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John146
Apr 6th 2010, 08:52 PM
If saving faith was a gift of God then no persuasion (convincing of the truth through preaching) would be necessary. There would be nothing that anyone would need to do in order for someone to have faith. Yet scripture says that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). So, in order to have faith people must first hear the gospel preached to them (or read it). Why would that be necessary if saving faith was the gift of God?

Back to the concept of people needing to be persuaded to believe. That is what scripture teaches, that people need to be persuaded and convinced of the truth before they will believe. That is exactly what Paul did. He didn't tell people that saving faith was a gift of God. Instead, he worked long and hard on convincing people to believe, using scripture.

Acts 17
1Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: 2And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
3Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
4And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.

Why would it be necessary for Paul to take three days to reason with them if saving faith was a gift of God? That would make no sense. Instead, you would think he would have taken a few minutes to preach the gospel to them since Jesus said to preach it to everyone and then move on while assuming that God would give saving faith to those who He wanted to have it and not to the rest. But that isn't what he did. Those who believe that saving faith is a gift of God, how do you reconcile this?

How about this passage:

Acts 18
1After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;
2And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.
3And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.
4And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
5And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.
6And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.

When the Jews rejected Paul's teaching he told them that their blood would be upon their own heads. Now, if they didn't believe what Paul preached because they weren't given the gift of saving faith, then why would their blood be upon their own heads? Why would it be held against them for not believing if they were not given saving faith? How would that be their fault and why should they be punished for it if that was the case?

What about this passage:

Acts 26
27King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
28Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
29And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.

Notice that King Agrippa admitted to Paul that he almost was persuaded to be a Christian. He was acknowledging that what Paul was saying was true, but he was not willing to commit to following Christ and becoming a Christian. Paul didn't then say "Well, maybe that's because God chose not to give you saving faith". Instead, he said that he wished the king and all who heard him that day would be as he was, a true Christian. It is apparent that Paul did not believe in such a thing as saving faith being a gift of God but rather believed that people needed to be persuaded and convinced of the truth in their hearts and minds so that they would believe. That's why he spent days, months and sometimes even years preaching to the same people in an effort to convince them to believe.

People have a heart, a will and a conscience. A free will. There is a war going on over people's souls and Paul seemed to be more aware of that than anyone. We know that Satan and his followers will continue to try to deceive people and get them to not accept the gospel so we need to be about God's work and fight the good fight and show them the truth so that they can clearly see that there is a choice they must make and that they can clearly see what their options are.

Joshua 24:15 And 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.

Another question to consider is this. If saving faith is a gift of God then why does scripture speak about God stretching forth His hands towards those who are rebellious and disobedient (Isa 65:2) and of Him wanting to reason with them (Isaiah 1:18)? If He gives some saving faith and withholds it from the rest how does Him reaching out to people and reasoning with them fit in with that? Why would He bother reaching out to people and reasoning with them if their having faith or not is entirely up to Him?

BroRog
Apr 6th 2010, 09:06 PM
Eric, can God soften a hard heart?

Ta-An
Apr 6th 2010, 09:11 PM
A gift is only a gift once you remove the wrapper....
To accept the gift and put it on your shelf, does not mean you have accepted the gift, for you know not what is inside...

Every one has been given that gift, only some decides to take the wrapper off :)

Toymom
Apr 6th 2010, 09:30 PM
No one can persuade people to believe in Christ. Faith is a gift from God. People share the gospel message with us - they plant and sow - but only God Himself causes the growth. He opens our hearts to receive Him. Paul spent a lot of time teaching people the proper teachings about the Lord, but he was not persuading them to believe in Christ - rather only to believe the proper teachings about Him into whom they had already believed.

notuptome
Apr 6th 2010, 09:38 PM
Paul reasons from the scripture in 1 Cor 1:17-25 that he was sent to preach. His preaching would be of Christ and not with the wisdom of words. Preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who perish. The wisdom of God being greater than the widsom of men. vs 21 It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. Here is the key it pleased God.

Paul did not use his considerable intellect to persuade but he used the scriptures and the power of the Holy Spirit to change men lost in sin into followers of the Lamb of God.

Perhaps this is why the church today has lost its effectiveness. Many persuaded by reason and logic instead of converted by the hearing of the word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.

For the cause of Christ
Roger

theBelovedDisciple
Apr 6th 2010, 10:05 PM
Instead, he worked long and hard on convincing people to believe, using scripture.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Eric,
where is the Holy Ghost in this picture? Paul was a vessel. a clay vessel.. used by God Himself. Chosen... to get God's Message to the people...

It's God who Saves and He draws... He converts...

Paul wasn't using his abliity to use enticing words or his 'ability' to get people convinced or 'converted'..

But His Preaching was done in Power thru the Work of the Holy Ghost... not with enticing words or 'intellect'.....

Saving Faith,
not a gift? well man centered salvation preachers and teachers ....teach JUST this...

they Deny Truth and the Reality of the Gospel...


Faith is a Gift... Eric, I'm certainly not going to persuade you with my posts.. because you are set in your 'ways'... But Now God.... He can persuade you... I firmly believe that Today.. because with Him.. all things are possible...

Nomad
Apr 6th 2010, 10:11 PM
If saving faith was a gift of God then no persuasion (convincing of the truth through preaching) would be necessary. There would be nothing that anyone would need to do in order for someone to have faith.

God ordinarily uses "means" such as prayer, preaching and faith to accomplish His will. He has ordained that the gift of faith will come through the hearing of His word. This is the way God in His infinite wisdom decided to bring his people to faith and we should be careful not to allow our finite rationalizations to obscure what He has clearly revealed to us.

Php 1:29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake...

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

kay-gee
Apr 7th 2010, 03:38 AM
Perhaps the problem is a basic mis-understanding of what FAITH is. For a clear cut dictionary like description read Hebrews 11:1

Then keep reading...How great Bible characters lived out their faith.

I don't get the feeling faith is something that zaps into you, but is something that grows as you follow God. See James 4:8. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

all the best...

Sirus
Apr 7th 2010, 03:46 AM
Eric, can God soften a hard heart?can is not the question. Does and will is.

Sirus
Apr 7th 2010, 03:57 AM
If saving faith was a gift of God then why do people need to be persuaded to believe? 'Saving faith' is not found in scripture. Faith is.
It is an ability all men are given made in the image of God with a spirit from God. It is not some-thing to be given. It is not given at the moment at salvation. It is used daily by believer and non believer alike. The gospel stirs this ability given all men in those that "do the truth" (Joh 3:21) to be put in Christ. Not to those that "do not the truth" (Joh 3:20, 1Jn 1:6).

Clydson
Apr 7th 2010, 06:50 AM
Instead, he worked long and hard on convincing people to believe, using scripture.
The same is taught today, including that disbelief is sin;

John 3:18
18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
NKJV

Mark 16:16
16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
NKJV

Firstfruits
Apr 7th 2010, 12:57 PM
If saving faith was a gift of God then no persuasion (convincing of the truth through preaching) would be necessary. There would be nothing that anyone would need to do in order for someone to have faith. Yet scripture says that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). So, in order to have faith people must first hear the gospel preached to them (or read it). Why would that be necessary if saving faith was the gift of God?

Back to the concept of people needing to be persuaded to believe. That is what scripture teaches, that people need to be persuaded and convinced of the truth before they will believe. That is exactly what Paul did. He didn't tell people that saving faith was a gift of God. Instead, he worked long and hard on convincing people to believe, using scripture.

Acts 17
1Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: 2And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
3Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
4And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.

Why would it be necessary for Paul to take three days to reason with them if saving faith was a gift of God? That would make no sense. Instead, you would think he would have taken a few minutes to preach the gospel to them since Jesus said to preach it to everyone and then move on while assuming that God would give saving faith to those who He wanted to have it and not to the rest. But that isn't what he did. Those who believe that saving faith is a gift of God, how do you reconcile this?

How about this passage:

Acts 18
1After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;
2And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.
3And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.
4And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
5And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.
6And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.

When the Jews rejected Paul's teaching he told them that their blood would be upon their own heads. Now, if they didn't believe what Paul preached because they weren't given the gift of saving faith, then why would their blood be upon their own heads? Why would it be held against them for not believing if they were not given saving faith? How would that be their fault and why should they be punished for it if that was the case?

What about this passage:

Acts 26
27King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
28Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
29And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.

Notice that King Agrippa admitted to Paul that he almost was persuaded to be a Christian. He was acknowledging that what Paul was saying was true, but he was not willing to commit to following Christ and becoming a Christian. Paul didn't then say "Well, maybe that's because God chose not to give you saving faith". Instead, he said that he wished the king and all who heard him that day would be as he was, a true Christian. It is apparent that Paul did not believe in such a thing as saving faith being a gift of God but rather believed that people needed to be persuaded and convinced of the truth in their hearts and minds so that they would believe. That's why he spent days, months and sometimes even years preaching to the same people in an effort to convince them to believe.

People have a heart, a will and a conscience. A free will. There is a war going on over people's souls and Paul seemed to be more aware of that than anyone. We know that Satan and his followers will continue to try to deceive people and get them to not accept the gospel so we need to be about God's work and fight the good fight and show them the truth so that they can clearly see that there is a choice they must make and that they can clearly see what their options are.

Joshua 24:15 And 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.

Another question to consider is this. If saving faith is a gift of God then why does scripture speak about God stretching forth His hands towards those who are rebellious and disobedient (Isa 65:2) and of Him wanting to reason with them (Isaiah 1:18)? If He gives some saving faith and withholds it from the rest how does Him reaching out to people and reasoning with them fit in with that? Why would He bother reaching out to people and reasoning with them if their having faith or not is entirely up to Him?

The gift is grace not faith.

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Eph 3:7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

Eph 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Firstfruits

inn
Apr 7th 2010, 02:21 PM
I think we witness because God commanded us too.

John146
Apr 7th 2010, 03:19 PM
'Saving faith' is not found in scripture. Faith is.I was speaking in terms of the kind of faith that results in salvation. There is a kind of faith that does not save. The kind that even demons possess (James 1:19). That's why I made that distinction. And also because others use that terminology, so I used it so that they would know what I was referring to.


It is an ability all men are given made in the image of God with a spirit from God. It is not some-thing to be given. It is not given at the moment at salvation. It is used daily by believer and non believer alike. The gospel stirs this ability given all men in those that "do the truth" (Joh 3:21) to be put in Christ. Not to those that "do not the truth" (Joh 3:20, 1Jn 1:6).I agree.

John146
Apr 7th 2010, 03:26 PM
No one can persuade people to believe in Christ. Faith is a gift from God. People share the gospel message with us - they plant and sow - but only God Himself causes the growth. He opens our hearts to receive Him. Paul spent a lot of time teaching people the proper teachings about the Lord, but he was not persuading them to believe in Christ - rather only to believe the proper teachings about Him into whom they had already believed.That's not what the scriptures say, friend. It does not say they already believed. Did you read the scriptures I quoted in my original post?

Acts 17
1Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: 2And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
3Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
4And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.

Notice that Paul reasoned with them out of the scriptures for three sabbath days and then they believed. So, the point I'm making in this thread and the question I'm asking, which is not being addressed, is why would any reasoning and persuasion even be needed if saving faith was a gift of God? The very idea of reasoning with people and persuading them implies that people need to be convinced of the truth before believing in it rather than just suddenly being giving the gift of faith out of nowhere. This shows that saving faith is not a gift, but rather a decision that one comes to after considering and contemplating in their hearts and minds what they've heard or read.

John146
Apr 7th 2010, 03:29 PM
Instead, he worked long and hard on convincing people to believe, using scripture.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Eric,
where is the Holy Ghost in this picture? Paul was a vessel. a clay vessel.. used by God Himself. Chosen... to get God's Message to the people...

It's God who Saves and He draws... He converts...

Paul wasn't using his abliity to use enticing words or his 'ability' to get people convinced or 'converted'..

But His Preaching was done in Power thru the Work of the Holy Ghost... not with enticing words or 'intellect'.....

Saving Faith,
not a gift? well man centered salvation preachers and teachers ....teach JUST this...

they Deny Truth and the Reality of the Gospel...


Faith is a Gift... Eric, I'm certainly not going to persuade you with my posts.. because you are set in your 'ways'... But Now God.... He can persuade you... I firmly believe that Today.. because with Him.. all things are possible...The Holy Spirit speaks to a person's heart and conscience while the gospel message is being preached. What you are not addressing is why reasoning and persuading is even necessary if faith is a gift. Can you please address that instead of acting holier than thou and telling me I'm set in my ways and need God to persuade me of something?

John146
Apr 7th 2010, 03:36 PM
The gift is grace not faith.

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Eph 3:7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

Eph 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

FirstfruitsThat's correct. And salvation and eternal life is a gift that is given by grace through personal faith in Christ.

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

Is faith given or is it something we are required to do? What does Paul say?

Romans 10
9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Acts 16
30And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Faith is something we are required to do in order to be saved, not something we are given or that is done for us. Paul didn't say "if you are given faith and forced to confess that Jesus is Lord then you will be saved". He said "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved".

Firstfruits
Apr 7th 2010, 03:44 PM
That's correct. And salvation and eternal life is a gift that is given by grace through personal faith in Christ.

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

Is faith given or is it something we are required to do? What does Paul say?

Romans 10
9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Acts 16
30And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Faith is something we are required to do in order to be saved, not something we are given or that is done for us. Paul didn't say "if you are given faith and forced to confess that Jesus is Lord then you will be saved". He said "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved".

Agreed,

God bless you!

Firstfruits

John146
Apr 7th 2010, 03:46 PM
Eric, can God soften a hard heart?Yes. Does a softened heart always lead to salvation?

Matt 13
18Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
19When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
20But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
21Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
22He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
23But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Would a hardened heart "with joy receiveth" the gospel? I don't think so. Yet Jesus says that some who at first "with joy receiveth" the gospel later fall away due to not being willing to go through tribulation and persecution. What are your thoughts on that? Why is it that they do not believe enough to be willing to go through persecution? Is that not their choice or do you think that God did not give them enough faith to be willing to go through persecution for the cause of Christ?

What are your thoughts regarding what I said in my original post? Why would reasoning and persuasion be factors in one coming to belief in Christ if faith in Christ was a gift that God gives some people and not the rest?

inn
Apr 7th 2010, 04:00 PM
That's correct. And salvation and eternal life is a gift that is given by grace through personal faith in Christ.

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

Is faith given or is it something we are required to do? What does Paul say?

Romans 10
9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Acts 16
30And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Faith is something we are required to do in order to be saved, not something we are given or that is done for us. Paul didn't say "if you are given faith and forced to confess that Jesus is Lord then you will be saved". He said "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved".

Is not faith a gift from God?

John146
Apr 7th 2010, 04:40 PM
Is not faith a gift from God?No, I don't believe so. Not the faith that one is required to have in order to be saved. If it was, then tell me why any preaching, reasoning and persuading from the scriptures is necessary in order for someone to believe?

RogerW
Apr 7th 2010, 05:10 PM
Eric, correct me if I am wrong, but you appear to be saying that we are saved as a result of putting our faith in Christ...yes? That means that salvation is not of grace but of faith. What is the purpose of grace? Why is grace necessary if all we need do is put our faith in Christ apart from grace? When you say we are saved by our faith, and then God extends His grace, it is not by grace we are saved at all, but rather by our faith...then because we decided of our own free will to believe, God shows us mercy. This of course makes salvation by grace, not a gift at all, but the result of our faith. So again, if it is true that we are saved by our own faith, why do we need God's grace?

Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Apr 7th 2010, 05:23 PM
If saving faith was a gift of God then no persuasion (convincing of the truth through preaching) would be necessary. There would be nothing that anyone would need to do in order for someone to have faith. Yet scripture says that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). So, in order to have faith people must first hear the gospel preached to them (or read it). Why would that be necessary if saving faith was the gift of God?

Back to the concept of people needing to be persuaded to believe. That is what scripture teaches, that people need to be persuaded and convinced of the truth before they will believe. That is exactly what Paul did. He didn't tell people that saving faith was a gift of God. Instead, he worked long and hard on convincing people to believe, using scripture.

Acts 17
1Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: 2And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
3Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
4And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.

Why would it be necessary for Paul to take three days to reason with them if saving faith was a gift of God? That would make no sense. Instead, you would think he would have taken a few minutes to preach the gospel to them since Jesus said to preach it to everyone and then move on while assuming that God would give saving faith to those who He wanted to have it and not to the rest. But that isn't what he did. Those who believe that saving faith is a gift of God, how do you reconcile this?

How about this passage:

Acts 18
1After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;
2And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.
3And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.
4And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
5And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.
6And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.

When the Jews rejected Paul's teaching he told them that their blood would be upon their own heads. Now, if they didn't believe what Paul preached because they weren't given the gift of saving faith, then why would their blood be upon their own heads? Why would it be held against them for not believing if they were not given saving faith? How would that be their fault and why should they be punished for it if that was the case?

What about this passage:

Acts 26
27King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
28Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
29And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.

Notice that King Agrippa admitted to Paul that he almost was persuaded to be a Christian. He was acknowledging that what Paul was saying was true, but he was not willing to commit to following Christ and becoming a Christian. Paul didn't then say "Well, maybe that's because God chose not to give you saving faith". Instead, he said that he wished the king and all who heard him that day would be as he was, a true Christian. It is apparent that Paul did not believe in such a thing as saving faith being a gift of God but rather believed that people needed to be persuaded and convinced of the truth in their hearts and minds so that they would believe. That's why he spent days, months and sometimes even years preaching to the same people in an effort to convince them to believe.

People have a heart, a will and a conscience. A free will. There is a war going on over people's souls and Paul seemed to be more aware of that than anyone. We know that Satan and his followers will continue to try to deceive people and get them to not accept the gospel so we need to be about God's work and fight the good fight and show them the truth so that they can clearly see that there is a choice they must make and that they can clearly see what their options are.

Joshua 24:15 And 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.

Another question to consider is this. If saving faith is a gift of God then why does scripture speak about God stretching forth His hands towards those who are rebellious and disobedient (Isa 65:2) and of Him wanting to reason with them (Isaiah 1:18)? If He gives some saving faith and withholds it from the rest how does Him reaching out to people and reasoning with them fit in with that? Why would He bother reaching out to people and reasoning with them if their having faith or not is entirely up to Him?

Eric,

What do some lack when persuading or reasoning from the Scriptures fail to make a difference in their lives? Is it not faith? Why? Why are some persuaded to believe, but others remain in unbelief? Does Paul, or anyone who reasons from the Scriptures know who will be persuaded to believe and who will not?

Many Blessings,
RW

BroRog
Apr 7th 2010, 05:36 PM
Yes. Does a softened heart always lead to salvation?

Matt 13
18Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
19When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
20But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
21Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
22He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
23But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Would a hardened heart "with joy receiveth" the gospel? I don't think so. Yet Jesus says that some who at first "with joy receiveth" the gospel later fall away due to not being willing to go through tribulation and persecution. What are your thoughts on that? Why is it that they do not believe enough to be willing to go through persecution? Is that not their choice or do you think that God did not give them enough faith to be willing to go through persecution for the cause of Christ?

What are your thoughts regarding what I said in my original post? Why would reasoning and persuasion be factors in one coming to belief in Christ if faith in Christ was a gift that God gives some people and not the rest?If the soil represents the heart and the farmer represents God, then it is God who is ultimately responsible for each type of soil and therefore, each outcome. This information should go a long way to answering your question. At the same time, we realize that only God knows for sure which person has the hard soil, shallow soil, weeds, or good soil. Since we can't know that, we preach the gospel to all people. With regard to Paul, God did not ask Paul to assertain a person's heart in order to decide whether or not to preach the gospel to that person. He persuades all who will listen and allows God to deal with each individual personally.

John146
Apr 7th 2010, 05:39 PM
Eric, correct me if I am wrong, but you appear to be saying that we are saved as a result of putting our faith in Christ...yes?Yes. That is what we must do to be saved.

Acts 16
30And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.


That means that salvation is not of grace but of faith.That is simply not true. Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ. God was so gracious and loved the people of the world so much that He sent His only Son to die for their sins so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.


What is the purpose of grace? Why is grace necessary if all we need do is put our faith in Christ apart from grace?Who said all we need to do is put our faith in Christ apart from grace? Without God's grace no one would have the opportunity to be saved through faith in Christ.


When you say we are saved by our faith, and then God extends His grace, it is not by grace we are saved at all, but rather by our faithNo, that is not what I'm saying. God extended His grace to all people long ago through sending His Son to the world to die for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).


then because we decided of our own free will to believe, God shows us mercy.That is what scripture teaches, Roger.

Psalm 33
21For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.
22Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.

Psalm 86:5 5For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.

Psalm 103
17But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;
18To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

Isaiah 55
6Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
7Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Matt 9
27And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us.
28And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.
29Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.

Luke 1:50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.

John146
Apr 7th 2010, 05:44 PM
Eric,

What do some lack when persuading or reasoning from the Scriptures fail to make a difference in their lives? Is it not faith? Why? Why are some persuaded to believe, but others remain in unbelief? Does Paul, or anyone who reasons from the Scriptures know who will be persuaded to believe and who will not?Why is any persuasion even necessary if faith is a gift? That would imply that man's will is involved in the accepting of the gift, but you don't believe that. If there was no free will and faith was a gift then no one would have to be persuaded and no one would have to be reasoned with in order to believe because they would just believe once they received the (supposed) gift of faith.

John146
Apr 7th 2010, 05:51 PM
If the soil represents the heart and the farmer represents God, then it is God who is ultimately responsible for each type of soil and therefore, each outcome.Why do you say that? Where does Jesus indicate that God is responsible for the type of soil that the seed fell on?


This information should go a long way to answering your question. At the same time, we realize that only God knows for sure which person has the hard soil, shallow soil, weeds, or good soil. Since we can't know that, we preach the gospel to all people.If faith was a gift rather than an act of the will then why did Paul not simply take a few minutes to preach the gospel to people in a city and then move on to the next city rather than spending days, months or even years persuading people in each city he came to?


With regard to Paul, God did not ask Paul to assertain a person's heart in order to decide whether or not to preach the gospel to that person. He persuades all who will listen and allows God to deal with each individual personally.This does not address the question of why any persuading would even be necessary if faith is a gift.

BroRog
Apr 7th 2010, 06:18 PM
Why do you say that? Where does Jesus indicate that God is responsible for the type of soil that the seed fell on?The parable is an analogy to farming. The farmer not only casts the seed but he tills the ground. Since soil doesn't till itself, why would I assume that those who hear the word are responsible for the condition of their own heart?


If faith was a gift rather than an act of the will then why did Paul not simply take a few minutes to preach the gospel to people in a city and then move on to the next city rather than spending days, months or even years persuading people in each city he came to?I don't see these as two different things. The fact that Paul spent time with people is ALSO part of God's gift of faith. Not only did Paul describe his ministry as a gift from God, he described his effect on people also as a gift.

In 1Corinthians Paul describes his efforts in terms of planting. He says that he plants the seeds, Apollos waters, but God brings the increase. God is responsible for all three. God sent Paul. God sent Apollos. And God produced believers from their efforts. If God wasn't responsible for saving faith, then Paul's analogy breaks down at that point. God sent Paul and Apollos, but the Corinthians themselves were responsible for the increase? That doesn't fit his analogy.


This does not address the question of why any persuading would even be necessary if faith is a gift.I don't see the problem unless your picture of "saving faith" implies a miraculous infusion of a set of beliefs into the mind of a person.

John146
Apr 7th 2010, 07:18 PM
The parable is an analogy to farming. The farmer not only casts the seed but he tills the ground. Since soil doesn't till itself, why would I assume that those who hear the word are responsible for the condition of their own heart?Jesus didn't say anything about the farmer tilling the ground so I don't think the point of His parable had anything to do with that. We have to be careful about taking too much from Jesus' parables that was not intended. Scripture repeatedly speaks of man's responsibility and accountability. How else can man be held responsible and accountable for his beliefs and his works except that man freely chooses what to believe? If some don't believe because they are not able to believe then what are they accountable for?


I don't see these as two different things. The fact that Paul spent time with people is ALSO part of God's gift of faith. Not only did Paul describe his ministry as a gift from God, he described his effect on people also as a gift.I don't see your point here. Not everyone who heard Paul preach believed what he preached. So, if his preaching was a gift then it was one that had to be willingly accepted rather than one that was automatically received by some and not by the rest.


In 1Corinthians Paul describes his efforts in terms of planting. He says that he plants the seeds, Apollos waters, but God brings the increase. God is responsible for all three. God sent Paul. God sent Apollos. And God produced believers from their efforts. If God wasn't responsible for saving faith, then Paul's analogy breaks down at that point. God sent Paul and Apollos, but the Corinthians themselves were responsible for the increase? That doesn't fit his analogy.You are taking that passage out of context. Let's look at it more closely.

1 Cor 3
1And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
4For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
5Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
6I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
7So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
8Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour
9For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.

Here, Paul is speaking to "babes in Christ". People who were Christians, but still immature in their faith. What Paul is pointing out here is not that God gave them faith. It simply does not say that anywhere in this text. What he is saying is that they should not identify themselves as being loyal to Paul or to Apollos, but rather to God because Paul and Apollos were merely the "ministers by whom ye believed". But they are not the ones who give people salvation. God does that. But the fact that God gives people salvation does not mean he also gives them the faith to believe in Christ. That isn't what Paul was saying here. If it was then why would he have said in verse 8 "every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour"?


I don't see the problem unless your picture of "saving faith" implies a miraculous infusion of a set of beliefs into the mind of a person.Is that not how most who believe faith in Christ is a gift see it? It seems that instead of believing that people have to be persuaded to believe they instead believe that people are essentially forced to believe in Christ because it is not their own choice to believe in Him. So, as far as I can tell most who believe faith in Christ is a gift of God do see it as " a miraculous infusion of a set of beliefs into the mind of a person".

