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#711 - Mon Jun 24, 2002 10:44 AM Re: Revelation 22:19 Contradicts Calvinist Doctrine [Re: Tom]  
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Tom<br><br>That is a good point.. for verse 36 states "But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe..""<br><br>Also, you see a parallel in John 10:22-30. <br>Jesus responds those who refused to believe him by saying: <br> "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. "<br> (25-28).<br><br>JoshT, <br><br> The verse plainly states that, since they do not belong to Jesus Christ's Sheep, they do not believe. ON the other hand, being one of Christ's sheep enables one to respond to his call( which correlates with John 6:37). It is not the other way around( that is: if one responds then he becomes one of his sheep). Jesus calls His Sheep and they respond to his call . Hence, that is why In John 6:37, as TOm pointed out, it says that They "Will" come to Christ.<br>It's not a maybe. See Romans 8:28-30. <br><br>Carlos


"Let all that mind...the peace and comfort of their own souls, wholly apply themselves to the study of Jesus Christ, and him crucified"(Flavel)
#712 - Mon Jun 24, 2002 11:00 AM You read between the lines [Re: J_Edwards]  

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Dear Joe,<br><br>There are several things that I want to address about your letter, you ask, "But, HOW can they humble 'themselves' when they DO NOT even seek for God in the first place." But I clearly stated that they must humle themselves and repent when they are convicted by the Holy Spirit. This is God drawing them, so it is God, then man, not vice-versa. I agree with you on this point.<br><br>You also wrote, "[The unregenerate] WILL NOT seek God, prior to God changing them by His grace." This is not exactly correct, they will not seek God prior to His drawing them. He draws us so that we will seek Him and THEN be changed by His grace, for only Jesus' blood can wash us from our sin.<br><br>Exactly how Acts 7:51 proves Calvinism? You wrote that, "God's elect will only resist until God reveals Himself to their spirit at which time they will be drawn away irresistibly to Christ." But how else does God reveal Himself to our spirits except by the Holy Spirit? It then becomes obvious that if a person resists the Holy Spirit (as many of the Jews did and still do), then they are resisting God as He is drawing them. There is nothing in scripture to indicate that God's drawing is irresistable.<br><br>Concerning coming to Christ, you stated "Well you are assuming they can come of their own supposed free will." You read between the lines here, for I said no such thing (I actually said the opposite in the letter that you responded to). I am of the firm belief that no one can come to Jesus unless he is drawn by the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit. I am not an Arminian or a Calvinist, I simply believe what is clearly written in God's word. In addition, your saying, "He calls whom He choose....and ONLY them," cannot be correct, for it is written, "many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 20:16 and 22:14).<br><br>As far as what "draw" means. Yes, I am well aware that God's conviction and pulling us towards Christ are very strong, but nothing in scripture indicates that He cannot be resisted, as I pointed out from Acts 7:21.<br><br>I do not know why you put in your last argument, the part you wrote was not even what I discussed, and the part I did discuss you didn't answer. You wrote, "Only the ones FIRST given SHALL (no doubt about it) COME, and He will in NO WISE cast them out, for they are God's GIFT to Him..."<br><br>I did not argue that those who are given would not necessarily come, I pointed out that there are conditions on a person's part if he/she is to be given to Christ (which goes back to the necessity of humbling yourself before God when God draws you). And as I also stated, Christ does not cast anyone out, but God the Father will cut off anyone who does not abide in His word (John 15, Romans 11).<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh

#713 - Mon Jun 24, 2002 11:18 AM Characteristics of sheep [Re: carlos]  

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Dear Carlos,<br><br>One of the characteristics of Christ's sheep are that they follow Christ. A person who is unregenerate (even if he/she is one of the elect) obviously does not follow Jesus before they come to Him. So your argument that you must be a sheep to respond to the call is invalid. I believe what it is actually saying is that those who love the Father (just as many under the Jewish law did), were Christ's sheep and would come to Him. <br><br>"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." (John 6:45)<br><br>Also, I never argued that one who is given to Christ "may" come, I said that there were conditions if a person would be given to Christ.<br><br>Don't get me wrong, I do believe in election and predestination. I simply believe that God doesn't make the decision for you or force you to accept Him, but chooses you on the basis of His foreknowledge. <br><br>"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied." (1 Peter 1:2)<br><br>God foresees our choices, not makes our choices, and it is on this basis that He chooses us so that we can accept Him.<br><br>Quid Pro Quo (or however you spell it), how do you justify unconditional election with the clear warnings given in Revelation 22:19?<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh

