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#846 - Mon Aug 05, 2002 10:16 AM The greatest commandment [Re: Ehud]  


Dear Ehud,

"You see to believe that God has already taken care of everything for His elect involves a something called Faith. Your friend who said that no one could know for sure whether they were elect or not wasn't showing much faith at the moment."

Read my letter more carefully, the 'friend' you speak of was John Calvin.

"You say 'how can you know that you are elect and that God has secured you?' I say 'by faith.'"

Good. Then when asked how I can abide knowing that my salvation is conditional, then I can give the same answer.

IRT: (concerning love not being a work)
"That is odd, I thought that the two greatest commandment on which all the law and the prophets hung on dealt with love. The first is to love God with all your heart, and the next is to love your neighbor as yourself. If you tell me that these are not law, then I will say that Christ calls them the greatest commandments. If you tell me that you can even come close to keeping these every second of everyday, then I will say that you have decieved yourself."

You are confusing law and commandments. Many commandments are in the law, but many (such as the greatest) exist apart from the law. Even after the law was abolished through Christ, this commandment still stood (1 John 3:10-15). But if you still think that love being a commandment makes it a work of the law, then I would also point out that believing in Jesus is also a commandment (1 John 3:23), yet faith is separated and contrasted with the law (Romans 3:27, 9:32, Galatians 2:16, 3:2-5), and with works (Ephesians 2:8-9). So being a commandment does not make it a work of the law, simply a requirement of God. And you are right, no one can keep these commandments all the time, this is why God sent the Holy Spirit to guide us so that we may remain in His love.

I wrote:
"So the will is not what saves us, though its compliance with God's will is essential for a man to be saved."

You wrote:
"This is a contradiction of statements. For you, man's will is what salvation hinges on. God has done all he can, but now it is up to man to help himself. So now the will is what saves man. Christ blood doesn't save anyone, because Christ died for everyone and that didn't help."

Completely wrong --this is no contradiction, but is harmonious with itself and scripture. You have totally misconstrued a few half truths to make your point, as I will now prove.

Let's examine your points about what you think I believe:

1. For you, man's will is what salvation hinges on.
2. God has done all he can, but now it is up to man to help himself.
3. The will is what saves man.
4. Christ blood doesn't save anyone, because Christ died for everyone and that didn't help.
5. God's love didn't save anyone because God loves everybody and that didn't help.
6. The Holy Spirit drawing people got everyone up to par, but really didn't secure anything so now it is up to man.
7. So now it is man's will that makes salvation possible

My replies:
1. No, salvation hinges primarily on God, for while man must decide to follow Jesus, God must draw him first. So salvation is primarily dependent on God.

2. The only way a man can save himself is to let Christ save him (to 'save yourself' is a Biblical term). But as I have already made abundantly clear, God must call us before we can come to Him.

3. No, it is Christ who saves man, He simply requires that man's will yield to His before He will save him.

4. Christ's blood does save --those who will believe. Of course it helped --those who believe. That argument made no sense.

5. See point 4 (where do you dig this stuff up?)

6. Salvation is contingent on man accepting Christ. Not because it is his acceptance or lack thereof that saves him, but because acceptance is a requirement that God has ordained be necessary before God saves.

7. See point 6

To sum it up:

1. Man's will cannot save him, for man cannot even begin to accept God unless God draws him first
2. Only Christ's blood can save a man
3. God put conditions on receiving salvation through Christ, one of which is receiving Christ Himself
4. Therefore it is necessary for the man to make a decision to follow Christ to be saved, even though it is Christ, not his decision that saves him

"1John 2:19
"They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us."

They fall away to show, as evidence, that they are really not Christians in the first place."

Not really. What did they go out from? The only thing that could manifest (make plain for all) that they were not of Christ's elect was an outward action, namely, leaving the church. This does not refer to falling away, but to breaking fellowship with the body of Christ. Besides, the presence of some who were never really saved does not preclude the existence of some who were saved and then fell away.

"I would also harden my heart, I would also abide in unbelief forever if I were still a lost sinner dead in my sins. But while I was dead in my sins, God by grace through faith, which was a gift, made me alive in Christ(Eph 2:1-8)."

Praise God. So how does that contradict my statements?

"John 6:44 'No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.'

I sure hope that you believe God will raise up beleivers on the last day, or maybe you assume that just because God wills to raise up believers on the last day dosen't mean it must happen.

John 6:40 'For this is the will of My Father, that everyoe who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life...'

The Father wills that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, but I guess maybe that wont' happen either. Maybe some who behold the Son and believe will not have eternal life."

Your statement does not follow. I didn't say everything about God's will was conditional, I simply contend that some things about it are. In Luke 13:34, Jesus says, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!" (NKJV)

So while gathering and saving the children of Israel was definitely the will and desire of God, it was also contingent upon Israel's obedience. Hence, it can be easily seen that some things of the will of God are immutable (e.g. the resurrection), other things require compliance on the part of the creature (e.g. salvation). Concerning 'Maybe some who behold the Son and believe will not have eternal life,' you are quite right, for the Spirit expressly says that some will depart from the faith (1 Timothy 4:1).

