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Rhyfelwr
Sep 21st 2008, 11:14 PM
I've been thinking quite a lot about the doctrine of predestination lately, and I'm not 100% sure I understand it properly.

Obviously, God knows who will be saved and who will not, because He has total foreknowledge. Does this then mean that God only gives his grace to those who He knows would accept Him?

So this would mean that not everyone does get the choice to accept God. Not because they are less deserving than the elect, but because He does not give them His grace since he knows they will reject Him anyway?

Or is it nothing to do with the choices we would make, but rather for whatever reason God favours some over others?

Does this also mean that Jesus' suffering for our atonement was only meant to suffice for the elect?

Thanks for any help, I'm really struggling to get my head round this issue...

Equipped_4_Love
Sep 21st 2008, 11:25 PM
I've been thinking quite a lot about the doctrine of predestination lately, and I'm not 100% sure I understand it properly.

Obviously, God knows who will be saved and who will not, because He has total foreknowledge. Does this then mean that God only gives his grace to those who He knows would accept Him?

Yes, God has foreknowledge of who will accept Him, but grace is not something that is reserved, per se, for the elect. God's grace is available to everyone, and He gives it to those who reach out and accept it. God's grace is enacted in a person's life only after that person makes a willful decision to receive it, so the answer to your question is yes...God gives His grace to those whom He had foreknowledge of, that is, those who accept it.

God's grace is available to everyone....what that person decides to do with it will define his spiritual destiny.


So this would mean that not everyone does get the choice to accept God.

No. Everyone is given the choice. If this were not true, then God could not rightfully punish someone for rejecting Him.


Not because they are less deserving than the elect, but because He does not give them His grace since he knows they will reject Him anyway?

Grace is not given to a person until that person reaches out and accepts it. God does know in advance who will and who won't accept His grace, but the reason God doesn't give them His grace has nothing to do with His foreknowledge, but their rejection.


Or is it nothing to do with the choices we would make, but rather for whatever reason God favours some over others?

It has nothing to do with God's favor.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

God does know beforehand who will and won't accept His grace, and I have heard many testimonies that indicate that God uses the circumstances in their lives to navigate them towards Him. Some people will never accept God's grace, no matter what happens in their lives.....for these people, God's grace is nullified.


Does this also mean that Jesus' suffering for our atonement was only meant to suffice for the elect?

I believe that the elect are those people chosen by God....not in a Calvinistic sense, but in the sense that these are the people who, by free will, accepted God's grace so that, by predestination, God elected them as children.

Rom. 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

In a nutshell, God knew beforehand who would accept and reject Him, and it is those people whom God predestined to be His children. Christ's atoning sacrifice is available for everyone who is willing to receive it, but it only suffices for those who have accepted it. For those who die without Christ, the sacrifice is of no effect.


Thanks for any help, I'm really struggling to get my head round this issue...

I hope I helped some.

livingword26
Sep 21st 2008, 11:27 PM
God offers salvation to all creation, but yes, He knows who will and who will not be saved. But His heart desires us all to be saved


Matt 25:41
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
KJV

Heb 2:3
3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation ; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
KJV

Deut 30:19
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
KJV

Matt 23:37
37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
KJV

John 1:6-13
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
KJV

John 1:29
29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
KJV

John 3:18-21
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
KJV

John 6:51
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
KJV

John 12:32
32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
KJV

Acts 7:51
51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
KJV

Rom 10:11-13
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved .
KJV

Mark 16:16
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved ; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
KJV

Titus 2:11
11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men ,
KJV

1 Tim 2:5-6
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
KJV

petepet
Sep 22nd 2008, 12:26 AM
I've been thinking quite a lot about the doctrine of predestination lately, and I'm not 100% sure I understand it properly.

Obviously, God knows who will be saved and who will not, because He has total foreknowledge. Does this then mean that God only gives his grace to those who He knows would accept Him?

So this would mean that not everyone does get the choice to accept God. Not because they are less deserving than the elect, but because He does not give them His grace since he knows they will reject Him anyway?

Or is it nothing to do with the choices we would make, but rather for whatever reason God favours some over others?

Does this also mean that Jesus' suffering for our atonement was only meant to suffice for the elect?

Thanks for any help, I'm really struggling to get my head round this issue...

The question has been debated for at least 1700 years (since Augustine of Hippo if not before) so you are not likely to get your problem solved here :-))))

However Paul said that 'He has chosen us in Him before the world began' (Ephesians 1.4) It is also the basis of Pauls' argument in Romans 9-11 (which see). And Jesus made clear that those whom the Father gave Him would come to Him (John 6.37, 40) for only those whom the Father drew would come (John 6.44).

There are in fact two strains running through Scripture. On the one side is that all happens in accordance with God's specific purpose, on the other is God's free offer to mankind.

As we approach the gate of salvation we see, 'Whosoever will may come'. When we get through it and look back we see, 'Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.'

If there were not these two paradoxical viewpoints in the Bible we would not have had 1700 years of arguments which are still going on.

You will do well to hold both viewpoints in tension, for Scripture teaches both. Reject either and you will lose great blessing.

Christ's atonement was for all but it was on behalf of many. That is the paradox of Scripture.

Sold Out
Sep 22nd 2008, 12:29 AM
So this would mean that not everyone does get the choice to accept God. Not because they are less deserving than the elect, but because He does not give them His grace since he knows they will reject Him anyway?

Does this also mean that Jesus' suffering for our atonement was only meant to suffice for the elect?


You are going to get two answers. Yes and No

You are correct that God has foreknowledge, therefore He knows who will and won't be saved. The question is: Does HE choose or do WE choose?

Someone already referenced Romans 8:29, "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren"

Let's break this down....God foreknew who would be saved, therefore He predestined those He knew would be saved with a plan for their life - to conform to Christ. Foreknowledge and predestination are two different things.

One final note - if God chose beforehand all who would and would not be saved, that would certainly cause us to question the goodness of God.

livingword26
Sep 22nd 2008, 12:44 AM
You are going to get two answers. Yes and No

You are correct that God has foreknowledge, therefore He knows who will and won't be saved. The question is: Does HE choose or do WE choose?

Someone already referenced Romans 8:29, "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren"

Let's break this down....God foreknew who would be saved, therefore He predestined those He knew would be saved with a plan for their life - to conform to Christ. Foreknowledge and predestination are two different things.

One final note - if God chose beforehand all who would and would not be saved, that would certainly cause us to question the goodness of God.

You must spread some reputation around before giving it to Sold Out again

Equipped_4_Love
Sep 22nd 2008, 04:05 AM
However Paul said that 'He has chosen us in Him before the world began' (Ephesians 1.4) It is also the basis of Pauls' argument in Romans 9-11 (which see).

Absolutely. Remember the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22? At the end of this parable, the Lord Jesus Christ says:

v. 14: For many are called, but few are chosen

He also says this at the end of the parable of the workers in the vineyard. Now, while I understand that these parables directly address Israel's rejection of Christ as Messiah, I still believe that these words apply, and correlate well with Paul's sentiments.
The Lord chose us before the world began, but whom did He choose? He chose those who would accept His free gift of grace, and it was those whom He foreknew. He didn't choose us because He favored us....He favors us because He chose us.

Jer. 1:5 Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you; Before you were born, I sanctified you; I ordained you as a prophet to the nations

God knew who would and wouldn't accept His sacrifice even before they were born, and it is these that He chose before the world began.


Many are called to receive Christ's gift of grace, but few are chosen to be glorified in the Kingdom.....Those who are chosen are those whom Christ pre-destined.


And Jesus made clear that those whom the Father gave Him would come to Him (John 6.37, 40) for only those whom the Father drew would come (John 6.44).

The Father draws those who were chosen before the world began, based on His foreknowledge of who will and won't accept the grace of God.


There are in fact two strains running through Scripture. On the one side is that all happens in accordance with God's specific purpose, on the other is God's free offer to mankind.

I really think that it has to do with God's sovereignty as as it relates to man's free will.


As we approach the gate of salvation we see, 'Whosoever will may come'. When we get through it and look back we see, 'Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.'

If there were not these two paradoxical viewpoints in the Bible we would not have had 1700 years of arguments which are still going on.

Wouldn't you agree, though, that those who enter the gate of salvation are those who enter the strait gate....the narrow path leading to salvation?

Mt. 7:13 Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it

When we enter in by that gate, we look back and see Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. It is precisely because we entered in by that gate that we have been chosen.

Rhyfelwr
Sep 22nd 2008, 11:07 AM
Someone already referenced Romans 8:29, "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren"

Let's break this down....God foreknew who would be saved, therefore He predestined those He knew would be saved with a plan for their life - to conform to Christ. Foreknowledge and predestination are two different things.

Thanks for that, that has really helped put predestination into context for me. I has always wondered if predestination was only really another way of describing foreknowledge.

But predestination in fact means that God works in your life so that you will accept him. It's not the case that God's grace is only reserved for the elect, but rather he will only work in the lives of the elect so that they will accept his grace, whereas others never would, no matter what.

So predestination ensures that all those who could accept God in their lifetime, will.

Have I got it?

petepet
Sep 22nd 2008, 12:03 PM
Absolutely. Remember the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22? At the end of this parable, the Lord Jesus Christ says:

v. 14: For many are called, but few are chosen

He also says this at the end of the parable of the workers in the vineyard. Now, while I understand that these parables directly address Israel's rejection of Christ as Messiah, I still believe that these words apply, and correlate well with Paul's sentiments.
The Lord chose us before the world began, but whom did He choose? He chose those who would accept His free gift of grace, and it was those whom He foreknew. He didn't choose us because He favored us....He favors us because He chose us.

Jer. 1:5 Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you; Before you were born, I sanctified you; I ordained you as a prophet to the nations

God knew who would and wouldn't accept His sacrifice even before they were born, and it is these that He chose before the world began.


Many are called to receive Christ's gift of grace, but few are chosen to be glorified in the Kingdom.....Those who are chosen are those whom Christ pre-destined.



The Father draws those who were chosen before the world began, based on His foreknowledge of who will and won't accept the grace of God.



I really think that it has to do with God's sovereignty as as it relates to man's free will.



Wouldn't you agree, though, that those who enter the gate of salvation are those who enter the strait gate....the narrow path leading to salvation?

Mt. 7:13 Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it

When we enter in by that gate, we look back and see Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. It is precisely because we entered in by that gate that we have been chosen.

But if before the creation of the world God, as you say, already knew exactly what was going to happen with His creation from start to finish before He even began creation, then He created the lost knowing that they would be damned because of the way in which He had created them. Thus He predestined them to be damned for He did not need to create them. No amount of arguing can avoid that conclusion. Thus you do not escape the problem by taking God's sovereignty from Him. :-))))

But the word 'foreknew' is proginosko, not prooida. It does not mean 'knowledge about' beforehand, it means entering into a relationship with someone before hand. And that 'personal foreknowing' preceded the whole train of His saving activity (Romans 8.29).

In fact God knew when He created the world that all were destined to be damned. His active 'foreknowing' therefore resulted in a saving of the few out of the many. He chose me, not because He knew that there was something in me that would respond to Him, but in order to work within me through the cross so as to make me respond to Him. No credit goes to me at all. It is all His. And that is what Paul continually points out, for example in Romans 9.18-23. using foreknowledge in its weaker sense is in my view a dodge, and also dishonouring to God, for it suggests that He stood back and watched it happen. And as I have demonstrated above does not avoid the ethical problem.

In my view to say 'The Father draws those who were chosen before the world began, based on His foreknowledge of who will and won't accept the grace of God' is to emasculate what Jesus was really saying. What He was saying was that they would accept Him BECAUSE He drew them, and because He had given them to His Son.

But if you are happy with your view by all means stick with it. And if it helps, someone all to the good. Sadly I believe it is only half the truth. It misses out on the glorious truth of God's own total loving initiative.

9Marksfan
Sep 22nd 2008, 12:04 PM
One final note - if God chose beforehand all who would and would not be saved, that would certainly cause us to question the goodness of God.

Why? Is God in some way obliged to save ANY of us?

9Marksfan
Sep 22nd 2008, 12:07 PM
Thanks for that, that has really helped put predestination into context for me. I has always wondered if predestination was only really another way of describing foreknowledge.

But predestination in fact means that God works in your life so that you will accept him. It's not the case that God's grace is only reserved for the elect, but rather he will only work in the lives of the elect so that they will accept his grace, whereas others never would, no matter what.

So predestination ensures that all those who could accept God in their lifetime, will.

Have I got it?

In a word - yes! He is the Good Shepherd who will seek out ALL His sheep! NONE of them will be lost! :pp There are many verses in Jesus' sayings in John's gospel (chs 6 and 10 in particular) that bear this great truth out.

Sold Out
Sep 22nd 2008, 01:32 PM
Why? Is God in some way obliged to save ANY of us?

Absolutely not (obligated)....but why would a good God sentence one of his creation to eternal hell without that person even having a choice in the matter? Does that not also interfere with free will? Just something to think about.

markedward
Sep 22nd 2008, 01:51 PM
Why? Is God in some way obliged to save ANY of us?I don't think it was being said that God has to save any of us.

But total predestination (i.e., no free will) begs the question: If salvation of the individual is entirely up to God and not the individual, and people who become saved only do so because God made them become saved... why doesn't He just make everyone become saved?

The best analogy to be given is a Puppeteer with puppets. The Puppeteer has complete control over the actions of the two puppets. He makes one puppet talk and say "I'll do whatever you want, Puppeteer." He makes the other puppet say "I'll never do whatever you want, Puppeteer." But then the Puppeteer is still controlling both of them. Would it seem a little odd for the Puppeteer to throw the 'bad' puppet into the trash can for 'disobeying' Him, if it was He who made the puppet disobey to begin with?

The idea of total predestination necessarily causes the questioning of God's justice, if total predestination means it was God who caused all people to sin and yet He only chooses some to redeem from that sin. (Not to mention that: predestination means, in essence, God was the cause of sin, rather than just having the foreknowledge of it.)

drew
Sep 22nd 2008, 02:26 PM
I know that this is a contentious and complex issue. I have come to believe that the doctrine of pre-destination, in the sense that God fully and sufficiently causes some to be saved and some to be lost, is not supported by the Scriptures. Of course there are many texts that seem to support that position. And I submit that each can be refuted, although this requires a complex argument in most, if not all, cases.

I would like to say something about Romans 9, though. This is a favourite text used to support pre-destination of individuals to salvation or to loss. I suggest it is doing nothing of the sort. In Romans 9, Paul is talking about Israel, and when he talks about "election" and the right of the potter to make vessels fitted for destruction, he is still talking about Israel. And not, directly at least, in relation to matters of eternal life, but in respect to God using Israel as part of his plan of redemption, just like he used Pharoah.

Rhyfelwr
Sep 22nd 2008, 02:59 PM
Just noticed you're a fellow Scotsman marksfan. And to think you thought I was Welsh! :lol: I suppose its my own fault for using the Brythonic word for 'infantry' as my username.

Anyway, should we presume God has total sovereignty over our fates? Because he did gift us with free will. Although in a sense we have lost that since we are born as slaves to sin.

:hmm:

From my understanding, God does not predestine any to hell (although I'm new to studying these tough issues so correct me if I'm wrong). Because, there are two kinds of people when considering predestination:

1. Those with the potential to follow God
2. Those who would never accept Him

While God does foresee the damnation of those in the second category, He does not actively ensure that its what they get. They reject Him, and they are allowed to do this, through free will.

However, He does predestine those in category one to Heaven. Because it is possible or even likely that without God's guidance those in category one might never accept Him in a lifetime on this earth. However, God works in the lives of these people to ensure that they do accept Him, therefore they are predestined for Heaven.

Or am I creating an issue with God's sovereignty, especially in the second paragraph above? Although God was sovereign in granting humanity free will, it was a gift from him.

divaD
Sep 22nd 2008, 03:14 PM
The best analogy to be given is a puppeteer with puppets. If the Puppeteer has complete control over the actions of the two
puppets. He makes on puppet talk and say "I'll do whatever you want, Puppeteer." He makes the other puppet say "I'll never
do whatever you want, Puppeteer." But then the Puppeteer is still controlling both of them, would it seem a little odd for the
Puppeteer to throw the 'bad' puppet into the trash can for 'disobeying' Him, if it was He who made the puppet disobey to
begin with?


Hi markedward, I truly enjoyed that analagy. That was priceless. Too bad some still won't get it.

petepet
Sep 22nd 2008, 04:24 PM
I don't think it was being said that God has to save any of us.

But total predestination (i.e., no free will) begs the question: If salvation of the individual is entirely up to God and not the individual, and people who become saved only do so because God made them become saved... why doesn't He just make everyone become saved?

The best analogy to be given is a Puppeteer with puppets. The Puppeteer has complete control over the actions of the two puppets. He makes one puppet talk and say "I'll do whatever you want, Puppeteer." He makes the other puppet say "I'll never do whatever you want, Puppeteer." But then the Puppeteer is still controlling both of them. Would it seem a little odd for the Puppeteer to throw the 'bad' puppet into the trash can for 'disobeying' Him, if it was He who made the puppet disobey to begin with?

The idea of total predestination necessarily causes the questioning of God's justice, if total predestination means it was God who caused all people to sin and yet He only chooses some to redeem from that sin. (Not to mention that: predestination means, in essence, God was the cause of sin, rather than just having the foreknowledge of it.)

No doubt there are some who think that predestination involves the cancellation of freewill, but not respectable (for want of a better word) Calvinists.

Both Calvin and Luther believed in free will, but it was a free will in bondage. They agreed that we had the free will to sin. What they argued was that our free will is so in bondage that without the working of the grace of God no man would ever come to Christ. but that when God did work by His grace such a person would inevitably come to Christ.

And of course God predetermines those on whom His active saving grace will work. Thus some men are predestined to salvation. But they are not predetermined for damnation. They choose that of their own free will.

RogerW
Sep 22nd 2008, 04:29 PM
I don't think it was being said that God has to save any of us.

But total predestination (i.e., no free will) begs the question: If salvation of the individual is entirely up to God and not the individual, and people who become saved only do so because God made them become saved... why doesn't He just make everyone become saved?

Greetings markedward,

Can you explain how one who is in bondage (a prisoner) to sin and death through the power of Satan is free to choose freedom from this bondage? Isn't that a bit like the guard over the prisoner saying I'll give the prisoner the keys to his cell so he can have freedom?

We must accept that man's freewill (so-called) is free only in the sense that he can choose that which he is bound by. In other words man in unbelief, cannot choose to make himself free. He can only be made free by someone greater than the power that holds the man in bondage to sin and death.

It's a mistake to argue we have freewill to come to Christ for freedom and life, when in FACT we are prisoners of Satan before we become saved. Satan holds us in bondage through fear to both sin and death, and will not of our own freewill allow us to have freedom and life in Christ. We are only free to choose that which our fallen nature, under the power of Satan allows...which always leads to sin and death. How is this having freedom or freewill? In fact I would argue that unless the Lord gives us freedom and life we remain in bondage to sin and death; i.e. prisoners of Satan our whole lives.



The best analogy to be given is a Puppeteer with puppets. The Puppeteer has complete control over the actions of the two puppets. He makes one puppet talk and say "I'll do whatever you want, Puppeteer." He makes the other puppet say "I'll never do whatever you want, Puppeteer." But then the Puppeteer is still controlling both of them. Would it seem a little odd for the Puppeteer to throw the 'bad' puppet into the trash can for 'disobeying' Him, if it was He who made the puppet disobey to begin with?

Since we are not free, as you suppose, prior to being given life and freedom through Christ, we are, and will remain puppets of another, that is Satan. Satan is our puppet master prior to salvation, and he keeps us in bondage to sin and death, separated from Christ. Satan does indeed pull all the strings, making us do whatever he, our puppet master desires. And he will not let go of the strings or allow us to cut the strings ourself. Someone more powerful than this puppet master MUST cut the strings with which Satan binds us. Of course we both know the only one stronger, and more powerful, whose is able to cut us free is Christ.

Does Christ ask our permission (assuming we have freewill) to be cut free from the puppet master, Satan, who holds us in bondage to sin and death? That wouldn't make a whole lot of sense, since we are prisoners, so obtaining our permission (freewill) cannot save us, because we don't pull the strings, the puppet master, Satan does. It would also make no sense for Christ to ask permission of our puppet master, Satan to let us go. After all He doesn't need to because He is more powerful than Satan, and can therefore take for Himself whosoever He desires, setting them free from the bondage whereby Satan held them.

The sad state of every man born in Adam, is that we are all (every single one of us) born with a fallen nature in bondage to Satan, sin and death. But, God desires to have a people for Himself. Knowing that every man is, and will remain a slave to their puppet master, Satan, apart from His saving some, He in His great love, and mercy predestines some to be set free, and gives them eternal life through Christ. He does not merely offer them eternal life, He gives them eternal life. We don't choose Christ for salvation, He chooses His own, and these are written in the Lamb's Book of Life before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blame before Him in love.

Once we are made free through Christ, and no longer slaves of the old puppet master, Satan, sin and death, do we have so-called freewill? I would argue, not really. Why? Because now we have a new Master, and we have become servants of righteousness through Him. Our old natures, that delighted in sin has been put to death, and our new natures in Christ desire to do the new Master's will. We willingly become puppets in the hand of our new Puppet Master, because He has graciously changed our wills to conform to His will. Do we do the will of the Lord perfectly in this life? Never! But, now we have the ability to choose to do that which delights our Lord, and brings glory and honor to God. So in reality we are not free in the sense that we have freewill to reject Christ after He has made us free...we are in fact puppets of Christ, made to do His will. And the more we grow in sanctification under our new Master, Christ, the greater the servanthood to our new Master.

Make me a puppet for Christ any day, for I delight to do His will, and be His servant as opposed to being a puppet, and slave in the hands of the old puppet master, Satan, sin and death.



The idea of total predestination necessarily causes the questioning of God's justice, if total predestination means it was God who caused all people to sin and yet He only chooses some to redeem from that sin. (Not to mention that: predestination means, in essence, God was the cause of sin, rather than just having the foreknowledge of it.)

If God does not predestine some men to be saved, then no man can be saved. God causes no man to sin, however knowing that every man would be born with the fallen nature in Adam, and in bondage to Satan, sin and death, He chose before the foundation of the world to have mercy on some, and to leave the rest.

This is very hard for some to accept. Man feels the need to have some measure of control of their salvation. They find it very hard to believe that God would not give the opportunity for every man to be saved. Consider our example, the nation of Israel. God chose one small nation to call His own, showering them alone with love, and compassion. He clearly tells us He did not choose them because they first chose Him, but simply chose them, out of all the peoples of the world, to manifest His glory unto all men. The same is true of all who have been predestined to eternal life. We are given life to be salt and light to a dying world. It is through His elect that His grace and mercy is declared throughout the world. God chooses based on His Sovereign good pleasure alone, for He says, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."

Many Blessings,
RW

RoadWarrior
Sep 22nd 2008, 04:34 PM
The question has been debated for at least 1700 years (since Augustine of Hippo if not before) so you are not likely to get your problem solved here :-))))



Rhyfelwr, I agree with petepet... you are not likely to get your problem solved here. Augustine is indeed the original thinker on this issue, and he blended Scripture with Platonism. If you go back to Augustine's writings and try to sort out which is which, you might begin to see that truth and error has been so blended as to have no valid answers to this question.

I believe it is the wrong question. I encourage anyone who is struggling with this doctrinal puzzle to abandon the Augustinian/Lutheran/Calvinist/Pelagian/Arminian party. Go into the Word of God and seek to know Him. As you spend time knowing God and drawing near to Him, these arguments will dissolve into nothingness.

RogerW
Sep 22nd 2008, 04:44 PM
Just noticed you're a fellow Scotsman marksfan. And to think you thought I was Welsh! :lol: I suppose its my own fault for using the Brythonic word for 'infantry' as my username.

Anyway, should we presume God has total sovereignty over our fates? Because he did gift us with free will. Although in a sense we have lost that since we are born as slaves to sin.

:hmm:

From my understanding, God does not predestine any to hell (although I'm new to studying these tough issues so correct me if I'm wrong). Because, there are two kinds of people when considering predestination:

1. Those with the potential to follow God
2. Those who would never accept Him

While God does foresee the damnation of those in the second category, He does not actively ensure that its what they get. They reject Him, and they are allowed to do this, through free will.

However, He does predestine those in category one to Heaven. Because it is possible or even likely that without God's guidance those in category one might never accept Him in a lifetime on this earth. However, God works in the lives of these people to ensure that they do accept Him, therefore they are predestined for Heaven.

Or am I creating an issue with God's sovereignty, especially in the second paragraph above? Although God was sovereign in granting humanity free will, it was a gift from him.

Greetings Rhyfelwr,

A bit late, but welcome to the community.

While I agree with you here, I would simply ask clarity of so-called free will? I mean prior to salvation we are not free to choose Christ, that we might have life. And after salvation we are not free to reject Christ, Who has given us eternal life. So are we morally free to choose eternal life or death in any sense?

Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Sep 22nd 2008, 04:53 PM
Rhyfelwr, I agree with petepet... you are not likely to get your problem solved here. Augustine is indeed the original thinker on this issue, and he blended Scripture with Platonism. If you go back to Augustine's writings and try to sort out which is which, you might begin to see that truth and error has been so blended as to have no valid answers to this question.

I believe it is the wrong question. I encourage anyone who is struggling with this doctrinal puzzle to abandon the Augustinian/Lutheran/Calvinist/Pelagian/Arminian party. Go into the Word of God and seek to know Him. As you spend time knowing God and drawing near to Him, these arguments will dissolve into nothingness.

Yes lets go to Scripture to find Christ, and His Apostles teach the doctrines of predestination and election. Let the Bible alone speak without any outside influence, for Scripture does indeed teach that God in eternity past chose a people for Himself to be holy and blameless before Him in love. And we can also find that Christ did not die on the cross to merely offer salvation, His death actually accomplished salvation for all who were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, predestined to receive eternal life, and of all whom He chose He will lose nothing! These doctrines don't originate with Augustine, they originate with God before the world began when Christ became the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world!

Blessings,
RW

livingword26
Sep 22nd 2008, 05:00 PM
Yes lets go to Scripture to find Christ, and His Apostles teach the doctrines of predestination and election. Let the Bible alone speak without any outside influence, for Scripture does indeed teach that God in eternity past chose a people for Himself to be holy and blameless before Him in love. And we can also find that Christ did not die on the cross to merely offer salvation, His death actually accomplished salvation for all who were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, predestined to receive eternal life, and of all whom He chose He will lose nothing! These doctrines don't originate with Augustine, they originate with God before the world began when Christ became the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world!

Blessings,
RW

John Calvin was not completely wrong. Salvation is of God. However, we have the responsibility to accept, or reject it. John Calvin's God who created men specifically to throw into eternal punishment does not exist. This is a God of hatred and murder. A God who punishes with no chance of repentance or forgiveness. The fire of eternal punishment was created for the devil and his angels, not for man. I will not attempt to argue against the Calvinist doctrine. As with many doctrines, it has many verses that seem to back it up. Also as with all false doctrines, there are many verses that contradict it.


Matt 25:41
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
KJV


Heb 2:3
3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation ; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
KJV


Deut 30:19
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
KJV


Matt 23:37
37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
KJV


John 1:6-13
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
KJV


John 1:29
29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
KJV






John 3:18-21
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
KJV


John 6:51
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
KJV


John 12:32
32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
KJV


Acts 7:51
51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
KJV


Rom 10:11-13
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved .
KJV


Mark 16:16
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved ; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
KJV


Titus 2:11
11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men ,
KJV


1 Tim 2:5-6
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
KJV

Rhyfelwr
Sep 22nd 2008, 05:20 PM
Greetings Rhyfelwr,

A bit late, but welcome to the community.

While I agree with you here, I would simply ask clarity of so-called free will? I mean prior to salvation we are not free to choose Christ, that we might have life. And after salvation we are not free to reject Christ, Who has given us eternal life. So are we morally free to choose eternal life or death in any sense?

Many Blessings,
RW

Could it be the case that God gives his grace to those who would accept Him *if* they had free will? In a fallen world, we do not have the ability to do this as we are born as slaves to sin, and so it is purely by God's grace that we are freed from Satan's chains and may come to accept God?

So those who will never accept God are not predestined by Him to suffer in Hell, although God has foreknowledge of their fate nonetheless. These people serve Satan as we all do before we are shown God's grace, but God does not give them his grace knowing that they would reject it, regardless of Satan's power over them.

Being sovereing God could bring these sinners to Himself, but to do this would be abusing the free will which He granted to humanity. He does not distribute His grace based on decisions people take as puppets of Himself or Satan, but rather on his knowledge of who would accept Him if they exercised their free will.


Rhyfelwr, I agree with petepet... you are not likely to get your problem solved here. Augustine is indeed the original thinker on this issue, and he blended Scripture with Platonism. If you go back to Augustine's writings and try to sort out which is which, you might begin to see that truth and error has been so blended as to have no valid answers to this question.

I believe it is the wrong question. I encourage anyone who is struggling with this doctrinal puzzle to abandon the Augustinian/Lutheran/Calvinist/Pelagian/Arminian party. Go into the Word of God and seek to know Him. As you spend time knowing God and drawing near to Him, these arguments will dissolve into nothingness.

I suppose you are right. I just feel as I read the Bible that God is giving me guidance through the scripture, and so I want to be able to understand what He is telling me by understanding the scriptures. After all, they are His divinely inspired word, and since he chose to grant the scripture to us I think he wishes us to understand it.

I feel that learnings scripture coincides with my relationship with God. One gives me understanding of the other. Although you are right the latter is much more important.

RogerW
Sep 22nd 2008, 05:36 PM
John Calvin was not completely wrong. Salvation is of God. However, we have the responsibility to accept, or reject it. John Calvin's God who created men specifically to throw into eternal punishment does not exist. This is a God of hatred and murder. A God who punishes with no chance of repentance or forgiveness. The fire of eternal punishment was created for the devil and his angels, not for man. I will not attempt to argue against the Calvinist doctrine. As with many doctrines, it has many verses that seem to back it up. Also as with all false doctrines, there are many verses that contradict it.

Greetings livingword,

God created human very good! He says so Himself (Gn 1:31). But what happened to human after he fell in the garden, after he disobeyed God? The good human that God had created has become in bondage to Satan, and therefore sin and death. Now all men, born in Adam are born with a fallen nature in bondage to Satan, sin and death, not by the choice or will of God, but through disobedience of the one man Adam. For through the sin of Adam, death came upon all men (Ro 5:12).

You are right. God did not create man specifically to throw into eternal punishment. He created man very good, but Adam transgressed, and plunged all of his progeny into bondage to Satan, sin and death. Every man would remain under this bondage unless Christ makes them free, giving them eternal life in Him. No man is able to break the bondage of Satan through free will. If we could why did Christ have to die to save us?

Yes, the everlasting fire is prepared for the devil and his angels. Angels simply means messengers. We are either a messenger of Satan, or we are a messenger of the Lord. Whosoever is not found in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire.

Re 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Sep 22nd 2008, 06:06 PM
Could it be the case that God gives his grace to those who would accept Him *if* they had free will? In a fallen world, we do not have the ability to do this as we are born as slaves to sin, and so it is purely by God's grace that we are freed from Satan's chains and may come to accept God?

Since we are all dead in sins and iniquity we have no ability to accept or reject Christ through free will. Does Christ merely offer salvation to His elect, leaving the decision to them to accept or reject His so-called offer? Or does Christ "give" salvation to His elect? This is an important distinction. If we have been freed from Satan's bondage, then we have already been given salvation. What is there to accept or reject through free will? Either we are free from bondage to Satan, sin and death, or we are not. There is no choice for us in either.

We did not choose to be born fallen in Adam, in bondage, nor do we choose to be born again in Christ. Christ came to seek and to save that which is lost. He calls His own by name, and they hear Him, and respond. Can we choose not to hear the Master, since we are predestined to receive eternal life?



So those who will never accept God are not predestined by Him to suffer in Hell, although God has foreknowledge of their fate nonetheless. These people serve Satan as we all do before we are shown God's grace, but God does not give them his grace knowing that they would reject it, regardless of Satan's power over them.

Very true! Every man born in Adam is born in the same fate. Unless God makes you alive in Christ, then none will be saved. God does not leave some because He knows they will reject Him. God saves some because He knows all men, left to their free will, will not come to Him that they might have life. God sees from heaven the hearts of every man, there is none righteous, no not one, not one will seek Him.



Being sovereing God could bring these sinners to Himself, but to do this would be abusing the free will which He granted to humanity. He does not distribute His grace based on decisions people take as puppets of Himself or Satan, but rather on his knowledge of who would accept Him if they exercised their free will.

How is man's will free when he is in bondage to Satan, sin and death apart from Christ? If God chooses some men knowing they will accept Him through free will, how is God Sovereign in salvation? His grace is not based on His decision to save a people for Himself, but rather on the free will choice of man. Man is ultimately the sovereign over God, because God chooses because they first choose Him.




I suppose you are right. I just feel as I read the Bible that God is giving me guidance through the scripture, and so I want to be able to understand what He is telling me by understanding the scriptures. After all, they are His divinely inspired word, and since he chose to grant the scripture to us I think he wishes us to understand it.

Roadwarrior is NOT right! The doctrine of predestination and election are found in Scripture, taught by Christ, and His Apostles. Some cannot stomach the doctrines of Sovereign Grace. Instead of searching the Scriptures to see if these things be so, they attempt to make these difficult truths the teachings of man rather than God. You keep searching the inspired Word of God for God tells us, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."

Many Rich Blessings,
RW

drew
Sep 22nd 2008, 06:31 PM
The doctrine of predestination and election are found in Scripture, taught by Christ, and His Apostles.
All right, my old friend, I'll bite. What text would you like to put forward as supporting pre-destination?

RoadWarrior
Sep 22nd 2008, 06:36 PM
..

Roadwarrior is NOT right! The doctrine of predestination and election are found in Scripture, taught by Christ, and His Apostles. Some cannot stomach the doctrines of Sovereign Grace. Instead of searching the Scriptures to see if these things be so, they attempt to make these difficult truths the teachings of man rather than God. You keep searching the inspired Word of God for God tells us, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."

Many Rich Blessings,
RW

Roger, we will continue to disagree. I believe that all truth is found in the Bible, not only the truths of God's sovreignty and grace. I encourage new believers and those young in the faith to seek to know God in His fullness. If God has predestined us either to salvation or to damnation, what is there that we can do about that? Nothing at all.

So therefore, I suggest to anyone seeking to know their own next step in God, not to fret over things which are beyond our ability to change. I strongly encourage all Christians to get to know God more fully, more completely.

Surely that is not offensive to you, that we should know God more fully?

legoman
Sep 22nd 2008, 07:34 PM
I know that this is a contentious and complex issue. I have come to believe that the doctrine of pre-destination, in the sense that God fully and sufficiently causes some to be saved and some to be lost, is not supported by the Scriptures. Of course there are many texts that seem to support that position. And I submit that each can be refuted, although this requires a complex argument in most, if not all, cases.

I would like to say something about Romans 9, though. This is a favourite text used to support pre-destination of individuals to salvation or to loss. I suggest it is doing nothing of the sort. In Romans 9, Paul is talking about Israel, and when he talks about "election" and the right of the potter to make vessels fitted for destruction, he is still talking about Israel. And not, directly at least, in relation to matters of eternal life, but in respect to God using Israel as part of his plan of redemption, just like he used Pharoah.

Hi drew,

I don't see why you are saying the "God is the potter" verses in Romans 9 only apply to Israel. For sure the verses are talking about Israel at the beginning, but this is only an example of how God is the potter.

Are you saying God only creates vessels of honor & dishonor within Israel? And does this mean then that only Israel doesn't have free will, but everyone else does? Or perhaps you are meaning God sometimes has a need to create vessels of honor/dishonor to accomplish his plans (ie. like Pharaoh). In these specific cases the "vessels" are predestined, but everyone else still has free will?

Just trying to understand your argument here.

Cheers,
Legoman

Instrument
Sep 22nd 2008, 07:56 PM
I would like to say something about Romans 9, though. This is a favourite text used to support pre-destination of individuals to salvation or to loss. I suggest it is doing nothing of the sort. In Romans 9, Paul is talking about Israel, and when he talks about "election" and the right of the potter to make vessels fitted for destruction, he is still talking about Israel. And not, directly at least, in relation to matters of eternal life, but in respect to God using Israel as part of his plan of redemption, just like he used Pharoah.

Certainly not.

Rom Chapter 9, 10 and 11 spoke of the choice of God.

God hardens and God softens. God chooses whom He wants.
He has tightened up a large part of the Jews and has elected thousands and thousands of gentiles.

What is predestined purpose, which is to transform us to his image, but you can not talk purpose without the election.

Blessings.

drew
Sep 22nd 2008, 07:58 PM
I don't see why you are saying the "God is the potter" verses in Romans 9 only apply to Israel. For sure the verses are talking about Israel at the beginning, but this is only an example of how God is the potter.
Paul is making an argument about Israel. It is questions about the status of Israel and God's treatment of her that are the subject of the chapter 9 to 11 block. We see that Israel is the subject by the very introduction:

1I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— 2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4the people of Israel

Paul is making the following argument in the first 2/3 of chapter 9. Just like Pharoah, and just like a potter with his pot, God has hardened Israel to bring about a great act of redemption. Pharoah was hardened to allow God's power to be displayed in the exodus from Egypt, Israel is hardened to allow the in-gathering of the Gentiles (if not for other reasons I will not get into here). How do we know this? Paul tells us in Romans 11:

...because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles....

By context, the "they" is clearly national Israel. Chapters 9 to 11 is an argument about Israel. It is not a treatise on how individuals get saved (or damned).

Besides, Paul is leverage a rich Old Testament precedent of the writers of Scripture using the potter image specifically in relation to God's treatment of Israel. Paul knows the Old Testament inside and out. He would have to be a little loose in the noggin to use the potter image without expecting the reader to connect it to its Old Testament origins.


Are you saying God only creates vessels of honor & dishonor within Israel? And does this mean then that only Israel doesn't have free will, but everyone else does? Or perhaps you are meaning God sometimes has a need to create vessels of honor/dishonor to accomplish his plans (ie. like Pharaoh). In these specific cases the "vessels" are predestined, but everyone else still has free will?
The matter of the eternal destiny of individuals is not even on the table when Paul deploys the potter metaphor. Granted, he later makes statements about vessels being created for glory. But I am prepared to argue that he is talking at the level of "nations and races" here. But not in this post.

It is clear that the central concern of Paul in the potter metaphor (and the material which precedes it) is not "what happens to people after they die". Rather, Paul is making a case about God "electing" people and / or nations to specific functions in this world. Surely no one will argue that Paul is making a case about Pharaoh being elected to go to Hell. Paul is making a case that Pharoah is elected or chosen to be hardened to resist the exodus, thereby making God's redemption all the more remarkable.

drew
Sep 22nd 2008, 08:05 PM
Certainly not.

Rom Chapter 9, 10 and 11 spoke of the choice of God.
Chapters 9, 10, and 11 are all about Israel. How people deny this is a mystery to me:

From chapter 9:

2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4the people of Israel

6It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.

27Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:
"Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea,
only the remnant will be saved.

30What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it.

See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,

From Chapter 10:

Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.

And so on and so on. If I listed all the material that shows an Israel focus in 9 to 11, the post would get too long.

Now it is true that Paul talks about the choices of God. But his discussion is at the level of nations and races, not individual persons:

22What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

legoman
Sep 22nd 2008, 08:28 PM
Thanks for the answer drew.

If I can summarize, you are basically saying that God will, in certain specific cases, cause an individual or nation to follow his predestined plan. ie Israel becoming hardened or Pharaoh becoming hardened - and this doesn't neccesarily affect their salvation/redemption.

Likewise, God does not predestine other people, so they still have their free will.

Am I correct in my interpretation of your view?

Legoman

drew
Sep 22nd 2008, 08:36 PM
Thanks for the answer drew.

If I can summarize, you are basically saying that God will, in certain specific cases, cause an individual or nation to follow his predestined plan. ie Israel becoming hardened or Pharaoh becoming hardened - and this doesn't neccesarily affect their salvation/redemption.

Likewise, God does not predestine other people, so they still have their free will.

Does that sound correct?

Legoman
I am not sure I would put it exactly the way you have, but I think you have the essence of what I am saying. In the specific context of Romans 9, I am saying that the "election" that is described there, and the potter metaphor do not tell us anything at all about the pre-destination of one person to salvation and another person to loss. The potter metaphor is about Israel. And she has been "elected" to play a particular role in the world of the here and now in God's redemptive plan. This is not a wild leap on my part. I think it is patently obvious why Paul brings up Pharaoh. He does not bring Pharaoh up as an example of someone hardened to ultimate loss, he brings up Pharoah in relation to his specific "election" to resist the exodus, thereby enabling God to demonstrate his power by rescuing the Jews in spite of Pharoah's resistance.

And yes, I do believe in the existence and reality of free will.

Rhyfelwr
Sep 22nd 2008, 08:39 PM
My idea is based on a hypothetical situation, where God judges us based on the decision we would make if neither Satan or Himself were our master. Although this is a hypothetical situation to us, God knows exactly what any one of us would do in a given situation, and so he could judge us with that knowledge.

We will never have the ability to accept God by ourselves in this fallen world. However, only God knows what any one of us would do if we had pure free will to decide whether to accept or reject Him. This is related to my point earlier about there being two kinds of people. Those with the potential to accept God, and those without it. As servants of sin, we cannot see the fruits of this potential by our own merits. And this is where predestination becomes relevant.

Some say predestination would be an unfair way of God randomly selecting poeple for salvation, with people all being equally incapable of accepting Him. However, that is only on this fallen earth. If we were free from Satan's bondage, many would be able to accept God, although many would still refuse. God sees into the hearts of all men, and so He knows who has the potential to accept Him. Knowing of this potential, God gives the elect his grace as a gift to ensure that they realise their ability, and indeed their destiny according to God's plan, to follow God.

This is not the case for those who are not the elect. Given the free will, these people would still reject God, trusting to their own strength or that of another leader or whoever. God does not act in these people's lives to ensure they are predestined to Hell, but unfortunately they are nonetheless because they would reject Him if they had their free will.

This does not mean that God is not sovereign, as He was sovereign in granting humanity the gift of free will. However, free will would not be true if it has limitations, even from God. The ability to choose to be free from God is part of the free will package. Adam and Eve chose to go down that path of freedom from God, and they soon realised the error of their ways. Part of God's ability as sovereign is the ability to grant independence. As soon as humanity choose to utilise this independence, then their imperfections become clear. Just as free will grants freedom from God, it gives Satan freedom to enslave us. As sovereign, only God can save us from that slavery.

The real question is why did God grant humanity free will? That is the question that we humans are never likely to be able to answer without God telling it to us. I think that we can attempt to understand predestination, but not its roots. Maybe the whole fallen world as we know it is a consequence of exploring that freedom, but that freedom is nonetheless necessary for Heaven to be perfect, as it could not be perfect if we were slaves to God (as opposed to choosing to be His servants as the elect would do if they had free will).

legoman
Sep 22nd 2008, 08:49 PM
I am not sure I would put it exactly the way you have, but I think you have the essence of what I am saying. In the specific context of Romans 9, I am saying that the "election" that is described there, and the potter metaphor do not tell us anything at all about the pre-destination of one person to salvation and another person to loss. The potter metaphor is about Israel. And she has been "elected" to play a particular role in the world of the here and now in God's redemptive plan. This is not a wild leap on my part. I think it is patently obvious why Paul brings up Pharaoh. He does not bring Pharaoh up as an example of someone hardened to ultimate loss, he brings up Pharoah in relation to his specific "election" to resist the exodus, thereby enabling God to demonstrate his power by rescuing the Jews in spite of Pharoah's resistance.

And yes, I do believe in the existence and reality of free will.

Ok thanks, I think I understand your position a bit better now.

But you have to admit, Pharaoh didn't really have free will, since it was God's plan that he would become hardened, so that God could demonstrate his power and rescue the jews. Its not much of a leap to extend that concept of predestination to other people - especially Israel in this case as well. For if Pharaoh was predestined to become hardened, then Israel was also predestined to be rescued.

When we say a "nation" was predestined, we are really talking about the individuals in that nation (at least the leadership). So it is fair to say that the indifividuals in the nation of Israel were predestined, in this one scenario at least.

Is it not too far a stretch to extend these "limited" examples of predestination to the concept of full predestination, especially given the multitude of other verses in the bible that support predestination?

Legoman

drew
Sep 22nd 2008, 08:55 PM
When we say a "nation" was predestined, we are really talking about the individuals in that nation (at least the leadership). So it is fair to say that the indifividuals in the nation of Israel were predestined, in this one scenario at least.
This is a good question. I hope to get back to you on this.