#714 - Mon Jun 24, 2002 11:18 AM Re: Revelation 22:19 Contradicts Calvinist Doctrine [Re: carlos]  

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JoshT,

The verse plainly states that, since they do not belong to Jesus Christ's Sheep, they do not believe. ON the other hand, being one of Christ's sheep enables one to respond to his call( which correlates with John 6:37). It is not the other way around( that is: if one responds then he becomes one of his sheep). Jesus calls His Sheep and they respond to his call . Hence, that is why In John 6:37, as TOm pointed out, it says that They "Will" come to Christ.

It's not a maybe. See Romans 8:28-30.


This is the problem, Carlos. It is "plainly seen" but not "readily accepted". flee

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
Which saved a wretch like me,
I once was lost, but now I'm found,
Was blind, but now I see...

#715 - Mon Jun 24, 2002 11:24 AM One may lose more than the tree of life [Re: J_Edwards]  

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Dear Joe,<br><br>It is incorrect to assume that Revelation 22:19 speaks of only loss of rewards as 1 Corinthians 3:15 does. I don't seem to recall writing anything about the tree of life pertaining to salvation; the warning in this verse indicates a debarment not only from the tree of life, but from the holy city as well, which as you correctly pointed out, is something that a heretic forfeits (I am assuming that you believe a heretic cannot be a saint). But how can a man forfeit what he does not have? To have a right in the holy city, he would have to be written in the Lamb's book of life (Revelation 21:27), to have his name written there, he would have to be one of the elect (I draw this by implication from Revelation 13:8). So then the warning in vs 19 stands for the elect as well -- and it does pertain to salvation.<br>This makes guaranteed perseverance of the saints and unconditional election impossibilites.<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh

#716 - Mon Jun 24, 2002 11:38 AM Re: You read between the lines  
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There are several things that I want to address about your letter, you ask, "But, HOW can they humble 'themselves' when they DO NOT even seek for God in the first place." But I clearly stated that they must humble themselves and repent when they are convicted by the Holy Spirit. This is God drawing them, so it is God, then man, not vice-versa. I agree with you on this point.

Josh what does CONVICTED OF THE HOLY SPIRIT MEAN TO YOU? Do you think of it as an enablement or a change of heart?......Do you think the Holy Spirit merely assists us in being saved...I see God is your slave.... flee

You also wrote, "[The unregenerate] WILL NOT seek God, prior to God changing them by His grace." This is not exactly correct, they will not seek God prior to His drawing them. He draws us so that we will seek Him and THEN be changed by His grace, for only Jesus' blood can wash us from our sin.

But, Josh when did Jesus wash us from our sins when you rub God's magic lantern by your free will decision or was it on Calvary?

Exactly how Acts 7:51 proves Calvinism? You wrote that, "God's elect will only resist until God reveals Himself to their spirit at which time they will be drawn away irresistibly to Christ." But how else does God reveal Himself to our spirits except by the Holy Spirit? It then becomes obvious that if a person resists the Holy Spirit (as many of the Jews did and still do), then they are resisting God as He is drawing them. There is nothing in scripture to indicate that God's drawing is irresistable.

My statement was to be understood that the ELECT do not FULLY and FINALLY resist the Holy Spirit..........---you need to read the Scripture again---Look at Paul.....

As far as what "draw" means. Yes, I am well aware that God's conviction and pulling us towards Christ are very strong, but nothing in scripture indicates that He cannot be resisted, as I pointed out from Acts 7:21.

Well I am glad you see Christ is very strong, to bad you do not see He is sovereign and ALL POWERFUL also.

