BookMark said: Only an arminian would call someone crazy for not believing.
The pilot obviously thinks there is choice involved.
Gee thanks Mark... for now I know that I must be an Arminian. There certainly is a "choice" involved. A person's "will" is not absent in conversion. A convicted sinner chooses to repentant and believe upon Christ where before he/she chose to reject God and all that is good. The grace is certainly "irresistible", but the will is still active and must be since regeneration frees it so as to move toward God.
Only a hyper-Calvinist would say that man has no choice in believing.
BookMark said: Salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9)
You had as much "choice" in your spiritual re-birth as you did in your natural birth. Zilch.
I guess every Calvinist I know personally must be hyper then - oh well........(and some would say that your post was arminian btw)
One is not saved by regeneration!! This idea is not only not taught in Scripture, the Reformed faith has never taught that regeneration saves either. One is saved; i.e., JUSTIFIED; pronounced not guilty and Christ's righteousness IMPUTED to him when and ONLY after one believes upon Christ. God doesn't believe for anyone. It is an act done by the individual through an act of the will. Regeneration gives one the predisposition to want Christ and the ability to believe upon Him. But regeneration doesn't save. You are confusing the secret sovereign work of the Holy Spirit, i.e., regeneration with conversion which requires that a sinner turn from sin (repentance) and trust Christ for his/her righteousness (faith).
Your words here surprise me! Of course we have no part of our rebirth, but once we are reborn, we see that God is Good and we are sinners in need of a savior! Then, we choose to repent because we can now (having our eyes opened) recognize God for who and what He is! Our rebirth gives us new eyes to see and new ears to hear, it does not repent for us, not does it believe for us. Perhaps upon refection you may want to restate your position?
Never will a regenerated child of God present the matter of his salvation as having had its initative in him. Never will he say that anything on his part proceeded the operation of Gods Grace in him, that he first willed to come and Gods Grace there upon enabled him to come, that he first accepted Christ and thereupon Christ received him, that he first opened his heart and thereupon Christ entered it. An unmistakeable proof of this may be found in the prayer of one that is saved. Here all arminianism, all boasting of freewill in the matter of salvation, is silenced. The reason is that in prayer one speaks to God. Before men one may talk of coming to Jesus as if it were in the power of the sinner to come or to refuse to come. But as soon as one places himself before the face of God all this is changed. Then all is attributed to divine grace. Before the face of God there is no arminian. Or whoever heard anyone utter an arminian prayer like this; "I thank Thee God that Thou didst wait untill it please me to come, and that Thou didst knock untill I was good enough up to open thy heart for Thee, and that Thou gavest me grace when I decided to receive it ?" Yet why should not a man express before the face of God what he loudly and boldly proclaims to man?. The simple answer is : because before God we cannot lie ! Hence, in prayer a saved sinner will attribute all to God and none to self. He will cease speaking about the freewill of man, and say: "I thank Thee that Thy irresistible grace overpowered all my resistance, that Thou didst open and enter into my heart, that Thou didst draw me that Thou might come !" And this is the heart of the assurance and boldness of the sinner as he comes to Jesus. The very fact that in coming to Jesus the sinner experiences the drawing of the Father is his guarantee that he will surely be received.
From the book "Whosoever Will" Herman Hoeksema 1945
God's Part and Man's Part in Salvation by John G. Reisinger God and man must both do something before a man can be saved. HyperCalvinism denies the necessity of human action, and Arminianism denies the true nature of the Divine action. The Bible clearly sets forth both the divine and human essential in God's plan of salvation. This is not to say, as Arminianism does, "God's part is to freely provide salvation for all men, and man's part is to become willing to accept it." This is not what we said above, nor is it what the Bible teaches. In order to understand what God's Word really says, and to try to answer some straw dummy objections, we will establish the subject one point at a time.
ONE: A man must repent and believe the gospel in order to be saved.