In Christ,

#847 - Mon Aug 05, 2002 10:25 AM Redirection  


Dear ReformedSBC,<br><br>This issue has been raised already, you may check out my arguments under the title 'characteristics of sheep,' which proves thoroughly that the 'sheep' spoken of here must be those that already believe. For example, Jesus said that His sheep would not heed the voice of another (John 10:5). If that is so, then does this also indicate that none of the elect (whom you contend are Christ's sheep) could ever heed the voice of another? If that is true, then no person who ever joined a cult could be saved.<br><br>IRT:<br>"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."<br><br>I have already addressed this as well, I did not argue that it was a 'maybe,' simply that there were conditions for a person to be given to Christ.<br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh

#848 - Mon Aug 05, 2002 12:48 PM Re: Resisting God  
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In reply to:

[color:"blue"]You are confusing being drawn and being given. One is not given to Christ until they soften their hearts and hear God when God draws them, but one can resist the pull of the Holy Spirit as is made plain in Acts 7:51, "You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you."

There are two things which one needs to understand in Acts 7:51, which will shed light on the truth of its teaching.

1) Stephen's reference to "always resist the Holy Spirit" was not to the inward efficacious call of the Spirit which no man does nor can resist, but rather he was speaking of the resistance shown to the message of the Prophets who proclaimed God's truth, who were moved by the Holy Spirit and given the message they proclaimed. This is easily seen when verse 51 is taken in CONTEXT:

Acts 7:51-53 "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers [did], so [do] ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept [it]."
We know that the inward, salvific, efficacious call of God ALWAYS results in justification and final glorification:
Romans 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. (cf. Rom 1:6; 9:23, 24; Heb 9:15)
2) If we take the text to mean that men can actually resist the Holy Spirit, then I can also agree. But I fear that the text proves too much and thus actually refutes your contention that men can either resist the Holy Spirit or surrender to His "wooing". For the text says, ye do [color:blue]always resist the Holy Ghost: . . . It is not something that the sinner does occasionally but is that which he does repeatedly and continually.
Resisting the Holy Spirit is rejecting the Word of God of which the Holy Spirit is the author. The sinner is resisting the Spirit when he hears the Gospel and rejects it and opposes the one who bears the messages to him. The Jews to whom Stephen preached resisted the Holy Spirit in the same way their fathers did. "As your fathers did, so do ye." were his words to them. Their fathers resisted the Holy Spirit by rejecting the preaching of the prophets and by persecuting them. "Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?"

Light is thrown upon the subject by reference to Neh. 9:29, 30. Nehemiah is explaining the cause of Israel's punishment and captivity by saying that Israel hardened their necks and refused to hear (Neh. 9:26). And in all this they were resisting the Holy Spirit, because the Spirit was speaking through the prophets just as He was speaking through Stephen. "Yet man years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by the Spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear." (Neh. 9:30).

Andrew Fuller calls this the indirect influence of the Holy Spirit. The following quotation from him (Fuller's Works page 742) is in full harmony with what I have said above:
I conceive there is what may be termed an indirect influence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, having inspired the prophets and apostles, testified in and by them, and often without effect. . . The message of the prophets being dictated by the Holy Spirit, resistance of them was resistance of Him. It was in this way, I conceive, that the Spirit of God stove with the antediluvians, and that unbelievers are said always to have resisted the Holy Spirit.
Fuller then speaks of the direct influence of the Holy Spirit which is effectual in renewing and sanctifying the sinner. This is a good distinction to make. The sinner resists the indirect influence of the Spirit in presenting the truth to him through the preacher; but the direct influence of the Spirit is the direct impact of the Holy Spirit on the human spirit, and this is not resisted, because it is the power of the Almighty.

Why does the sinner resist the Holy Spirit? Acts 7:51 gives a clear and unmistakeable answer to this question. "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit." The sinner resists the Holy Spirit (His indirect influence) because his heart is wrong and his ears are not attuned to the Word of God. He neither understands nor loves the Word of God. God's words are full of wisdom but to the natural man they are foolishness. (1Cor 2:14; Eph 4:17-19) The preached Word is the objective ministry and the indirect influence of the Holy Spirit, and this the dead sinner rejects and resists because it is foolishness to him. Our Lord told Nicodemus that except a man be born from above he cannot see or understand the Kingdom of God. The indirect influence of the Spirit is resisted until overcome by the direct influence of the Spirit in quickening power.

The Gospel must not only be presented to the sinner, but a divine work must be wrought in the sinner if he is to be saved. Objective truth, however plainly presented, is not sufficient for salvation. The person must be given eyes to see and a heart to understand it. Putting a larger lamp in the light socket will not enable a blind man to see; he must be given the ability to see. In the new birth the Holy Spirit gives eyes to see and a heart to understand and love the Gospel. This is His direct and subjective ministry and is not resisted. The child does not resists its birth.

Thus it takes more than the indirect influence of the Spirit in human conversion. Paul describes his conversion as the effect of being apprehended (laid hold of) by Christ (Phil 3:12), and of having Christ revealed in him (Gal. 1:16; cf. Matt 11:25-27). The objective ministry of the Spirit is resisted, but not the subjective. When this distinction is made, the truth of man's impotence and the Spirit's omnipotence is conserved, otherwise we have the creature mightier than the Creator.

In His Grace,

Last edited by lazarus; Mon Aug 05, 2002 2:13 PM.