So you're not an Arminian? Someone must have changed the definition? puke


Reformed and Always Reforming,
#717 - Mon Jun 24, 2002 11:51 AM That doesn't address the issue [Re: Pilgrim]  

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Dear Pilgrim,<br><br>In reply to,<br>"Then perhaps you would enlighten us as to the true history of Protestantism?"<br><br>I'm sorry, but I'm not the one making far-fetched claims that being a protestant means you are a Calvinist. Why don't you tell us why that is? Especially since John Calvin was only 8 years old when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenburg church. Was Luther a Calvinist as well? That would be a real miracle. You also speak of Calvinism's dominance, I am from a very religious section of the U.S., I didn't even know what a Calvinist was until I was 20. The fact is that most protestant churches don't accept all of the doctrines of Calvinism. Among them are Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Pentacostals, Full Gospel and many others -- traditional and contemporary. And to say that Calvinism is an offshoot of protestantism is not unfair, since Calvin simply followed in the footsteps of Martin Luther, who was not a Calvinist, nor did he accept all the doctrines taught therein. I have no clue as to what these mystical "accepted Church History texts" are, but I'm betting they would back me up as well.<br><br>You also make it sound as if it is my personal interpretation vs. everyone else's. Be assured, I am not alone in my beliefs. But let me ask you: If you don't base your faith on the uninspired writings of mere men, then why do you just gloss over what Revelation 22:19 clearly says in favor of what some scholar wrote 400+ years ago?<br><br>And yes, you heard it correctly: "Gaping holes." Among them are Acts 2:40, Luke 13:34, and of course Revelation 22:19. Instead of tossing out a red herring about the definition of being a protestant, why don't you actually address the issue: the fact that Revelation 22:19 clearly contradicts the doctrines of unconditional election and perseverance of the saints.<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh

#718 - Mon Jun 24, 2002 12:08 PM How a man is saved [Re: J_Edwards]  

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Dear Joe,<br><br>In reply to:<br>"......So you think the Holy Spirit merely assists us in being saved...I see God is your slave...."<br><br>Christ washed my feet. I don't see why you have a problem with the Holy Spirit "assisting" (though He was actually guiding) me as you put it.<br><br><br>You wrote:<br>"But, Josh when did Jesus wash us from our sins when you rub God's magic latern by your free will decision or was it on Calvary?"<br><br>We are by nature the children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3), someone who is a child of wrath is not washed in the blood, therefore a man can only be washed when:<br>1. The Father draws him by the Holy Spirit<br>2. The man humbles himself and surrenders his will to God<br>3. The man is then given to Christ<br>4. The man truly believes in Jesus Christ<br><br>Then he is washed clean from his sin and is no longer a child of wrath.<br><br>You wrote:<br>"My statement was to be understood that the ELECT do not FULLY and FINALLY resist the Holy Spirit..........---you need to read the Scripture again---Look at Paul....."<br><br>I see nothing in the scripture to indicate that a man cannot fully and finally resist the Holy Spirit (they are only elect if they do not). I also see plenty of proof that they can fall away afterwards.<br><br>You wrote:<br>"Well I am glad you see Christ is very strong, to bad you do not see He is soveriegn and ALL POWERFUL also."<br><br>I do believe that Christ is sovereign and all powerful, I simply believe that He chooses not to exercise the full extent of His power all the time. I do not believe that he forces us to accept Him.<br><br>You wrote:<br>"So your nor an Armenian? someone must have changed the definition? "<br><br>An ARMENIAN? I am not from Armenia, but if you mean Arminian, then define this for me please. Also please explain to me why Revelation 22:19 doesn't contradict the doctrines of unconditional election and perseverance of the saints.<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh

#719 - Mon Jun 24, 2002 12:42 PM Re: That doesn't address the issue  
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JoshT,

First of all, the doctrines of Grace, which most every Protestant denomination after the Reformation embraced, didn't originate with Martin Luther. [Linked Image] Perhaps you aren't familiar with Augustine and others after him who also held to the same doctrines?
In reply to:

I have no clue as to what these mystical "accepted Church History texts" are, but I'm betting they would back me up as well.


