Hi again,
I wrote: "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?"
You replied:

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.

Right, the passage says they were dead. But it does not say that therefore they were unable to believe. It says dead in trespasses and sins. I believe that this means that without Christ man cannot experience the life of God through Jesus Christ, or know sins forgiven. I do not believe that this means that the person cannot believe. The passage never actually says that a dead man cannot believe, for they are dead in trespasses and sins. It doesn't say that they are incapable of believing the gospel. Faith does not come from man's dead sinful nature. It comes from God, it is a gift of God, and to be saved one has to believe from the heart the message of the gospel. We must "come to Christ that we might have life."

Let me look at your statement again. Basically it says "man is dead, therefore he cannot believe." But look at a biblical picture:

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself. John 5:24-26

Using your reasoning with the verses in Ephesians, the dead CANNOT hear the voice of the Son of God UNTIL they are first given life. This is the direct opposite of what Jesus said here in this passage.

A dead person can't believe, he must be made alive by grace. He then believes through faith.

I don't understand everything about the process of becoming a new creature, but this I know, "an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live."

This humbles our pride, which is exactly what we need, we need to see that we are nothing.

No offence against you personally (quite the contrary) humility is not a characteristic I would use to describe most Calvinists!!!! I believe humility does indeed come from knowing our utter need of Christ and his power. I think "calvinism" generally speaking, because it is a sytem of logic, encourages people who want to glory in their intelligence and learning. That is not of God. The apostle said that the minister of God is to "hold fast the form of sound words," and not teach words of "man's wisdom," or of man's philosophy, but to teach wholesome words. Humility is obeying this. Words carry concepts, and I believe in using the form of sound words. "Total depravity" for example, even if it could be argued that this is a biblical doctrine, is nonetheless not part of the pattern of sound speech delivered as part of the faith once and for all to the saints. But this is an aside.

I quoted:

"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

Your response:

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.

But don't you see? this verse is not merely speaking of the necessity of faith, it is actually saying that life come FROM believing. Therefore it speaks directly of a causative relationship between faith and life.

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.

I disagree. Remember, Ephesians never said that "dead in trespasses and sins" means unable to believe. Since this verse says point blank that life is a result of believing, then you need to include this verse in your understanding. One verse cannot deny another.

You have agreed that the quickening - the being made alive in Christ - is speaking of regeneration. It says that God made us alive with Christ, and raised us up with him to sit in heavenly places. Colossians chapter 2 uses similar language, and this simply cannot be ignored. It says we were buried with Christ, and raised with him:

"In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses" Colossians 2:12.

There is a twofold process - dying with Christ and being risen with him (quickened) through faith. This is, I believe, regeneration.

If God's grace is dispensed on the basis of one's antecedent faith, then it is no longer of grace but of works."

If we look at Ephesians 2 again, Paul says that it is not of works, it is of faith. Yet you are saying that if it is of faith it is of works, as though faith were a work. You must understand, faith causing new life is not of works, because faith is not a work of man or a work of the flesh. it is a gift of God, so that no one can boast. God saves by grace, and he does that THROUGH faith. Faith is not the basis of grace, as you also noted - it is the cause of new life which is given by grace through faith:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, [...] For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

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:
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.

I totally believe in the need to ask God to open our eyes, and to pray for the spirit of wisdom and revelation, which I do, and to remain humble and teachable. I do not believe that reading learned books or trusting in the Protestant Reformers or going to seminary, or even knowing Greek and Hebrew, is a substitute for revelation. At the most some of these things can help facilitate greater understanding. The article refered to the Greek. I don't have an expert knowledge of Greek, and so I cannot evaluate his argument. I am working on trying to get an expert knowledge of Greek, but until then the best I can do is ask other, learned, men, concerning what the article said about the use of the Greek word eis. This should not imply that I am looking to others for understanding, only that I am forced to defer somewhat when I do not have the technical knowledge to evaluate something myself.

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".

I thoroughly agree with the need of an experimental knowledge of the Holy Spirit. I can testify to this experience also. I wonder if you are Strict Baptist, since most Calvinists do not speek on these things as you do?

Lastly, faith is from the heart. It is not from the natural man - nor is it from the spiritual man, but from the heart, resulting in life. Our hearts are purified by faith. This purification is the same as the washing of regeneration. There are not two cleansings of the heart - one before and one right after or at the point of faith. Faith from the heart is a powerful doctrine (as John Wesley and others have discovered). I cannot swap it for a belief which takes away the life chaning and new life bringing power of faith as taught in the scriptures, which say that through believing we have life.

Zion Seeker