RogerW
Apr 7th 2010, 07:54 PM
Why is any persuasion even necessary if faith is a gift? That would imply that man's will is involved in the accepting of the gift, but you don't believe that. If there was no free will and faith was a gift then no one would have to be persuaded and no one would have to be reasoned with in order to believe because they would just believe once they received the (supposed) gift of faith.

Eric,

Man does believe once they have received the gift of faith!

Do you believe there is a difference between "faith" and "believe"? Faith is what we receive through the power of the Spirit when we have been persuaded, or convicted of the truthfulness of the gospel. It is only because we have been persuaded/convicted by the power of God that we are able to believe. Believing is the act, or what we do because we have received the gift of faith through hearing. Without the moral persuasion necessary to receive the gift of faith, who will believe? Man believes (puts trust in a person; Christ) because he/she has been given the gift of faith (moral conviction; persuaded by truthfulness of God) when he/she is regenerated (born again) by the power of His Word and the Holy Spirit.

Man is saved by grace through the gift of faith (persuasion; moral conviction)! Therefore man believes (entrusts one's spiritual well-being to Christ), and believing man turns from his/her sin and to Christ for eternal life. Salvation from start to finish is of the Lord! All of God, none of man's so-called free will!

Many Blessings,
RW

John146
Apr 7th 2010, 08:14 PM
Eric,

Man does believe once they have received the gift of faith! Where does scripture teach that?


Do you believe there is a difference between "faith" and "believe"?There is a difference between the faith that saves and justifies and faith that doesn't save and justify. James talked about that in James 2. There is a difference between 1) having faith and trusting in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and 2) believing in God as even the demons do but not trusting in Him with your life.


Faith is what we receive through the power of the Spirit when we have been persuaded, or convicted of the truthfulness of the gospel.Where is that taught in scripture? Why is it necessary to be persuaded and convicted of the truth if believing is a gift of God and not based at all on man's will? If man has no free will then why does man need to be persuaded of anything? How does it make sense to reason with and persuade people with no free will?


It is only because we have been persuaded/convicted by the power of God that we are able to believe. Believing is the act, or what we do because we have received the gift of faith through hearing.Scripture never teaches that. You need to start backing up your claims with scripture.


Without the moral persuasion necessary to receive the gift of faith, who will believe?Whosoever will. Whosoever chooses to believe.

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.

Joshua 24:15 And 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.


Man believes (puts trust in a person; Christ) because he/she has been given the gift of faith (moral conviction; persuaded by truthfulness of God) when he/she is regenerated (born again) by the power of His Word and the Holy Spirit. Again, where is this taught in scripture?


Man is saved by grace through the gift of faith (persuasion; moral conviction)!So, you see faith as a gift that is not freely given but rather one that someone must be persuaded to receive? Why would that be? Why wouldn't God just infuse faith into a person if it was a gift? Why would a gift of faith that does not have to be willingly accepted have to come about through persuasion?


Therefore man believes (entrusts one's spiritual well-being to Christ), and believing man turns from his/her sin and to Christ for eternal life. Salvation from start to finish is of the Lord! All of God, none of man's so-called free will!So, we are just like puppets then? God pulls our strings to make us repent and pulls our strings to make us believe? Can you explain to me how we are able to believe in and love God if we are nothing more than puppets? Can faith and love be forced?

John146
Apr 7th 2010, 08:50 PM
If faith is the gift of God then explain why Jesus criticized people for a lack of faith and marveled at the faith of others? Why would He react that way to a person's faith or lack thereof if it was a gift of God? That simply makes no sense.

Matt 14
28And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. 29And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

Matt 8
5And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, 6And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. 7And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. 8The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 9For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 10When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

Did God give Peter little faith and the centurion great faith? If you think so then why would that have been the case and why would Jesus have criticized Peter for having little faith while complimenting the centurion on his great faith if faith was the gift of God and has nothing to do with man's will and his choice? Please explain how that could make any sense.

What about this passage:

Mark 4
38And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

If faith was the gift of God was Jesus ignorant of that concept? Why would Jesus ask why they were fearful and had no faith if faith was the gift of God? If faith was the gift of God then He would have already known that the reason they had no faith was because God didn't give it to them. So, this is yet another example where the concept of faith being a gift of God does not make sense. The reason that Jesus asked why they were fearful and had no faith is that He knew they had the ability to believe but weren't using it. So, He was chastising them because they had no excuse for not having faith. If faith was the gift of God then it would have been as if He was saying "How is it that God hasn't given you faith"? which obviously would have been ludicrous.

Another thing to point out is that if faith was the gift of God it could not be said that we are justified by our faith. But that is what scripture teaches. It says that Abraham was justified by his own faith (not by being given faith) and that his own faith was counted for righteousness. And it says this is true of all who believe.

Romans 3
30Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. 31Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Romans 4
1What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
3For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

You can argue that we are not saved by works of the law because that is what scripture teaches. But what it does not teach is that we are not justified by our own faith. Abraham was justified by his faith and all who believe like Abraham are also justified by their own faith.

Firstfruits
Apr 7th 2010, 08:51 PM
Is not faith a gift from God?

We must first believe.

Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Firstfruits

inn
Apr 7th 2010, 09:13 PM
We must first believe.

Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Firstfruits

It seems as if you are saying that I choose, and then God decides. Am I right in this deduction?
If God waits for us to respond, and then He makes His plan, doesn't it seem that He is no actualy in COMPLETE control?

John146
Apr 7th 2010, 09:16 PM
It seems as if you are saying that I choose, and then God decides. Am I right in this deduction?
If God waits for us to respond, and then He makes His plan, doesn't it seem that He is no actualy in COMPLETE control?The decision to make man responsible was completely God's alone. This idea that man being held responsible to choose to believe or not somehow means God is not sovereign and in control is just a straw man argument and nothing more.

inn
Apr 7th 2010, 09:22 PM
The decision to make man responsible was completely God's alone. This idea that man being held responsible to choose to believe or not somehow means God is not sovereign and in control is just a straw man argument and nothing more.

Well, if it is so full of straw, please answer the question rather than blame the straw.

John146
Apr 7th 2010, 09:44 PM
Well, if it is so full of straw, please answer the question rather than blame the straw.If you mean this question
If God waits for us to respond, and then He makes His plan, doesn't it seem that He is no actualy in COMPLETE control? then the answer would be "No" because as I said in my previous post the decision to make man responsible was completely God's alone, so He is in complete control. For God to be sovereign and in complete control does not mean He has to control everything people do as if people are nothing more than puppets with God pulling their strings.

inn
Apr 7th 2010, 09:48 PM
If you mean this question [quote=inn]If God waits for us to respond, and then He makes His plan, doesn't it seem that He is no actualy in COMPLETE control?]/quote] then the answer would be "No" because as I said in my previous post the decision to make man responsible was completely God's alone, so He is in complete control. For God to be sovereign and in complete control does not mean He has to control everything people do as if people are nothing more than puppets with God pulling their strings.

I beg to differ. God is EVEN in control of little satun. Satun even needs permission to do ANYTHING before he does it. God did not say, He first created free choice, He said He nade man first, a man that He was in COMPLETE control of, or was man in control?

John146
Apr 7th 2010, 09:52 PM
I beg to differ. God is EVEN in control of little satun. Satun even needs permission to do ANYTHING before he does it. God did not say, He first created free choice, He said He nade man first, a man that He was in COMPLETE control of, or was man in control?Can you explain to me how people without a free will are able to trust in Christ and love God? Can faith and love be forced?

BroRog
Apr 7th 2010, 10:58 PM
Jesus didn't say anything about the farmer tilling the ground so I don't think the point of His parable had anything to do with that. We have to be careful about taking too much from Jesus' parables that was not intended.I agree in principle.


Scripture repeatedly speaks of man's responsibility and accountability. How else can man be held responsible and accountable for his beliefs and his works except that man freely chooses what to believe?That's just it, scripture doesn't say that we freely choose what to believe and it couldn't because it isn't true. What we choose to believe is based on a volitional predisposition. We could find examples in scripture in which it is clear that people refuse to believe the truth because they don't want to believe the truth. No amount of persuasion is going to change their mind. Jesus himself might present his best case, give all the evidence, list every fact, advance every good reason to believe him, and yet, if a man doesn't want to believe it, he won't. Even though he knows for certain that what Jesus said is true, he won't allow himself to acknowledge the truth and he won't live as if it is true. The Bible sometimes refers to these people as stubborn and obstinate.

The question, as I see it, is whether an unbeliever did it to himself or was it done to him? Did he make himself into an unbeliever or did he start out that way? And the question behind that question is: what kind of God are we dealing with and how does he interact with his creation? The fact is, we can find both examples in the scriptures. When talking about Pharaoh, for instance, it clearly says that God hardened Pharaoh's heart. It also clearly states that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. Both are true at the same time. Some would like to say that Pharaoh hardened his own heart first and then God hardened Pharaoh's heart. But I can't make sense of that, and that's not what it says. The truth is, from my perspective, God as creator has the ability to harden a man's heart by having the man freely harden his own heart.


I don't see your point here. Not everyone who heard Paul preach believed what he preached. So, if his preaching was a gift then it was one that had to be willingly accepted rather than one that was automatically received by some and not by the rest.We are talking about saving faith, with the qualification and emphasis on "saving." When Paul preaches to a crowd of people, he has no idea which person or persons in the crowd God is waking up. Paul uses all of his skill, knowledge, reason, experience, to present the best case for the gospel he can but he must leave it to the Holy Spirit to open the ears and the eyes of each individual, removing that volitional predisposition, which allows that person to accept and continue to affirm the truth. And according to Jesus, the Holy Spirit decides which individual(s) in the crowd to bless. The Holy Spirit is like the wind, it comes and it goes and no one knows where it is going or where it came from.

Some suggest that volitional neutrality logically follows from man's responsibility and accountability, reasoning that had God not created us all with a neutral disposition toward the question of belief in Jesus Christ, he would be unjust to hold man accountable for not believing the Gospel. If it wasn't possible for him to believe, God would be unjust to punish him for not believing. However, this position fails to realize that belief is a volitional act in the hands of an evil sinner, not a morally neutral human being. Salvation doesn't come to those who somehow find a way to be a morally admirable creature. Salvation is granted as a work of grace in which God transforms a morally objectionable creature into a morally admirable creature in a process that starts with a transformation of the heart such that a person accepts the gospel message that Jesus is both Lord and Savior.


But they are not the ones who give people salvation. God does that.Quite right. But the point is: notice that the Corinthians themselves are not in the picture. The only people involved in the process, the only people that have an influence over the outcome (i.e. converts to the faith) are Paul, Apollos, and God.


But the fact that God gives people salvation does not mean he also gives them the faith to believe in Christ. That isn't what Paul was saying here. If it was then why would he have said in verse 8 "every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor"?The fact that Paul leaves out the Corinthians added to the fact that he makes God responsible for the increase strongly implies that the final movement toward belief is left up to God. There are two sides to belief, the person who brings the message, and the person who believes the message. Paul places himself on the side of the equation having to do with bringing the message. Then he makes God responsible for the other side of the equation -- believing the message. Without a move of the Holy Spirit a person will not move from his or her natural and evil bias against God.



Is that not how most who believe faith in Christ is a gift see it?
I can't speak for the others but that's not how I see it. The gift of belief isn't an infusion of knowledge, or confident acceptance of a set of doctrines. Rather, the gift of belief is when God removes a man's natural, malefic predisposition against the truth of his existence and the gospel message. Everyone who believes the Gospel believes what I just said, though they wouldn't put it like that.

Freewill is doing what I want. But I don't always do what I want. And I don't always want the right things. Salvation is when God begins to align my desires with his. I am not asking God to give me what I want. I'm asking God to change what I want into what he wants. I want to eventually come to the point that I can honestly say that what God wants is what I would want and what I want is what God would want, just as it is with our master Jesus. Salvation is when God reaches down to a man who naturally and stubbornly finds out what God wants and does the opposite and transforms him into a man who wants what God wants. In order to save us, God has to violate our free will. And we are glad he did.

RogerW
Apr 8th 2010, 12:12 AM
Eric,

It seems you don't understand what it means to persuade/reason. It was not Paul's (or any other human preacher/teacher) great persuasive skill that causes us to have faith. It is the persuasive power of the Word, applied through the Spirit that is the power of salvation unto all who believe. This is why Paul always persuaded/reasoned from the Word of God. Paul cannot persuade or convince anyone to have faith or believe. It is the gospel of Christ that is the power unto salvation to all who believe. But not all who hear believe...why? Because only the election of God will hear the Word by the power of God and be given faith to believe.

Ro*1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

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.

Paul preached the Word of faith, or the Word that brings faith, knowing that no one can believe in whom they have not heard of, for the gospel of peace brings glad tidings of good things, but not all who hear believe the gospel, because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the power (word) of God.

Ro*10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
Ro*10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Ro*10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Ro*10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Ro*10:12 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.
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.

Many Blessings,
RW

Sirus
Apr 8th 2010, 02:25 AM
I was speaking in terms of the kind of faith that results in salvation. There is a kind of faith that does not save. The kind that even demons possess (James 1:19). That's why I made that distinction. And also because others use that terminology, so I used it so that they would know what I was referring to.The belief demons have in that verse, that there is one God, is no different than the belief we or any creation of God has, that there is one God. The point of the verse is that faith must go beyond believing there is one God. That's all. Hence the following verses -faith without works is dead. It is not saying there are different types of faith. I dont see any point in continuing false concepts by using wrong terminology. Wrong terminology and teachings need to be corrected, not encouraged.

losthorizon
Apr 8th 2010, 02:50 AM
Man does believe once they have received the gift of faith!


Man believes once he hears the word of God and *chooses to believe* – faith comes by hearing the word of God and the decision to serve God is a choice made on the part of man…
Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the God of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. ~ Joshua 24: 15

inn
Apr 8th 2010, 07:36 AM
Man believes once he hears the word of God and *chooses to believe* – faith comes by hearing the word of God and the decision to serve God is a choice made on the part of man…
Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the God of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. ~ Joshua 24: 15

This is a lovely scripture losthorizon, but it was given to those God already choose. God chooses His people, then He continuely says to them as He says to us every day;"Choose!" May we choose to serve Him today.

inn
Apr 8th 2010, 07:44 AM
Can you explain to me how people without a free will are able to trust in Christ and love God? Can faith and love be forced?

I believe that God's love overwhelms the choosen that this love invades our/my life, that wow, how can I say no to this, can you?
A hungry child living in the street cold, eating from a rubish bin is offered a warm home and regular healthy food on the table with dessert can say no I guess? "I prefer the cold street and the trash cans."
Look at the parable of the found son.
Is this forced? No, it's just freely given, it is a gift.

Firstfruits
Apr 8th 2010, 07:50 AM
It seems as if you are saying that I choose, and then God decides. Am I right in this deduction?
If God waits for us to respond, and then He makes His plan, doesn't it seem that He is no actualy in COMPLETE control?

Gods plan is already complete, he has given us his Son. We choose whether or not we want Gods plan of salvation.

Firstfruits

inn
Apr 8th 2010, 10:19 AM
Gods plan is already complete, he has given us his Son. We choose whether or not we want Gods plan of salvation.

Firstfruits

I don't think you are answering the question. Here it is again; If God waits for us to respond, and then He makes His plan, doesn't it seem that He is no actualy in COMPLETE control?

Firstfruits
Apr 8th 2010, 12:04 PM
I don't think you are answering the question. Here it is again; If God waits for us to respond, and then He makes His plan, doesn't it seem that He is no actualy in COMPLETE control?

God is in control, God has told us what he requires. We must hear and believe his Son, and we must do as Jesus has commanded us.

1 Jn 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

Firstfruits

inn
Apr 8th 2010, 12:35 PM
God is in control, God has told us what he requires. We must hear and believe his Son, and we must do as Jesus has commanded us.

1 Jn 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

Firstfruits

Yes I do agree with you, but God is giving these commandments to people who already have come to salvation, is that not true?

Firstfruits
Apr 8th 2010, 01:40 PM
Yes I do agree with you, but God is giving these commandments to people who already have come to salvation, is that not true?

What God has commanded is for all.

1 Jn 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

Firstfruits

RogerW
Apr 8th 2010, 01:44 PM
What God has commanded is for all.

1 Jn 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

Firstfruits

Hi Firstfruits,

Yes, God does command all men to repent and believe the gospel. Who does this? You say God is in control, but then add that we must choose Christ, where Scripture tells us it is Christ Who chooses us. If we do the choosing, we are in control, not God...but if God does the choosing Who is in control?

Many Blessings,
RW

John146
Apr 8th 2010, 02:21 PM
I agree in principle.

That's just it, scripture doesn't say that we freely choose what to believe and it couldn't because it isn't true. What we choose to believe is based on a volitional predisposition. We could find examples in scripture in which it is clear that people refuse to believe the truth because they don't want to believe the truth. No amount of persuasion is going to change their mind. Jesus himself might present his best case, give all the evidence, list every fact, advance every good reason to believe him, and yet, if a man doesn't want to believe it, he won't. Even though he knows for certain that what Jesus said is true, he won't allow himself to acknowledge the truth and he won't live as if it is true. The Bible sometimes refers to these people as stubborn and obstinate.Is it not their choice to be stubborn and obstinate? Is that not a result of them resisting the Holy Spirit rather than it being a case of them being unable to respond favorably to the gospel and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit?

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.

If God made them that way then why did Jesus get angry with them?


The question, as I see it, is whether an unbeliever did it to himself or was it done to him? Did he make himself into an unbeliever or did he start out that way? And the question behind that question is: what kind of God are we dealing with and how does he interact with his creation? The fact is, we can find both examples in the scriptures. When talking about Pharaoh, for instance, it clearly says that God hardened Pharaoh's heart. It also clearly states that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. Both are true at the same time. Some would like to say that Pharaoh hardened his own heart first and then God hardened Pharaoh's heart. But I can't make sense of that, and that's not what it says. The truth is, from my perspective, God as creator has the ability to harden a man's heart by having the man freely harden his own heart. It says God hardened Pharaoh's heart for the purpose of His people not being let go out of Egypt and "that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth" (Rom 9:17). But think about what kind of person Pharaoh was even before that occurred. Was he not an evil ruler who made the Israelites his slaves? Was he not already hardened towards God before God hardened his heart for a particular purpose? I believe he was.


We are talking about saving faith, with the qualification and emphasis on "saving." When Paul preaches to a crowd of people, he has no idea which person or persons in the crowd God is waking up. Paul uses all of his skill, knowledge, reason, experience, to present the best case for the gospel he can but he must leave it to the Holy Spirit to open the ears and the eyes of each individual, removing that volitional predisposition, which allows that person to accept and continue to affirm the truth. And according to Jesus, the Holy Spirit decides which individual(s) in the crowd to bless. The Holy Spirit is like the wind, it comes and it goes and no one knows where it is going or where it came from.The Holy Spirit reaches out to all people. Even the Pharisees. But they resisted the Spirit. God desires for all people to repent (Eze 18:23, 2 Peter 3:9, Acts 17:30-31) and to be saved (1 Tim 2:3-6).


Some suggest that volitional neutrality logically follows from man's responsibility and accountability, reasoning that had God not created us all with a neutral disposition toward the question of belief in Jesus Christ, he would be unjust to hold man accountable for not believing the Gospel. If it wasn't possible for him to believe, God would be unjust to punish him for not believing. However, this position fails to realize that belief is a volitional act in the hands of an evil sinner, not a morally neutral human being. Salvation doesn't come to those who somehow find a way to be a morally admirable creature. Salvation is granted as a work of grace in which God transforms a morally objectionable creature into a morally admirable creature in a process that starts with a transformation of the heart such that a person accepts the gospel message that Jesus is both Lord and Savior. People like yourself act as if people are born as fools and born being vain in their imaginations and born with a predisposition to not have any desire to glorify God or be thankful to God. But that is not what Paul taught.

Romans 1
18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

How do you reconcile your understanding of things with a passage like this? Why is it that man is without excuse when he does not acknowledge God's eternal power and Godhead and does not glorify Him as God or are thankful to Him?


Quite right. But the point is: notice that the Corinthians themselves are not in the picture. The only people involved in the process, the only people that have an influence over the outcome (i.e. converts to the faith) are Paul, Apollos, and God. That is how you read it, but that is not what scripture teaches. Scripture says that man must humble himself before God. Where does it say that God does that for man? And you didn't answer my question regarding 1 Cor 3:8, which follows the verse you focused on.

1 Cor 3:8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

Does this not show that man will be held responsibile for his own behavior and will be rewarded or judged for it? If God does everything then how would verses like this one and others that say Christ will come and reward/judge every man according to their works (Matt 16:27, Rev 22:12) make any sense?


The fact that Paul leaves out the Corinthians added to the fact that he makes God responsible for the increase strongly implies that the final movement toward belief is left up to God. There are two sides to belief, the person who brings the message, and the person who believes the message. Paul places himself on the side of the equation having to do with bringing the message. Then he makes God responsible for the other side of the equation -- believing the message. Without a move of the Holy Spirit a person will not move from his or her natural and evil bias against God.You are misinterpreting the passage. It does not say God is responsible for someone believing the message. That would mean He is responsible for people not believing, which would contradict the fact that people are without excuse for not believing. If it's God's responsibility that they don't believe then that would be a good excuse for them not believing, but instead they have no excuse.


I can't speak for the others but that's not how I see it. The gift of belief isn't an infusion of knowledge, or confident acceptance of a set of doctrines. Rather, the gift of belief is when God removes a man's natural, malefic predisposition against the truth of his existence and the gospel message. Everyone who believes the Gospel believes what I just said, though they wouldn't put it like that.

Freewill is doing what I want. But I don't always do what I want. And I don't always want the right things. Salvation is when God begins to align my desires with his. I am not asking God to give me what I want. I'm asking God to change what I want into what he wants. I want to eventually come to the point that I can honestly say that what God wants is what I would want and what I want is what God would want, just as it is with our master Jesus. Salvation is when God reaches down to a man who naturally and stubbornly finds out what God wants and does the opposite and transforms him into a man who wants what God wants. In order to save us, God has to violate our free will. And we are glad he did.You believe that He only wants some to repent and be saved and He basically does it for them. So, show me where scripture teaches that God does not desire for all people to repent and be saved.

Firstfruits
Apr 8th 2010, 02:25 PM
Hi Firstfruits,

Yes, God does command all men to repent and believe the gospel. Who does this? You say God is in control, but then add that we must choose Christ, where Scripture tells us it is Christ Who chooses us. If we do the choosing, we are in control, not God...but if God does the choosing Who is in control?

Many Blessings,
RW

God is in control and he has commanded what he wants us to do.

Mt 17:5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

Mt 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mt 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

If we choose not to obey, Gods plan is still in force. God is still in control.

Firstfruits

theBelovedDisciple
Apr 8th 2010, 02:29 PM
Hi Firstfruits,

Yes, God does command all men to repent and believe the gospel. Who does this? You say God is in control, but then add that we must choose Christ, where Scripture tells us it is Christ Who chooses us. If we do the choosing, we are in control, not God...but if God does the choosing Who is in control?

Many Blessings,
RW

Exactly Roger..... and this is the pardox of today's times... man believing he/she chooses God... and thru this belief system and its presentation... thru its subtleness.... tells God.. your NOT IN CONTROL...when He Truthfully Is... it is God who Chooses .. not man... this presentation of this 'other gospel ' as I will most bluntly call it... is a man centered salvation.... and this shouldnt suprise the Genuine and Elect of God... because this type of belief system.. with man at its core... and mans numer.... he that hath wisdom let him hear... this is foretold it would come.. and will be allowed to come to fruitition because God Himself will allow it.. so that His Word may be fulfilled...

in its subtleness it looks really good... and tells man to 'give himself' a pat on the back.. because he/she is 'able'.. yet in all its subtilty.. there is a deep foundation of rebellion.. that goes back .. waaaayyyyy back to the Garden of Eden itself.. and you know what that is all about..

John146
Apr 8th 2010, 02:32 PM
It was not Paul's (or any other human preacher/teacher) great persuasive skill that causes us to have faith. It is the persuasive power of the Word, applied through the Spirit that is the power of salvation unto all who believe. This is why Paul always persuaded/reasoned from the Word of God. Paul cannot persuade or convince anyone to have faith or believe. It is the gospel of Christ that is the power unto salvation to all who believe. But not all who hear believe...why? Because only the election of God will hear the Word by the power of God and be given faith to believe.

Ro*1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.Notice something here, Roger. Does this verse say that the gospel of Christ is the power of God to everyone that is given faith to believe? No! It is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes. One must believe the gospel. It does not say they are given the faith to believe it. People are responsible to choose to believe it.


Paul preached the Word of faith, or the Word that brings faith, knowing that no one can believe in whom they have not heard of, for the gospel of peace brings glad tidings of good things, but not all who hear believe the gospel, because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the power (word) of God.

Ro*10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
Ro*10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Ro*10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Ro*10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Ro*10:12 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.
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.What Paul taught here is that people must hear the word of God preached before believing it. You are acting as if hearing it alone guarantees one will believe it but that is obviously not the case! Let's read on from verse 17.

18But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
19But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.
20But 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.
21But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

You would erroneously claim that those who do not believe were not given faith and that God did not care about them enough to give them faith. But what does this say? This says that God did reach out to them! You think He does nothing to try to reach those who do not believe but this says otherwise. He wants all people to repent, believe and be saved, Roger. You misrepresent God and His character, which is a grievous thing to do. The true God is not partial as you think He is, but desires for all people to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth.