I don't recall that I or anyone else made mention of any mystical documents? However I did refer to the vast array of documents which were the foundation upon which the vast majority of Protestant denominations stood. I'll just name a few:

    [*]The French Confession (1559) [Huguenots][*]The Belgic Confession (1561) [Dutch Reformed][*]The Second Helvetic Confession (1562, a revision of the First of 1536) [Swiss][*]The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion (1571) [Anglican and Episcopal][*]The Canons of Dort (1618-1619) [myriad Protestant denominations][*]The Waldensian Confession (1655 French) [a group from the 12th century][*]The Savoy Declaration of Faith and Order (1658) [Congregationalists][*]The London Confession of Baptist Faith (1689) [English Baptists][*]The Philadelphia Confession of Faith (early 18th century) [American Baptists][/LIST]
    In reply to:

    The fact is that most protestant churches don't accept all of the doctrines of Calvinism.


    Agreed. From around the mid 1800's most major denominations have abandoned their roots to embrace semi-Pelagianism/Arminianism or even Liberalism. All this proves is that apostasy has entered into the modern church. But it doesn't negate the historicity of Calvinism’s overwhelming acceptance from the beginning.

    Let's now look at the text you put so much weight upon as proving that those who have been predestinated from eternity by God's immutable council, bought with the precious blood of the Lord Christ, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit can lose that salvation by grace.

    Revelation 22:18-19 "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book."
    The text clearly qualifies the conditions that would facilitate God "taking away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city and from the things which are written in this book." The text clearly says that this action will be upon those who take away from the words of the book of this prophecy. It is speaking of those who would remove parts of the inspired text (Revelation) for whatever reason. In doing so, they show that they had no part in the book of life, nor of the holy city, but contrariwise, they are false prophets, enemies of God, etc. Again, there is so much biblical evidence that teaches "eternal security", one has to wonder why you would pick this particular passage in order to try and contradict them? [Linked Image].

    I and others could easily enumerate them if you wish and then discuss them if you are so inclined. [Linked Image]


In His Grace,


[Linked Image]

simul iustus et peccator

[Linked Image]
#720 - Mon Jun 24, 2002 12:56 PM Ordinances Annulled  

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Josh,<br>Welcome to the forum. I have a question for you about your statement:<br><blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr><p>Reversing an action does not reverse God's nature (just as when He blessed Israel when they served Him and cursed them when they went astray), therefore God can blot His own writing out if He so chooses, and still remain the same.<br>"...hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross..." (Colossians 2:13-14)<p><hr></blockquote><p><br>Do you believe that what has been annulled by Christ has been God's handwriting here? <br> <br>OR is it the penalty due to us for breaking those ordinances?<br><br>Consider this Matthew 5:17 "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. <br><br><blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr><p>If the ordinances and law which were written by God Himself could be annulled, I don't find it hard to believe that He could do the same to an apostate's name in the book of life. God is still the same. <p><hr></blockquote><p><br><br>Doesn't it cause you difficulty to think that God wrote down the name of the apostate in the Book of Life, and then later after seeing he is an apostate, he has to take his name from the book? Since the unsaved are spiritually dead, they cannot have their names in the Book of Life. Doesn't this cause problems with believing in God's omniscience?<br>Susan<br><br>

#721 - Mon Jun 24, 2002 1:27 PM Re: How a man is saved  
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JoshT you make NO SENSE! YOU never answer a question, you merely answer questions with doubts, despair, and more questions:

YOU SAID: Christ washed my feet.

So now you are seeing visions!

YOU SAID: We are by nature the children of wrath

Very true and the 1st verse YOU AND ALL HUMANITY ARE DEAD in trespasses and sin. Now how does a DEAD MAN do anything to effect his own salvation? I leopard may not change his spots and unless the Holy Spirit changes your condition you can not seek for Christ. See the Scripture says that you can not SEE or ENTER the kingdom of God until you are born again (John 3).

YOU SAID: I don't see why you have a problem with the Holy Spirit "assisting" (though He was actually guiding)

So how does the Holy Spirit GUIDE a dead man to do anything without making him alive first?

The Correct Order of Salvation (abbreviated form):

Effectual Calling - Divine Act
Regeneration - Divine Act
Repentance -Divine; Human
Faith -Divine & Human
Justification -Divine
Sanctification -Divine
Adoption -Divine
Progressive Sanctification -Divine ; Human
Perseverance IN Holiness - Divine ; Human
Glorification -Divine

YOU SAID: I see nothing in the scripture to indicate that a man cannot fully and finally resist the Holy Spirit (they are only elect if they do not). I also see plenty of proof that they can fall away afterwards.