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#849 - Mon Aug 05, 2002 3:50 PM Re: Resisting the Holy Spirit  


Josh,<br><br>You wrote:<br>"Consider the question I posed to Mikewine, in Luke 10:13, Jesus said that if the miracles He had done in Chorazin and Bethsaida had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented."<br><br>Actually, I initiated the question on this passage, to which you responded and then I added a rejoinder (still unanswered). You have not responded to my points from that post.....for example, whether you believe that God "turned their hearts to hate his people." But, that might be a difficult question to answer. If the Bible is true in the 105th Psalm, then your faith in freewill is a delusion. Mike

#850 - Wed Aug 07, 2002 7:33 AM Re: Josh [Re: Pilgrim]  


Pilgrim,<br><br>I realize that Romans 10:9 should not be looked at in isolation and that it is not some magic formula which if recited saves an individual. That's why I stated, "I believe that the term "believe" as it is used here infers "a total abandoning of oneself and trusting Christ ALONE for both the remission of sins and the righteousness of Him so as to be reconciled to God."<br><br>Your point about relying on ANYTHING other than Christ alone is well taken. You may be right, but I'm still not convinced that one cannot be saved and hold the position that one's salvation can be forfeited. Again, there is a significant amount of Scripture that seems to support that position.<br><br>I personally believe that salvation is unconditional. If you have the time and inclination, I would appreciate you looking over the dissertation at this site.....<br><br><br><br>I am currently being discipled through the Life Builders Real Faith curriculum and my partner encourages me to come to him with questions and concerns about the Bible and Christianity. Unconditional salvation is what we are going to cover the next two weeks. <br><br>I would love to have you analyze and rebut this man's arguments.<br><br>Thanks for your genuine concern.<br><br>rjskal

#851 - Thu Aug 08, 2002 10:01 AM Re: perseverance [Re: carlos]  


Hey Carlos,<br><br>My answer for this post somehow got posted under another post. It's called 'Rebuttal on Perseverance.'<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh

#852 - Thu Aug 08, 2002 10:05 AM Re: Election.... [Re: carlos]  


