Post Number: 802
|Posted on Friday, November 10, 2017 - 12:12 am: || |
That should be - "the word death"
Post Number: 124
|Posted on Friday, November 10, 2017 - 7:57 am: || |
So a person spiritually dead in their sins is still able to do what is pleasing to God by using their "free will" to choose to believe in Jesus? (Romans 8:6-8)
Post Number: 1301
|Posted on Friday, November 10, 2017 - 12:26 pm: || |
Good question, Taluur. My answer is NO.
Post Number: 15543
|Posted on Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 8:00 pm: || |
This question is one of the unexplained mysteries in Scripture which we must hold in tension. I have often heard Gary Inrig say that if we try to figure out how to get rid of the tension, we lose the cross. God does ALL the work of salvation, and concurrently we are commanded to believe. These two things are both true.
I am convinced that in eternity, they are not at all in conflict. We just can't see how they "work" here. Ephesians 2:8-9 states that our faith is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:1-3 states that we are born dead in trespasses and sins, following the prince of this world who is in charge of the children of disobedience, by nature objects of wrath. Romans 3:8-15 quotes OT passages to say that no one seeks God, can please God, has any good in him, and that there is no good thing in any person.
We have to be brought to faith, but we simply cannot try to explain away any part of this apparent dichotomy. The Bible clearly teaches both: we are unable to seek God or to please Him, and we are to believe in Jesus. God alone can make this happen.
Gary Inrig explained that at Gethsemane, Jesus encountered the first time that his will was out of harmony with the Father's. He wrestled with submission to His Father for what He was about to do and begged for the cup to pass from Him if possible. Yet He trusted His Father and submitted.
At the same time, the outcome was determined before the foundation of the earth. Nevertheless, in real physical time as a man, Jesus wrestled with wanting something different from what His Father's will was...but He submitted to it.
We can't explain away either the fact that Jesus' mission and the outcome of His work was a foregone conclusion, or that He had to face a deep struggle with accepting His Father's will. How is this possible? We don't know, but it happened.
Jesus was "made perfect through suffering", Hebrews 2 tells us. It was this struggle with His flesh in contrast with His Father's will where He suffered in a way we will never be called to suffer, but it was how He was perfected through suffering and perfected by obedience. The cross required Jesus to be the perfect HUMAN, not just the perfect GOD. He had to trust His Father completely and act based on His command and His word.
If we try to explain away this apparent dichotomy, we lose the cross.
Salvation is ALL of God. We do not contribute to it. At the same time, when we hear the gospel and see Jesus, we are commanded to believe. Believing is not a work; that faith is a gift from God. But it is something we are asked to do, just as Jesus was asked to go to the cross.
I can't explain it, but the Bible teaches that both are true.
Post Number: 1303
|Posted on Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 6:58 am: || |
Thanks for sharing these thoughts, Colleen.
What I want to avoid is taking any credit for something God does, which to me is the ultimate arrogance.
Col 2:23 in the KJV says:
"Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh."
I know this verse is referring to denying oneself physical things. However, the spirit of the verse is warning against spiritual arrogance ("will worship"), which is the ultimate pride.
All glory should go to God. I don't want to take even .1% of the glory for myself.
Gal 2:20 says, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet ***NOT I***, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith ***OF*** the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
It's ALL done by Christ.
If some Christians want to believe they can take .1% of the credit for their salvation and can do so without becoming prideful, they are welcome to that belief.
All I know is that *I* cannot do that, because the temptation to pridefulness is too great in me.
Post Number: 803
|Posted on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 12:09 pm: || |
Glad to see you are keeping up the good work. Nevertheless there are a couple of points in your post which I have to disagree with.
Ephesians 2:8-9 does not say that faith is a gift of God. It says that salvation by grace through faith (the whole package) is a gift of God. This is clearer in the Greek, because of the mismatch of grammatical genders.
Ephesians 2:1 does not say that they were born dead in sin, it just says they were dead, but it does not say how they got there. If sin just means separation, as I explained above, and as I am sure you know having dealt with the state of the dead, then it in no way implies inability to make a decision.
Hebrews 4:2 implies that our faith is required for us to be saved.
I believe the plan of salvation is obviously all of God, but Calvinism goes too far in claiming that the faith to accept it is a gift, which furthermore is irresistible.
Our faith is not a work, it is not meritorious in any way, and it does not earn salvation. 99% of the Christians I know are non-Calvinists and I know no-one who would even entertain the thought that they earned their salvation by believing.