So the elect become the elect by the WORK of not resisting? By all means show us that they can fall away afterwards

YOU SAID: I do believe that Christ is sovereign and all powerful, I simply believe that He chooses not to exercise the full extent of His power all the time. I do not believe that he forces us to accept Him.

So God sometimes chooses not to be fully God...interesting theology.

Who said anything about forcing, after He irresistably draws you and changes you you willing come to Him.

And yes the Arminian SPs got me. (Sps= Spelling Police).

By the way Rev was already answered: http://www.the-highway.com/cgi-bin/forum/showthreaded.pl?Cat=&Board=theology&Number=11126&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&vc=1#Post11126


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#722 - Mon Jun 24, 2002 3:55 PM What "save yourselves" actually means [Re: J_Edwards]  

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Dear Joe,<br><br>For starters, foot washing is a figurative term. I was referencing John 15:8.<br><br>Secondly, you are correct in stating that a dead man can do nothing to save himself. True. I do believe that man has no potential to seek or serve God until God draws him *and yes,* changes his condition first. Your logical error is assuming that a person is regenerated (or as you also implied, "born again") before accepting Christ. I disagree on that point. 1 John gives a vivid description of one who is born of God, but this is not the state of a person who has not repented yet.<br><br>When the Holy Spirit convicts a person of sin and draws them to Christ, He shines the light of life that Christ brought into the world, so in a sense the person is made alive; but they are only truly alive when they repent and believe on Jesus Christ.<br><br>You wrote:<br>"So the elect become the elect by the WORK of not resisting?"<br><br>Yielding to God is not a work, just as believing in God is not a work. If you think it is, then explain why faith and works are contrasted so many times in scripture. But as far as men are concerned, surrendering to God and believing (though faith is of God, we must live by it) is an element of responsibility on our part if we are to be saved. In Act 2:40, when it says, "Save yourselves from this untoward generation" Peter was not telling the men that their good works could save them. As we both know, only Jesus' sacrifice on Calvary could do that. The best analogy I can think of to illustrate what Peter meant is a man drowning. The man who is drowning is approached by a rescue boat, and is tossed a life ring by one of the crew. The man reaches out and grabs it and is slowly hauled into the boat. Now I must ask you, did that man save himself? Well, in a way he did (he wasn't a total moron and grabbed the ring), but in reality, the crew of the ship saved him. The man who was saved has nothing to boast of, he gets no credit or glory, he only saved himself because he responded like he had a wink of sense. In the same way, when the Holy Spirit draws a man to Christ, the man must respond by yielding to God, he does no works of righteousness to obtain his salvation, gets no credit, and receives no glory. He saves himself only because he relies on God to save him. <br><br>You wrote:<br>"By all means show us that they can fall away afterwards." <br><br>I already have. Though your response to my post was well versed, I pointed out in my reply that not only the tree of life, but the holy city would also be taken away if a man violated this final warning in scripture. Please note: There is no in-between, you are either living in New Jerusalem together with God (as all who overcome do -- Revelation 3:12), or burning in Gehenna outside.<br><br>Revelation 22:15 "For without [the city] dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie."<br><br>You wrote:<br>"So God sometimes chooses not to be fully God...interesting theology. <br><br>Request you stop over-exaggerating my case. It only makes your case look weaker. If God exercises His complete sovereignty in all things, then how did Lucifer fall into sin? We both know that God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), so how his fall come about if God was still being totally sovereign? Did He cease to be God then according to YOUR theology? For that matter, why don't all Christians abstain from fornication? It is God's will after all (1 Thessalonians 4:3) Why don't all Christians give thanks in everything, it is also God's will (1 Thessalonians 5:18).<br><br>You wrote:<br>"Who said anything about forcing, after He irresistably draws you and changes you you willing come to Him."<br><br>I believe that irresistably drawing would effectively be forcing, be it gentle or not. But pardon my confusion of terms.<br><br>And I was just joking about the Armenian thing, but seriously, if I recall correctly, Arminius didn't exactly teach that it was possible to fall away; he said it was an open question. I do firmly believe it is possible to fall away so I would think I am not exactly an Arminian.<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh

#723 - Mon Jun 24, 2002 5:30 PM Josh You Are Soooooo Confused  
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YOU SAID you are correct in stating that a dead man can do nothing to save himself.