RogerW
Sep 22nd 2008, 09:11 PM
This does not mean that God is not sovereign, as He was sovereign in granting humanity the gift of free will. However, free will would not be true if it has limitations, even from God.

Where in Scripture do you find God granting humanity the gift of free will? We have a free will to choose according to our nature. We cannot choose something opposed to our nature. In my fallen free will natural mind, I will never choose Christ. Why? Because I have no desire to, and left in my fallen free will nature, I never will desire Christ.



The ability to choose to be free from God is part of the free will package. Adam and Eve chose to go down that path of freedom from God, and they soon realised the error of their ways. Part of God's ability as sovereign is the ability to grant independence.

Adam and Eve chose to disobey God's command. Remember, prior to eating of the fruit of the forbidden tree they had no knowledge of good or evil. Eve was deceived by Satan, and Adam chose to follow her. Can you point to the Scripture that tells us that God grants us independence from Him?



As soon as humanity choose to utilise this independence, then their imperfections become clear. Just as free will grants freedom from God, it gives Satan freedom to enslave us. As sovereign, only God can save us from that slavery.

What independence? Where, in Scripture do we find this independence? What free will? Where in Scripture can we find free will granting us freedom from God? Have you ever considered Who created Satan, and why Satan has power to enslave us?



The real question is why did God grant humanity free will? That is the question that we humans are never likely to be able to answer without God telling it to us.

Again, I do not find this free will you speak of in Scripture, can you show me? You surmise Adam and Eve had free will, but I don't believe they did. I believe that Adam and Eve disobeyed the command of God, not through free will, but through deception. They knew no evil. Therefore when Satan enticed Eve to eat of the forbidden tree, she did not understand that she was disobeying God, or choosing against God, she thought only of the what Satan had said, "Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Deception told Eve there would be no harm, for she would be like God, knowing good and evil. Free will choice or deception?



I think that we can attempt to understand predestination, but not its roots. Maybe the whole fallen world as we know it is a consequence of exploring that freedom, but that freedom is nonetheless necessary for Heaven to be perfect, as it could not be perfect if we were slaves to God (as opposed to choosing to be His servants as the elect would do if they had free will).

But I believe we can understand the root or reason for God to predestine a people for Himself. If He had not chosen to save some men, then no man would/could be saved. We always get bogged down in the question, "why does God save only some men?" When the question we should be asking is "why does God save any man?"

Where do you find that heaven cannot be perfect without man having free will?

Many Blessings,
RW

Instrument
Sep 22nd 2008, 09:35 PM
Chapters 9, 10, and 11 are all about Israel. How people deny this is a mystery to me:

From chapter 9:

2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4the people of Israel

6It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.

27Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:
"Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea,
only the remnant will be saved.

30What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it.

See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,

From Chapter 10:

Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.

And so on and so on. If I listed all the material that shows an Israel focus in 9 to 11, the post would get too long.

Now it is true that Paul talks about the choices of God. But his discussion is at the level of nations and races, not individual persons:

22What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?


Is it possible to talk about choice of nations and races without talking about individual choice? Clearly not. The general election involves individual choice.



Rom 8 said that: "For those God foreknew he also predestined.." (Rom 8: 29). This is individual election.


And how is that Rom 9 speaks of the individual choice of Jacob and not Esau? there is talking of one person.

petepet
Sep 22nd 2008, 09:47 PM
But if before the creation of the world God already knew exactly what was going to happen with His creation from start to finish before He even began creation, (which everyone seems to agree on), then we cannot avoid the fact that He created the lost knowing that they would be damned because of the way in which He had created them. Thus He predestined them to be damned for He knew that they would be damned before He created them. He did not need to create them. No amount of arguing can avoid that conclusion. Thus we do not escape the problem by taking God's sovereignty from Him.

What we must do is rejoice in the fact that God has of His own will chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world, while recognising that it is our responsibility to respond to Him. The rest we can leave in His hands.

9Marksfan
Sep 22nd 2008, 10:05 PM
Just noticed you're a fellow Scotsman marksfan.

It's actually 9Marksfan - after this website - check it out! www.9marks.org (http://www.9marks.org)


And to think you thought I was Welsh! :lol: I suppose its my own fault for using the Brythonic word for 'infantry' as my username.

So is "rifle" a Welsh word - or was it borrowed from another language? Sorry, I'm an etymology anorak! :rolleyes:


Anyway, should we presume God has total sovereignty over our fates?

Surely He wouldn't be the God of the bible if He didn't?


Because he did gift us with free will. Although in a sense we have lost that since we are born as slaves to sin.

:hmm:

You've answered your own question there! Check out RogerW and petepet's posts.


From my understanding, God does not predestine any to hell (although I'm new to studying these tough issues so correct me if I'm wrong).

I would agree, but not for the reason you state below. Your later argument is better.


Because, there are two kinds of people when considering predestination:

1. Those with the potential to follow God
2. Those who would never accept Him

But where in Scripture are we taught that there is such a distinction? "There is NONE righteous, no not ONE".


While God does foresee the damnation of those in the second category, He does not actively ensure that its what they get. They reject Him, and they are allowed to do this, through free will.

Absolutelyt correct. This is why I do not go along with some who believe in what is called "double predestination" or "equal ultimacy" - for just the reason you give - God does not ACTIVELY ensure that those who reject Him WILL CONTINUE to do so - He leaves them to their own devices - but He ACTIVELY pursues and draws His elct to Himself and nothing will prevent Him from saving them. And yet none of us is forced to believe - rather, our wills are gloriously transformed so that we long for Him freely - yet are enabled to do so by His Spirit!


However, He does predestine those in category one to Heaven. Because it is possible or even likely that without God's guidance those in category one might never accept Him in a lifetime on this earth.

Not posible or even likely - certain - for we are ALL dead in trespasses and sins - unresponsive to God and in dire need of regeneration BEFORE we can respond to God.


However, God works in the lives of these people to ensure that they do accept Him, therefore they are predestined for Heaven.

Correct, but why do you have to give them potential? Is God not able to make these dry bones live? Did those bones have ANY potential at all?!?


Or am I creating an issue with God's sovereignty, especially in the second paragraph above? Although God was sovereign in granting humanity free will, it was a gift from him.

It was, but sin ruined it as far as responding to God was concerned - only God could come in and reverse things - praise God that He does, or none of us would be saved!

Rhyfelwr
Sep 22nd 2008, 10:46 PM
Absolutelyt correct. This is why I do not go along with some who believe in what is called "double predestination" or "equal ultimacy" - for just the reason you give - God does not ACTIVELY ensure that those who reject Him WILL CONTINUE to do so - He leaves them to their own devices - but He ACTIVELY pursues and draws His elct to Himself and nothing will prevent Him from saving them. And yet none of us is forced to believe - rather, our wills are gloriously transformed so that we long for Him freely - yet are enabled to do so by His Spirit!

Off topic: I picked the name up when researching the ancient Picts and Bretons (the Scottish connection), they had a lot more in common with the old Brythonic-speaking Welsh than the Gaels we associate with Scotland today. Not sure about rifle or anything else, it was ancient infantry I was looking at. Also that looks like a good website you named yourself after, some interesting stuff there.

On topic: I'm a relatively new Christian, so forgive me if I say stupid things when I think aloud on these forums.

The reason I said God gave as free will was that Eve chose to disobey God. But you are right it was more a rebellion. But at the same time God did allow it to occur. And then he cast Adam and Eve out of Eden and left them to their own devices.

The thing is, if all humans are born as slaves to sin and are equally unable to accept God, why then does he only predestine some to Heaven? I think that is just as relevant as asking why he should predestine any. Would God really pick randomly?

I quoted that paragraph because it really made a lot of sense to me. It combines God's sovereignty with freedom. Not just freedom from Satan but freedom to follow God. Because that freedom comes from God's grace. But equally the freedom never places God's control over the elect in doubt. It definitely makes more sense than Arminianism or the other extreme of double predestination.

Which means the only issue left is over the election of the elect. Why are certain people elected?

RogerW
Sep 22nd 2008, 11:39 PM
But if before the creation of the world God already knew exactly what was going to happen with His creation from start to finish before He even began creation, (which everyone seems to agree on), then we cannot avoid the fact that He created the lost knowing that they would be damned because of the way in which He had created them.

Greetings Petepet,

No man is lost because of the way God created them. All that God created was very good. Yes, God foreknows all things. Therefore He knows that only His predestined elect will be saved, and the rest will be damned. Why will only the elect be saved? Because all men born in Adam are lost. So every man will be damned unless God intervenes in the lives of some men.

All that God does in His creation is ultimately for His glory. God desires a people for Himself. A people to glorify Him, to praise and honor Him, a people to make His power and majesty known unto all the world. God first chose only the small nation of Israel for this task. In choosing the nation, God left the rest of the world in darkness, without mercy, without life and light. Was God unmerciful to choose only one nation while leaving the rest of the world in darkness?

No one outside of the nation could be saved. The handful of Gentiles who were saved in the OT became part of the nation. They had too, because Israel alone had the oracles (Word) of God. The nation alone was given His Word, prophets and priests to teach them the things of God. Is this fair? Isn't God playing favorites? What right does God have to choose one tiny nation from among all the peoples of the world while leaving the vast majority of mankind in total darkness? What kind of a God chooses to show love, compassion and mercy to only one nation, and not only leave the rest of the world in darkness, but also to command the small nation to utterly kill many outside of Israel?

Even among the elect nation, chosen by God, God chose to give eternal life to only a remnant of them, chosen by grace through faith. Is that fair? Is there unrighteousness with God in the manner in which He picks and chooses from the OT? The lessons we learn from God's choosing of Israel are to be an example for us. God's choosing Israel is a physical lesson of a spiritual fulfillment in Christ.

Just as only a remnant was chosen to receive eternal life from among the Jews, so too God chooses whosoever He wills to receive eternal life after the cross. The difference, since the cross a great multitude that no man can number are counted among the predestined elect of God. Where before Christ came there was only a small remnant (144,000 literal or symbolic?) of Jews saved.



Thus He predestined them to be damned for He knew that they would be damned before He created them. He did not need to create them. No amount of arguing can avoid that conclusion. Thus we do not escape the problem by taking God's sovereignty from Him.

God does not have to predestine any man to be damned! That makes no sense, because every man is born in Adam, therefore destined for bondage to Satan, sin and death. Unless God intervenes to save some men, every man would be damned.



What we must do is rejoice in the fact that God has of His own will chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world, while recognising that it is our responsibility to respond to Him. The rest we can leave in His hands.

Yes, there will be a response to Him after He has given us life through the power of the Spirit and His Word. And we do respond because He has chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world. His choosing us is not dependent upon our choosing Him, because none are righteous, no, not one, none will seek God for life until He changes our wills, making us willing to come to Him that we might have life.

Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Sep 22nd 2008, 11:57 PM
Off topic: I picked the name up when researching the ancient Picts and Bretons (the Scottish connection), they had a lot more in common with the old Brythonic-speaking Welsh than the Gaels we associate with Scotland today. Not sure about rifle or anything else, it was ancient infantry I was looking at. Also that looks like a good website you named yourself after, some interesting stuff there.

On topic: I'm a relatively new Christian, so forgive me if I say stupid things when I think aloud on these forums.

The reason I said God gave as free will was that Eve chose to disobey God. But you are right it was more a rebellion. But at the same time God did allow it to occur. And then he cast Adam and Eve out of Eden and left them to their own devices.

The thing is, if all humans are born as slaves to sin and are equally unable to accept God, why then does he only predestine some to Heaven? I think that is just as relevant as asking why he should predestine any. Would God really pick randomly?

I quoted that paragraph because it really made a lot of sense to me. It combines God's sovereignty with freedom. Not just freedom from Satan but freedom to follow God. Because that freedom comes from God's grace. But equally the freedom never places God's control over the elect in doubt. It definitely makes more sense than Arminianism or the other extreme of double predestination.

Which means the only issue left is over the election of the elect. Why are certain people elected?

Greetings Rhyfelwr,

This is a question that troubles many people. Paul really doesn't give us the answer we so desperately seek. I think we would like to hear Paul saying something like, "well, God chooses based on knowing how we would respond to the gospel." Trouble is that God does know who will choose Him, because He sees the heart of every man...sadly no man will choose God...no man will come to Christ for life...because no man can. Before we can choose to come to Him for life, He must change our hearts and make us willing. Why some and not all? This is all we get from Paul:

Ro 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
Ro 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Ro 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
Ro 9:23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
Ro 9:24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

We have no right to ask why the potter from the same lump makes one for honor and another unto dishonor. Is it because He makes them to be dishonorable as some men argue? I can't go along with that. I believe those, like Pharaoah are simply not formed into the image of Christ, and so left as unformed, or unprofitable clay. These unformed, unprofitable clay (fitted for destruction) God uses to make known the riches of His glory on those who receive His mercy, and these were prepared unto glory before the foundation of the world. All that the Lord shall call, not of the Jews only, but also Gentiles. How can His predestined elect really know the all encompassing love that God bestows upon His own if we never know what we have been saved from?

Job 33:13 Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.

Many Blessings,
RW

drew
Sep 23rd 2008, 01:45 AM
Is it possible to talk about choice of nations and races without talking about individual choice? Clearly not. The general election involves individual choice.
I understand this line of reasoning but it is incorrect. It is entirely coherent and reasonable to assert election of nations to some task or fate without saying anything at all about the election of individuals.

Remember - the "election" that is described in Romans 9 is clearly not an election unto salvation or unto loss. We know this from the example of Pharoah. Making a case that Pharaoh is elected to go to hell does not meet this stated reason:

"I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth"

Pharoah was "elected" to have his heart hardened to resist the liberation of the Jews. That is what he is elected for. That will cause God's liberating power to be made manifest in the world. The issue of Pharoah's eternal destination is nowhere in sight.

Now, returning to the matter of whether nations can be "elected" without that election devolving onto individuals. Let's say that God elected the United States to invade Iraq (silly example, but let's go with it). Does this means that God elected John Doe of East Rubber Boot, Tennessee to invade Iraq? Of course not.

There are many things a nation or race can be elected to do that do not "transfer" over to the individuals that make up that nation. Another example: God could elect Finland to have the richest country in the world. And yet, depending on how wealth is distributed, no one Finn might be particularly rich.


And how is that Rom 9 speaks of the individual choice of Jacob and not Esau? there is talking of one person.
I have never denied that individuals are elected to things. In fact, I have repeatedly given the example of Pharoah - an individual. But, and this is key, Pharoah was not elected to go to hell, he was elected to resist the liberation of the Jews.

There is nothing at in the first 2/3 of Romans that has any relation to "where people go when they die".

I have no immediate comment on Romans 8:28. I am talking about Romans 9.

drew
Sep 23rd 2008, 02:24 AM
This is all we get from Paul:

Ro 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
Ro 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Ro 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
Ro 9:23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
Ro 9:24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
This text is about national Israel on the one hand and true Israel on the other.

It has nothing to do with the election of individual persons to ultimate salvation or to loss.

This scripture, widely touted as support for the doctrine of pre-destination of the individual. actually has nothing to do with this subject. It is Paul's explanation of how God has treated national Israel - how God has molded her into a vessel fitted for destruction for the benefit of "true Israel" - the group of Jews and Gentiles that are fitted for glory. There are a lot of subtleties here, so please bear with me over this and subsequent posts.

There are a number of reasons that clearly speak against the standard take on this passage:

1. The only Old Testament references about a potter and his pot are made in the context of a discussion of Israel and God's right to use her as He pleases. Paul is a highly educated Pharisee who knows the Old Testament inside out. He would not use the potter metaphor without intending to make a point about Israel - He is drawing on Old Testament precedent.

2. Romans 9 starts as a treatment about Israel and ends with Paul clearly identifying two Israels - national Israel and "true" Israel. It would be very unlike Paul to make an unannounced digression into a discussion of individual soteriology in a chapter that focuses on these two Israels.

3. The example of Pharoah, which immediately precedes the potter account, is clearly an example of an election to something other than heaven or to hell. Pharoah has been elected to resist the liberation of the Jews. It would make no sense to follow that specific example about an election of Pharoah to play a role in demonstating God's power in this present world - the exodus - with a discussion of an election in respect to the world of those who have died. Paul is still talking about God working in history in the present world. He is describing how God has hardened Israel so that the world can be saved (see Romans 11 for proof). He is not talking about the eternal fate of individuals.

4. Paul is talking at the level of nations and races and groups in Romans 9. So while he does talk about one group being elected to destruction, and another to glory, he is not saying anything about the individuals in either of those groups. Please see my previous post for supporting explanation.

If time permits, I will expand on these points.

The objective reader will come to the potter text without prior assumption as to what the pot is and what it is being molded for. Let's see where the evidence leads.

drew
Sep 23rd 2008, 02:37 AM
In this post, I will give evidence of Old Testament use of the potter metaphor specifically in respect to God' treatment of Israel.

The Lord says:
"These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is made up only of rules taught by men.

14 Therefore once more I will astound these people
with wonder upon wonder;
the wisdom of the wise will perish,
the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish."
15 Woe to those who go to great depths
to hide their plans from the LORD,
who do their work in darkness and think,
"Who sees us? Who will know?" 16 You turn things upside down,
as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
[B]Shall what is formed say to him who formed it,
"He did not make me"?
Can the pot say of the potter,
"He knows nothing"?

This is about the Jews - the nation of Israel.

This next text is from Isaiah 30. The NIV translators gave the title "Woe to the Obstinate Nation" to this chapter. Again, this is about Israel:

Therefore, this is what the Holy One of Israel says:
"Because you have rejected this message,
relied on oppression
and depended on deceit,

13 this sin will become for you
like a high wall, cracked and bulging,
that collapses suddenly, in an instant. 14 It will break in pieces like pottery,
shattered so mercilessly

And this one from Jeremiah is particularly clear:

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD : 2 "Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message." 3 So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
5 Then the word of the LORD came to me: 6 "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

In light of the clear Israel-specificity of these texts, one has to ask this question: "Would the highly articulate and knowedgeable Paul draw on an Old Testament that has been repeatedly used in respect to Israel to make a point about individuals, both Jew and Gentile, being elected to heaven and hell?" And to make matters worse, would Paul do this when it would most misleading - after introducing the chapter as a treatment of the status of Israel?

RogerW
Sep 23rd 2008, 11:26 AM
This text is about national Israel on the one hand and true Israel on the other.

It has nothing to do with the election of individual persons to ultimate salvation or to loss.

This scripture, widely touted as support for the doctrine of pre-destination of the individual. actually has nothing to do with this subject. It is Paul's explanation of how God has treated national Israel - how God has molded her into a vessel fitted for destruction for the benefit of "true Israel" - the group of Jews and Gentiles that are fitted for glory. There are a lot of subtleties here, so please bear with me over this and subsequent posts.

That might make sense if all Israel had been fitted for destruction. On one hand you understand there is a True Israel, but on the other you seem to say that all of Israel is fitted for destruction. That there is a remnant according to grace saved from out of the nation, shows not all of Israel is fitted for destruction.

If predestination and election is not of individuals, how do you account for names of individuals being written in the Lamb's Book of Life before the foundation of the world? (Rev 13:8; 17:8)

If predestination and election is not of individuals, why does Christ call His elect by name, and they hear Him? Why not simply a general call to all people, and whosoever can hear will be saved?

You are very much mistaken to think that not only elect Jews, but also elect Gentiles are predestined by God for salvation. God's choosing Israel over all the peoples of the earth shows a clear picture of how God chooses whosoever He wills. The election of Jacob over Esau is a picture of how God chooses individuals. It may be true that Jacob symbolizes the election of God, while Esau symbolizes the rest, however it is equally true that both Jacob and Esau are individuals. One individual; Jacob was written in the Book of Life before the world began, for the purpose of salvation, while Esau was not, and therefore even though Esau, not only symbolizing every reprobate, but also a person, is/are hated by God.
Many Blessings,
RW

legoman
Sep 23rd 2008, 02:23 PM
Here are a few more verses that speak about the predestination of a believer and being chosen by God:

Ephesians 1:
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.


Ephesians 2:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.


Legoman

drew
Sep 23rd 2008, 02:52 PM
That might make sense if all Israel had been fitted for destruction. On one hand you understand there is a True Israel, but on the other you seem to say that all of Israel is fitted for destruction. That there is a remnant according to grace saved from out of the nation, shows not all of Israel is fitted for destruction.
What you say here indeed shows that I need to say more.

Paul is saying that, as a corporate entity, national Israel is indeed a vessel fitted for destruction. As an aside, this does not mean that national Israel actually undergoes the destruction she is fitted for - in fact her faithful Messiah Jesus steps in and is the vessel that bears the wrath that Israel is being fitted for.

Now people will claim that "what is true of the nation" is true of the individuals. This is simply not true. There are emergent properties of groups of people that are not the properties of the individuals. I have already given examples of this (e.g. Finland can be the richest nation on earth without any of the individuals in it being particularly rich).

God has elected national Israel, molded her like a pot, to be a vessel fitted for destruction (but she is spared that destruction by Jesus' intervention);

There are indeed individuals inside national Israel who are also members of another group - "true Israel". It is "true" Israel that is the vessel fitted for glory. yes pre-destined to glory. But this does not justifiy a conclusion that any specific individuals have been pre-destined to glory. Paul is talking categories here. He is saying there is a group - constiuted by Jews and Gentiles - that is pre-destined to glory. But he is not asserting that Fred is part of that group and that Joe is not.

Consider the statement "God has pre-destined that the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots will meet in the Super Bowl in January 2056"

This says absolutely nothing about the specific individuals who will play in that game. But we can be assured that these 2 corporate entities will meet in the 2056 Super Bowl and there will be some people playing in that game.

This is a tricky matter and I am not entirely satisfid with what I have written above. The key thing is to abandon the naive and incorrect view that there is not a principled distinction between "groups" and the individuals who comprise. I like to think that the Super Bowl examlpe actually makes this pretty clear.

drew
Sep 23rd 2008, 02:58 PM
Here are a few more verses that speak about the predestination of a believer and being chosen by God:

Ephesians 1:
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,..
I am aware of a very compelling argument that makes the case that Paul is indeed talking "true pre-destination of individuals" here, but that he is talking about a very special group of New Testament prophets whom God has indeed elected to salvation. But this claim does not generalize - Paul is not making a statement about believers in general.

I will give the agument if time pemits.

drew
Sep 23rd 2008, 03:22 PM
I hope that RogerW and other people who think that the potter metaphor of Romans 9 is about the election of individuals to salvation and to loss will respond to my post about Old Testament precedent of the use of the potter metaphor specifically in respect to God's treatment of Israel.

This is really beyond dispute - it is clear that the potter metaphor is used repeatedly in relation to Israel.

Now remember, that Romans 9 begins with questions about Israel and ends with questions about Israel. If you believe the potter metaphor in the middle of Romans is about something other than God's treatment of Israel, then you have to believe the following:

1. Paul uses this metaphor in a manner entirely inconsistent with its use in the Old Testament - material that he knows inside and out.

2. Paul does so at a spot where it could not be more misleading - in the middle of a discourse that is obviously about Israel and God's treatment of her.

The context of Romans 9 could not be more appropriate for Paul to pull out the potter metaphor. He has laid the "what about Israel" question on the table and raises questions about God's treatment of her:

What then shall we say? Is God unjust?

If you read the first third of Romans 9, it will be clear that this question is raised in relation to Israel.

This could not be a better set-up to invoke the potter metaphor to answer the "what am I (Paul) saying about Israel" question - calling on Old Testament material to say "yes, God has the right to mold Israel" for His own purposes.

And yet, some posters here think the potter metaphor has no Israel-specificity whatsoever - that Paul suddenly inserts a statement about pre-destination of individuals in the middle of a treatment of Israel.

drew
Sep 23rd 2008, 04:34 PM
You are very much mistaken to think that not only elect Jews, but also elect Gentiles are predestined by God for salvation.
Did you really mean to say this? I assume, from other posts, that your position is one where you believe it is correct to believe that whoever winds up "saved", whether Jew or Gentile, is elected to that status by God.


The election of Jacob over Esau is a picture of how God chooses individuals.
The problem with this is not that God does not elect individuals. The problem is that, in the section of Romans 9 where Paul discriminates between Jacob and Esau, the "thing" that individuals are being elected to or for is simply not their eternal destination. That is a view that is imposed on the text, despite the fact that context shows that the issue under consideration is clearly not one of "what happens after you die". In fact, Paul makes it clear that the election has to do with this present world:

11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger."[d (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%209;&version=31;#fen-NIV-28153d)] 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

I do not understand how one can read this a statement about one being elected to heaven and the other to hell. Paul tells us what the election is about - it is about one being elected to serve the other.

RogerW
Sep 23rd 2008, 05:08 PM
There are a number of reasons that clearly speak against the standard take on this passage:

1. The only Old Testament references about a potter and his pot are made in the context of a discussion of Israel and God's right to use her as He pleases. Paul is a highly educated Pharisee who knows the Old Testament inside out. He would not use the potter metaphor without intending to make a point about Israel - He is drawing on Old Testament precedent.

2. Romans 9 starts as a treatment about Israel and ends with Paul clearly identifying two Israels - national Israel and "true" Israel. It would be very unlike Paul to make an unannounced digression into a discussion of individual soteriology in a chapter that focuses on these two Israels.

3. The example of Pharoah, which immediately precedes the potter account, is clearly an example of an election to something other than heaven or to hell. Pharoah has been elected to resist the liberation of the Jews.

Drew,

You are confusing how God providentially works in His creation to bring about His divine pupose; that is to build His Kingdom, by calling His predestined elect to receive eternal life. Some, like Pharaoh, Judas Iscariot, Abraham, John the Baptist, Christ, Paul etc. have been predestinated, or chosen by God to accomplish a certain task or purpose. And then there are those who are predestined, elect of God, chosen for salvation. Of course many of those chosen for a specific task or pupose are also among the predestined elect unto salvation, but not all. Those predestined for salvation are foreknown and predestinated to be made in the image of Christ. Since they are predestinated they are also called, justified and glorified. Again the foreknown, predestined elect of God have been (not will be) written in the Book of Life before the world began. The Book will be opened in the fullness of time, and any individual not found recorded in His Book will be cast into the lake of fire.

Very clearly, predestination is of individuals. Even God choosing the nation to fulfill His will, is made up of individuals. Though the whole nation was chosen by God to accomplish His will, there is, and always will be only an elect remnant from the nation predestined elect, chosen to receive eternal life.



It would make no sense to follow that specific example about an election of Pharoah to play a role in demonstating God's power in this present world - the exodus - with a discussion of an election in respect to the world of those who have died. Paul is still talking about God working in history in the present world. He is describing how God has hardened Israel so that the world can be saved (see Romans 11 for proof). He is not talking about the eternal fate of individuals.

God is showing us not only the fate of national Israel, but also the fate of the predestined elect remnant, chosen by grace through faith for eternal life. All of this is written to be an example for us. It makes no sense to argue for a people, and then deny people are individuals.



4. Paul is talking at the level of nations and races and groups in Romans 9. So while he does talk about one group being elected to destruction, and another to glory, he is not saying anything about the individuals in either of those groups. Please see my previous post for supporting explanation.

Nations, and races are peoples; i.e. individuals. When God speaks of the seed of Abraham, He is speaking of an individual; i.e. Christ. When God says, "In Isaac shall thy seed be called", Isaac is mentioned as an individual; i.e. a person predestinated elect unto salvation. When God says, "the children of the promise are counted for the seed", He is speaking of individual people, who are of the Seed, Christ. When God says, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated", He is speaking of individuals. Granted Jacob symbolizes the predestined elect of God, chosen for salvation, and Esau symbolizes reprobate, but Jacob's name (an individual) was written in the Book of Life before the world began. Esau is rejected by God, and why he will not receive inheritance even though seeking repentance with tears (Heb 12:16,17).



The objective reader will come to the potter text without prior assumption as to what the pot is and what it is being molded for. Let's see where the evidence leads.

But Drew, are you not coming to this text with the assumption of NT Wright and his New Perspective on Paul? Your warning, and admonition is good, but are you willing to follow your own advise and become an objective reader, allowing the Scripture to interpret itself? Would you not agree that you have embraced the teachings of NT Wright, and now you are going to the Scriptures to prove it? Drew, this is reading our preconcieved opinions into the text, rather than allowing the Bible to be its own interpreter. How do you explain names written in the Book of Life from before the foundation of the world? You can't just wish this fact away.

Many Blessings,
RW

Rhyfelwr
Sep 23rd 2008, 05:13 PM
11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger."[d (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%209;&version=31;#fen-NIV-28153d)] 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

I do not understand how one can read this a statement about one being elected to heaven and the other to hell. Paul tells us what the election is about - it is about one being elected to serve the other.

But just because God predestines our fates on earth does not mean that our fates beyond that are not also predestined. The case of Jacob and Esau does appear to show their predestination of earthly fate, but nonetheless there are scriptures which clearly refer to our fates in Heaven (although not Hell) being predestined by God.

drew
Sep 23rd 2008, 05:19 PM
You are confusing how God providentially works in His creation to bring about His divine pupose; that is to build His Kingdom, by calling His predestined elect to receive eternal life. Some, like Pharaoh, Judas Iscariot, Abraham, John the Baptist, Christ, Paul etc. have been predestinated, or chosen by God to accomplish a certain task or purpose. And then there are those who are predestined, elect of God, chosen for salvation. Of course many of those chosen for a specific task or pupose are also among the predestined elect unto salvation, but not all. Those predestined for salvation are foreknown and predestinated to be made in the image of Christ. Since they are predestinated they are also called, justified and glorified. Again the foreknown, predestined elect of God have been (not will be) written in the Book of Life before the world began. The Book will be opened in the fullness of time, and any individual not found recorded in His Book will be cast into the lake of fire.
This is your position on what the Scriptures teach. Like mine, it needs to be actually defended.

But what has been argued by me is that in the potter metaphor in Romans 9, and in the stuff about Esau and Jacob, the election is clearly about something other than eternal destiny. It is frankly astonishing that anyone would read this text and think that the issue on the table is eternal destiny. Paul explicitly tells us what the election is in relation to:

So why do people simply over-rule Paul and claim this is about eternal destiny?

11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger."[d (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%209;&version=31;#fen-NIV-28153d)] 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

drew
Sep 23rd 2008, 05:22 PM
But just because God predestines our fates on earth does not mean that our fates beyond that are not also predestined.
True, but let's be clear. The material in Romans 9 does not support that position. And yet people shamelessly claim that it does. But you are, of course, right. It could be the case that people are also pre-destined to an eternal fate. But please, let's not say that Romans 9 in particular supports this. It clearly does not.


The case of Jacob and Esau does appear to show their predestination of earthly fate, but nonetheless there are scriptures which clearly refer to our fates in Heaven (although not Hell) being predestined by God.
Which ones?

Instrument
Sep 23rd 2008, 05:31 PM
drew:
I have never denied that individuals are elected to things. In fact, I have repeatedly given the example of Pharoah - an individual. But, and this is key, Pharoah was not elected to go to hell, he was elected to resist the liberation of the Jews.

What I see is that you recognize "the purpose of individual choice" but denies individual choice for salvation. Your argument is ambiguous. How to talk about individual choice without the final destination of the elect?



We can not fulfill the purpose without the influence of God. God lifted to Pharaoh so that his power was seen in all the earth, so it must be said that God hardened Pharaoh. Finally Faraon died in the waters of the Red Sea.



greetings.

drew
Sep 23rd 2008, 05:38 PM
God is showing us not only the fate of national Israel, but also the fate of the predestined elect remnant, chosen by grace through faith for eternal life. All of this is written to be an example for us.
But the context is clear - Paul is not talking about election to an eternal fate. He is talking about election to other things.

Let's return to Pharoah. Given this statement from God;

I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."

Which of the following hypotheses about what Pharoah has been elected to makes more sense in light of the above:

1. Pharoah has been elected to eternal loss
2. Pharoah has been elected to resist the liberation of the Jews

Clearly, number 2. Sending Pharoah to hell in no way pubically displays the power of God. But the exodus was a public event, still recognized today as an example of the display of God's liberating power.

And what text is Paul quoting here. It is this text:

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, 'This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, 14 or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. 15 For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. 16 But I have raised you up [a (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus%209;&version=31;#fen-NIV-1759a)] for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. 17 You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go. 18

How much more clear can Paul be? He is begging the reader to draw the obvious conclusion - Pharoah's "election" is not in relation to his eternal destiny, it is in relation to his resistance to the release of the Jews.

Paul must be spinning in his grave, thinking these things:

1. I explicitly told my audience what the election of Jacob and Esau was about - it was about one serving the other. Yet, people insist on trumping my claim and overwriting it with a claim about election of individuals to eternal life and to eternal loss.

2. When I brought up Pharoah, I led the reader by the snout to Exodus 9, where it is clear what the election of Pharoah was about - to resist the liberation of the Jews. Yet, people insist on trumping my claim and overwriting it with a claim about election of individuals to eternal life and to eternal loss.

3. When I used the potter metaphor in the context of a discussion which is obviously about Israel, I led the reader again by the snout to numersous Old Testament passages where the potter metaphor is about God and Israel. Yet, people insist on trumping my claim and overwriting it with a claim about election of individuals to eternal life and to eternal loss.

It literally boggles the mind, frankly.

drew
Sep 23rd 2008, 05:48 PM
But Drew, are you not coming to this text with the assumption of NT Wright and his New Perspective on Paul?
I have read the arguments of NT Wright and am convinced he is correct.


Would you not agree that you have embraced the teachings of NT Wright, and now you are going to the Scriptures to prove it?
I would not agree. I first read the arguments of NT Wright, was convinced of their correctness and am now advocating that position.


Drew, this is reading our preconcieved opinions into the text, rather than allowing the Bible to be its own interpreter
Indeed the Bible should be its own interpreter. So why do deny the obvious tradition of Old Testament use of the potter metaphor in relation to Israel? And why do you trump Paul's direct claim that the election of Esau and Jacob was about one serving the other (not about eternal destiny)? And why do you deny that Pharoah's "election" is about what Paul directs us by his quoting of Exodus 9 material - the liberation of the Jews

You have provided no support for your position in relation to Romans 9, except by referring to other texts. I will get to those texts in due time. But as far as the Romans 9 material goes, the "argument from Scriptural context" weighs heavily against any reading of this material as being about "election to an eternal fate". And I have not merely asserted my position, I have argued it in gory detail.

RogerW
Sep 23rd 2008, 05:55 PM
Did you really mean to say this? I assume, from other posts, that your position is one where you believe it is correct to believe that whoever winds up "saved", whether Jew or Gentile, is elected to that status by God.

Whether saying it clearly or not, what I was trying to say is that the Jewish remnant are among the predestined elect/chosen unto salvation, and in the same manner a great multitude of Gentiles too are among the predestined elect/chosen of God unto salvation. In other words, salvation is unto all who are among the predestined elect of God, whose names have been written in heaven before the world was.

So to wind up saved, you must first be among God's predestined elect/chosen for salvation, before the world began. Interestingly, we find God predestinating, choosing, electing who will be saved before creation, therefore it was before any had done anything good or evil. Just as we find in the example of Jacob and Esau. God chose Jacob and rejected Esau before they had done anything good or evil. So, you see salvation of individuals is very much in view in Ro 9.



The problem with this is not that God does not elect individuals. The problem is that, in the section of Romans 9 where Paul discriminates between Jacob and Esau, the "thing" that individuals are being elected to or for is simply not their eternal destination. That is a view that is imposed on the text, despite the fact that context shows that the issue under consideration is clearly not one of "what happens after you die". In fact, Paul makes it clear that the election has to do with this present world:

11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger."[d (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%209;&version=31;#fen-NIV-28153d)] 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

I do not understand how one can read this a statement about one being elected to heaven and the other to hell. Paul tells us what the election is about - it is about one being elected to serve the other.

Drew, the problem is that you are trying to read this passage in a vacuum. Why did you not highlight "that the purpose of God according to election might stand: not of works but of Him that calleth"? One; i.e. Jacob is elected to salvation, while the other, Esau will serve the younger. Other wise it makes zero sense that God would say His "purpose in election might stand." Election to what? The older serving the younger? That is not the election God is speaking of here, because He says, "not of works but of Him who calls." The older serving the younger is God's providential purpose for Esau, but election speaks of Jacob being predestined elect unto salvation. Other wise it makes no sense for God to add "not of works but of Him who calls." Who are the called and chosen of God? Answer: the predestined elect!

Instead of reading Scripture in a vacuum, use all of Scripture. For God tells us, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."

Many Blessings,
RW

drew
Sep 23rd 2008, 06:07 PM
So to wind up saved, you must first be among God's predestined elect/chosen for salvation, before the world began. Interestingly, we find God predestinating, choosing, electing who will be saved before creation, therefore it was before any had done anything good or evil. Just as we find in the example of Jacob and Esau. God chose Jacob and rejected Esau before they had done anything good or evil. So, you see salvation of individuals is very much in view in Ro 9.
This is clearly contradicting what Paul explicitly states - he tells us what the election of Esau and Jacob is in relation to. It is not in relation to eternal life. Why do you over-rule Paul's clear statement with another view?

11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger."[d (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%209;&version=31;#fen-NIV-28153d)] 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated

If you are going to trump Paul's view with your own, we are not going to get anywhere.

Do you believe that the term "election", by very definition, can only be in relation to eternal life?

Paul obviously does not hold to such a view - in the Esau / Jacob case, it is manifestly clear that the election in question about - drum roll, please......."the older will serve the younger".

RogerW
Sep 23rd 2008, 06:11 PM
How much more clear can Paul be? He is begging the reader to draw the obvious conclusion - Pharoah's "election" is not in relation to his eternal destiny, it is in relation to his resistance to the release of the Jews.

Drew, I wonder if the specific wording you use might be causing confusion? I would not speak of Pharaoh as "election". Pharaoh was certainly used by God to display His power and glory unto all the world, but Pharaoh is not the elect of God. God says He raised Pharaoh up for a purpose, but God does not say Pharaoh is the elect or election of God.



1. I explicitly told my audience what the election of Jacob and Esau was about - it was about one serving the other. Yet, people insist on trumping my claim and overwriting it with a claim about election of individuals to eternal life and to eternal loss.

Here again Drew, is more confusion. One son, Jacob is among the elect of God not of works but of Him who calls. But the other son, Esau is used to accomplish God's will, that is to serve the younger. The text very clearly speaks of elect according to the purpose of God not of works but of Him who calls. Esau serving the younger is work, or a deed, not the elect according to the purpose of God not of works but of Him who calls. God clearly did not call Esau through election, but He clearly did call Jacob so that His election might stand. For He says, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated."

Many Blessings,
RW

drew
Sep 23rd 2008, 06:19 PM
Drew, the problem is that you are trying to read this passage in a vacuum. Why did you not highlight "that the purpose of God according to election might stand: not of works but of Him that calleth"? One; i.e. Jacob is elected to salvation, while the other, Esau will serve the younger.
OK. Let's be clear here. You are reading the conclusion "Jacob is elected to salvation" into the text. It is simply not there, but you mysteriously insert it. Please show us where Paul ever says that "Jacob is elected to salvation". All we know from this text is that the election is about one serving the other. On what specific grounds do you add the bit about "salvation. Now you go on to write this:


Other wise it makes zero sense that God would say His "purpose in election might stand." Election to what? The older serving the younger? That is not the election God is speaking of here, because He says, "not of works but of Him who calls." The older serving the younger is God's providential purpose for Esau, but election speaks of Jacob being predestined elect unto salvation.
You have not established your conclusion here. You merely state it, when you assert that "election speaks of Jacob being pre-destined elect unto salvation". On what basis do you draw this conclusion?

I suspect that you will say that other texts elsewhere in the scriptures support such an "insertion". Well, we'll see. But why not let Paul tell us what he is talking about here in Romans 9. And all he says about election in relation to Jacob and Esau is that one will serve the other. You seem to think that there is something that Paul has not said. Wel, you cannot just assume this.

And you argue that the election cannot be about the one serving the other because of the "not of works but of Him who calls" statement.

Putting aside the fact that Paul indeed tells us that the election is about one serving the other, the "not of works but of Him who calls" statement in no way works against the position that they are both elected to this "one serving the other" relationship. Esau can indeed be "called" to serve Jacob, just as Jacob can be "called" to be served by Esau.

I will post the text again. No normal person would write these words and not expect the reader to conclude that the election is in relation to one serving the other:

11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger."[d (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%209;&version=31;#fen-NIV-28153d)] 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated

You are basically asking the reader to think that having just stated "the older will serve" the younger, that Paul, without notice, then, as the next words out his mouth, makes the statement "Jacob I loved but Esau I hated" about something else - their eternal destinies.

Paul would have the most schizophrenic of writers to do this.

drew
Sep 23rd 2008, 06:28 PM
Drew, I wonder if the specific wording you use might be causing confusion? I would not speak of Pharaoh as "election". Pharaoh was certainly used by God to display His power and glory unto all the world, but Pharaoh is not the elect of God. God says He raised Pharaoh up for a purpose, but God does not say Pharaoh is the elect or election of God.
Circular argument. You bring a belief that election can only be in relation to eternal life to the text. Yet the term election is used in all sorts of ways that have nothing to do with eternal life. When you guys "elect" John McCain or Barak Obama to be President, does this mean they get eternal life? The word election, in and of itself, has no specific a priori exclusive connection to eternal life. The context tells us how the term is being used. And in the case of Jacob and Esau, Paul tells us what the election is "to" - it is an election to a relationship where one serves the other.

RogerW
Sep 23rd 2008, 07:04 PM
Circular argument. You bring a belief that election can only be in relation to eternal life to the text. Yet the term election is used in all sorts of ways that have nothing to do with eternal life. When you guys "elect" John McCain or Barak Obama to be President, does this mean they get eternal life? The word election, in and of itself, has no specific a priori exclusive connection to eternal life. The context tells us how the term is being used. And in the case of Jacob and Esau, Paul tells us what the election is "to" - it is an election to a relationship where one serves the other.

Well Drew we won't be electing McCain or Obama for eternal life, for saving election is of God alone. What we will be electing one of them to is President, in this life, of this world, not eternity.

Drew, perhaps you will listen to the commentary by Albert Barnes: "Should serve. Shall be subject to; shall not have the authority and priority, but should be inferior to. The passage in Ge 25:23 shows that this had reference particularly to the posterity of Esau, and not to him as an individual. The sense is, that the descendants of Esau, who were Edomites, should be inferior to, and subject to the descendants of Jacob.

Jacob was to have the priority; the promised land; the promises; and the honour of being regarded as the chosen of God. There was reference here, therefore, to the whole train of temporal and spiritual blessings which were to be connected with the two races of people. If it be asked how this bears on the argument of the apostle, we may reply,

(1.) that it settles the principle that God might make a distinction among men, in the same nation, and the same family, without reference to their works or character.

(2.) That he might confer his blessings on such as he pleased.

(3.) If this is done in regard to nations, it may be in regard to individuals. The principle is the same, and the justice the same. If it be supposed to be unjust in God to make such a distinction in regard to individuals, it is surely not less so to make a distinction in nations. The fact that numbers are thus favoured does not make it the more proper, or remove any difficulty.

(4.) If this distinction may be made in regard to temporal things, why not in regard to spiritual things? The principle must still be the same. If unjust in one case, it would be in the other. The fact that it is done in one case proves also that it will be in the other; for the same great principle will run through all the dealings of the Divine government. And as men do not and cannot complain that God makes a distinction among them in regard to talents, health, beauty, prosperity, and rank, neither can they complain if he acts also as a sovereign in the distribution of his spiritual favours.

They, therefore, who regard this as referring only to temporal and national privileges, gain no relief in respect to the real difficulty in the case, for the unanswerable question would still be asked, why has not God made all men equal in everything? Why has he made any distinction among men? The only reply to all such inquiries is, "Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight,"" Mt 11:26.

John146
Sep 23rd 2008, 07:20 PM
Yes, God has foreknowledge of who will accept Him, but grace is not something that is reserved, per se, for the elect. God's grace is available to everyone, and He gives it to those who reach out and accept it. God's grace is enacted in a person's life only after that person makes a willful decision to receive it, so the answer to your question is yes...God gives His grace to those whom He had foreknowledge of, that is, those who accept it.

God's grace is available to everyone....what that person decides to do with it will define his spiritual destiny.

No. Everyone is given the choice. If this were not true, then God could not rightfully punish someone for rejecting Him.

Grace is not given to a person until that person reaches out and accepts it. God does know in advance who will and who won't accept His grace, but the reason God doesn't give them His grace has nothing to do with His foreknowledge, but their rejection.

