.

John Petty

Your mind seems just fine. I absolutely agree with you, and I agree that the dichotomy can be pushed too far so that it becomes an issue of corporate vs. individual.

I agree with you that it is not possible to separate the two. We are who we are as individuals at least partly because we have been shaped by the community. (Even our genetic part can be said to be shaped by the "community" of our ancestors.)

I make the distinction from time to time, however, to take a position against the dominant ethos of our North American culture because we are so heavily individualistic. I think we need the corrective.

Ed Fernandez

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I feel better knowing that "my mind seems just fine."

I understand that North Americans can over-react to individualism just as those of us from the East (I'm originally from Southeast Asia)can over-react to a culture that overly values the group in a way that the individual is lost.

May God, who is the source of wisdom, continue to minister through you through the exposition of God's Word.

Dawn Rolke

I am wondering about the translation of grace "against" grace. Could you explain?
thanks, D

John Petty

Ed, thanks for the kind words. I'm wondering: How did a guy named Fernandez come from Southeast Asia? Not trying to be impertinent, just wondering if there's a story there.

John Petty

Dawn, thanks for your visit. The Greek uses anti- which normally means "against." Most translations have "upon," which I suppose would be an appropriate translation as well. The KJV has "for."

Ed Fernandez

"How did a guy named Fernandez come from Southeast Asia?"

Well, Fernandez is a surname the Spaniards, who colonized our islands and called Las Islas Filipinas (The Philippine Islands), gave my ancestors (thus ancestry.com and similar sites do not work for me). My middle name, which is my mother's maiden name, Ahunin (which is also a Tagalog word that means "to draw something out of water," cf. Moses) is probably native, but I'm not really sure as I've seen what could be a Finnish version of it: Ahonen.

John Petty

Well, that answers that. I hope you keep checking in here. I appreciate your thoughts.


This is understandable that cash makes people independent. But what to do if one doesn't have cash? The one way is to receive the home loans or short term loan.

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