Well I am glad you agree. Now if you will look at the rest of the Order of Salvation it explains the remainder of your questions on this point and on the point of WORKS (your second question). It explains briefly who is involved and in what capacity.......

Rev 22:19 proves NOTHING for the case of Armianism (or Joshism. It has already been clearly shown to you, if you do not desire to believe the word of God no one here can force you....Now concerning your statement I pointed out in my reply that not only the tree of life, but the holy city would also be taken away if a man violated this final warning in scripture are directed towards men such as in 2 Pet 2:1 and not God's elect. Do a word study on 'any, 'all' and the like.........from a Reformed Perspective to learn the truth further. As explained before-- the saints (who will definitely overcome) inherit a part in the holy city (21:7), the heretic forfeits this inheritance.

YOU SAID If God exercises His complete sovereignty in all things, then how did Lucifer fall into sin? We both know that God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), so how his fall come about if God was still being totally sovereign? Did He cease to be God then according to YOUR theology? For that matter, why don't all Christians abstain from fornication? It is God's will after all (1 Thessalonians 4:3) Why don't all Christians give thanks in everything, it is also God's will (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

God did NOT cease to be God when He allowed did Lucifer fall into sin? In actuality it was part of His overall sovereign plan. Think of it this way: the fall of Satan contributed to the fall of man. Man indeed had to fall for Christ was predestined BEFORE the foundation of the world to die for the sins of His elect, thus it was a part of the will of God, but in no way was or is He the author of sin. And you ask why would He will such a thing? Very simply --though Adam and Eve (our Federal Heads) had a relationship with God prior to the fall they in no way understood the totality of God's love. Christ had to die so God's elect could understand the totality of God's love---greater love hath no man........

For that matter, why don't all Christians abstain from fornication?----could it be because ahhhhhh, because they are sinners or maybe not Christians at all? But, He still reveals His sovereignty in chastising those whom He loves--not the others....

Now as far as REGENERATION maybe this will help you (if it doesn't then it at least ends my arguement, because after you get out of the scripture, I will have nothing else to say):

The work of regeneration we play no active role at all. It is instead totally a work of God. We see this, for example, when John talks about those to whom Christ gave power to become children of God--they "were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:13). Here John specifies that children of God are those who are "born ... of God" and our human will ("the will of man") does not bring about this kind of birth.<br><br> The fact that we are passive in regeneration is also evident when Scripture refers to it as being "born" or being "born again" (James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:3; John 3:3-8). We did not choose to be made physically alive and we did not choose to be born--it is something that happened to us; similarly, these analogies in Scripture suggest that we are entirely passive in regeneration.

This sovereign work of God in regeneration was also predicted in the prophecy of Ezekiel. Through him God promised a time in the future when he would give new spiritual life to his people:<br><br> A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. (Ezek. 36:26-27)

Which member of the Trinity is the one who causes regeneration? When Jesus speaks of being "born of the Spirit" (John 3:8), he indicates that it is especially God the Holy Spirit who produces regeneration. But other verses also indicate the involvement of God the Father in regeneration: Paul specifies that it is God who "made us alive together with Christ" (Eph. 2:5; cf. Col. 2:13). And James says that it is the "Father of lights" who gave us new birth: "Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures" (James 1:17-18).

Finally, Peter says that God "according to his abundant mercy has given us new birth .. . through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3.....). We can conclude that both God the Father and God the Holy Spirit bring about regeneration.

What is the connection between effective calling and regeneration? Scripture indicates that regeneration must come before we can respond to effective calling with saving faith. Therefore we can say that regeneration comes before the result of effective calling (our faith). But it is more difficult to specify the exact relationship in time between regeneration and the human proclamation of the gospel through which God works in effective calling. At least two passages suggest that God regenerates us at the same time as he speaks to us in effective calling: Peter says, "You have been born anew not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.... That word is the good news which was preached to you" (1 Peter 1:23, 25). And James says, "He chose to give us birth through the word of truth" (James 1:18 NIV). As the gospel comes to us, God speaks through it to summon us to himself (effective calling) and to give us new spiritual life (regeneration) so that we are enabled to respond in faith. Effective calling is thus God the Father speaking powerfully to us and regeneration is God the Father and God the Holy Spirit working powerfully in us to make us alive. These two things must have happened simultaneously as Peter was preaching the gospel to the household of Cornelius, for while he was still preaching "the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word" (Acts 10:44).