It has nothing to do with God's favor.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

God does know beforehand who will and won't accept His grace, and I have heard many testimonies that indicate that God uses the circumstances in their lives to navigate them towards Him. Some people will never accept God's grace, no matter what happens in their lives.....for these people, God's grace is nullified.

I believe that the elect are those people chosen by God....not in a Calvinistic sense, but in the sense that these are the people who, by free will, accepted God's grace so that, by predestination, God elected them as children.

Rom. 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

In a nutshell, God knew beforehand who would accept and reject Him, and it is those people whom God predestined to be His children. Christ's atoning sacrifice is available for everyone who is willing to receive it, but it only suffices for those who have accepted it. For those who die without Christ, the sacrifice is of no effect.I agree. Well said. God is love. He is longsuffering. Only towards a few? No, He is longsuffering towards all mankind. He so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. He commands all people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30) because He is not willing that any should perish. He desires all mankind to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:4). That is why He sent Christ to be a ransom for all (1 Tim 2:6) and to be the propitiation for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).

Unfortunately, many do not accept the truth so that they would be saved (2 Thess 2:10). Many resist the Holy Spirit, like the Pharisees and their fathers (Acts 7:51). That is their choice. Instead of having a contrite spirit and trembling at the word of God, "they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations" and "chose that in which" God "delighted not" (Isa 66:2-4).

Eric

John146
Sep 23rd 2008, 07:44 PM
But if before the creation of the world God, as you say, already knew exactly what was going to happen with His creation from start to finish before He even began creation, then He created the lost knowing that they would be damned because of the way in which He had created them. Thus He predestined them to be damned for He did not need to create them. No amount of arguing can avoid that conclusion. Thus you do not escape the problem by taking God's sovereignty from Him. :-))))Yet, in the other view, God decided, for no apparent reason, to only make it possible for a few to be saved. Is that a better alternative than the one you brought up? Hardly.


But the word 'foreknew' is proginosko, not prooida. It does not mean 'knowledge about' beforehand, it means entering into a relationship with someone before hand. And that 'personal foreknowing' preceded the whole train of His saving activity (Romans 8.29).The word "proginosko" (Strong's 4267) has a few different meanings.

1) to have knowledge before hand
2) to foreknow
a) of those whom God elected to salvation
3) to predestinate

We know that the word can't mean "to predestinate" in Romans 8:29 because it says "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate". Clearly, a distinction is made there between the words foreknow and predestinate. Otherwise, it would be redundant.

In case you want to try to deny that the word can mean "to have knowledge beforehand", here is a clear example of the word being used that way:

2 Peter 3:17
Ye 5210 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=5210&t=kjv) therefore 3767 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=3767&t=kjv), beloved 27 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=27&t=kjv), seeing ye know [these things] before 4267 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=4267&t=kjv) , beware 5442 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=5442&t=kjv) lest 3363 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=3363&t=kjv) ye also 1601 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=1601&t=kjv) 0 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=0&t=kjv), being led away 4879 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=4879&t=kjv) with the error 4106 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=4106&t=kjv) of the wicked 113 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=113&t=kjv), fall from 1601 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=1601&t=kjv) your own 2398 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=2398&t=kjv) stedfastness 4740 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=4740&t=kjv).


In fact God knew when He created the world that all were destined to be damned. His active 'foreknowing' therefore resulted in a saving of the few out of the many. He chose me, not because He knew that there was something in me that would respond to Him, but in order to work within me through the cross so as to make me respond to Him. No credit goes to me at all. It is all His. And that is what Paul continually points out, for example in Romans 9.18-23. using foreknowledge in its weaker sense is in my view a dodge, and also dishonouring to God, for it suggests that He stood back and watched it happen. And as I have demonstrated above does not avoid the ethical problem.

In my view to say 'The Father draws those who were chosen before the world began, based on His foreknowledge of who will and won't accept the grace of God' is to emasculate what Jesus was really saying. What He was saying was that they would accept Him BECAUSE He drew them, and because He had given them to His Son.

But if you are happy with your view by all means stick with it. And if it helps, someone all to the good. Sadly I believe it is only half the truth. It misses out on the glorious truth of God's own total loving initiative.Your view does not explain how many are called, but few are chosen. If you read Matthew 22:1-14 you can see that many are invited to the wedding but many refuse to come. The context is that many have the gospel preached to them but many reject it. Even though they are called to salvation they reject the offer of salvation by choice. That is the only viable explanation for many being called but few chosen.

drew
Sep 23rd 2008, 07:56 PM
Well Drew we won't be electing McCain or Obama for eternal life, for saving election is of God alone. What we will be electing one of them to is President, in this life, of this world, not eternity.
Your argument is fundamentally circular. There is a statement about "God's purposes in election" in Romans 9. The very matter at issue is what this election consists in. You cannot simply assume that the term "election" refers to eternal life. In my defence, I am not making a similar assumption from my perspective - I am not merely assuming that "election" in the first bit of Romans 9 is election to an earthly purpose. I am actually making a case (as if a case needs to be made - Paul tells us what the "election" of Jacob and Esau is about).

Let's be clear here: if you look up the Greek definition of the world "election", it does not have this "election to eternal life" to the exclusion of other readings. The whole way you argue your point leads me to beleive that you think that any occurrence of the word "election" or "to elect" or "to be elected" must, by the very meaning of the word, refer to an election specifically in relation to eternal life.

That is not true in English. And it is not true in Greek.

Paul tells us what the election is about in relation to Jacob and Esau - it is an election to one serving the other:

Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger."[d (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=ROmans%209&version=31#fen-NIV-28153d)] 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated

John146
Sep 23rd 2008, 08:03 PM
Greetings markedward,

Can you explain how one who is in bondage (a prisoner) to sin and death through the power of Satan is free to choose freedom from this bondage? Isn't that a bit like the guard over the prisoner saying I'll give the prisoner the keys to his cell so he can have freedom?

We must accept that man's freewill (so-called) is free only in the sense that he can choose that which he is bound by. In other words man in unbelief, cannot choose to make himself free. He can only be made free by someone greater than the power that holds the man in bondage to sin and death.

It's a mistake to argue we have freewill to come to Christ for freedom and life, when in FACT we are prisoners of Satan before we become saved. Satan holds us in bondage through fear to both sin and death, and will not of our own freewill allow us to have freedom and life in Christ. We are only free to choose that which our fallen nature, under the power of Satan allows...which always leads to sin and death. How is this having freedom or freewill? In fact I would argue that unless the Lord gives us freedom and life we remain in bondage to sin and death; i.e. prisoners of Satan our whole lives. I have a question for you, Roger. What if a random person came up to you and asked you what they needed to do to be saved. What would you say in response?

legoman
Sep 23rd 2008, 08:08 PM
Yet, in the other view, God decided, for no apparent reason, to only make it possible for a few to be saved. Is that a better alternative than the one you brought up? Hardly.

The word "proginosko" (Strong's 4267) has a few different meanings.

1) to have knowledge before hand
2) to foreknow
a) of those whom God elected to salvation
3) to predestinate

We know that the word can't mean "to predestinate" in Romans 8:29 because it says "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate". Clearly, a distinction is made there between the words foreknow and predestinate. Otherwise, it would be redundant.

In case you want to try to deny that the word can mean "to have knowledge beforehand", here is a clear example of the word being used that way:

2 Peter 3:17
Ye 5210 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=5210&t=kjv) therefore 3767 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=3767&t=kjv), beloved 27 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=27&t=kjv), seeing ye know [these things] before 4267 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=4267&t=kjv) , beware 5442 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=5442&t=kjv) lest 3363 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=3363&t=kjv) ye also 1601 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=1601&t=kjv) 0 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=0&t=kjv), being led away 4879 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=4879&t=kjv) with the error 4106 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=4106&t=kjv) of the wicked 113 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=113&t=kjv), fall from 1601 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=1601&t=kjv) your own 2398 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=2398&t=kjv) stedfastness 4740 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=4740&t=kjv).

Your view does not explain how many are called, but few are chosen. If you read Matthew 22:1-14 you can see that many are invited to the wedding but many refuse to come. The context is that many have the gospel preached to them but many reject it. Even though they are called to salvation they reject the offer of salvation by choice. That is the only viable explanation for many being called but few chosen.

Hi Eric,

Just trying to understand your position a bit more. Here again are the verses:

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

So if I may restate, is this what you are saying regarding verse 29:

"For those God forknew [who love him as per verse 28], they will be predestined to the likeness of son." ie. God looks ahead, sees who will love them, and then predestines them to be made into the image of the son, and therefor they are the ones who will be predestined to be saved.

Is my understanding of your interpretation correct?

Likewise, how would you view the verses in Ephesians 1:5, 1:11, and 2:10?

Legoman

drew
Sep 23rd 2008, 08:12 PM
With no ill feelings, I believe that RogerW and I are at a stalemate on Romans 9. People can evaluate the arguments and come to their own conclusions. I am not saying that I will not talk about Romans 9 later in this thread, or in other threads. but I think I am repeating myself in relation to the specific discussion with RogerW.

I am sure we will haggle over this again......:D

drew
Sep 23rd 2008, 08:26 PM
Likewise, how would you view the verses in Ephesians 1:5, 1:11, and 2:10?
I will shamelessly insert my snout here and address Ephesians in relation to the whole pre-destination issue:

I intend to mount an argument that, contrary to a popularly held view, the "predestination" texts in Ephesians 1 do not apply to Christians generally, but rather only to a specific set of New Testament prophets and saints as identified per Eph 3:5:

“which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit”

In order to make this digestible and to not discourage the reader, I intend to present this argument in a series of posts. The post that you are reading is considered to be post 0.

To the extent that material in Ephesians justifies the claim that those who are thus mysteriously pre-destined (as per the famous predestination statement in 1:4-5) are in fact a special subset of people, the general applicability of the predestination text in chapter 1 is undercut.

So that is what I am trying to show – that Paul never intended the reader to think of a universal “us” as being pre-destined. Instead, a very specific set of persons have been pre-destined.

legoman
Sep 23rd 2008, 08:33 PM
Ok I look forward to your presentation drew :)

Also, if you could look at John 6:44 and John 6:65 as well - (not necessarily in your Ephesians presentation) - those verses also fit with the predestination theme.

Cheers,
Legoman

John146
Sep 23rd 2008, 08:46 PM
This is your position on what the Scriptures teach. Like mine, it needs to be actually defended.

But what has been argued by me is that in the potter metaphor in Romans 9, and in the stuff about Esau and Jacob, the election is clearly about something other than eternal destiny. It is frankly astonishing that anyone would read this text and think that the issue on the table is eternal destiny. Paul explicitly tells us what the election is in relation to:

So why do people simply over-rule Paul and claim this is about eternal destiny?

11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger."[d (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%209;&version=31;#fen-NIV-28153d)] 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."There you go proving your points with scripture again. :rolleyes: ;)

You do know that "The older will serve the younger" means "The older, Esau, was predestined to damnation and the younger, Jacob, was predestined to salvation" in the original Hebrew (Genesis 25:23), right? :D

No, actually...

Genesis 25:23
And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

Here's the context, ladies and gentlemen. Jacob and Esau represented two nations: Israel and Edom, respectively. The one, Israel, would be stronger than the other, Edom. Edom would serve Israel. God made it that way and no one should question it because He did it that way for His purpose. That is the context of God loving Jacob and hating Esau. It has nothing to do with God having predestined Jacob to salvation and Esau to damnation.

legoman
Sep 23rd 2008, 08:53 PM
There you go proving your points with scripture again. :rolleyes: ;)

You do know that "The older will serve the younger" means "The older, Esau, was predestined to damnation and the younger, Jacob, was predestined to salvation" in the original Hebrew (Genesis 25:23), right? :D

No, actually...

Genesis 25:23
And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

Here's the context, ladies and gentlemen. Jacob and Esau represented two nations: Israel and Edom, respectively. The one, Israel, would be stronger than the other, Edom. Edom would serve Israel. God made it that way and no one should question it because He did it that way for His purpose. That is the context of God loving Jacob and hating Esau. It has nothing to do with God having predestined Jacob to salvation and Esau to damnation.

But it is still showing predestination (not necessarily indicating their salvation), no? Jacob/Israel is predestined to be stronger, and Esau/Edom is predestined to be weaker.

RogerW
Sep 23rd 2008, 09:04 PM
I have a question for you, Roger. What if a random person came up to you and asked you what they needed to do to be saved. What would you say in response?

Greetings Eric,

Perhaps you missed this in the thread "Why would God do this"...here is how I responded to the same question there.



I'm curious, Roger. What if someone came up to you and asked you what they had to do to be saved like the prison keeper did with Paul and Silas (Acts 16:27-34). What would you tell that person?

[quote=RogerW;1794660]
Good question! I would tell them to believe, and then like Paul and Silas I would speak unto them the Word of the Lord. I would tell them that faith comes by hearing the Word, so it is important to get into the Word. And I would tell them that God uses preaching of the cross for it is the power of God to save, and that God uses preaching to save them that believe. I would also tell them that the fact they are interested could be that the Father is drawing them to hear the Word, be given the gift of faith, that they might repent and turn to Christ for life. For none can come to the Lord unless the Father first draws them. Then I would hope that I too could rejoice with them after God has given them the free gift of eternal life through salvation.

Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
Tit 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
Tit 1:3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;

Many blessings,
RW

John146
Sep 23rd 2008, 09:07 PM
Hi Eric,

Just trying to understand your position a bit more. Here again are the verses:

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

So if I may restate, is this what you are saying regarding verse 29:

"For those God forknew [who love him as per verse 28], they will be predestined to the likeness of son." ie. God looks ahead, sees who will love them, and then predestines them to be made into the image of the son, and therefor they are the ones who will be predestined to be saved.

Is my understanding of your interpretation correct?Yes


Likewise, how would you view the verses in Ephesians 1:5, 1:11, and 2:10?

LegomanEphesians 1
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

It was according to God's good pleasure and His foreknowledge to predestine us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself. It pleased Him that because He foreknew who would believe in Christ He could then predestine them to be adopted as children and to be conformed to the image of Christ, as it says in Romans 8:29.

Ephesians 1
9Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
12That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

It is His will to predestine those who He knows will put their faith and trust in His Son. It would be silly to read that verse in a hyper-literal fashion as if He works every single thing that happens after the counsel of His own will because we see repeated examples of Him saying what He would have done had people not repented or if they had repented, depending on the situation (Jonah 3:8-10, Matthew 23:37-38, etc.).

It was His pleasure and will to predestine all people who would put their faith and trust in His Son to be saved and to be "sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise". Notice that one is not sealed with the Spirit until after they put their faith and trust in Christ.

Ephesians 2
8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

God, since He knows everything beforehand, is able to determine the good works that those who put their faith in Him should do. In no way does this mean that people are not required to choose to have faith in Him.

When interpreting those passages, we have to make sure our interpretations don't contradict other scripture that tells us that God desires all men to be saved (1 Tim 2:4), that Christ died as a ransom for all (1 Tim 2:6), that God commands all people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30-31) and desires that all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), and that Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).

John146
Sep 23rd 2008, 09:19 PM
Greetings Eric,

Perhaps you missed this in the thread "Why would God do this"...here is how I responded to the same question there.I guess I did. It's not easy to keep up with these threads sometimes, as you know.



Good question! I would tell them to believeWould you tell them that if they did believe they would be saved?


and then like Paul and Silas I would speak unto them the Word of the Lord. I would tell them that faith comes by hearing the Word, so it is important to get into the Word. And I would tell them that God uses preaching of the cross for it is the power of God to save, and that God uses preaching to save them that believe. I would also tell them that the fact they are interested could be that the Father is drawing them to hear the Word, be given the gift of faith, that they might repent and turn to Christ for life. For none can come to the Lord unless the Father first draws them. Then I would hope that I too could rejoice with them after God has given them the free gift of eternal life through salvation.

Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
Tit 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
Tit 1:3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;

Many blessings,
RWWhy would you not just say what Paul and Silas said? They told the man that he should believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and he would then be saved and his household would be saved as well if they too believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. They didn't say anything like "the fact they are interested could be that the Father is drawing them to hear the Word, be given the gift of faith, that they might repent and turn to Christ for life.". No. They told this man, who they did not know, that if he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, he would be saved. What if, according to your doctrine, this man was not one of the chosen? Then Paul and Silas would have been lying to him.

It seems to me that because of the position you take, you would have to tell Paul and Silas (if you had been there) that they should not have told the man that he would be saved if he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ because he might have been someone who was not chosen to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Can you see the problem this creates for your position?

Eric

RogerW
Sep 23rd 2008, 09:24 PM
Yes, God has foreknowledge of who will accept Him, but grace is not something that is reserved, per se, for the elect.

God's foreknowledge is not of who will accept Him. That would make man sovereign over God, for God chooses because He knows we will choose Him first. Does not Scripture clearly tell us that we love God because He first loved us?

God's foreknowledge is knowing who will be saved because He has elected them to be saved, and written their names in the Book of Life before the world began.



God's grace is available to everyone,

If you are speaking of a common grace, or love where God sends the rain on the just and unjust alike, then I agree with you. But, this isn't what you mean is it?



and He gives it to those who reach out and accept it. God's grace is enacted in a person's life only after that person makes a willful decision to receive it, so the answer to your question is yes...God gives His grace to those whom He had foreknowledge of, that is, those who accept it.

God gives grace to those who reach out and accept it? Who will do this? All men are born in Adam, with a fallen nature that is in bondage to Satan, sin and death. Scripture tells us we are DEAD in trespasses and sins (Eph 2). How does a spiritually dead man reach out and accept spiritual life? Man is not merely fallen, man is spiritually DEAD, and therefore will not, because he cannot reach out and accept spiritual life. Unless God changes His will, making man willing, then no man will come to Christ that he might have life.



No. Everyone is given the choice. If this were not true, then God could not rightfully punish someone for rejecting Him.

Man is not damned because he rejects Christ, man is damned because he/she is a sinner.

Ro 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Every man is without excuse...see Ro 1



Grace is not given to a person until that person reaches out and accepts it.

If this is true salvation is not by grace through faith, but by grace plus our own effort or work. That makes God's grace dependent upon fallen man, again making man sovereign over God. For God cannot extend His grace unless spiritually dead men are willing??? Then no man will be saved, because no dead man is willing.



Some people will never accept God's grace, no matter what happens in their lives.....for these people, God's grace is nullified.

Only some people? No people will accept God's grace for no people can. In our spiritual dead state we cannot choose spiritual life. Just as we could not and did not choose to be born physically, neither can we choose to be born again spiritually.

Your position turns the grace of God into a work of fallen, spiritually dead men.

Many Blessings,
RW

John146
Sep 23rd 2008, 09:48 PM
Man is not damned because he rejects Christ, man is damned because he/she is a sinner.

Ro 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Every man is without excuse...see Ro 1 Man is damned for both of those reasons, Roger.

2 Thess 2
9Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.


If this is true salvation is not by grace through faith, but by grace plus our own effort or work. That makes God's grace dependent upon fallen man, again making man sovereign over God. For God cannot extend His grace unless spiritually dead men are willing??? Then no man will be saved, because no dead man is willing. That's not what Jesus says here:

Rev 22:17
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

RogerW
Sep 23rd 2008, 10:04 PM
I guess I did. It's not easy to keep up with these threads sometimes, as you know.

Oh Boy, I sure do know what you mean.



Would you tell them that if they did believe they would be saved?

Of course I would. No one can believe unto salvation unless God changes their hearts and makes them willing. The primary means He uses to make us believe is preaching the gospel of salvation. After hearing through the power of the Holy Spirit we are given the gift of faith (believing), thereby enabling us to repent of our sins and turn to Christ for life.



Why would you not just say what Paul and Silas said? They told the man that he should believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and he would then be saved and his household would be saved as well if they too believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Read the rest of the passage Eric. If Paul and Silas had simply told the jailer to believe without giving him the Word of life, how could he believe? But Paul and Silas knew the power of salvation comes through preaching the gospel of salvation. Faith (believing) comes through hearing the Word.

1Co 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

Ro 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

No, Paul and Silas did not simply tell him to believe. After telling him to believe they gave him the Word of life that enabled not only him to believe, but also his whole house. The jailer did not believe before hearing the Word of the Lord, it was after he and his house heard, then they rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

Ac 16:32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
Ac 16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
Ac 16:34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.



They didn't say anything like "the fact they are interested could be that the Father is drawing them to hear the Word, be given the gift of faith, that they might repent and turn to Christ for life.". No.

Scripture tells us no one can come to Christ unless the Father draw them. Jo 6:44 Therefore if one is interested in obtaining life in Christ, God could be drawing.



They told this man, who they did not know, that if he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, he would be saved. What if, according to your doctrine, this man was not one of the chosen? Then Paul and Silas would have been lying to him.

They told the jailer the truth. Then they gave him and his family the Word of the Lord that gave them faith to believe. They were not lying because no man can believe unless Christ, through the Word and power of the Holy Spirit give them faith to believe.



It seems to me that because of the position you take, you would have to tell Paul and Silas (if you had been there) that they should not have told the man that he would be saved if he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ because he might have been someone who was not chosen to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Can you see the problem this creates for your position?

Eric

Eric, there is no problem. Paul and Silas spoke the truth, whether the jailer was chosen to believe or not does not change the truth. All men are commanded to honor the Son, but just because all men do not honor Him does not make the command without effect. The Son gives life to whom He will. All men should honor Him, and he that does not honor the Son, does not honor the Father. He that hears the Word of the Lord, and believes on Him has everlasting life.

Joh 5:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
Joh 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
Joh 5:23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
Joh 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Sep 23rd 2008, 10:25 PM
That's not what Jesus says here:

Rev 22:17
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

You highlighted the part of the verse you like, but what about that part of the verse that says, "let him that heareth say, Come"? Who will hear Eric? How will he hear unless he is enabled? One who is spiritually dead in trespasses and sins cannot hear. Without the Spirit of God the natural man cannot discern the things of the Spirit for they are foolishness to him.

1Co 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
1Co 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. [freely GIVEN to us of God; not merely offered]
1Co 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

And what about that part of the verse that says, "let him that is athirst come"? If the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God, does he/she even know they are athirst?

Blessings,
RW

Rhyfelwr
Sep 23rd 2008, 11:06 PM
If God chooses us because He knows we will choose Him, is He really still sovereign? After all he would be basing His choices for election from our will to accept Him. So while He chooses us (for we can't ourselves choose Him), He still sees that some would reject Him, and so that influences His decision.

But because He still doesn't actively select these people, He is not predestining them to Hell.

Or maybe I've got it wrong, it's one of those cycles that's really tough to get your head around. Maybe I'm not approaching it properly.

:hmm:

Or if God does not have to actively predestine non-believers to Hell, does that mean his sovereignty is not challenged? Because the non-believers aren't challanging His will, they are not rejecting His working is their lives since He only works in the lives of the elect?

A_Saved_1
Sep 23rd 2008, 11:18 PM
This topic reminds me of an argument I had with a man at work. He doesn't believe in the God of the bible and tries to convience me with "proof" that God contradicts Himself.

One of the arguments we had was predestination. He believe that If a man comes to a forked road and takes the left path, he had no choice but to take that path because God knew he was going to. So he had no free will to make a choice and was only doing what he was 'designed to do' and should not be punished by God if this path leds him away from the Lord.

My response was that just because God KNOWS what your going to do, isn't the same as Him MAKING you do it. The man went down the left path because it was his choice and is responsible for his decision. If God wanted the man to go right, the left and back path would collapse and would be impossible to take,then he wouldn't have a choice. When He wants you to do something, your going to do it, because he is absolute in authority and power. If you don't believe me, ask Jonah when he didn't want to prophesy to the gentiles in that town. God cannot be denied.

Adam and Eve had a choice and chose poorly. God didn't make them eat the fruit and in fact warned them against it, but, they did it on their own accord and they suffered the consequence of their choice as we do ours.

I guess that's why I don't totally agree with destiny in regards to choice. God knows ALL I'm going to do, but my decisions, good and bad, are MINE and MINE ALONE. That's why I look to Him when I do make a decision, I try to make sure it's what He wants me to do. Even if I make a bad choice, praise the Father that through the precious blood of the Son, I am forgiven and I'll try not to make the same mistake again.

Sorry if I went off topic

RogerW
Sep 24th 2008, 02:43 AM
If God chooses us because He knows we will choose Him, is He really still sovereign? After all he would be basing His choices for election from our will to accept Him. So while He chooses us (for we can't ourselves choose Him), He still sees that some would reject Him, and so that influences His decision.

Hi Rhyfelwr,

It seems the Sovereignty of God is beginning to be more clearly seen by you. One more small point. God sees that ALL, every single one of us would reject Him, if our salvation is left to us to choose through our fallen natural free will. Since God desires a people for Himself, a people to make His power and glory known unto all the world, and a people with whom He bestows His great love and mercy...does the fact that none can choose Him influence His decision? Absolutely! If God did not elect a predestinated people for Himself to give eternal life through the Lord Jesus, then no people could be saved.

We have no way of knowing who God has predestined for eternal life, nor should we. This we know, we are commanded to go unto all the peoples of the world with the gospel of salvation, and through the message of the cross we proclaim, God will draw and save through the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit all who are given the gift of faith (Eph 2:5,8,9) to believe.

We also know that God's choosing is not based on anything good in us. All men are born in Adam with fallen nature, and in bondage to Satan, sin and death. God's choice to save His elect was made in heaven before God had created Adam. Those chosen were written in the book of life for no other reason, then God wanted a people to call His own. There is NONE righteous, none better, or able to come to Christ for life. We all deserve damnation, but God, in His great love, compassion and mercy will redeem humankind. Not that every man will be saved, but humanity will be finally freed from all sin.



But because He still doesn't actively select these people, He is not predestining them to Hell.

Of course not! That would really make no sense, because every man is born in Adam, therefore in bondage to death and hell. God does not elect people to hell because of our sin nature we would already go there.



Or maybe I've got it wrong, it's one of those cycles that's really tough to get your head around. Maybe I'm not approaching it properly.

It seems you are getting your head around this difficult doctrine very well. I think it helps if we never forget that ultimately God orchastrates His creation for His glory and for good of the elect. And the other thing to remember is that God is Sovereign over His creation, and does whatsoever He wills. This is the will of God which is fulfilled in His Son:

Joh 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
Joh 6:39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
Joh 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

In giving salvation to His elect, according to the will of God is for His glory.

Ga 1:3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
Ga 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
Ga 1:5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.



Or if God does not have to actively predestine non-believers to Hell, does that mean his sovereignty is not challenged? Because the non-believers aren't challanging His will, they are not rejecting His working is their lives since He only works in the lives of the elect?

I believe that Pharaoh, and even Judas Iscariot shows us that God does work in the lives of those who remain in unbelief. However, His work in them is for a specific task or purpose to accomplish His will. The un- believer simply denies the Sovereignty of God. Consider Ro 1, all men are without excuse. All sin will be done away through Christ. All who are predestined for salvation have their sins covered by Christ on the cross. For all who remain in unbelief, they, with their sins will be cast into the lake of fire, and sin will be no more. Humanity redeemed! Sin no longer separating mankind from God.

Many Blessings,
RW

drew
Sep 24th 2008, 03:09 PM
God gives grace to those who reach out and accept it? Who will do this? All men are born in Adam, with a fallen nature that is in bondage to Satan, sin and death. Scripture tells us we are DEAD in trespasses and sins (Eph 2). How does a spiritually dead man reach out and accept spiritual life? Man is not merely fallen, man is spiritually DEAD, and therefore will not, because he cannot reach out and accept spiritual life. Unless God changes His will, making man willing, then no man will come to Christ that he might have life.
I am familiar with this line of thinking but I think it is vulnerable.

I suggest that there is an implicit assumption in this argument that needs to justified. And that assumption is basically this: that the "deadness" of mankind "in trespass and sin" is not merely a kind of "moral deadness" but also what I will call a "cognitive" deadness. You seem to assume that texts that indeed describe our hopelessly fallen "moral" condition also imply that we have lost the faculty to recognize ourselves as being in that state and then accept aid offered to us. Can you therefore justify your belief about the extent of this deadness.

And saying that "dead means dead in every respect" would not be a good argument. We often use the term "dead" to refer to one aspect or dimension of a person's capacities (e.g. Fred is emotionally dead).

Consider this analogy (I have used this one before, perhaps in dialog with you): Let's say that my brain has been damaged in such a way that it is impossible for me to understand general relativity. Does this mean I cannot recognize and become aware of my incapacity in regard to general relativity? Obviously not. Blind people cannot see, but that does not mean they are not aware that sighted people have a capability that gives new information about the world.

Suppose a surgeon comes along and says "We have this new operation that can fix your brain so that you can understand general relativity". Can I understand what he is claiming? Of course. Just like a blind person can understand that a certain operation might give him sight, even if he does not know what sight be like once he gets it (he has been blind from birth).

I trust the analogy is clear here. Unless it can be argued that our "deadness" extends to and includes our capacity to make judgements about ourselves and accept "a gift" that fixes our deadness, I do not see how your argument gets anywhere.

drew
Sep 24th 2008, 03:20 PM
I can think of another reason to be dubious of “election” as commonly understood. In Romans, Paul goes out of his way to undermine the "national boast" of Israel - namely that they are God's covenant people simply in virtue of their ethnicity – by being born into a people under Torah. This is not so, Paul argues, and refers to the establishment of the covenant in Genesis 15 and repeats the key statement "Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness".

Faith, not nationality, is the criteria for covenant membership. It would seem awfully odd that Paul would argue this point and yet also believe that people are indeed “born unto salvation” after all, by believing the existence of an "elect".

Even though the elect unto salvation are, of course, not national Israel - they still would constitute a set of people who are essentially privileged by birth unto salvation, just as the Jews believed that they were automatically members of the covenant by virtue of being born an ethnic Jew. It seems to me that this is the kind of thinking that Paul clearly repudiates in Romans

drew
Sep 24th 2008, 03:55 PM
God gives grace to those who reach out and accept it? Who will do this? All men are born in Adam, with a fallen nature that is in bondage to Satan, sin and death. Scripture tells us we are DEAD in trespasses and sins (Eph 2). How does a spiritually dead man reach out and accept spiritual life?
Consider the phrase "by nature" as per this from Ephesians 2.

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

When we read this as 21st century westerners, we think that when the phrase “by nature” is used, a statement is being made about our fundamental constitution. On such a reading, and noting the content of verse 1, it might indeed appear that Paul is saying that it is impossible for us to respond freely to God’s grace. After all, it is in the very nature of our mind to reject anything from God.

But there is precedent for Paul using the term "by nature" to really say "by birth".

Here is an example, Galations 2:15:

We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles

Clearly, Paul means "by birth" here. He is not asserting that Jews are born with fundamentally different inner constitutions than Gentiles.

And the Greek word rendered as "by nature" is the same word as used in a clearly "by birth" sense in Galatians 2:15.

Ephesians 2:3 reads perfectly well with a "by birth" reading. And being "children of wrath" by birth in no way rules out a free will response to God in the way that being "children of wrath" by fundamental inner constitution indeed might.

So, unless and until the ambiguity of what Paul means by the phrase "by nature" is resolved Ephesians 2:1-3 does not support the notion that we cannot freely accept a gift of grace.

RogerW
Sep 24th 2008, 04:23 PM
I am familiar with this line of thinking but I think it is vulnerable.

I suggest that there is an implicit assumption in this argument that needs to justified. And that assumption is basically this: that the "deadness" of mankind "in trespass and sin" is not merely a kind of "moral deadness" but also what I will call a "cognitive" deadness. You seem to assume that texts that indeed describe our hopelessly fallen "moral" condition also imply that we have lost the faculty to recognize ourselves as being in that state and then accept aid offered to us. Can you therefore justify your belief about the extent of this deadness.

The word defined as "dead" in Eph 2 is nekros meaning a corpse. Obviously this is written to living, breathing people, and not to dead corpses. Yet, Paul tells us we are "dead" in trespasses and sins. What is dead, since it is not our physical bodies? It has to mean we are spiritually dead. What does it mean to be spiritually dead in trespasses and sins? The context of the passage shows us what we are when we are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins.

Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

What does it mean to walk according to the prince/spirit of the power of the air? In other words the god of this world? It means they are lost, and the gospel is hidden from them. The god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of those who do not believe. If Satan was not blinding their minds, they would understand the glorious gospel of Christ, and receive light through Him.

2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

If the gospel is hidden from them that are lost, and the lost are prevented from receiving the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, how can the "dead" in trespasses and sins recognize the spirit less state they are in? Obviously they cannot, and will not unless God makes them able through the power of the Word and the Holy Spirit.

God does not offer salvation to His predestined elect. He GIVES salvation to them. Salvation is not a mere offer the predestined elect can accept or reject. Again and again we read throughout Scripture, "I will GIVE them eternal life." We do not hear Christ saying, "I will merely OFFER them eternal life, and if they want it they can accept My gracious offer, but if they don't want it they can reject my free gift of salvation." This teaching that salvation is a free gift "OFFERED" is an abominable doctrine from the pit of hell. Telling man that salvation is a free gift merely offered robs God of His Sovereignty in salvation. Salvation is of the Lord ALONE, and not dependent upon the fallen wills of spiritually dead men.

We find this truth reading the full context of the passage. We are altogether without hope up to this point..."BUT GOD"...joy to the world, the Son has come with rich mercy and great love for His predestinated elect peoples. While we are spiritually dead, without gospel light, alienated from God, without hope, God quickens (gives us life with Christ) us by grace, and causes us to sit together with Christ, showing us His exceeding riches of grace through Christ Jesus. Salvation is by grace through the gift of faith that is not our own. If our faith was the instrument that God uses to save us, then we would have something to boast of, because salvation would come through our work of faith.

Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Eph 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Make no mistake about it "faith" is work. We have a work of faith that we will do when we become saved, but saving faith (believing) is the work of God, and not of ourselves. (see 1Th 1:3; 2Th 1:11). If our faith (believing in Christ) is the instrument that God uses to save us, why does Christ say, it is the work of God that we believe on Christ? Why didn't Christ simply tell them to have faith, or to believe when He was ask "what shall we do, that we might work the works of God"?

Joh 6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
Joh 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Many Blessings,
RW

John146
Sep 24th 2008, 05:49 PM
Of course I would. No one can believe unto salvation unless God changes their hearts and makes them willing. The primary means He uses to make us believe is preaching the gospel of salvation. After hearing through the power of the Holy Spirit we are given the gift of faith (believing), thereby enabling us to repent of our sins and turn to Christ for life. If your position was right then tell me how Paul and Silas knew that the prison keeper and his household were among the few who are chosen and would be given faith to believe and enabled to repent? They didn't know. Therefore, they would be lying to them by telling them that if they believed on the Lord Jesus Christ they would be saved. If they were not among the chosen, then that could not be true for them.

The only way that Paul and Silas could give that answer to someone was if they knew that person was among the few that are chosen. It would be pointless and a lie to tell someone who wasn't one of the chosen that if they believed on the Lord Jesus Christ they would be saved.


Read the rest of the passage Eric. If Paul and Silas had simply told the jailer to believe without giving him the Word of life, how could he believe? But Paul and Silas knew the power of salvation comes through preaching the gospel of salvation. Faith (believing) comes through hearing the Word. Exactly, Roger. But you try to say that saving faith comes from God giving it to you. But nowhere does it say that.


No, Paul and Silas did not simply tell him to believe. After telling him to believe they gave him the Word of life that enabled not only him to believe, but also his whole house.That isn't what it says, Roger. You are adding words to scripture. It does not say that the word of life that they spoke to them enabled them to believe. You are adding words that aren't there and don't belong there.


The jailer did not believe before hearing the Word of the Lord, it was after he and his house heard, then they rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

Ac 16:32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
Ac 16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
Ac 16:34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. Yes, because the words that Paul and Silas spoke convinced them that what they were saying was true. But if you read the parable in Matthew 22:1-14 you can see that not everyone is convinced by the preaching of the gospel. Why do you suppose that is? Because God doesn't give the many who aren't chosen the ability to believe? Where does scripture teach that? Instead, it is because they choose to reject it.


Scripture tells us no one can come to Christ unless the Father draw them. Jo 6:44 Therefore if one is interested in obtaining life in Christ, God could be drawing. John 12
31Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
33This he said, signifying what death he should die.



Jesus said He would draw all men unto Himself. Does this mean that all people that He draws end up saved? No. Many people resist the Spirit just as the Pharisees and their fathers did (Acts 7:51). Yes, it's true that no one can come to the Father unless He draws them. How does He draw people? By the preaching of the gospel of His Son and by His Spirit. But many are called, but few are chosen. The reason that many are called but not chosen is that they willingly choose to reject the gospel.



They told the jailer the truth. Then they gave him and his family the Word of the Lord that gave them faith to believe. They were not lying because no man can believe unless Christ, through the Word and power of the Holy Spirit give them faith to believe. As I explained already, if your doctrine was true, then they were lying to him if he or anyone in his household happened to be among those who are not chosen.


Eric, there is no problem. Paul and Silas spoke the truth, whether the jailer was chosen to believe or not does not change the truth. All men are commanded to honor the Son, but just because all men do not honor Him does not make the command without effect. The Son gives life to whom He will. All men should honor Him, and he that does not honor the Son, does not honor the Father.But you try to say that some can't honor the Son and the Father because they have no ability to do so.


He that hears the Word of the Lord, and believes on Him has everlasting life.

Joh 5:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
Joh 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
Joh 5:23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
Joh 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Many Blessings,
RWThe ones who He chooses to quicken are those who obey the command to repent and believe the gospel. He clearly taught that man is responsible to repent and believe and did not teach anywhere that He would do it for them. He said to everyone around Him, including unbelievers, "[You] repent and believe the gospel". He didn't say "I will one day give you the ability to repent and believe if I have chosen you. When that day comes then you will automatically repent and believe".

drew
Sep 24th 2008, 06:08 PM
What does it mean to walk according to the prince/spirit of the power of the air? In other words the god of this world? It means they are lost, and the gospel is hidden from them.
You are reading something into the text that is simply not there. One can walk according to the "god of this world" without the gospel being hidden from you. There is simply no justification in this text from Ephesians 2, to draw the strong that you do. All one can conclude is that one has lived a certain way. There is no indication here at all that one has lost the faculty to recognize the state you are in.


The god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of those who do not believe. If Satan was not blinding their minds, they would understand the glorious gospel of Christ, and receive light through Him.

2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

If the gospel is hidden from them that are lost, and the lost are prevented from receiving the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, how can the "dead" in trespasses and sins recognize the spirit less state they are in? Obviously they cannot, and will not unless God makes them able through the power of the Word and the Holy Spirit.
I have not studied this passage in any depth. But one objection to your take on it immediately comes to mind. There is nothing in this text that in any way rules out the possibility that the "blinding" happens after a person has "freely" turned their back on the gospel.


This teaching that salvation is a free gift "OFFERED" is an abominable doctrine from the pit of hell.
To be frank, you are really in no position to make such a statement. After all it is you who simply over-write what Paul says in Romans 9 about the election of Esau and Jacob. Through both the direct words of Paul, and by reference to the Genesis 25 passage, he quotes, it is simply beyond dispute that the "election" in that passage has to do with something that in this present world. Why do you insist on thinking that Paul made a mistake in that passage when he tells us - two times no less (directly and by reference) that the election is in respect to "one serving the other".


Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Make no mistake about it "faith" is work. We have a work of faith that we will do when we become saved, but saving faith (believing) is the work of God, and not of ourselves.
Make no mistake about it - Paul is not talking about "good works" here, he is talking about the works of Torah. That this is so is manifestly clear from what Paul goes on to say in Eph 2:11 and following.

So Paul has not ruled out a "contribution" - the "good work" of accepting Christ here. He is talking about the Torah here. The evidence is beyond dispute, so why do people insist on reading "works" here as "good works"?

John146
Sep 24th 2008, 06:08 PM
The word defined as "dead" in Eph 2 is nekros meaning a corpse. Obviously this is written to living, breathing people, and not to dead corpses. Yet, Paul tells us we are "dead" in trespasses and sins. What is dead, since it is not our physical bodies? It has to mean we are spiritually dead. What does it mean to be spiritually dead in trespasses and sins? The context of the passage shows us what we are when we are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins.

Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

What does it mean to walk according to the prince/spirit of the power of the air? In other words the god of this world? It means they are lost, and the gospel is hidden from them. The god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of those who do not believe. If Satan was not blinding their minds, they would understand the glorious gospel of Christ, and receive light through Him.

2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.Yes, Satan blinds their minds, but only after they have already blinded themselves by their lack of faith. That is what you are missing here.

9Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

Satan pounces on those who he sees have chosen to not believe and reject the gospel and then he blinds them even further with "all power and signs and lying wonders". Notice where the ultimate responsibility lies: to the people themselves. They can't say "the devil made me do it". Yet that is basically what you seem to be saying.

It is the unbelieving people themselves who "received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved". You can't blame Satan for their decision to reject the gospel. They will not be able to say "the devil made me do it" on judgment day. They will be punished for their own decisions. What other reason could they possibly be punished? And if they had no chance or ability to do anything but reject the gospel then what is the reason that they would be punished?


If the gospel is hidden from them that are lost, and the lost are prevented from receiving the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, how can the "dead" in trespasses and sins recognize the spirit less state they are in? Obviously they cannot, and will not unless God makes them able through the power of the Word and the Holy Spirit.

God does not offer salvation to His predestined elect. He GIVES salvation to them.A gift is given only to one who accepts it. The receiver who accepts the gift had the option to reject the gift if they had so decided.


Salvation is not a mere offer the predestined elect can accept or reject. Again and again we read throughout Scripture, "I will GIVE them eternal life."But what is the reason that scripture says again and again that they are given eternal life? Because of God's grace. We can agree on that. But here's what you apparently miss. It's also given after a person repents and puts their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. They aren't given eternal life for no real reason while the rest are left out. That doesn't make any sense. God is not a respecter of persons.


We do not hear Christ saying, "I will merely OFFER them eternal life, and if they want it they can accept My gracious offer, but if they don't want it they can reject my free gift of salvation."I disagree.

Rev 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.


This teaching that salvation is a free gift "OFFERED" is an abominable doctrine from the pit of hell.You are way out of line here, Roger. There is no need for this kind of talk here. We are all giving our OPINIONS. Humble yourself.


Telling man that salvation is a free gift merely offered robs God of His Sovereignty in salvation.No, it does not. It is not possible without God initiating everything by sending His Son as the propitiation for the sins of the whole world so that whoseover believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.


Salvation is of the Lord ALONE, and not dependent upon the fallen wills of spiritually dead men.It just so happens that the Lord is not a puppet master and we are not puppets. God gives man responsibility. Your doctrine takes that responsibility away and blames everything on Satan.


We find this truth reading the full context of the passage. We are altogether without hope up to this point..."BUT GOD"...joy to the world, the Son has come with rich mercy and great love for His predestinated elect peoples.It says "God so loved the world", not "God so loved the predestinated elect".


While we are spiritually dead, without gospel light, alienated from God, without hope, God quickens (gives us life with Christ) us by grace, and causes us to sit together with Christ, showing us His exceeding riches of grace through Christ Jesus. Salvation is by grace through the gift of faith that is not our own.Salvation is the gift. The gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 6:23)


If our faith was the instrument that God uses to save us, then we would have something to boast of, because salvation would come through our work of faith. Faith is not a work of righteousness. The kind of works that it's talking about when it says salvation is not of works are works of righteousness like helping feed the hungry or visiting the sick. To say that faith is a work of righteousness like the examples I gave isn't taught anywhere in scripture. Instead, faith is contrasted with works of righteousness in passages such as James 2.


Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Eph 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. Salvation is not of works, not faith.


Make no mistake about it "faith" is work.Where does scripture say that?


We have a work of faith that we will do when we become saved, but saving faith (believing) is the work of God, and not of ourselves. (see 1Th 1:3; 2Th 1:11). If our faith (believing in Christ) is the instrument that God uses to save us, why does Christ say, it is the work of God that we believe on Christ? Why didn't Christ simply tell them to have faith, or to believe when He was ask "what shall we do, that we might work the works of God"?

Joh 6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
Joh 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Many Blessings,
RWYou are mixing things up here, Roger. There are works of the law. There are works of righteousness. Then there are the works that God requires us to do in order to be saved. You can't confuse these works with works of the law or good works of righteousness. The works spoken about in that passage are the requirements of God. It has to do with man's responsibility that God has given. They are neither works of the law nor works of righteousness. There's nothing physical about it. It has to do with one making decisions in their heart to repent or not and to believe or not.

Eric

John146
Sep 24th 2008, 06:25 PM
This topic reminds me of an argument I had with a man at work. He doesn't believe in the God of the bible and tries to convience me with "proof" that God contradicts Himself.