You believe that it pleases God to leave the wicked in their wickedness even unto death. That isn't the God of the Bible, Roger. That contradicts what is taught here:

Ezekiel 33
10Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?
11Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

John146
Apr 8th 2010, 02:38 PM
Exactly Roger..... and this is the pardox of today's times... man believing he/she chooses God... and thru this belief system and its presentation... thru its subtleness.... tells God.. your NOT IN CONTROL...when He Truthfully Is... it is God who Chooses .. not man... this presentation of this 'other gospel ' as I will most bluntly call it... is a man centered salvation.... and this shouldnt suprise the Genuine and Elect of God... because this type of belief system.. with man at its core... and mans numer.... he that hath wisdom let him hear... this is foretold it would come.. and will be allowed to come to fruitition because God Himself will allow it.. so that His Word may be fulfilled...

in its subtleness it looks really good... and tells man to 'give himself' a pat on the back.. because he/she is 'able'.. yet in all its subtilty.. there is a deep foundation of rebellion.. that goes back .. waaaayyyyy back to the Garden of Eden itself.. and you know what that is all about..There is no bigger lie from the pit of hell than the one that says man has no responsibility.

Rom 14
10But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
12So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

You think that if man choose to humble himself and acknowledge that he is a sinner and that Jesus is Lord and died on the cross for his sins and rose from the dead that he is somehow patting himself on the back. The reality is that he is doing just the opposite by acknowledging that he is a sinner who can't save himself and needs the Lord to save him from his sins and from the penalty of death.

John146
Apr 8th 2010, 03:20 PM
This is a lovely scripture losthorizon, but it was given to those God already choose. God chooses His people, then He continuely says to them as He says to us every day;"Choose!" May we choose to serve Him today.So, you're saying that you think if they had chosen to serve false gods they would still have been saved and belonged to God?

John146
Apr 8th 2010, 03:28 PM
I believe that God's love overwhelms the choosen that this love invades our/my life, that wow, how can I say no to this, can you?That isn't taught in scripture. Scripture teaches that people can resist the Holy Spirit and resist God when He reaches out to them.

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.

Isaiah 65
2I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;
3A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;
4Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine's flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;
5Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.
6Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom,
7Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the LORD, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into heir bosom.

Isaiah 65
11But ye are they that forsake the LORD, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number.
12Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.

Why would God be angry with those to whom He spread out His hands if it was not His desire that they respond to His having reached out to them with repentance? Notice in Isaiah 65:12 that their rebellion was their choice, not God's. It would make no sense for Him to be angry with them and punish them if He had not given them the ability to respond to His call with repentance and faith.

RogerW
Apr 8th 2010, 03:33 PM
Notice something here, Roger. Does this verse say that the gospel of Christ is the power of God to everyone that is given faith to believe? No! It is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes. One must believe the gospel. It does not say they are given the faith to believe it. People are responsible to choose to believe it.

Eric, yes...to everyone who believes! Who will believe? I agree, man is responsible to choose to believe...BUT, and this is really BIG...who will act responsibly and choose to believe? Answer...none! There are none good, no not one, there are none who seek God!

Every single human is born in Adam, separated from God, in spiritual darkness, sin, and under the condemnation of death! No exception! God would be just to leave every one of us lost, without mercy or life! This is what the free will advocate altogether misses! It is because God loves His creation that He has chosen to save whosoever He will to have everlasting life in Christ.



What Paul taught here is that people must hear the word of God preached before believing it. You are acting as if hearing it alone guarantees one will believe it but that is obviously not the case! Let's read on from verse 17.

18But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
19But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.
20But 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.
21But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

You would erroneously claim that those who do not believe were not given faith and that God did not care about them enough to give them faith. But what does this say? This says that God did reach out to them! You think He does nothing to try to reach those who do not believe but this says otherwise. He wants all people to repent, believe and be saved, Roger. You misrepresent God and His character, which is a grievous thing to do. The true God is not partial as you think He is, but desires for all people to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth.

Yes, God stretched forth His hand to a disobedient and gainsaying people....Is that not every man before he is saved? God tells us Israel heard, Israel knew, so why did they remain without faith? Does not Scripture clearly show us that faith comes by hearing, by knowing the Word? Yet they heard, and knew and did not have faith...why? Did they (and all unsaved mankind) freely choose to reject Christ after hearing and knowing that in Him we possess life everlasting? How can they be held accoutable unless they hear and know and then willfully reject Him? Of course it has to be free will!

Is that the answer Paul gives when addressing, "Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?"? Does Paul say, well we are each accountable because we can all hear and we can all know, but because we willfully choose to reject eternal life, well we are doomed of our own free will? Has nothing to do with God...it's our own choice to be cast into the eternal flames! Are you kidding me? Man has free will, and in this he can choose to hear and know the gospel of salvation, and hearing and knowing he still willfully chooses death rather than life???? I hear and know that I can have eternal life in Christ, but I freely choose death instead???? That makes zero sense!

NO! The answer Paul gives is that God has the right to do with His creation whatsoever He wills. Salvation is of God, not of man! God will call them His people, and make known to them the riches of His glory, for they are called through His mercy to receive the glory He has prepared for them from before the foundation of the world.

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?
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.



You believe that it pleases God to leave the wicked in their wickedness even unto death. That isn't the God of the Bible, Roger. That contradicts what is taught here:

Ezekiel 33
10Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?
11Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

Why would anyone believe that it pleases God to destroy the wicked? I believe God when He says, "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live". But did you notice who God is speaking to? "O house of Israel"...yes, God is chastening, and warning His covenant people, who have the Word of God, the prophets, the priests, the law to turn from their wickedness and live according to the covenant they have promised to live in. God does not want to destroy them (O house of Israel) for their wickedness, but as surely as the sun will continue to rise, He most assuredly will destroy them if they do not turn away from their sins and back to the one true God.

We find similar warnings throughout the NT also...warning us again and again to remain faithful, and to sin not. God is longsuffering and will continue to grant us time to repent until the last of His people have entered into His eternal kingdom. Then God's mercy and compassion will be finished, just as His mercy and compassion for His old covenant people "house of Israel" finally came to an end. God will take no pleasure in altogether destroying all who remain in unbelief, but He will destroy all of them nonetheless. You would think we would learn this lesson from the unfaithful "house of Israel".

Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Apr 8th 2010, 03:48 PM
There is no bigger lie from the pit of hell than the one that says man has no responsibility.

Rom 14
10But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
12So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

You think that if man choose to humble himself and acknowledge that he is a sinner and that Jesus is Lord and died on the cross for his sins and rose from the dead that he is somehow patting himself on the back. The reality is that he is doing just the opposite by acknowledging that he is a sinner who can't save himself and needs the Lord to save him from his sins and from the penalty of death.

But to say we must choose of our own free will is not choosing to humble yourself! To humble means to humiliate, debase, and bring low. How are you doing that when you say man must of his/her own free will choose Christ? Free will is the act of choosing what "I" want, what "I" desire...how is that dependence upon Christ? We humble ourselves and acknowledge our hopeless state when we say, "Lord have mercy upon me, the sinner"! Admitting we are a sinner, but then saying we can choose to put our faith in Chirst, is to admit that we are not sinners at all. How can we admit to being a sinner, and then say while still in our sin we have the ability to be saved by our own faith? That's a contradiction ever I've heard one!

Many Blessings,
RW

John146
Apr 8th 2010, 03:59 PM
Eric, yes...to everyone who believes! Who will believe?Whosoever will choose to do so.


I agree, man is responsible to choose to believeNo, you do not agree with that. Don't lie on a Christian forum, Roger.


...BUT, and this is really BIG...who will act responsibly and choose to believe? Answer...none! There are none good, no not one, there are none who seek God! You said man is responsible to choose to believe but no one does. So, what are the consequences for choosing not to believe? There is no responsibility for having to choose to believe if there are no rewards for choosing to believe and no consequences for choosing not to believe.


Every single human is born in Adam, separated from God, in spiritual darkness, sin, and under the condemnation of death! No exception! God would be just to leave every one of us lost, without mercy or life! This is what the free will advocate altogether misses!No, we don't miss that at all, Roger. Don't try to make yourself look better by misrepresenting the opposing view. That's bad practice.


It is because God loves His creation that He has chosen to save whosoever He will to have everlasting life in Christ. That would mean God is a partial God. But scripture does not teach that. Scripture teaches that God loved the world enough to send His Son to die for the sins of the whole world (not just part of the world) so that whosoever in the whole world believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. The call to salvation goes out to all people because all people have the opportunity to believe and be saved. God desires that all people be saved (1 Tim 2:3-6). God doesn't want anyone to die in their wickedness but instead wants all to repent (Eze 18:23,33:11, 2 Peter 3:9, Acts 17:30-31).


Yes, God stretched forth His hand to a disobedient and gainsaying people....Is that not every man before he is saved? God tells us Israel heard, Israel knew, so why did they remain without faith? Does not Scripture clearly show us that faith comes by hearing, by knowing the Word?Does God stretch for His hand to all people for no reason? He reaches out to some knowing that they can't respond? How does that make any sense?


Yet they heard, and knew and did not have faith...why?Because they chose not to believe.


Did they (and all unsaved mankind) freely choose to reject Christ after hearing and knowing that in Him we possess life everlasting?Yes, absolutely.


How can they be held accoutable unless they hear and know and then willfully reject Him? Of course it has to be free will!Exactly.


Is that the answer Paul gives when addressing, "Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?"? Does Paul say, well we are each accountable because we can all hear and we can all know, but because we willfully choose to reject eternal life, well we are doomed of our own free will? Has nothing to do with God...it's our own choice to be cast into the eternal flames! Are you kidding me?No, I'm not kidding at all. Remember, Roger, that people are deceived. It's not that they are choosing to be cast into the eternal flame. It's that they choose not to bow down to God and acknowledge Him as their God. They would rather be their own gods than have to answer to the one true God.


Man has free will, and in this he can choose to hear and know the gospel of salvation, and hearing and knowing he still willfully chooses death rather than life???? I hear and know that I can have eternal life in Christ, but I freely choose death instead???? That makes zero sense!It makes complete sense when you understand the big picture. To some following Christ and having eternal life sounds good at first. But they aren't willing to give anything up for Him. They aren't willing to be persecuted for Him and to suffer for Him (read the parable of the sower). So, they fall away. That is their choice. It isn't that eternal life doesn't sound good to them, it's that they do not want to let following Christ get in the way of their other desires or cause them to suffer or cause them to be accountable.


NO! The answer Paul gives is that God has the right to do with His creation whatsoever He wills. Salvation is of God, not of man!Yes, God is the One who sent His Son to die for the sins of the world, not man. But God makes man responsible. If there is no responsibility and no free will then what will man be punished for? You think God punishes people just because He can and not for any real reason. What kind of God is that?


God will call them His people, and make known to them the riches of His glory, for they are called through His mercy to receive the glory He has prepared for them from before the foundation of the world.

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?
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.Where does this passage say that God chooses people to be vessels of wrath from birth? It doesn't say that. Prior to these verses Pharaoah is given as an example. Was he used as a vessel of wrath from birth? No. He had already chosen to reject God before God used him to show His wrath and His power. It never says that is what God created Pharaoh for in the first place.


Why would anyone believe that it pleases God to destroy the wicked? I believe God when He says, "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live". But did you notice who God is speaking to? "O house of Israel"...yes, God is chastening, and warning His covenant people, who have the Word of God, the prophets, the priests, the law to turn from their wickedness and live according to the covenant they have promised to live in. God does not want to destroy them (O house of Israel) for their wickedness, but as surely as the sun will continue to rise, He most assuredly will destroy them if they do not turn away from their sins and back to the one true God.What are you saying here? That God would destroy His own people, as in those who will spend eternity with Him? No way would He ever do that. He doesn't send His wrath down upon anyone who belongs to Him. You're right that He does not want to destroy them but will if they don't turn from their wickedness. If they don't turn from their wickedness than that shows they have rejected Him and He punishes them for that and they will have to spend eternity apart from Him as the result of their choice to reject Him.


We find similar warnings throughout the NT also...warning us again and again to remain faithful, and to sin not. God is longsuffering and will continue to grant us time to repent until the last of His people have entered into His eternal kingdom. Then God's mercy and compassion will be finished, just as His mercy and compassion for His old covenant people "house of Israel" finally came to an end. God will take no pleasure in altogether destroying all who remain in unbelief, but He will destroy all of them nonetheless. You would think we would learn this lesson from the unfaithful "house of Israel".Yes, He will take no pleasure in destroying those who remain in unbelief but what you are not acknowledging is that He wanted them to repent and live instead. With that being the case why would you try to say that they are in unbelief because God didn't give them faith?

John146
Apr 8th 2010, 04:07 PM
But to say we must choose of our own free will is not choosing to humble yourself!Show me scripture that says that.


To humble means to humiliate, debase, and bring low. How are you doing that when you say man must of his/her own free will choose Christ? Free will is the act of choosing what "I" want, what "I" desire...how is that dependence upon Christ?Because you are choosing to humble yourself and indicating that you want to depend on Christ instead of yourself. All people are capable of realizing that doing things their own way doesn't work and only leads to misery and recognizing that giving up their will in favor of God's will is the only way to get out of that predicament.


We humble ourselves and acknowledge our hopeless state when we say, "Lord have mercy upon me, the sinner"! Admitting we are a sinnerIs that not an act of the will?


but then saying we can choose to put our faith in Chirst, is to admit that we are not sinners at all.You keep making these silly claims without backing them up. How did you come to this conclusion?


How can we admit to being a sinner, and then say while still in our sin we have the ability to be saved by our own faith? That's a contradiction ever I've heard one!You can word things in such a way to make them seem like contradictions but there's no contradiction here, Roger. If one can willingly choose to admit to being a sinner why can't they also admit that they can't save themselves and instead choose to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord and is the only one who can save them and acknowledge that He died for them and rose from the dead?

BroRog
Apr 8th 2010, 05:00 PM
Is it not their choice to be stubborn and obstinate? Is that not a result of them resisting the Holy Spirit rather than it being a case of them being unable to respond favorably to the gospel and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit?Technically no. Again, it's not an issue of ability. For instance, if God commanded me to jump 20 feet into the air, try as I might, I will not be able to do it. (Believe me, I won't get more than 2 feet off the ground.) The Bible doesn't teach that man is incapable of belief. Human beings are capable of belief. We can accept as true many things that are true. But when it comes to certain truths, we refuse to accept them as true, even though we know they are true. If God were to command me to jump 2 feet into the air, and if I were stubborn and obstinate I would refuse to jump even though I was capable of jumping that distance. It isn't that I am unable to jump; it's that I am unwilling to jump. My refusal to jump is a moral problem, not a physical problem.

But this still doesn't answer your question. The decision to accept and affirm God's existence, being a moral choice, is still a choice made in our freedom. To answer your question I note that our choices are meaningful choices, that is, they are choices that I can own for myself, if my choices reflect who I am as an individual. I own my choices because my choices reflect my distinct personality -- my personal preferences, likes, dislikes, dreams, hopes, lusts, wants, and etc. If I choose chocolate over vanilla, my choice of chocolate will be a meaningful choice only if I actually prefer chocolate over vanilla. If I don't care either way, my choice isn't that significant to me personally. So when we talk about freedom of the will, we must bear in mind that freedom doesn't imply that my choices were random, or arbitrary. Freedom of choice is MY choice, a choice I own, or it really doesn't mean much to me.

If I were the ideal human being this would be the end of it. But I am not the ideal human being. The fact is, I am not morally attractive, morally perfect, or single minded. I am morally unattractive. Not only this but I have mixed motives, and I am often double minded. I don't think that I am unique in this. The Biblical picture is that all human beings except one share this trait. None of us seeks after God. Without the miraculous transformation of our inner motivations and preferences, all of us would stubbornly refuse to believe that God exists even when we know he does. And even if we decide that a public affirmation of God's existence will bring us material benefits and status in our community, we still refuse to live like he exists, placing God on the margin.

Those who affirm that saving faith is a gift of God, have noticed certain passages in Scripture where it becomes very clear that the natural state of human kind is a stubborn refusal to acknowledge God's existence, a stubborn refusal to trust God, a stubborn refusal to hear the uncomfortable truth about ourselves. It isn't as if we are incapable of believing in God's existence. In fact, as Paul says, we stubbornly and unrighteously refuse to affirm God's existence even as we already know that God exists. Human beings are such strange creatures that we can pretend to not believe, even while we do believe, and sincerely act like we don't believe, and not notice that we do. Yes, we are capable of belief, and we do believe, even while we refuse to acknowledge that he exists, and stubbornly go about life as if he doesn't. Saving faith is when God miraculously breaks through this moral barrier, which all human beings except for Jesus seem to share.

So just as I make a free will choice, rooted in my own personal preferences, to pretend that God doesn't exist and to live life as if he doesn't, the entire race does the very same thing. And none of us will seek after God unless he first helps us get over ourselves. It isn't a matter of ability; it's a matter of preference and none of us prefer him. And since he is dealing with a moral predilection to refuse to hear the truth about him, he is not going to convince us with an argument or reason. Instead, he works on us from the inside.


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.

If God made them that way then why did Jesus get angry with them?Jesus is not angry. He is making an observation, which is one of the passages of scripture on which we base the idea that saving faith comes from God. Jesus notices that there is a correspondance between being uncircumcised in heart and a resistance of the Holy Spirit. It isn't that they don't want to resist but they can't help themselves. It's that they want to resist and they do resist out of a heart that is predisposed to resist. A person with an uncircumcised heart will resist the Holy Spirit, not because he can't do otherwise, but because he will do as he wants out of his natural bias against God.


It says God hardened Pharaoh's heart for the purpose of His people not being let go out of Egypt and "that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth" (Rom 9:17). But think about what kind of person Pharaoh was even before that occurred. Was he not an evil ruler who made the Israelites his slaves? Was he not already hardened towards God before God hardened his heart for a particular purpose? I believe he was.I don't think it follows from Pharaoh's enslavement of the Israelites that he was hardened toward God. He didn't even know about Yahweh until Moses showed up with Aaron. The Israelites weren't even Israelites at the time, they were simply known as Hebrews. How could Pharaoh have a heard heart toward Yahweh when he had never met him or heard about him? Paul's point in Romans, however, is that God is more than willing to harden someone's heart in order to demonstrate that the basis of his mercy doesn't depend on the man who wills or the man who runs but on the God who has mercy. God's decision to have mercy on me as an individual had nothing at all to do with my choices, since God's decision came prior to my choice.


The Holy Spirit reaches out to all people. Even the Pharisees. But they resisted the Spirit. God desires for all people to repent (Eze 18:23, 2 Peter 3:9, Acts 17:30-31) and to be saved (1 Tim 2:3-6). Yes, and resistence says something meaningful about those who resist. Again, it isn't as if they can't resist. It isn't as if they want to believe in God but God refuses to save them. They don't want to believe that God exists even though they already know he does.


People like yourself act as if people are born as fools and born being vain in their imaginations and born with a predisposition to not have any desire to glorify God or be thankful to God. But that is not what Paul taught.

Romans 1
18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

How do you reconcile your understanding of things with a passage like this? Why is it that man is without excuse when he does not acknowledge God's eternal power and Godhead and does not glorify Him as God or are thankful to Him?
This passage illustrates what I have been saying in this post. They knew God existed and yet they would not acknowledge this as a fact. They unrighteously suppressed this fact; that is, they made a moral choice to live as if God didn't exist, even though they knew he did. It wasn't as if they couldn't acknowledge his existence. They knew it already. Their choice to resist was a morally objectionable decision that revealed an inner disposition, a personal preference, which all human being share in common apart from a miracle "circumcision of the heart."


That is how you read it, but that is not what scripture teaches. Scripture says that man must humble himself before God. Where does it say that God does that for man? And you didn't answer my question regarding 1 Cor 3:8, which follows the verse you focused on.

1 Cor 3:8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
I thought I answered your question. But maybe I didn't understand your question. What is the question again?


Does this not show that man will be held responsibile for his own behavior and will be rewarded or judged for it?I'm sure that is true, but that isn't Paul's point in 1Cor. 3:8. The subject of that discourse is teachers and whether or not teachers build on foundational apostolic teaching or not. If a teacher builds on the teaching of Jesus and the apostles, his or her "reward" is a congregation that follows Jesus. If a teacher doesn't not build on the apostolic foundation, all his efforts will be for nothing.


If God does everything then how would verses like this one and others that say Christ will come and reward/judge every man according to their works (Matt 16:27, Rev 22:12) make any sense?Since none of us is God, and neither can we be God, we can only comprehend God by analogy. In Romans 9, Paul uses the analogy of a potter in which he teaches us to examine God, not in terms of a human judge, but in terms of a creator. The only way to make sense of this is to realize that God is going to judge each man according to his works, even while it is God who creates everything including the men, the works, the circumstances and everything else. Paul is addressing your question.


You are misinterpreting the passage. It does not say God is responsible for someone believing the message. That would mean He is responsible for people not believing, which would contradict the fact that people are without excuse for not believing. If it's God's responsibility that they don't believe then that would be a good excuse for them not believing, but instead they have no excuse.

You believe that He only wants some to repent and be saved and He basically does it for them. So, show me where scripture teaches that God does not desire for all people to repent and be saved.The objection that God can not be responsible for who believes and who doesn't contradicts God's fairness and justice is answered in Romans 9 in which Paul argues that God is not unjust for selectively choosing to save some and not others because God has the right of authorship. Just as it is not wrong for a potter to make both a toilet and a vase from the same lump of clay, it is not wrong for the creator God to make us all hard of heart, and then subsequently soften some of us according to his own purpose.

ThyWordIsTruth
Apr 8th 2010, 05:02 PM
Eric, correct me if I am wrong, but you appear to be saying that we are saved as a result of putting our faith in Christ...yes? That means that salvation is not of grace but of faith.

I don't understand this line of reasoning at all. It's an all or nothing reasoning that does not make any sense to me.

It's like me saying if my t-shirt is not black then it can't be a t-shirt.

Why is salvation not of grace if it requires faith? Is salvation only of grace if God does all the saving and man does nothing?

Let me give an analogy.

If a convict on death row is pardoned by the President, and in order to obtain his pardon he is required to sign on his pardon form, does him putting his signature on the form somehow make his pardon not an act of grace on the part of the President?

Did his signature on the form somehow mean that he was the one who "worked" for his pardon? Of course not. He could sign all he wants on 1 billion pardon forms, but if the pardon was not granted by the President, there is still no pardon. There is no way he could've worked for his pardon. It was given by grace, but in order to accept the pardon he needs to willingly acknowledge his consent on the form.

The same for salvation. It is by grace because we are sinners and justly deserve death, and the Lord came and died on our behalf to pay for our sins that we should rightly pay for. Our act of placing our faith in the Lord does not change the fact that salvation is by grace. If the Lord did not love us enough to die for us, we could believe all we want and still not be saved. Whether we place our faith or not does not change one bit that salvation is still by grace.


What is the purpose of grace? Why is grace necessary if all we need do is put our faith in Christ apart from grace?

Pls think about the question you're asking, if it makes sense. Why does putting our faith in Christ immediately make it "apart from grace?" If Christ did not grant the grace to die and save us, what would our faith do?

If then Christ showed grace towards us and required us to believe, what does our faith in him take away from his grace in dying for us? Absolutely nothing.


When you say we are saved by our faith, and then God extends His grace, it is not by grace we are saved at all, but rather by our faith..

I don't think anyone is saying that we are saved by our faith, what was said is that salvation is given by grace, but God requires us to believe Him at His word.

In other words, as Scripture clearly puts it, salvation is by grace through faith.
Salvation is always by the grace of God. But salvation comes about through faith, when we put our trust in Christ Jesus as our Saviour.

It isn't really that hard to understand I think.


.then because we decided of our own free will to believe, God shows us mercy. This of course makes salvation by grace, not a gift at all, but the result of our faith.

Again this reasoning is to me, totally illogical. If you decided on your own free will to believe, but God does not choose to give salvation, will you have salvation?

Of course not. Like I said, you can believe all you want but if God does not grant grace to save you, you will achieve nothing.

It is only through his grace that you get saved. He must give the gift for you to recieve it. If he did not give you anything, you can try to recieve all you want and you'd still get nothing.

ThyWordIsTruth
Apr 8th 2010, 05:06 PM
Eric,

What do some lack when persuading or reasoning from the Scriptures fail to make a difference in their lives? Is it not faith? Why? Why are some persuaded to believe, but others remain in unbelief? Does Paul, or anyone who reasons from the Scriptures know who will be persuaded to believe and who will not?

Many Blessings,
RW

According to Scripture,
1) Because they do not understand the Gospel message.
2) Because they are hard-hearted and stubborn and refuse to believe.
3) Because they love darkness rather than light, and refuse to come to the light less their evil deeds are exposed.

But Scripture never teaches that it is because faith was not "given" to them.

ThyWordIsTruth
Apr 8th 2010, 05:11 PM
If the soil represents the heart and the farmer represents God, then it is God who is ultimately responsible for each type of soil and therefore, each outcome. This information should go a long way to answering your question. At the same time, we realize that only God knows for sure which person has the hard soil, shallow soil, weeds, or good soil. Since we can't know that, we preach the gospel to all people. With regard to Paul, God did not ask Paul to assertain a person's heart in order to decide whether or not to preach the gospel to that person. He persuades all who will listen and allows God to deal with each individual personally.

In first century Palestine, farmers did not plough their lands before sowing. What they'd normally do is to carry a bag full of seeds on their belts and broadcast (i.e. to cast broadly) the seed as they walk through the farm.

When Jesus told this parable, it is immediately clear to the people who were familiar with the agricultural practices of the day. The farmer unlike today did not till the soil. They broadcasted the seed instead of planting them one by one carefully in neat rows.

Whatever then will fall by the wayside and the shallow soil will not bear fruit. Thus the farmer does not choose the soil nor is he responsible for the soil. He just broadcasts, and depending on the soil's own condition, it'll determine if the plant bears fruit.

And Jesus said the soil is the condition of our own hearts. It is our responsibility how we listen, not God's. It is for this reason that God can judge us. Why else would God judge a man if God was responsible for whether or not he believed? Shouldn't then God judge Himself? That would be preposterous.