Sometimes the term irresistible grace is used in this connection. It refers to the fact that God effectively calls people and also gives them regeneration, and both actions guarantee that we will respond in saving faith. The term irresistible grace is subject to misunderstanding, however, since it seems to imply that people do not make a voluntary, willing choice in responding to the gospel--a wrong idea, and a wrong understanding of the term irresistible grace. The term does preserve something valuable, however, because it indicates that God's work reaches into our hearts to bring about a response that is absolutely certain--even though we respond voluntarily.

Exactly what happens in regeneration is mysterious to us. We know that somehow we who were spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1) have been made alive to God and in a very real sense we have been "born again" (John 3:3, 7; Eph. 2:5; Col. 2:13). But we don't understand how this happens or what exactly God does to us to give us this new spiritual life. Jesus says, "The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8).

Scripture views regeneration as something that affects us as whole persons. Of course, our "spirits are alive" to God after regeneration (Rom. 8:10), but that is simply because we as whole persons are affected by regeneration. It is not just that our spirits were dead before-- we were dead to God in trespasses and sins (see Eph. 2:1). And it is not correct to say that the only thing that happens in regeneration is that our spirits are made alive (as some would teach), for every part of us is affected by regeneration: "If any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come" (2 Cor. 5:17).

Because regeneration is a work of God within us in which he gives us new life it is right to conclude that it is an instantaneous event. It happens only once. At one moment we are spiritually dead, and then at the next moment we have new spiritual life from God.

Several passages that tell us that this secret, hidden work of God in our spirits does in fact come before we respond to God in saving faith \When talking about regeneration with Nicodemus, Jesus said, "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). Now we enter the kingdom of God when we become Christians at conversion. But Jesus says that we have to be born "of the Spirit" before we can do that. Our inability to come to Christ on our own, without an initial work of God within us, is also emphasized when Jesus says, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him" (John 6:44), and "No one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father" (John 6:65). This inward act of regeneration is described beautifully when Luke says of Lydia, "The Lord opened her heart to give heed to what was said by Paul" (Acts 16:14). First the Lord opened her heart, then she was able to give heed to Paul's preaching and to respond in faith.

By contrast, Paul tells us, "The man without the Spirit (literally, the "natural man") does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor. 2:14 NIV). He also says of people apart from Christ, "no one understands, No one seeks for God" (Rom. 3:11).

The solution to this spiritual deadness and inability to respond only comes when God gives us new life within. "But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses made us alive together with Christ" (Eph. 2:4-5). Paul also says, "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ" (Col. 2:13 ).

The idea that regeneration comes before saving faith is not always understood by evangelicals today. Sometimes people will even say something like, "If you believe in Christ as your Savior, then (after you believe) you will be born again." But Scripture itself never says anything like that. This new birth is viewed by Scripture as something that God does within us in order to enable us to believe.

The reason that evangelicals often think that regeneration comes after saving faith is that they see the results (love for God and his Word, and turning from sin) after people come to faith, and they think that regeneration must therefore have come after saving faith. Yet here we must decide on the basis of what Scripture tells us, because regeneration itself is not something we see or know about directly: "The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8). Fruit always comes after a good root .....

Because Christians often tend to focus on the results of regeneration, rather than the hidden spiritual act of God itself, some evangelical statements of faith have contained wording that suggests that regeneration comes after saving faith. So, for example, the statement of faith of the Evangelical Free Church of America (which has been adapted by a number of other evangelical organizations) says,

We believe that the true Church is composed of all such persons who through saving faith in Jesus Christ have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and are united together in the body of Christ of which He is the Head. (paragraph 8)

Here the word "regeneration" apparently means the outward evidence of regeneration that is seen in a changed life, evidence that certainly does come after saving faith. Thus "being born again" is thought of not in terms of the initial impartation of new life, but in terms of the total life change that results from that impartation. If the term "regeneration" is understood in this way, then it would be true that regeneration comes after saving faith.