One of the arguments we had was predestination. He believe that If a man comes to a forked road and takes the left path, he had no choice but to take that path because God knew he was going to. So he had no free will to make a choice and was only doing what he was 'designed to do' and should not be punished by God if this path leds him away from the Lord.

My response was that just because God KNOWS what your going to do, isn't the same as Him MAKING you do it. The man went down the left path because it was his choice and is responsible for his decision. If God wanted the man to go right, the left and back path would collapse and would be impossible to take,then he wouldn't have a choice. When He wants you to do something, your going to do it, because he is absolute in authority and power. If you don't believe me, ask Jonah when he didn't want to prophesy to the gentiles in that town. God cannot be denied.

Adam and Eve had a choice and chose poorly. God didn't make them eat the fruit and in fact warned them against it, but, they did it on their own accord and they suffered the consequence of their choice as we do ours.

I guess that's why I don't totally agree with destiny in regards to choice. God knows ALL I'm going to do, but my decisions, good and bad, are MINE and MINE ALONE. That's why I look to Him when I do make a decision, I try to make sure it's what He wants me to do. Even if I make a bad choice, praise the Father that through the precious blood of the Son, I am forgiven and I'll try not to make the same mistake again.

Sorry if I went off topicYou brought up a point that I have made several times myself but, trust me, this contention will go unanswered by those who hold the opposing viewpoint. There is absolutely no reason for anyone to be punished for merely doing what they were made to do or for not doing what they are incapable of doing. Yet, there will be a judgment day when many people are punished. What possible reason will they be punished except that they chose to reject God and His Son? It can't be that they will be punished just because they sinned. In that case we should be punished, too.

Ultimately, the difference between the unbeliever and believer is that one chose to humble themselves, acknowledge they are a lost and hopeless sinner and put their faith and trust in Christ (why anyone could boast about doing that, I don't know) or they chose to go their own way and reject Christ.

Isaiah 66
2For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. 3He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.
4I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

Luke 18
10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

drew
Sep 24th 2008, 06:35 PM
You are mixing things up here, Roger. There are works of the law. There are works of righteousness. Then there are the works that God requires us to do in order to be saved. You can't confuse these works with works of the law or good works of righteousness.
Absolutely correct. This idea that "works" automatically equals "good works" or "works of righteousness" is do deeply entrenched (especially) in the reformation tradition that it the view has the status of undeniable, self-evident truth.

And yet, in the case of the Ephesians 2:8-9 chunk, it is clearly the works of the Law that are under consideration. I suspect that you will agree that verse 11 and following make it clear that Paul is "talking Torah".

I am actually mystified that the "works" = "good works" (here in Eph 2:8-9) position has any legs. I used to think that way. Then someone simply asked me to read the "therefore" stuff in 11 and following, being open to the possibilty that works = works of Torah.

It became immediately and overwhelmingly clear that indeed "works of Torah" was the better explanation. I suspect that people are simply unwilling to even consider the possibility that "works" in 2:9 means "works of Torah.

John146
Sep 24th 2008, 06:53 PM
If God chooses us because He knows we will choose Him, is He really still sovereign?Sure, He is. It was because of His sovereignty that He chose to make salvation available to the world. Man had no say in that decision. It was in His sovereignty that He chose to make mankind responsible for their decisions. Again, man didn't decide that. Since God sovereignly decided that man is responsible for his decisions, man must then respond to this responsibility that God places upon us. Our responding one way or another to the responsibility that He gives us in no way takes away from His sovereignty.

John146
Sep 24th 2008, 07:08 PM
Absolutely correct. This idea that "works" automatically equals "good works" or "works of righteousness" is do deeply entrenched (especially) in the reformation tradition that it the view has the status of undeniable, self-evident truth.Agree


And yet, in the case of the Ephesians 2:8-9 chunk, it is clearly the works of the Law that are under consideration. I suspect that you will agree that verse 11 and following make it clear that Paul is "talking Torah".

I am actually mystified that the "works" = "good works" (here in Eph 2:8-9) position has any legs. I used to think that way. Then someone simply asked me to read the "therefore" stuff in 11 and following, being open to the possibilty that works = works of Torah.

It became immediately and overwhelmingly clear that indeed "works of Torah" was the better explanation. I suspect that people are simply unwilling to even consider the possibility that "works" in 2:9 means "works of Torah.Hmm. I thought we were talking about John 6:28-29? I'm not interested in debating you again (yes, we've talked about this before) regarding Ephesians 2. At least not in this thread. Regardless of how we interpret the works of Ephesians 2:9, we can see from Titus 3:5-7 that no one is saved by works of righteousness (done in and of themselves).

But let's get back to the point, which is that the kind of works that Jesus talks about in John 6:28-29 are neither works of the law nor good works of righteousness. You seem to agree with me on that, right?

drew
Sep 24th 2008, 07:13 PM
Hmm. I thought we were talking about John 6:28-29?
Ooops. My bad.


But let's get back to the point, which is that the kind of works that Jesus talks about in John 6:28-29 are neither works of the law nor good works of righteousness. You seem to agree with me on that, right?
I do indeed agree.

RogerW
Sep 24th 2008, 07:23 PM
If your position was right then tell me how Paul and Silas knew that the prison keeper and his household were among the few who are chosen and would be given faith to believe and enabled to repent? They didn't know. Therefore, they would be lying to them by telling them that if they believed on the Lord Jesus Christ they would be saved. If they were not among the chosen, then that could not be true for them.

Hello Eric,

Neither Paul, Silas, you, me or anyone else, (other than God) know who are chosen by God unto salvation. Irregardless, we are told to go into all the world and preach the gospel, commanding all men everywhere to repent and believe the gospel. We all know many will not believe. That does not mean that we are not to proclaim the gospel of salvation to all men. When we tell those who will never believe, if they believe they will be saved, how is this a lie?



The only way that Paul and Silas could give that answer to someone was if they knew that person was among the few that are chosen. It would be pointless and a lie to tell someone who wasn't one of the chosen that if they believed on the Lord Jesus Christ they would be saved.

First it is not a lie, because whosoever believes will be saved. Secondly, it is not pointless to tell every man to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, because our Lord commands us to, and the Word of God will expose all insincerity, unbelief and hypocrisy. The twoedged sword cuts both ways. To the one it is the Word of life, to the other it is the Word of death.

Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

2Co 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
2Co 2:15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
2Co 2:16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?



Exactly, Roger. But you try to say that saving faith comes from God giving it to you. But nowhere does it say that.

Very clearly Scripture tells us faith comes by hearing the Word of God.

Ro 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Since Scripture cannot lie, and it clearly states faith comes by hearing the Word of God, why, when the gospel is preached do some not receive the faith promised through hearing the Word of God?

Heb 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

How is this discrepency resolved? The promise upon hearing was faith, and yet some hear and do not have faith! Why?

Because salvation is by grace! God will give, not offer His grace to whosoever He wills. By His grace we are given, not offered, the free gift of righteous faith unto salvation. All this is done while we are yet spiritually dead in our trespasses and sins, and without ability to come to Christ that we might have life.



That isn't what it says, Roger. You are adding words to scripture. It does not say that the word of life that they spoke to them enabled them to believe. You are adding words that aren't there and don't belong there.

Eric, how am I adding words to Scripture? Does not Scripture unambiguously tell us that "faith" comes by hearing the Word?



Yes, because the words that Paul and Silas spoke convinced them that what they were saying was true. But if you read the parable in Matthew 22:1-14 you can see that not everyone is convinced by the preaching of the gospel. Why do you suppose that is? Because God doesn't give the many who aren't chosen the ability to believe? Where does scripture teach that? Instead, it is because they choose to reject it.

It is the Word itself that convinces through the power of the Holy Spirit. We "hear" the Word of the Lord, and all who are ordained to eternal life will believe through the hearing. Confirming faith comes by hearing the Word.

Ac 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

Some cannot "hear" the Word, because they are of their father the devil. Therefore even though hearing the truth they will not believe.

Joh 8:42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
Joh 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Joh 8:45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

But those who do "hear" belong to Christ, and He GIVES, not offers, them eternal life, and they shall never perish.

Joh 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Joh 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.



John 12
31Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
33This he said, signifying what death he should die.

Jesus said He would draw all men unto Himself. Does this mean that all people that He draws end up saved? No. Many people resist the Spirit just as the Pharisees and their fathers did (Acts 7:51). Yes, it's true that no one can come to the Father unless He draws them. How does He draw people? By the preaching of the gospel of His Son and by His Spirit. But many are called, but few are chosen. The reason that many are called but not chosen is that they willingly choose to reject the gospel.

Eric, the Lord tells us ALL who are drawn by the Father come to Christ. We both know that every man does not come to Christ, so how do we reconcile this discrepency "will draw all men unto me"? The passage does not mean that all men will be drawn. It simply means that all men, who are drawn by the Father, through the cross of Christ will be saved.



The ones who He chooses to quicken are those who obey the command to repent and believe the gospel. He clearly taught that man is responsible to repent and believe and did not teach anywhere that He would do it for them. He said to everyone around Him, including unbelievers, "[You] repent and believe the gospel". He didn't say "I will one day give you the ability to repent and believe if I have chosen you. When that day comes then you will automatically repent and believe".

Of course Christ does not believe for us! But knowing that in our spiritual dead state, no man can repent and believe, He changes our hearts through the Word and power of the Holy Spirit making us willing to turn to Him that we might have life.

Blessings,
RW

drew
Sep 24th 2008, 07:32 PM
Sure, He is. It was because of His sovereignty that He chose to make salvation available to the world. Man had no say in that decision. It was in His sovereignty that He chose to make mankind responsible for their decisions.
I happen to agree with you here, but I am suspect you will agree that there are some tricky issues here. You (and I) are adopting what I would term "weak sovereignty", a form of sovereignty where God is not fully and sufficiently responsible for every event in the universe.

At the other extreme, we have "strong sovereignty" which claims that God is the fully sufficient cause of every event. In a universe governed by strong sovereignty, there are no entities with any measure of self-determination (except God, of course).

Now I suspect that there is some "tail wagging the dog" going on in the minds of some members of the "strong sovereignty" camp. More specifically, they often argue that sovereignty means "strong sovereingty" and to assert "weak sovereignty" is to deny God's sovereignty.

This, of course, is incorrect. Even if there are texts that clearly state "God is sovereign" or something similar, one cannot simply assume that this means "sovereign" in the "strong sovereignty" sense. Their line of thinking often involves making otherwise unsubstantiated claims about the meaning of the concept "sovereignty" when the concept is, like many linguistic concepts, somewhat fluid.

This is one of the drawbacks of natural language - its imprecision. But what many "strong sovereignists" effectively do is to arbitrarily select a meaning for words like sovereignty from the legitimate range of meanings that it actually covers (being a fluid, somewhat imprecise concept).

This is also done often with the word "grace" - the argument is put forth that, by the very meaning of the word "grace", any self-determining act on the part of the recipient of that grace contradicts the meaning of grace.

Yet, we know this is incorrect. The range of meanings for "grace" does indeed include versions where the recipient participates, albeit weakly.

Of course, we "weak sovereigntists" can fall prey to the same problem, I suppose.

Beware this line of thinking:

1. God has attribute X;
2. Attribute X means "so and so"
3. Therefore, God is "so and so".

Often, step 2 involves an entirely unsubstantiated decision to "choose" a meaning, from what is actually a range of meanings, for X.

legoman
Sep 24th 2008, 07:35 PM
So if I may restate, is this what you are saying regarding verse 29:

"For those God forknew [who love him as per verse 28], they will be predestined to the likeness of son." ie. God looks ahead, sees who will love them, and then predestines them to be made into the image of the son, and therefor they are the ones who will be predestined to be saved.

Is my understanding of your interpretation correct?
Yes


Good then you agree that God predestines who will believe, based on his foreknowledge.



Ephesians 1
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

It was according to God's good pleasure and His foreknowledge to predestine us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself. It pleased Him that because He foreknew who would believe in Christ He could then predestine them to be adopted as children and to be conformed to the image of Christ, as it says in Romans 8:29.

Ephesians 1
9Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
12That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

It is His will to predestine those who He knows will put their faith and trust in His Son.
So what happens to everyone else? We have two groups of people:
group A: those who God has predestined to choose God, as in Eph. 1:11
group B: everyone else

What happens to those in group B? By implication, wouldn't they be predestined not to put their faith and trust in God's son?

Or do those in group B still have free will - some may choose to come to God and others won't? But then we have the problem that some other people came to God, but God didn't forknow it, because he didn't predestine them.



It would be silly to read that verse in a hyper-literal fashion as if He works every single thing that happens after the counsel of His own will because we see repeated examples of Him saying what He would have done had people not repented or if they had repented, depending on the situation (Jonah 3:8-10, Matthew 23:37-38, etc.).
No its not silly to read that verse literally. "being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will". How else could that verse be interpreted? It is plain that God works all things according to his will. It doesn't say some things, or just the things that some people do. It says all things.

Regarding the examples of God allegedly "changing his mind" or "changing his plan", those have been addressed in the other recent thread "Does God change his mind?". God doesn't change his mind because he knows the people will change theirs. God is not sovereign if man can cause God to change his mind.



It was His pleasure and will to predestine all people who would put their faith and trust in His Son to be saved and to be "sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise". Notice that one is not sealed with the Spirit until after they put their faith and trust in Christ.
Yes, agreed, the individual needs to make the choice. It is predestined.

John146
Sep 24th 2008, 08:11 PM
I am familiar with this line of thinking but I think it is vulnerable.

I suggest that there is an implicit assumption in this argument that needs to justified. And that assumption is basically this: that the "deadness" of mankind "in trespass and sin" is not merely a kind of "moral deadness" but also what I will call a "cognitive" deadness. You seem to assume that texts that indeed describe our hopelessly fallen "moral" condition also imply that we have lost the faculty to recognize ourselves as being in that state and then accept aid offered to us. Can you therefore justify your belief about the extent of this deadness.

And saying that "dead means dead in every respect" would not be a good argument. We often use the term "dead" to refer to one aspect or dimension of a person's capacities (e.g. Fred is emotionally dead).

Consider this analogy (I have used this one before, perhaps in dialog with you): Let's say that my brain has been damaged in such a way that it is impossible for me to understand general relativity. Does this mean I cannot recognize and become aware of my incapacity in regard to general relativity? Obviously not. Blind people cannot see, but that does not mean they are not aware that sighted people have a capability that gives new information about the world.

Suppose a surgeon comes along and says "We have this new operation that can fix your brain so that you can understand general relativity". Can I understand what he is claiming? Of course. Just like a blind person can understand that a certain operation might give him sight, even if he does not know what sight be like once he gets it (he has been blind from birth).

I trust the analogy is clear here. Unless it can be argued that our "deadness" extends to and includes our capacity to make judgements about ourselves and accept "a gift" that fixes our deadness, I do not see how your argument gets anywhere.I like to use Romans 1:18-32 to show that even spiritually dead people are expected to have moral awareness and make moral decisions.

Despite being spiritually dead, this is what Paul says about those who "hold the truth in unrighteousness" (Rom 1:18): "that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.". If being spiritually dead meant what people like Roger say it means then it would seem to me that these spiritually dead people would not be expected to recognize "that which may be known of God".

It says "when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful". They knew God because "that which may be known of God is manifest in them". Despite this they "changed the truth of God into a lie" and "they did not like to retain God in their knowledge".

Now, here is the question. Why did they change the truth of God into a lie and not retain God in their knowledge? Because they had no choice but to do so? If that was the case then why are they "without excuse"? That would make no sense. Instead, it makes complete sense that they had the moral capacity to choose to either embrace the truth of God and retain God in their knowledge or to change the truth of God into a lie and not retain God in their knowledge.

So, if they have the capacity to make decisions like that, which I think is clearly the case, then why can't they also have the capacity to make a moral decision about Christ and the gospel? I believe everyone does have that capacity. I believe God makes Christ known to all people by the preaching of the word and also the convicting and drawing work of the Spirit. Just as all people are expected to retain God in their knowledge without any excuse for not doing so, they are also expected to repent and believe in the gospel of Christ and have no excuse for not doing so.

Eric

RogerW
Sep 24th 2008, 09:21 PM
I like to use Romans 1:18-32 to show that even spiritually dead people are expected to have moral awareness and make moral decisions.

Despite being spiritually dead, this is what Paul says about those who "hold the truth in unrighteousness" (Rom 1:18): "that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.". If being spiritually dead meant what people like Roger say it means then it would seem to me that these spiritually dead people would not be expected to recognize "that which may be known of God".

It says "when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful". They knew God because "that which may be known of God is manifest in them". Despite this they "changed the truth of God into a lie" and "they did not like to retain God in their knowledge".

Now, here is the question. Why did they change the truth of God into a lie and not retain God in their knowledge? Because they had no choice but to do so? If that was the case then why are they "without excuse"? That would make no sense. Instead, it makes complete sense that they had the moral capacity to choose to either embrace the truth of God and retain God in their knowledge or to change the truth of God into a lie and not retain God in their knowledge.

So, if they have the capacity to make decisions like that, which I think is clearly the case, then why can't they also have the capacity to make a moral decision about Christ and the gospel? I believe everyone does have that capacity. I believe God makes Christ known to all people by the preaching of the word and also the convicting and drawing work of the Spirit. Just as all people are expected to retain God in their knowledge without any excuse for not doing so, they are also expected to repent and believe in the gospel of Christ and have no excuse for not doing so.

Eric

You leave out of your assumption the difference between natural revelation and supernatural revelation. Natural revelation comes unto all men through creation, and conscience...but supernatural revelation through His Word and the power of the Holy Spirit is given only to those who are predestined elect, chosen from before the foundation of the world to inherit eternal life.

All men are without excuse, because what may be known of God through natural revelation is manifest in them. However, they turn the truth that is manifest in them into a lie, and serve the created rather than the Creator. They deny God, and will not glorify Him, even though His existance and power is declared naturally. So how will they be able to receive revelation of the Son, that comes supernaturally?

Joh 3:12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

Ps 19:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Ps 19:2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

Ps 97:6 The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.
Ps 97:7 Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.

Since the created universe declares the glory of God and His righteouness, and all people behold and discern His handiwork, therefore they are without excuse for not believing God. Since they will not believe the earthly things of God, even though they can, they will not be able to believe heavenly things through His Word and Spirit.

Many Blessings,
RW

John146
Sep 24th 2008, 09:23 PM
Hello Eric,

Neither Paul, Silas, you, me or anyone else, (other than God) know who are chosen by God unto salvation. Irregardless, we are told to go into all the world and preach the gospel, commanding all men everywhere to repent and believe the gospel. We all know many will not believe. That does not mean that we are not to proclaim the gospel of salvation to all men. When we tell those who will never believe, if they believe they will be saved, how is this a lie? Because you don't tell someone to do something of which they have no capability of doing. You don't tell them that if they do something then a certain result will occur when they don't even have the capability of doing the thing you tell them they should do in the first place.

This is common sense, Roger. Paul and Silas told the prison keeper that he and his household would be saved if they each believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. If the prison keeper or anyone in his household had no ability to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, then Paul and Silas would have been lying to them. Your doctrine demands that they should have answered "There is nothing you can do to be saved because we are not saved by works. If you were predestined to be saved then at some point you will be born again and then you will repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. But only if you were predetermined to believe. You have no choice in the matter.".


First it is not a lie, because whosoever believes will be saved. The word whosoever is all-inclusive. But you do not include all people among those who can be saved.


Secondly, it is not pointless to tell every man to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, because our Lord commands us to, and the Word of God will expose all insincerity, unbelief and hypocrisy. The twoedged sword cuts both ways. To the one it is the Word of life, to the other it is the Word of death.

Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

2Co 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
2Co 2:15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
2Co 2:16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?You shouldn't tell someone who supposedly has no ability to believe that they need to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved because that would't be true for them due to their supposed inability to believe. Instead, your doctrine would tell Paul and Silas to say what I already mentioned earlier.


Very clearly Scripture tells us faith comes by hearing the Word of God.

Ro 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Since Scripture cannot lie, and it clearly states faith comes by hearing the Word of God, why, when the gospel is preached do some not receive the faith promised through hearing the Word of God?

Heb 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

How is this discrepency resolved? The promise upon hearing was faith, and yet some hear and do not have faith! Why?Because they choose not to believe. They choose to not accept the truth so that they would be saved (2 Thess 2:9). They close their eyes to the truth (Matt 13:15). They choose their own evil ways rather than choosing to humble themselves and have a contrite spirit (Isaiah 66:2-4).



Because salvation is by grace!Through faith! Whoseover believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.


God will give, not offer His grace to whosoever He wills. By His grace we are given, not offered, the free gift of righteous faith unto salvation. All this is done while we are yet spiritually dead in our trespasses and sins, and without ability to come to Christ that we might have life. You are contradicting this verse, among others:

17And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.


Eric, how am I adding words to Scripture? Does not Scripture unambiguously tell us that "faith" comes by hearing the Word? Sure it does, but that's not what I was talking about. You said "that the word of life that they spoke to them enabled them to believe.". If it was the word itself that was spoken to them that supposedly enabled them to believe, then why is it that not all who have the word spoken to them are enabled to believe? Is God a respecter of persons that He only enables some to believe and not the rest? No, He is not.


It is the Word itself that convinces through the power of the Holy Spirit.Convinces, yes. But some are not convinced. Some choose to reject the gospel and resist the Spirit.


We "hear" the Word of the Lord, and all who are ordained to eternal life will believe through the hearing. Confirming faith comes by hearing the Word.

Ac 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

Some cannot "hear" the Word, because they are of their father the devil. Therefore even though hearing the truth they will not believe.It says they were ordained to eternal life. We know elsewhere that this is according to the foreknowledge of God. You read it as if it says "and as many as were predetermined through no choice of their own to believe did believe and then received eternal life". But that isn't what it says.

Of course everyone who is predestined and ordained to eternal life will believe. You can't change what God predestines. If He predestined someone to eternal life then, doggone it, they're going to have eternal life. But, again, He predestines according to His foreknowledge. He doesn't just randomly give out eternal life to a few and withhold it from the rest for no real reason. He predestined them to eternal life because He knew they would believe. He did not predestine them to believe through no choice of their own.


Joh 8:42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
Joh 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Joh 8:45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.But why can't they hear His word? Because He didn't ever give them the ability? No.

Matt 13:15
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

They closed their own eyes. They plugged their own ears. That is why they cannot hear.

Acts 7:51
Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

They resisted the Holy Spirit. That is why they could not hear.

Matt 23
37O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
38Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

They willfully rejected Christ who would have gathered them together "as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings" had they not done so. Because they willfully rejected Him, that is why they could not hear.


But those who do "hear" belong to Christ, and He GIVES, not offers, them eternal life, and they shall never perish.

Joh 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Joh 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.Once again, you leave out the reason why He gives them eternal life. He gives them eternal life because they chose to put their faith and trust in Him. They choose to freely and willfully take His offer of the water of life.

John 3:36
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Rev 22:17
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.



Eric, the Lord tells us ALL who are drawn by the Father come to Christ.Where does it say this?


We both know that every man does not come to Christ, so how do we reconcile this discrepency "will draw all men unto me"? The passage does not mean that all men will be drawn. It simply means that all men, who are drawn by the Father, through the cross of Christ will be saved. That's not what it says, Roger. He said He would draw all men unto Himself. Don't change His words by saying He did not mean that all men will be drawn. Was He trying to confuse people?

At the point that men are drawn to Him they must make a decision to either repent and put their faith and trust in Him or not. Some people allow Satan to deceive them at that point. Some get caught up in the cares of the world. Some become turned off by the idea of having to be persecuted for believing in Christ. So, despite being drawn they choose to then withdraw from Him for various reasons.

Many are called, but few are chosen (Matt 20:16, Matt 22:14). Many are called but then decide to go down the broad way of destruction instead of the narrow way of life (Matt 7:13-14).


Of course Christ does not believe for us! But knowing that in our spiritual dead state, no man can repent and believe,Scripture doesn't teach that anywhere.


He changes our hearts through the Word and power of the Holy Spirit making us willing to turn to Him that we might have life. Scripture also does not teach that anywhere. Yes, we need the word preached to us and we need the Holy Spirit to draw us and convict us. But that doesn't mean it is automatic. We are still required to make a decision and respond with either repentance and belief or with rejection and unbelief.

John146
Sep 24th 2008, 09:26 PM
You leave out of your assumption the difference between natural revelation and supernatural revelation. Natural revelation comes unto all men through creation, and conscience...but supernatural revelation through His Word and the power of the Holy Spirit is given only to those who are predestined elect, chosen from before the foundation of the world to inherit eternal life.

All men are without excuse, because what may be known of God through natural revelation is manifest in them. However, they turn the truth that is manifest in them into a lie, and serve the created rather than the Creator. They deny God, and will not glorify Him, even though His existance and power is declared naturally. So how will they be able to receive revelation of the Son, that comes supernaturally? You're missing the point. Why is it that they turn the truth that is manifest in them into a lie? Because they can't help it? Or is it by choice?

John146
Sep 24th 2008, 09:31 PM
Good then you agree that God predestines who will believe, based on his foreknowledge.No, I don't agree with that. God predestines who to elect based on His foreknowledge of who will believe.


So what happens to everyone else? We have two groups of people:
group A: those who God has predestined to choose God, as in Eph. 1:11
group B: everyone else

What happens to those in group B? By implication, wouldn't they be predestined not to put their faith and trust in God's son?

Or do those in group B still have free will - some may choose to come to God and others won't? But then we have the problem that some other people came to God, but God didn't forknow it, because he didn't predestine them.

No its not silly to read that verse literally. "being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will". How else could that verse be interpreted? It is plain that God works all things according to his will. It doesn't say some things, or just the things that some people do. It says all things.

Regarding the examples of God allegedly "changing his mind" or "changing his plan", those have been addressed in the other recent thread "Does God change his mind?". God doesn't change his mind because he knows the people will change theirs. God is not sovereign if man can cause God to change his mind. We've already talked about this before and I will never believe that it was God's will all along for people to have abortions, rape other people, kill other people without cause and other abominations like those.



Yes, agreed, the individual needs to make the choice. It is predestined.A choice that is predestined is really no choice at all. The choices people make aren't predestined. The consequences of their choices are. Those who choose to believe are predestined to eternal life.

John146
Sep 24th 2008, 09:35 PM
I happen to agree with you here, but I am suspect you will agree that there are some tricky issues here. You (and I) are adopting what I would term "weak sovereignty", a form of sovereignty where God is not fully and sufficiently responsible for every event in the universe.I don't see why it would be called "weak" to believe that God doesn't cause people to have abortions and rape women and kill other people. I don't agree with your characterization of our view of sovereignty. But it's just semantics, anyway.


At the other extreme, we have "strong sovereignty" which claims that God is the fully sufficient cause of every event. In a universe governed by strong sovereignty, there are no entities with any measure of self-determination (except God, of course).

Now I suspect that there is some "tail wagging the dog" going on in the minds of some members of the "strong sovereignty" camp. More specifically, they often argue that sovereignty means "strong sovereingty" and to assert "weak sovereignty" is to deny God's sovereignty.

This, of course, is incorrect. Even if there are texts that clearly state "God is sovereign" or something similar, one cannot simply assume that this means "sovereign" in the "strong sovereignty" sense. Their line of thinking often involves making otherwise unsubstantiated claims about the meaning of the concept "sovereignty" when the concept is, like many linguistic concepts, somewhat fluid.

This is one of the drawbacks of natural language - its imprecision. But what many "strong sovereignists" effectively do is to arbitrarily select a meaning for words like sovereignty from the legitimate range of meanings that it actually covers (being a fluid, somewhat imprecise concept).

This is also done often with the word "grace" - the argument is put forth that, by the very meaning of the word "grace", any self-determining act on the part of the recipient of that grace contradicts the meaning of grace.

Yet, we know this is incorrect. The range of meanings for "grace" does indeed include versions where the recipient participates, albeit weakly.

Of course, we "weak sovereigntists" can fall prey to the same problem, I suppose.

Beware this line of thinking:

1. God has attribute X;
2. Attribute X means "so and so"
3. Therefore, God is "so and so".

Often, step 2 involves an entirely unsubstantiated decision to "choose" a meaning, from what is actually a range of meanings, for X.I guess I agree with what you're saying here, but it's a little hard to follow.

drew
Sep 24th 2008, 09:39 PM
I don't see why it would be called "weak" to believe that God doesn't cause people to have abortions and rape women and kill other people. I don't agree with your characterization of our view of sovereignty. But it's just semantics, anyway.
I was worried people would read "weak" as some kind of value judgement. It is not. It is used in a strictly technical sense, as it is used in some philosophical circles.


I guess I agree with what you're saying here, but it's a little hard to follow.
What? I thought was about the most articulate post I have ever made on this board.....:D

RogerW
Sep 24th 2008, 10:33 PM
Because you don't tell someone to do something of which they have no capability of doing. You don't tell them that if they do something then a certain result will occur when they don't even have the capability of doing the thing you tell them they should do in the first place.

You do if you don't know whether or not they are predestined to inherit eternal life. Eric, really this is a no brainer. With this logic I would have to determine (which I cannot) who has been predestined for salvation from the foundation of the world, and give only them the gospel. Being predestined to receive eternal life, is not having eternal life the moment we are born. We still must "hear" the gospel, and believe Christ for eternal life. Why? Because faith comes by hearing the Word, and God uses preaching of the gospel, that is the power of God unto salvation through the Spirit.

1Co 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

1Co 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
1Co 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.



The word whosoever is all-inclusive. But you do not include all people among those who can be saved.

Whosoever means exactly what it says. Whosoever believes will be saved. This is spoken to ALL people throughout the world, and throughout the ages. Whosoever believeth on Him will not perish, but have everlasting life! Amen!

Now the details...who will believe, and how will they believe?



Because they choose not to believe. They choose to not accept the truth so that they would be saved (2 Thess 2:9).

Eric, what do those who "receive not the love of the truth" have in common? Those whom God sends strong delusion that they should believe a lie, and be damned? They are identified as "that wicked", which means lawless ones. They come after the working of Satan. In other words under the power of Satan. Since they are of the devil, they have no desire for truth.

2Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
2Th 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

Now contrast that to the beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning (from before the foundation of the world) CHOSEN them to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. What is the difference here? One group is of the devil, therefore, like Pharoah further deluded, while the other group is beloved of the Lord, and chosen to believe the truth. These are called by the gospel, to obtain glory.

2Th 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
2Th 2:14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Th 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.



Through faith! Whoseover believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Amen!



Sure it does, but that's not what I was talking about. You said "that the word of life that they spoke to them enabled them to believe.". If it was the word itself that was spoken to them that supposedly enabled them to believe, then why is it that not all who have the word spoken to them are enabled to believe? Is God a respecter of persons that He only enables some to believe and not the rest? No, He is not.

Great question! Now your beginning to understand. The Word of truth is proclaimed unto ALL people without exception, without distinction. Not everyone is enabled to believe, even though Scripture tells us faith comes by hearing. Why? You are right, God is not a respecter of persons, His Word of life goes unto all peoples of the world, and all who believe will be saved, without exception...it makes no difference what race, creed or color. Salvation is no longer limited to one small nation, now (since the cross) salvation is unto all peoples of the world.



Of course everyone who is predestined and ordained to eternal life will believe. You can't change what God predestines. If He predestined someone to eternal life then, doggone it, they're going to have eternal life.

Amen!



But, again, He predestines according to His foreknowledge. He doesn't just randomly give out eternal life to a few and withhold it from the rest for no real reason. He predestined them to eternal life because He knew they would believe. He did not predestine them to believe through no choice of their own.

Yes, according to His foreknowledge. God knows all who will be saved because He chose them, and wrote their names in the Book of Life before the world began. God chooses whosoever He wills to be saved. His choice of them is not determined on anything that man will or will not do. Of course God's predestinating them assures they will believe. God predestinates, extending His mercy, and grace to whosoever He wills, not according to the will of man (Jo 1:13).

Blessings,
RW

legoman
Sep 24th 2008, 10:34 PM
No, I don't agree with that. God predestines who to elect based on His foreknowledge of who will believe.


Sorry I mis-spoke, God predestines who will be saved, based on the foreknowledge of who will believe... this almost seems like semantics to me, but I understand your point.



We've already talked about this before and I will never believe that it was God's will all along for people to have abortions, rape other people, kill other people without cause and other abominations like those.

A choice that is predestined is really no choice at all. The choices people make aren't predestined. The consequences of their choices are. Those who choose to believe are predestined to eternal life.Ok fair enough, we don't have to rehash the stuff we've talked about before. But how do you interpret Ephesians 1:10? As I pointed out it clearly says "...according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will". If it doesn't mean God plans everything out (including the bad stuff), what does it mean?

This is what really makes the whole argument difficult for me. I would love to believe we are not predestined, but I find it difficult to if this verse is true (which I believe it is true, of course, since all scripture is true). So perhaps my interpretation is off, but I don't see how.

Can you give another explanation for Ephesians 1:10?

Legoman

RogerW
Sep 24th 2008, 11:00 PM
You're missing the point. Why is it that they turn the truth that is manifest in them into a lie? Because they can't help it? Or is it by choice?

Eric,

We are all born in Adam in the same fallen condition. Every single one of us turn the truth manifest in us into a lie...until we are born again in Christ. We must be born again spiritually. It's one thing to be physically born and to know through creation and conscience that God is. Every one born in Adam, born of the flesh refuses to honor God, and give Him all glory, even though we all know we should through the things He has created. Having the knowledge of God through natural revelation does not give us the ability to see the kingdom of God or enter the kingdom of God. We must be born again.

Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Joh 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Joh 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

God creates all things, and gives mankind the ability to understand that He has created all things. Knowing this, it is every man's responsibilty to honor and glorify Him. Every man is living under the natural revelation but destitute of the true knowledge of God. They have some knowledge of the divine God through creation and conscience but repress it and give way to evil only. This is the way we will die unless we have been predestined to receive eternal life in Christ through supernatural revelation by the power of the Word and Holy Spirit.

When the sons of Adam have nothing more than the manifestation of the living God in the works of creation, providence, the law and conscience, they have enough to render them inexcusable before God, for it is their duty to make good use of these things, and the cause of their not doing so is their evil hearts. Divine justice will deal with sin; everyone in whom sin is found will perish! We sin against the light of nature, conscience and the law written on our hearts. And we will die in our sins unless God has predestined us to receive eternal life in Christ.

Blessings,
RW

A_Saved_1
Sep 25th 2008, 12:04 AM
Eric,

We are all born in Adam in the same fallen condition. Every single one of us turn the truth manifest in us into a lie...until we are born again in Christ. We must be born again spiritually. It's one thing to be physically born and to know through creation and conscience that God is. Every one born in Adam, born of the flesh refuses to honor God, and give Him all glory, even though we all know we should through the things He has created. Having the knowledge of God through natural revelation does not give us the ability to see the kingdom of God or enter the kingdom of God. We must be born again.

Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Joh 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Joh 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

God creates all things, and gives mankind the ability to understand that He has created all things. Knowing this, it is every man's responsibilty to honor and glorify Him. Every man is living under the natural revelation but destitute of the true knowledge of God. They have some knowledge of the divine God through creation and conscience but repress it and give way to evil only. This is the way we will die unless we have been predestined to receive eternal life in Christ through supernatural revelation by the power of the Word and Holy Spirit.

When the sons of Adam have nothing more than the manifestation of the living God in the works of creation, providence, the law and conscience, they have enough to render them inexcusable before God, for it is their duty to make good use of these things, and the cause of their not doing so is their evil hearts. Divine justice will deal with sin; everyone in whom sin is found will perish! We sin against the light of nature, conscience and the law written on our hearts. And we will die in our sins unless God has predestined us to receive eternal life in Christ.

Blessings,
RW

I agree with all that you have said, but am not sure about the last part. Maybe I misunderstood you, so if I did please correct me.

If I understood your post right, you're saying God predestined a plan of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ because He already knew through his omniscience that we would fall to sin. He did not predestine man to be in sin because he made man originally to be a sinless person, and it is only because of our choice to satisify our own selfish desires that we are seperated from the Almighty.

The Lord in no means made any human being that every existed to be a sinner and turn his back on Him, but rather knew which ones would come to Christ and salvation and which ones would not. He didn't create them that way, but he knew which way they would turn, and for those who wanted to be sons and daughters of God were given another chance through Christ.

I believe this is what you were saying Roger. Again if I misunderstood, please correct.

RogerW
Sep 25th 2008, 12:51 AM
I agree with all that you have said, but am not sure about the last part. Maybe I misunderstood you, so if I did please correct me.

If I understood your post right, you're saying God predestined a plan of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ because He already knew through his omniscience that we would fall to sin. He did not predestine man to be in sin because he made man originally to be a sinless person, and it is only because of our choice to satisify our own selfish desires that we are seperated from the Almighty.

The Lord in no means made any human being that every existed to be a sinner and turn his back on Him, but rather knew which ones would come to Christ and salvation and which ones would not. He didn't create them that way, but he knew which way they would turn, and for those who wanted to be sons and daughters of God were given another chance through Christ.

I believe this is what you were saying Roger. Again if I misunderstood, please correct.

Greetings ASaved1,

I'm sorry that my reply caused confusion for you. I hope I can make clear for you what I believe Scripture tells us regarding predestination.

God's plan to save a people for Himself was established in heaven before time began. God, knowing that mankind would fall, provided an answer for the problem of sin before any sin existed, even before mankind existed. Christ is the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world.

I fully agree with you that God did not predestine any man to sin, nor did He make man sinful. All that God created was very good! Nonetheless, man did sin. He disobeyed God and ate of the forbidden tree after God commanded him not to. Prior to eating, man had no knowledge of either good or evil. Therefore when Eve was deceived by Satan, there was no way she could have willfully chosen to sin, because she did not know what sin was. It was not until after she and Adam ate that their eyes were opened and they tried to hide from God. They did not disobey God through free will, because to have free will to choose to disobey they would have had to know evil, to freely choose evil. Eve disobeyed God through deception of Satan, and Eve gave Adam the forbidden fruit, and he too ate.

Now all mankind are born in Adam with a fallen nature, in bondage to Satan, sin and death. There is none righteous, not one, no one will seek the Lord for eternal life.

God does indeed know the hearts of every man. Truth is that since the fall no man/woman of his/her own fallen, free will can be saved. God can leave mankind in this fallen condition in bondage to Satan, sin and death, without love, mercy or compassion, and have no people to make His own, or He can intervene in the hearts of whosoever He will to change their hearts, and give them the necessary faith to believe in Christ for eternal life.

So, in eternity past, before He created all things, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit established God's Redemptive plan to save a people for Himself. God predestinated an elect people, and wrote their names in heaven (book of life), and promised to draw them to Christ for life. Christ promised to redeem these elect people at the cross, paying the wages of sin which is death. The Holy Spirit promised to supernaturally give them ears to hear the voice of the Lord through the Word, and promised He would indwell all the elect of God, teaching them all things that pertain to life in Christ.

Salvation from beginning to end is of the Lord alone. If salvation depended upon our free will choosing then no man would be saved, because no man can choose spiritual life while being spiritually dead. Neither does God choose based on knowing who would want Him, because in Spiritual death, no man wants Him. God's foreknowledge is not seeing from heaven who would choose Him, then predestinating them to eternal life. If it were then God would be choosing us only because He knew we would first choose Him. That robs God of His Sovereignty in salvation, and attempts to make fallen, spiritually dead men able to give themselves spiritual life through free will. But God tells us we love Him because He first loved us. If God chose based on knowing we would choose Him, then God loves us because we first love Him. Salvation has nothing to do with change!

I hope this helps.

Many Blessings,
RW

A_Saved_1
Sep 25th 2008, 01:21 AM
Thanks Roger

I understand what you're saying now.

I guess the only thing I differ sightly on is even though Satan did decieve Adam and Eve who did not now good or evil, they did willfully go against God in the extent that He did tell them not to eat the fruit and told them why they shouldn't eat of it. Even though Satan lied to them, God gave them a specific command and they chose to disobey Him.

I believe Satan is partly to blame for the fall of man for his lies and deceit, but IMO Adam and Eve deserve the other half of the blame because even if they may not have known good or evil, they did chose to disobey GOD, which is why I believe more in choice.

Some things are going to happen no matter what. The names in the book of life were written before we were born. But I take it to mean God had the foreknowledge of who would choose Him and who would choose the world, not so much they were predestined, but in as much he knew what choices we would make.

But as I said, I agree with much of your post, I just question some things. I guess the best thing for me to do is to pray for wisdom and understanding.

Thank you and God bless

RogerW
Sep 25th 2008, 02:08 AM
Thanks Roger

I understand what you're saying now.

I guess the only thing I differ sightly on is even though Satan did decieve Adam and Eve who did not now good or evil, they did willfully go against God in the extent that He did tell them not to eat the fruit and told them why they shouldn't eat of it. Even though Satan lied to them, God gave them a specific command and they chose to disobey Him.

I believe Satan is partly to blame for the fall of man for his lies and deceit, but IMO Adam and Eve deserve the other half of the blame because even if they may not have known good or evil, they did chose to disobey GOD, which is why I believe more in choice.

Some things are going to happen no matter what. The names in the book of life were written before we were born. But I take it to mean God had the foreknowledge of who would choose Him and who would choose the world, not so much they were predestined, but in as much he knew what choices we would make.

But as I said, I agree with much of your post, I just question some things. I guess the best thing for me to do is to pray for wisdom and understanding.

Thank you and God bless

Hi ASaved1,

I'm glad we are pretty much in agreement! It's always much more pleasant that way ;)

I just wanted to comment on a couple of points you make. What was the outcome for Adam and Eve for their disobedience? Whether they knew they were disobeying or not, is really insignificant, because they still had to face the consquences God had promised them for disobeying. Which of course was spiritual death, and in addition to this all of their progeny would be born spiritually dead, and slaves to Satan, sin and death. So apparently God agrees with you, that they did indeed deserve the punishment He had promised for disobeying.

Believing God's foreknowledge is knowing who would choose Him, I totally agree with you on. Of course He knows, He knew them before time was, and He wrote their names in the Book of Life before the foundation of the world. But Scripture is very clear, God did not choose them because He knew they would choose Him first. Obviously the one choosing first is God, before the foundation of the world, when He writes the names of all who will be saved in His Book of Life.

God's election of Jacob and rejecting Esau shows us that God chose Jacob and rejected Esau before either were born, before He saw either of them doing anything good or evil, so that His purpose according to election might stand. If God predestinated Jacob because He knew Jacob would choose Him, then why doesn't God say He chose Jacob because He knew Jacob would do good and choose Him? God predestines according to His own good pleasure, according to His will and not the will of fallen man, who btw cannot choose spiritual life while spiritually dead.

May God Richly Bless You as well,
RW

drew
Sep 25th 2008, 02:33 PM
Because you don't tell someone to do something of which they have no capability of doing. You don't tell them that if they do something then a certain result will occur when they don't even have the capability of doing the thing you tell them they should do in the first place.

You do if you don't know whether or not they are predestined to inherit eternal life. Eric, really this is a no brainer. With this logic I would have to determine (which I cannot) who has been predestined for salvation from the foundation of the world, and give only them the gospel. Being predestined to receive eternal life, is not having eternal life the moment we are born. We still must "hear" the gospel, and believe Christ for eternal life. Why? Because faith comes by hearing the Word, and God uses preaching of the gospel, that is the power of God unto salvation through the Spirit.
I do not think your response really counters the argument of John146.

John is correct here: It is entirely non-sensical to tell people to do something that they are simply not capable of doing.

You appear to be making the following argument:

1. Some people are pre-destined to salvation;

2. We do not know who has been pre-destined to salvation;

3. We know that even those who have been pre-destined must hear the gospel in order for that salvation to be actualized;

4. Therefore we need to preach the gospel to all people.

Here is why such arguments fail. Let's speculate about a person "Fred" who has been pre-destined by God unto salvation. By the very meaning of the concept of pre-destination, there is nothing that human beings can do (or fail to do) that will cause Fred to not end up in Heaven.

But note term 3 of your argument. You have said that even the pre-destined must hear the gospel in order to be ultimately saved. There are two possibilities in respect to term 3:

a. God has not pre-destined that someone will tell Fred the gospel;
b. God has pre-destined that someone will tell Fred the gospel.

Let's look at (a). If God has not pre-destined someone to tell Fred the gospel, then the possibility exists that no one will tell Fred the gospel. But this cannot be, since we know Fred is pre-destined to salvation and that he must hear the gospel to have that destiny actualized.