Dear Carlos,<br><br>IRT:<br>"ONCE AGAIN…big difference between saying according to ‘foreknowledge’ and “what He foresees in people’s hearts.” In such verses, it states that God "foreknows" PEOPLE not ACTIONS (Romans 8:29). BIG DIFFERENCE. Check the grammar. God is foreknowing a personal object. God foreknows (foreloves) his Elect (ver34) as free sovereign choice. I have given you so many scriptures that prove this very fact. Leads me to wonder what you would make of such a passage as 1Peter 1:20."<br><br>Not that big a difference. Since God foreknows His people, He foreknows how they will respond to His call; the scriptures make it plain that He foreknows both men and the actions that they perform (as I have already pointed out). Either way, it doesn't back up the case of Calvinism. The meaning of 1 Peter 1:20 is self evident: God ordained that Christ die before the foundation of the world.<br><br>IRT:<br>"The point of Romans 9 is that GOD CHOOSES from the 'SAME LUMP' of clay. God is the one that makes one ‘clay’ from differ from another through election and that He purposed within himself. It is his free choice. He decided between Jacob and Esau, without regard to anything they DID. God foresees the good in the people's heart because He caused it to be there (see Old Testament prophesies in Eze, Jer)."<br><br>We are all of the same lump. Big deal. What you are saying is partially correct: All men are innately sinful and doomed to hell (of the same lump), the difference is that God foreknows those who will receive His grace when it is offered, and shapes their lives and circumstances so that they can receive it. And indeed, He did make His decision about Jacob and Esau without regards to what they had done (for they were not yet even born); but He made His decision because He knew that Esau would not value the things that God valued, but that Jacob would. I do not believe that God ordained that Esau be stubborn and proud, but because He knew that Esau would, shaped him to be a foolish man who would eventually lose his inheritance.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Also, Paul would not have stated the answers to the objections of election that He did ROMANS in 9:6-24 if He was teaching your Arminian view of election."<br><br>I have no objection to the doctrine of election, I fully believe that God has chosen those who will be saved from the foundation of the world. I simply do not accept the Calvinist view of election which makes the basis for election 'just because God felt like it.' I am not saying that is not God's prerogative, I am saying that is not God's method as revealed by scripture.<br><br>IRT:<br>"It is interesting that you stated that it his according to His purpose and plan and then you write the BUT. That’s problem within Arminian theology; in one sentence they start with grace, and then comes the BUT, and end up nullifying grace in the same sentence."<br><br>The 'but' comes from a plethora of scripture. You seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of the meaning of grace. Calvinists seem to think that grace is simply 'unmerited favor,' i.e. 'God has already done it all, it's out of your hands entirely.' But this is not what grace is, grace is God's divine power whereby He works to transforms us from darkness to light. The key difference in Arminian or similar theology (such as mine) is that grace can be resisted and even fallen from (see Galatians 5). So grace is not nullified by what we believe, it is simply stated that one may resist God's grace.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Rather, The verse of Eph 1:11 ends as such, “ HAVING BEEN PREDESTINED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE WHO WORKS ALL THINGS [note all things] after the COUNSEL of HIS WILL, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should BE TO THE PRAISE OF HIS GLORY."<br><br>Concerning "all things," as I stated in my rebuttal to your post on perseverance; God can use the conditional things of His will that are violated to fulfill the unconditional things of His will. I am assuming that you think that 'ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE' and 'COUNSEL of HIS WILL' present a problem for what I believe. Not so, for God's will is to seek those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23). So essentially, the purpose of His will is that we willingly yield to Him and believe in His Son Jesus Christ, not 'just because He wanted to.'<br><br>IRT:<br>"The very fact that God chooses one because He foresaw how one person would react leaves room for that person to boast and share in the glory."<br><br>I don't see how. Without God's grace, it would not matter how any person 'would react,' for they would still be lost in sin if God hadn't had mercy. I know that I myself am nothing but a worthless sinner without God's grace, and glory only in knowing that Christ loved me enough to die and save me from my sins. I made an analogy on a previous post: If a man falls from a ship and someone on the ship tosses him a lifering within his grasp, then the same man grabs the ring, and after he has grabbed it, is pulled to the boat safely, who saved him? Did he save himself by grabbing the ring? Hardly! He only reacted as any person that was not too proud to accept help would react. It was the person on the ship who threw the ring to him and then pulled him back in. So likewise, God has given us a way out, a means of escape from the wrath to come. We would be complete idiots (or just stubborn) not to take it. We could not do it by ourselves, and if we do receive it, we receive no glory; for our Saviour is God, not ourselves.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Scripture will not support the statement that it is 'based on what He foresees in people’s hearts'."<br><br>Election is based on God's foreknowledge (2 Peter 1:2). As I have pointed out before, foreknowledge can mean knowledge of things beforehand, as well as people (Acts 2:23). Your stretching of the word to say 'foreloved' violates simple denotation (I am not saying that God does not love people before they are born, but that is not what this passage states). God does foreknow people, and hence, He also knows whether or not they will hear His word. To say that this passage strictly means 'forelove' is to change the obvious meaning and read another one into it (all the while you keep telling me to read it for what it says...). Because both definitions of foreknowledge fit what I believe, then either way it stands that 2 Peter 1:2 is ample evidence that God's election is based on what He foreknows of men's hearts.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Just as God exercised freedom in loving & choosing national Israel ( Deut 10:14-15, Deut 7:6-8, Amos 3:1-2), so does He with believers (Romans 9:6-24, 1 Cor 1:26-31, Eph., etc)."<br><br>Also note that having Israel as His people was conditional. When they turned their backs on God, He cast them out as He would any of the heathen.<br><br>IRT:<br>"IT IS because of GOD that we are in Christ (1Cor 1:30), and this because He chose us to put in Christ . What GOD foresaw was what GOD would DO (Romans 9)!!!!!!!!!!"<br><br>The evidence that men must humble themselves when faced with a Holy God to be saved is overwhelming. For He "resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble," not "humbles those to whom He gives grace, and makes proud those He does not." So while it is God Who brought us into Christ, He requires that we accept His offer, that is His divine right. The idea that 'What GOD foresaw was what GOD would DO' is a bit odd. God predestinates us according to His foreknowledge of what He would do? That seems a bit redundant.