Hi, "Redeemed"! RE "the soils" --- let's quote Hebrews6:7-8 directly:
Originally Posted by Redeemed by Grace
"Ground that drinks the rain which often falls upon it and brings forth vegetation useful by those for whose sake it was tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and ...ends up being burned."
Does this have to be included with Jesus' parable of Luke8? Yes! Tilled-ground, yields EITHER good fruit OR bad fruit. Receives the blessing OR the curse. We would have to absolutely throw out Hebrews6:7-8 to continue thinking "ground produces fruit according to its God-ordained-nature"!
"We desire that each one of you show the same diligence, SO AS to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, SO THAT you not be sluggish BUT be imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." Hebrews6:11-12.
Did you see any of the posts I made on "all of Hebrews"? The entire letter, chapter by chapter, teaches "fallible salvation". The same context about "one-tilled-field-producing-EITHER-good-or-bad", literally the same breath, warns us to be diligent TO produce good fruit and inherit the promise of eternal life! Yes Hebrews must compliment Jesus' words in Luke. And the rest of Scripture applies too:
"My beloved planted a vineyard, expected it to produce good grapes; but it only produced worthless ones. I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed. I will lay it waste... The Vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel." Isaiah 5:1-7.
What did God expect of Israel? To produce good fruit! Did He predestine them to yield good fruit? No! Did He predestine them to yield bad fruit? No! They messed up!!! It's the same in chapter 65 --- He destines them for the sword BECAUSE He called and they did not answer, because they did evil in His sight, and because they chose that in which God did not delight!
Let's discuss another one of those "thirtyish secondary* passages thought to support predestination", which relates directly to what you just said:
Think of yourself trying to read the bible with a blindfold.... How clear can you read and understand the text through the blindfold? However, those for whom their heart has been tilled by God to accept the Gospel, in effect have had their blindfold removed by God, thus the instruction... behavioral instruction... is seen again, this time with a heart that has been tilled and with eyes that can see, and it is joy to them to take it in and follow... The blindness is no more, for the Lord has given them spiritual sight, and all that you quote above are in agreement to the repentive behaviors of the unblinded... and thus are truly saved and are Christian.
"If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." 2Cor4:3-4
Hah! See? That's what you said, they are BLINDFOLDED and cannot believe or turn to God unless or until that blindfold is REMOVED!
"To this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away!" 2Cor3:15-16.
This issue is always "sequence" --- and which comes first, "Redeemed"? Turning-to-God, or blindfold/veil-removed? TURNING comes FIRST!!! Another "secondary" is Ezk36:26-27, where many think that God has to change their hearts first (remove the blindfold!) --- but the mirror passage is Ezk11:18-21 --- in 11:18 they turn to God and THEN He gives them new hearts! In 11:21 those who WILL not turn are in TROUBLE!
That's the value of context, for "Scripture interpreting Scripture". "Turning" comes before "new hearts"; that is why Ezk18:31 says "make for YOURSELVES a new heart and a new spirit"!
Okay --- we just discussed two prominent passages thought to promote "born-again before belief" --- and they don't. I didn't actually post Ezk36:26-27, but readers can look that up. Neither Ezk36 nor 2Cor4 asserts "the veil has to be removed (given new hearts) BEFORE they believe and turn to God"!
One must be born first from above, then hearing, then faith and repentance, then obedience... the ordo salutis... a fairly understood tenet within the reformed theology camp.
Focus on "regeneration" --- in Titus3:5-6, regeneration is by the Spirit-who-was-poured on us through Jesus our Savior. Regeneration is by the POURED Spirit --- "ekcheo-poured". It's the same word in Acts10:45-47, which in Acts11:17 is poured after belief. Poured/fell-upon/gifted/RECEIVED, in context.
As a help, here is the difference defined:
The ordo salutis is election / predestination, followed by evangelism, regeneration, conversion, justification, sanctification, and glorification. In the Arminian camp, the ordo salutis is evangelism, followed by faith / election, repentance, regeneration, justification, perseverance, and glorification.
So the true "ordo salutis" of regeneration is:
1. Poured Spirit (belief, receiving the Spirit through the SAVIOR Jesus)
Do you accept that the "ordo salutis" that you hold (in which you missed "faith"), is backwards? In the face of these verses we just discussed --- can you deny it? If one is "born-again" WITHOUT (before!) faith, then what was the point of the Cross? Jesus dying was mere pageantry in that case, wasn't it?
You didn't really miss "faith", did you? Faith has no part in the "ordo salutis" of Reformed Theology, does it? "Faith" is either a direct gift from God, or the irresistible consequence of "born-again by sovereign monergistic regeneration".
Those whom He FOREKNEW (pro-ginosko, knew before) --- who are they? In verse 28 they are those who LOVE God. "Love/belief", before "predestination".
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
What is the "predestination" to? Salvation? No! Those who love God are predestined BY their love to BE CHRISTLIKE! Zero "predestined-salvation". Please tell me how this can be in error.
What is the "purpose of His will"?
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
"This is the WILL of God, that all who see Jesus AND BELIEVE may have eternal life." Jn6:40.
The will of God (thelema will-desire), is that all who see Jesus and believe be saved; Jn10:38 says "we can believe because-of seeing", Jn20:29 says "unseen belief is better than seen belief". God does not will (boulema-decree) any to perish, but patiently waits for all to repent (2Pet3:9)!
What do you think about the Scriptures we've discussed? Is anything established? All these verses that you've quoted, and I've quoted --- they fit together into a solid construction. Which does that construction support -- "predestined-salvation", or "free-choice"?
* Remember there are "four primary passages thought to support Predestined-Salvation", Eph1:4-5, Eph1:11, Rom8:29-35, Rom9:11-21. There are a little over thirty "secondary passages thought to support" --- including 2Cor4:3-4, and Ezk36:26-27, which we just discussed here. Each one of those verses has been shown not to support "predestined-salvation", including those we have not yet discussed (like Acts13:48, and 1Jn5:1)...