Now let's look at (b). If God has pre-destined someone to tell Fred the gospel, then there is no necessity to instruct us to tell the gospel - the gospel will most certainly be told to Fred. No one needs to be instructed to perform an action that has been pre-destined to occur. Does God "tell" somebody to tell the apple to fall to ground at 32 feet per second per second? Probably not, precisely because the apple is "pre-destined" to fall at that rate through the action of the laws of physics.

This argument that we still need to tell pre-destined people the gospel therefore fails.

RogerW
Sep 25th 2008, 04:16 PM
I do not think your response really counters the argument of John146.

John is correct here: It is entirely non-sensical to tell people to do something that they are simply not capable of doing.

You appear to be making the following argument:

1. Some people are pre-destined to salvation;

2. We do not know who has been pre-destined to salvation;

3. We know that even those who have been pre-destined must hear the gospel in order for that salvation to be actualized;

4. Therefore we need to preach the gospel to all people.

Here is why such arguments fail. Let's speculate about a person "Fred" who has been pre-destined by God unto salvation. By the very meaning of the concept of pre-destination, there is nothing that human beings can do (or fail to do) that will cause Fred to not end up in Heaven.

But note term 3 of your argument. You have said that even the pre-destined must hear the gospel in order to be ultimately saved. There are two possibilities in respect to term 3:

a. God has not pre-destined that someone will tell Fred the gospel;
b. God has pre-destined that someone will tell Fred the gospel.

Let's look at (a). If God has not pre-destined someone to tell Fred the gospel, then the possibility exists that no one will tell Fred the gospel. But this cannot be, since we know Fred is pre-destined to salvation and that he must hear the gospel to have that destiny actualized.

Now let's look at (b). If God has pre-destined someone to tell Fred the gospel, then there is no necessity to instruct us to tell the gospel - the gospel will most certainly be told to Fred. No one needs to be instructed to perform an action that has been pre-destined to occur. Does God "tell" somebody to tell the apple to fall to ground at 32 feet per second per second? Probably not, precisely because the apple is "pre-destined" to fall at that rate through the action of the laws of physics.

This argument that we still need to tell pre-destined people the gospel therefore fails.

Drew, some men are predestined to salvation. That means they are not born saved, they must become saved. How has God chosen to bring about salvation to those who are predestined to eternal life? Through humans! What is the vehicle humans have been given through which His predestined elect will become saved? The gospel; the message of the cross; the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit! So while it is true that whosoever is predestined unto eternal life, will most definately be saved, it is equally true that God's redemptive plan, through the vehicle He has sent, preaching the Word, the gospel of salvation will be done! The plan is one plan, not two as you assume. God has predestined some to be saved, and He will accomplish this through His Word, that is proclaimed unto all the world. All who hear and believe will be saved!

1Co 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

1Co 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Many Blessings,
RW

drew
Sep 25th 2008, 05:08 PM
Drew, some men are predestined to salvation. That means they are not born saved, they must become saved. How has God chosen to bring about salvation to those who are predestined to eternal life? Through humans! What is the vehicle humans have been given through which His predestined elect will become saved? The gospel; the message of the cross; the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit! So while it is true that whosoever is predestined unto eternal life, will most definately be saved, it is equally true that God's redemptive plan, through the vehicle He has sent, preaching the Word, the gospel of salvation will be done! The plan is one plan, not two as you assume. God has predestined some to be saved, and He will accomplish this through His Word, that is proclaimed unto all the world. All who hear and believe will be saved!

1Co 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

1Co 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Many Blessings,
RW
I know that you believe this, but if my counterargument is correct, the position simply cannot work. I think it is in the interests of your position to demonstrate the error (or errors) in the counterarugment I have provided. If you simply ignore the counterargument and merely re-assert your position, as you have done above, I think that the objective reader will have grave doubts about the coherence of the position you are putting forward.

So where is the error in my counter-argument?

RogerW
Sep 25th 2008, 05:25 PM
I do not believe that salvation is a free gift offered, but it is a free gift given to all who are predestined to eternal life. A response to this was, "A gift is given only to one who accepts it. The receiver who accepts the gift had the option to reject the gift if they had so decided."

Christ teaches us (Jo 3) how we are given spiritual life in Him by making a distinction between those who are born of the flesh and those who are born of the Spirit.

When we are given the gift of life through the flesh, did we ask God for this physical life? Did we accept this physical life, or have the opportunity to reject this gift of physical life? We all know the answer to these questions is NO!

In Jo 3, speaking to Nicodemus, Christ is showing us the same is true when we are given spiritual life. Just as we have nothing to say about the gift of physical life, we also have nothing to say about the gift of spiritual life. We do not have a choice to accept or reject the gift of spiritual life. This is not the way life, whether physical or spiritual is given.

That which is procreated of the father; i.e. flesh, is flesh. That which is procreated by the Spirit; i.e. Holy Spirit, is Spirit.

Joh 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

The wind; i.e. the Holy Spirit blows; i.e. gives breath/life to whosoever He desires. Just as the literal wind does not ask where it may blow, neither does the Holy Spirit ask permission to breathe Spiritual life into whosoever He wills.

Joh 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

To all whom the Father has given Christ, when He wrote their names in the Lamb's Book of Life from before the foundation of the world, Christ will give eternal life.

Joh 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
Joh 17:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

All life is given, it is not offered, and receiving life is not something we can choose to accept or reject.

Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Sep 25th 2008, 05:33 PM
I know that you believe this, but if my counterargument is correct, the position simply cannot work. I think it is in the interests of your position to demonstrate the error (or errors) in the counterarugment I have provided. If you simply ignore the counterargument and merely re-assert your position, as you have done above, I think that the objective reader will have grave doubts about the coherence of the position you are putting forward.

So where is the error in my counter-argument?

Drew,

I have already given the problem with your assumption, but for you I will repeat it again.

The plan is one plan, not two as you assume. God has predestined some to be saved, and He will accomplish this through His Word that is proclaimed unto all the world. All who hear and believe will be saved!

Your analogy assumes God predestines without providing the means for accomplishing His redemption of those He predestines. Which is of course what I have already shown you...God predestines, and those predestined will come to Him through the means He has ordained; i.e. the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.

1Th 1:5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

1Th 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

Blessings,
RW

drew
Sep 25th 2008, 05:45 PM
I do not believe that salvation is a free gift offered, but it is a free gift given to all who are predestined to eternal life. A response to this was, "A gift is given only to one who accepts it. The receiver who accepts the gift had the option to reject the gift if they had so decided."

Christ teaches us (Jo 3) how we are given spiritual life in Him by making a distinction between those who are born of the flesh and those who are born of the Spirit.

When we are given the gift of life through the flesh, did we ask God for this physical life? Did we accept this physical life, or have the opportunity to reject this gift of physical life? We all know the answer to these questions is NO!

In Jo 3, speaking to Nicodemus, Christ is showing us the same is true when we are given spiritual life. Just as we have nothing to say about the gift of physical life, we also have nothing to say about the gift of spiritual life. We do not have a choice to accept or reject the gift of spiritual life. This is not the way life, whether physical or spiritual is given.

That which is procreated of the father; i.e. flesh, is flesh. That which is procreated by the Spirit; i.e. Holy Spirit, is Spirit.

Joh 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
This does not address my counterargument.

But, in any event, I believe that the above argument does not work to support your position.

All John 3:6 establishes is the source of each of these two kinds of life. While it is obviously true that we do not "choose" to receive physical life, this does not justify drawing the conclusion that we also do not "choose" to receive spiritual life.

drew
Sep 25th 2008, 05:50 PM
ITo all whom the Father has given Christ, when He wrote their names in the Lamb's Book of Life from before the foundation of the world, Christ will give eternal life.

Joh 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
Joh 17:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
This is effectively a circular argument. You assume that those "given to the Son by the Father" are given in a particular state - a state where they have not previously "freely" accepted the gift of forgiveness.

The John 17 text leaves open the question of what state those given to Son are in.

I believe this same argument can be used against that famous text in John 6, believed by many to support the pre-destination position.

drew
Sep 25th 2008, 05:58 PM
Your analogy assumes God predestines without providing the means for accomplishing His redemption of those He predestines. Which is of course what I have already shown you...God predestines, and those predestined will come to Him through the means He has ordained; i.e. the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.
You are not addressing my argument, you are merely re-stating a position that my arguments shows is a position that does not work. My argument explicitly deals with possible ways that God would provide the "means".

I know that you believe that people are pre-destined. And I know that you believe that part of the means for this is the preaching of the gospel.

But unless you find an error in my argument, my argument shows how such a position does not work.

I suggest that the reader who is on the fence here will wonder why you do not point out the error in my argument and simply re-assert the very position that the argument shows is untenable.

RogerW
Sep 25th 2008, 07:21 PM
This is effectively a circular argument. You assume that those "given to the Son by the Father" are given in a particular state - a state where they have not previously "freely" accepted the gift of forgiveness.

The John 17 text leaves open the question of what state those given to Son are in.

I believe this same argument can be used against that famous text in John 6, believed by many to support the pre-destination position.


You are not addressing my argument, you are merely re-stating a position that my arguments shows is a position that does not work. My argument explicitly deals with possible ways that God would provide the "means".

I know that you believe that people are pre-destined. And I know that you believe that part of the means for this is the preaching of the gospel.

But unless you find an error in my argument, my argument shows how such a position does not work.

I suggest that the reader who is on the fence here will wonder why you do not point out the error in my argument and simply re-assert the very position that the argument shows is untenable.

Drew,

Your arguments are becoming very difficult to understand. You seem almost desperate. Scripture affirms predestination. This is a biblical word, so you must deal with it. Scripture also affirms that salvation comes through the gospel.

Christ, Who is the King of kings and Lord of lords, has all power, authority and government over everybody and everything.

Mt 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Col 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

The Father has given Christ an elect people out of all nations; and in order to gather those people, Christ must have absolute authority over everybody, without exception. Eternal life is a free gift that the Son gives
to such as the Father has given Him in the eternal covenant. Christ came down from heaven to do the Father's will. It was in heaven, in eternity past that the eternal covenant was established between the Triune Godhead. The predestined elect were given to the Lord in eternity past; i.e. before they existed, and before God saw anything good or evil in them. These are those who have been ordained (appointed, assigned) to eternal life.

Joh 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
Joh 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
Joh 6:39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

Joh 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
Joh 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Joh 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
Joh 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

Ac 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

In order to save some, the One Who saves must have authority over all.

Php 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
Php 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Php 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Those given to the Lord, predestined for salvation were given to Him in heaven before the foundation of the world.

Zec 6:12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:
Zec 6:13 Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

Jer 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Heb 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

Ro 9:25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
Ro 9:26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

Re 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Re 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

In Jo 17 Christ prays for those that the Father had given Him in eternity past, in the eternal covenant to be saved, kept and received up to eternal glory. "For they are thine" not merely by creation but by eternal election and special grace. God the Father has blessed us in heavenly places in Christ. In other words we are blessed in Christ in heaven through the eternal covenant of redemption.

Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

We were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blame.

Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Before the foundation of the world, God predestinated us unto adoption by Jesus Christ unto Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, not ours. We have been, no will be to the praise of the glory of His grace, where He made us, (past tense) accepted in the beloved. We have redemption through His blood, and the forgiveness of sins, not according to our free will, but according to the riches of His grace.

Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Eph 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Eph 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Blessings,
RW

drew
Sep 25th 2008, 07:37 PM
Your arguments are becoming very difficult to understand. You seem almost desperate.
I think my arguments are actually quite clear. And it is clear that you simply refuse to show how my counterargument to your position on the specific matter of the sensibility of preaching the gospel to an "elect". The reader will not overlook this failure to engage my argument, and they will probably draw the conclusion that you cannot find an error in it. If there is an error, you should be able to point to it, to say "there is the error". Why not do this?


Scripture affirms predestination. This is a biblical word, so you must deal with it. Scripture also affirms that salvation comes through the gospel.
This is a question-begging statement. Where does Scripture affirm predestination? Let's talk about specific texts. I know that I (and others) have not addressed all your texts yet. But let's not just claim a position - let's demonstrate it.


The Father has given Christ an elect people out of all nations; and in order to gather those people, Christ must have absolute authority over everybody, without exception. Eternal life is a free gift that the Son gives
to such as the Father has given Him in the eternal covenant.
This is again simply a statement of your position.


The predestined elect were given to the Lord in eternity past; i.e. before they existed, and before God saw anything good or evil in them. These are those who have been ordained (appointed, assigned) to eternal life.
Fine. This is your position. You need to actually make a case for it. And to be fair, I have not responded to this text which, to your credit, could be seen to support your position:


Joh 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
Joh 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
Joh 6:39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.[/quote]
I have a case to make that this text does not support pre-destination. It is somewhat lengthy and technical. I hope to present it soon. I think it is a correct argument and when it is presented, it will need to be actually substantially refuted, not merely denied.

Now I know you have presented a lot of other texts that you believe support your position. I will try to address them in subsequent posts.

drew
Sep 25th 2008, 07:43 PM
A point of methodology here which all of us (myself included) would be well advised to follow.

Let's say that a text "T" is provided in defence of a theological position "P".

If counterarguments to "P" are provided in regard to "T", those counterarguments must be shown to be erroneous in order to sustain the claim that T endorses P.

Suppose I suggest that a certain text supports free will, and I provide a supporting argument for such a position. Someone then provides an argument as to why my position might be in error.

Will it be convincing if I ignore the argument? Or if I simply re-assert my position, perhaps using other texts?

In this respect, there is a common strategy that people use in such arguments (and I am not directling this at RogerW). The strategy is basically this:

1. Poster A provides a text "T1" and claims that it supports position "P";

2. Text T1 is consistent with P, but not to the exclusion of other competing positions;

3. A counterargument against P in relation to T1 is put forward by Poster B - not a mere denial, but an actual argument;

4. Poster A ignores the content of the counterargument or merely re-asserts the correctness of P in relation to T1.

5. Poster A puts forward a different text T2 in support of P

And the process repreats. Poster A, intentionally or otherwise, creates the illusion of a strong position because he has indeed presented a string of texts that could be seen as supporting P. But it is only an illusion, since an unrefuted counterargument has been provided for each text, which Poster A effectively runs away from by appealing to a new text.

RogerW
Sep 25th 2008, 08:32 PM
Fine. This is your position. You need to actually make a case for it. And to be fair, I have not responded to this text which, to your credit, could be seen to support your position:

Joh 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
Joh 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
Joh 6:39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

I have a case to make that this text does not support pre-destination. It is somewhat lengthy and technical. I hope to present it soon. I think it is a correct argument and when it is presented, it will need to be actually substantially refuted, not merely denied.

Now I know you have presented a lot of other texts that you believe support your position. I will try to address them in subsequent posts.[/quote]

Drew,

Perhaps I can help you out a little here. I will present a commentary on the above passage Jo 6:37-39. I hope this will help to save you from having to post a lengthy and technical reply, by showing you why I believe this passage affirms predestination and election.

I believe the passage shows us that Christ is speaking of a definite company of people who have been given Him by the Father in an everylasting covenant. Christ speaking to Jews, many of them in unbelief seems to rejoice in God's eternal election of grace. Christ refers to these elect six times in Jo 17 (see vs 2, 6, 9, 11, 12, 24). Each one that the Father gave to Christ in eternity past comes to Him in time, as a lost sinner to be saved! Christ will never forget them, forsake them, nor cast them out (Jo 10:24-30).

These Jews had seen Christ, heard Him and witnessed the many miracles which He had done; yet they did not believe! But their unbelief and the unbelief of men today will not defeat the purpose of God in Christ to save a people for Himself. According to vs 37, it is certain that the Father has chosen a people in Christ, given them to Christ, and made Christ their Surety, Substitute and Redeemer (Jo 17:1-2; Eph 1:3-5; 2Th 2:13). It is certain that the Father had ORDAINED the means by which they are to be made alive, called and to believe on Christ (1Co 1:21; Ja 1:18; 1Pe 1:2, 23). It is also certain that those chosen, called and justified will come to Christ and will never perish (Jo 10:24-29; Ro 8:29-30).

Christ came to earth to do the Father's will! The will of the Father and the will of the Son are one; for "I and My Father are one" (Jo 10:30). But the Son is speaking as a Servant (Isa 42:1-4). The design of God in redemption is to have a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells, to have a holy people (like Christ) to populate the new creation and to judge and destroy all things contrary to Himself; this is what Christ came to do! This is what Christ will do! (Isa 53:10-11).

Eternal election and eternal predestination guarantee eternal preservation. "The last day" is the end of this world as we know it and the beginning of eternity. The Lord tells us it is the will of Sovereign God that all elected by the Father, redeemed by the Son, and called by the Spirit will be bodily raised from the grave to eternal glory and that not one of them will be lost. Our salvation, security and resurrection rest not upon anything in us nor done by us through free will, but upon the Father's choice and the Son's obedience and sacrifice!

Php 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Php 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

Php 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Php 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Election, and predestination is not salvation; it is unto salvation. Christ is the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world, but Christ must come to earth and literally die. Even so, the predestined elect are chosen to life, but they must all hear the gospel, see by faith Christ as their righteousness, sanctification and redemption, and believe on Him with a sincere heart.

Ro 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Ro 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
Ro 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
Ro 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
Ro 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

1Th 1:4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.
1Th 1:5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
1Th 1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Sep 25th 2008, 08:35 PM
A point of methodology here which all of us (myself included) would be well advised to follow.

Let's say that a text "T" is provided in defence of a theological position "P".

If counterarguments to "P" are provided in regard to "T", those counterarguments must be shown to be erroneous in order to sustain the claim that T endorses P.

Suppose I suggest that a certain text supports free will, and I provide a supporting argument for such a position. Someone then provides an argument as to why my position might be in error.

Will it be convincing if I ignore the argument? Or if I simply re-assert my position, perhaps using other texts?

In this respect, there is a common strategy that people use in such arguments (and I am not directling this at RogerW). The strategy is basically this:

1. Poster A provides a text "T1" and claims that it supports position "P";

2. Text T1 is consistent with P, but not to the exclusion of other competing positions;

3. A counterargument against P in relation to T1 is put forward by Poster B - not a mere denial, but an actual argument;

4. Poster A ignores the content of the counterargument or merely re-asserts the correctness of P in relation to T1.

5. Poster A puts forward a different text T2 in support of P

And the process repreats. Poster A, intentionally or otherwise, creates the illusion of a strong position because he has indeed presented a string of texts that could be seen as supporting P. But it is only an illusion, since an unrefuted counterargument has been provided for each text, which Poster A effectively runs away from by appealing to a new text.

Drew....huh???:help:

RogerW
Sep 25th 2008, 08:49 PM
Drew....huh???:help:

Drew, as an after thought, I feel I should also tell you, again and again you present arguments through humanistic reasoning and analogies. It occurs to me that you might be somewhat frustrated because I seldom respond to humanistic logic. To me this is a Bible discussion forum, so I try to focus my comments on actual biblical texts, and biblical arguments. If I appear to be ignoring actual arguments from the Scripture, show me where, and I will respond if I can.

Many Blessings,
RW

John146
Sep 25th 2008, 08:55 PM
You do if you don't know whether or not they are predestined to inherit eternal life. Eric, really this is a no brainer. With this logic I would have to determine (which I cannot) who has been predestined for salvation from the foundation of the world, and give only them the gospel. Being predestined to receive eternal life, is not having eternal life the moment we are born. We still must "hear" the gospel, and believe Christ for eternal life. Why? Because faith comes by hearing the Word, and God uses preaching of the gospel, that is the power of God unto salvation through the Spirit.

1Co 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

1Co 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
1Co 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.Where do those passages say that one must be regenerated/born again before they can repent and believe? Are you ever going to try to show me any such passages that specifically say such a thing?


Eric, what do those who "receive not the love of the truth" have in common?They all choose to willfully rebel against God, reject the gospel and resist the Spirit.


Those whom God sends strong delusion that they should believe a lie, and be damned? They are identified as "that wicked", which means lawless ones. They come after the working of Satan. In other words under the power of Satan. Since they are of the devil, they have no desire for truth.

2Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
2Th 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, For what cause (reason) does God send them strong delusion? Your doctrine says "just because He feels like it". But the truth of the matter is that He sends strong delusion as a response to them rejecting the truth.



Great question! Now your beginning to understand.Only beginning to understand? :rolleyes: Thankfully, it's not up to you to decide if I understand or not.


The Word of truth is proclaimed unto ALL people without exception, without distinction. Not everyone is enabled to believe, even though Scripture tells us faith comes by hearing.That is not true. Give me scripture that says that some people never in their lives have any ability to believe.


Why? You are right, God is not a respecter of persons, His Word of life goes unto all peoples of the world, and all who believe will be saved, without exception...it makes no difference what race, creed or color. Salvation is no longer limited to one small nation, now (since the cross) salvation is unto all peoples of the world. That He is not a respecter of persons goes beyond that, Roger.

1 Peter 1
17And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

Here, we see that not being a respecter of persons means He does not differentiate between anyone in any way when it comes to His judgment. All will be judged by the same standards. Your doctrine does not see it that way. Your doctrine has God showing favoritism (respect of persons) to some for no real reason except that He felt like it and He decided, for no real reason, to discard the rest and leave them in their sin.


Yes, according to His foreknowledge. God knows all who will be saved because He chose them, and wrote their names in the Book of Life before the world began.It does not say that God predestines and elects because He knows who He has chosen. It says He predestines and elects according to His foreknowledge. This means that He takes His foreknowledge into account in order to determine who to predestine and elect.


It says He God chooses whosoever He wills to be saved. His choice of them is not determined on anything that man will or will not do.That is simply not true. Let's go back to the prison keeper and his household example from Acts 16. The prison keeper asked what he had to do to be saved. They didn't say "there is nothing you can do to be saved". They said "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ". At the very least we are required to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved. That is the criteria that God made and He expects people to make that choice. He has given man responsibility. That's why there will be a day of judgment. Man will be judged based on the choices he/she made. There is no point to having a day of judgment if man has no choices to make.


Of course God's predestinating them assures they will believe.That's not what it says, if you're trying to say that God predestinated them using no criteria to determine who to predestinate and who to not predestinate.


God predestinates, extending His mercy, and grace to whosoever He wills, not according to the will of man (Jo 1:13). All that means is that man doesn't tell God who to predestinate, but it just so happens that the ones He decided to predestinate are the ones who would choose to repent and put their faith and trust in His Son, as He commands all people to do.

Eric

drew
Sep 25th 2008, 09:01 PM
Drew, as an after thought, I feel I should also tell you, again and again you present arguments through humanistic reasoning and analogies.
With all due respect, what you call "humanistic reasoning" is really the only game in town. It is simply naive to think that God insert's truth into the mind of the believer, bypassing that person's intellectual faculties. In fact, if "rational arguments" are to be dismissed as "humanistic reasoning", how are we supposed to communicate truth to one another? By beaming thoughts into their brains?


To me this is a Bible discussion forum, so I try to focus my comments on actual biblical texts, and biblical arguments. If I appear to be ignoring actual arguments from the Scripture, show me where, and I will respond if I can.
Again with all respect, you simply cannot choose to recuse yourself from valid arguments that speak against your position. You do not get to decide what constitutes a Biblical argument and what does not.

One cannot have it both ways here. Either one plays by the rules of normal debate - and that includes engaging counterargument. One does not get a "get out of jail free" card here. Besides, if what you term "humanistic reasoning" is ruled out of bounds, then there really is no basis for shared dialog. Reading the Scriptures does not bypass the intellect. Sharing with others and arriving at the truth is not a magical process.

Please do not take this a "shot". I have no doubt that you are an exceedingly polite and gentlemanly fellow. However, you appear to be maneuvering yourself into a position where you are excused from answering very valid objections to the positions you espouse. I do not think any one of us gets a pass on this kind thing.

John146
Sep 25th 2008, 09:05 PM
Sorry I mis-spoke, God predestines who will be saved, based on the foreknowledge of who will believe... this almost seems like semantics to me, but I understand your point.It's not semantics at all. The meaning of foreknowledge is at the core of our disagreement. If we could agree on its meaning then we will likely end up agreeing on everything else related to this issue, too.


But how do you interpret Ephesians 1:10? As I pointed out it clearly says "...according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will". If it doesn't mean God plans everything out (including the bad stuff), what does it mean?

This is what really makes the whole argument difficult for me. I would love to believe we are not predestined, but I find it difficult to if this verse is true (which I believe it is true, of course, since all scripture is true). So perhaps my interpretation is off, but I don't see how.

Can you give another explanation for Ephesians 1:10?

LegomanFirst of all, you can't form a doctrine by one verse. That's not a good practice. You have to look at scripture as a whole. God gets angry at times with man. Agree? Why would He get angry if man was just doing what God predetermined for him to do? Does that make any sense? No, it doesn't.

Ephesians 1
22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

This passage is speaking about God the Father putting all things under Jesus' feet. Should we assume this means literally all things? It can't mean that because we know elsewhere it says that Christ must reign until all His enemies are under His feet, which is not yet the case. In this verse, "all things" means "all things to the church". You have to read things in the proper context and you have to see the counsel of scripture as a whole instead of drawing conclusions from one verse.

Rhyfelwr
Sep 25th 2008, 10:42 PM
With all due respect, what you call "humanistic reasoning" is really the only game in town. It is simply naive to think that God insert's truth into the mind of the believer, bypassing that person's intellectual faculties. In fact, if "rational arguments" are to be dismissed as "humanistic reasoning", how are we supposed to communicate truth to one another? By beaming thoughts into their brains?

I don't want to argue with the experts but to me this seems like a very dangerous line of thought. God cares nothing for our intellectual capabilities, we are born slaves to sin and it is only by His inserting of truth into us that we can be saved. I'm not sure its a good idea to try to understand God's grace through rational arguments (which have so far in this thread been really humanistic reasoning), because then we will water-down the ultimate glory of salvation through relativism and the denial of God's supreme sovereignty and grace.

I've been reading the Psalms and number 51 seems to support God's sovereignty in salvation. David says in his Psalm:

Psalm 51:
5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me to hear joy and gladness: that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

David isn't talking as if he has much choice in the matter, God is clearly in command of his fate.

legoman
Sep 25th 2008, 10:45 PM
It's not semantics at all. The meaning of foreknowledge is at the core of our disagreement. If we could agree on its meaning then we will likely end up agreeing on everything else related to this issue, too.

First of all, you can't form a doctrine by one verse. That's not a good practice. You have to look at scripture as a whole. God gets angry at times with man. Agree? Why would He get angry if man was just doing what God predetermined for him to do? Does that make any sense? No, it doesn't.


Yes God can get angry with us, but God is not a man. We can't compare him expressing emotions to how we would react.

I agree you cannot form a doctrine with one verse. In the same vein, you cannot ignore or change a verse just because it contradicts a doctrine. It seems to believe in free will, you are changing this verse so it doesn't say "all".



Ephesians 1
22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

This passage is speaking about God the Father putting all things under Jesus' feet. Should we assume this means literally all things? It can't mean that because we know elsewhere it says that Christ must reign until all His enemies are under His feet, which is not yet the case. In this verse, "all things" means "all things to the church". You have to read things in the proper context and you have to see the counsel of scripture as a whole instead of drawing conclusions from one verse.Sure, but what is the context of "all things" in Eph 1:11? The context is his purpose, and his will, and most likely the "things" in Eph 1:10 - which is "the things in heaven and things on earth". Sounds like everything to me.

I can see the "all" in verse 22 might be referring to all in the church, but the "all" in verse 11 really seems to be all.

What would you say it is referring to?

RogerW
Sep 25th 2008, 11:17 PM
Where do those passages say that one must be regenerated/born again before they can repent and believe? Are you ever going to try to show me any such passages that specifically say such a thing?

Although this is true, it is not the argument I was making. Let's start with this one verse. How do you interpret this?

Ro 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.



They all choose to willfully rebel against God, reject the gospel and resist the Spirit.

Yes, they do...exactly like every single man born in Adam, of fallen flesh, born in bondage to Satan, sin and death. Every son of the first Adam will die in this condition, and be cast into the lake of fire in the fullness of time...unless the Lord gives them eternal life through His Word and power of the Holy Spirit.



For what cause (reason) does God send them strong delusion? Your doctrine says "just because He feels like it". But the truth of the matter is that He sends strong delusion as a response to them rejecting the truth.

A good comparison here is Pharaoh. Pharaoh, like all men born in Adam, are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins. As I've already abundantly argued all men are without excuse. Pharaoh was further hardened because he knew the God of creation, he, like every unsaved man surpessed that knowledge, and refused to give God all glory. Why? Not because he had free will, but because his will was in bondage to Satan, sin and death. Pharaoh made the only choice he could make in unbelief, under the power of Satan. To accomplish His purpose, God furthers hardens Pharaoh because through his hardening God's power will be proclaimed unto all the earth.

In 2Th Paul is speaking of those who are following false teachers even though they have heard the truth, but refuse (like all unsaved men do) to receive the truth. They are under the power of Satan, like all unsaved men, deceiving and being deceived. Like He did with Pharaoh, God sends them strong delusion, further hardening them to believe the lie. Those who take pleasure in unrighteousness, will reap the fruit of it.

But notice the vs 13 that assures us that believers are beloved of the Lord. Are they beloved for no reason? It is only because of the grace of God in eternal predestination and election that believers do not perish with the reprobate. Thank God He loved us first (1Jo 4:10,19).

Vs 13 "God chose you from the beginning to salvation." This is why we are beloved of the Lord. Not because we chose, but because we were elected to salvation in Christ before the foundation of the world, so our eternal life was secured.

Vs 13 "Through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the gospel." The Holy Spirit is the agent and the Word of God is the seed, instrument or foundation of faith. There is a threefold sanctification of the believer; (1) set apart by the Father (2) made hole and unblameable by Christ and (3) regenerated and progressively sanctified by the Spirit and the Word.

Jude 1:1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

1Co 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

2Th 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:



That is not true. Give me scripture that says that some people never in their lives have any ability to believe.

Joh 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Joh 8:45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

Mt 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
Mt 11:26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.
Mt 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

Mt 13:17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

Ro 10:20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.
Ro 10:21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.



It does not say that God predestines and elects because He knows who He has chosen. It says He predestines and elects according to His foreknowledge. This means that He takes His foreknowledge into account in order to determine who to predestine and elect.

I agree. So what does this mean?

Through foreknowledge God knew beforehand that Christ would be taken, crucified, and slain by wicked men. This was something that was don by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. Another way of saying this, God ordained, before the foundation of the world, through His own will and purpose that Christ would be delivered to wicked men to be crucified.

Ac 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

Foreknowledge is forethought of something that will come to pass, something God forsees or knows beforehand, or before it will happen.

1Pe 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

The cause of election is "according to the foreknowledge of God". The reasons for our election is not found in us but in God. God knows because God foreordains.



All that means is that man doesn't tell God who to predestinate, but it just so happens that the ones He decided to predestinate are the ones who would choose to repent and put their faith and trust in His Son, as He commands all people to do.

Eric

What it means Eric, is that the man cannot be saved by his own will. If it were simply saying that man does not tell God who to predestinate, why does Christ add, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh? We find the same statement in 2Pe. There it shows us that prophecy of God comes through holy men of God moved by the Holy Spirit and not through the will of man. Just as prophecy does not come by the will of man, neither does salvation come by the will of man.

Joh 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

2Pe 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Jas 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Blessings,
RW

Rhyfelwr
Sep 26th 2008, 04:23 PM
Several of the Psalms seem to back the idea of predestination.

Is the OT considered relevant when discussing this issue? It's just everyone seems to be quoting the NT...

9Marksfan
Sep 26th 2008, 05:10 PM
I don't want to argue with the experts but to me this seems like a very dangerous line of thought. God cares nothing for our intellectual capabilities, we are born slaves to sin and it is only by His inserting of truth into us that we can be saved. I'm not sure its a good idea to try to understand God's grace through rational arguments (which have so far in this thread been really humanistic reasoning), because then we will water-down the ultimate glory of salvation through relativism and the denial of God's supreme sovereignty and grace.

I've been reading the Psalms and number 51 seems to support God's sovereignty in salvation. David says in his Psalm:

Psalm 51:
5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me to hear joy and gladness: that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

David isn't talking as if he has much choice in the matter, God is clearly in command of his fate.

Excellent point - had never noticed that before! However, thee is a divine logic to the gospel and God's dealings with man - they are both EMINENTLY reasonable! James 3:13ff speaks of two kinds of wisdom - divine and demonic - we need to be able to distinguish the two - and we need God's Spirit to do it.

9Marksfan
Sep 26th 2008, 05:17 PM
Several of the Psalms seem to back the idea of predestination.

Is the OT considered relevant when discussing this issue? It's just everyone seems to be quoting the NT...

Yes, VERY relevant - have you come across this one? Just an aside, but it actually contains EVERY one of the TULIP doctrines! Can you find them all?!?!

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
and to you shall vows be performed.
O you who hear prayer,
to you shall all flesh come.
When iniquities prevail against me,
you atone for our transgressions.
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple!

Ps 65:1-4 ESV

RogerW
Sep 26th 2008, 05:40 PM
Yes, VERY relevant - have you come across this one? Just an aside, but it actually contains EVERY one of the TULIP doctrines! Can you find them all?!?!

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
and to you shall vows be performed.
O you who hear prayer,
to you shall all flesh come.
When iniquities prevail against me,
you atone for our transgressions.
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple!
Ps 65:1-4 ESV

Greetings Nigel,

Good point! Isn't it amazing how all of Scripture shows the Sovereignty of God over His creation throughout Scripture!

Many Blessings,
RW

drew
Sep 26th 2008, 05:41 PM
Excellent point - had never noticed that before! However, thee is a divine logic to the gospel and God's dealings with man - they are both EMINENTLY reasonable! James 3:13ff speaks of two kinds of wisdom - divine and demonic - we need to be able to distinguish the two - and we need God's Spirit to do it.
Let's be careful to not try to have things both ways here. The reason this whole issue came up is that a poster refused to engage a counterargument to his position, claiming that the counterargument was "humanistic reasoning".

It is simply false to imagine that developing an understanding of the Scriptures bypasses our mental infrastructure - our intellect - and is presented to us in some of "direct way".

When we read the scriptures, our minds (our intellects) are fully engaged. We read words (intellect), we understand the meaning of sentences (intellect), we develop a sense of the context (intellect), we apply relevant historical and cultural knowledge in order to properly interpret (intellect). And so on.

It is true that Spirit is mysteriously involved in this process, but this does not mean that the intellectual machinery is bypassed.

People often want to have their cake and it too on this matter. They present scriptures and make a case about them (that is, they reason, think, etc). When they do this, they are deploying the very tools of "human reasoning" they later reject when used by those they differ with in respect to doctrine.

Too often the claim of a "humanisitc argument" is really code for "I would like to refute your argument but cannot".

drew
Sep 26th 2008, 05:43 PM
Yes, VERY relevant - have you come across this one? Just an aside, but it actually contains EVERY one of the TULIP doctrines! Can you find them all?!?!

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
and to you shall vows be performed.
O you who hear prayer,
to you shall all flesh come.
When iniquities prevail against me,
you atone for our transgressions.
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple!

Ps 65:1-4 ESV
There is certainly no evidence here that supports the assertion that individual human beings are pre-destined to ultimate salvation or to ultimate loss.

RogerW
Sep 26th 2008, 06:06 PM
One point continues to be raised regarding predestination which is, that God knows who can and will choose Him through free will, therefore He (God) predestinates those whom He foreknows will choose Him. I've argued extensively against this assumption, and will not do so again now. What I would like to know from those who support this opinion is what you believe being dead in sins, trespasses, iniquity means?

Eph 2:1...you who were dead in trespasses and sins
Eph 2:5...even when you were dead in sins
Col 2:3...you, being dead in your sins

RW

drew
Sep 26th 2008, 06:23 PM
One points continues to be raised regarding predestination which is, that God knows who can and will choose Him through free will, therefore He (God) predestinates those whom He foreknows will choose Him.
I am not sure where I stand on this particular take on predestination. However, one can most certainly believe that predestination, as a general concept (not in specific relation to life after death), is not "through foreknowledge" without necessarily believing that individuals are pre-destined to salvation or to loss.


I've argued extensively against this assumption, and will not do so again now. What I would like to know from those who support this opinion is what you believe being dead in sins, trespasses, iniquity means?

Eph 2:1...you who were dead in trespasses and sins
Eph 2:5...even when you were dead in sins
Col 2:3...you, being dead in your sins
I will answer through a slight re-work of a previous post of mine:

I believe that that the "deadness" of mankind "in trespass and sin" is a "moral deadness" not a "cognitive" deadness. Our hopelessly fallen "moral" condition need not mean that we have lost the faculty to recognize ourselves as being in that state and then accept aid offered to us.

I would warn readers on all sides here to not assume that "dead" means "dead in every respect". We often use the term "dead" to refer to one aspect or dimension of a person's capacities (e.g. Fred is emotionally dead).

Consider this analogy: Let's say that my brain has been damaged in such a way that it is impossible for me to understand general relativity. Does this mean I cannot recognize and become aware of my incapacity in regard to general relativity? Obviously not. Blind people cannot see, but that does not mean they are not aware that sighted people have a capability that gives new information about the world.

In this example, I am "dead in my ignorance of general relativity", but I am not dead in other respects. Note that the texts RogerW has provided always clarify our "deadness" as in specific relation to sin and trespass.

Suppose a surgeon comes along and says "We have this new operation that can fix your brain so that you can understand general relativity". Can I understand what he is claiming? Of course. Just like a blind person can understand that a certain operation might give him sight, even if he does not know what sight be like once he gets it (he has been blind from birth).

I trust the analogy is clear here. Unless it can be argued that our "deadness" extends to and includes our capacity to make judgements about ourselves and accept "a gift" that fixes our deadness, I do not see how these texts support a predestination worldview.

RogerW
Sep 26th 2008, 06:52 PM
I am not sure where I stand on this particular take on predestination. However, one can most certainly believe that predestination, as a general concept (not in specific relation to life after death), is not "through foreknowledge" without necessarily believing that individuals are pre-destined to salvation or to loss.

I will answer through a slight re-work of a previous post of mine:

I believe that that the "deadness" of mankind "in trespass and sin" is a "moral deadness" not a "cognitive" deadness. Our hopelessly fallen "moral" condition need not mean that we have lost the faculty to recognize ourselves as being in that state and then accept aid offered to us.

Okay Drew, you believe we are morally dead, but not cognitive dead, therefore we can still understand our condition an accept eternal life in Christ that is offered? Can you prove your assumption using Scripture?

Many Blessings,
RW

John146
Sep 26th 2008, 07:09 PM
Hi ASaved1,

I'm glad we are pretty much in agreement! It's always much more pleasant that way ;)

I just wanted to comment on a couple of points you make. What was the outcome for Adam and Eve for their disobedience? Whether they knew they were disobeying or not, is really insignificant, because they still had to face the consquences God had promised them for disobeying. Which of course was spiritual death, and in addition to this all of their progeny would be born spiritually dead, and slaves to Satan, sin and death. So apparently God agrees with you, that they did indeed deserve the punishment He had promised for disobeying.

Believing God's foreknowledge is knowing who would choose Him, I totally agree with you on. Of course He knows, He knew them before time was, and He wrote their names in the Book of Life before the foundation of the world. But Scripture is very clear, God did not choose them because He knew they would choose Him first. Obviously the one choosing first is God, before the foundation of the world, when He writes the names of all who will be saved in His Book of Life.

God's election of Jacob and rejecting Esau shows us that God chose Jacob and rejected Esau before either were born, before He saw either of them doing anything good or evil, so that His purpose according to election might stand. If God predestinated Jacob because He knew Jacob would choose Him, then why doesn't God say He chose Jacob because He knew Jacob would do good and choose Him? God predestines according to His own good pleasure, according to His will and not the will of fallen man, who btw cannot choose spiritual life while spiritually dead.

May God Richly Bless You as well,
RWUgh. When it talks about election in relation to Jacob and Esau it is not talking about them being individually predestined to either salvation or damnation! You have to look at the context. They were each elected for a purpose which had nothing to do with what kind of people they would be. That's why they were elected before either of them did anything good or evil. This type of election had nothing to do with that because it was corporate and not individual.

Genesis 25
21And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.
23And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

The purpose Jacob was elected for was that a nation, Israel, would descend from him and be stronger than and be served by the nation that would descend from Esau, which was Edom.

John146
Sep 26th 2008, 07:14 PM
Okay Drew, you believe we are morally dead, but not cognitive dead, therefore we can still understand our condition an accept eternal life in Christ that is offered? Can you prove your assumption using Scripture?

Many Blessings,
RWI've already proven this to you several times, Roger. Romans 1 alone proves this. Your definition of being spiritually dead would say that no one, unless they're born again first, has the ability to understand "that which may be known of God...even His eternal power and Godhead". Please don't try to tell me that I'm not differentiating between natural revelation and spiritual revelation. Knowing His eternal power and Godhead is natural revelation? No, it isn't. People who are dead in their sins are expected to know and believe in "that which may be known of God...even His eternal power and Godhead". They have no excuse for not knowing God and believing in Him. You are taking one's spiritual deadness further than is intended as if being spiritually dead means they are walking zombies with no consciences or souls and no ability to make a decision about what they believe and who they want to serve. But that is not the case.

People won't choose to believe without hearing the word of God and without the Spirit calling them and speaking to their hearts and minds, but they have the ability to make a decision once that takes place. God does His part but He expects people to do theirs as well. He wants people to come to Him willingly. He wants people to willingly choose to accept the truth so that they will be saved. But some choose to reject it and it is because of their decision to reject the truth, and not because of God not giving them the ability to accept it, that they will end up being condemned and cast into the lake of fire.

Joshua 24
14Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. 15And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Looks to me as though Joshua expected spiritually dead people to have the ability to choose between serving the Lord or serving false gods. But your doctrine says they had no such ability.

RogerW
Sep 26th 2008, 07:18 PM
Ugh. When it talks about election in relation to Jacob and Esau it is not talking about them being individually predestined to either salvation or damnation! You have to look at the context. They were each elected for a purpose.

Genesis 25
21And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.
23And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

The purpose Jacob was elected for was that a nation, Israel, would descend from him and be stronger than and be served by the nation that would descend from Esau, which was Edom.

Hi Eric,

I completely agree! However, you have to admit that Jacob, symbolizing the elect and Esau, symbolizing the reprobate are actual people. And you cannot ignore that all the personal names; which would include Jacob, since he is among the elect, were written in the Lamb's Book of Life from before the foundation of the world. So, while it is certainly true that the two brothers symbolize two distinct nations, it is equally true that they were real people, or individuals. Therefore individual election is absolutely seen in Ro 9.

Many Blessings,
RW

drew
Sep 26th 2008, 07:23 PM
Okay Drew, you believe we are morally dead, but not cognitive dead, therefore we can still understand our condition an accept eternal life in Christ that is offered? Can you prove your assumption using Scripture?
I cannot immediately think of specific texts to support the view that we retain a degree of freedom to accept eternal life.

I think I can say this, though, about the general nature of a case I might make. To a fairly large degree, it will appeal to the implicit - implications of the reality of a measure of free will that are not explicitly spelled out.

One will often hear "show me in Scripture where it says we have free will". This question might not be entirely fair if the writers of scripture were coming from a worldview where "human freedom" was such a widely accepted and deeply ingrained concept that it simply need not be stated explicitly. Instead, the concept gets bundled into other concepts, concepts like "choose", "select", "decide", etc.

Anyone familiar with western culture will know that there is an implication of free will when we use these words in day to day life. Evidence for this includes the fact that someone would be considered whacky if they suggested that an apple "chose" or "decided" to fall from the tree. And yet we consider it perfectly all right to say that a person "chose" to go to a baseball game or "decided" to read a book.

The reason for this discrepancy is, of course, the fact that modern westerners basically all believe in the reality of free will, and that people have it and apples do not.

So no one needs to explicitly declare free in some document they might write about how to live a good life. Yet if that document is full of instructions to "choose this" and "decide to do that", we can be certain that they implicitly bring a belief in free will to the material they are presenting.

drew
Sep 26th 2008, 07:25 PM
I completely agree! However, you have to admit that Jacob, symbolizing the elect and Esau, symbolizing the reprobate are actual people.
What is your evidence for drawing the conclusion that Jacob represents the elect - those destined for heaven - and that Esau represents those destined for ultimate loss.

drew
Sep 26th 2008, 07:36 PM
...which would include Jacob, since he is among the elect, were written in the Lamb's Book of Life from before the foundation of the world.
This really begs the very question at issue. There is absolutely no evidence of an "elect" in the sense of a set of specific individuals destined for salvation anywhere in Romans 9.

A person who claims that word "election" must, by its very meaning, denote reference to eternal life is clearly mistaken. There will be an election in early November in your country. And no one will be getting eternal life from that election.