No one was ever forgiven and made a child of God who did not willingly turn from sin to Christ. Nowhere does the Bible even hint that men can be saved without repentance and faith, but to the contrary, the Word always states these things are essential before a person can be saved. The one and only Bible answer to the question, "What must I do to be saved?" is, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved."
TWO: Every one who repents and believes the gospel will be saved.
Every soul, without any exception, who answers the gospel command to come to Christ will be received and forgiven by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Philip Bliss put the truth to music when he said, "Who-so-ever will, forever must endure..." If we can be absolutely certain about anything, we can be sure that Christ will never void His promise to receive "all who come to Him." As old John Bunyan said, "Come and welcome" is the Savior's eternal word to all sinners.
THREE: Repentance and faith are the free acts of men.
Men, with their own mind, heart, and will must renounce sin and receive Christ. God never repented and believed for anyone - and He never will. Turning from sin and reaching out in faith to Christ are the acts of man, and every man who so responds to the gospel call does so because he honestly desires to do so. He wants to be forgiven and he can only be forgiven by repenting and believing. No one, including God, can turn from sin for us, we must do it. No one can trust Christ in our place, but we must personally, knowingly, and willingly trust Him in order to be saved. Now someone may be thinking, "But isn't that what the Arminian teaches?" My friend, that is what the Bible teaches-and teaches it clearly and dogmatically. "But don't Calvinists deny all three of those points?" I am not talking about or trying to defend Calvinists since they come in a hundred varieties. If you know anyone that denies the above facts- then that person, regardless of what he labels himself, is denying the clear message of the Bible. I can only speak for myself, and I will not deny what God's Word so plainly teaches!
"But haven't you established the doctrine of free-will and disposed of election if you assent man must repent and believe and it is his own act?" No, we have neither proven free-will nor disproved election since it is impossible to do either. We have merely stated exactly what the Bible say a man must do in order to be saved. Let us now look at what the Scripture says a sinner is able to do and what he is not able to do.
FOUR: The same Bible that states man must repent and believe in order to be saved also emphatically states that man, because of his sinful nature, is totally unable to repent and believe.
All of man's three faculties of mind, heart, and will, which must be receptive to gospel truth, have neither the ability to receive such truth nor even the desire to have such ability. In fact the exact opposite is true. Man's total being is not only unable to either come, or want to come, to Christ, but every part of his nature is actively opposed to Christ and truth. Rejecting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is not a passive non-action, but a deliberate volitional choice. It is deliberately choosing to say "No" to Christ and "Yes" to self and sin. No one is neutral in respect to God and His authority. Unbelief is just as much a deliberate act of mind, heart, and will as is faith. This is what Jesus meant in John 5:40 when He said, "You will (you are deliberately making a choice) not to come to me." Yes, unbelief is an act of the will. In fact unbelief is active faith, but unfortunately it is faith in myself.
To believe and preach points one, two, and three, without also preaching number four is to grossly misrepresent the gospel of God's grace. It is to give a totally false picture of the sinner and his true need. It shows only half of the man's sin. It misses the most crucial point of a lost man's need, namely, his lack of power or ability to overcome his sinful nature and its effects. The gospel, which is concocted out of this view is only a half gospel. It is at this point that modem evangelism so miserably fails. It confuses man's responsibility with his ability, and falsely assumes that a sinner has the moral ability to perform all that God has commanded. The “cannot” texts of scripture are either totally ignored or badly twisted by this perversion of the true gospel of God's saving grace.
Please note a few texts of Scripture that dogmatically state some things that a lost man cannot do:
Man cannot see - until he first be born again. John 3:3. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Man cannot understand - until he first be given a new nature 1Cor. 2:14. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.
Man cannot come - until he first be effectually called by the Holy Spirit. John 6:44,45. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 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.
We do not have space to go into all the cannots, but these three are sufficient to show that a sinner absolutely cannot (notice it is not will not) come to Christ until God first does something in that sinner's nature. That something is what the Bible calls regeneration, or the new birth, and it is the exclusive work of God the Holy Spirit. Man has no part whatever in regeneration.