John146
Apr 8th 2010, 05:21 PM
Jesus is not angry. He is making an observation, which is one of the passages of scripture on which we base the idea that saving faith comes from God. Jesus notices that there is a correspondance between being uncircumcised in heart and a resistance of the Holy Spirit. It isn't that they don't want to resist but they can't help themselves. It's that they want to resist and they do resist out of a heart that is predisposed to resist. A person with an uncircumcised heart will resist the Holy Spirit, not because he can't do otherwise, but because he will do as he wants out of his natural bias against God. Actually, that is Stephen speaking in Acts 7:51, not Jesus, so I misspoke there. Regardless, I disagree that he was not speaking to them harshly and I don't see where it says they could not help but to resist the Holy Spirit. It doesn't say that. Was Stephen doing anything different than what Jesus does in Matthew 23 where He clearly is angry at them as evidenced by repeatedly calling them hypocrites and such. If Jesus was not angry with them for resisting the Spirit and rejecting Him then why was their city and their temple destroyed in 70 AD? Was that not God's punishment for their rebellion?


I don't think it follows from Pharaoh's enslavement of the Israelites that he was hardened toward God. He didn't even know about Yahweh until Moses showed up with Aaron. The Israelites weren't even Israelites at the time, they were simply known as Hebrews. How could Pharaoh have a heard heart toward Yahweh when he had never met him or heard about him? Paul's point in Romans, however, is that God is more than willing to harden someone's heart in order to demonstrate that the basis of his mercy doesn't depend on the man who wills or the man who runs but on the God who has mercy. God's decision to have mercy on me as an individual had nothing at all to do with my choices, since God's decision came prior to my choice. Then why is there scripure that says God has mercy on those who fear Him, those who call upon Him, those who hope in Him and those who confess and forsake their sins?


Yes, and resistence says something meaningful about those who resist. Again, it isn't as if they can't resist. It isn't as if they want to believe in God but God refuses to save them. They don't want to believe that God exists even though they already know he does.

This passage illustrates what I have been saying in this post. They knew God existed and yet they would not acknowledge this as a fact. They unrighteously suppressed this fact; that is, they made a moral choice to live as if God didn't exist, even though they knew he did. It wasn't as if they couldn't acknowledge his existence. They knew it already. Their choice to resist was a morally objectionable decision that revealed an inner disposition, a personal preference, which all human being share in common apart from a miracle "circumcision of the heart."I don't agree with what you're saying here. A little bit later in Romans 1 Paul said this:

Romans 1
26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

If what Paul is saying in Romans 1:18-32 applies to all people then why aren't all people homosexuals? Doesn't a person choose to be a homosexual? Sure they do. But obviously not everyone does. In the same way people choose to become vain in their imaginations and to become fools but not all people choose to do that.


The objection that God can not be responsible for who believes and who doesn't contradicts God's fairness and justice is answered in Romans 9 in which Paul argues that God is not unjust for selectively choosing to save some and not others because God has the right of authorship. Just as it is not wrong for a potter to make both a toilet and a vase from the same lump of clay, it is not wrong for the creator God to make us all hard of heart, and then subsequently soften some of us according to his own purpose.Romans 9 simply does not teach that God arbitrarily saves some people and not others. It does teach that who He has mercy on whomever He wants and who He hardens is completely up to Him but it is a grievous mistake to take that to mean He has mercy on some and hardens others arbitrarily. That would contradict more scripture than I can even list in this space.

John146
Apr 8th 2010, 05:33 PM
I don't understand this line of reasoning at all. It's an all or nothing reasoning that does not make any sense to me.

It's like me saying if my t-shirt is not black then it can't be a t-shirt.Exactly. The claim that if we are responsible to choose to put our faith in Christ then that would mean that salvation is not of grace but faith is just complete nonsense. Salvation is by grace through faith. Both grace and faith are components of salvation, so where this idea that it has to be one or the other comes from, I don't know.


Why is salvation not of grace if it requires faith? Is salvation only of grace if God does all the saving and man does nothing?

Let me give an analogy.

If a convict on death row is pardoned by the President, and in order to obtain his pardon he is required to sign on his pardon form, does him putting his signature on the form somehow make his pardon not an act of grace on the part of the President?

Did his signature on the form somehow mean that he was the one who "worked" for his pardon? Of course not. He could sign all he wants on 1 billion pardon forms, but if the pardon was not granted by the President, there is still no pardon. There is no way he could've worked for his pardon. It was given by grace, but in order to accept the pardon he needs to willingly acknowledge his consent on the form.

The same for salvation. It is by grace because we are sinners and justly deserve death, and the Lord came and died on our behalf to pay for our sins that we should rightly pay for. Our act of placing our faith in the Lord does not change the fact that salvation is by grace. If the Lord did not love us enough to die for us, we could believe all we want and still not be saved. Whether we place our faith or not does not change one bit that salvation is still by grace.Excellent analogy. There's just no support for the idea that someone choosing to put their faith and trust in Christ means they would have cause to boast of their salvation and it would not be of grace. None at all.


Pls think about the question you're asking, if it makes sense. Why does putting our faith in Christ immediately make it "apart from grace?" If Christ did not grant the grace to die and save us, what would our faith do?

If then Christ showed grace towards us and required us to believe, what does our faith in him take away from his grace in dying for us? Absolutely nothing.Exactly.


I don't think anyone is saying that we are saved by our faith, what was said is that salvation is given by grace, but God requires us to believe Him at His word.

In other words, as Scripture clearly puts it, salvation is by grace through faith.
Salvation is always by the grace of God. But salvation comes about through faith, when we put our trust in Christ Jesus as our Saviour.

It isn't really that hard to understand I think.It isn't but as is typical with false doctrine, it makes everything complicated.


Again this reasoning is to me, totally illogical. If you decided on your own free will to believe, but God does not choose to give salvation, will you have salvation?

Of course not. Like I said, you can believe all you want but if God does not grant grace to save you, you will achieve nothing.

It is only through his grace that you get saved. He must give the gift for you to recieve it. If he did not give you anything, you can try to recieve all you want and you'd still get nothing.Right. Jesus indicates that it is a gift that must be accepted and not one that is just given and automatically received.

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.

Jesus didn't say "whosoever I want to have it I will give the water of life". No, He indicates that it is something we are responsible to "take...freely".

BroRog
Apr 8th 2010, 06:18 PM
In first century Palestine, farmers did not plough their lands before sowing. What they'd normally do is to carry a bag full of seeds on their belts and broadcast (i.e. to cast broadly) the seed as they walk through the farm.They did both.



Another one said, "I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused."

RogerW
Apr 8th 2010, 06:59 PM
The same for salvation. It is by grace because we are sinners and justly deserve death, and the Lord came and died on our behalf to pay for our sins that we should rightly pay for. Our act of placing our faith in the Lord does not change the fact that salvation is by grace. If the Lord did not love us enough to die for us, we could believe all we want and still not be saved. Whether we place our faith or not does not change one bit that salvation is still by grace.

From whench cometh this act of placing our faith in the Lord? Faith is one of the fruits of the Spirit...how can we place our faith in the Lord before being indwelt by the Holy Spirit? Although we might have some kind of faith (that like the devil), we do not have faith to believe without the presence of the Holy Spirit. Therefore apart from regeneration by the Spirit, we are left with a faith that will not justify us before God.

Ga*5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,




Pls think about the question you're asking, if it makes sense. Why does putting our faith in Christ immediately make it "apart from grace?" If Christ did not grant the grace to die and save us, what would our faith do?

If it is our faith, it is not a gift of God's grace. How can it be of grace if we already possess it? But Scripture tells us the faith that enables us to believe is indeed a gift, not of ourselves, but from God...why? that no man may boast. We are NOT saved by faith, we are saved by GRACE through the gift of faith that comes from God.



If then Christ showed grace towards us and required us to believe, what does our faith in him take away from his grace in dying for us? Absolutely nothing.

The grace God extends to His own through the gift of faith, (that comes through hearing by the power of God) is not required to be saved, but is ours because we have been saved. Do you see the difference? You say our faith saves us, but Scripture says we are given the gift of faith by grace when we are regenerated (born again). Again, please hear me...we are not saved by our faith! We are saved by GRACE through faith that is not ours, but the gift of God, that no man will be able to say "my faith saved me".



I don't think anyone is saying that we are saved by our faith, what was said is that salvation is given by grace, but God requires us to believe Him at His word.

Actually you have said we are saved when we place our faith in Christ, and the OP's purpose for this thread is to try to prove man is saved by his/her faith placed in Christ.

Your statement shows confusion! It is true we are saved by grace! So if by grace, why are putting another requirement for salvation; i.e. that we must believe? I do not disagree, we absolutely MUST believe....but here is the difference between us, you think we must believe to be saved, and Scripture teaches we must believe because we HAVE BEEN saved. Scripture makes it very clear that salvation, beginning with regeneration is all the Lord by grace, where you insist that salvation is of grace, but also of man when he/she puts their faith in Christ.



In other words, as Scripture clearly puts it, salvation is by grace through faith.
Salvation is always by the grace of God. But salvation comes about through faith, when we put our trust in Christ Jesus as our Saviour.

You see here you go again making salvation dependent upon our putting our trust in Christ. You should have stopped with "salvation is by grace through faith." What does that mean? It means all of God, none of man. God extends His grace when He opens our ears to hear the gospel, giving us the gift of faith that enables us to believe. If we think we can turn to Christ in repentance, believing through our faith, then we will be among those who thought they could inherit eternal life based upon all the good deeds they did in Christ's name.



It isn't really that hard to understand I think.

You're right! It really isn't that hard to understand...unless of course we feel we must have some small part in inheriting eternal life.




Again this reasoning is to me, totally illogical. If you decided on your own free will to believe, but God does not choose to give salvation, will you have salvation?

Aren't you the one saying that through our free will, choosing to believe we will be saved? Have you changed your mind? Have you come to realize that salvation is of the Lord alone?




It is only through his grace that you get saved. He must give the gift for you to recieve it. If he did not give you anything, you can try to recieve all you want and you'd still get nothing.

Absolutely! Exactly what I have been saying...but you, on the other hand, have been saying the exact opposite. Are you now saying that salvation is by grace through faith that is not our own, but the gift of God, that no man may boast?

Many Blessings,
RW

BroRog
Apr 8th 2010, 06:59 PM
Regardless, I disagree that he was not speaking to them harshly and I don't see where it says they could not help but to resist the Holy Spirit.Again, it isn't a matter of ability. Stephen isn't saying they "couldn't" help it. He says their resistence was directly explained by their stubborn and uncircumcised heart.


If Jesus was not angry with them for resisting the Spirit and rejecting Him then why was their city and their temple destroyed in 70 AD? Was that not God's punishment for their rebellion?God was not being vindictive. He had an agreement with Israel to protect them from their enemies. Since Israel did not want to abide by their agreement, God withdrew his protection from Jerusalem, though he did preserve them as a people by sending them into the "wilderness." That's not entirely true, what I mean by "vindictive" is the way we talk about being malevolent. God wasn't being evil, but he did deliver a righteous vengence on his people.


Then why is there scripure that says God has mercy on those who fear Him, those who call upon Him, those who hope in Him and those who confess and forsake their sins?Some will fear him and some won't. And it is true that he will have mercy on those who fear him etc. But this observation doesn't answer the question, since this would be the case whether human beings were inherently neutral or inherently biased against God.


If what Paul is saying in Romans 1:18-32 applies to all people then why aren't all people homosexuals? Doesn't a person choose to be a homosexual? Sure they do. But obviously not everyone does. In the same way people choose to become vain in their imaginations and to become fools but not all people choose to do that.Paul isn't saying that they all became homosexuals. He is simply offering homosexuality as an obvious case that proves the point that God has "given us over" to our the lusts of our hearts, which exibits itself in hundreds of ways, homosexuality simply being one of the most obvious.


Romans 9 simply does not teach that God arbitrarily saves some people and not others. Of course. I wouldn't dream of suggesting such a thing. Who said that God was being arbitrary? Didn't I say that God softened some of us according to his own purpose? Isn't purpose the opposite of arbitrary? There is nothing random or capricious about God's decision. His creation didn't come about according to a whim or an impulse. Every outcome is guided according to a plan, which was made in advance, without any council from others.


It does teach that who He has mercy on whomever He wants and who He hardens is completely up to Him but it is a grievous mistake to take that to mean He has mercy on some and hardens others arbitrarily. That would contradict more scripture than I can even list in this space.Of course, God's decisions are not arbitrary. The point Paul makes, however, is that God's decision is not based on anything man does. God isn't reactive, waiting to see what we do before having mercy on us. God is proactive, in that he determined in advance whom he will save and whom he wouldn't.

When some people hear that God predetermines whom to save, they hear that God just rolled the dice to see which humans he would save. And then it doesn't matter what they do or what they want. And some fear that if God has already decided who will go to hell in advance, we will find people in hell who loved God, feared God, loved the brethren, believed in Jesus, and wanted to live in eternity with family and friends, but since God didn't pick them by the roll of the dice, they will suffer in eternity arbitrarily. But discussions of God's sovereign creative design and purposes must account for the entire creation, not just the choice of who will enter heaven and who won't. Not only has God determined who will be in heaven, he determines that those in heaven wanted to be in heaven, believed in Jesus, praised God, trusted God, feared God, loved other believers, affirmed the gospel and all the rest. God isn't going to create a world in which he has people entering heaven who didn't do all those things simply because he chose certain people at the roll of the dice. When God sends someone to the Lake of fire, not only will they deserve to go there according to their actions, but none of those who go there will have loved God, loved enemies, loved other believers, affirmed the Gospel, and etc. God is a rational being and his choices are rational, and his creation is rational. No one will be in hell who wanted to be in heaven under God's terms. It isn't random. Everything follows logically from everything else.

RogerW
Apr 8th 2010, 07:07 PM
According to Scripture,
1) Because they do not understand the Gospel message.
2) Because they are hard-hearted and stubborn and refuse to believe.
3) Because they love darkness rather than light, and refuse to come to the light less their evil deeds are exposed.

But Scripture never teaches that it is because faith was not "given" to them.

Who is excluded from your list prior to salvation? If God does not give us the gift of faith, then how can any man believe, since every man is included in your list above?

Many Blessings,
RW

losthorizon
Apr 8th 2010, 11:10 PM
This is a lovely scripture losthorizon, but it was given to those God already choose. God chooses His people, then He continuely says to them as He says to us every day;"Choose!" May we choose to serve Him today.
But they had not all *chosen God* - some like their fathers before them served "strange gods", i.e., "gods which were beyond the River". The act of "choosing" runs both ways - God chooses those whom He foreknows will trust in Him..."choose you this day whom you will serve" is applicable to lost souls today. Those today who "choose" to open the door will receive Christ and God knows who "will" - out of a free-will - open the door.
I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in... ~ Jesus Christ

Firstfruits
Apr 9th 2010, 09:25 AM
Exactly Roger..... and this is the pardox of today's times... man believing he/she chooses God... and thru this belief system and its presentation... thru its subtleness.... tells God.. your NOT IN CONTROL...when He Truthfully Is... it is God who Chooses .. not man... this presentation of this 'other gospel ' as I will most bluntly call it... is a man centered salvation.... and this shouldnt suprise the Genuine and Elect of God... because this type of belief system.. with man at its core... and mans numer.... he that hath wisdom let him hear... this is foretold it would come.. and will be allowed to come to fruitition because God Himself will allow it.. so that His Word may be fulfilled...

in its subtleness it looks really good... and tells man to 'give himself' a pat on the back.. because he/she is 'able'.. yet in all its subtilty.. there is a deep foundation of rebellion.. that goes back .. waaaayyyyy back to the Garden of Eden itself.. and you know what that is all about..

Why then does God not cause all men to believe, since he does not want anyone to perish?

2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

firstfruits

Athanasius
Apr 9th 2010, 09:32 AM
Because then they wouldn't love.

Firstfruits
Apr 9th 2010, 11:16 AM
Because then they wouldn't love.

Thanks Xel'Naga,

Why would they not love?

Firstfruits

Athanasius
Apr 9th 2010, 03:20 PM
Thanks Xel'Naga,

Why would they not love?

Firstfruits

Because love is free, not coerced. If God made them (people) to love Him, they wouldn't be loving. You would have little robots running around. At least, in my opinion.

BroRog
Apr 9th 2010, 03:28 PM
Because love is free, not coerced. If God made them (people) to love Him, they wouldn't be loving. You would have little robots running around. At least, in my opinion.

Are you saying that love was your idea?

Athanasius
Apr 9th 2010, 03:35 PM
Are you saying that love was your idea?

Where are you getting that from?

BroRog
Apr 9th 2010, 04:14 PM
Where are you getting that from?

I understand and agree with your point that love should be free, not coerced. I was responding to your observation that, "If God made them (people) to love Him, they wouldn't be loving." (emphasis mine). I wanted to explore the equivocation of the term "made", which can have the connotation of "force", but it can also have the connotation of "create". If God is creating me to love him, is that the same thing as forcing me to love him?

Athanasius
Apr 9th 2010, 04:31 PM
I understand and agree with your point that love should be free, not coerced. I was responding to your observation that, "If God made them (people) to love Him, they wouldn't be loving." (emphasis mine). I wanted to explore the equivocation of the term "made", which can have the connotation of "force", but it can also have the connotation of "create". If God is creating me to love him, is that the same thing as forcing me to love him?

Ah, I see. Forced is what I mean.

RogerW
Apr 9th 2010, 04:33 PM
Because love is free, not coerced. If God made them (people) to love Him, they wouldn't be loving. You would have little robots running around. At least, in my opinion.

God doesn't coerce or force His elect to love Him. He changes their hearts, making them willing.

Ps*110:3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.

Eze*36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Many Blessings,
RW

BroRog
Apr 9th 2010, 04:49 PM
Ah, I see. Forced is what I mean.

A similar same point could be made with regard to Firstfruit's question, though the equivocation is harder to see. "Why then does God not cause all men to believe, since he does not want anyone to perish?" (emphasis mine) I agree with those who suggest that God does not cause (make, force) us to love him. And so the answer to Firstfruit's question is: God does not cause anyone to love him.

However, isn't it the case that the laws of Cause and effect apply to people and things within the same ontological boundary? What does it mean to say that God "causes" things? If we mean that God "creates" things, then I would agree that God creates me loving him. For if God is not creating me loving him, then the alternative isn't: I am creating myself loving him; the alternative is: I don't exist.

In other words, in order to make sense out of Eric's original question, we must make the a priori assumption that God exists both inside and outside of this ontological boundary. And if we do, then the answer to God's gift of saving faith should center on his role as creator as an act of creation, not an act of force.

Athanasius
Apr 9th 2010, 04:51 PM
God doesn't coerce or force His elect to love Him. He changes their hearts, making them willing.

Ps*110:3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.

Eze*36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Many Blessings,
RW

So does every man whose heart He changes come to love God, or only a few of them?

RogerW
Apr 9th 2010, 05:26 PM
So does every man whose heart He changes come to love God, or only a few of them?

What do you think?

John146
Apr 9th 2010, 09:30 PM
I understand and agree with your point that love should be free, not coerced. I was responding to your observation that, "If God made them (people) to love Him, they wouldn't be loving." (emphasis mine). I wanted to explore the equivocation of the term "made", which can have the connotation of "force", but it can also have the connotation of "create". If God is creating me to love him, is that the same thing as forcing me to love him?Sure it is. How exactly can someone be caused or created to love, anyway? It would have to be forced in that case. Please explain in detail how love can be possible if it is not a willful choice made from one's heart.

Firstfruits
Apr 10th 2010, 11:41 AM
Because love is free, not coerced. If God made them (people) to love Him, they wouldn't be loving. You would have little robots running around. At least, in my opinion.

So "Whosoever will" means we have a choice whether to love God and to do his will?

Firstfruits

Athanasius
Apr 10th 2010, 12:17 PM
What do you think?

I don't know, I wasn't the one who gave the answer, which is why I asked you the question.


So "Whosoever will" means we have a choice whether to love God and to do his will?

Firstfruits

Please clarify your thoughts more.

losthorizon
Apr 10th 2010, 01:46 PM
I understand and agree with your point that love should be free, not coerced.


Well Rog you appear to give lip-service to free-will, but do you really believe in it? If the “elect” are predestined by God to “choose” to love God and if the “non-elect” are predestined by God to “choose” not to love God isn’t this “forced choice” really something other than free-will? If man has only one course of action open to him is his “choice” really free?

If one is to truly have free-will to “choose” to serve God doesn’t that “choice” involve the option to serve God or not to serve God? Under your theology isn’t grace “irresistible” - requiring God to *coerce* the elect to obey? According to Holy Writ doesn’t God always present man with the choice to serve Him or to not serve Him?
"choose you this day whom you will serve” ~ Joshua (Joshua 24:15)

coerce (transitive verb) - to make somebody do something against his or her will by using force or threats

notuptome
Apr 10th 2010, 02:14 PM
When you came to Christ were you coerced or drawn? Is it any different for anyone else?

God draws all men to Jesus.

All men have the knowledge of good and evil. By virtue of the fruit in the garden.

Men choose to come to the light or they turn from the light. John 3:19-21

There are no honest doubters and there are none with an excuse. Romans 1:18-20

For the cause of Christ
Roger

Firstfruits
Apr 10th 2010, 02:18 PM
I don't know, I wasn't the one who gave the answer, which is why I asked you the question.



Please clarify your thoughts more.

When Jesus says "Whosoever will" he is giving a choice to come to him.

Mk 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

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.

Mt 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
Mt 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Mt 12:50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Lk 14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

We are given the choices and we choose which way we want to go.

Firstfruits

Athanasius
Apr 10th 2010, 02:39 PM
When Jesus says "Whosoever will" he is giving a choice to come to him.

Mk 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

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.

Mt 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
Mt 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Mt 12:50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Lk 14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

We are given the choices and we choose which way we want to go.

Firstfruits

Yes, I agree.

Firstfruits
Apr 10th 2010, 02:52 PM
Yes, I agree.

Thank you!

God bless you!

Firstfruits

BroRog
Apr 10th 2010, 04:40 PM
Sure it is. How exactly can someone be caused or created to love, anyway? It would have to be forced in that case. Please explain in detail how love can be possible if it is not a willful choice made from one's heart.

I observe a distinction between cause and create as it pertains to God. If you don't recognize the distinction between them, then I can't offer you an explanation that would make sense to you.

Athanasius
Apr 10th 2010, 04:59 PM
I observe a distinction between cause and create as it pertains to God. If you don't recognize the distinction between them, then I can't offer you an explanation that would make sense to you.

Why don't you explain that distinction? It's apparent John146 is interpreting "caused" and "created" different than what you mean by them.

BroRog
Apr 10th 2010, 05:32 PM
Well Rog you appear to give lip-service to free-will, but do you really believe in it? If the “elect” are predestined by God to “choose” to love God and if the “non-elect” are predestined by God to “choose” not to love God isn’t this “forced choice” really something other than free-will? If man has only one course of action open to him is his “choice” really free?First of all, a choice isn't a course. To choose is to pick from more than one course. Second, and more to the point, in my discussion with Xel'Naga I postulated the difference between "cause" and "create" and observed that the laws of cause and effect can only apply to beings in the same ontological boundary. We can only discuss things outside our own ontological boundary by analogy to our own.

In Romans 9, Paul used the analogy of a potter who makes pots, to describe God's relationship to his creation. He asserts that the basis of God's mercy rests on his own plans and purposes. He also asserts that God preplanned which individuals would gain his mercy before they were born, removing both the will and actions of men from any influence on his decision. Then Paul raises a rhetorical objection to these assertions, asking whether this process of salvation might be unfair or unjust. While Paul could have argued the point that it is illogical to assume that mercy should be based on merit, he argues a more profound point that God has the right of authorship. Just as it wouldn't be unjust for a potter to make a toilet and treat it as a toilet, it is not unjust for God to make an evil person and treat him as evil. And again, just as it wouldn't be unjust for a potter to make a vase and treat it as a vase, it wouldn't be unjust for God to have mercy on an evil person destined for his mercy. And just as the potter makes the toilet and the vase from the same lump of clay, we know that there was nothing in the clay itself to commend either being a toilet or a vase. The choice of toilet or vase is based in the plans and purposes of the potter, not in the clay. One lump of clay is just like any other lump of clay.

We see from Paul's argument that the issue of free will is beside the point. God had made his plans for a man before the man would make his choices. This shouldn't suprise us; after all, we all admit we are sinners deserving of hell. If it was a question of fairness or justice, we would all end up in the lake of fire. If we demand justice or fairness, we will end up in the lake of fire since that is what justice demands. We don't actually want justice, we want mercy. But being evil, we think that we deserve mercy for some reason. Perhaps we think we deserve mercy because we said 'yes' to the question, "Is Jesus Lord?" Perhaps we think we deserve mercy because we pay tithes, or feed the poor, or attend church more than once a week, or love our mother, or what-have-you. There are a million different ways we think we deserve mercy, when we foolishly forget that mercy is undeserved by definition. In my arogance and pride I am too foolish to realize that this isn't about me. My salvation isn't about me. God didn't have mercy on me because I was worth it. He isn't having mercy on me because I made the right choices, or I made THE choice. His mercy displays HIS glory, not mine.

God isn't saving us BECAUSE we made a free will choice to serve God. There isn't any sense in which I am the justification or the cause agent of God's mercy on me. I am not the rational for God's mercy. I have no admirable quality or beneficial attribute or morally admirable trait that would compel God to grant me mercy. My initial reason for beliving in him, at best, was a double minded, base instinct at self preservation. I simply didn't want to go to hell. I would be ludicrous for me to think this noble in any way.

I can find no explanation based in me for why God chose to have mercy on me. I can only look to God for the answer.

losthorizon
Apr 10th 2010, 07:58 PM
First of all, a choice isn't a course. To choose is to pick from more than one course.


LOL - doesn’t that depend on what “is” is? You say, “To choose is to pick from more than one course” but “a choice isn't a course” – what exactly does that mean?