I believe that there is indeed a reference in Romans 9 to issues of "where you go when you die". It is this:

23What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

Now, I am surprised that you choose to argue from Jacob and Esau when Paul explicitly tells us that the election has nothing to do with eternal life but is rather an election unto "one serving the other". Why not use the above text. I would agree that verse 23 clearly seems to be talking about ultimate glory - "heaven", if you wish.

As I suspect you will know, I do not believe that even this text supports the notion of "an elect" consisting of a set of named individuals. But I will argue that in a later post. And, to be fair, I have yet to respond to texts about "names in the book of life".

But the Jacob and Esau bit is clearly about an election to a purpose in this present world.

RogerW
Sep 26th 2008, 07:38 PM
Joshua 24
14Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. 15And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Looks to me as though Joshua expected that spiritually dead people had the ability to choose between serving the Lord or serving false gods. But your doctrine says they had no such ability.

Eric, I'm not going into the Ro 1 text with you again! Here in Jos 24 you should have continued to highlight this part of the text, "whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell". This passage is not a choice to choose God for eternal life, it is an ultimatum. The Isralites can serve foreign gods and perish from the good land, or they can serve the True God and live long in the land of promise. This text speaks of obedience unto physical life, and keeping possession of the promised land.

This was always the condition for keeping the land. If they obeyed God and His commands, and served only Him, blessings and life. But if they disobeyed as their fathers had, they would receive cursings and death. And oh how Israel disobeyed! Joshua 24 is not a text that proves we can choose the Lord for eternal life, it is a text of clear warning; serve God and live (physically), or turn away from God to serve idols and die!

Jos 24:13 And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.
Jos 24:14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.

Jos 24:19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.
Jos 24:20 If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.
Jos 24:21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD.
Jos 24:22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.
Jos 24:23 Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.
Jos 24:24 And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.
Jos 24:25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.

Jos 24:31 And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the LORD, that he had done for Israel.

Jg 2:11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim:
Jg 2:12 And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.

Many Blessings,
RW

John146
Sep 26th 2008, 07:48 PM
Hi Eric,

I completely agree! However, you have to admit that Jacob, symbolizing the elect and Esau, symbolizing the reprobate are actual people.LOL! Yes, I guess I have to admit that they are actual people. :D

What I won't admit to and where I believe you are wrong is that you are trying to say that it says Jacob symbolizes the elect and Esau symbolizes the reprobate. Where does it say that? All it says is that the people of Jacob would be stronger than and would be served by the people of Esau. Where does it say that Esau was predestined to condemnation? Nowhere.


And you cannot ignore that all the personal names; which would include Jacob, since he is among the elect, were written in the Lamb's Book of Life from before the foundation of the world.Why would I ignore that? Since God foreknew everything, it makes sense that He could put down the names of those He predestined according to His foreknowledge into the Lamb's book of life.


So, while it is certainly true that the two brothers symbolize two distinct nations, it is equally true that they were real people, or individuals. Therefore individual election is absolutely seen in Ro 9.It can't be both, Roger. Did you read Genesis 25:23, which is the context of what Romans 9 says about Jacob and Esau? It only talks about them as representing two nations, and it isn't specifically about them at all as far as individual election to salvation goes.

John146
Sep 26th 2008, 08:01 PM
Eric, I'm not going into the Ro 1 text with you again!That's fine. All we would do is repeat what we've already said about it, I suppose.


Here in Jos 24 you should have continued to highlight this part of the text, "whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell". This passage is not a choice to choose God for eternal life, it is an ultimatum. The Isralites can serve foreign gods and perish from the good land, or they can serve the True God and live long in the land of promise. This text speaks of obedience unto physical life, and keeping possession of the promised land. Roger, I think if someone is serving the LORD then they are a true believer and will have eternal life, don't you agree? Is it possible to truly serve the LORD and not be a true believer? I don't believe so. He was, in reality, telling them to choose God or choose false gods. He wasn't just telling them which to serve, but which to give their lives to. This is absolutely related to salvation.


This was always the condition for keeping the land. If they obeyed God and His commands, and served only Him, blessings and life. But if they disobeyed as their fathers had, they would receive cursings and death.This would include eternal life or the second death. Who they chose to serve was very much a factor in whether they would have eternal life or would be damned.


And oh how Israel disobeyed! Joshua 24 is not a text that proves we can choose the Lord for eternal life, it is a text of clear warning; serve God and live (physically), or turn away from God to serve idols and die! Does anyone who truly serves God not have eternal life? I don't believe so. Can one turn away from God to serve idols and still have eternal life? Again, I don't believe so.


Jos 24:13 And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.
Jos 24:14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.

Jos 24:19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.
Jos 24:20 If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.
Jos 24:21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD.
Jos 24:22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.
Jos 24:23 Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.
Jos 24:24 And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.
Jos 24:25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.

Jos 24:31 And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the LORD, that he had done for Israel.

Jg 2:11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim:
Jg 2:12 And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.

Many Blessings,
RWI see nothing there that refutes anything I said previously. It wasn't just the land that was on the line here. Their spiritual destinies also were on the line. If they chose to give themselves to God to be His servants then they would have eternal life. If they chose to follow after false gods then they would not have eternal life. Notice it says in Josh 24:19-20 that if they had forsaken the Lord He would not forgive their sins. Clearly, this was not merely an issue having only to do with land.

John146
Sep 26th 2008, 08:10 PM
What is your evidence for drawing the conclusion that Jacob represents the elect - those destined for heaven - and that Esau represents those destined for ultimate loss.I guarantee there is no evidence in scripture that he would be able to find to support that idea. It clearly says they each represented nations. Jacob represented the nation of Israel as a whole. Esau represented the nation of Edom.

Not everyone from the nation of Israel is elect to salvation. So, it's not possible that Jacob represented the elect. If he represented the elect then he also represented the non-elect since both the elect and the non-elect descended from him. In the same vein, where does it teach that there were no elect individuals at all in Edom? Nowhere in scripture.

John146
Sep 26th 2008, 08:16 PM
I cannot immediately think of specific texts to support the view that we retain a degree of freedom to accept eternal life.How about this one:

Rev 22:17
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Rhyfelwr
Sep 26th 2008, 08:33 PM
God does His part but He expects people to do theirs as well. He wants people to come to Him willingly. He wants people to willingly choose to accept the truth so that they will be saved. But some choose to reject it and it is because of their decision to reject the truth, and not because of God not giving them the ability to accept it, that they will end up being condemned and cast into the lake of fire.

Of course God would love us to come to Him willingly but that cannot happen because of the fact that we are born as slaves to sin. There is no question about it, we cannot accept God but by His grace. And if you believe His Grace was dependent upon the decisions of men, then that is denying His sovereignty, no two ways about it. Also if God's sovereignty in our salvation is questioned then that questions the ultimate glory of salvation as an unconditional gift from God.

I have to say when I made this thread I was suspicious towards predestination, but since then it is making more and more sense to me. It may not appeal to our sense of individuality - but that is a sin in itself!

Rhyfelwr
Sep 26th 2008, 08:45 PM
@9Marksfan: That was a great passage on the TULIP points! I've been studying them a bit recently, however one question I have is over P, the perseverance of saints. I am presuming this does not mean saint in the Roman Catholic sense. Is he referring to the elect by this, and that they can never lose their salvation?

I'm pretty sure that's the case I just want to be 100% certain. Presuming Calvin meant the elect by this, it seems sensible that salvation cannot be lost.

John146
Sep 26th 2008, 08:52 PM
Let's be careful to not try to have things both ways here. The reason this whole issue came up is that a poster refused to engage a counterargument to his position, claiming that the counterargument was "humanistic reasoning".

It is simply false to imagine that developing an understanding of the Scriptures bypasses our mental infrastructure - our intellect - and is presented to us in some of "direct way".

When we read the scriptures, our minds (our intellects) are fully engaged. We read words (intellect), we understand the meaning of sentences (intellect), we develop a sense of the context (intellect), we apply relevant historical and cultural knowledge in order to properly interpret (intellect). And so on.

It is true that Spirit is mysteriously involved in this process, but this does not mean that the intellectual machinery is bypassed.

People often want to have their cake and it too on this matter. They present scriptures and make a case about them (that is, they reason, think, etc). When they do this, they are deploying the very tools of "human reasoning" they later reject when used by those they differ with in respect to doctrine.

Too often the claim of a "humanisitc argument" is really code for "I would like to refute your argument but cannot".I agree, drew.

Isaiah 1
16Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
18Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
19If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
20But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

Look at this. The LORD is telling people to come and reason with Him. People who at the time were doing evil and rebelling against Him. Spiritually dead people, in other words. And notice that He gives them conditions. He gives spiritually dead people who supposedly are not able to make choices conditions He expects them to meet. If they did, they would be blessed. If they didn't they would be destroyed. The choice was up to them.

John146
Sep 26th 2008, 08:56 PM
Of course God would love us to come to Him willingly but that cannot happen because of the fact that we are born as slaves to sin. There is no question about it, we cannot accept God but by His grace. And if you believe His Grace was dependent upon the decisions of men, then that is denying His sovereignty, no two ways about it.Of course we are saved by God's grace through faith. We are required to put our faith in Christ.


Also if God's sovereignty in our salvation is questioned then that questions the ultimate glory of salvation as an unconditional gift from God.Unconditional? So all the passages that talk about the conditions of being required to repent and believe should be ignored?

RogerW
Sep 26th 2008, 09:08 PM
I cannot immediately think of specific texts to support the view that we retain a degree of freedom to accept eternal life.

I think I can say this, though, about the general nature of a case I might make. To a fairly large degree, it will appeal to the implicit - implications of the reality of a measure of free will that are not explicitly spelled out.

One will often hear "show me in Scripture where it says we have free will". This question might not be entirely fair if the writers of scripture were coming from a worldview where "human freedom" was such a widely accepted and deeply ingrained concept that it simply need not be stated explicitly. Instead, the concept gets bundled into other concepts, concepts like "choose", "select", "decide", etc.

Anyone familiar with western culture will know that there is an implication of free will when we use these words in day to day life. Evidence for this includes the fact that someone would be considered whacky if they suggested that an apple "chose" or "decided" to fall from the tree. And yet we consider it perfectly all right to say that a person "chose" to go to a baseball game or "decided" to read a book.

The reason for this discrepancy is, of course, the fact that modern westerners basically all believe in the reality of free will, and that people have it and apples do not.

So no one needs to explicitly declare free in some document they might write about how to live a good life. Yet if that document is full of instructions to "choose this" and "decide to do that", we can be certain that they implicitly bring a belief in free will to the material they are presenting.

Drew,

One problem immediately arises in your assumption, that one can be morally dead, but cognitive still able to choose to be righteous. Moral death, especially in sins, means that one cannot, of themselves become righteous.

It is true all men have a conscience and are therefore able to know what is wrong, but fallen man does that which his/her conscience tells him is wrong anyway. Why, if they know it is wrong do they do wrong anyway? Because they are in bondage to sin, and cannot choose to be righteous in the sight of God. This is what it means to be dead in trespasses and sins. Fallen man is in bondage to sin and death, and under the power of Satan. Even if man was able to choose righteousness, do you suppose for one moment that the master, Satan would allow them to? If he did his kingdom would not stand.

To be dead in trespasses and sins does not mean that one is absolutely as evil as one can be. In fact many people who are dead in trespasses and sins appear to be very good. Consider for instance the many who stand before the Judgment Throne professing to have done all manner of good in the name of the Lord, but these are not righteous before God, and therefore called workers of iniquity.

No matter how one might try to justify free will to choose righteousness in Christ, the fact that man is born in Adam without spiritual life, he/she cannot get themselves saved. This is why God has predestined and elected people before the foundation of the world, and appointed them to receive eternal life in Christ, not by our own fallen free will, but by the will of God.

Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Sep 26th 2008, 09:15 PM
What is your evidence for drawing the conclusion that Jacob represents the elect - those destined for heaven - and that Esau represents those destined for ultimate loss.


I guarantee there is no evidence in scripture that he would be able to find to support that idea. It clearly says they each represented nations. Jacob represented the nation of Israel as a whole. Esau represented the nation of Edom.

Not everyone from the nation of Israel is elect to salvation. So, it's not possible that Jacob represented the elect. If he represented the elect then he also represented the non-elect since both the elect and the non-elect descended from him. In the same vein, where does it teach that there were no elect individuals at all in Edom? Nowhere in scripture.

Ro 9:13 As it is written, Jacob I have loved, but Esau have I hated.

Jacob represents not only the elect remnant from Israel, but also all the elect. This is why God loved Jacob. Esau represents the rest from Israel, who were blinded, and also all who remain in unbelief. This is why God hated Esau.

Many blessings,
RW

John146
Sep 26th 2008, 09:17 PM
Drew,

One problem immediately arises in your assumption, that one can be morally dead, but cognitive still able to choose to be righteous. Moral death, especially in sins, means that one is cannot, of themselves become righteous.

It is true all men have a conscience and are therefore able to know what is wrong, but fallen man does that which his/her conscience tells him is wrong anyway. Why, if they know it is wrong do they do wrong anyway? Because they are in bondage to sin, and cannot choose to be righteous in the sight of God. This is what it means to be dead in trespasses and sins. Fallen man is in bondage to sin and death, and under the power of Satan. Even if man was able to choose righteousness, do you suppose for one moment that the master, Satan would allow them to? If he did his kingdom would not stand.

To be dead in trespasses and sins does not mean that one is absolutely as evil as one can be. In fact many people who are dead in trespasses and sins appear to be very good. Consider for instance the many who stand before the Judgment Throne professing to have done all manner of good in the name of the Lord, but these are not righteous before God, and therefore called workers of iniquity.

No matter how one might try to justify free will to choose righteousness in Christ, the fact that man is born in Adam without spiritual life, he/she cannot get themselves saved.Roger, no one here is suggesting that anyone can "get themselves saved" completely on their own account separate from any intervention from God. God initiated everything by having His Son die for the sins of the whole world. Then the gospel went out into the world. And also the Holy Spirit speaks to people's consciences and hearts to convict them of their sins.

None of this negates the fact that people are still required to make a choice to either reject the gospel (2 Thess 2:1) and resist the Spirit (Acts 7:51) or to respond to Christ's command to repent and believe the gospel by denying and humbling oneself and willfully and freely accepting the offer of eternal life (Rev 22:17).

John146
Sep 26th 2008, 09:21 PM
Ro 9:13 As it is written, Jacob I have loved, but Esau have I hated.

Jacob represents not only the elect remnant from Israel, but also all the elect. This is why God loved Jacob. Esau represents the rest from Israel, who were blinded, and also all who remain in unbelief. This is why God hated Esau. God doesn't hate anyone. He punishes people but He doesn't hate them. He teaches us to love our enemies. Why would He teach us to do something that He doesn't do Himself?

God blessed Jacob by having the nation of Israel descend from Him and Esau was deprived of that blessing, but still had a nation descend from him as well, Edom. That was God's choice. The context of God loving Jacob and hating Esau is that the older would serve the younger. It has nothing to do with God literally showing favoritism, for no reason, to Jacob while deciding, for no real reason, to hate Esau and damn him to hell with no chance to be saved. Come on.

Jacob and Esau each represented nations. Jacob represented the entire nation of Israel, including unbelievers. As we know from Romans 9:6 not all the nation of Israel is elect. There is no scripture that teaches that Jacob represented the elect, so you need to give up on that theory. Also, Esau does not represent those who were blinded in Israel. This is not taught anywhere! Did you not read Genesis 25:23? Have you not read anything apart from Romans 9 regarding Jacob and Esau? Esau represented the nation of Edom and didn't represent anyone from Israel in any way, shape or form. That is plain as day.

Genesis 25:23
And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

It's undeniable that the two nations are Israel and Edom with Jacob representing Israel and Esau representing Edom. I'm not going to even waste any more of my time debating that, because it's very clear. The two manner of people means that one people, Israel, would be stronger than the other, Edom, and that the elder would serve the younger.

RogerW
Sep 26th 2008, 09:31 PM
This really begs the very question at issue. There is absolutely no evidence of an "elect" in the sense of a set of specific individuals destined for salvation anywhere in Romans 9.

A person who claims that word "election" must, by its very meaning, denote reference to eternal life is clearly mistaken. There will be an election in early November in your country. And no one will be getting eternal life from that election.

Well Drew, this is one of the reasons that I don't often respond to humanistic logic or reasoning. If biblical election were defined as you have used it here, this might be logical. But how can you even compare a political election process with the elect of God?

Elect - eklektos select; by implication, favorite:--chosen, elect.

While it is true in the presidential election we will choose our favorite candidate, are these candidates among the elect of God?

Ro 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.

Col 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
Tit 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Sep 26th 2008, 11:20 PM
God doesn't hate anyone. He punishes people but He doesn't hate them. He teaches us to love our enemies. Why would He teach us to do something that He doesn't do Himself?

Eric, your argument is with the Word of God. "Esau have I hated."



God blessed Jacob by having the nation of Israel descend from Him and Esau was deprived of that blessing, but still had a nation descend from him as well, Edom. That was God's choice. The context of God loving Jacob and hating Esau is that the older would serve the younger. It has nothing to do with God literally showing favoritism, for no reason, to Jacob while deciding, for no real reason, to hate Esau and damn him to hell with no chance to be saved. Come on.

Again Eric, your argument is with the Word of God. There was no place of repentance found for Esau, even though he sought it with tears (Heb 12:17). Surely, if God does not really hate Esau, He would have accepted his repentance, and given him the inheritance he sought.



Jacob and Esau each represented nations. Jacob represented the entire nation of Israel, including unbelievers. As we know from Romans 9:6 not all the nation of Israel is elect. There is no scripture that teaches that Jacob represented the elect, so you need to give up on that theory.

Isa 65:9 And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.



Also, Esau does not represent those who were blinded in Israel. This is not taught anywhere! Did you not read Genesis 25:23? Have you not read anything apart from Romans 9 regarding Jacob and Esau? Esau represented the nation of Edom and didn't represent anyone from Israel in any way, shape or form. That is plain as day.

Genesis 25:23
And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

Esau is the son of Isaac, who is the son of Abraham, who is the father of the nation. The nation did not exist until Jacob fathered the twelve sons, so would you also argue that Abraham does not represent Israel in any way shape or form? Esau symbolizes the unsaved, all of the unsaved, therefore hated by God.



It's undeniable that the two nations are Israel and Edom with Jacob representing Israel and Esau representing Edom. I'm not going to even waste any more of my time debating that, because it's very clear. The two manner of people means that one people, Israel, would be stronger than the other, Edom, and that the elder would serve the younger.

You don't have to waste anymore time, I understand. But for others reading here, consider. I've already shown one verse showing Jacob being identified with the elect. The following passage show us that the LORD God makes Himself known to Israel (Jacob), and calls Jacob (Israel) mine elect. God even tells us how he called Jacob and addresses him by and additional name, Israel. (See Strong's Hebrew #3655)

Isa 45:3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
Isa 45:4 For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.

Israel is a symbolical name for Jacob - Strong's Hebrew #3478

Jacob symbolizes the predestined elect people of God, loved by God. And Esau symbolizes those left in unbelief, hated by God. I realize it is hard for some to accept that God does indeed say He hates some people. But clearly God tells us He hates Esau, and there are other passages that speak of God hating some; i.e. consider for instance that God hates all workers of iniquity (Ps 5:5).

Many Blessings,
RW

Rhyfelwr
Sep 26th 2008, 11:33 PM
Since God is absolutedly perfect and sovereign, I think it is perfectly reasonable for Him to hate those who work iniquity in His creation.

When He says hate, I doubt it is the angry, jealous, self-centred hate we associate with fallen man; but rather a total abhorrence of the abominations men commit. So not so much a vengeful hatred, but a total repellence of iniquity.

RogerW
Sep 27th 2008, 12:17 AM
Roger, I think if someone is serving the LORD then they are a true believer and will have eternal life, don't you agree? Is it possible to truly serve the LORD and not be a true believer? I don't believe so. He was, in reality, telling them to choose God or choose false gods. He wasn't just telling them which to serve, but which to give their lives to. This is absolutely related to salvation.

Did the nation serve the LORD because they were true believers? Did the nation truly serve the LORD from a changed heart or as a true believer?



Does anyone who truly serves God not have eternal life?

I would say yes, IF they are serving Him in righteousness and truth.



Can one turn away from God to serve idols and still have eternal life? Again, I don't believe so.

I would agree. Do you believe the choice the nation made to put away their idols and serve the LORD was unto eternal life?



I see nothing there that refutes anything I said previously. It wasn't just the land that was on the line here. Their spiritual destinies also were on the line. If they chose to give themselves to God to be His servants then they would have eternal life. If they chose to follow after false gods then they would not have eternal life. Notice it says in Josh 24:19-20 that if they had forsaken the Lord He would not forgive their sins. Clearly, this was not merely an issue having only to do with land.

Eric, the nation chose to serve the LORD for what they could get. Much like when Christ came performing miracles and they followed Him because He fed them, and healed their infirmities. The nation, like all men were born in Adam, with fallen nature in bondage to Satan, sin and death. They, like we have no ability to choose the LORD for eternal life. I will continue to make this point until hopefully if not you others may get it.

If choosing to serve the LORD had given the nation eternal life, then why did they serve Him only until Joshua died? Does it not occur to you that if Joshua was offering them eternal life if they served the LORD with all their hearts, and turned away from serving their idols, that salvation would have come through their obedience to the law? Does not Scripture tell us that keeping the law will not save us?

Jg 2:11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim:
Jg 2:12 And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.

Ro 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

Ro 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
Ro 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Blessings,
RW

9Marksfan
Sep 27th 2008, 08:59 AM
@9Marksfan: That was a great passage on the TULIP points! I've been studying them a bit recently, however one question I have is over P, the perseverance of saints. I am presuming this does not mean saint in the Roman Catholic sense. Is he referring to the elect by this, and that they can never lose their salvation?

I'm pretty sure that's the case I just want to be 100% certain. Presuming Calvin meant the elect by this, it seems sensible that salvation cannot be lost.

No - it's meant in the biblical sense - all those who are sanctified ie the elect - none of them shall perish! :pp

...all the saints who are in Christ Jesus in Philippi... Phil 1:1

9Marksfan
Sep 27th 2008, 09:00 AM
Of course we are saved by God's grace through faith. We are required to put our faith in Christ.

Unconditional? So all the passages that talk about the conditions of being required to repent and believe should be ignored?

They're not conditions - they're COMMANDS!!!!!!

drew
Sep 27th 2008, 01:42 PM
Well Drew, this is one of the reasons that I don't often respond to humanistic logic or reasoning. If biblical election were defined as you have used it here, this might be logical. But how can you even compare a political election process with the elect of God?

Elect - eklektos select; by implication, favorite:--chosen, elect.

While it is true in the presidential election we will choose our favorite candidate, are these candidates among the elect of God?

Ro 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.

Col 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
Tit 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
Let's all remember some things here:

1. The word "elect", by definition, only connotes selection or choice as you correctly indicate. It does not, by definition, connote "selection unto eternal life". Please, please understand that the concept of "election" as a concept is simply not specific to the matter of the granting of eternal life;

2. It is true, as you point out that Paul does use the word "elect" to refer to those who are true covenant members and will inherit the blessing of eternal life. So there is indeed a sense of choice here. I will get back to this.

3. Just because Paul uses the word "elect" in this sense at times, simply does not warrant conclude that all his uses of "elect" or "election" are in relation to eternal life. He still uses "election" at times to refer to things "in this world". A prime example is Jacob and Esau - Paul tells us what they are "chosen unto" - a relationship where one serves the other. Please do not tell Paul that he is wrong when he says this. Paul is the writer in Romans 9:11-13, not you. He means what he says - the election in that context is unto something in the present world. Same thing with Pharoah.

So now we get to an issue I have not yet dealt with. As you point, Paul identifies an "elect" - a chosen people - if you will. And it certainly seems that one of the things they are chosen unto is "glory" or eternal life.

Paul, in Romans 9, is dealing at the level of nations and peoples. He is not speaking individualistically even if he does uses individuals such as Jacob, Esau, and Pharoah as examples. But his argument here is about these two Israels. And God has molded national Israel as a "vessel fitted for destruction" for the sake of "true Israel" - a vessel fitted for glory.

But, and this is the key point, is God identifying specific individuals as being thus "fitted for glory". I do not think that he is. And here we get into the debate we have touched on before - the distinction between the "group as a group" and the "group as a set of individuals".

Notwithstanding other texts for the moment, we simply do not need to see the "election of true Israel unto glory" as implying that certain specific individuals are elected unto glory.

This can be clearly seen by analogy. Could God "elect" the 2017 version of the New YorK Yankees to play the 2017 version of the St. Louis Cardinals in the world series to be played in October 2017? Obviously, he can as a sovereign God.

Does He need to pre-destine which specific individuals will be on each of these teams? Obviously not.

In the same way, all references to an "elect" of God need not connote specific individuals.

Now I am still aware that I have yet to respond to texts about "names written in the book of Life from the foundation of the world". And, to be fair, I have presented many arguments that you also have not engaged (not least the one about how it makes sense to be instructed to preach the gospel to the elect).

But one piece at a time. The argument above show, very convincingly I suggest, that for Paul to invoke the concept of an "elect" does not necessitate that he is "naming names", as it were.

Please do not simply say "groups are made up of individuals" - that response does not address the point made in the world series analogy about how a group can be pre-destined without individuals being pre-destined.

RogerW
Sep 27th 2008, 02:52 PM
Let's all remember some things here:

1. The word "elect", by definition, only connotes selection or choice as you correctly indicate. It does not, by definition, connote "selection unto eternal life". Please, please understand that the concept of "election" as a concept is simply not specific to the matter of the granting of eternal life;

2. It is true, as you point out that Paul does use the word "elect" to refer to those who are true covenant members and will inherit the blessing of eternal life. So there is indeed a sense of choice here. I will get back to this.

3. Just because Paul uses the word "elect" in this sense at times, simply does not warrant conclude that all his uses of "elect" or "election" are in relation to eternal life. He still uses "election" at times to refer to things "in this world". A prime example is Jacob and Esau - Paul tells us what they are "chosen unto" - a relationship where one serves the other. Please do not tell Paul that he is wrong when he says this. Paul is the writer in Romans 9:11-13, not you. He means what he says - the election in that context is unto something in the present world. Same thing with Pharoah.

So now we get to an issue I have not yet dealt with. As you point, Paul identifies an "elect" - a chosen people - if you will. And it certainly seems that one of the things they are chosen unto is "glory" or eternal life.

Paul, in Romans 9, is dealing at the level of nations and peoples. He is not speaking individualistically even if he does uses individuals such as Jacob, Esau, and Pharoah as examples. But his argument here is about these two Israels. And God has molded national Israel as a "vessel fitted for destruction" for the sake of "true Israel" - a vessel fitted for glory.

But, and this is the key point, is God identifying specific individuals as being thus "fitted for glory". I do not think that he is. And here we get into the debate we have touched on before - the distinction between the "group as a group" and the "group as a set of individuals".

Notwithstanding other texts for the moment, we simply do not need to see the "election of true Israel unto glory" as implying that certain specific individuals are elected unto glory.

This can be clearly seen by analogy. Could God "elect" the 2017 version of the New YorK Yankees to play the 2017 version of the St. Louis Cardinals in the world series to be played in October 2017? Obviously, he can as a sovereign God.

Does He need to pre-destine which specific individuals will be on each of these teams? Obviously not.

In the same way, all references to an "elect" of God need not connote specific individuals.

Now I am still aware that I have yet to respond to texts about "names written in the book of Life from the foundation of the world". And, to be fair, I have presented many arguments that you also have not engaged (not least the one about how it makes sense to be instructed to preach the gospel to the elect).

But one piece at a time. The argument above show, very convincingly I suggest, that for Paul to invoke the concept of an "elect" does not necessitate that he is "naming names", as it were.

Please do not simply say "groups are made up of individuals" - that response does not address the point made in the world series analogy about how a group can be pre-destined without individuals being pre-destined.

Drew,

Let's go at this another way. Let's consider how the word "elect" is used throughout Scripture. I believe in doing this we will find that "God's elect" equals those chosen to inherit eternal life. I also believe we will find those who have not been chosen to inherit eternal life, are not referred to as the "elect."

Beginning in the OT consider Isa 42:1 "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles." In this passage I hope you would agree that the elect is Jesus Christ.

Isa 45:4 "For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me." Here we find God calling Jacob and Israel His elect. God tells us not only that Jacob is His elect, but also that He calls him by name.

Isa 65:9 "And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there." God shows us that Christ, "a seed" comes from Jacob and the tribe of Judah, who inherits the mountain of God, along with the elect of God, "and my servants shall dwell there." Christ is God's elect, and comes from the tribe of Judah, from Jacob, God's elect.

Isa 65:22 really must be read in context to show the connection of God's elect and eternal life. Without reading the context one might imagine this is speaking of the nation, and not exclusively of the "elect of God."

Isa 65:22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
Isa 65:23 They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.
Isa 65:24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
Isa 65:25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.

I found "elect" or "election" used in the NT 22 times. One cannot help but understand how "elect(tion)" in every verse where it is found, describes those chosen for eternal life. I'll point out only a few.

Mt 24:24 tells us that the elect of God cannot be deceived by false christ' and false prophets. Why? Because they have been chosen for eternal life.

Mk 13:27 tells us that the elect of God are gathered by God's messengers on the last day. Why? Because they have been chosen for eternal life.

Lu 18:7 tells us that when Christ comes again, He will avenge His elect. Why is Christ avenging only the elect? Because they have been chosen for eternal life.

Ro 8:33 makes a connection between the elect, and those justified by God. What connection? The elect are justified because they have been chosen for eternal life.

Ro 11:5 connects election with grace. Why? Because God's elect receive God's grace because they have been chosen for eternal life.

1Th 1:4-5 refers to the election of God as "beloved brethren". Why? Because the elect of God are the beloved of God, chosen for eternal life.

Tit 1:1 connects faith with God's elect. Why? Because God's elect are given the gift of faith because they have been chosen for eternal life.

1Pe 1:2 shows us the elect of God are foreknown by God. Why only the elect forknown by God? Because God knows His sheep and He calls them by name because they have been chosen for eternal life.

You claim that when Scripture speaks of election is it not necessarily speaking of those predestinated or chosen for eternal life, and you use one verse from Ro 9 to make your case. The use of elect and election throughout Scripture disagrees with your conclusion. In fact Scripture proof overwhelmingly supports "elect" and "election" of God is unto eternal life.

God uses other words, like "ordain", "appoint" among others to show His providential working in mankind to accomplish a purpose or task. But God does not use the word "elect" or "election" unless He is specifically speaking of those whom He has predestined or chosen/selected/His favorite for eternal life.

When God says, "that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth" He is speaking of election of Jacob unto eternal life. At the same time God shows us what He has purposed or ordained for Esau, which is to involuntarily be a slave/servant or in bondage (see Strongs #1398) and without hope.

Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Sep 27th 2008, 03:25 PM
This can be clearly seen by analogy. Could God "elect" the 2017 version of the New YorK Yankees to play the 2017 version of the St. Louis Cardinals in the world series to be played in October 2017? Obviously, he can as a sovereign God.

Does He need to pre-destine which specific individuals will be on each of these teams? Obviously not.

Drew,

I think this way of thinking about our Sovereign God is one of the things separating us. Your analogy shows you believe that God can elect a group without necessarily knowing who will be in that group. This leaves man, in your analogy the baseball players, as the ones who choose.

How can God know the outcome if He has not already determined who the players will be? To win or lose certain things must happen by certain individuals. For instance God would have to know who the winning pitcher is in order to assure he is the winning pitcher. God must orchastrate the way the game is being played by all participants in the game if He is to bring about His will to have one team have victory over the other.

How does Scripture speak of God's foreknowledge toward fallen man? He knows they are fallen, and that all of them will remain fallen unless He saves some of them. Same with your analogy. God knows men will play in the game, at a specified time, but He also knows who will win and who will lose. Why? Because God has ordained all things that come to pass. If He did not He could not accomplish His Sovereign good pleasure, because fallen mankind would be able to interpose their free will choices upon God and bring His plans to redeem a people for Himself to ruin.

How does Scripture speak of God's foreknowledge toward His elect? He saw them also as fallen and without hope, as others. But His elect He KNOWS, and calls them beloved of God! Why does God Know His elect in this special way? Because from before the foundation of the world God chose them to be His special people, the people predestined for His eternal love. In time God uses His whole creation to bring His elect sons and daughters to glory through Christ.

So God not only knows that a game will take place at His specified time, but He also knows who will play in the game and who will win and why, and who will lose and why.

Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Sep 27th 2008, 03:34 PM
Now I am still aware that I have yet to respond to texts about "names written in the book of Life from the foundation of the world". And, to be fair, I have presented many arguments that you also have not engaged (not least the one about how it makes sense to be instructed to preach the gospel to the elect).

Since the elect have been predestined unto eternal life, why are we still instructed to preach the gospel to them?

1. God commands us to.
2. They have been predestined unto salvation, they are not born saved.
3. Faith comes by hearing the Word.
4. God uses the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe.
5. God does not tell us who His predestined elect are. He only tells us they exist throughout the world, and that He will draw them to Him and give them eternal life through the power of the Word and Holy Spirit.

When we faithfully proclaim the gospel unto all the world, the Kingdom of God is being built. The sooner the Kingdom of God is complete the sooner Christ will return to claim His bride; those predestined elect unto eternal life.

Many Blessings,
RW

BroRog
Sep 27th 2008, 08:34 PM
Since the elect have been predestined unto eternal life, why are we still instructed to preach the gospel to them?

The root word of predestination is "destiny" which speaks about the entire course of a man's life. To say that he (or she) is predestined to salvation, is to speak about the finish line. It does not, however, mean that the man will immediately jump to the finish line. He will live his life and go through the entire race to find eternal life waiting for him at the finish line.

RogerW
Sep 27th 2008, 09:08 PM
The root word of predestination is "destiny" which speaks about the entire course of a man's life. To say that he (or she) is predestined to salvation, is to speak about the finish line. It does not, however, mean that the man will immediately jump to the finish line. He will live his life and go through the entire race to find eternal life waiting for him at the finish line.

Greetings BroRog,

Predestinated comes from the Greek word proorizo to limit in advance, i.e. (figuratively) predetermine:--determine before, ordain, predestinate. This come from two other Greek words (1) pro a primary preposition; "fore", i.e. in front of, prior (figuratively, superior) to:--above, ago, before, or ever. In the comparative, it retains the same significations. (2) horizo to mark out or bound ("horizon"), i.e. (figuratively) to appoint, decree, specify:--declare, determine, limit, ordain.

The word is used 6 times in the NT and translated "determined before" in Acts 4:28; "he also did predestinate" in Ro 8:29; "he did predestinate" in Ro 8:30; "ordained" in 1Co 2:7; "having predestinated" in Eph 1:5; and "being predestinated" in Eph 1:11.

According to the definition and Scripture usage one who has been predestinated for salvation is a limited number of people who have been predetermined by God before the foundation of the world, when He marked/appointed/decreed/ordained they would be given eternal life in Christ.

In a sense you can speak of predestination as one's destiny, but it is wrong to think that this destiny can somehow be changed or thwarted by sin or sinner. Since God has predestined some from before the foundation of the world, when He marked/appointed/decreed or ordained they would receive eternal life, we have complete assurance that the will of God to give His predestined elect people eternal life will come to pass. When we are saved, we have already received the promise of eternal life from the moment we became saved and sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. This is why Christ can say to Martha, "whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die".

Many Blessings,
RW

drew
Sep 27th 2008, 10:43 PM
Further thought on the election of Esau and Jacob:

It could not possibly be more clear that, in the reference to them in Romans 9, the eternal status of Jacob and Esau is nowhere on Paul's mind. The following text does not even address the issue of eternal destinies of Jacob or Esau. Paul tells us what they are "elected to" - that one will serve the other. Why people think that they need to correct Paul on this is indeed a great mystery.

Let's look at the text:

Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger." 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.

Imagine Paul sitting there with his scribe, having just dictated "in order that God's purpose in election might stand". Where does this statement leave the reader? Obviously, it leaves the reader asking "Well, what is that purpose? What is God "choosing" or "selecting" Jacob and Esau for, exactly?"

So Paul answers this question. He says that the election was not based on "works" (the works of Torah) but rather on the specific calling of God. And then Paul tells us what God has "called" or chosen or "elected" Jacob and Esau for.

They were chosen / selected / elected to a state where "the older will serve the younger". Eternal destiny is nowhere in sight.

If Paul is addressing selection or election to eternal life or eternal loss, you have to believe that, after raising the topic of God’s purpose in election, Paul has suffered a sudden bout of amnesia and makes an entirely unannounced and immediate transition to a different subject altogether - the issue of something else that God selected these two for. That is, one serving the other.

What kind of a writer would do that ? First, state that God has one purpose in selection (election) for two people, and then spell out the details of an entirely different election?

Paul is not whacked in the head. He raises the question of election and then tells us immediately what the election is about. And, of course, it has nothing whatsoever to do with eternal life.

It is simply that Esau has been elected to serve Jacob.

But you need take my word for it. Just read Paul's own words and take them seriously.

drew
Sep 27th 2008, 10:49 PM
Since the elect have been predestined unto eternal life, why are we still instructed to preach the gospel to them?

1. God commands us to.
2. They have been predestined unto salvation, they are not born saved.
3. Faith comes by hearing the Word.
4. God uses the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe.
5. God does not tell us who His predestined elect are. He only tells us they exist throughout the world, and that He will draw them to Him and give them eternal life through the power of the Word and Holy Spirit.

When we faithfully proclaim the gospel unto all the world, the Kingdom of God is being built. The sooner the Kingdom of God is complete the sooner Christ will return to claim His bride; those predestined elect unto eternal life.
You continue to ignore my argument from post 115.

If your position is correct, there must be an error in my argument in that post. The fact that you consistently do not address that argument will be seen as an ability to respond to its content.

And that will greatly undermine your position.

It is fine to repeat your position, or even make new arguments. But unless and until you specifically find the error in post 115, your position cannot be sustained.

RogerW
Sep 27th 2008, 11:15 PM
You continue to ignore my argument from post 115.

If your position is correct, there must be an error in my argument in that post. The fact that you consistently do not address that argument will be seen as an ability to respond to its content.

And that will greatly undermine your position.

It is fine to repeat your position, or even make new arguments. But unless and until you specifically find the error in post 115, your position cannot be sustained.

Drew the error you make in your post #115 is that you fail to realize that since God has predestined some to salvation, He has also ordained that the gospel will be sent unto all the world. Through the faithful preaching of men like Paul, who are ordained to preach. Through the proclaiming of the gospel, Christ will draw His predestined elect to eternal life through the power of the Word and the Holy Spirit.

Ga 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,
Ga 1:16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

Lu 9:1 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
Lu 9:2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

Lu 10:1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.

Lu 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Ac 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

God providentially works all things according to the counsel of His will.

Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Blessings,
RW

Rhyfelwr
Sep 27th 2008, 11:23 PM
The doctrine of predestination should not deter the spreading of God's word. The elect may be predestined to salvation, but only God has the foreknowledge of who these people will be. We do not, so we must preach to all, knowing that the elect will heed the call, at least at some point in their lives on earth.

As the elect we are God's servants, entirely obedient to His will. So therefore it follows that we should put all our effort into the drawing of the elect unto Him, just as He drew us to Him.

9Marksfan
Sep 27th 2008, 11:56 PM
The doctrine of predestination should not deter the spreading of God's word. The elect may be predestined to salvation, but only God has the foreknowledge of who these people will be. We do not, so we must preach to all, knowing that the elect will heed the call, at least at some point in their lives on earth.

As the elect we are God's servants, entirely obedient to His will. So therefore it follows that we should put all our effort into the drawing of the elect unto Him, just as He drew us to Him.

Amen! Excellent post.

drew
Sep 28th 2008, 12:26 AM
Drew the error you make in your post #115 is that you fail to realize that since God has predestined some to salvation,
He has also ordained that the gospel will be sent unto all the world.
Incorrect. I clearly addressed that very possibility and showed how it leads to contradiction.

drew
Sep 28th 2008, 12:30 AM
The doctrine of predestination should not deter the spreading of God's word. The elect may be predestined to salvation, but only God has the foreknowledge of who these people will be. We do not, so we must preach to all, knowing that the elect will heed the call, at least at some point in their lives on earth.
This is demonstrably incorrect. And here is the demonstration:

You appear to be making the following argument:

1. Some people are pre-destined to salvation;

2. We do not know who has been pre-destined to salvation;

3. We know that even those who have been pre-destined must hear the gospel in order for that salvation to be actualized;

4. Therefore we need to preach the gospel to all people.

Here is why such arguments fail. Let's speculate about a person "Fred" who has been pre-destined by God unto salvation. By the very meaning of the concept of pre-destination, there is nothing that human beings can do (or fail to do) that will cause Fred to not end up in Heaven.

But note term 3 of the argument. You have said that even the pre-destined must hear the gospel in order to be ultimately saved. There are two possibilities in respect to term 3:

a. God has not pre-destined that someone will tell Fred the gospel;
b. God has pre-destined that someone will tell Fred the gospel.

Let's look at (a). If God has not pre-destined someone to tell Fred the gospel, then the possibility exists that no one will tell Fred the gospel. But this cannot be, since we know Fred is pre-destined to salvation and that he must hear the gospel to have that destiny actualized.

Now let's look at (b). If God has pre-destined someone to tell Fred the gospel, then there is no necessity to instruct us to tell the gospel - the gospel will most certainly be told to Fred. No one needs to be instructed to perform an action that has been pre-destined to occur. Does God "tell" somebody to tell the apple to fall to ground at 32 feet per second per second? Probably not, precisely because the apple is "pre-destined" to fall at that rate through the action of the laws of physics.

This argument that we still need to tell pre-destined people the gospel therefore fails.

Please show the readers where this counterarugment is in error. Point to the specifics please.

drew
Sep 28th 2008, 12:45 AM
Your analogy shows you believe that God can elect a group without necessarily knowing who will be in that group. This leaves man, in your analogy the baseball players, as the ones who choose.

How can God know the outcome if He has not already determined who the players will be?
It works like this. Let's rework the example. Let's say that God pre-destines that the New York Yankees will play their opening game for the 2017 season on April 6, 2007. Are specific persons also pre-destined to play in that game? We shall see that the answer is "no".

Can God pre-destine that there will be a 2017 version of the New York Yankees? Obviously yes.

Must he therefore pre-destine what specific individuals will be on this teams?

No - He need not pre-destine the specific persons. This is clearly shown as follows. Suppose that God also determines that the members of the 2017 New York Yankees will be selected from a pool of 1000 competent baseball players by a true lottery - random choice. God pre-destines that the lottery will take place. And he pre-destines that there will be 1000 specific individuals who enter the lottery (i.e. God pre-destines that all 1000 will be alive and healthy).

What is the result?

1. God has pre-destined that there will be a 2017 version of the NY Yankees;

2. God has left the matter of who the specific individuals will be up to a lottery.

God can indeed pre-destine a group to some role without pre-destining who the members of this group are.

Please tell me where the error is here.

RogerW
Sep 28th 2008, 01:19 AM
It works like this. Let's rework the example. Let's say that God pre-destines that the New York Yankees will play their opening game for the 2017 season on April 6, 2007. Are specific persons also pre-destined to play in that game? We shall see that the answer is "no".

Can God pre-destine that there will be a 2017 version of the New York Yankees? Obviously yes.

Must he therefore pre-destine what specific individuals will be on this teams?

No - He need not pre-destine the specific persons. This is clearly shown as follows. Suppose that God also determines that the members of the 2017 New York Yankees will be selected from a pool of 1000 competent baseball players by a true lottery - random choice. God pre-destines that the lottery will take place. And he pre-destines that there will be 1000 specific individuals who enter the lottery (i.e. God pre-destines that all 1000 will be alive and healthy).

What is the result?

1. God has pre-destined that there will be a 2017 version of the NY Yankees;

2. God has left the matter of who the specific individuals will be up to a lottery.

God can indeed pre-destine a group to some role without pre-destining who the members of this group are.

Please tell me where the error is here.

Drew,

You've left out the obvious. Go to the Scripture to try to find out what that is. Your error is that you use humanistic logic and reasoning, and attempt to force the Sovereign of the universe to play according to your rules. Trying to be as none offensive as I can, God does not act in accordance to our logic.

Isa 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
Isa 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

If you would like to prove your assumption using the Words of God, then I will be happy to discuss Scripture with you...other wise...Enjoy playing your game!

