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If saving faith was a gift of God then why do people need to be persuaded to believe?

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  • If saving faith was a gift of God then why do people need to be persuaded to believe?

    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?

  • #2
    Eric, can God soften a hard heart?

    Comment


    • #3
      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
      The LORD is my Miracle

      G_d was gracious He has shown favor


      Hope is a seed
      God plants in our hearts
      to remind us
      there are better things ahead.
      -Holley Gerth

      Comment


      • #4
        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.
        ...be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man, that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith, that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be full of strength to apprehend with all the saints what the breadth and length and height and depth are and to know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ, that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:16-19

        Comment


        • #5
          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

          Comment


          • #6
            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...
            Many appear Righteous and Just because they say 'yes' to Jesus Christ , yet they don't do His Will.
            ------------------------------------------------
            Verily I say unto thee, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the Kingdom of Heaven before you do.
            ------------------------------------------------
            The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying. YEA, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with LOVINGKINDESS have I DRAWN THEE.
            Jeremiah 31:3

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by John146 View Post
              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.
              In His Service,

              Nomad

              Got questions about Reformed theology? Want solid Biblical answers without all of the usual nastiness, mud slinging and straw-man portraits of Reformed Theology found in public forums? Then ask a Calvinist.

              Ask a Calvinist

              http://abidingtruth.wordpress.com/

              Warranted Faith - Reformed Apologetics & Theology

              Comment


              • #8
                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...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by BroRog View Post
                  Eric, can God soften a hard heart?
                  can is not the question. Does and will is.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by John146 View Post
                    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).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by John146 View Post
                      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
                      Jake

                      What does the bible say?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by John146 View Post
                        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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I think we witness because God commanded us too.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sirus View Post
                            '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.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Toymom View Post
                              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.

                              Comment

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