Nevertheless, if we are to use language that closely conforms to the actual wording of Scripture, it would be better to restrict the word "regeneration" to the instantaneous, initial work of God in which he imparts spiritual life to us. Then we can emphasize that we do not see regeneration itself but only the results of it in our lives, and that faith in Christ for salvation is the first result that we see. In fact, we can never know that we have been regenerated until we come to faith in Christ, for that is the outward evidence of this hidden, inward work of God. Once we do come to saving faith in Christ, we know that we have been born again.

By way of application, we should realize that the explanation of the gospel message in Scripture does not take the form of a command, "Be born again and you will be saved," but rather, "Believe in Jesus Christ and you will be saved." This is the consistent pattern in the preaching of the gospel throughout the book of Acts, and also in the descriptions of the gospel given in the Epistles.<br>


Reformed and Always Reforming,
#724 - Mon Jun 24, 2002 8:31 PM Resisting God  
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Joined: Nov 2001
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Josh,
Quote
In reply to:
As far as what "draw" means. Yes, I am well aware that God's conviction and pulling us towards Christ are very strong, but nothing in scripture indicates that He cannot be resisted, as I pointed out from Acts 7:21.
Really? Here are several that come to mind:

The LORD Almighty has sworn, "Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand"...For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back? Isaiah 14:24,27

"I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no Savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed--I, and not some foreign God among you. You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am He. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?" Isaiah 43:11-13

"Remember this, fix it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me. I make the end known from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please...What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do." Isaiah 46:8-11

You are confusing two meanings of the word "resist". Resistance commonly denotes the attempt on the part of one force to avoid being overcome by another force, but it also refers to the successful outcome of such an attempt. This enables an English-speaker to say with no contradiction, "Though the German forces in the cliffs above Normandy put up fierce resistance on D-Day, they were utterly unable to resist the onslaught." Did the Germans resist the Allies? Yes, and no. Does sinful man resist God? Yes (in the first sense) and No (in the second sense).

Josh, be aware of the horrible consequences of fashioning a god other than He who is self-revealed throughout the Scriptures. In your haste to cling to some degree of autonomy for man in Salvation, you have made a statement about the Lord which, if you intend it to be understood in the second sense of "resist" (as I infer from your other posts), is simply not true.<br><br>What would be more accurate to say is that:

1) Every human being from Adam, excluding Christ, resists God (sense One)

2) God unfailingly draws to Himself all whom He has chosen to belong to Him, in the process overcoming their resistance by the work of the Holy Spirit. Thus the elect do not resist God (sense Two).

The shorter way to say this, of course, is that all who belong to God through Christ are irresistibly drawn to Him.

And finally:

3) God will unfailingly pour out the fury of His just wrath on all whom He has not chosen to belong to Him. Their continual attempts to resist Him (sense One) ("Hide us from the wrath of the Lamb!") will be eternally overthrown and thwarted in a manner they will be unable to resist (sense Two).

So although all resist God for a season, none will resist Him in the end.

Therefore God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and He hardens whom He wants to harden. Romans 9:18

Two last questions, Josh. Do you take comfort in your opinion that you can resist (sense Two=thwart) God's eternal purposes? How does that knowledge help you in your life with Christ?


In Christ,
Paul S
#725 - Mon Jun 24, 2002 11:18 PM Re: Characteristics of sheep  

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<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr><p>[color:red]One of the characteristics of Christ's sheep are that they follow Christ. A person who is unregenerate (even if he/she is one of the elect) obviously does not follow Jesus before they come to Him. So your argument that you must be a sheep to respond to the call is invalid.</font color=red><p><hr></blockquote><p><br><br>Well as usual you've mixed your metaphors and have produced a syllogism that is not accurate. Sheep which are a metaphor for the elect come to Christ because His call is effective. The sheep come no matter what their state because they are His (as all elect are) and must come. <br><br><blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr><p>[color:red] I believe what it is actually saying is that those who love the Father (just as many under the Jewish law did), were Christ's sheep and would come to Him.</font color=red><p><hr></blockquote><p> <br><br>Well its nice to know you believe this I have questions with regard to your proofs for this but it can wait for later. Why don't you instead answer what Paul S posted???<br>

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