God isn't saving us BECAUSE we made a free will choice to serve God.


You misunderstand Rog because you have bought into the Calvinistic error of “Total Depravity” – a doctrine of man that finds no basis in God’s word and of course God saves those who choose to obey and serve Him. The unregenerate man – the man "dead in trespasses and sins” - can and does "obey from the heart" the “form of doctrine” he has received, i.e., the gospel of Christ.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. (Rom 6:16-18 KJV)Faith comes by hearing the word of God and when unregenerate man hears God’s word he has the choice via the gift of free-will to "choose you this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). This universal truth to “choose” whom one will serve presented by Joshua is the death-knell to the notion of total depravity. Jesus stands at the door and knocks - the unregenerate sinner who chooses to open the door will find salvation through the blood of Christ - it can't get any clearer. Salvation is open to all who will hear and obey the Lord.

ThyWordIsTruth
Apr 12th 2010, 05:57 AM
In Romans 9, Paul used the analogy of a potter who makes pots, to describe God's relationship to his creation. He asserts that the basis of God's mercy rests on his own plans and purposes. He also asserts that God preplanned which individuals would gain his mercy before they were born, removing both the will and actions of men from any influence on his decision. Then Paul raises a rhetorical objection to these assertions, asking whether this process of salvation might be unfair or unjust. While Paul could have argued the point that it is illogical to assume that mercy should be based on merit, he argues a more profound point that God has the right of authorship. Just as it wouldn't be unjust for a potter to make a toilet and treat it as a toilet, it is not unjust for God to make an evil person and treat him as evil. And again, just as it wouldn't be unjust for a potter to make a vase and treat it as a vase, it wouldn't be unjust for God to have mercy on an evil person destined for his mercy. And just as the potter makes the toilet and the vase from the same lump of clay, we know that there was nothing in the clay itself to commend either being a toilet or a vase. The choice of toilet or vase is based in the plans and purposes of the potter, not in the clay. One lump of clay is just like any other lump of clay.

We see from Paul's argument that the issue of free will is beside the point. God had made his plans for a man before the man would make his choices. This shouldn't suprise us; after all, we all admit we are sinners deserving of hell. If it was a question of fairness or justice, we would all end up in the lake of fire. If we demand justice or fairness, we will end up in the lake of fire since that is what justice demands. We don't actually want justice, we want mercy. But being evil, we think that we deserve mercy for some reason. Perhaps we think we deserve mercy because we said 'yes' to the question, "Is Jesus Lord?" Perhaps we think we deserve mercy because we pay tithes, or feed the poor, or attend church more than once a week, or love our mother, or what-have-you. There are a million different ways we think we deserve mercy, when we foolishly forget that mercy is undeserved by definition. In my arogance and pride I am too foolish to realize that this isn't about me. My salvation isn't about me. God didn't have mercy on me because I was worth it. He isn't having mercy on me because I made the right choices, or I made THE choice. His mercy displays HIS glory, not mine.


I think therein lies the whole problem of Calvinism. It spring forth from a wrong understanding of what Romans 9 is teaching. Romans 9 is not talking about salvation at all. The pots and potter analogy has nothing at all to do with salvation, its not even in the context of the whole chapter.

If one takes the trouble to carefully read and understand the account of the potter and the clay in Jeremiah, one would rightly understand that God was using that analogy to speak to Israel of his right to shape their nation however he wills.

In Romans 9, Paul is explaining to the Jews why God now has a right to remove their pre-eminence as a nation in God's plan and open the doors out to the Gentiles. They are no longer the sole recievers of God's blessings etc. because of their rejection of the Messiah. Paul also justified God's decision by showing them clearly from the OT how God selected Israel not for anything they had done or any righteousness on their part, but that God chose Israel as the nation of promise by his mercy alone, while Jacob (Israel) was not yet born.

God's plan to open up his salvific plan to the Gentiles and the world at large did not come about by chance, but by the design of God all along, in order to give grace to the world. The Jew then asks, why have you made me like this (to raise us up and then to take all this away)? To which Paul says God has a right to do whatever he wants to with Israel, and then again uses the analogy of potter and clay to show how God has a right to mould Israel as he wishes, and the precedence was already given in Jeremiah in which God said:

Jer 18:6 "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

The entire chapter is discussing the national election of Israel in the OT, and why God had a right to do that, and why God has now chosen to include the Gentiles into his salvation plan, being also children of promise from even the OT times as prophesied by the OT prophets. Paul's whole treatise is to justify why the word of God has not failed despite the Jews not believing in their Messiah. It has not failed very simply because it was God's plan all along to do this, to use the hardness of Israel and their rejection of the Messiah as a way to invite Gentiles into the kingdom.

Are the Jews guilty then, one asks? Of course. Their rejection of the Messiah was due to their own wickedness, God merely used their hard-heartedness to accomplish his plan of salvation to the Gentiles.

By reading Romans 9 as pertaining to salvation when its not the original intention gives rise to all these faulty ideas of God fating people to salvation and damnation, which is totally inconsistent with the rest of Scripture.

This is nothing new. It did not just start with Augustine, who brought his faulty gnostic ideas over to Christianity. By reading the writings of the Early Church Fathers, it is already evident that the Gnostic heretics that Paul, John and the rest of the apostles were battling were already espousing these kinds of doctrines.

However, why do people still persist to continue in this doctrine despite repeated attempts to show that it is erroneous? I think much of it is due to religious pride. I listened to one respected Bible teacher who is a well-known Calvinist (and whom I personally learned a lot from) and he said that to reject this doctrine is to be ashamed of the Gospel.

Excuse me? We reject this doctrine because it is wrong, not because we're ashamed of the Gospel. I think it gives certain individuals a certain pride to think that they can accept this Calvinistic doctrine while others do not (which they interprete to be disobedience to Scripture or not submitting to Scripture), and they persist in it because it gives them a feeling of religious superiority in piety which I believe is rooted in pride. Anyway that is what I gathered from listening to him defend this doctrine. Throughout his whole defence, I did not sense any humility at all to think at any point that perhaps others might be right and he might be wrong.

I encourage any and everyone to re-read Romans 9 again with this understanding. Paul is grieved, because Israel were the sole recipients of the adoption as children of God, the glory, covenants, giving of the law, worship and promises. Now it is thrown open to the Gentiles as well while the original recipients of all these blessings (Israel) is left out because of their unbelief.

Paul concludes the whole chapter by telling us the vessels of mercy (Gentiles) were already prepared beforehand for glory in God's plan, and God had endured for a long time the vessels of wrath (Israel) in order to make known his riches of glory for the Gentiles:

Rom 9:22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
Rom 9:23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory--
Rom 9:24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

Read Romans 9 with this understanding and see if it makes more sense to you. All his arguments, reasonings, OT quotations now make perfect sense.

Sirus
Apr 12th 2010, 06:07 AM
Seems like I've heard someone else say that....somewhere.......
Nice post ThyWordIsTruth!

RogerW
Apr 12th 2010, 01:37 PM
I think therein lies the whole problem of Calvinism. It spring forth from a wrong understanding of what Romans 9 is teaching. Romans 9 is not talking about salvation at all. The pots and potter analogy has nothing at all to do with salvation, its not even in the context of the whole chapter.

If one takes the trouble to carefully read and understand the account of the potter and the clay in Jeremiah, one would rightly understand that God was using that analogy to speak to Israel of his right to shape their nation however he wills.

In Romans 9, Paul is explaining to the Jews why God now has a right to remove their pre-eminence as a nation in God's plan and open the doors out to the Gentiles. They are no longer the sole recievers of God's blessings etc. because of their rejection of the Messiah. Paul also justified God's decision by showing them clearly from the OT how God selected Israel not for anything they had done or any righteousness on their part, but that God chose Israel as the nation of promise by his mercy alone, while Jacob (Israel) was not yet born.

God's plan to open up his salvific plan to the Gentiles and the world at large did not come about by chance, but by the design of God all along, in order to give grace to the world. The Jew then asks, why have you made me like this (to raise us up and then to take all this away)? To which Paul says God has a right to do whatever he wants to with Israel, and then again uses the analogy of potter and clay to show how God has a right to mould Israel as he wishes, and the precedence was already given in Jeremiah in which God said:

Jer 18:6 "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

The entire chapter is discussing the national election of Israel in the OT, and why God had a right to do that, and why God has now chosen to include the Gentiles into his salvation plan, being also children of promise from even the OT times as prophesied by the OT prophets. Paul's whole treatise is to justify why the word of God has not failed despite the Jews not believing in their Messiah. It has not failed very simply because it was God's plan all along to do this, to use the hardness of Israel and their rejection of the Messiah as a way to invite Gentiles into the kingdom.

Are the Jews guilty then, one asks? Of course. Their rejection of the Messiah was due to their own wickedness, God merely used their hard-heartedness to accomplish his plan of salvation to the Gentiles.

By reading Romans 9 as pertaining to salvation when its not the original intention gives rise to all these faulty ideas of God fating people to salvation and damnation, which is totally inconsistent with the rest of Scripture.

This is nothing new. It did not just start with Augustine, who brought his faulty gnostic ideas over to Christianity. By reading the writings of the Early Church Fathers, it is already evident that the Gnostic heretics that Paul, John and the rest of the apostles were battling were already espousing these kinds of doctrines.

However, why do people still persist to continue in this doctrine despite repeated attempts to show that it is erroneous? I think much of it is due to religious pride. I listened to one respected Bible teacher who is a well-known Calvinist (and whom I personally learned a lot from) and he said that to reject this doctrine is to be ashamed of the Gospel.

Excuse me? We reject this doctrine because it is wrong, not because we're ashamed of the Gospel. I think it gives certain individuals a certain pride to think that they can accept this Calvinistic doctrine while others do not (which they interprete to be disobedience to Scripture or not submitting to Scripture), and they persist in it because it gives them a feeling of religious superiority in piety which I believe is rooted in pride. Anyway that is what I gathered from listening to him defend this doctrine. Throughout his whole defence, I did not sense any humility at all to think at any point that perhaps others might be right and he might be wrong.

I encourage any and everyone to re-read Romans 9 again with this understanding. Paul is grieved, because Israel were the sole recipients of the adoption as children of God, the glory, covenants, giving of the law, worship and promises. Now it is thrown open to the Gentiles as well while the original recipients of all these blessings (Israel) is left out because of their unbelief.

Paul concludes the whole chapter by telling us the vessels of mercy (Gentiles) were already prepared beforehand for glory in God's plan, and God had endured for a long time the vessels of wrath (Israel) in order to make known his riches of glory for the Gentiles:

Rom 9:22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
Rom 9:23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory--
Rom 9:24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

Read Romans 9 with this understanding and see if it makes more sense to you. All his arguments, reasonings, OT quotations now make perfect sense.

Not once does BroRog's post you are replying to mention the doctrine of Calvinism. Again, you show your agenda. If you were not so determined to prove Calvinism a damnable doctrine, perhaps you could understand how Paul is using the Jews as an example of God's Sovereignty over mankind throughout his epistles, not only the book of Romans.

There are two ways that God is showing mankind He is The Sovereign (1) He makes known His wrath against sin and (2) He will make known the riches of His grace and glory.

God has endured vessels of wrath with patience, even as He did the old world before the flood. Even unbelievers have light which they hate and means of grace which they despise. All the vessels of mercy receive His mercy, love and grace, not because they are better or deserving of it, but because God chose to reveal His grace in them and make them objects of His mercy from eternity.

The promise of eternal life was not made to the natural seed of Abraham, but to the true seed of Abraham; i.e. Christ (and all who by grace are in Him, whether Jew or Gentile).

The calling of the Gentiles is prophesised throughout the OT. This prophecy (9:25-28) is from
Hosea 2:23. The Jews were typically the beloved of God, but when The Christ shall come, He will reveal His true Seed and call her beloved which was not beloved - that is, the Gentiles (Eph 2:11-13).

Though the descendants of Abraham number millions, only a small number are the true Israel of God. These Jews thought that all of Abraham's descendants were the people of God. When the Messiah came and they rejected Him (Jo 1:10,11), after hundreds of years of long-suffering with their idolatry and rebellion, God made short work of them and has blinded them to this day. (That does not mean that even Jews today cannot be among the elect of God, and saved by grace through the gospel)

Actually the doctrine of election, very far from being a harsh and cruel doctrine, (as you attempt to paint it, calling it Calvinistic) is a cause for rejoicing, for had it not been for God's choosing (which Ro 9 especially makes abundantly clear that God does the choosing) to save a people, neither Jew nor Gentile would escape the wrath to come.

The whole book of Romans, along with all of Paul's letters show the immutable sovereignty of God in salvation and mercy. If the true Light is not given by God, darkness will reign. If the means of grace are not set forth through Him, evil will abound (Acts 2:23). The same means given the Jew is given to all humanity and results in life and mercy to all of His elect, but becomes a stumbling block and stone of offense that means even greater condemnation to them that perish (2Co 2:15,16).

What are the objections to God's sovereign mercy that holds the natural mind? (1) Since most of Israel of old perishes, it seems the purpose and promise of God has failed. (2) God is unjust to choose some and pass by others. (3) If God shows mercy to some and none can resist His sovereign will, then why does He find fault with sinners? Lastly, If the wrath of men is so under the control of God that it, too, serves His purpose, then why blame the sinner?

The answers Paul gives will not satisfy the natural mind, but when the believer seeks to understand how Paul is showing us the Sovereignty of God over mankind, Paul's answer will be sufficient for every believer who receives the Word by faith. We cannot understand Paul's message to us if we come to the Word with an agenda.

Many Blessings,
RW

losthorizon
Apr 12th 2010, 03:36 PM
Not once does BroRog's post you are replying to mention the doctrine of Calvinism.


I think it is the Calvinistic agenda implicitly promoted by BR is being noted.

BroRog
Apr 12th 2010, 03:37 PM
LOL - doesn’t that depend on what “is” is? You say, “To choose is to pick from more than one course” but “a choice isn't a course” – what exactly does that mean?


You misunderstand Rog because you have bought into the Calvinistic error of “Total Depravity” – a doctrine of man that finds no basis in God’s word and of course God saves those who choose to obey and serve Him. The unregenerate man – the man "dead in trespasses and sins” - can and does "obey from the heart" the “form of doctrine” he has received, i.e., the gospel of Christ.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. (Rom 6:16-18 KJV)Faith comes by hearing the word of God and when unregenerate man hears God’s word he has the choice via the gift of free-will to "choose you this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). This universal truth to “choose” whom one will serve presented by Joshua is the death-knell to the notion of total depravity. Jesus stands at the door and knocks - the unregenerate sinner who chooses to open the door will find salvation through the blood of Christ - it can't get any clearer. Salvation is open to all who will hear and obey the Lord.You are certainly entitled to your opinion. But the issue in this thread is a question posed by the OP, which some of us are attempting to answer. If you don't agree with the answer I have no problem with it. But I am more interested in answering those who have genuine interest in coming to an understanding of the Biblical teaching on God's gift of faith.

The question at hand orbits around the study of God in an attempt to come to a better understanding of God and his nature. Who is God? What is he like? How is God different than man? Your response to me has focused on man's nature, e.g. man has free will, man makes choices, total depravity, unregenerate man, and etc. In my response to you, I took us to Romans 9 because in that section of Romans Paul reveals something about God's nature, his purposes, and his character. Paul's analogy of the potter to the pot is an attempt to illustrate the question, "how is God different than mankind?"

In order to give an adequate answer Eric's question concerning saving faith, one needs to address the nature of God and how he interacts with his creation. We can talk all day about man as the unregenerate sinner and never actually answer the OP, since the OP asks something about the nature of God, not the nature of man. Only when we can come to the Biblical understanding of God's nature can we understand God's gift of saving faith, since in order to save man, he must transcend man.

BroRog
Apr 12th 2010, 03:46 PM
I think therein lies the whole problem of Calvinism. It spring forth from a wrong understanding of what Romans 9 is teaching. Romans 9 is not talking about salvation at all. The pots and potter analogy has nothing at all to do with salvation, its not even in the context of the whole chapter.Really, what is the point of Romans 9 if it isn't salvation?


If one takes the trouble to carefully read and understand the account of the potter and the clay in Jeremiah, one would rightly understand that God was using that analogy to speak to Israel of his right to shape their nation however he wills.This, of course, assumes that Paul makes reference to Jeremiah, which he doesn't, and that Paul is not allowed to make his own points using such common and ordinary processes such as throwing a pot.

John146
Apr 12th 2010, 04:00 PM
First of all, a choice isn't a course. To choose is to pick from more than one course. Second, and more to the point, in my discussion with Xel'Naga I postulated the difference between "cause" and "create" and observed that the laws of cause and effect can only apply to beings in the same ontological boundary. We can only discuss things outside our own ontological boundary by analogy to our own.

In Romans 9, Paul used the analogy of a potter who makes pots, to describe God's relationship to his creation. He asserts that the basis of God's mercy rests on his own plans and purposes. He also asserts that God preplanned which individuals would gain his mercy before they were born, removing both the will and actions of men from any influence on his decision.He asserts no such thing. People like yourself refuse to acknowledge the fact that the reference to Jacob and Esau relates not to those two individuals but to two nations that they represented.

Romans 9
11(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
12It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
13As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

You believe this somehow has something to do with the individual Jacob being preplanned to gain God's mercy and salvation before he was born and that Esau was not (and therefore was damned). But that isn't what this passage is about. The following shows the context:

Gen 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.

That passage from Romans 9 has to do with the election of the nation of Israel over the nation of Edom. Not to salvation, but to the status of being God's chosen nation. This decision that God made had nothing to do with anything Jacob or Esau did or anyone else. And it had nothing to do with personal salvation. It has nothing to do with God arbitrarily choosing some to be saved and some to be damned without taking man's choice into consideration. Romans 9 is being horribly taken out of context by you and several others here and it's a shame.


Then Paul raises a rhetorical objection to these assertions, asking whether this process of salvation might be unfair or unjust.Show me where salvation is mentioned in the passage that you are referring to.


While Paul could have argued the point that it is illogical to assume that mercy should be based on merit, he argues a more profound point that God has the right of authorship. Just as it wouldn't be unjust for a potter to make a toilet and treat it as a toilet, it is not unjust for God to make an evil person and treat him as evil.Pharaoh is given as an example of someone that God hardened. Where does it say that God made Pharaoh with a hardened heart? In other words, where does it say that Pharaoh had a hardened heart from birth?


And again, just as it wouldn't be unjust for a potter to make a vase and treat it as a vase, it wouldn't be unjust for God to have mercy on an evil person destined for his mercy. And just as the potter makes the toilet and the vase from the same lump of clay, we know that there was nothing in the clay itself to commend either being a toilet or a vase. The choice of toilet or vase is based in the plans and purposes of the potter, not in the clay. One lump of clay is just like any other lump of clay.

We see from Paul's argument that the issue of free will is beside the point. God had made his plans for a man before the man would make his choices.Do you not understand that there is a great deal of scripture that teaches otherwise? Why are you forming a doctrine from one passage when I can list many other passages that teach otherwise? If God makes man's choices before man makes his choices then how do you explain passages like this:

Jonah 3
8But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
9Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
10And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Why does this indicate that God's actions depended on what He saw man do if God's choice trumps man's "choice"?

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.

Why did Jesus speak of something He would have done if only they were willing to accept the gospel of Christ if it was God's will for them to not be willing?


This shouldn't suprise us; after all, we all admit we are sinners deserving of hell. If it was a question of fairness or justice, we would all end up in the lake of fire.This is true. However, when God deals with man He deals with man equally. He is not partial. He is not a respecter of persons. In your doctrine that is not the case. In your doctrine He gives salvation to one and not to the other arbitrarily. That isn't what scripture teaches.

Ezekiel 33
11Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
12Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth. 13When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it. 14Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; 15If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. 16None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live. 17Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal. 18When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. 19But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby.
20Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways.

In your view the way of the Lord is not equal. But it is. He does not arbitrarily save one and not another. He does not want anyone to die in their wickedness and would rather every wicked person turn from their wickedness. That's what He said Himself. He will judge every person "after his ways". Man is entirely responsible for his own choices rather than your false doctrine that says man's "choices" are based on what God has already chosen for them. If man's choices were made for him by God, as you believe, then it would make no sense for God to judge man after his own choices. Do you really think God would condemn a man for his choices that he actually had no choice to make because God chose for him?


If we demand justice or fairness, we will end up in the lake of fire since that is what justice demands. We don't actually want justice, we want mercy.God is willing to give mercy to all, but requires that man believe in His Son in order to obtain it.

Romans 11
30For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
31Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
32For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

Do you see this? God concluded a part of Israel in unbelief. The Gentiles obtained mercy through their unbelief. But you would say that God wanted them to remain in unbelief. No. He "concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all". He did not conclude them in unbelief and then give up on them for dead. Just as the Gentiles obtained mercy through their unbelief it was God's will that those unbelieving Israelites would obtain mercy through the mercy of the Gentiles. He hoped that they would be provoked to jealousy of the Gentiles and turn to Him for salvation as those Gentile believers did. And some of them did. So, there is an example of people who are of the type that you think God is willing to leave for dead instead being saved after they put their faith in Christ.


But being evil, we think that we deserve mercy for some reason. Perhaps we think we deserve mercy because we said 'yes' to the question, "Is Jesus Lord?" Perhaps we think we deserve mercy because we pay tithes, or feed the poor, or attend church more than once a week, or love our mother, or what-have-you. There are a million different ways we think we deserve mercy, when we foolishly forget that mercy is undeserved by definition.It has nothing to do with what we deserve. It has to do with being thankful for God's grace and instead of stubbornly refusing to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we humble ourselves and acknowledge that we are sinners who can't save ourselves and need Jesus as our Lord and Savior.


In my arogance and pride I am too foolish to realize that this isn't about me. My salvation isn't about me. God didn't have mercy on me because I was worth it. He isn't having mercy on me because I made the right choices, or I made THE choice. His mercy displays HIS glory, not mine. Please explain how a person making the choice to humble themselves, acknowledge that they are a lost sinner and need God's mercy and forgiveness would lead to someone being arrogant and prideful over having done that, as if they deserved God graciously giving them that opportunity?

John146
Apr 12th 2010, 04:29 PM
Actually the doctrine of election, very far from being a harsh and cruel doctrine, (as you attempt to paint it, calling it Calvinistic) is a cause for rejoicing, for had it not been for God's choosing (which Ro 9 especially makes abundantly clear that God does the choosing) to save a people, neither Jew nor Gentile would escape the wrath to come. Your doctrine is no cause for rejoicing, Roger. It defames the character of God. Ironically, you believe that you are promoting God's character because you promote God's sovereignty. Yes, God is sovereign! Absolutely! We all believe that! Don't act as if people who believe your doctrine believe in the sovereignty of God while those who believe my doctrine don't. That is a straw man argument.

We disagree on what it means for God to be sovereign. You think it has to mean He controls everything and does not give man free will because that would somehow mean He is no longer sovereign, which is a ridiculous claim. Scripture teaches that Christ right now rules "far above...every name that is named" (Eph 1:21). Yet, not "every name that is named" does what He wants. Does man's disobedience reduce His authority and make Him any less the Ruler over all things? No, it does not. So, your understanding of God's sovereignty is false. God is not willing for any to perish but wants all to come to repentance (Eze 33:11, 2 Peter 3:9, Acts 17:30-31). Your doctrine, however, says that God is only willing for some to come to repentance while not caring about the rest.

A cause for rejoicing would be for an impartial God who could have condemned all people if He so chose to, instead choosing to make a way for salvation for all people. Which is exactly what God did. He didn't have to, but He did. It says "God so loved the world", not "God so loved some of the world". The fact that He is an impartial God who judges all people fairly and equally means that He would not arbitrarily choose some to salvation and not the rest. To do so would contradict His character. Scripture teaches that He desires for all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:3-4). Scripture teaches that God does not want anyone to die in their wickedness and instead wants all people to turn from their wickedness (Ezekiel 18:23, Eze 33:11, 2 Peter 3:9, Acts 17:30-31). If He arbitrarily chose some to salvation and not the rest it would contradict those truths.

RogerW
Apr 12th 2010, 05:01 PM
He asserts no such thing. People like yourself refuse to acknowledge the fact that the reference to Jacob and Esau relates not to those two individuals but to two nations that they represented.

Eric, what do the two nations represent? Does not Jacob represent the nation beloved of God, while Esau represents the nation hated by God? In other words Jacob represents a holy nation, a holy people unto God, but Esau represents the ungodly people against whom God has indignation forever. It really matters not whether you view each son individually or corporately, each represents "two nations"...one blessed by God and the other cursed....not according to anything either has done, whether good or evil, but "that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth".

Mal*1:2 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,
Mal*1:3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
Mal*1:4 Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever.
Mal*1:5 And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel.

Many Blessings,
RW

John146
Apr 12th 2010, 05:32 PM
Eric, what do the two nations represent? Does not Jacob represent the nation beloved of God, while Esau represents the nation hated by God?No. Not if you are speaking in terms of the nation of those who are saved compared to those who are condemned. Jacob represented the nation of Israel while Esau represented the nation of Edom, a nation that no longer exists. Not all who were of the nation of Israel were saved just as not all who were of the nation of Edom were condemned. You're taking that reference completely out of context.

It has to do with which nation God chose to bring salvation through, which was Israel rather than Edom. Salvation is of the Jews because that is how God planned it. God determined that the Messiah was going to come through the lineage of David. Who can question God's decision to bring salvation through Israel rather than Edom or any other nation? Who could have done anything to change His will regarding that matter? No one so that "the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth". The purpose of God, according to election, was that Israel would be His chosen nation rather than Edom or any other nation. Salvation would come through Israel and that had nothing to do with anything that Jacob or Esau did but rather had to do with God's purpose.