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Clearly in the new birth, it is stated the God the holy spirit has the freedom to regenerate whom He will (1 John 3: 6-8)."<br><br>I assume you meant John 3:6-8. True, but whom He will is those that He knows will hear God.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Before the Call, God Had foreknown (foreloved) and Predestined them from all eternity. That is WHY they receive the effectual Call, which EFFECTS faith and results in Justification, that will eventually lead to ultimate Glorification (including conformity to the image of Christ as purposed (v 28)."<br><br>There is no indication in scripture that God's call is irresistable, Acts 7:51 proves the opposite in fact.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Your idea of foreseen faith makes no sense of the passage of Romans 8:28-38"<br><br>I don't see how. This passage says nothing against it, and makes no points that would contradict it.<br><br>IRT:<br>"I end with this summary, that those verses on God’s foreknowing or foreknowledge state that the object of the divine foreknowledge is not the actions of certain people but the people themselves."<br><br>And as I have pointed out, it is both. For to divinely foreknow someone is to foreknow their lives as well.<br><br>IRT:<br>"You confuse two things Election and salvation. Election leads to salvation trough the means of sanctification and faith."<br><br>I don't see how I have confused them. Please clarify. If you are referring to my arguments about conditional election, I tend to group them together because conditional election would imply conditional salvation. The two are not exactly the same thing, but very closely related.<br><br>IRT:<br>"2 Thes 2:13-15 : But we should always give thanks to God for you [why?] ..because God has CHOSEN [election] you from the beginning FOR [note the distinction] SALVATION through [means] SANCTIFICATION by the Spirit and FAITH in the truth. And it was FOR THIS that He called you through our Gospel. Once again you have not proven that ELECTION (unto salvation) itself is based on conditions, from the scriptures you have quoted."<br><br>I have actually. If God does not give grace to a man, it is obvious that he is not one of the elect. But since He gives grace to those that are humble, this proves a condition to being elected.<br><br>IRT:<br>"You also confuse the election of national Israel as a people and the election to salvation within that nation. See below."<br><br>That's strange, you were just making comparisons between them a few paragraphs above. But as far as my comparison's, the scriptures state that they are our examples that we may not fall in like disobedience, therefore he who thinks he stands should take heed, lest he fall (1 Corinthians 10:11-12).<br><br>IRT:<br>"It is clear from Romans 8:28-38, that NOTHING CREATED can separate God’s Elect (verse34) Is there anything ‘not created ‘that can separate the The Elect from Christ??"<br><br>Yes. God the Father cuts off branches that do not abide (John 15:1-2). So while it is the apostate's fault for departing, it is God who will cast him out.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Again, I again submit you do not know the context of the book of Romans. For “they are not all Israel[national elect] who are descended from Israel[spiritual elect] (Roman 9:6). Why?? Because “The children of the promise are regarded as descendants (Rom 9:8),"<br><br>Right. How does that prove Calvinism?<br><br>IRT:<br>"and “ For though the TWINS were not yet born, and HAD NOT done ANYTHING good or bad, in order that GOD’s purpose according to HIS CHOICE might stand, not because of works, but because of HIM who calls( NASB Rom 9:11), “So then it DOES NOT DEPEND on the MAN WHO WILLs or THE MAN WHO RUNs, BUT ON GOD who has mercy (16),"<br><br>Agreed, but the passage says nothing of the basis for His making that choice. God's choice was not based on man's desires or works, but was based on the fact that Jacob would hear His voice and love Him, and the fact that Esau wouldn't. Despite innumerable objections, these are in fact, not works. So this passage does not contradict what I believe.<br><br>IRT:<br>"“So then HE has mercy on whom HE DESIRES, and HE hardens whom HE DESIRES (18),"<br><br>Yes. He hardens those who will not hear Him. Those who will not hear the words of Jesus will be hardened so that even tangible and physical evidence will not convince them, even if one were to rise from the dead (Luke 16:31). Pharaoh was the perfect example of this: For after he rejected the word of the Lord through Moses, God hardened his heart so that even after seeing God perform all of His mighty wonders (which would convince any rational person), he still stiffened his neck and tried to fight God. Notice in the first chapter of the same book it speaks of some that changed the truth of God into a lie...and it was for this cause that God gave them over to vile affections (Romans 1:25-26). God resists (and hence hardens) the proud, but gives grace to the humble. So the passage you cited here also presents no problem for me.<br><br>IRT:<br>"“it is the REMANT that will SAVED (27)”, “I say then that God has not reject His people, has HE? May it never be! For I am too am an Israelite, a DESCEDANT of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin, GOD HAS NOT rejected His people, WHOM HE FOREKNEW [foreloved, note that God has not rejected those whom he chose to place a special love upon] …I HAVE KEPT FOR MYSELF SEVEN THOUSAND MEN who have not bowed the knee to Baal… A REMANT ACCORDING to GOD’s gracious CHOICE (Romans 11:1-5)…"<br><br>God has not permanently rejected them as a nation, but many of the people that He foreknew were cut off (as is stated in the same chapter). So likewise, while some elect may turn from Him, He will not cast off the redeemed as a whole, but will destroy those who deny Him.<br><br>"You will say then, 'Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.' Well said, Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therfore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you will also be cut off." (Romans 11:9-22)<br><br>So even after we have been grafted into Christ, if we do not remain in His goodness, we will be cut off just as the unbelieving of Israel are. <br><br>IRT:<br>"God’s has always been choosing those to salvation even within the election of national Israel. The whole point of the previous verses is that Who God has chosen for salvation is conditioned in himself. He preservers those He has chosen."<br><br>I agree, but I disagree with the notion that His preservation is unconditional. God did reserve seven thousand men unto Himself according to the election of grace. For without His grace, they would have been idolaters like their neighbors. But He reserved them because they heard His voice and received His grace (unlike most of Israel that stopped their ears and hardened their hearts so that they could not hear the words which the Lord sent in His Spirit by the prophets - Zechariah 7:11-12).<br><br>IRT:<br>"God’s word, purpose and decrees will stand and not fail (Romans 9:5, Isaiah 55: 11, Dan 4:35, Prov 16:9, Prov 19:21)."<br><br>As I have already put forth, part of God's will is conditional. Some things cannot be averted, while others can (see Luke 13:34). While the decrees of God are irrevocable, I believe that He permits men the ability to violate the conditional things of His will. Is that not within His right to do?<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh

#853 - Thu Aug 08, 2002 10:14 AM In my defense... [Re: J_Edwards]  


This is a defense against several accusations that have been brought up against me by Joe; he went through the forum and compiled a list of things that I had written, and then inserted comments after them. This is my defense:<br><br><br>I wrote:<br>"This does not guarantee that a believer cannot walk away from God. If this did happen, that person would be cut off from by God the Father (John 15), for He is sovereign and has the right to do so with what is His."<br><br>Joe writes:<br>"Here God is NOT sovereign in His power of salvation, for one may walk away and ONLY then is God seen to be sovereign to execute justice??? Thus, JoshT sees himself kept by his own works, which is denied in Scripture: Rom 11: 6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."<br><br>Joe attempts to make two points here:<br><br>1. I believe that God is not sovereign<br>2. I believe that I am kept by my own works<br><br>Let me settle the first question right away. I believe that God is totally sovereign, and can do or cause anything He desires. I also believe that in the matter of free will that God has purposefully limited Himself and has delegated to each man some degree of control over his own destiny; thus it is not a question of His sovereignty, but His method.<br><br>The second accusation isn't much tougher to answer. Nothing in a man's power can keep him in the love of God, yet the Bible continuously speaks of enduring to the end, persevering, etc... <br><br>"That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." (Hebrews 6:12)<br><br>These two concepts are easily reconciled in 2 Timothy 1:14,<br><br>"That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us."<br><br>Notice Paul does not say 'strive to keep the good thing committed to us,' nor does he say that 'the Holy Ghost will keep that good thing that was committed to us,' what he says is to 'That good thing which was committed unto you keep by the Holy Ghost which dwells in us.' So it is not by our own power that we can be saved or even endure; it can only be done through the power of God in us by the Holy Ghost to give us the strength we need. The primary difference between Joe and I is that I believe that God's power can be resisted by stubborn men if they stop their ears to God's word and will not hear the truth (Zechariah 7:11), Joe does not. Again, that is not to say that men can resist God for a lack of power on God's part, I simply believe that He allows it to be so. Do not believe that I think I can endure by my own strength and righteousness; if I am wrong, it is simply about believing that God allows Himself to be resisted, not about serving God in my own power. Even assuming Calvinist doctrine is correct and mine is not, I do not think that my beliefs would be heresy.<br><br>I wrote:<br>"And yes, Christ promises believers His new name. And? He also promises us eternal life, but the promises only apply to those who do not fall away."<br><br>Joe writes:<br>"So, I am saved today, the next hour I am lost, but now I pray and I am saved again, O’h, just sinned again, I am now lost, I pray an hour later and I am saved again…….I go in and out of eternity??? SO God is only sovereign in salvation when I obey??? This is works righteousness!!!"<br><br>The Bible never indicates being saved, lost, re-saved, etc... Nor have I ever argued that point. Joe is arguing about things he presumes I believe. I believe that God gives even backsliders space to repent (Revelation 2:21). God is sovereign all of the time, but He has told us in His word that He Himself will destroy the disobedient (John 15:6, 1 Corinthians 3:17, and many more).<br><br>I wrote:<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>Joe writes:<br>"Here God is seen as VERY strong, but not sovereign??? Thus, once again MAN”S sovereignty and God’s puppetry is exalted!!"<br><br>Again Joe jumps to conclusions. I have already addressed the resisting and sovereignty issue.<br><br>I wrote:<br>"He recreated me by His grace, but He also requires that I continue in it (Acts 13:43)."<br><br>Joe writes:<br>"Salvation by GRACE plus CONTINUAL WORKS. And of course OUR sovereignty in the matter is greater than God’s as seen by the examples above???"<br><br>He sure uses a lot of punctuation and caps. I said nothing of continual works, because salvation is not contingent on good works, it is contingent on hearing and following Jesus.<br><br>I wrote:<br>"I said that there were conditions if a person would be given to Christ. 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>Joe writes:<br>"Works Righteousness!"<br><br>I do not see how Joe equates things like accepting Christ or loving God (conditions for being saved) with doing good works. Having faith in God is not doing a work, for it is no longer by the works of the law but the hearing of faith; so I don't see how he calculates this illogical equation: conditions of faith, love, humility, etc... = 'works righteousness.'<br><br>I wrote:<br>"I believe that God gives a person to Christ when they humble themselves and repent when convicted by the Holy Spirit. This passage does not say that a person cannot resist the Holy Spirit's conviction. In fact, the scriptures affirm that this already occurs. Act 7:51 'Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.'"<br><br>Joe writes:<br>"We will not HUMBLE OURSELVES or REPENT (2 Tim 2:24-26) until changed BY the Holy Spirit, as Paul….. The unsaved do resist UNTIL THEY ARE MADE WILLING in the day of HIS POWER (but this is far more than just conviction), and the scriptures teach that all the elect will finally and fully be saved and not resist ultimately to their own destruction for Christ will not lose even one of His elect!."<br><br>It is true that only the Lord can grant repentance. This is why I stated that it is done after one is convicted by the Holy Spirit. The rest of what Joe says is simple speculation without any Biblical backing. By the way, Psalm 110:3 says "Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power," not "Thy people shall be made willing..."<br><br>I wrote:<br>"I too believe that a man cannot be saved unless God draws him first. And just as God's many promises of blessing to Israel (Deuteronomy 7:13, 30:16 ect...) were contingent on their obedience to the voice of God, so is the promise of the resurrection of the righteous."<br><br>Joe writes:<br>"FAITH plus CONTINUAL OBEDIENCE = salvation? But, if one is truly saved he will desire to obey and has been granted the grace to do so. Not all Israel was elect!<br><br>2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."<br><br>To clarify: Faith + continual obedience by the power of the Holy Ghost = salvation (Romans 6:16-18). Joe is right about the fact that the saved will desire to obey God, but even the love for God in a believer's heart can grow cold through iniquity (Matthew 24:12). Concerning the reference from 2 Timothy, God's keeping of what we have committed (e.g. our souls), just as His salvation, comes with the condition that we abide in Him, otherwise we will be cut off (Romans 11:21-22). If it were not possible to be cut off from Christ, I doubt that the scripture would warn us about it.<br><br>I wrote:<br>"The first premise is only partially correct, for while God does desire that men be saved, He also desires that they do so willingly."<br><br>Joe writes:<br>"So, man’s will is SOVEREIGN? Man does accept God’s grace willingly, but they ONLY become willing in the DAY OF HIS POWER."<br><br>Been through this before. Next.<br><br>I wrote:<br>"Yielding to God is not a work, just as believing in God is not a work."<br><br>Joe writes:<br>"Thus JoshT’s order of salvation, I YIELD, and then GOD RESPONDS. So God is my puppet??"<br><br>See what I mean about the punctuation and caps? Joe has obviously not read that many of my posts thoroughly. It is God who draws people to be saved, otherwise we would have nothing to yield to. So God offers salvation to us and draws us by the power of His Spirit, we yield to Him, He saves us. God is not a puppet at all, but a seeker of the lost.<br><br>I wrote:<br>"The Bible never indicates that God is determined to irresistably draw anyone to Him, He does wish to draw people to Himself, and He no doubt could do it irresistably if that were His will, but this is not indicated in scripture."<br><br>Joe writes:<br>"So election does not exist?"<br><br>No. I indicated that unconditional election does not exist.<br><br>I wrote:<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>Joe writes:<br>"May God have mercy and give JoshT grace!"<br><br>Praise the Lord! Your prayers have been answered even before you prayed them. It must have been predestined.<br><br><br>Let me comment in closing that Joe's remarks and baseless accusations towards me are very un-Christlike. I will reserve personal judgement on Joe, as God is his judge, not I; but would like to warn him that ungrounded accusations, especially against a brother in Christ, are a serious matter.<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh

#854 - Thu Aug 08, 2002 10:17 AM The foreknowledge and sovereignty of God [Re: Pilgrim]  


rjskal wrote:<br>"I don't understand your position that God cannot be sovereign and still allow us to forfeit our salvation. He doesn't lose any of his supreme, permanent authority by allowing believers the option of turning away from Him."<br><br>In response to what Pilgrim wrote:<br>"The problem with the semi-Pelagian and Arminian view is that what God does throughout eternity is determined not by His own eternal, immutable council, but by whatsoever the creature decides to do."<br><br>But God's predestinating of men to salvation is based on His foreknowledge of people and future events (1 Peter 1:2). So while all ultimate authority rests with God to do with as He pleases, the scripture makes it plain that He plans out the salvation of His elect according to foreknowledge of them.<br><br>IRT:<br>"The caveat to this entire view is that it elevates the "free-will" of man (i.e., the ability to choose contrary to his nature, which even God is unable to do) to the loftiest place."<br><br>God cannot go against His nature because it is divine. But men can. Did Adam have a sin nature before he sinned? Did Lucifer have a sin nature before he fell by his pride? Your argument does not follow, you might as well say, "men cannot lie, for even God is unable to do that!"<br><br>IRT:<br>"Thus, it is impossible for God to actually 'know' what will take place at any given time since the creature is able to change his/her mind within any given set of circumstances; he/she being able to choose that which is contrary to nature. Therefore, God can only know after the fact (an actuality) and this makes the creature the 'sovereign' and not God, Who is bound by the creatures decisions."<br><br>And you think I limit God's sovereignty. Just because you can't understand or don't see how God can precisely know the future actions of a being with free will doesn't mean that He can't. How do you know what God can or can't know? I invite you to show me any scriptural proof of this off the wall theory. The only authority man has over his own soul is what God has given him, nothing more; so God is still the sovereign, though He has willingly delegated a limited amount of control to us.<br><br>IRT:<br>"The Scriptures, however, everywhere speak of God as the Sovereign Ruler and Creator of the universe. It is HE Who has determined all things according to His will (determinate council, good pleasure, etc.). See Ps. 33:11; 135:6; Prov 19:21; 21:30; Isa 11:1-16; 41:6; 43:13; 46:9, 10; Dan 4:35; Acts 4:27, 28; 13:48; Rom 11:33-36; Eph 1:9-11; Heb 6:17; Rev 19:6; et al An no one can change what He has foreordained."<br><br>When the Lord has fully determined to do a thing, it cannot be stopped by any force in the universe. But God permits men the ability to violate some things in His will; Luke 13:34 provides a good example of how men can go against God's wishes.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Lastly, determinism is at the very foundation of biblical prophesy. God, through His appointed prophets, spoke in time past of what would come to pass; authoritatively and infallibly. Unless God was sovereign in both power and authority and by His providence determined and controlled ALL THINGS the likelihood that anything which was prophesied as taking place in the future would take place would be nil. For all it would take to prevent a prophesy from occurring would be the 'free-will' decision of one single man."<br><br>Just because God can change and control circumstances to bring specific things to pass does not indicate that He chooses to determine every aspect of every person's life down to the minutest detail. That logic does not follow. Just because God can do a thing doesn't mean that He necessarily will.<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh

#855 - Thu Aug 08, 2002 10:20 AM The sovereignty of God [Re: Wes]  


Dear Wes,<br><br>IRT:<br>"He appoints the course of nature and directs the course of history down to the minutest details."<br><br>God does direct the course of history, but He chooses not to control some things. God wills that believers abstain from fornication (1 Thessalonians 4:3), why does it occur anyway? Because God has delegated a measure of control to His creatures.<br><br>IRT:<br>"His decrees therefore are eternal, unchangeable, holy, wise and sovereign."<br><br>And what are His decrees?<br><br>"Now the just shall live by faith; But if any man draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him." (Hebrews 10:38)<br><br>"But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven."<br><br>And of course Revelation 22:19 as I put in my original post. God could force men to heed Him if He so chose, but He has given men the capability to reject His words. <br><br>IRT:<br>"That the plans of men are not always executed is due to a lack of power, or a lack of wisdom, or both. To assume that His plan fails and that he strives to no effect is to reduce Him to the level of His creatures and make Him no God at all."<br><br>I never said God's plans fail, for if some men fall short, He will fulfill His plans through others (Romans 11, Matthew 22:1-10). But if you think that God does not allow His will to be resisted, then I ask what you make of Luke 13:34,<br><br>"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!"<br><br>Since God is sovereign, but men still resist His will, I can only conclude that God allows men the space to either hear Him or stop their ears to His word.<br><br>(All verses NKJV)<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh

#856 - Thu Aug 08, 2002 10:22 AM Justification and sanctification are inseparable  


Dear Susan and Wes,<br><br>In response to Susan's post and:<br><br>"Arminians have consistantly blurred the lines between these two and that is why works are not optional in their opinion."<br><br>Justification and sanctification are inseperable. Being sanctified comes with the territory of being justified. Regardless of the differences between Arminianism, Reformed Theology, and whatever it's called that I believe, we do agree on this: A man who is not being sanctified is not saved, regardless of past experience. While we may disagree as to whether such a person could have never been saved or not, it is agreed that those who live unrighteously will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9).<br><br>What do you think James meant when he wrote 'faith without works is dead?' We are certainly not justified by works; but by faith which truly changes our character. It isn't faith plus works, it's faith that works. So to say that one can be unsanctified but still be justified is sheer folly. I can provide numerous other references on the subject if you like.<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh

#857 - Thu Aug 08, 2002 10:26 AM Some answers  


Dear Susan,<br><br>IRT:<br>"Are we conscious that we have been operated upon by the Holy Spirit?"<br><br>Not necessarily. Some have been saved without even knowing that there was a Holy Spirit.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Is there a vital principle in us which was not there originally?"<br><br>Yes. God's grace.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Do we know today the folly of carnal confidence?"<br><br>Let's hope so. Many Galatians fell from grace because of it.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Have we a hope that we have been enabled through divine grace to cast away all our own righteousness and every dependence, and are we now, whether we sink or swim, resting entirely upon the Person, the righteousness, the blood, the intercession, the precious merit of our Lord Jesus Christ?"<br><br>I know that I myself have not the strength to endure for Christ, even though this is what His word tells me I must do. But God be praised, He has sent the Holy Spirit Who gives me the strength that I need to live in Him.<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh

#858 - Thu Aug 08, 2002 10:30 AM In reply... [Re: lazarus]  


Dear Lazarus,<br><br>IRT:<br>"So, salvation is NOT of the Lord as Jonah's actually of Him AND us?"<br><br>Salvation is of the Lord. But we who obtain salvation must obey God; the key is that we cannot obey God unless God draws us to Him first. So even though there are conditions on being in God's grace, it is still God Who comes to us that we might be saved, not vice versa; therefore salvation is of the Lord.<br><br>IRT:<br>"I must be synergism since God can't save ANYONE without their cooperation."<br><br>God can save anyone He chooses to: He simply has chosen to save those who humble themselves and hear His voice. But men do not have the power in themselves to follow God, this is why He has given us power by His grace to follow Him.<br><br>IRT:<br>"The bottom line is that we bring SOMETHING to the equation? Namely our will/effort/decision....i.e., WORKS!"<br><br>The error you make is that you assume anything done by man is work. But faith is not a work, nor is repentance, love, forgiveness, humility, and open-heartedness.<br><br>IRT:<br>"In direct contrast to:<br><br>Rom 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. <br><br>How can you not see this?"<br><br>Because there is no contrast. God did not choose me because I wanted to serve him or because I was good enough. He chose me because He foreknew that I would repent and believe in Him when He drew me to Himself.<br><br>IRT:<br>"JoshT - if you are in the military...bless you and your service to the Country. If not....never're just another Arminian quack."<br><br>WELL YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE? YOU'RE JUST ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE blessed redeemed that God adores and sees as most precious. Any child of God is a brother of mine, and I am glad that we can dwell together in the bond of unity in His Spirit.<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh

#859 - Thu Aug 08, 2002 10:50 AM Re: In my defense...  
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,615
J_Edwards Offline
Needs to get a Life
J_Edwards  Offline
Needs to get a Life

Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,615
YOU SAID [color:red]Let me settle the first question right away. I believe that God is totally sovereign, and can do or cause anything He desires. I also believe that in the matter of free will that God has purposefully limited Himself and has delegated to each man some degree of control over his own destiny; thus it is not a question of His sovereignty, but His method. The second accusation isn't much tougher to answer. Nothing in a man's power can keep him in the love of God, yet the Bible continuously speaks of enduring to the end, persevering, etc... </font color=red><br><br>Romans 11:6-7 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded<br><br>YOU SAID [color:red] "And yes, Christ promises believers His new name. And? He also promises us eternal life, but the promises only apply to those who do not fall away." The Bible never indicates being saved, lost, re-saved, etc... Nor have I ever argued that point. …. I believe that God gives even backsliders space to repent Revevelation 2:21). God is sovereign all of the time, but He has told us in His word that He Himself will destroy the disobedient (John 15:6, 1 Corinthians 3:17, and many more).</font color=red><br><br>But if someone who is SAVED dies before he repents AGAIN does he go to Hell? James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all; <br><br>DO you believe in the PERFECT Christian (one without ANY sin?)? Thus, IF ONE sin exists in your view of salvation, then a person will go to Hell, though he was once saved.......<br><br>What you do not understand is the doctrine of sanctification,justification regeneration; et. al.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br>The rest has all been gone through before.--Please do not get upset when someone shatters your theology, by simple quoting you..... Say what you will!<br><br>[Linked Image] [Linked Image]<br>

Reformed and Always Reforming,
#860 - Thu Aug 08, 2002 11:09 AM Re: In my defense...  
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 406
fredman Offline
fredman  Offline

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 406
Canyon Country, CA
Josh Complains:<br>Let me settle the first question right away. I believe that God is totally sovereign, and can do or cause anything He desires. I also believe that in the matter of free will that God has purposefully limited Himself and has delegated to each man some degree of control over his own destiny; thus it is not a question of His sovereignty, but His method.<br><br>Fred responds:<br>So Josh, can you prove this from scripture? Where, pray tell, does it tell us that God purposefully "limits" himself so as to delegate to each man some degree of control over his destiny? This is humanistic philosophy pure and simple. You are sounding more and more like an Open theist everytime you post. Your comment is so biblically inconsistent that it would be laughable if it were not so serious that you believe such non-sense. I do not wish to be harsh, but I really do not think you have truly pondered the significance of your belief systems. (Which tends to be a problem with most arminian minded evangelicals in our day). You haven't been poisoned by the lies of Dan Corner have you?<br>Fred

"Ah, sitting - the great leveler of men. From the mightest of pharaohs to the lowest of peasants, who doesn't enjoy a good sit?" M. Burns
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