Blessings,
RW

drew
Sep 28th 2008, 02:00 AM
You claim that when Scripture speaks of election is it not necessarily speaking of those predestinated or chosen for eternal life, and you use one verse from Ro 9 to make your case. The use of elect and election throughout Scripture disagrees with your conclusion.
Well then you stand against Paul, who clearly uses the word "election" in a sense that has nothing to do with eternal life.

11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger."[d (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=ROmans%209&version=31#fen-NIV-28153d)] 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated

Why do you insist on denying the plain teaching of this text? If proves, by direct statement of Paul no less, that, at least at times, the word "election" refers to a selection by God for some purpose in this life.

We are not really working to the same rules. I take Paul's statements as authoritative. He tells us what the "election" is in the case of Jacob and Esau. I will post the verse again:

11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger."[d (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=ROmans%209&version=31#fen-NIV-28153d)] 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated

And what is Paul quoting here? Genesis 25:

The LORD said to her,
"Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger."

So we really have two statements by Paul, one direct from the Romans texts itself, and one by allusion to Genesis 25 that the what the "election" is about is something in respect to this life - one will serve the other.

Why do you deny what Paul clearly states?

drew
Sep 28th 2008, 02:08 AM
You've left out the obvious. Go to the Scripture to try to find out what that is. Your error is that you use humanistic logic and reasoning, and attempt to force the Sovereign of the universe to play according to your rules. Trying to be as none offensive as I can, God does not act in accordance to our logic.
Why do you then even engage in discussion if we do not use human reasoning as part of the process of getting at the truth. You deny your own activity in this thread. You present scriptures and try to "argue" that they support the pre-destination view. Am I not allowed to do the same? If we cannot "reason" together", then the people who run this board should close "Bible Chat: down, and simply make the statement: "The Scriptures need no interpretation, so there is nothing to discuss in Bible Chat".

I have provided an argument. It is about the scriptures. If you cannot refute it, what do think the objective reader, uncommitted on this matter will conclude? They will conclude that you cannot refute the argument.

You are adopting a strategy that posters often use when other posters demonstrate inconsistency and error in their claims. Unable to engage the opposing argument, they dismiss it as human reasoning.

BroRog
Sep 28th 2008, 02:28 AM
Greetings BroRog,

Predestinated comes from the Greek word proorizo to limit in advance, i.e. (figuratively) predetermine:--determine before, ordain, predestinate. This come from two other Greek words (1) pro a primary preposition; "fore", i.e. in front of, prior (figuratively, superior) to:--above, ago, before, or ever. In the comparative, it retains the same significations. (2) horizo to mark out or bound ("horizon"), i.e. (figuratively) to appoint, decree, specify:--declare, determine, limit, ordain.

The word is used 6 times in the NT and translated "determined before" in Acts 4:28; "he also did predestinate" in Ro 8:29; "he did predestinate" in Ro 8:30; "ordained" in 1Co 2:7; "having predestinated" in Eph 1:5; and "being predestinated" in Eph 1:11.

According to the definition and Scripture usage one who has been predestinated for salvation is a limited number of people who have been predetermined by God before the foundation of the world, when He marked/appointed/decreed/ordained they would be given eternal life in Christ.

In a sense you can speak of predestination as one's destiny, but it is wrong to think that this destiny can somehow be changed or thwarted by sin or sinner. Since God has predestined some from before the foundation of the world, when He marked/appointed/decreed or ordained they would receive eternal life, we have complete assurance that the will of God to give His predestined elect people eternal life will come to pass. When we are saved, we have already received the promise of eternal life from the moment we became saved and sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. This is why Christ can say to Martha, "whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die".

Many Blessings,
RW

I didn't say it could be changed. I said one must live through the process.

legoman
Sep 28th 2008, 03:20 AM
This is demonstrably incorrect. And here is the demonstration:

You appear to be making the following argument:

1. Some people are pre-destined to salvation;

2. We do not know who has been pre-destined to salvation;

3. We know that even those who have been pre-destined must hear the gospel in order for that salvation to be actualized;

4. Therefore we need to preach the gospel to all people.

Here is why such arguments fail. Let's speculate about a person "Fred" who has been pre-destined by God unto salvation. By the very meaning of the concept of pre-destination, there is nothing that human beings can do (or fail to do) that will cause Fred to not end up in Heaven.

But note term 3 of the argument. You have said that even the pre-destined must hear the gospel in order to be ultimately saved. There are two possibilities in respect to term 3:

a. God has not pre-destined that someone will tell Fred the gospel;
b. God has pre-destined that someone will tell Fred the gospel.

Let's look at (a). If God has not pre-destined someone to tell Fred the gospel, then the possibility exists that no one will tell Fred the gospel. But this cannot be, since we know Fred is pre-destined to salvation and that he must hear the gospel to have that destiny actualized.

Now let's look at (b). If God has pre-destined someone to tell Fred the gospel, then there is no necessity to instruct us to tell the gospel - the gospel will most certainly be told to Fred. No one needs to be instructed to perform an action that has been pre-destined to occur. Does God "tell" somebody to tell the apple to fall to ground at 32 feet per second per second? Probably not, precisely because the apple is "pre-destined" to fall at that rate through the action of the laws of physics.

This argument that we still need to tell pre-destined people the gospel therefore fails.

Please show the readers where this counterarugment is in error. Point to the specifics please.

Hi drew,

I think I can show where your counterargument is in error.

In case (b) God has predestined someone to tell the gospel to Fred. Just like we don't know who is predestined to salvation; we also don't know who is predestined to tell Fred the gospel. You are correct in that someone must tell the gospel, but the error occurs in that we don't know who is destined to tell Fred. So we must act as if everyone is open to salvation, and spread the gospel as commanded. If you tell Fred the gospel, and he believes, then you were the one predestined to do that. If you don't tell Fred, then someone else must have been predestined to tell him. But we don't know which.

Now if we absolutely knew that Fred will be saved, then, yes, you wouldn't have to worry about telling him, because we know someone else would. But in reality only God can know that.

Cheers,
Legoman

Rhyfelwr
Sep 28th 2008, 12:03 PM
Drew I believe in your (b) scenario that God has already predestined that we will preach the Gospel to Fred. He made sure Fred heard the Gospel by making sure we knew we were to preach to him. We don't just choose to preach the Gospel and hope the elect like Fred hear, rather God will ensure we preach the Gospel and Fred will hear, he ensured this before we were all created! Someone was always going to preach to Fred, through God's predestination it was inevitable.

So basically what legoman was saying.

drew
Sep 28th 2008, 02:24 PM
Hi drew,

I think I can show where your counterargument is in error.
First, let me thank you and Rhyfelwr for actually engaging the argument.


In case (b) God has predestined someone to tell the gospel to Fred. Just like we don't know who is predestined to salvation; we also don't know who is predestined to tell Fred the gospel. You are correct in that someone must tell the gospel, but the error occurs in that we don't know who is destined to tell Fred.
I agree that we do not know who is destined to tell Fred. Let's say that Joe is the specific person pre-destined to tell Fred. Nobody, not even Joe, knows that Joe is the person pre-destined to tell Fred. But, and this is key, if Joe really is pre-destined to tell the gospel to Fred, he simply does not need to be told to do the thing he has been pre-destined to do.

If someone is pre-destined to do "X", then to instruct him, to tell him, to do X is entirely unncessary and a waste of effort. By virtue of being pre-destined, X will happen. Period

It is the order to instruct that makes no sense in the context of my case (b). I am not denying that Fred still needs to be told, even if he is pre-destined. I am pointing out that there is no need to instruct someone to tell Fred.

Rhyfelwr
Sep 28th 2008, 02:29 PM
Maybe by telling us through scripture to preach, that is one way of making Joe fulful his destiny to preach to Fred?

In this case God would use the scripture as His tool so that we achieve our predestined fates?

9Marksfan
Sep 28th 2008, 02:47 PM
Maybe by telling us through scripture to preach, that is one way of making Joe fulful his destiny to preach to Fred?

In this case God would use the scripture as His tool so that we achieve our predestined fates?

This is a very good point - we need to accept the truth that, while God predestines, he uses MEANS to bring His perfect will about. The classic example is Christ's suffering and crucifixion - clearly predestined - no question (Acts 2:23, 3:18, 4:28). Now, did the wicked participants feel FORCED to do their wicked work? Of course not! They freely chose to do it - yet everything was under the sovereign control of Almighty God. Was He in control? Absolutely. Were they responsible agents, acting freely? Absolutely. This is the mystery of divine sovereignty and human responsibility - we cannot reconcile the two with our human reasoning but, as Spurgeon said, there's no need to reconcile friends, is there?

Or as Packer put it, they are like two parallel railway lines - and the horizon in the distance where they "meet" is Eternity - everything will become clear then. For now, we must believe BOTH are true and act (and pray!) accordingly.

drew
Sep 28th 2008, 03:03 PM
This is a very good point - we need to accept the truth that, while God predestines, he uses MEANS to bring His perfect will about.
But my argument, which I humbly claim remains intact, demonstrates the incoherence of such a position. Where is the error in my argument?


The classic example is Christ's suffering and crucifixion - clearly predestined - no question (Acts 2:23, 3:18, 4:28). Now, did the wicked participants feel FORCED to do their wicked work? Of course not! They freely chose to do it - yet everything was under the sovereign control of Almighty God. Was He in control? Absolutely. Were they responsible agents, acting freely? Absolutely. This is the mystery of divine sovereignty and human responsibility - we cannot reconcile the two with our human reasoning but, as Spurgeon said, there's no need to reconcile friends, is there?
I humbly suggest that you are asking the reader of the Scriptures to accept two logically incompatible propositions. If you are willing to do that, then the sky is the limit. We can construct an interpretation of the Scriptures that asserts that the sky is blue and the sky is also red.

If God is fully sovereign over every event in the universe in the sense of fore-ordaining it, then it is simply impossible that those who crucified Jesus were not forced to do what they did.

I think that when we start to believe things that simply violate the relevant concepts, we are on our way to trouble. The gospel may be complex, subtle and mysterious, but it is not logically incoherent.

Besides, I see not one item of evidence for the pre-destination position that has not been refuted (or for which we of the "free will" camp have simply not gotten around to addressing).

But, please, put forward your case.

RogerW
Sep 28th 2008, 05:30 PM
But my argument, which I humbly claim remains intact, demonstrates the incoherence of such a position. Where is the error in my argument?


I humbly suggest that you are asking the reader of the Scriptures to accept two logically incompatible propositions. If you are willing to do that, then the sky is the limit. We can construct an interpretation of the Scriptures that asserts that the sky is blue and the sky is also red.

If God is fully sovereign over every event in the universe in the sense of fore-ordaining it, then it is simply impossible that those who crucified Jesus were not forced to do what they did.

I think that when we start to believe things that simply violate the relevant concepts, we are on our way to trouble. The gospel may be complex, subtle and mysterious, but it is not logically incoherent.

Besides, I see not one item of evidence for the pre-destination position that has not been refuted (or for which we of the "free will" camp have simply not gotten around to addressing).

But, please, put forward your case.

Greetings Drew,

Please accept my humble apology for speaking when frustrated. I know better, and I've learned the hard way to season my replies with salt. In this case I spoke without contemplating what to speak, please forgive me if I have offended you.

It seems that you view salvation as chance. In other words, those who become saved do so because they hear and accept what they hear as truth from God. But you recognize that not everybody who hears, accept what they hear as God's truth. Therefore salvation becomes a lottery, where those who choose to accept the truth are saved, and those who choose not to accept the truth remain lost. In this dichotomy, I believe you will argue that God foreknows who will accept the truth and who will reject it. This way you can claim God is Sovereign in salvation, and will certainly save those who will accept the truth. Is this a fair evaluation of your doctrine?

Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Sep 28th 2008, 05:54 PM
But my argument, which I humbly claim remains intact, demonstrates the incoherence of such a position. Where is the error in my argument?

I humbly suggest that you are asking the reader of the Scriptures to accept two logically incompatible propositions. If you are willing to do that, then the sky is the limit. We can construct an interpretation of the Scriptures that asserts that the sky is blue and the sky is also red.

Drew, cannot the sky be blue and also red when it comes to the power of our Sovereign God?



If God is fully sovereign over every event in the universe in the sense of fore-ordaining it, then it is simply impossible that those who crucified Jesus were not forced to do what they did.

No force from God would have been necessary. Just as there was no force from God causing Adam and Eve to sin. God ordained the time for the crucifixion and the means, knowing that leaving men fallen, spiritually dead in trespasses and sins, and under the power of Satan, they would bring to pass what He has ordained. This is one of those occasions where God uses evil to accomplish His redemptive plan. No one is tempted by God to commit sin (Ja 1:13-15). We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are born fallen natural men in Adam, and every choice we make outside of Christ is sin.



I think that when we start to believe things that simply violate the relevant concepts, we are on our way to trouble. The gospel may be complex, subtle and mysterious, but it is not logically incoherent.

What violation are you speaking of? Cannot God make the same sky both red and blue at the same time if chooses to? Was it not the Almighty God Who broke the rules of nature when He parted the sea?



Besides, I see not one item of evidence for the pre-destination position that has not been refuted (or for which we of the "free will" camp have simply not gotten around to addressing).

But, please, put forward your case.

That's because you view God as a God of chance, Who will not intrude upon the free will of man to save them. This God to me would rather leave fallen man in their sins then to make them come to Him for life. You see your free will God as loving and merciful, I see your free will God as weak, and unable to save His people even though He really wants to.

Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Sep 28th 2008, 05:58 PM
I didn't say it could be changed. I said one must live through the process.

Greetings BroRog,

I'm glad you agree it cannot be changed. But I wonder if you understand that predestination is only the beginning? For, "whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Salvation is of the Lord! What He begins He finishes.

Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Sep 28th 2008, 06:05 PM
Well then you stand against Paul, who clearly uses the word "election" in a sense that has nothing to do with eternal life.

Drew, I showed you how the word is used throughout Scripture. In every single instance it speaks of those chosen for eternal life. Yet you want us to believe that in this one instance the definition is something else? Would you agree that would not be consistant?



Why do you deny what Paul clearly states?

I'm not denying at all what Paul clearly states. It is how you intrepret what Paul says that I deny. Why? Because you cannot prove your assumption through Scripture. If elect/election speaks of those chosen unto eternal life in every other occurance of Scripture, why would I throw out this abundance of evidence to embrace your assumption based on what you have been taught through the writings of NT Wright, and his New Perspective on Paul?

Many Blessings,
RW

legoman
Sep 28th 2008, 06:24 PM
Hi drew,


First, let me thank you and Rhyfelwr for actually engaging the argument.


Cool - no problem. Also I would add, sometimes it is very difficult to keep up with the forums, I read many posts I would love to respond to, but just don't have the time. Anyway, just something to keep in mind when the responses don't come quickly... this is a deep subject we are talking about and sometimes I actually have to log off of the internet :) It would be so much easier if we could chat in person...



I agree that we do not know who is destined to tell Fred. Let's say that Joe is the specific person pre-destined to tell Fred. Nobody, not even Joe, knows that Joe is the person pre-destined to tell Fred. But, and this is key, if Joe really is pre-destined to tell the gospel to Fred, he simply does not need to be told to do the thing he has been pre-destined to do.

If someone is pre-destined to do "X", then to instruct him, to tell him, to do X is entirely unncessary and a waste of effort. By virtue of being pre-destined, X will happen. Period

It is the order to instruct that makes no sense in the context of my case (b). I am not denying that Fred still needs to be told, even if he is pre-destined. I am pointing out that there is no need to instruct someone to tell Fred.I think Rhyfelwr and 9Marksfan covered this nicely, I will just expand a bit. By the way I am coming from the perspective that ALL events must be predestined, not just salvation.

I would suggest that in order for a certain event to be predestined (ie. Fred's salvation), all events leading up to that event also need to be predestined. Thus we have Joe being being predestined to tell the gospel to Fred. Likewise, there must be some precondition that happens (ie. is predestined) that causes Joe to tell the gospel to Fred.

But, does predestination mean that everybody is "forced" to make all of their choices? No, it simply means that their plans have already been layed out. We don't expect Joe to all of sudden one day to wake up, walk over to Fred's house (whom he may not even know), and tell him the gospel. There has to be a reason for Joe to tell Fred the gospel. One of the reasons might be that Joe knew we are commanded to spread the gospel, and eventually he bumps into Fred and so forth. That's the key - there has to be a logical reason for it to happen. Joe doesn't temporarily become a robot while he spreads the gospel to Fred. No, he does it of his own "free" (not really free) will.

Now that's not to say Joe might not "accidently" spread the gospel to Fred by a "chance" meeting. If that's what God planned, that's what will happen.

Maybe you've had a so-called "chance" encounter that radically affected your future - to the point that you think it might have been predestined.

9MarksFan had this to say:


9MarksFan said:
The classic example is Christ's suffering and crucifixion - clearly predestined - no question (Acts 2:23, 3:18, 4:28). Now, did the wicked participants feel FORCED to do their wicked work? Of course not! They freely chose to do it - yet everything was under the sovereign control of Almighty God. Was He in control? Absolutely. Were they responsible agents, acting freely? Absolutely. This is the mystery of divine sovereignty and human responsibility - we cannot reconcile the two with our human reasoning but, as Spurgeon said, there's no need to reconcile friends, is there?
And then you replied drew:

I humbly suggest that you are asking the reader of the Scriptures to accept two logically incompatible propositions. If you are willing to do that, then the sky is the limit. We can construct an interpretation of the Scriptures that asserts that the sky is blue and the sky is also red.
I think 9Marksfan was close in his description, but it is not logically incompatible as you suggest.

I would suggest that God is responsible for everything, but the participants are accountable (and also responsible) for what they do. God brings about the circumstances, and we all make our choices. We are accountable for our actions, but God is ultimately responsible for everything. God doesn't have to force anyone to do anything. We just do what comes naturally.

In the case of the crucifixion, I think it would be difficult for anyone to argue that it was not predestined for Christ to be crucified. Just as Joe was predestined to tell Fred the gospel (yet Joe did it willingly), the wicked crucifiers were also predestined to crucify Christ (and they did it willingly). As 9Marksfan said, they did it of there own choice. Given the situation they were in, with all the information and circumstances they could see, they came to the conclusion that they should kill Christ. Maybe its hard to see, but if anyone of us was in the position of the pharisee's, we probably would have plotted Christ's death along with the rest of them.



If God is fully sovereign over every event in the universe in the sense of fore-ordaining it, then it is simply impossible that those who crucified Jesus were not forced to do what they did.
Well we do know that God is fully sovereign (sorry I didn't have a chance to respond to your sovereignty posts a few pages back).

This all comes back to what I was trying to explain in the other thread about "caused" will vs. "free will". If something causes us to make a choice, is it "forced"? Or just "influenced"? Its a fine line.

Think about this. (I don't know if you are married or not but just for instance) You love your wife correct? Was this a free will choice? Did you freely choose to love your wife? Nothing influenced or caused you to love your wife? I dare you to say that to your wife if you are married, you may be sleeping in the doghouse for a few nights :)

The curve of your wife's legs, the way she smiles at you, the way she likes to cook your favorite meal, the way she rubs your back when you are tired, not to mention the emotional bond with her - none of these things had any influence over your choice to love your wife?

Now would you say you were forced against your will to love your wife? No, you were simply reacting to all the pleasant experiences and feelings you get when you are around her. This is the point I am trying to make.

Now we can take the same argument about a positive experience (the love for your wife) and apply it to a negative experience (the events leading to Christ's crucifixion). In the same way, no one forced the wicked to crucify Christ. They had all their own events, choices, and experiences leading up to that day, and that influenced them and lead them to crucify Christ.

And it was all part of God's plan.

Does this make sense, or does it still seem illogical to you?

Legoman

Rhyfelwr
Sep 28th 2008, 06:53 PM
I am so glad I made this thread, it has really helped me to grow in my understanding of the idea of predestination.

Before I didn't really understand what I thought to be Calvinism, I had in the past been a bit suspicious of it but equally something didn't feel right with the limited role of God in salvation as put forward by Arminius etc.

Thank you to all who participated in this thread, these forums are wonderful! :pp

Of course we should all keep discussing, I just wanted to say that...

legoman
Sep 28th 2008, 06:54 PM
Besides, I see not one item of evidence for the pre-destination position that has not been refuted (or for which we of the "free will" camp have simply not gotten around to addressing).

But, please, put forward your case.

Ok that's a bold statement, can't let that one slip past... :)

Perhaps I missed your response before, but there are a number of scriptures that I believe can only be interpreted as everything (including salvation) is predestined. We talked about some in the past, and you mentioned you would respond on them - I may have missed it if you did repond.

First:
Ephesians 1:10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

Now, I know Eric responded to this saying that the "everything" in verse 11 is not really "everything". But he didn't say what it meant, if it wasn't "everything". It seems to me it really is "everything". The context is relating to God's plan and purpose, and "everything" - which is described in verse 10 (all things in heaven and earth). How do you refute this one?

Phil 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Now this is an interesting one, because in verse 12, it says to work out your own salvation, but then in verse 13 it tells us that it is God who works in you for his purpose. He influences us to work according to his purpose. We work out our own salvation, but again God is the one causing or influencing it.

John 6:44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 6:65 He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him."

Verse 44 is really interesting. If you look at the greek, the word for "draws" really means to "drag". No one comes to God unless God drags him! Sounds like we fight and struggle, and God drags us kicking and screaming!

Then this is not to mention all the obvious examples of predestination in the bible: Pharaoh being hardened, Saul's conversion to Paul, Peter denying Christ 3 times, the crucifixion itself, basically ALL of the prophecy in the bible (100s of scriptures)...

And there are of course many other scriptures, especially proverbs and psalms that show God is in control. God directs our steps, knows when we are born/die, etc.

Given all this, for me, it is obvious everything is under God's control, it is all predestined, and God is completely sovereign.

Legoman

Equipped_4_Love
Sep 28th 2008, 07:42 PM
But if before the creation of the world God, as you say, already knew exactly what was going to happen with His creation from start to finish before He even began creation, then He created the lost knowing that they would be damned because of the way in which He had created them. Thus He predestined them to be damned for He did not need to create them. No amount of arguing can avoid that conclusion. Thus you do not escape the problem by taking God's sovereignty from Him. :-))))

Rom. 9:22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and make His pwer known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared (prepared themselves) for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He has prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles.

Notice that the vessels of wrath were prepared, while the vessels of mercy were prepared by Him.
In verse 17, Paul refers to Pharoah, who willingly hardened his heart. He prepared himself for destruction, by not listening to the will of the Lord; therefore, in God's sovereignty, He hardened his heart....so that His power and glory would be displayed. God used Pharoah's hardness to glorify Himself.....but there was still a decision on Pharoah's part to reject the will of God.

It sounds as though you are saying that God created the unsaved so that they could be damned...if I am mistaken, I apologize, but it really does sound like that is what you are saying. The truth is, without Christ, we would all be damned. The only reason why you and I are not damned is because God, in His mercy, provided the sacrifice of Christ, and we responded to it. God did not wave the magic wand over our hearts so that we would respond....we responded on our own, and because of that, the Father drew us.

God endures the wickedness of man so that He might make His mercy known to those who respond to Him. God endured my wickedness so that, in time, He could display His mercy to me. He endures the wickedness of the unsaved that His glory might be made manifest.

God did not create the unsaved specifically for damnation, but He did create them knowing that they would be damned. Do you believe that it was a "cop out" when Paul said in Rom. 9:20:

But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it "Why have you made me like this?"



But the word 'foreknew' is proginosko, not prooida. It does not mean 'knowledge about' beforehand, it means entering into a relationship with someone before hand. And that 'personal foreknowing' preceded the whole train of His saving activity (Romans 8.29).

I wasn't aware of that definition. Thank you for that.


In fact God knew when He created the world that all were destined to be damned. His active 'foreknowing' therefore resulted in a saving of the few out of the many. He chose me, not because He knew that there was something in me that would respond to Him, but in order to work within me through the cross so as to make me respond to Him.

That makes sense. Everything that God does He does to glorify Himself.


No credit goes to me at all. It is all His. And that is what Paul continually points out, for example in Romans 9.18-23. using foreknowledge in its weaker sense is in my view a dodge, and also dishonouring to God, for it suggests that He stood back and watched it happen. And as I have demonstrated above does not avoid the ethical problem.

What, in your opinion, is the ethical problem?


In my view to say 'The Father draws those who were chosen before the world began, based on His foreknowledge of who will and won't accept the grace of God' is to emasculate what Jesus was really saying. What He was saying was that they would accept Him BECAUSE He drew them, and because He had given them to His Son.


But if that's the case, then where does the reality of rejection come in? Does God fashion things so that some might reject Him? I don't think so.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concering His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance
Obviously, one cannot reject Christ without the Lord convicting them in the first place, or offering them the free gift. To say that a person should be held unaccountable because the Father did not draw them is to deny the reality of personal rejection. For example, those people who sit through church, and the altar call comes about. They feel the Holy Spirit convicting them, and the Lord drawing them, but for whatever reason, they refuse to respond.
I believe that the Lord draws those who respond to His conviction.

John 16:8 And when He (the Holy Spirit) has come, then He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement.

drew
Sep 28th 2008, 08:15 PM
for speaking when frustrated. I know better, and I've learned the hard way to season my replies with salt. In this case I spoke without contemplating what to speak, please forgive me if I have offended you.
I appreciate the sentiment, but I never felt you were offensive in any way. I do believe that you sometimes do not engage my arguments, but I have no doubt that you believe otherwise. The point is that while we presently disagree on this issue of doctrine, I see no evidence at that you are acting in any innappropriate way whatsoever. You think your case is sound; I think my case is sound. You are entirely respectful and polite, as always. In fact, I think you are more polite than I am. So please understand, I have never felt offended by anything you have posted (here or elsewhere).


It seems that you view salvation as chance.
I do not believe this and do not believe I have written anything that would lead one to conclude this.


In other words, those who become saved do so because they hear and accept what they hear as truth from God.
Yes, but this does not make it a matter of chance.


But you recognize that not everybody who hears, accept what they hear as God's truth. Therefore salvation becomes a lottery, where those who choose to accept the truth are saved, and those who choose not to accept the truth remain lost.
You appear to be transposing my "lottery analogy" into a context I never intended for it. There is no elements of "chance" in the view I espouse. Salvation is not a lottery - the lottery was a device used by me for other purposes. But I do believe that fallen humans have enough free will to "freely" accept the gift of grace they are offered.


In this dichotomy, I believe you will argue that God foreknows who will accept the truth and who will reject it.
I believe that God does foreknow this, yes.


This way you can claim God is Sovereign in salvation, and will certainly save those who will accept the truth.
Actually, I am not sure that I hold to the "pre-destination through foreknowledge" position. I think something a lot more sophisticated may be going on. I hope to write more in a later post.

drew
Sep 28th 2008, 08:24 PM
Drew, I showed you how the word is used throughout Scripture. In every single instance it speaks of those chosen for eternal life. Yet you want us to believe that in this one instance the definition is something else? Would you agree that would not be consistant?
I believe that all your arguments are essentially circular. The situation is kind of like the following one. Consider six people sitting at a circular dining table. There are six dinner rolls on the table, laid out such that each person will see a dinner roll on his left and one on his right. I assume you know what I mean.

No one knows if they are supposed to take the roll on the left or the right. But once one person makes an "arbitrary" decision to choose one of the two rolls, everybody else makes the same choice. So if Fred decides to lake the left roll, everyone else takes the left roll. What is going on? Fred's initial commitment to act one way (as opposed to the other) establishes a precedent such that everyone needs to "take the left roll" in order for everybody to eat.

I trust the analogy is clear. If, even in one small text, one makes an otherwise unjustified interpretation that "election" means "election of people to eternal life", that sets the domino effect going.

RogerW
Sep 28th 2008, 08:31 PM
Rom. 9:22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and make His pwer known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared (prepared themselves) for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He has prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles.

Notice that the vessels of wrath were prepared, while the vessels of mercy were prepared by Him.

Greetings Welder,

I find it so incredible that we can read and study the Word of God for years, and still find things we had never before seen. I had never noticed "He" before prepared when speaking of the vessels unto glory. That makes sense, but I think we must also look carefully at the verse before.

The Potter (God) is molding both vessels from the same lump. Is God unjust? I mean He is the Potter, why does He mold [prepare] only some vessels for honor?

Ro 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

The Bible translation I use says, "vessels of wrath fitted to destruction". That's a different word than "prepared." Does it make a difference? I think it does. "Fitted" means to complete thoroughly. "Prepared" means to lift up in advance; to ordain. It seems those vessels unto dishonor are complete, but they are not ordained to be vessels unto honor. To fully understand this is the proper reading, we examine the following vs 24. The calling in this verse is to call by name.

Ro 9:24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

The passage tells us that God created man. His creation was not marred, or defective, man was thoroughly complete. In fact God tells us that all He created was "very good." God knew before He created man that man would fall. If He did not know this before man fell, it makes no sense that Christ is the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. This tells us God knew an answer to the problem of sin was needed even before any sin existed.

Man was created thoroughly complete, but only those whom He calls by name were prepared (ordained) for glory, and the rest of humanity left unto dishonor. Why would God do this? Why not prepare every man for honor? Because just like in the case of Pharaoh, God uses those who will receive His wrath to make known His glory and mercy to the vessels of His love. God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy and compassion on whom He will have compassion. Salvation is of the Lord!

Time prevents me from replying to some of the other points you have made. I hope to do so later this evening. For now, I hope I have given you some things to consider.

Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Sep 28th 2008, 09:05 PM
I believe that all your arguments are essentially circular. The situation is kind of like the following one. Consider six people sitting at a circular dining table. There are six dinner rolls on the table, laid out such that each person will see a dinner roll on his left and one on his right. I assume you know what I mean.

No one knows if they are supposed to take the roll on the left or the right. But once one person makes an "arbitrary" decision to choose one of the two rolls, everybody else makes the same choice. So if Fred decides to lake the left roll, everyone else takes the left roll. What is going on? Fred's initial commitment to act one way (as opposed to the other) establishes a precedent such that everyone needs to "take the left roll" in order for everybody to eat.

I trust the analogy is clear. If, even in one small text, one makes an otherwise unjustified interpretation that "election" means "election of people to eternal life", that sets the domino effect going.

Hi Drew,

I had to quickly respond to this. In your analogy you've left the choice to the one seated at the table. What does it mean when one of those seated at the table decides to take the roll on the right, even though one has already taken the roll on the left, setting a precedent? We would all make the same choice...UNLESS something determines we will not. In giving His own eternal life God goes against precedent, and against the domino effect that fallen nature has established.

Many Blessings,
RW

BroRog
Sep 28th 2008, 09:28 PM
Hi Drew,

I had to quickly respond to this. In your analogy you've left the choice to the one seated at the table. What does it mean when one of those seated at the table decides to take the roll on the right, even though one has already taken the roll on the left, setting a precedent? We would all make the same choice...UNLESS something determines we will not. In giving His own eternal life God goes against precedent, and against the domino effect that fallen nature has established.

Many Blessings,
RW

I think Drew's analogy assumes that once any one person takes a role, the choice has been made for everyone else, assuming that each person will end up with one and only one role. The logic of his analogy can be seen if we limit the number of persons at the table to two. Logically, the first person to pick a role has the choice of which role to take. Once the first person chooses, the second person is left with only one role on the table, essentially eliminating the opportunity for choice.

9Marksfan
Sep 28th 2008, 10:10 PM
But my argument, which I humbly claim remains intact, demonstrates the incoherence of such a position. Where is the error in my argument?

You are insisting that God accomplishes His predestinated will without using means - this is manifestly not what Scripture teaches.


I humbly suggest that you are asking the reader of the Scriptures to accept two logically incompatible propositions.

By human reasoning, possibly - but not by divine.


If you are willing to do that, then the sky is the limit. We can construct an interpretation of the Scriptures that asserts that the sky is blue and the sky is also red.

Now we're resorting to ridicule - tsk tsk :rolleyes:


If God is fully sovereign over every event in the universe in the sense of fore-ordaining it, then it is simply impossible that those who crucified Jesus were not forced to do what they did.

Do you think that the Jewish leaders, the Roman soldiers and the crowds felt FORCED to do what they did? Why do you refute that - from their perspective - they FREELY CHOSE to crucify Christ?


I think that when we start to believe things that simply violate the relevant concepts, we are on our way to trouble. The gospel may be complex, subtle and mysterious, but it is not logically incoherent.

I refute that predestination and human agency are logically incompatible. I used to think they were, but no longer - do you consider I have lost my mind?!?


Besides, I see not one item of evidence for the pre-destination position that has not been refuted (or for which we of the "free will" camp have simply not gotten around to addressing).

But, please, put forward your case.

Acts 2:23, 3:18 and 4:28. All passages teach predestination AND human agency.

9Marksfan
Sep 28th 2008, 10:12 PM
I am so glad I made this thread, it has really helped me to grow in my understanding of the idea of predestination.

Before I didn't really understand what I thought to be Calvinism, I had in the past been a bit suspicious of it but equally something didn't feel right with the limited role of God in salvation as put forward by Arminius etc.

Thank you to all who participated in this thread, these forums are wonderful! :pp

Of course we should all keep discussing, I just wanted to say that...

Glad you're finding the Forums helpful - that's what they're here for! :)

Ethnikos
Sep 28th 2008, 10:27 PM
I really do not want to counter anyone's post on this thread but just give my opinion. In Acts you see Peter and John preaching the Gospel and in Chapter 2 verse 23 you see a certain concept being put forward: "...Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain..."
God and Christ did not just foretell, by looking into the future, that Jesus would be crucified but actually planned it. God planned that we would ultimately be saved and did not use some power to just see it.

9Marksfan
Sep 28th 2008, 10:56 PM
I really do not want to counter anyone's post on this thread but just give my opinion. In Acts you see Peter and John preaching the Gospel and in Chapter 2 verse 23 you see a certain concept being put forward: "...Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain..."
God and Christ did not just foretell, by looking into the future, that Jesus would be crucified but actually planned it. God planned that we would be ultimately be saved and did not use some power to just see it.

Excellent point, Ethnikos - well said!

RogerW
Sep 29th 2008, 12:48 AM
It sounds as though you are saying that God created the unsaved so that they could be damned...if I am mistaken, I apologize, but it really does sound like that is what you are saying. The truth is, without Christ, we would all be damned. The only reason why you and I are not damned is because God, in His mercy, provided the sacrifice of Christ, and we responded to it. God did not wave the magic wand over our hearts so that we would respond....we responded on our own, and because of that, the Father drew us.

Greetings Welder,

Some will argue for double predestination. I am not among them. I agree that God did not create any man to be damned. It is true that without Christ every man would be damned. You say we respond to Christ on our own and then the Father draws us. How can that be, since Scripture tells us that no man will come to Christ unless the Father draw him? Did you mean to say we are first drawn by the Father, hear the Word, then given eternal life through the power of the Word and Holy Spirit?



God endures the wickedness of man so that He might make His mercy known to those who respond to Him. God endured my wickedness so that, in time, He could display His mercy to me. He endures the wickedness of the unsaved that His glory might be made manifest.

Would you agree that fallen man, spiritually dead in trespasses and sins cannot respond to Him, unless we are made able?



God did not create the unsaved specifically for damnation, but He did create them knowing that they would be damned. Do you believe that it was a "cop out" when Paul said in Rom. 9:20:

But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it "Why have you made me like this?"

I agree. Every man shares in the same fate unless God gives them life in Christ.



But if that's the case, then where does the reality of rejection come in? Does God fashion things so that some might reject Him? I don't think so.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concering His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance

Obviously, one cannot reject Christ without the Lord convicting them in the first place, or offering them the free gift.

Where does Scripture tell us that Christ 'offers' eternal life to every man? Doesn't Scripture affirm again and again that the Lord 'gives' eternal life to all who believe? Why are you making salvation a mere offer that one may accept or reject? Christ uses physical birth to show us the reality of spiritual re-birth. Is physical birth offered or given? I assume you will agree that it is given. Is physical birth something we must accept or reject? Again I assume you will say no. The same is true in spiritual re-birth...it is given, and we are not asked whether we want to accept it or not.



To say that a person should be held unaccountable because the Father did not draw them is to deny the reality of personal rejection.

We are not condemned because we have sinned, we are condemned because we have no covering for our sins. Don't get me wrong here. When we are saved we will not continue in sin. If we don't hate our sin and long to be free from them, then it is probably because we have never received forgiveness in Christ. If we were condemned because we reject His mercy, who can be saved?



For example, those people who sit through church, and the altar call comes about. They feel the Holy Spirit convicting them, and the Lord drawing them, but for whatever reason, they refuse to respond.
I believe that the Lord draws those who respond to His conviction.

John 16:8 And when He (the Holy Spirit) has come, then He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement.

So are you saying that if we feel convicted and given the opportunity to make profession through an altar call, and we do not, then we are not saved?

Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Sep 29th 2008, 12:57 AM
I am so glad I made this thread, it has really helped me to grow in my understanding of the idea of predestination.

Before I didn't really understand what I thought to be Calvinism, I had in the past been a bit suspicious of it but equally something didn't feel right with the limited role of God in salvation as put forward by Arminius etc.

Thank you to all who participated in this thread, these forums are wonderful! :pp

Of course we should all keep discussing, I just wanted to say that...

Rhyfelwr,

What a blessing to hear you're being blessed by these discussions. I don't care much for labels; i.e. Calvinism, Arminianism, but I know exactly what you mean. When I was first introduced to the Sovereign Grace of God Alone, I called it heresy. I had a few excellent, and very patient teachers, who kept telling me not to take their word for these doctrines, but to search the Word for myself. The real delight for me was that once I understood the providence of God, the sovereignty of God in all things, as espoused in Reformed Doctrine, then things that appeared to be contradictions in the Word completely disappeared. For this reason I continue to show those who believe in free will all the contradictions their doctrine forces into Scripture. I'm so glad that you too are beginning to see these doctrines clearly.

Many, Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Sep 29th 2008, 01:05 AM
I think Drew's analogy assumes that once any one person takes a role, the choice has been made for everyone else, assuming that each person will end up with one and only one role. The logic of his analogy can be seen if we limit the number of persons at the table to two. Logically, the first person to pick a role has the choice of which role to take. Once the first person chooses, the second person is left with only one role on the table, essentially eliminating the opportunity for choice.

Greetings BroRog,

It was Adam and Eve who disobeyed, and it is true through their disobedience all of their offspring are born spiritually dead in trespasses and sins. To carry this to its logical conclusion, now no man born in Adam can make any other choice. In fact every choice they make will be marred by sin, even the things that appear righteous are considered to be but filthy rags to God. So, yes, I would agree a certain precedence has been established, and it cannot be undone...except in Christ. We don't choose Him, we can't choose Him, but He certainly can and does change the precedence that has been established by choosing us. All praise to Him Alone! For salvation is of the Lord!

Many Blessings,
RW

drew
Sep 29th 2008, 03:27 PM
You are insisting that God accomplishes His predestinated will without using means - this is manifestly not what Scripture teaches.
Simply untrue. A careful reading of my argument shows that I explicitly address the use of means and show how that still leads to incoherence. Please do not misrepresent me. Please demonstrate where the error in my argument is.

divaD
Sep 29th 2008, 04:12 PM
Greetings BroRog,

It was Adam and Eve who disobeyed, and it is true through their disobedience all of their offspring are born spiritually dead in trespasses and sins. To carry this to its logical conclusion, now no man born in Adam can make any other choice. In fact every choice they make will be marred by sin, even the things that appear righteous are considered to be but filthy rags to God. So, yes, I would agree a certain precedence has been established, and it cannot be undone...except in Christ. We don't choose Him, we can't choose Him, but He certainly can and does change the precedence that has been established by choosing us. All praise to Him Alone! For salvation is of the Lord!

Many Blessings,
RW




RW, do you know the biggest issue I see with this? God created man and called it good, meaning He was well pleased with what He created and formed. Adam and Eve weren't created and formed as fallen. They became this way. How? Because the woman was deceived by the serpent. The man also partook, even tho he wasn't deceived. He listened to the woman instead of God. Sin entered thru Adam via the serpent. The serpent was how sin entered into mankind. Think of it like a computer virus, all it takes in one infected file to infect every file on one's computer. Did the computer start out with a virus? Was the whole purpose in designing the computer in the first place, in order for it to get a virus and to be infected? How did it get a virus in the first place? Thru someone with evil intentions. How did sin enter the world in the first place? Thru someone with evil intentions. Whom would that be? Surely not God, right? That then leaves the serpent, the devil. And that's exactly what it implies in Gen ch 3. Sin entered man via the serpent, and not thru or because of God.

drew
Sep 29th 2008, 04:29 PM
I think Drew's analogy assumes that once any one person takes a role, the choice has been made for everyone else, assuming that each person will end up with one and only one role. The logic of his analogy can be seen if we limit the number of persons at the table to two. Logically, the first person to pick a role has the choice of which role to take. Once the first person chooses, the second person is left with only one role on the table, essentially eliminating the opportunity for choice.
I would like to clarify a little, if you good men and true (and ladies) will indulge me.

I was trying to illustrate a flawed approach to making a scriptural case. Let's say that there are 100 texts in the Scriptures which in and of themselves, as isolated texts, are inherently ambiguous as to whether they affirm position A or position B. This is, of course, not only possible, it is often the case.

Let's take something germane to topic at hand:

What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory

Despite protestations to the contrary, this text does not, by itself, support the notion of election of individuals to glory. It has been clearly shown in a number of posts that this text could be read as supporting the assertion that there is a set, whose individual members are un-specified, that is "elected" to glory.

Think of the 2017 version of the New York Yankees. God could say "I have pre-destined that a set of persons, known collectively as the NY Yankees, will play ball in 2017." He does not have to specify the individuals in that set. This has already been demonstrated by an argument that, I believe, stands unurefuted. I know this stretches one thinking, but there it is.

And, of course, the Romans text could support the view that, indeed, the individual persons are indeed elected to glory.

Unless you can disprove my "New York Yankees" argument, or show (without begging the question!) that it is not an appropriate analogy, it seems clear that the Romans 9 text here is inherently ambiguous.

So now to return to the 100 texts that are ambiguous in respect to A and B. Suppose "Fred" arbitrarily decides to interpret text number 1 as supporting position A. He will then apply the "scripture interprets scripture" argument and say something like "Text 2 supports position A in light of Text 1". And "Text 3 supports position A in light of Text 1 and Text 2." And so on.

There is a kind of "dog chasing its own tail" going on here. What is really an arbitrary decision in respect to Text 1 has snowballed and Fred mounts an argument that all 100 texts, which are actually each ambiguous as individual texts, support position A.

And this is precisely what I assert is being done here in respect to the matter of the pre-destination doctrine.

drew
Sep 29th 2008, 05:06 PM
By the way I am coming from the perspective that ALL events must be predestined, not just salvation.


I would suggest that God is responsible for everything, but the participants are accountable (and also responsible) for what they do. God brings about the circumstances, and we all make our choices.
I do not see to how to reconcile these two statements of yours.

If, by your first statement, all events are indeed pre-destined, then there simply can be no matters of choice remaining open as your second statement asserts that there are.

drew
Sep 29th 2008, 05:09 PM
Ok that's a bold statement, can't let that one slip past... :)

Perhaps I missed your response before, but there are a number of scriptures that I believe can only be interpreted as everything (including salvation) is predestined. We talked about some in the past, and you mentioned you would respond on them - I may have missed it if you did repond.

First:
Ephesians 1:10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,
Fair enough, I have not yet presented my arguments about this text in detail. I did make one post about it in which I set forth my claim: In Ephesians 1, Paul is talking about a "we" that is limited to a very specific set of New Testament prophets and writers. So while I think there is indeed "true pre-destination" going on here, one cannot generalize from this to conclude that God pre-destines Christians in general.

My argument for this covers multiple posts, but I plan to provide it shortly.

drew
Sep 29th 2008, 05:30 PM
The Potter (God) is molding both vessels from the same lump. Is God unjust? I mean He is the Potter, why does He mold [prepare] only some vessels for honor?

Ro 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Paul is not talking about individuals here - he is talking about Israel. And he is drawing a long Scriptural tradition of God characterizing the relationship between Himself and Israel as like the relationship between the potter and a pot. There are so many reasons to think this text is specifically about Israel that I do not know where to begin.

But lets start with Old Testament precedent. Given that Paul is a highly articulate writer, deeply knowledgeable about the Old Testament, why would he use a metaphor, specifically evocative of God's relationship with Israel, to make a point that, after all, is not Israel-specific?

To hold the view that the Romans 9 pot refers to individuals that may have no connection to Israel is to effectively think that Paul is either misleading or not so sharp in the head. But, of course, those who hold such a view also think that Paul does not mean what he says about the nature of the election of Jacob and Esau earlier in the chapter.