BroRog
Apr 12th 2010, 06:49 PM
He asserts no such thing. People like yourself refuse to acknowledge the fact that the reference to Jacob and Esau relates not to those two individuals but to two nations that they represented.You are selectively picking at the passage but not following Paul's argument. Paul is building his case for individual election. He refers to these individuals as "children of the promise." In order to develop this concept he needs to emphasize the choice of God, and eliminate the choice of man. In his first example, he points out that Isaac was a child of promise since it was God who miraculously opened Sarah's womb according to a promise God made to both Abraham and Sarah.

Next, Paul offers the account of Jacob and Esau as evidence that God chose Jacob over Esau before the children were born. Before the children were able to make choices of their own, God had already decided to bless Jacob and not Esau. To make this about the nations of Jacob and Esau misses the point entirely. The point is: God directed the course of man according to his purposes which were established prior to any act or decision mankind made. To suggest that the issue has nothing at all to do with the boys as individuals ignores the entire story of Jacob and Esau and the central issues involved in the story. The fact that God worked to the advantage of Jacob and the nation that sprung from him, and worked to the disadvantage of Esau and the nation that sprung from him fulfills the transfer of both the blessing and the birthright from Esau to Jacob. The older served the younger according to the principles of the blessing and the inheritance. Jacob's nation was blessed and Esau's nation was cursed. And before we might say that Esau got what he deserved since he decided to give up his birthright for a bowl of stew, Paul points out that God's decision to grant Jacob the birthright instead of Esau came prior to the birth of these twins, before the boys had a chance to do anything good or bad.

You are repeating an argument that simply doesn't hold water, since Paul draws the conclusion for his readers.



. . . for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, "The older will serve the younger." Romans 9:11-12Paul is teaching us something about God. His focus is on God's choice and his example from Jacob and Esau is intended to show that God's choice comes prior to our choices.


You believe this somehow has something to do with the individual Jacob being preplanned to gain God's mercy and salvation before he was born and that Esau was not (and therefore was damned). But that isn't what this passage is about.
I didn't say that. You are putting words in my mouth. Paul isn't using the example of Jacob and Esau to prove individual salvation. He already gave an example from the life of Isaac and Ishmael to illustrate this point. God declared Isaac, not Ishmael to be a child of promise in order to illustrate that the basis of God's blessing does not run along blood lines. He uses the example of Jacob and Esau to illustrate that God's blessing is established before humans are able to make a choice, and that God directs human history according to own purposes, not influenced by the actions of men.

This leads Paul to ask the rhetorical question, "Is God unjust?" This question follows from what he just said. If Paul had argued that the basis of God's mercy is man's choice to believe in God, and that God was blessing believers and cursing unbelievers, then the question of God's justice wouldn't be an issue. We recognize justice when we see it. But since Paul has demonstrated that God acts preemptively, the issue of fairness comes to the forefront of the discourse.


Romans 9 is being horribly taken out of context by you and several others here and it's a shame.Speaking of context, let's remember the issue at hand. Let's not brush aside Paul's original premise, which is found in the first 5 verses of Romans 9. Many of us seem to read the following passage with eyes glazed over, but without this key premise, the rest of the entire argument is incomprehensible.



For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

The "adoption as sons" is another way of saying "salvation." And Paul has clearly and emphatically postulated that salvation belongs to his kinsmen according to the flesh. Isn't it strange that some Christians ignore this premise and believe that Paul set out to prove the opposite? But, Paul is not attempting to prove that salvation doesn't belong to his kinsmen. This is a promise God made to his kinsmen of the flesh and God wouldn't send a prophet or a teacher to teach something opposite of revealed scripture. Paul isn't attempting to disprove that God promised salvation to his entire nation. This is exactly what God promised to do. Rather, Paul is attempting to explain how God will keep his promise to Paul's nation, while at the same time maintaining his right to grant mercy to individuals as individuals.


Pharaoh is given as an example of someone that God hardened. Where does it say that God made Pharaoh with a hardened heart? In other words, where does it say that Pharaoh had a hardened heart from birth?Again, Paul is building a case step-by-step. Paul isn't saying that Pharaoh had a hardened heart from birth. He offers the example of Pharaoh to illustrate an aspect of God's relationship to his creation. This demonstrates that God is willing to harden a man's heart in order to accomplish his own plans and move his agenda along. Regardless of what plans and motives Pharaoh might have had, God was able to redirect Pharaoh's actions to serve his own agenda, which was to demonstrate his power. God is both willing and able to harden a man's heart in order to move his own agenda along. If THAT isn't power, I don't know what is.

This is merely one step in a larger argument. First he references the Exodus, two times. First he quotes God's word to Moses with regard to individual blessing among the nation as a whole, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." Then Paul reminds us that God hardened Pharaoh's heart in order to move his agenda along. He puts these two facts together in order to conclude, "He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires." He has set out to prove why God's preemptive decisions are not unjust. And here he begins with the basis of his argument, which demonstrates God's transcendent nature over history. Having established that God is transcendent over his creation, he argues against the idea that God's choices are unfair or unjust.


Do you not understand that there is a great deal of scripture that teaches otherwise? Why are you forming a doctrine from one passage when I can list many other passages that teach otherwise?
Undoubtedly there are a lot of passages that focus on our experience as human beings. We come to this passage because it reveals God's point of view and explains more about God from his transcendent position, orchestrating and directing history, moving his agenda along the path he set for it. I don't think the rest of scripture teaches otherwise.


If God makes man's choices before man makes his choices then how do you explain passages like this:

Jonah 3
8But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
9Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
10And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Why does this indicate that God's actions depended on what He saw man do if God's choice trumps man's "choice"?
I wouldn't conclude from Romans 9 and other passages that God's choice trumps man's choice. Comparing the picture we have from Romans 9 with the picture we have from Jonah 3, I think it is reasonable to conclude that Nineveh's repentance was part of God's agenda which he directed according to his plans and purposes.


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.

Why did Jesus speak of something He would have done if only they were willing to accept the gospel of Christ if it was God's will for them to not be willing?Why wouldn't he. Wasn't Jesus expressing his true feelings?


This is true. However, when God deals with man He deals with man equally. He is not partial. He is not a respecter of persons. In your doctrine that is not the case. In your doctrine He gives salvation to one and not to the other arbitrarily. That isn't what scripture teaches.
I don't see how you concluded that my doctrine teaches that God is arbitrary. The idea that God is no respecter of persons means that God doesn't give preferential treatment to those of the upper class.


In your view the way of the Lord is not equal. But it is. He does not arbitrarily save one and not another. He does not want anyone to die in their wickedness and would rather every wicked person turn from their wickedness. That's what He said Himself. He will judge every person "after his ways". Man is entirely responsible for his own choices rather than your false doctrine that says man's "choices" are based on what God has already chosen for them. If man's choices were made for him by God, as you believe, then it would make no sense for God to judge man after his own choices. Do you really think God would condemn a man for his choices that he actually had no choice to make because God chose for him?
You are confusing two issues, mistaking one issue for the other. Paul is explaining the nature of God, explaining how the creator God interacts with his creation in his transcendence. Paul is using the analogy of clay and a potter. The clay has no consciousness; the potter has consciousness. Since the potter has consciousness and the clay doesn't this illustrates the relationship between God and his creation. Just as the potter transcends the clay ontologically, God transcends man ontologically. Man is has no autonomy outside of God. In order to explain something about how God works out his agenda in history and his purposes according to his choices, Paul has to teach us something about God's nature as the transcendent creator and we need to make an attempt to understand his argument from that vantage point.



Do you see this? God concluded a part of Israel in unbelief. The Gentiles obtained mercy through their unbelief. But you would say that God wanted them to remain in unbelief. No. He "concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all". He did not conclude them in unbelief and then give up on them for dead. Just as the Gentiles obtained mercy through their unbelief it was God's will that those unbelieving Israelites would obtain mercy through the mercy of the Gentiles. He hoped that they would be provoked to jealousy of the Gentiles and turn to Him for salvation as those Gentile believers did. And some of them did. So, there is an example of people who are of the type that you think God is willing to leave for dead instead being saved after they put their faith in Christ.You are putting words in my mouth again. Be that as it may, I have a different take on this passage. The particular act of unbelief Paul has in mind is the crucifixion of Jesus. The Gentiles obtained mercy through the death of Jesus, which came at the hands of Israel's leaders.


It has nothing to do with what we deserve. It has to do with being thankful for God's grace and instead of stubbornly refusing to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we humble ourselves and acknowledge that we are sinners who can't save ourselves and need Jesus as our Lord and Savior.Agreed.


Please explain how a person making the choice to humble themselves, acknowledge that they are a lost sinner and need God's mercy and forgiveness would lead to someone being arrogant and prideful over having done that, as if they deserved God graciously giving them that opportunity?It's been my experience that people are fully capable of saying one thing but believing another.

RogerW
Apr 12th 2010, 07:23 PM
No. Not if you are speaking in terms of the nation of those who are saved compared to those who are condemned. Jacob represented the nation of Israel while Esau represented the nation of Edom, a nation that no longer exists. Not all who were of the nation of Israel were saved just as not all who were of the nation of Edom were condemned. You're taking that reference completely out of context.

They don't have to all be saved or lost Eric...it's what the two nations represent; i.e. Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated. Jacob is seen throughout Scripture representing the elect people of faith, but Esau is seen as the man who sold his birthright, unbelievers. In the same way we find Isaac representing the seed of faith (Ro*9:7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called), while Ishmael represents unbelievers. It is not that all in each line is either saved or lost, but that the sons, Jacob, Esau, Isaac and Ishmael represent two types of people in the world. There are always only two types (1) those of the promise (2) the rest.

Many Blessings,
RW

theBelovedDisciple
Apr 12th 2010, 08:09 PM
They don't have to all be saved or lost Eric...it's what the two nations represent; i.e. Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated. Jacob is seen throughout Scripture representing the elect people of faith, but Esau is seen as the man who sold his birthright, unbelievers. In the same way we find Isaac representing the seed of faith (Ro*9:7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called), while Ishmael represents unbelievers. It is not that all in each line is either saved or lost, but that the sons, Jacob, Esau, Isaac and Ishmael represent two types of people in the world. There are always only two types (1) those of the promise (2) the rest.

Many Blessings,
RW

And Isaac was of the 'promise'.... Jesus was the Promised Messiah.. but many had their eyes closed and ears shut.. and did not recognize Him for who He was...

just as those the Father Gives to Jesus... known from the foundation of the World... these are the 'children of the Promise'... in Isaac shall thy seed be called.. born again according to the 'will' of God the Father.. not the will of the flesh, men, or men in religion....

but In Isaac shall thy seed be 'called'... this done thru the Holy Ghost...

Saved by Grace thru Faith... this not of them.. but a Gift... that 'NO ONE MAY BOAST'... running about and braggin how they came to God and how they 'did' this and 'that' to 'get saved'...

Elected... according to the Election of Grace...

not according to the will of men religion.. no matter how good it looks and 'tastes'...

children of the Promise.. the good seed... True and Genuine..

children of the bondwoman.... the 'other seed'......

and those who are Truely His.. are children of the Promise.. Inheriting the Promises of God... thru the completed Work and Faith in Christ's Work at Calvary.. Justified and Made Righteous thru Faith....
for the Just shall live by Faith...

John146
Apr 12th 2010, 10:07 PM
You are selectively picking at the passage but not following Paul's argument. Paul is building his case for individual election. He refers to these individuals as "children of the promise." In order to develop this concept he needs to emphasize the choice of God, and eliminate the choice of man. In his first example, he points out that Isaac was a child of promise since it was God who miraculously opened Sarah's womb according to a promise God made to both Abraham and Sarah.

Next, Paul offers the account of Jacob and Esau as evidence that God chose Jacob over Esau before the children were born.He did not choose Jacob personal, individual salvation and Esau for personal, individual condemnation. That is where you go completely off track. He chose to have His chosen nation descend from Jacob and salvation to come through Israel, which it did through Christ.


Before the children were able to make choices of their own, God had already decided to bless Jacob and not Esau.Not with personal salvation, but rather to be the one through Him His chosen nation would descend and through whom salvation would come to the world.


To make this about the nations of Jacob and Esau misses the point entirely.No, it absolutely does not miss the point. To make this about the nations of Israel and Edom is to rightly take what the OT says on the matter into account and to interpret scripture with scriputre. When it says the older would serve the younger you would probably try to say that has to do with the person Esau serving the person Jacob. But that is not what it's referring to.

Rom 9
12It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
13As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

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 never served Jacob. The Edomites served the Israelites. That is what the reference to Jacob and Esau are referring to: Israel and Edom. God blessed Jacob by having the nation that would descend from him become stronger than the nation that would descend from Esau.


The point is: God directed the course of man according to his purposes which were established prior to any act or decision mankind made. To suggest that the issue has nothing at all to do with the boys as individuals ignores the entire story of Jacob and Esau and the central issues involved in the story.No, to suggest that is to read the passage in the proper context while referring to the OT text that Paul was referring to.


The fact that God worked to the advantage of Jacob and the nation that sprung from him, and worked to the disadvantage of Esau and the nation that sprung from him fulfills the transfer of both the blessing and the birthright from Esau to Jacob. The older served the younger according to the principles of the blessing and the inheritance. Jacob's nation was blessed and Esau's nation was cursed. And before we might say that Esau got what he deserved since he decided to give up his birthright for a bowl of stew, Paul points out that God's decision to grant Jacob the birthright instead of Esau came prior to the birth of these twins, before the boys had a chance to do anything good or bad. Are you now acknowledging that it did not have to do with those two individually but rather has to do with the nations that would descend from them?


You are repeating an argument that simply doesn't hold water, since Paul draws the conclusion for his readers.


. . . for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, "The older will serve the younger." Romans 9:11-12Paul is teaching us something about God. His focus is on God's choice and his example from Jacob and Esau is intended to show that God's choice comes prior to our choices. But, since you for whatever reason do not use the wise method of interpreting scripture with scripture that causes you to think that the older serving the younger is speaking of Esau serving Jacob when in actuality it speaks of the nation of Edom serving the nation of Israel.


I didn't say that. You are putting words in my mouth. Paul isn't using the example of Jacob and Esau to prove individual salvation.That's what others here try to claim, so I apologize for assuming you believed the same since you seem to mostly agree with them.


He already gave an example from the life of Isaac and Ishmael to illustrate this point. God declared Isaac, not Ishmael to be a child of promise in order to illustrate that the basis of God's blessing does not run along blood lines. He uses the example of Jacob and Esau to illustrate that God's blessing is established before humans are able to make a choice, and that God directs human history according to own purposes, not influenced by the actions of men.Your claim contradicts a great deal of scripture. Let me just give you a few examples where God did things based on the actions of men.

Gen 6
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.

It was not God's will from the beginning to send a flood upon the earth. This was His reactoing to man's wickedness, which "grieved Him at His heart".

Jonah 3
8But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
9Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
10And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

God's original plan was to destroy Nineveh because of their wickedness. But before doing that He wanted to first give them the opportunity to repent. And they did. So, instead of doing what He originally planned, He relented and spared their lives.

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.

Here, we see that Jesus wanted them to be willing to hear the prophets and those who were sent to them preaching the good news and to accept it, but they were not willing. So, instead of gathering "thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings" as He wanted to do, He instead left their house (the temple) unto them desolate.


This leads Paul to ask the rhetorical question, "Is God unjust?" This question follows from what he just said. If Paul had argued that the basis of God's mercy is man's choice to believe in God, and that God was blessing believers and cursing unbelievers, then the question of God's justice wouldn't be an issue.The question at issue related to what happened with God blessing Jacob by having His chosen nation descend from him rather than Esau and also with what happened to Pharaoh. Neither case has anything to do with being chosen to either individual salvation or individual condemnation even before being born.


Speaking of context, let's remember the issue at hand. Let's not brush aside Paul's original premise, which is found in the first 5 verses of Romans 9. Many of us seem to read the following passage with eyes glazed over, but without this key premise, the rest of the entire argument is incomprehensible.



For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

The "adoption as sons" is another way of saying "salvation." And Paul has clearly and emphatically postulated that salvation belongs to his kinsmen according to the flesh. Isn't it strange that some Christians ignore this premise and believe that Paul set out to prove the opposite? But, Paul is not attempting to prove that salvation doesn't belong to his kinsmen. This is a promise God made to his kinsmen of the flesh and God wouldn't send a prophet or a teacher to teach something opposite of revealed scripture. Paul isn't attempting to disprove that God promised salvation to his entire nation. This is exactly what God promised to do. Rather, Paul is attempting to explain how God will keep his promise to Paul's nation, while at the same time maintaining his right to grant mercy to individuals as individuals. You are forgetting that in order to actually be adopted as sons requires personal faith in Jesus Christ. You are acting as if one's nationality is a determining factor in salvation but it absolutely is not. One is a child of God by faith in Christ (Gal 3:26) not by one's nationality (Romans 9:7).


Again, Paul is building a case step-by-step. Paul isn't saying that Pharaoh had a hardened heart from birth. He offers the example of Pharaoh to illustrate an aspect of God's relationship to his creation. This demonstrates that God is willing to harden a man's heart in order to accomplish his own plans and move his agenda along.But does He randomly choose people to harden without first looking at the condition of their hearts and their attitudes towards Him?

Isaiah 66
1Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
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.

When it speaks here of God choosing their delusions that would be like God hardening their hearts, wouldn't it? Does He just randomly harden people's hearts and send them delusions or does he do so with those who do not answer when He calls and instead choose "their own ways"?


I wouldn't conclude from Romans 9 and other passages that God's choice trumps man's choice. Comparing the picture we have from Romans 9 with the picture we have from Jonah 3, I think it is reasonable to conclude that Nineveh's repentance was part of God's agenda which he directed according to his plans and purposes. Where does the text in Jonah 3 give that impression at all? It doesn't.


I don't see how you concluded that my doctrine teaches that God is arbitrary.Because it does. You believe that what God does with man is not based at all on their actions. So, if that's the case then how does God determine who to choose and who not to choose for salvation?


The idea that God is no respecter of persons means that God doesn't give preferential treatment to those of the upper class.What? How did you come to that conclusion? No, it means that He does not give preferential treatment to anyone because of nationality or status.

1 Peter 1:17 And 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:

Acts 10
34Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
35But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

John146
Apr 12th 2010, 10:20 PM
They don't have to all be saved or lost Eric...it's what the two nations represent; i.e. Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated. Jacob is seen throughout Scripture representing the elect people of faith, but Esau is seen as the man who sold his birthright, unbelievers.Actually, it is Isaac who represents the elect people of faith. Jacob represents the nation of Israel. Show me one scripture that indicates that Jacob represents the elect people of faith and that Esau represents unbelievers or the non-elect. Surely, you will have no trouble doing this since this is supposedly seen throughout scripture.

RogerW
Apr 12th 2010, 11:47 PM
Actually, it is Isaac who represents the elect people of faith. Jacob represents the nation of Israel. Show me one scripture that indicates that Jacob represents the elect people of faith and that Esau represents unbelievers or the non-elect. Surely, you will have no trouble doing this since this is supposedly seen throughout scripture.

I've already shown you Mal 1 regarding God's disposition toward Esau. Do you really think you can separate Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who represent God's elect? It is true that Jacob's name was changed to Israel, and that he has a physical offspring. However concerning election Jacob also represents people of faith. Remember "they are not all Israel, which are of Israel"... Consider the Godly line from Jacob to God:

Lu*3:34 Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac, which was the son of Abraham, which was the son of Thara, which was the son of Nachor,
Lu*3:35 Which was the son of Saruch, which was the son of Ragau, which was the son of Phalec, which was the son of Heber, which was the son of Sala,
Lu*3:36 Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech,
Lu*3:37 Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan,
Lu*3:38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.

Many will come from the east and the west to sit down in the Kingdom of heaven with Esau????? NOT! But with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the sons of promise.

Mt*8:11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.

God is not the God of the dead, but the living! Living with the sons of promise Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Mt*22:32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

If Jacob does not represent the elect Israel of God, he would not be named with Abraham and Isaac in the kingdom of God.

Lu*13:28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

The covenant was with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. How could Jacob not represent the elect of God?

Ex*2:24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

Many Blessings,
RW

BroRog
Apr 13th 2010, 12:25 AM
He did not choose Jacob personal, individual salvation and Esau for personal, individual condemnation. That is where you go completely off track. He chose to have His chosen nation descend from Jacob and salvation to come through Israel, which it did through Christ.I don't see how this puts me off track when I never said anything about Jacob's personal salvation.


Not with personal salvation, but rather to be the one through Him His chosen nation would descend and through whom salvation would come to the world.Again, at this point in Paul's argument, the premise is that God preplanned to bless Jacob before Jacob is born and before he has a chance to do anything good or bad.


No, it absolutely does not miss the point. To make this about the nations of Israel and Edom is to rightly take what the OT says on the matter into account and to interpret scripture with scriputre. When it says the older would serve the younger you would probably try to say that has to do with the person Esau serving the person Jacob. But that is not what it's referring to.Again, you are putting words in my mouth, trying anticipate what I might say. But I didn't say that. The fact that Esau's nation served Jacob's nation was a personal blessing to Jacob as part of his inheritance.


No, to suggest that is to read the passage in the proper context while referring to the OT text that Paul was referring to.
Paul is using the account of Jacob and Esau to make a point in his argument. If an interpretation doesn't fit with Paul's argument, then it isn't the right interpretation. The interpretation that dismisses the idea that Paul was talking about the boys, takes the passage out of his argument.


Are you now acknowledging that it did not have to do with those two individually but rather has to do with the nations that would descend from them? No, why would I do that?


But, since you for whatever reason do not use the wise method of interpreting scripture with scripture that causes you to think that the older serving the younger is speaking of Esau serving Jacob when in actuality it speaks of the nation of Edom serving the nation of Israel.I don't know where you read me saying this. I don't think I ever suggested that the Phrase "the older shall serve the younger" refers to the two boys. It refers to the two nations that sprung from them. But this doesn't mean that Paul is not talking about the boys. His point is very much about the boys as individuals.


That's what others here try to claim, so I apologize for assuming you believed the same since you seem to mostly agree with them.Paul is building a case for individual election based on God's plans and purposes. He is building up to his conclusion that the basis of God's mercy rests in the preordained plans and purposes of God, and not in the will or actions of human beings. The story of Jacob and Esau illustrates that God has no problem working his agenda toward his own purposes quite apart from anything thing a man wants or does, which supports his subsequent premise that God's mercy is based on his plans and purposes and does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs.


Your claim contradicts a great deal of scripture. Let me just give you a few examples where God did things based on the actions of men.

Gen 6
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.

It was not God's will from the beginning to send a flood upon the earth. This was His reactoing to man's wickedness, which "grieved Him at His heart".
Actually, I believe Genesis chapter one hints at the fact that God preplanned the flood. At the same time, I can understand how God might express his feelings about things even though he is orchestrating them from his position as the transcendent creator. I don't see this as a problem for my view, just as I wouldn't see a problem with the idea that J.R.R Tolkien felt sorry for Mr. Frodo even though he was writing his every move.


God's original plan was to destroy Nineveh because of their wickedness. But before doing that He wanted to first give them the opportunity to repent. And they did. So, instead of doing what He originally planned, He relented and spared their lives.I don't see any evidence that the destruction of Nineveh was God's "original" plan.


Here, we see that Jesus wanted them to be willing to hear the prophets and those who were sent to them preaching the good news and to accept it, but they were not willing. So, instead of gathering "thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings" as He wanted to do, He instead left their house (the temple) unto them desolate.Yes, of course. But this doesn't address the issue from God's standpoint as the transcendent creator. That is why we are here in Romans 9, where the issue comes to the forefront in an obvious way.


The question at issue related to what happened with God blessing Jacob by having His chosen nation descend from him rather than Esau and also with what happened to Pharaoh. Neither case has anything to do with being chosen to either individual salvation or individual condemnation even before being born.That's right. Paul isn't suggesting that Pharaoh didn't subsequently repent, or that Esau was damned to hell. But that isn't the reason why Paul brought up these examples. Remember, Paul is building a case, presenting an argument based on the facts of God's nature. What is God actually like? How does God interact with his creation? The story of Pharaoh simply proves that God can harden hearts if he wants. The story of Jacob and Esau proves two things: God is willing and able to orchestrate history according to his own plans for it; and second, God chose to bless Jacob before Jacob made any kind of decision that might influence the outcome. Given that God announced that he will grant mercy to whomever he wants, given that God has demonstrated his willingness and ability to harden whomever he wants, and given that God is able and willing to bless whomever he wants apart from and outside the question of man's will and choices, Paul can safely conclude that God's mercy "does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy."

Any scripture that we examine together that illustrates instances where God reacted to people in judgment must wait until we have dealt with the prior question in which Paul declares that the basis of God's mercy comes prior to any act of man kind. Paul clearly says that God's mercy doesn't depend on the man who wills or the man who runs.


You are forgetting that in order to actually be adopted as sons requires personal faith in Jesus Christ. You are acting as if one's nationality is a determining factor in salvation but it absolutely is not. One is a child of God by faith in Christ (Gal 3:26) not by one's nationality (Romans 9:7).Paul clearly says that salvation belongs to his kinsmen of the flesh as a matter of God's promise to his kinsmen. To miss this premise will lead us in the wrong direction and to misunderstand Paul's entire line of argument from chapter 9 through chapter 11. We start with the premise that, indeed, salvation is a matter of one's nationality, because God made a promise to that nation. Paul doesn't deny this point. Instead, he sets out to explain how salvation is going to remain a matter of nationality for his people, while at the same time be a matter of how any particular individual among his people are oriented with respect to Jesus Christ.


But does He randomly choose people to harden without first looking at the condition of their hearts and their attitudes towards Him?
He decides whom to harden before they are born.


