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The grace which saves in this passage of Ephesians, is I believe, a reference to the quickening - "ye have he quickenned who were dead in trespasses and sins." Would you agree?

Yes, exactly, quickening is an old english term which means to "be made alive". In other words, they were, as the passage says, "dead", spiritually dead, and thus unable to believe, "in their tresspasses and sins". It is really very simple. A dead person can't believe, he must be made alive by grace. He then believes through faith.

Here is the essence of it all. Your view, unfortunately, subtly denies God some of the glory in the process, but it is all His. ALL His.

God does all of the essential things, is the first cause of all things, we believe because He makes us able to believe, by giving us spiritual life. He then gives us faith to believe. We do the believing, but He gets the Glory, ALL of it, because He alone deserves it.

We are "nothing" without Him. This humbles our pride, which is exactly what we need, we need to see that we are nothing. This is really what all of the theological debate is about. Is man something, or "nothing" without God? This is why the Doctrine of the Total Depravity is so important, without a right understanding of it we cannot, notice I said cannot, as in are unable to, understand it.

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But there are many scriptures which say this. ie


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"But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." John 20:31

It is true that there are scriptures which say that belief is essential as you have rightly pointed out. No one is arguing that point. What we are arguing is order of belief, and more importantly cause of belief.

The hermeutical error your are making in pointing out the above passage in contradistinction to the Ephesians passage is dealt with by strict adherence to what is called the Analogy of the Faith. That hermeneutical principle states that no doctrine, or Scriptural Truth, is rightly understood until ALL the pertinant passages with which it concerns itself are considered and integrated into the expression, or statement, of that doctrine.

Scripture interprets scripture, we must put it all together to arrive at truth. Psalm 119:160 says it as explicitly as it is stated in the Bible: "The sum of Thy Word is truth". Another version has it "The entirety of thy Word is truth". Not part, not some, but all of it together is Truth. Failure to observe and hold to this is the source of nearly all error and heresy, which is why, when Paul said fair well, in one of the most moving scenes in the whole Bible, to the Ephesian Edlers, his claim to the integrity of his ministry, and his freedom "from the blood of all men" was that he "did not shrink back from declaring the whole counsel of the Word of God" to them. Acts 20:27.

Thus, you will never rightly understand Jn 20:31 unless you do so in the light of the Ephesians passage, and all the other passages in the Bible that make God the soul source of mans belief, one of which is "Ps 110:3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power". Who is made willing here, "thy people" or all people, and whose power is responsible, man's or God's? How is that power exercised? In God giving spiritual life, by Grace, and faith, "it is the gift of God".

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I don't hold to the reformed view

The view you hold to is unimportant, ulitmately, because the statement implies that you are depending on men rather than on God, and God's power, to teach you these things, as does the following statement:

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But i will look into the word "eis" and ask a friend about it who is an expert in ancient Greek (masters degree in Greek and Greek philosophy). I also consulted his knowledge after reading Pilgrim's claims from the Greek, and my thoughts were very much confirmed.

These statements are very telling, for they, taken together with the other things you have said, suggest to me that you are depending, at least in part, on the opinions of men to save you. Men's words are indeed essential, for God has appointed the "foolishness of preaching" and uses means in salvation. But ultimately each man who is saved conforms to the scripture, to Christs words in Jn 6:45 "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me."

Christ is making the point blank statement here in the midst of all who "heard" that only some really "heard". The context here is most instructive and I again gently encourage you to read and consider these things carefully.

John Bunyan's pastor, Mr. Gifford, sternly warned him in this regard, "Let no man tell you that you are a child of God". He was telling Bunyan to settle for nothing less that what the scriptures speak of in many places, such as in Romans 8:16 "The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God".

In my own case, I believed the doctrines of grace before I had any idea what they were or could articulate them at all, because God had taught me these things. When, years later in some cases, I read of them I instantly knew them to be His truth. I don't mean to imply that God works this way, or in this order with everyone for He is sovereign in all things. I only am saying that unless He teaches you by His Spirit you do not yet have a right understanding of spiritual things.

Try reading the Nichols book and see if that doesn't help, because as I said, until you understand the difference between natural understanding and belief and spiritual understanding and belief, these things will not make sense to you. Rather, they will just be intellectual exercises that will ultimately fail you in the "great day".

In Him,

Gerry

Last edited by acts2027; Fri Mar 26, 2004 1:07 PM.