Here are some texts demonstrating the Old Testament precedent of the potter metaphor. All of them are about the nation of Israel.

The Lord says:
"These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is made up only of rules taught by men.

14 Therefore once more I will astound these people
with wonder upon wonder;
the wisdom of the wise will perish,
the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish."
15 Woe to those who go to great depths
to hide their plans from the LORD,
who do their work in darkness and think,
"Who sees us? Who will know?" 16 You turn things upside down,
as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
[B]Shall what is formed say to him who formed it,
"He did not make me"?
Can the pot say of the potter,
"He knows nothing"?

This is about the Jews - the nation of Israel.

This next text is from Isaiah 30. The NIV translators gave the title "Woe to the Obstinate Nation" to this chapter. Again, this is about Israel:

Therefore, this is what the Holy One of Israel says:
"Because you have rejected this message,
relied on oppression
and depended on deceit,

13 this sin will become for you
like a high wall, cracked and bulging,
that collapses suddenly, in an instant. 14 It will break in pieces like pottery,
shattered so mercilessly

And this one from Jeremiah is particularly clear:

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD : 2 "Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message." 3 So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
5 Then the word of the LORD came to me: 6 "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

In light of the clear Israel-specificity of these texts, one has to ask this question: "Would the highly articulate and knowedgeable Paul draw on an Old Testament that has been repeatedly used in respect to Israel to make a point about individuals, both Jew and Gentile, being elected to heaven and hell?" And to make matters worse, would Paul do this when it would most misleading - after introducing the chapter as a treatment of the status of Israel?

This latter point cannot be emphasized enough - Romans 9 is introduced as being about Israel and Israel is the focus all the way through. So if Paul submitted Romans 9 to even a high school english teacher and later claimed that the pot in verse 21 had nothing to do with Israel, I suggest Paul would be rebuked for bad composition.

The teacher would rightly say to Paul "Young man, you have been talking about Israel all through this chapter. And you know full well about all those Old Testament texts where the potter / pot metahor is about God and Israel. So why in the world would you expect the reader to think that you are talking about the pots being specific individuals, most with no connection at all to Israel?".

Would you write Romans 9 that way? I wouldn't.

drew
Sep 29th 2008, 05:44 PM
I refute that predestination and human agency are logically incompatible. I used to think they were, but no longer - do you consider I have lost my mind?!?

Consider the following two statements:

S1: God is the fully sufficient cause of all events in the Universe. There is no other "person" who, through an act of free will, has any causal input whatsoever into any event.

S2: Human beings have some degree of "free will" to determine their own actions.

These statements contradict one another. To assert S2 is to refute S1. And to assert S1 is to refute S2.

Let me ask you directly. Which of these statements do you believe to be true?

John146
Sep 29th 2008, 05:44 PM
Eric, your argument is with the Word of God. "Esau have I hated."No, my argument is with your interpretation of the Word of God. "God so loved the world". "Love your enemies".


Again Eric, your argument is with the Word of God.Again, my argument is with your interpretation of the Word of God. Your opinions and interpretations and the Word of God itself are not equals. Let God decide if I'm arguing with His Word. That's not for you to say. You can say that it is your opinion that I'm arguing with scripture, but that's all it is: your opinion.


There was no place of repentance found for Esau, even though he sought it with tears (Heb 12:17). Surely, if God does not really hate Esau, He would have accepted his repentance, and given him the inheritance he sought. That related directly to his birthright, not to salvation. There was nothing he could do to get his birthright back.


Isa 65:9 And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.

Esau is the son of Isaac, who is the son of Abraham, who is the father of the nation. The nation did not exist until Jacob fathered the twelve sons, so would you also argue that Abraham does not represent Israel in any way shape or form? Esau symbolizes the unsaved, all of the unsaved, therefore hated by God. I'm going to go with what scripture itself says Esau symbolized and not with what you say he symbolized. Genesis 25:23 clearly tells us that Jacob and Esau represented nations. Physical nations. Jacob represented Israel and Esau represented Edom. Your view would demand that all descendants of Israel were elect and all descendants of Edom were not, but scripture does not say that. Clearly, there were plenty of non-elect in Israel, including people like the Pharisees.

Genesis 25:23 clearly shows that the distinction between the two nations was not that all the people of one nation were elect and all the people of the other were not elect. No, the distinction was that one nation, Israel, was stronger (more powerful) than the other.


You don't have to waste anymore time, I understand. But for others reading here, consider. I've already shown one verse showing Jacob being identified with the elect.With the elect nation, Israel. Not with those elect to salvation. In regards to salvation it is in Isaac that the seed shall be called (Romans 9:6-8).


The following passage show us that the LORD God makes Himself known to Israel (Jacob), and calls Jacob (Israel) mine elect. God even tells us how he called Jacob and addresses him by and additional name, Israel. (See Strong's Hebrew #3655)

Isa 45:3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
Isa 45:4 For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.

Israel is a symbolical name for Jacob - Strong's Hebrew #3478

Jacob symbolizes the predestined elect people of God, loved by God.Those verses show that he symbolized the nation of Israel itself. But not all people in Israel were elect.


And Esau symbolizes those left in unbelief, hated by God. I realize it is hard for some to accept that God does indeed say He hates some people. But clearly God tells us He hates Esau, and there are other passages that speak of God hating some; i.e. consider for instance that God hates all workers of iniquity (Ps 5:5).

Many Blessings,
RWRoger, God hates iniquity but He loves people. He does punish people who continue to refuse to repent. If you want to see that as God hating them, so be it. But when it says God "hated" Esau, Romans 9:11 makes it clear that it wasn't based on anything he had done. But nowhere does it teach that God either hates or punishes anyone without cause. That idea is completely contrary to the character of God taught in scripture. Agree?

Look at this verse:

Luke 14:26
If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Is Jesus teaching us in this verse to literally hate our families? Of course not. He was only showing that we should not love them as much as or more than we love Him. I can give other examples, but the point is that you need to dig further to find out the true meaning of these scriptures and not just skim the surface. God loved Jacob and hated Esau in a similar way that we should love Christ and hate our families. The words love and hate are used in passages like these as points of comparison and are not to be taken literally.

God loving Jacob and hating Esau had to do with God blessing Jacob with having the nation of Israel descend from him while denying this privilege to Esau. God loving Jacob and hating Esau only had to do with the older having to serve the younger. It had nothing to do with literal love or hate of their souls. There is no indication anywhere in scripture that God treated Esau with hate and contempt. He was actually blessed with wealth (God gave him a large amount of land) and good health.

Can you please answer this question: Why would God hate His enemies and then tell us to love our enemies? Is God a hypocrite? He doesn't hate anyone, but He will certainly punish people because He is holy and has standards that He expects people to meet. He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11) including the wicked that He has killed Himself.

drew
Sep 29th 2008, 05:59 PM
Is Jesus teaching us in this verse to literally hate our families? Of course not. He was only showing that we should not love them as much as or more than we love Him. I can give other examples, but the point is that you need to dig further to find out the true meaning of these scriptures and not just skim the surface. God loved Jacob and hated Esau in a similar way that we should love Christ and hate our families. The words love and hate are used in passages like these as points of comparison and are not to be taken literally.
Correct. And this is why it is so important to know about about the culture from which the scriptures spring. The Hebrew culture was one where exaggerated over the top imagery was common coin. Hence you have all sorts of text in both testaments using apocalyptic imagery such as stars falling to the earth to symbolize much more mundane events - such as the fall of Jerusalemi n 70 AD.

But we tend to look at the scriptures as 21st century westerners. And we get tripped up by texts such as the one about God "loving" Jacob and hating "Esau".

legoman
Sep 29th 2008, 05:59 PM
Originally Posted by legoman http://bibleforums.org/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?p=1804475#post1804475)
By the way I am coming from the perspective that ALL events must be predestined, not just salvation.


Originally Posted by legoman http://bibleforums.org/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?p=1804475#post1804475)
I would suggest that God is responsible for everything, but the participants are accountable (and also responsible) for what they do. God brings about the circumstances, and we all make our choices.
I do not see to how to reconcile these two statements of yours.

If, by your first statement, all events are indeed pre-destined, then there simply can be no matters of choice remaining open as your second statement asserts that there are.

There shouldn't be any problem reconciling those 2 statements. We still make the choices, even if it was predestined, no?

Say I have a choice to do A or B. I chose to do A. Yay, I made a decision!

Now, from my perspective, does it matter or not if that choice was predestined (ie. I was destined to chose A at that moment in time)? No it doesn't matter one bit. I made the choice (A) of my own will. It was my choice completely. From my perspective, it doesn't matter that it was predestined. At that moment in time, I looked at the circumstances, weighed the options, and decided to make choice A over choice B.

Now was it ever possible for me to make choice B instead? No, because I made choice A. I weighed the options, looked at the circumstances, and determined choice A was the path forward.

Now choice A and choice B could represent good/sinful behavior. Again we still made the choice to do one or the other.

If you've read sci-fi/time travel stuff before, predestination is an interesting variant. Movies like Back to the Future have multiple time lines, time lines being forked etc. ie. you can change the future/past.

Predestination assumes a single time line, and nothing can change that time line. But no one in that time line is being forced to do anything. They are just making the choices that cause that single time line.

And since God is outside of the time line, he can view it all at once, and knows it all in advance. He is the creator of the time line. Therefore he is ultimately responsible for everything that happens in that time line.

Don't know if that helps or confuses things more :)

Legoman

John146
Sep 29th 2008, 06:15 PM
Did the nation serve the LORD because they were true believers? Did the nation truly serve the LORD from a changed heart or as a true believer?

I would say yes, IF they are serving Him in righteousness and truth.

I would agree. Do you believe the choice the nation made to put away their idols and serve the LORD was unto eternal life?

Eric, the nation chose to serve the LORD for what they could get. Much like when Christ came performing miracles and they followed Him because He fed them, and healed their infirmities. The nation, like all men were born in Adam, with fallen nature in bondage to Satan, sin and death. They, like we have no ability to choose the LORD for eternal life. I will continue to make this point until hopefully if not you others may get it.

If choosing to serve the LORD had given the nation eternal life, then why did they serve Him only until Joshua died? Does it not occur to you that if Joshua was offering them eternal life if they served the LORD with all their hearts, and turned away from serving their idols, that salvation would have come through their obedience to the law? Does not Scripture tell us that keeping the law will not save us?

Jg 2:11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim:
Jg 2:12 And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.

Ro 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

Ro 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
Ro 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Blessings,
RWWhere did I say anything about the law and where did I say anything about a nation making a choice rather than individuals? You completely misunderstood everything I said, apparently.

Joshua was telling each person to make a choice between who they would serve with all their hearts, souls and minds. Anyone who would forsake idols and gives their hearts to the Lord for service would be saved. That's the perspective I'm speaking about.

You took things in a completely different direction than what I was talking about. Is it possible for someone to choose to serve the LORD rather than false gods and not be saved? I'm not talking about giving the Lord lip service and supposedly serving Him for awhile and then turning back. I'm talking about an intentional surrender to the Lord while putting one's faith and trust in Him with the intention of serving Him and only Him for the rest of one's life. That is what I believe Joshua had in mind. I believe he was trying to get them to make up their minds once and for all who they wanted to serve and who they wanted to be their God (or gods).

drew
Sep 29th 2008, 06:24 PM
There shouldn't be any problem reconciling those 2 statements. We still make the choices, even if it was predestined, no?

Say I have a choice to do A or B. I chose to do A. Yay, I made a decision!
Well, it depends on what you mean by the word "choice". There are those who play both sides on this issue (perhaps you are not one). This is what they do:

1. They assert the compatibility of full-on divine predestination with human "choice";

2. They use the fact of human choice to justify our moral accountability.

By doing this, they get to "have their cake and eat it too". Surely I do not have to explain what is wrong with such reasoning.

By the rest of your post, I think I understand what you are saying. And I understand how what is in fact pre-destined can appear to be a "choice" to the one making the choice.

As long as you do not try to argue for any human accountability here, you are fine. You are taking a position that all events are pre-destined. By doing so, you cannot introduce the concept of human moral accountability.

John146
Sep 29th 2008, 06:41 PM
Further thought on the election of Esau and Jacob:

It could not possibly be more clear that, in the reference to them in Romans 9, the eternal status of Jacob and Esau is nowhere on Paul's mind. The following text does not even address the issue of eternal destinies of Jacob or Esau. Paul tells us what they are "elected to" - that one will serve the other. Why people think that they need to correct Paul on this is indeed a great mystery.

Let's look at the text:

Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger." 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.

Imagine Paul sitting there with his scribe, having just dictated "in order that God's purpose in election might stand". Where does this statement leave the reader? Obviously, it leaves the reader asking "Well, what is that purpose? What is God "choosing" or "selecting" Jacob and Esau for, exactly?"

So Paul answers this question. He says that the election was not based on "works" (the works of Torah) but rather on the specific calling of God. And then Paul tells us what God has "called" or chosen or "elected" Jacob and Esau for.

They were chosen / selected / elected to a state where "the older will serve the younger". Eternal destiny is nowhere in sight.

If Paul is addressing selection or election to eternal life or eternal loss, you have to believe that, after raising the topic of God’s purpose in election, Paul has suffered a sudden bout of amnesia and makes an entirely unannounced and immediate transition to a different subject altogether - the issue of something else that God selected these two for. That is, one serving the other.

What kind of a writer would do that ? First, state that God has one purpose in selection (election) for two people, and then spell out the details of an entirely different election?

Paul is not whacked in the head. He raises the question of election and then tells us immediately what the election is about. And, of course, it has nothing whatsoever to do with eternal life.

It is simply that Esau has been elected to serve Jacob.

But you need take my word for it. Just read Paul's own words and take them seriously.Exactly. People so often just skim the surface of scripture and draw conclusions.

Oh, it mentions Jacob and Esau, who were two individual people, by name and talks about them in terms of election based on nothing they had done so it must be all about those two individuals with one being predestined to salvation and one to damnation without being based on any choices they made! It's so clear, right?

Until you look closer at the surrounding context as well as the related OT scriptures (Malachi 1, Genesis 25) and realize that is not the case and it has to do with two nations, Israel and Edom, with one being stronger than the other and has to do with the older, Esau, serving the younger, Jacob. It never even mentions salvation, damnation or eternal individual destinies at all! The context of Romans 9 is being entirely missed.

John146
Sep 29th 2008, 06:54 PM
They're not conditions - they're COMMANDS!!!!!!Take it easy. They're actually both conditions and commands. He commands all people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30) and desires everyone to do so (2 Peter 3:9) while no one can be saved without doing so (2 Cor 7:9-10). Yet not everyone does. He doesn't force everyone to obey and we know that not everyone obeys the command. Not everyone meets this condition that must be met in order for salvation to occur.

There's no need to get caught up in semantics. The point is that all people have the responsibility to respond to God's call with repentance and faith. But many refuse to do so. Many are called, but few are chosen (Matt 20:16, Matt 22:14).

legoman
Sep 29th 2008, 06:57 PM
Well, it depends on what you mean by the word "choice". There are those who play both sides on this issue (perhaps you are not one). This is what they do:

1. They assert the compatibility of full-on divine predestination with human "choice";

2. They use the fact of human choice to justify our moral accountability.

By doing this, they get to "have their cake and eat it too". Surely I do not have to explain what is wrong with such reasoning.

By the rest of your post, I think I understand what you are saying. And I understand how what is in fact pre-destined can appear to be a "choice" to the one making the choice.

As long as you do not try to argue for any human accountability here, you are fine. You are taking a position that all events are pre-destined. By doing so, you cannot introduce the concept of human moral accountability. While many people do not hold to such a position, at least its internally consistent.

Well I thought the definition of "choice" was pretty well understood. Choice: to select between two or more alternatives. To make a decision.

However we are accountable for our choices. This is independent of whether the choice was predestined or not.

If I chose A over B, I made the decision (not God or anyone else) to make choice A. As I was trying to point out before, from our perspecitve, it doesn't really matter if the choice was predestined or not. I was the one who made the choice. Therefore I must live with the consequences, and am accountable for it.

Maybe this appears inconsistent to you, but only if you assume "predestination = no choice", or "predestination = we are robots".

Predestination doesn't mean we are robots.

Predestination doesn't mean we are forced to make choices.

Predestination doesn't mean we don't have any moral accountability.

It simply means we are destined to make the choices we make.

Legoman

drew
Sep 29th 2008, 07:04 PM
However we are accountable for our choices. This is independent of whether the choice was predestined or not.

If I chose A over B, I made the decision (not God or anyone else) to make choice A. As I was trying to point out before, from our perspecitve, it doesn't really matter if the choice was predestined or not. I was the one who made the choice. Therefore I must live with the consequences, and am accountable for it.
I do not think this can be correct. I humbly suggest that you are playing the 2 sides here when you say "I made the decision" as if that meant you have moral accountabilty.

I am afraid you have given up that possibility when you bought into the notion that God is the fully sufficient cause of all events in the universe. You are merely a "pawn" in such a universe. How can you be accountable?

Let us be fair to the relevant concepts here: the very concept of accountability has the notion of free will agency built into it.

Suppose I declared that Hurricane Ike was morally accountable for the destruction it brought about. You would think I was nuts. Why? Precisely because Hurricane Ike is not a free moral agent. It is bunch of wind and rain playing the role it was......wait for it.....predestined to play out.

drew
Sep 29th 2008, 07:06 PM
Predestination doesn't mean we are robots.

Predestination doesn't mean we are forced to make choices.

Predestination doesn't mean we don't have any moral accountability.

It simply means we are destined to make the choices we make.

Legoman
Sorry, you have entirely lost me here. It is obvious that either you have a different notion of what it means for God to pre-destine every event in the universe, or, if not, we do not even agree on what the basic principles of rational argument are.

legoman
Sep 29th 2008, 07:38 PM
I do not think this can be correct. I humbly suggest that you are playing the 2 sides here when you say "I made the decision" as if that meant you have moral accountabilty.

I am afraid you have given up that possibility when you bought into the notion that God is the fully sufficient cause of all events in the universe. You are merely a "pawn" in such a universe. How can you be accountable?

Let us be fair to the relevant concepts here: the very concept of accountability has the notion of free will agency built into it.

Suppose I declared that Hurricane Ike was morally accountable for the destruction it brought about. You would think I was nuts. Why? Precisely because Hurricane Ike is not a free moral agent. It is bunch of wind and rain playing the role it was......wait for it.....predestined to play out.

LOL. Yes Ike was predestined to do its thing. But Hurricaine Ike is not a moral being, we are. We have a brain and a heart and a conscience and a spirit and a soul. We know (or should know) the difference between right and wrong.

You could call us all "pawns" or "robots" or a "giant game of solitaire", but none of that changes the reality that we are beings with the aformentioned brain, heart, conscience, spirit and soul.

That is what makes us different, and why we can be accountable for what we do.

We get dealt a hand of cards in this life, and we are held accountable for what we do with them. That "hand of cards" includes everything, including our environment, where we were born, physical makeup and talents. Some people are born smarter, others stronger, others with great disabilities. All these things affect our choices, and when you take EVERY circumstance into account, our choices are effectively predetermined. When I say EVERY circumstance, I mean EVERY circumstance. Whether you are exactly 170cm tall, had a bagel for breakfast, grew up in Japan, have a slight allergy to cats, are slightly shy in demeanour, the exact chemical makeup of our brain - put it all together with everyone else's circumstances, and your destiny is written.

But again I say, even though all of these circumstances are affecting our decisions,
it is still our own decision to make.

legoman
Sep 29th 2008, 07:55 PM
Sorry, you have entirely lost me here. It is obvious that either you have a different notion of what it means for God to pre-destine every event in the universe, or, if not, we do not even agree on what the basic principles of rational argument are.

Sorry, what didn't you understand? Like I said previously, we aren't robots, we make choices, the choices are already known (by God) and predestined (by God). From our perspective, it doesn't matter if the choices are predestined or not, because we make the decision.

People tend to automatically think if we don't have free will, then we must be robots. Not true at all. A robot has NO will. What we have is an influenced (caused) will.

I feel like I have been playing defense on this topic for too long. Before I dig myself in any deeper, time to go on the offensive :)


drew, what is your definition of free will?

Here is what the dictionary says:
" The power of making free choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or by an agency such as fate or divine will."

Do you see how it is impossible that we can make a choice that is "unconstrained by external circumstances"?

I am simply suggesting that our choices are constrained by external circumstances, including circumstances which are set up by divine will.

John146
Sep 29th 2008, 08:05 PM
Ok that's a bold statement, can't let that one slip past... :)

Perhaps I missed your response before, but there are a number of scriptures that I believe can only be interpreted as everything (including salvation) is predestined. We talked about some in the past, and you mentioned you would respond on them - I may have missed it if you did repond.

First:
Ephesians 1:10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

Now, I know Eric responded to this saying that the "everything" in verse 11 is not really "everything". But he didn't say what it meant, if it wasn't "everything". It seems to me it really is "everything". The context is relating to God's plan and purpose, and "everything" - which is described in verse 10 (all things in heaven and earth). How do you refute this one?Okay, I can see you weren't satisfied with my previous response so now I'll go into more detail. You say that the context is "all things in heaven and on earth", but the text actually says that it's all things in Christ, both in heaven and earth. God purposed to bring all things in Christ together as one, both in heaven and earth. Therefore, that is the context of verse 11 as well: God works all things in Christ both in heaven and earth after the counsel of His own will.

Ephesians 1
9Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
12That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

So, now that we have clarified that this passage is not speaking of literally all things as you thought, what does it mean for God to gather together in one all things in Christ? Let's read further down in the chapter.

Eph 1
19And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

He was speaking of Christ being made the head over all things in the church, which is His body. In the church, the body of Christ, we are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28). Jew and Gentile believers together are made one new man. That's what Paul is talking about here in Ephesians 1 and he expands on this concept in Ephesians 2.


Phil 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Now this is an interesting one, because in verse 12, it says to work out your own salvation, but then in verse 13 it tells us that it is God who works in you for his purpose. He influences us to work according to his purpose. We work out our own salvation, but again God is the one causing or influencing it.What that passage shows is that while God works in us we are still responsible to do our part. He doesn't just do everything for us without giving us any responsibility.


John 6:44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 6:65 He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him."

Verse 44 is really interesting. If you look at the greek, the word for "draws" really means to "drag". No one comes to God unless God drags him! Sounds like we fight and struggle, and God drags us kicking and screaming!Yet some continue to kick and scream and resist the Spirit their entire lives. God doesn't force anyone to repent and believe. Scripture doesn't teach that anywhere. We see many examples of people refusing to believe and rejecting God, rejecting Christ and resisting the Spirit. Why? Because they never had any ability to repent and believe? No. Again, scripture doesn't teach that, either.

Jesus said that He would draw all men to Himself (John 12:32). He also said that many are called, but few are chosen (Matt 20:16, Matt 22:14). So, why are many drawn and called but still don't end up being saved? Because they choose to rebel against the calling and drawing of the Spirit.

Who does God enable to come to Christ? Only those who believe in Him. This is all based on His foreknowledge of who will believe and who won't.

John 6
63It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.

God strives with man but there comes a point where He refuses to continue striving with man and He either gives him/her up to their sin or destroys them.

This is illustrated here:

Genesis 6
3And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
5And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
8But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

In Noah's day, God decided to not continue striving with man to lead them to repentance because their wickedness became so great and all of their thoughts were "only evil continually". Why would it have grieved God that He made them if it was His will and purpose all along for them to be wicked and rebel against Him?


Then this is not to mention all the obvious examples of predestination in the bible: Pharaoh being hardened,Only after he hardened his own heart. And God hardened his heart for this reason: "Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth." (Rom 9:17).
Saul's conversion to Paul, Peter denying Christ 3 times, the crucifixion itself, basically ALL of the prophecy in the bible (100s of scriptures)...How does all of that support your view exactly?


And there are of course many other scriptures, especially proverbs and psalms that show God is in control. God directs our steps, knows when we are born/die, etc.

Given all this, for me, it is obvious everything is under God's control, it is all predestined, and God is completely sovereign.

LegomanGod is certainly in control, but you actually have no evidence that God literally controls everything and therefore every time someone is killed, raped or anything like that it means it was God's doing. There's no way that God makes those kinds of things happen because that would completely contradict His character as described throughout scripture. This would mean He will punish people for doing what He made them do. That is supposed to make sense? Not to me.

John146
Sep 29th 2008, 08:24 PM
Sorry, what didn't you understand? Like I said previously, we aren't robots, we make choices, the choices are already known (by God) and predestined (by God). From our perspective, it doesn't matter if the choices are predestined or not, because we make the decision.This doesn't make any sense. If our choices were predestined then they aren't really our choices at all. They would be God's choices.


People tend to automatically think if we don't have free will, then we must be robots. Not true at all. A robot has NO will. What we have is an influenced (caused) will.

I feel like I have been playing defense on this topic for too long. Before I dig myself in any deeper, time to go on the offensive :)

drew, what is your definition of free will?

Here is what the dictionary says:
" The power of making free choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or by an agency such as fate or divine will."

Do you see how it is impossible that we can make a choice that is "unconstrained by external circumstances"?What does that even mean? Our choices are affected by external circumstances but that doesn't mean we don't have any free will to make a choice. It just means we make our free will choice after taking into account the external circumstances that we're in.

Many, including you and I, have had the external circumstance of having heard the gospel and feeling the calling of the Spirit, but how does that mean that a person has no free will choice to either respond favorably to the call or reject it? Many are called, but few are chosen. Are the ones who are called and not chosen called in a different way than those who are chosen?


I am simply suggesting that our choices are constrained by external circumstances, including circumstances which are set up by divine will.Use scripture to make your point. Where does scripture say that God sets up circumstances only for the saved in which they will choose to repent and believe while not setting up similar circumstances for the unsaved so that they could believe and be saved.

Rhyfelwr
Sep 29th 2008, 08:41 PM
Continuing with legoman's A/B scenario, if I pick A then I have chose A of my own free will. God did not force me to do it or take over my mind. But still I was always going to choose A, God knew it before time began, I was always going to choose A as that was part of God's plan. But equally I chose to do A. I am accountable for choosing A. Just as surely as God knew I would pick A, I was free in picking A.

Like legoman said there is only one line of time in predestination. I would never have chosen B. So I have made a choice, but God's plan was never in doubt and neither was his sovereignty in the situation.

So God's plan and our choices can coincide peacefully together.

legoman
Sep 29th 2008, 08:49 PM
This doesn't make any sense. If our choices were predestined then they aren't really our choices at all. They would be God's choices.

What does that even mean? Our choices are affected by external circumstances but that doesn't mean we don't have any free will to make a choice. It just means we make our free will choice after taking into account the external circumstances that we're in.


Did you read the definition of free will? Free will means making a choice that is not affected by external circumstances. So how can it be a free will choice if the choice is affected by external circumstances?

No matter how you spell it, our choices are not free.



Many, including you and I, have had the external circumstance of having heard the gospel and feeling the calling of the Spirit, but how does that mean that a person has no free will choice to either respond favorably to the call or reject it? Many are called, but few are chosen. Are the ones who are called and not chosen called in a different way than those who are chosen?
They have a choice, not a free will choice.



Use scripture to make your point. Where does scripture say that God sets up circumstances only for the saved in which they will choose to repent and believe while not setting up similar circumstances for the unsaved so that they could believe and be saved.Sorry, my response was directed at drew, as we had been having a philosphical/logcial debate (without scripture) on the possibilities of predestination/freewill/accountability etc.

I and others have posted much scripture elsewhere. Unfortunately most people seem to ignore the scriptures. But I thank you for responding to this post and addressing some of the scripture I posted previously. I will address the scripture in another post.

John146
Sep 29th 2008, 08:50 PM
LOL. Yes Ike was predestined to do its thing. But Hurricaine Ike is not a moral being, we are. We have a brain and a heart and a conscience and a spirit and a soul. We know (or should know) the difference between right and wrong.

You could call us all "pawns" or "robots" or a "giant game of solitaire", but none of that changes the reality that we are beings with the aformentioned brain, heart, conscience, spirit and soul.

That is what makes us different, and why we can be accountable for what we do.

We get dealt a hand of cards in this life, and we are held accountable for what we do with them. That "hand of cards" includes everything, including our environment, where we were born, physical makeup and talents. Some people are born smarter, others stronger, others with great disabilities. All these things affect our choices, and when you take EVERY circumstance into account, our choices are effectively predetermined.But where does scripture teach that?


When I say EVERY circumstance, I mean EVERY circumstance. Whether you are exactly 170cm tall, had a bagel for breakfast, grew up in Japan, have a slight allergy to cats, are slightly shy in demeanour, the exact chemical makeup of our brain - put it all together with everyone else's circumstances, and your destiny is written.None of those things determine for certain whether someone will be saved or not.


But again I say, even though all of these circumstances are affecting our decisions,
it is still our own decision to make.Our own decision to make. Yes. Yet you seem to say elsewhere that God makes the decision for us to choose to accept or reject Christ. So, which is it?

John146
Sep 29th 2008, 08:52 PM
Did you read the definition of free will? Free will means making a choice that is not affected by external circumstances. So how can it be a free will choice if the choice is affected by external circumstances?

No matter how you spell it, our choices are not free.

They have a choice, not a free will choice.Whatever you want to call it, it's a choice that man makes that God doesn't make for him/her.

legoman
Sep 29th 2008, 08:57 PM
Continuing with legoman's A/B scenario, if I pick A then I have chose A of my own free will. God did not force me to do it or take over my mind. But still I was always going to choose A, God knew it before time began, I was always going to choose A as that was part of God's plan. But equally I chose to do A. I am accountable for choosing A. Just as surely as God knew I would pick A, I was free in picking A.

Like legoman said there is only one line of time in predestination. I would never have chosen B. So I have made a choice, but God's plan was never in doubt and neither was his sovereignty in the situation.

So God's plan and our choices can coincide peacefully together.

Excellent Rhyfelwr, I think you've got it!

One minor nitpick: You don't pick choice A of your free will. You just pick choice A of your influenced will. You were never free to pick choice B, because God already knew you would pick choice A.

Cheers,
Legoman

John146
Sep 29th 2008, 08:58 PM
Continuing with legoman's A/B scenario, if I pick A then I have chose A of my own free will. God did not force me to do it or take over my mind. But still I was always going to choose A, God knew it before time began, I was always going to choose A as that was part of God's plan. But equally I chose to do A. I am accountable for choosing A. Just as surely as God knew I would pick A, I was free in picking A.But you're not free in picking A in this scenario you're talking about. You're saying that there was no other choice because God already made that choice for you as part of His plan. That's not freedom of choice.

John146
Sep 29th 2008, 09:00 PM
Excellent Rhyfelwr, I think you've got it!

One minor nitpick: You don't pick choice A of your free will. You just pick choice A of your influenced will. You were never free to pick choice B, because God already knew you would pick choice A.

Cheers,
LegomanHow does God knowing something beforehand (that you would pick choice A) turn into God predetermining something to happen a certain way (you picking choice A)? Foreknowledge (knowing beforehand) and predetermination (making something happen that can't be changed) are not the same thing.

legoman
Sep 29th 2008, 09:10 PM
How does God knowing something beforehand (that you would pick choice A) turn into God predetermining something to happen a certain way (you picking choice A)? Foreknowledge (knowing beforehand) and predetermination (making something happen that can't be changed) are not the same thing.

I think this is the fundamental thing. Foreknowledge = predestination. I know we've discussed this before alot and don't see it the same way.

But this is how I see it: if God knows I will pick choice A, then I was never free to pick choice B.

This is exactly the same thing as predestination. If I am predestined to pick choice A, then I was never free to pick choice B.

Both cases, I HAVE NO FREE WILL BECAUSE I CAN'T PICK CHOICE B!

:)

If you don't see it that way, I'm not sure how else to explain it, but that is ok.

Perhaps you can try to explain the inverse: how do we have free will if God knows our choices?

Cheers,
Legoman

legoman
Sep 29th 2008, 09:21 PM
Okay, I can see you weren't satisfied with my previous response so now I'll go into more detail. You say that the context is "all things in heaven and on earth", but the text actually says that it's all things in Christ, both in heaven and earth. God purposed to bring all things in Christ together as one, both in heaven and earth. Therefore, that is the context of verse 11 as well: God works all things in Christ both in heaven and earth after the counsel of His own will.


Thankyou for replying.



Ephesians 1
9Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
12That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

So, now that we have clarified that this passage is not speaking of literally all things as you thought, what does it mean for God to gather together in one all things in Christ? Let's read further down in the chapter.
The problem is verse 11 doesn't say all things in christ. It just says all things. The context can only be stretched so far. Likewise, verse 10 could mean "all things are gathered together in christ", not "all things in christ are gathered together".

But suppose it does mean "all things in christ". What does verse 11 mean then? Once we are in christ, our life suddently becomes predestined according to God's plan? So does that mean God's plan changes as people "free will" themselves into salvation? If no one ever chose salvation, God's plan would be pretty thin, as he wouldn't have anyone to work in/with/through.

Sorry, I still contend verse 11 has to mean all things, otherwise it doesn't make sense.

legoman
Sep 29th 2008, 09:25 PM
Originally Posted by John146 http://bibleforums.org/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?p=1805748#post1805748)

Originally Posted by Legoman http://bibleforums.org/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?p=1805748#post1805748)
Saul's conversion to Paul, Peter denying Christ 3 times, the crucifixion itself, basically ALL of the prophecy in the bible (100s of scripture)...
How does all of that support your view exactly?
Well these all show clear signs of predestination. I thought that was self-explanatory. Do you think all of these events were predestined? Or did they just come about by free will choices?

Legoman

legoman
Sep 29th 2008, 09:57 PM
None of those things determine for certain whether someone will be saved or not.


I only listed a few attributes as examples. But if you look at EVERY circumstance that affects a person, that will determine when and if that person is saved. Along with every other decision that person will make.



Our own decision to make. Yes. Yet you seem to say elsewhere that God makes the decision for us to choose to accept or reject Christ. So, which is it?God has to choose us before we can choose him. As in "God drags us to him" John 6:44.

9Marksfan
Sep 29th 2008, 10:21 PM
Take it easy. They're actually both conditions and commands. He commands all people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30) and desires everyone to do so (2 Peter 3:9) while no one can be saved without doing so (2 Cor 7:9-10). Yet not everyone does. He doesn't force everyone to obey and we know that not everyone obeys the command. Not everyone meets this condition that must be met in order for salvation to occur.

There's no need to get caught up in semantics. The point is that all people have the responsibility to respond to God's call with repentance and faith. But many refuse to do so. Many are called, but few are chosen (Matt 20:16, Matt 22:14).

Actually I agree with pretty well all of what you state - except the condition bit. I repeat they are commands to be obeyed - when Christ comes in judgement it will not be against those who have not fulfilled the conditions - but those who have not obeyed the gospel. It's exclusively spoken of as a command - I don't believe I'm getting caught up in semantics.

chal
Sep 29th 2008, 10:55 PM
But this is how I see it: if God knows I will pick choice A, then I was never free to pick choice B.

chal> This....

then I was never free to pick choice Bdoes not follow from this...

if God knows I will pick choice A"Having knowledge of something in advance," and "prearranging something unalterably in advance," are not quite the same thing.

Foreknowledge \Fore*knowl"edge\, n.
Knowledge of a thing before it happens, or of whatever is to
happen; prescience.
[1913 Webster]

predestinate
adj : established or prearranged unalterably; "his place in
history was foreordained"; "a sense of predestinate
inevitability about it"; "it seemed predestined since
the beginning of the world" [syn: foreordained, predestined]
v : foreordain by divine will or decree [syn: predestine, foreordain]

legoman
Sep 29th 2008, 11:10 PM
Hi Chal,

Yes, it must follow as I stated.

Example:

You have a decision to make tomorrow - Choose A or Choose B.

God knows, right now, and since the beginning of time, that tomorrow you will Choose A.

Therefore you are not free to Choose B, because God already knows you will choose A.

Now we can debate whether it was prearranged or simply foreknowledge. But regardless of whether it was foreknowledge or predestination, you can't claim you are free to choose B.

Legoman

chal
Sep 29th 2008, 11:26 PM
Hi Chal,

Yes, it must follow as I stated.

Example:

You have a decision to make tomorrow - Choose A or Choose B.

God knows, right now, and since the beginning of time, that tomorrow you will Choose A.

Therefore you are not free to Choose B, because God already knows you will choose A.

Now we can debate whether it was prearranged or simply foreknowledge. But regardless of whether it was foreknowledge or predestination, you can't claim you are free to choose B.

Legoman

chal> You are begging the question. I have submitted an explanation. I just showed where you were confusing "foreknowledge," with "predestination," or perhaps "fatalism." You're just repeating your original argument that I have already responded to.

You have not responded to this;

"Having knowledge of something in advance," and "prearranging something unalterably in advance," are not quite the same thing.

legoman
Sep 29th 2008, 11:32 PM
chal> You are begging the question. I have submitted an explanation. I just showed where you were confusing "foreknowledge," with "predestination," or perhaps "fatalism."

Ah ok. I could agree that they are not exactly the same thing - very closely related though. They essentially have the same effect.

My point was really to show that regardless of whether our choices are predestined, or simply foreknown - in either case - we cannot have free will (because we have to make choice A).

What are your thoughts on that?

Legoman

RogerW
Sep 30th 2008, 01:17 AM
Paul is not talking about individuals here - he is talking about Israel. And he is drawing a long Scriptural tradition of God characterizing the relationship between Himself and Israel as like the relationship between the potter and a pot. There are so many reasons to think this text is specifically about Israel that I do not know where to begin.

But lets start with Old Testament precedent. Given that Paul is a highly articulate writer, deeply knowledgeable about the Old Testament, why would he use a metaphor, specifically evocative of God's relationship with Israel, to make a point that, after all, is not Israel-specific?

To hold the view that the Romans 9 pot refers to individuals that may have no connection to Israel is to effectively think that Paul is either misleading or not so sharp in the head. But, of course, those who hold such a view also think that Paul does not mean what he says about the nature of the election of Jacob and Esau earlier in the chapter.

Here are some texts demonstrating the Old Testament precedent of the potter metaphor. All of them are about the nation of Israel.

The Lord says:
"These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is made up only of rules taught by men.

14 Therefore once more I will astound these people
with wonder upon wonder;
the wisdom of the wise will perish,
the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish."
15 Woe to those who go to great depths
to hide their plans from the LORD,
who do their work in darkness and think,
"Who sees us? Who will know?" 16 You turn things upside down,
as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
[B]Shall what is formed say to him who formed it,
"He did not make me"?
Can the pot say of the potter,
"He knows nothing"?

This is about the Jews - the nation of Israel.

This next text is from Isaiah 30. The NIV translators gave the title "Woe to the Obstinate Nation" to this chapter. Again, this is about Israel:

Therefore, this is what the Holy One of Israel says:
"Because you have rejected this message,
relied on oppression
and depended on deceit,

13 this sin will become for you
like a high wall, cracked and bulging,
that collapses suddenly, in an instant. 14 It will break in pieces like pottery,
shattered so mercilessly

And this one from Jeremiah is particularly clear:

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD : 2 "Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message." 3 So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
5 Then the word of the LORD came to me: 6 "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

In light of the clear Israel-specificity of these texts, one has to ask this question: "Would the highly articulate and knowedgeable Paul draw on an Old Testament that has been repeatedly used in respect to Israel to make a point about individuals, both Jew and Gentile, being elected to heaven and hell?" And to make matters worse, would Paul do this when it would most misleading - after introducing the chapter as a treatment of the status of Israel?

This latter point cannot be emphasized enough - Romans 9 is introduced as being about Israel and Israel is the focus all the way through. So if Paul submitted Romans 9 to even a high school english teacher and later claimed that the pot in verse 21 had nothing to do with Israel, I suggest Paul would be rebuked for bad composition.

The teacher would rightly say to Paul "Young man, you have been talking about Israel all through this chapter. And you know full well about all those Old Testament texts where the potter / pot metahor is about God and Israel. So why in the world would you expect the reader to think that you are talking about the pots being specific individuals, most with no connection at all to Israel?".

Would you write Romans 9 that way? I wouldn't.

Greetings Drew,

There is no doubt that Paul begins Ro 9 expressing heaviness of heart for his kinsmen according to the flesh. These are Israelites "to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises." Paul was concerned because the Word of God had come to them, but it seemed to have almost no effect, because the vast majority of them remain in unbelief.

Then Paul says something rather peculiar if his discussion pertains only to Israel of the flesh. He says, "they are not all Israel, which are of Israel." Who the heck are they then? Who is Paul referring to who are not all Israel, and yet they are Israel? Israel of God (Gal 6:16).

Ro 9:6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

Just because they are of the seed of Abraham, that does not make them Israel. Why? Because "In Isaac shall thy seed be called." Paul is telling us that the seed of Abraham, called Israel, is not Israel...but the seed through Isaac is. This hints at the two nations, two manner of peoples, through the children of promise Jacob and Esau.

Ro 9:7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

So children of the flesh of Abraham are not children of God, but the children of promise are counted for the seed. Two sons will be born, one son, Jacob is counted for the seed and the children of God, while the other son Esau, which are the children of the flesh.

If this is speaking of only Jacob and Esau as specifically Israel why does it speak of "they" instead of he, not a child, but children of the flesh, and "these" who are not the children (more than one child) of God? If Paul is speaking only of Jacob why not the child of the promise counted for the seed? This verse should convince you that Esau symbolizes "children of the flesh"(unbelievers)...instead of the child of the flesh (Esau only), and Jacob symbolizes "children of God"...instead of the child of God. I certainly hope it does.

Ro 9:8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

Paul continues to show us there are two distinct manner of people, both called Israel. Since Jacob symbolizes the children of God, both he and they are loved by God. But Esau symbolizes the children of flesh, and not the children of God, so he and they are hated by God.

Paul knew that this would be difficult to hear and anticipates the coming question. Is there unrighteousness with God? Paul says God will have mercy and compassion on whomsoever He wills. Certainly God's mercy and compassion is not restricted to the nation only? And this love is "not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy."

Then Paul tells us how God raised up Pharaoh, further hardening his heart. Again Paul anticipates the next question. "Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?"

No man has any right to complain to God about how he was formed. God is the Potter over the clay, of which we are all made from the same lump (dust of the earth). God will show His wrath, and make His power known through those who are thoroughly complete to destruction. Did God make them thoroughly complete to destruction as you suppose He made the nation? Not according to the Genesis account, where God says, all He created was "very good." (Gen 1:31)

Ro 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
Ro 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Ro 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted [thoroughly complete - see Strong's Greek 2675] to destruction:

God endures with much longsuffering those thoroughly complete to destruction, shewing them His wrath, and making His power known through them.

But from the same lump (dust of the earth) God has ordained some to make known His riches and His glory. These are those whom He has called, not of the Jews only as you assume, but also of the Gentiles.

Ro 9:23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared [ordained -see Strongs Greek 4282] unto glory,
Ro 9:24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

The fact that Paul speaks of being called by God for salvation of both Jews and Gentiles should convince you that Paul is not speaking specifically to the nation as you assume.

If Paul is speaking specifically of the nation, who are those whom Christ will call His people, which were not His people and "her" beloved, which was not beloved? What is "her beloved, which was not beloved"? Re 21:2
"And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."

Ro 9:25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.

Those who are not His people are called the children of the living God; i.e. children of promise through the seed (Christ) of Jacob.

Ro 9:26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

But Paul isn't finished speaking of his kinsmen through the flesh. Though the children of Israel are many only a remnant will be saved.

Ro 9:27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:

The remnant of Paul's kinsmen, as well as the Gentiles are children of promise through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Seed (Christ) through a righteousness of faith.

Ro 9:29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.
Ro 9:30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.

But the rest of Paul's kinsmen through the flesh will not attain to the law of righteousness because they thought they could attain it through the works of the law. When the Seed (Christ; the stumblingstone) came they stumbled, and were offended by Him and remain in unbelief.

Ro 9:31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
Ro 9:32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
Ro 9:33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

While it is true that Paul has much to say about his kinsmen according to the flesh, he is writing these things to the universal church to be an example and warning. The Jews did not understand the sacrifices and types, for they missed the Messiah's first coming as a Lamb, an offering for sin, and the Savior. Paul wants to make sure that we understand these things, so that we won't make the same mistakes. Paul also wants us to understand that Israel, according to the OT Scriptures thought that Christ's coming was to their nation alone. But Christ came as it was written, the Lamb of God, the righteousness of God, the atonement and sacrifice for sin, for both the Jews and Gentiles. The Jews greatest sin was that Christ came and they rejected Him, and as a result of their rejection, they were blinded and salvation has come to the Gentiles. This is all according to the providence of Soverign God working all things according to His will. This is what this chapter is about.

Many Blessings,
RW