When it speaks here of God choosing their delusions that would be like God hardening their hearts, wouldn't it? Does He just randomly harden people's hearts and send them delusions or does he do so with those who do not answer when He calls and instead choose "their own ways"?No, I don't think God's bringing on them a delusion is the same as hardening their heart. A delusion takes place in the mind. A hardened heart is a metaphor for a stubborn will. The mind and the will are two different things.



Where does the text in Jonah 3 give that impression at all? It doesn't.
What impression?


Because it does. You believe that what God does with man is not based at all on their actions.Just because God's mercy is not based on their actions doesn't mean his decision is arbitrary. It simply means he has other good reasons to have mercy on them.


So, if that's the case then how does God determine who to choose and who not to choose for salvation?We don't know for sure. The Bible doesn't say. All we know is that God has his reasons and he doesn't seek any other council but his own, and he isn't obligated to share his reasons with us.


What? How did you come to that conclusion? No, it means that He does not give preferential treatment to anyone because of nationality or status.That's what I said. However, this does not rule out the fact that God treats the nation of Israel differently than the other nations.

losthorizon
Apr 13th 2010, 03:16 AM
Again, Paul is building a case step-by-step. Paul isn't saying that Pharaoh had a hardened heart from birth. He offers the example of Pharaoh to illustrate an aspect of God's relationship to his creation. This demonstrates that God is willing to harden a man's heart in order to accomplish his own plans and move his agenda along.


You completely misunderstand the concept of "the hardening of Pharaoh's heart". To say that God suspended Pharaoh's free-will and programmed him to have a hard heart is just one more error taught by Calvinism. The truth is God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in the sense that God presented Pharaoh with the circumstances that required the Egyptian to *choose* between two choices – (1) to let God’s people go or (2) to keep God’s people in bondage. Pharaoh *chose* door #2 via free-will.

By rejecting the command by Moses to let God’s people go, Pharaoh exercised his free-will and his choice caused him to harden his heart to the point of no return. To paint God as the instigator of man’s sin against God is an absurdity of the highest order that finds no basis in God’s word. God cannot be just and at the same time unjustly cause His creation to sin. You need to re-think. Pharaoh hardened his own heart – God hardened Pharaohs’ heart only in the sense that God provided the hard-choice circumstances and allowed Pharaoh to seal his own doom. God does not suspend man’s free-will.
But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he [Pharaoh] hardened his [own] heart and would not listen to them, as the LORD had said. (Exo 8:15 ESV)The universal truth taught in God’s word remains true – the choice to serve God or not to serve God is ours via God’s gift of free-will…
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." ~ Joshua

BroRog
Apr 13th 2010, 05:19 AM
You completely misunderstand the concept of "the hardening of Pharaoh's heart". To say that God suspended Pharaoh's free-will and programmed him to have a hard heart is just one more error taught by Calvinism. The truth is God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in the sense that God presented Pharaoh with the circumstances that required the Egyptian to *choose* between two choices – (1) to let God’s people go or (2) to keep God’s people in bondage. Pharaoh *chose* door #2 via free-will.

By rejecting the command by Moses to let God’s people go, Pharaoh exercised his free-will and his choice caused him to harden his heart to the point of no return. To paint God as the instigator of man’s sin against God is an absurdity of the highest order that finds no basis in God’s word. God cannot be just and at the same time unjustly cause His creation to sin. You need to re-think. Pharaoh hardened his own heart – God hardened Pharaohs’ heart only in the sense that God provided the hard-choice circumstances and allowed Pharaoh to seal his own doom. God does not suspend man’s free-will.
But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he [Pharaoh] hardened his [own] heart and would not listen to them, as the LORD had said. (Exo 8:15 ESV)The universal truth taught in God’s word remains true – the choice to serve God or not to serve God is ours via God’s gift of free-will…
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." ~ Joshua Again, your interpretation does not follow Paul's argument. Paul insists that it was God who hardened Pharaoh's heart in order to demonstrate his power.



Romans 9:17-18 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth." So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

Since Paul insists that God hardened Pharaoh's heart, and since we can find evidence in Exodus that this was the case, I see no reason to teach the exact opposite.

And according to Paul, God's mercy has absolutely NOTHING to do with our free will: nothing.

So then it does not depend on the man who wills . . .

This seems clear and unambiguous to me. God's mercy does not depend on our free will. The debate about free will is beside the point. I never argue that man lacks free will. Of course he has freedom of the will. But since our choices have nothing to do with it, the debated about free will is tangential. The basis of God's mercy does NOT depend on our choices according to Paul.

BroRog
Apr 13th 2010, 05:21 AM
You completely misunderstand the concept of "the hardening of Pharaoh's heart". To say that God suspended Pharaoh's free-will and programmed him to have a hard heart is just one more error taught by Calvinism. The truth is God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in the sense that God presented Pharaoh with the circumstances that required the Egyptian to *choose* between two choices – (1) to let God’s people go or (2) to keep God’s people in bondage. Pharaoh *chose* door #2 via free-will.

By rejecting the command by Moses to let God’s people go, Pharaoh exercised his free-will and his choice caused him to harden his heart to the point of no return. To paint God as the instigator of man’s sin against God is an absurdity of the highest order that finds no basis in God’s word. God cannot be just and at the same time unjustly cause His creation to sin. You need to re-think. Pharaoh hardened his own heart – God hardened Pharaohs’ heart only in the sense that God provided the hard-choice circumstances and allowed Pharaoh to seal his own doom. God does not suspend man’s free-will.
But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he [Pharaoh] hardened his [own] heart and would not listen to them, as the LORD had said. (Exo 8:15 ESV)The universal truth taught in God’s word remains true – the choice to serve God or not to serve God is ours via God’s gift of free-will…
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." ~ Joshua Again, your interpretation does not follow Paul's argument. Paul insists that it was God who hardened Pharaoh's heart in order to demonstrate his power.



Romans 9:17-18 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth." So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

Since Paul insists that God hardened Pharaoh's heart, and since we can find evidence in Exodus that this was the case, I see no reason to teach the exact opposite.

And according to Paul, God's mercy has absolutely NOTHING to do with our free will: nothing.

So then it does not depend on the man who wills . . .

This seems clear and unambiguous to me. God's mercy does not depend on our free will. The debate about free will is beside the point. I never argue that man lacks free will. Of course he has freedom of the will. But since our choices have nothing to do with it, the debated about free will is tangential. The basis of God's mercy does NOT depend on our choices according to Paul.

losthorizon
Apr 13th 2010, 11:22 AM
Again, your interpretation does not follow Paul's argument. Paul insists that it was God who hardened Pharaoh's heart in order to demonstrate his power.


You again misunderstand the intent of what is being said - Paul was not a Calvinist and Paul is not saying God is the instigator of man’s sin against God. Your non-biblical notion is an absurdity that finds no basis in Holy Writ. God cannot remain a just God and at the same time unjustly cause His creation to sin unto death. That's the 'logic' that drives men to atheism. The truth of the matter remains - God does not suspend or over-ride man's free-will. Man always has a choice. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart by presenting Pharaoh with the circumstances that required him to *choose* between two choices - "choose you this day whom you will serve..."

John146
Apr 13th 2010, 01:17 PM
I've already shown you Mal 1 regarding God's disposition toward Esau. Do you really think you can separate Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who represent God's elect? It is true that Jacob's name was changed to Israel, and that he has a physical offspring. However concerning election Jacob also represents people of faith. Remember "they are not all Israel, which are of Israel"... Consider the Godly line from Jacob to God:

Lu*3:34 Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac, which was the son of Abraham, which was the son of Thara, which was the son of Nachor,
Lu*3:35 Which was the son of Saruch, which was the son of Ragau, which was the son of Phalec, which was the son of Heber, which was the son of Sala,
Lu*3:36 Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech,
Lu*3:37 Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan,
Lu*3:38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.

Many will come from the east and the west to sit down in the Kingdom of heaven with Esau????? NOT! But with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the sons of promise.

Mt*8:11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.

God is not the God of the dead, but the living! Living with the sons of promise Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Mt*22:32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

If Jacob does not represent the elect Israel of God, he would not be named with Abraham and Isaac in the kingdom of God.

Lu*13:28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

The covenant was with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. How could Jacob not represent the elect of God?

Ex*2:24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

Many Blessings,
RWWe were talking about Romans 9 and you were claiming that the reference to Jacob and Esau there had to do with Jacob representing believers and Esau representing unbelievers. There is a sense in which Abraham, Isaac and Jacob represent the spiritual Israel of God, but where is it taught that Esau represents the non-elect? I notice that you did not even attempt to answer that question. Jacob and Esau represented two nations. In Romans 9 they are not mentioned to represent the Israel of God and everyone not in the Israel of God. Rather, they represent the nation of Israel and the nation of Edom, which can be seen from the OT text. Esau represented Edom, not all unbelievers.

John146
Apr 13th 2010, 01:47 PM
Actually, I believe Genesis chapter one hints at the fact that God preplanned the flood.Why make a claim like this without offering any evidence to back it up? What do you base this opinion on?


At the same time, I can understand how God might express his feelings about things even though he is orchestrating them from his position as the transcendent creator. I don't see this as a problem for my view, just as I wouldn't see a problem with the idea that J.R.R Tolkien felt sorry for Mr. Frodo even though he was writing his every move. Sorry, but I find the idea of someone causing something to be a certain way and then grieving over things being that way to be complete nonsense.


I don't see any evidence that the destruction of Nineveh was God's "original" plan. It was His plan if they did not repent. It's right there plain as day in Jonah 3.

Jonah 3
1And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, 2Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. 3So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey.
4And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
5So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. 6For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: 8But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
9Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
10And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Was Jonah only joking when he said "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.". Was he lying to them? Was it a guarantee that the people of Nineveh would repent of their ways? I don't see any evidence for that. If it was then this whole scenario was a bunch of nonsense and just a case of God playing games with people. But that is not the case.

Would you try to say that God was not angry with the people of Nineveh even though it says "Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger"? Clearly, He was angry with them so why should we not believe that He had planned to destroy them if they did not repent? He could have just gone ahead and destroyed them but because He is merciful and gracious He gave them the opportunity to repent first.


Yes, of course. But this doesn't address the issue from God's standpoint as the transcendent creator. That is why we are here in Romans 9, where the issue comes to the forefront in an obvious way.

That's right. Paul isn't suggesting that Pharaoh didn't subsequently repent, or that Esau was damned to hell. But that isn't the reason why Paul brought up these examples. Remember, Paul is building a case, presenting an argument based on the facts of God's nature. What is God actually like? How does God interact with his creation? The story of Pharaoh simply proves that God can harden hearts if he wants. The story of Jacob and Esau proves two things: God is willing and able to orchestrate history according to his own plans for it; and second, God chose to bless Jacob before Jacob made any kind of decision that might influence the outcome. Given that God announced that he will grant mercy to whomever he wants, given that God has demonstrated his willingness and ability to harden whomever he wants, and given that God is able and willing to bless whomever he wants apart from and outside the question of man's will and choices, Paul can safely conclude that God's mercy "does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy."But the problem here is that you're only looking at half of the story. There is also scripture that says God has concluded all in unbelief so that he might have mercy upon all (Rom 11:30-32) and that He has mercy on those who fear Him, hope in him, turn from their wickedness and call on Him.


Any scripture that we examine together that illustrates instances where God reacted to people in judgment must wait until we have dealt with the prior question in which Paul declares that the basis of God's mercy comes prior to any act of man kind. Paul clearly says that God's mercy doesn't depend on the man who wills or the man who runs. It doesn't have to depend on that because He can do whatever He pleases, but since God is a loving, gracious, impartial and merciful God it turns out that He has mercy on those who fear Him and call on Him and He hardens those who reject Him. He is not obligated to be that way, but thankfully for all of us that is His character. Your doctrine only takes part of God's character into account and not all of it and that is why you are in error.


Paul clearly says that salvation belongs to his kinsmen of the flesh as a matter of God's promise to his kinsmen. To miss this premise will lead us in the wrong direction and to misunderstand Paul's entire line of argument from chapter 9 through chapter 11. We start with the premise that, indeed, salvation is a matter of one's nationality, because God made a promise to that nation.That is what people like the Pharisees foolishly thought. That being an Israelite had something to do with salvation. If it was then why weren't they saved? Your conclusion causes you to contadict a great deal of scripture. If salvation is a matter of one's nationality then why haven't all Jews who have ever lived been saved? If salvation is a matter of one's nationality then why do we see scripture like these:

Gal 3
26For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
29And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Acts 15
7And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
8And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
9And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

John 8
39They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
40But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.

Romans 10
9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

It looks to me that nationality has nothing to do with it and rather faith in Christ is what is required, regardless of one's nationality. That is what scripture teaches repeatedly.


He decides whom to harden before they are born.Where is that taught in scripture?


No, I don't think God's bringing on them a delusion is the same as hardening their heart. A delusion takes place in the mind. A hardened heart is a metaphor for a stubborn will. The mind and the will are two different things. Naturally, you would not see a connection between the two because you know if there was (and there is) then it would show that God hardens the hearts of those who first harden their own hearts. We can see from Isaiah 66:1-4 and 2 Thess 2:9-12 that He sends strong delusion to those who have already deluded themselves by not accepting the gospel and putting their faith in Christ.


What impression?

Just because God's mercy is not based on their actions doesn't mean his decision is arbitrary. It simply means he has other good reasons to have mercy on them.

We don't know for sure. The Bible doesn't say. All we know is that God has his reasons and he doesn't seek any other council but his own, and he isn't obligated to share his reasons with us. Ah, I see. Scripture shares a great deal about God, how He does things and about His character, but when it comes to this it is silent. Sorry, but I find that to be complete nonsense.

BroRog
Apr 13th 2010, 04:41 PM
Why make a claim like this without offering any evidence to back it up? What do you base this opinion on?It would take an entire post to explain this.


Sorry, but I find the idea of someone causing something to be a certain way and then grieving over things being that way to be complete nonsense.How long did you think about it?


It was His plan if they did not repent.
Okay, I call that a contingency. It doesn't mean God changed his mind.


Would you try to say that God was not angry with the people of Nineveh even though it says "Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger"? Clearly, He was angry with them so why should we not believe that He had planned to destroy them if they did not repent? He could have just gone ahead and destroyed them but because He is merciful and gracious He gave them the opportunity to repent first.
From our perspective, God was giving those living in Nineveh a chance to repent and change her ways. The salvation of Nineveh was contingent on her repentance. I get all of that. From the standpoint of how Nineveh and Johah experienced things, God was acting as judge. Romans 9, however, presents God as transcendant creator, looking at the nature of God from outside of our reality in his role as creator. From that perspective we understand that not only did God create Jonah restisting him and running away, God created Nineveh repenting. God creates everything that takes place. Romans 9 presents a whole different side of God that we don't normally see from our perspective.


It doesn't have to depend on that because He can do whatever He pleases, but since God is a loving, gracious, impartial and merciful God it turns out that He has mercy on those who fear Him and call on Him and He hardens those who reject Him. He is not obligated to be that way, but thankfully for all of us that is His character. Your doctrine only takes part of God's character into account and not all of it and that is why you are in error.But this is exactly the opposite of what Paul said in Romans 9. He said that God's mercy does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs. Therefore we know that there is no causal relationship between his mercy and those who fear him. There is a correlation between those who fear him and those on whom he has mercy, but the fear of God does not cause or induce God to have mercy on someone. Paul argues that the basis of God's mercy rests in God's plans and purposes, not in reaction or response to men. So, if fear of God correlates with God's mercy, the reason can not be that the first caused the second, that the first was the reason for the second, or that the presence of the first necessarily requires the presence of the second.

Simply put, just because a creature fears God, doesn't mean God is obligated to have mercy on that creature. Even the demons fear God, for instance.


That is what people like the Pharisees foolishly thought. That being an Israelite had something to do with salvation.
Where do you think they got this idea? Did they make it up? I don't think so. I think the Bible teaches that God would save Israel as a people.


If it was then why weren't they saved?
This is the question Paul answers in Romans 9-11. He concludes that some day God will save them as a people. "This is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins." (9:27)


Your conclusion causes you to contadict a great deal of scripture. If salvation is a matter of one's nationality then why haven't all Jews who have ever lived been saved?Paul argues that, even though God made a promise to the nation of Israel, he reserves the right to have mercy on them individually. Paul concludes that God has hardened some of them until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in. After that, he will remove ungodliness from Jacob.


It looks to me that nationality has nothing to do with it and rather faith in Christ is what is required, regardless of one's nationality. That is what scripture teaches repeatedly.I read theses passages differently. I think Paul assumes that nationality has something to do with it, and argues that God intends to save individuals outside of that nationality also. Paul goes back to a time before the creation of the nation of Israel for promises made to Abraham to highlight the fact that God was granting justification to Abraham in view of his faith, which applies to all of us. This teaching sits along side the teaching that God will gather a people into the land of Palestine, pour out his spirit on them, and cause them to become a righteous and holy nation just before the return of Christ.


Where is that taught in scripture?Verse 22.


Naturally, you would not see a connection between the two because you know if there was (and there is) then it would show that God hardens the hearts of those who first harden their own hearts. We can see from Isaiah 66:1-4 and 2 Thess 2:9-12 that He sends strong delusion to those who have already deluded themselves by not accepting the gospel and putting their faith in Christ.Where is the concept of "first"? In the case of Pharaoh, it says he hardened his heart, but before he did, God said he would harden it. The two are correlated in time, but God reveals that it was his doing.


Ah, I see. Scripture shares a great deal about God, how He does things and about His character, but when it comes to this it is silent. Sorry, but I find that to be complete nonsense.Really? Paul didn't find this to be nonsense.

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Romans 11:33-34

Please Eric. I have reasons for what I say. Paul says God orchestrates history according to his own plans and purposes. And even Paul admits that God's wisdom and mind is unsearchable and unfathomable. And we learn from the book of Job that God is not obligated to share his reasons with us for what he does. We are not given to know why God has mercy on one person and not another. We just can't know his reasons.

Remember, just because two events are correlated in time, doesn't mean that one event caused the other. And so, just because God's salvation is correlated with our faith doesn't mean our faith caused our salvation.

RogerW
Apr 13th 2010, 05:16 PM
You completely misunderstand the concept of "the hardening of Pharaoh's heart". To say that God suspended Pharaoh's free-will and programmed him to have a hard heart is just one more error taught by Calvinism. The truth is God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in the sense that God presented Pharaoh with the circumstances that required the Egyptian to *choose* between two choices – (1) to let God’s people go or (2) to keep God’s people in bondage. Pharaoh *chose* door #2 via free-will.

By rejecting the command by Moses to let God’s people go, Pharaoh exercised his free-will and his choice caused him to harden his heart to the point of no return. To paint God as the instigator of man’s sin against God is an absurdity of the highest order that finds no basis in God’s word. God cannot be just and at the same time unjustly cause His creation to sin. You need to re-think. Pharaoh hardened his own heart – God hardened Pharaohs’ heart only in the sense that God provided the hard-choice circumstances and allowed Pharaoh to seal his own doom. God does not suspend man’s free-will.
But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he [Pharaoh] hardened his [own] heart and would not listen to them, as the LORD had said. (Exo 8:15 ESV)The universal truth taught in God’s word remains true – the choice to serve God or not to serve God is ours via God’s gift of free-will…
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." ~ Joshua

LH, you should have gone back a little farther in Exodus. Even before Moses left Midian, God tells him to return to Egypt, where he will do many wonders, but Pharaoh will not listen because God will harden his heart to keep him from letting the people go. Pharaoh's heart is hardened by God, and Pharaoh has no choice in the matter.

Ex*4:19 And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life.
Ex*4:20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand.
Ex*4:21 And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.

Joshua is one of many, many, many examples throughout the OT where God's calls His covenant people to repentance. If they want to serve the foreign gods their fathers served, they could expect God's wrath and death, but if they decide to serve the one true God, they already have covenant with, they will receive God's blessings and long life in the land of promise. Joshua is not giving them a free will choice, he is giving them an ultimatum, serve God and live, serve foreign gods and die.

Many Blessings,
RW

John146
Apr 13th 2010, 06:47 PM
It would take an entire post to explain this. That's fine with me.


How long did you think about it?I have thought about all of this for a long time.


Okay, I call that a contingency. It doesn't mean God changed his mind.Fine, however you want to look at it. My point is that God does do things based on the actions of men at times, while you try to say otherwise. Nowhere does it say that God caused them to repent. If He did then it would have been ludicrous to have threatened to destroy them if they did not (if that was not even possible).


From our perspective, God was giving those living in Nineveh a chance to repent and change her ways. The salvation of Nineveh was contingent on her repentance. I get all of that. From the standpoint of how Nineveh and Johah experienced things, God was acting as judge. Romans 9, however, presents God as transcendant creator, looking at the nature of God from outside of our reality in his role as creator. From that perspective we understand that not only did God create Jonah restisting him and running away, God created Nineveh repenting.Where does scripture teach that? Don't you think there would be some sense of that in Jonah 3 itself if that was the case? But there is not.


God creates everything that takes place. Romans 9 presents a whole different side of God that we don't normally see from our perspective. Your interpretation of Romans 9 causes you to not believe what other scripture says about God, which is that He wants all people to repent and be saved. We can't interpret scripture that way. We need to accept all of it as written and whenever there may seem to be contradictions we should not change anything, such as trying to say that passages like 1 Tim 2:3-6 do not refer to all people, but rather make sure our overall interpretation does not contradict either passage in question (or any others).


But this is exactly the opposite of what Paul said in Romans 9.Romans 9, Romans 9, Romans 9. What does all of scripture say about the character of God? Not what you think it says in Romans 9. You draw conclusions based on one passage that contradict many other passages. That is not wise.


He said that God's mercy does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs.That is correct. I don't disagree. But the fact of the matter is that while He was not obligated to do so, God chose to have mercy on those who fear Him, forsake their sins, hope in Him and are merciful to others. God desires to have mercy upon all, but you deny this.

Romans 11
30For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
31Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
32For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.


Therefore we know that there is no causal relationship between his mercy and those who fear him.Yes, there is. Not because man decided it should be that way, but because God decided it should be that way. God can have mercy on whoever He wants, but it just so happens that He has mercy on those who fear Him.


Simply put, just because a creature fears God, doesn't mean God is obligated to have mercy on that creature. Even the demons fear God, for instance. To fear God in the sense of what I'm talking about is not to be afraid of God but to revere and love God and be in awe of Him for who He is. The demons are afraid of Him but don't really revere Him.


Where do you think they got this idea? Did they make it up? I don't think so. I think the Bible teaches that God would save Israel as a people. Are you joking with me here? We're talking about the Pharisees. Why are you acting as if they would have known the truth? They didn't. That's why Jesus rebuked them so sharply and called them a bunch of hypocrites.


This is the question Paul answers in Romans 9-11. He concludes that some day God will save them as a people. "This is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins." (9:27) Why are you acting as if this has not already happened, and is continuing to happen today?

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

1 John 3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

Matt 26
27And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
28For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

The covenant by which God would take away people's sins is the new covenant that was put in effect by the blood of Christ. This is Christianity 101 and you're failing the class.


Paul argues that, even though God made a promise to the nation of Israel, he reserves the right to have mercy on them individually. Paul concludes that God has hardened some of them until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in. After that, he will remove ungodliness from Jacob. That is not what it says. The covenant by which God would remove ungodliness from Jacob is already in effect and this is completely undeniable.

Acts 3
25Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.
26Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.


I read theses passages differently. I think Paul assumes that nationality has something to do with it, and argues that God intends to save individuals outside of that nationality also. Paul goes back to a time before the creation of the nation of Israel for promises made to Abraham to highlight the fact that God was granting justification to Abraham in view of his faith, which applies to all of us. This teaching sits along side the teaching that God will gather a people into the land of Palestine, pour out his spirit on them, and cause them to become a righteous and holy nation just before the return of Christ. There is no such teaching. God poured out His Spirit on His people beginning long ago on the day of Pentecost.


Where is the concept of "first"? In the case of Pharaoh, it says he hardened his heart, but before he did, God said he would harden it. The two are correlated in time, but God reveals that it was his doing. God didn't harden Pharaoh's heart until after he had already been alive for a number of years. Why do you act as if God hardened his heart from birth? How did it come to be that Pharaoh was in charge of an evil nation that kept the Israelites as slaves in the first place? Because he was such a nice guy who feared God?


Really? Paul didn't find this to be nonsense.

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Romans 11:33-34Is this saying that nothing about God or His character can be found out? If so, what in the world is scripture for, just something to look at? Don't read something like this and go too far with it. We have been given enough from scripture to understand God's character to understand enough to know the truth regarding these doctrines that we discuss.


Please Eric. I have reasons for what I say. Paul says God orchestrates history according to his own plans and purposes. And even Paul admits that God's wisdom and mind is unsearchable and unfathomable. And we learn from the book of Job that God is not obligated to share his reasons with us for what he does.But His word does share many of the things that He has done and will do and the reasons for them. Just because we don't know everything about God and how He does things doesn't mean we don't know a lot about Him and how He does things from what has been revealed in His Word.


We are not given to know why God has mercy on one person and not another. We just can't know his reasons. Yes, we can. Scripture says He has mercy on those who fear Him so there's one reason. Scripture says He has mercy on the merciful. So, there's another. It also says He has mercy on those who forsake their sins, so there's another.


Remember, just because two events are correlated in time, doesn't mean that one event caused the other. And so, just because God's salvation is correlated with our faith doesn't mean our faith caused our salvation.But that is what scripture teaches. If it didn't then we would not find anywhere where it says salvation was dependent on anything that we do. But we do find such scripture, which means salvation, which is offered graciously by God to all people, is partly dependent on our response of faith in Christ.

Acts 16
30And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

It's really this simple. If your doctrine was true then the answer Paul and Silas gave there to the prison keeper would have been utter nonsense. It would have led the person to believe that he was responsible to do something to be saved despite man supposedly not being responsible to do anything to be saved and that God does it for him.

losthorizon
Apr 13th 2010, 10:15 PM
LH, you should have gone back a little farther in Exodus. Even before Moses left Midian, God tells him to return to Egypt, where he will do many wonders, but Pharaoh will not listen because God will harden his heart to keep him from letting the people go. Pharaoh's heart is hardened by God, and Pharaoh has no choice in the matter.