Sorry if I ranted a bit, I do get rather passionate about the things of God.
Post Number: 1063
|Posted on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 2:09 pm: || |
Salvation is about restoring a broken relationship. God doesnt want a one way relationship with us. We have a part in restoring that relationship. We have to say YES to christ gift of grace. Grace that is forced upon someone isnt a free gift. A sinner can beleve of their own free will.. If not than this new relationship with God isnt free. God doesnt want a forced relationship with us. Love cant be forced. Love can be accepted by the sinner OR rejected. We can tell God NO.
In Revelation 3 Jesus INVITES to open the door that He is knocking on(our heart). God doesnt knock the door open and thrust himself upon us. WE have to open that door..or we miss out on that union with him. The text is clear. We have to open the door. If we couldnt open it of our own free will, Christ wouldnt have made the invitation worded as He did.
Calvinist dont believe the sinner has the ability to say yes or believe of their own free will. . Calvinists are horribly wrong in that assumption. Calvinism actually reminds me of what is known as a shot gun wedding.
God doesnt desire a shot gun relationsip. The sinner has to agree(say I DO) to restoring the new relationship of their own free will. If not..how can the new relationship be based on love. Love cant be forced on someone.
In closing look at the thief on the cross. The thief reached out to our dying savior and asked to be remembered by Christ. He reached out on his own free will. Christ didnt believe for him. The thief believed of his own free will. No scripture can refute that fact.
We do have a part to play. Our part is to say YES to God.
I like the way you think Doc.!
Post Number: 161
|Posted on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 5:19 pm: || |
Doc and Animal: I don't think Colleen or I would argue with your main points ... both sides of this debate are true and coexist in a way that we do not understand. A paradox, if you will.
God is sovereign in salvation, but people are also responsible to place their faith in Jesus ... Romans 9 and 10 show the two sides of this (God's sovereignty and man's responsibility). To deny either of these is what becomes an extreme position.
I would say that a Calvinist is not so much a person who is "extreme in their theology", as one who has experienced a crisis when facing the darkness of their own sinful heart through conviction the Holy Spirit. They have become utterly broken through this realization of sin, and know deeply that there is nothing good in them, and believe that apart from the election of God unto to salvation, and the gift of faith (Phil 1:29) that they would be utterly and completely lost.
I didn't ask to become a Calvinist, and didn't even know the term; but being confronted by my lostness in Romans 3, I was completely spiritually undone. The remedy of justification in chapters 4 and 5 of Romans were then like water to a man dying of thirst, of life being put into a dead man.
Post Number: 162
|Posted on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 5:29 pm: || |
As a note, we should distinguish between types of faith; there is the faith that believes that God exists (Hebrews 11:6); Luther called this the "Devil's faith" because even Satan believes and trembles. But we must exercise the belief that God "is" as a first step, this is an elementary type of trust that we are fully capable of (we are also capable of unbelief, in fact this is our natural state). This faith is "pleasing" to God, though of itself can not save.
"Saving faith" is a gift from God ... we can no better produce saving faith than the sea can bring forth fresh water of itself; this faith is given to us at the new birth.
(Message edited by leifl on November 14, 2017)
Post Number: 1304
|Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 5:24 am: || |
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Eph 2:10 ESV
We are created beings. Even our good works are not generated out of our own will. God gets all the credit.
(Message edited by Honestwitness on November 16, 2017)
Post Number: 163
|Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 10:14 am: || |
Honestwitness: great verse, thanks.
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 15:57
Post Number: 3545
|Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 1:48 pm: || |
Doc and Animal; I agree with you.
Post Number: 164
|Posted on Saturday, November 25, 2017 - 10:56 am: || |
Here's another thought ...
We are born incapable of choosing God OF OURSELVES. This is why we needed to be saved ...
Jesus said "Without me, you can do nothing", and speaking of salvation, he said, "With men this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible."
The teaching that we are somehow born with our eyes spiritually open and fully capable is foreign to our Protestant (and Biblical) roots ... Lockean humanist philosophy is the base of this theology, not the Bible.
A biblical perspective of salvation is this:
God supplies what He demands.