RW - I appreciate your comments but you also misunderstand God's intent. You can go back as far in the narrative as you wish but the fact remains - God hardened Pharaoh heart by creating the circumstances required for Pharaoh to exercise his free-will and Pharaoh's *wrong choices* caused his heart to be harden beyond the point of no return. God knew before the fact how Pharaoh would react but the choice was Pharaoh's nevertheless. God does not force man to sin - man always has freedom to choose and this by God's design.

You also present God as the instigator of man’s sin against God? Is that your intent? How can God be a just God and at the same time unjustly cause His creation to sin against Him. Like Rog, you need to re-think such wrong-thinking. The truth remains - God hardened Pharaoh's heart only in the sense that God provided hard-choices and then allowed Pharaoh to seal his own doom. God never suspends man’s free-will and God never causes "robotic-men" to sin against Him.

According to the Christ it will be those who choose not to believe who will be damned. God provides the opportunity for salvation to all men but the choice to serve Him or to not serve Him rests with each individuals free-will choice...
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. ~ Jesus ChristYou do understand what the term "whoever-will" means - right?

losthorizon
Apr 14th 2010, 01:27 AM
And so, just because God's salvation is correlated with our faith doesn't mean our faith caused our salvation.

I rather think our faith made our salvation possible – faith comes by hearing the word of God and we are made servants to whom we obey via our faith. Believing and obeying are both acts of volition predicated on our free-will. Salvation is made possible by the blood of Christ for all men and those who believe and obey from the heart will be saved.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
(Romans 6:16-18 KJV)

saved11
Apr 22nd 2010, 11:31 PM
A gift is only a gift once you remove the wrapper....
To accept the gift and put it on your shelf, does not mean you have accepted the gift, for you know not what is inside...

Every one has been given that gift, only some decides to take the wrapper off :)

I define it differently. The gift of course is salvation-to be reconciled to God. However, when God gives us the gift, he will open our hearts to THIRST for Him and thus accept Jesus. So , the gift will not be put on the shelf. Nobody puts on the shelf a gift they want.

Acts 16:14
One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord OPENED HER HEART TO RESPOND TO Paul's messge.

Isaiah 55:1
Come , all you who ARE THIRSTY, ......

Revelation 22:17
The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is THIRSTY let him come; and whoever WISHES, let him take the free gift of the water of life

saved11
Apr 22nd 2010, 11:43 PM
The title of the thread : "If saving faith was a gift of God then why do people need to be persuaded to believe?"

I read some of these posts quite a while ago, so not sure what others have said but this is how I will explain the title.

Saving faith is indeed a gift of God. God is the one that does the persuading ie He opens our hearts, he convicts us of our sins and He causes us to want Jesus (1 example : Romans 9). God, however, does command us to preach the Gospel as this is the means He has chosen for us to hear about Jesus. (Romans 10:14-15 How then,can they call on the one they have not believed in? ANd how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" On hearing the gospel (be it the 1st time, or the 1000th time), God will then open up the hearts of those whom He chose. When he opens up the hearts, he is the one that persuades us to accept/believe Him.

Sirus
Apr 23rd 2010, 12:54 AM
Saving faith is indeed a gift of God. God is the one that does the persuading ie He opens our hearts, he convicts us of our sins and He causes us to want Jesus (1 example : Romans 9).Romans 9 says no such thing. Do you have any other scripture you could use in context for your claim?


God, however, does command us to preach the Gospel as this is the means He has chosen for us to hear about Jesus. On hearing the gospel (be it the 1st time, or the 1000th time), God will then open up the hearts of those whom He chose. When he opens up the hearts, he is the one that persuades us to accept/believe Him.Wrong idea of chose there, and He does not flick a switch. For men to be damned for rejecting Christ it must mean God flicked the switch but man rejected. Is that possible according to how you are using Romans 9? No. God cannot damn someone for rejecting Christ because He did not flick the switch. That would be unjust.

saved11
Apr 23rd 2010, 09:17 AM
Romans 9 says no such thing. Do you have any other scripture you could use in context for your claim?

Wrong idea of chose there, and He does not flick a switch. For men to be damned for rejecting Christ it must mean God flicked the switch but man rejected. Is that possible according to how you are using Romans 9? No. God cannot damn someone for rejecting Christ because He did not flick the switch. That would be unjust.

With regards to your question, did you not see my earlier post where I quote Acts 16:14
One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord OPENED HER HEART TO RESPOND TO Paul's messages.

Romans 9-11 explains further too and I disagree that Romans 9 is a wrong choice here.If I have time I will try to go into more depth another time (may take a few days) as right now I do not have time to write longer.

Firstfruits
Apr 23rd 2010, 11:14 AM
If saving faith was a gift from God we would not have to change our minds concerning the message that is preached. God would make us new without the need for us to accept him, it would not be a choice.

Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

We have to put on the new man, we have to change.

Eph 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Firstfruits

BroRog
Apr 23rd 2010, 05:11 PM
If saving faith was a gift from God we would not have to change our minds concerning the message that is preached. God would make us new without the need for us to accept him, it would not be a choice.I disagree. Why would we expect God to circumvent the processes that lead up to saving faith? Why would we expect that the gift of saving faith doesn't include with it, the process of of coming to faith and the experiences of a life time living according to that faith?

John146
Apr 23rd 2010, 08:25 PM
I define it differently. The gift of course is salvation-to be reconciled to God. However, when God gives us the gift, he will open our hearts to THIRST for Him and thus accept Jesus. So , the gift will not be put on the shelf. Nobody puts on the shelf a gift they want.

Acts 16:14
One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord OPENED HER HEART TO RESPOND TO Paul's messge.

Isaiah 55:1
Come , all you who ARE THIRSTY, ......

Revelation 22:17
The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is THIRSTY let him come; and whoever WISHES, let him take the free gift of the water of lifeNotice that Lydia was already a worshiper of God before God opened her heart to understand Paul's message. So, I'm not sure what you are trying to prove by quoting that verse. How did she become a worshiper of God in the first place? Was it not because she was a worshiper of God that God wanted her to understand Paul's message? It doesn't say that God caused her to worship Him in the first place through no choice of her own.

John146
Apr 23rd 2010, 08:32 PM
The title of the thread : "If saving faith was a gift of God then why do people need to be persuaded to believe?"

I read some of these posts quite a while ago, so not sure what others have said but this is how I will explain the title.

Saving faith is indeed a gift of God.That is not taught anywhere in scripture.


God is the one that does the persuading ie He opens our hearts, he convicts us of our sins and He causes us to want Jesus (1 example : Romans 9).For God to open one's heart has nothing to do with persuading someone. To persuade is to convince someone to change their current beliefs and perspective to another. That is not something that happens automatically or that God forces to happen. Since Paul clearly believed man had to be persuaded and convinced to believe that shows that he understood that believing in Christ is an act of the will. It is something that someone must choose to do and God does not do it for them. If God does it all for people then why would any persuasion be necessary? You make it as if God just suddenly goes "Poof" and then someone magically has faith.

Where does persuasion and reasoning come into play in your view? Why do you think Paul thought it was necessary to spend days, weeks and sometimes years in one place making the effort to persuade them from the scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah and they needed to believe in Him to be saved?


God, however, does command us to preach the Gospel as this is the means He has chosen for us to hear about Jesus. (Romans 10:14-15 How then,can they call on the one they have not believed in? ANd how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" On hearing the gospel (be it the 1st time, or the 1000th time), God will then open up the hearts of those whom He chose. When he opens up the hearts, he is the one that persuades us to accept/believe Him.Why would God wait until the 1,000th time to cause someone to believe? If He wants the person to believe and it's entirely up to Him whether or not the person believes then why would it require more than one time?

Nomad
Apr 23rd 2010, 09:17 PM
The title of the thread : "If saving faith was a gift of God then why do people need to be persuaded to believe?"

I read some of these posts quite a while ago, so not sure what others have said but this is how I will explain the title.

Saving faith is indeed a gift of God.



That is not taught anywhere in scripture.

The fact that saving faith is the gift of God certainly is taught in Scripture.

Php 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake...

Sirus
Apr 24th 2010, 01:51 AM
With regards to your question, did you not see my earlier post where I quote Acts 16:14
One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord OPENED HER HEART TO RESPOND TO Paul's messages. Act 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

If one has ears to hear, they can hear -faith comes by hearing the gospel [heard]. They that do the truth come to the light [she attended]. The gospel is the grace of God -we are saved by grace through faith. That's all that says.

Pro 20:27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
All men have faith (ability) because all men have a spirit from God created to worship God in Spirit and Truth, having the ability to put his trust in God.
Faith is not a thing that it can be given. It is an ability.


Romans 9-11 explains further too and I disagree that Romans 9 is a wrong choice here.Romans 9 is not talking about individual salvation. It is talking about Christ coming in the flesh (v5) and how it was accomplished -Abraham, Issac, Jacob (Israel), Moses, Pharaoh, Cyrus. Christ coming in the flesh (v5) for Salvation is the will of God no man could resist.

Sirus
Apr 24th 2010, 02:00 AM
The fact that saving faith is the gift of God certainly is taught in Scripture.

Php 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake...The choice to believe is given to whosoever.....he that has ears to hear....etc...Paul is talking to those that did in fact receive the gift of salvation that was given to all.

Php 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Php 1:28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
Php 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

Nomad
Apr 24th 2010, 02:09 AM
Act 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

That verse means exactly what it says Sirus. Lydia listened to Paul only because the Lord had opened her heart.


The gospel is the grace of God -we are saved by grace through faith. That's all that says.

If you're referring to Eph. 2:8-9, then no, that's not all it says. It says that salvation by grace through faith is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Notice that the "gift" includes faith. If you want to deny this then you had better check the Greek text first and you'll want to address Php. 1:29.

Nomad
Apr 24th 2010, 02:13 AM
The choice to believe is given to whosoever.....he that has ears to hear....etc...Paul is talking to those that did in fact receive the gift of salvation that was given to all.

Php 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Php 1:28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
Php 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;


Sorry Sirus. Php:1:29 means exactly what it says. "Belief" was "given" to the Philippians.

Php 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake...

Sirus
Apr 24th 2010, 02:25 AM
That verse means exactly what it says Sirus. Lydia listened to Paul only because the Lord had opened her heart. How did God open her heart?


If you're referring to Eph. 2:8-9, then no, that's not all it says. It says that salvation by grace through faith is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Notice that the "gift" includes faith. If you want to deny this then you had better check the Greek text first and you'll want to address Php. 1:29.No I was referring to how Lydia believed. Regarding what you just said, faith is not included in the gift. Salvation and grace is a gift. We can list many examples. How many can you find for faith as a gift? 1, and it says all men. I always check the Greek and faith is the means by which the gift is received -through- it is not the gift.

Sirus
Apr 24th 2010, 02:26 AM
Sorry Sirus. Php:1:29 means exactly what it says. "Belief" was "given" to the Philippians.

Php 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake...Again, how is belief given?

Nomad
Apr 24th 2010, 03:04 AM
How did God open her heart?

No I was referring to how Lydia believed. Regarding what you just said, faith is not included in the gift. Salvation and grace is a gift. We can list many examples. How many can you find for faith as a gift? 1, and it says all men. I always check the Greek and faith is the means by which the gift is received -through- it is not the gift.

Your first indication should be Php. 1:29, which you failed to deal with. I understand why though... it is clear enough.

Now as for Eph. 2:8-9... no sir, you did not check the Greek because you do not know Greek or you would have not missed the glaring problem with your assertions..

Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God...

The demonstrative pronoun "this" is neuter. It requires a neuter antecedent. Neither "grace" nor "faith" is neuter. Both are feminine. This means that "this" refers to the entire phrase, "For by grace you have been saved through faith." Everything contained in that phrase are "not your own doing; it is the gift of God." That includes "faith."

Nomad
Apr 24th 2010, 03:05 AM
Again, how is belief given?

Completely irrelevant.

Sirus
Apr 24th 2010, 03:52 AM
Your first indication should be Php. 1:29, which you failed to deal with. I understand why though... it is clear enough.

Now as for Eph. 2:8-9... no sir, you did not check the Greek because you do not know Greek or you would have not missed the glaring problem with your assertions..

Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God...

The demonstrative pronoun "this" is neuter. It requires a neuter antecedent. Neither "grace" nor "faith" is neuter. Both are feminine. This means that "this" refers to the entire phrase, "For by grace you have been saved through faith." Everything contained in that phrase are "not your own doing; it is the gift of God." That includes "faith."
Completely irrelevant.
You're not answering the question, I understand why though.....
How and when is faith given? Scripture?

Nomad
Apr 24th 2010, 03:55 AM
You're not answering the question, I understand why though.....
How and when is faith given? Scripture?

How and when are irrelevant. The fact that faith is given as the gift of God is what is relevant.

Php 1:29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake...

Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God...

Sirus
Apr 24th 2010, 03:57 AM
Wow, so profound. Amazing commentary! :thumbsup:

Nomad
Apr 24th 2010, 04:03 AM
Wow, so profound. Amazing commentary! :thumbsup:

No Sirus... what is profound and amazing here is the perspicuity of the texts in question. You would do well to stop kicking at the goads.

Sirus
Apr 24th 2010, 04:10 AM
You will not answer because it disagrees with your theology in this regard. Understood.

Nomad
Apr 24th 2010, 04:16 AM
You will not answer because it disagrees with your theology in this regard. Understood.

No Sirus. I will not answer because "how" and "when" faith comes is irrelevant to whether or not faith is a gift in the first place. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other.

Php 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake...

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God...

Sirus
Apr 24th 2010, 06:04 AM
It has everything to do with it.


Are we given a thing called faith when we hear the gospel?
or
are we created with the ability of placing faith in God, having the ability to believe when we hear the gospel?
Scripture reveals the latter. It answers the OP, therefore it is totally relevant.
Everything in scripture reveals this. Man is created in the image of God, for the purpose of serving and worshiping God, having the knowledge of God and holding the truth.
We do not live our lives completely oblivious to God until one day confronted with the gospel, then God arbitrarily gives some faith and doesn't others, deciding all mens eternal destiny for him. Nothing in scripture indicates this.

Nomad
Apr 24th 2010, 09:33 AM
Are we given a thing called faith when we hear the gospel?

Php 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake...

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God...



or
are we created with the ability of placing faith in God, having the ability to believe when we hear the gospel?

Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

It must be a very precarious thing to find yourself doing battle against the very word of God. I don't envy your position at all.

Firstfruits
Apr 24th 2010, 11:59 AM
I disagree. Why would we expect God to circumvent the processes that lead up to saving faith? Why would we expect that the gift of saving faith doesn't include with it, the process of of coming to faith and the experiences of a life time living according to that faith?

Are we then forced to believe?

Firstfruits

Sirus
Apr 24th 2010, 04:55 PM
Php 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake...

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God... Those do not say we are given a thing called faith when we hear the gospel.



Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. That has nothing to do with hearing the gospel and believing. You, again, are way out of context. It says no one continually (Greek) seeks and does good so that they are 'righteousness' as God counts righteous. Like, there is none always totally good but God, there is none always totally righteous but God. The issue is God's standard and when it comes to even the best of men......

Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

That's the point in context. Don't stop at a verse and not look at the Greek because it fits your theology.

BroRog
Apr 24th 2010, 05:22 PM
Are we then forced to believe?

Firstfruits

Was Jesus forced to go to the cross?

Firstfruits
Apr 24th 2010, 05:32 PM
Was Jesus forced to go to the cross?

Jesus was obedient to the father, as should we when we have heard to word.

Firstfruits

Nomad
Apr 24th 2010, 06:21 PM
Are we then forced to believe?

Firstfruits

Not at all. Through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit we are released from our bondage to the corruption of sin and death whereby we are unwilling to seek for God and come to Christ for salvation. The Westminster Confession gives a good summary of this effectual calling under the first two points of ch. 10.


Chapter X

Of Effectual Calling

I. All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed time, effectually to call,[1] by His Word and Spirit,[2] out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ;[3] enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God,[4] taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh;[5] renewing their wills, and, by His almighty power, determining them to that which is good,[6] and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ:[7] yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.[8]

II. This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man,[9] who is altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit,[10] he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.[11]

__________________________________________________ ______________________________


[1] ROM 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 11:7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. EPH 1:10 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.

[2] 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: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2CO 3:3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. 6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

[3] ROM 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. EPH 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 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: 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. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved). 2TI 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

[4] ACT 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. 1CO 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 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. EPH 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.

[5] EZE 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

[6] EZE 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh. PHI 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. DEU 30:6 And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. EZE 36:27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

[7] EPH 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power. JOH 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

[8] SON 1:4 Draw me, we will run after thee. PSA 110:3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. 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. ROM 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

[9] 2TI 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. TIT 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. EPH 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved). 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. ROM 9:11 For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth.

[10] 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. ROM 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. EPH 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved).

[11] 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. EZE 36:37 Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock. JOH 5:25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

BroRog
Apr 24th 2010, 06:26 PM
Jesus was obedient to the father, as should we when we have heard to word.

Firstfruits

Doesn't Peter say that the Cross was predestined to take place? If so, and if Jesus was being obedient to the father of his own free will, then we know that predestination isn't the same thing as being forced.

Sirus
Apr 24th 2010, 06:30 PM
Not at all. Through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit we are released from our bondage to the corruption of sin and death whereby we are unwilling to seek for God and come to Christ for salvation.No where does scripture even imply regeneration comes first. Men willing sought God from Genesis -- no where does scripture even imply "we are unwilling to seek for God and come to Christ for salvation".

saved11
Apr 24th 2010, 09:21 PM
If saving faith was a gift of God then no persuasion (convincing of the truth through preaching) would be necessary. ....

Something came to my mind after my last post in this thread here but I was too lazy to restart the computer again to type it out. However, I thought it would be good for me to post what came to me that time on reading the above quote today.

The thing that came to my mind was this.
Why do we need to confront our brothers and sisters in Christ when they sin when the bible says its the Holy Spirit that does the convicting. If its the Holy Spirit that does the convicting, then surely we will not need to confront them. (Well, the answer is because the bible ask us to confront those that sin. Similarly, the bible ask us to preach the gospel. Notice, that even though the bible says its the Holy Spirit that does the convicting, the bible still tell us to confront those that sin. So, just because saving faith is a gift of God does not mean that we are not to convince/preach)


I did mention that I will try to say more if I have the time. However, at this moment, I don't feel led to explain. (I try to post only when I feel God is leading me or just to welcome/give encouragement to someone, although am not always successful in this.).

Nomad
Apr 24th 2010, 10:33 PM
Why do we need to confront our brothers and sisters in Christ when they sin when the bible says its the Holy Spirit that does the convicting. If its the Holy Spirit that does the convicting, then surely we will not need to confront them. (Well, the answer is because the bible ask us to confront those that sin. Similarly, the bible ask us to preach the gospel. Notice, that even though the bible says its the Holy Spirit that does the convicting, the bible still tell us to confront those that sin. So, just because saving faith is a gift of God does not mean that we are not to convince/preach)

Exactly. Nice post.

Our God uses means to accomplish His will. Prayer is another case in point. Jesus tells us in Matthew's Gospel that God knows what we need before we ask. If that's the case, why pray "give us this day our daily bread" as we're taught in the Lord's Prayer? Because God has ordained that we do so. Here's an example from Job.

Job 42:8 Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has."

Why did God tell Job to pray for his friends? He clearly already knew of the entire situation. Because God in His infinite wisdom was pleased to use Job's prayer to accomplish His will with regard to Job's friends.

No matter how strange it looks to us, do we have the right to allow our sin-tainted Human logic to trump God's clearly revealed methods? I think not.

Firstfruits
Apr 25th 2010, 10:17 AM
Doesn't Peter say that the Cross was predestined to take place? If so, and if Jesus was being obedient to the father of his own free will, then we know that predestination isn't the same thing as being forced.

The Cross was predestinated to take place and it was the will of God, Jesus obeyed the will of God. "Not my will but thy will be done"

Firstfruits

BroRog
Apr 25th 2010, 07:25 PM
The Cross was predestinated to take place and it was the will of God, Jesus obeyed the will of God. "Not my will but thy will be done"

Firstfruits

This goes back to your question, "Are we then forced to believe?" The objection to the doctrine of God's transcendental sovereignty centers on man's free will and his moral responsibility. It is charged that if divine determinism is true, this implies that God forces people to act against their will. And yet, we see from Peter's statement concerning the predestined cross, which includes the tension between Jesus' predestined decision to allow himself to be crucified and his ability to choose otherwise that coercion does not follow from divine determinism.

losthorizon
Apr 25th 2010, 09:17 PM
This goes back to your question, "Are we then forced to believe?"


But according to your Calvinism God has foreordained every choice one makes – how is that free-will? Does God force the non-elect to sin? Do we serve a God who condemns one to a devil’s hell because God forced him to sin? That is certainly not the God we read about in the NT – the God who wants ALL men everywhere to come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved – your theology states God only wants those He forces to believe. How does that work for you?

Nomad
Apr 25th 2010, 10:03 PM
Does God force the non-elect to sin?

No.



Do we serve a God who condemns one to a devil’s hell because God forced him to sin?

No.

Conversations of this nature usually degenerate rather quickly because the Arminian side insists on creating caricatures. God not only does not force belief, He does not force sin either. I've already addressed this topic in previous posts in this thread so there really is no need to revisit it. I suggest that you take a look a few of my previous posts.



the God who wants ALL men everywhere to come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved –

This actually has nothing to do with the current discussion, so to address this here would lead us down a bunny trail far from the topic at hand. If you want to begin a separate thread on Limited Atonement I would be more than happy to engage you there.



your theology states God only wants those He forces to believe.

Once again, caricatures of an opposing theology demonstrates either misunderstanding or a cheap debate tactic. I don't know which is the case here, but if you're going to attack another believers theology it would be extremely helpful to understand what that theology actually teaches.

Firstfruits
Apr 25th 2010, 10:18 PM
This goes back to your question, "Are we then forced to believe?" The objection to the doctrine of God's transcendental sovereignty centers on man's free will and his moral responsibility. It is charged that if divine determinism is true, this implies that God forces people to act against their will. And yet, we see from Peter's statement concerning the predestined cross, which includes the tension between Jesus' predestined decision to allow himself to be crucified and his ability to choose otherwise that coercion does not follow from divine determinism.

The plan of salvation is through the cross, so if Jesus had not obeyed God then we would have no hope, if we do not obey the gospel of Christ we would have no hope. Our choice affects our eternal future.

Firstfruits

Creator
Apr 25th 2010, 10:25 PM
If saving faith was a gift of God then why do people need to be persuaded to believe?

Saving faith is faith that must be ACTED upon to bring salvation....placing our TRUST in Christ's death is a VOLITIONAL ACT...it requires our an act of our will.....and.....

The reason persuasion is necessary is because Satan has erected in the Carnal minds strongholds of reasoning and arguments contrary to the truth ...and contrary to the truth of the gospel.
Satan has erected lies in the carnal man's mind which blinds men and prevent them from responding to the truth of the gospel. These lies and strongholds, according to scripture, are to be refuted and destroyed with the Word of God.

"IF OUR GOSPEL BE HID, IT IS HID TO THEM THAT ARE LOST, IN WHOM THE GOD OF THIS WORLD HAS BLINDED THE MINDS OF THEM THAT BELIEVE NOT, lest the light of the glorious gospel ......should shine unto them should...." (2Corin.4:3)"

BroRog
Apr 25th 2010, 11:36 PM
The plan of salvation is through the cross, so if Jesus had not obeyed God then we would have no hope, if we do not obey the gospel of Christ we would have no hope. Our choice affects our eternal future.

FirstfruitsOf course. This goes without saying. But you are speaking about hypotheticals. I mention the cross because Peter says it was predestined. This isn't hypothetical; it's real. Peter is saying that God orchestrated the events surrounding the cross, even Jesus' decision to volunteer. I know it's hard to wrap the mind around it, but if Peter's words have meaning at all, that is what Peter said.

BroRog
Apr 25th 2010, 11:39 PM
But according to your Calvinism God has foreordained every choice one makes – how is that free-will? Does God force the non-elect to sin? Do we serve a God who condemns one to a devil’s hell because God forced him to sin? That is certainly not the God we read about in the NT – the God who wants ALL men everywhere to come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved – your theology states God only wants those He forces to believe. How does that work for you?I'm not a Calvinist. And the doctrine of foreordination comes from Paul the Apostle, not Calvin. Let me ask you this, did Tolkien force Frodo to go to Mordor?

losthorizon
Apr 26th 2010, 02:09 AM
I'm not a Calvinist. And the doctrine of foreordination comes from Paul the Apostle, not Calvin. Let me ask you this, did Tolkien force Frodo to go to Mordor?
Well Rog - I am not too concerned with the motives of Frodo as he contended with the last alliance but I do care about what is revealed in God's word and His word does not paint God as a God who condemns His creation to damnation after forcing men to sin?

Nomad
Apr 26th 2010, 02:43 AM
...His word does not paint God as a God who condemns His creation to damnation after forcing men to sin?

I see. You're simply going to ignore everything I said and continue with your strawman argument. You're not arguing against Calvinism, you're arguing against a distortion of your own making. I've already corrected you on this. What you attempt to argue against is not Calvinism at all. Is this really how you want to represent you position? So be it.

losthorizon
Apr 26th 2010, 02:55 AM
You're simply going to ignore everything I said


What is it you said that you imagine is being ignored?

Nomad
Apr 26th 2010, 03:04 AM
What is it you said that you imagine is being ignored?

You're kidding, right???

-SEEKING-
Apr 26th 2010, 03:06 AM
MOD NOTE:
Closed for mod review.