YES, God commands men everywhere to repent and receive the Gospel
YES, In our sin God is foreign to us, and we naturally run the other way
YES, God works by grace in our hearts so that we see the beauty of our Lord Jesus and desire his ways
YES, there must be a cooperation on our parts with the grace of God, and if we continually fight against it, we will be lost
This leaves God as primary in salvation, and acknowledges our lost condition, without minimizing the fact that people must make a conscious decision to follow the Lord Jesus, and intentionally placing their trust in His Person and completed work to be saved.
This is not an either/or doctrine; it is a both/and. Though man certainly has his part in this, God (Father, Son and Spirit) must always be acknowledged as the primary active source of salvation for a Biblical soteriology.
Post Number: 1305
|Posted on Saturday, November 25, 2017 - 12:43 pm: || |
Amen, Leifl. Well said.
Post Number: 804
|Posted on Sunday, November 26, 2017 - 1:46 pm: || |
I agree with you Leifl, but not from a Calvinist perspective. God definitely makes the first move, and many others after that, but he is not aggressive or forcible.
Post Number: 165
|Posted on Sunday, November 26, 2017 - 10:27 pm: || |
Thanks for the comment. I’m not tied up too much with labels ... my Dutch Reformed friends would probably question the way I explain my “Calvinist” positions and consider me to be a hybrid. They take their ideas to an end point that I’m uncomfortable with.
Our church is a mix of Calvinists and Arminians and the point is never argued. We all agree that salvation is only through the person and work of Jesus, and that’s enough. We agree that man is naturally corrupt and in opposition to God and his ways, and that only the work of grace upon the heart can change that.
For so many years in Adventism I heard messages about making right choices and that obedience was the key to salvation. Sorry, but it isn’t.
A few years ago I found myself at Loma Linda in a Sabbath school lesson, and the teacher asked, “is man naturally good or evil?” 2/3 of this adult class was of opinion that man was naturally good.
Think about the ramifications of that view in light of what kind of gospel is being preached there. Reformation theology helped me to cut clean of that tangled mess.
Post Number: 1306
|Posted on Monday, November 27, 2017 - 6:19 am: || |
Doc, you said, "...but he is not aggressive or forcible."
I certainly hope God IS aggressive and forcible. Otherwise, He would not be GOD!
God aggressively and forcibly caused me to be born and He aggressively and forcibly caused me to be born again, AGAINST my free will. My free will was dead in sin and incapable of choosing God. I'm so glad God did the choosing, the calling, and the saving. God first ENABLED me to choose Him. If God had left me to my free will, I would have continued to reject Him. Actually, my will was not free, because it was enslaved to sin. But, now I'm enslaved to Christ.
Do you remember that song by Bob Dylan..."Gotta Serve Somebody?"
"You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls,
"But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes
Indeed you're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody."
And it goes on from there with many stanzas, but the chorus is repeated after every one. And, even though it's Bob Dylan, he's got correct Biblical doctrine.
Leifl, that's amazing that 2/3 of the class members thought man was naturally good. They must not have read Romans 3:10-12.
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."
Amazing Fact: SDA's do NOT know their Bibles!
Post Number: 166
|Posted on Monday, November 27, 2017 - 11:15 am: || |
Honestwitness: I enjoy your posts. My mother thought very much like you ... she was an avid proponent of Reformed theology, and continually thanked the Lord that salvation was not left up to her free will, but was based on the security of the election of grace, through the blood shed on Calvary.
I have noticed that kind of thinking sends a lot of Christians into fits ... so have dialed back the way I express my self, though my thinking is certainly in line with the very biblical doctrines of divine sovereignty, predestination and election.
The doctrine of the trinity demands it: from the foundation of the world, the Father elects His own (election), sends His Son into the world to die as a substitutionary sacrifice for the people of God (justification), and the Spirit comes to believers to give them the new birth (regeneration).
Post Number: 3546
|Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - 2:14 pm: || |
Honestwitness and Leifl; doesn't God use the parable of a man wooing a woman when He speaks of drawing people to Him? God didn't say that the man would take the woman, forcibly marry her and then rape her. It sounds like you're saying that God picks a few and then does that to them. That would be rape and if people don't really have free will, then what was the fall all about? If God wanted robots, He would have made Adam and Even incapable of sinning.
Even Rebekah back in Genesis was asked if she would go with the servant that Abraham sent to bring back a wife for his son.
Post Number: 3547
|Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - 2:49 pm: || |
I'd like to add that if God simply saves all the ones that He wants to save, then all people would be saved because the Bible says that God "desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 1st Tim. 2:4.