FIVE: The new birth, or regeneration, is God giving us the spiritual life that enables us to do what we must do (repent and believe), but CANNOT DO because of our bondage to sin.
When the Bible says man is dead in sin, it means that man's mind, heart, and will are all spiritually dead in sin. When the Bible speaks of our being in bondage to sin, it means that our entire being, including our will, is under the bondage and power of sin.
We indeed need Christ to die and pay the penalty of our sin, but we just as desperately need the Holy Spirit to give us a new nature in regeneration. The Son of God frees us legally from the penalty of sin, but only the Holy Spirit can free us from the power and death of our depravity in sin. We need forgiveness in order to be saved, and Christ provides complete forgiveness and righteousness for us in His death. However, we also need spiritual life and ability, and the Holy Spirit provides it for us in regeneration. It is the Holy Spirit's work of regeneration that enables us to savingly receive the atoning work of Christ in true faith.
God is a triune God, and no person can understand "so great salvation" until he sees each blessed Person of the Godhead playing a distinct and necessary part in that salvation. No man can declare thte "glorious gospel of grace" and leave out the Father's sovereign electing love and the Holy Spirifs regenerating power as essential parts of God's work in saving sinners. To speak of God's part in salvation as only being one of providing forgiveness and man's part as being willing to accept it is to ignore both the Father's work of-election and the Spirit's work of regeneration. This not only makes man a full partner with God in the work of salvation, it credits man with playing the decisive roll in the deal.
How dreadful, and ridiculous, to give Christ the glory for His work on the cross, and then give sinners the credit for the Father's work in eternity (election) and the Spirit's work in our hearts (regeneration). It does great dishonor to the Sovereign Spirit to say, "The Holy Spirit will perform His miraculous work of quickening you unto life as soon as you give Him your permission." That's like standing in a graveyard saying to the dead people, "I will give you life and raise you up from the grave if you will only take the first step of faith and ask me to do it." What a denial of the sinner's total spiritual inability. Amazing!
The root error of the Arminian's gospel of freewill is its failure to see that man's part, repentance and faith, are the fruits and effects of God's work and not the essential ingredient's supplied by the sinner as man's part of the deal. Every man who turns to Christ does so willingly, but that willingness is a direct result of the Father's election and the Holy Spirit's effectual calling. To say, "If you will believe. God will answer your faith with the New Birth," is to misunderstand man's true need and misrepresent God's essential work.
SIX: The Scriptures clearly show that faith and repentance are the evidences and not the cause of regeneration.
Suppose a man who had been dead for twenty years greeted you on the street one day. Would you conclude that the man had gotten tired of being dead and decided to ask a great doctor to perform a miracle and give him life? I'm sure you would, instead, exclaim in amazement, "Man, what happened to you? Who brought you back to life?" You would see he was alive because he was walking and breathing, but you would know these were evidences of a miracle having been performed on him from without and not the results of his own power or will. Just so when a spiritually dead man begins to perform spiritual acts such as repentance and faith; these spiritual fruits show that the miracle of the new birth has taken place.
Let me illustrate this with a biblical example. Acts 16:14 is a clear proof of the above. By the way, as far as I know, this is the only place in the New Testament that uses the phrase opened heart, and the Bible gives the whole credit for this opening to God's power and not to man's will. Modem evangelism does the exact opposite and credits the opening of the heart to the power of man's free will. Remember that we are not discussing whether man must be willing to open his heart. We settled that under points One, Two, and Three. We are now looking for the source of power that enabled man to perform that spiritual act. Arminianism insists that man's free will must furnish the willingness or power, and the Bible says that the Holy Spirit of God fumishes that power or ability in the new birth.
Let us examine the one text in Scripture (Acts 16:14) that uses the phrase "opened heart;" and see if it agrees with our previous points:
And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard [us]: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. King James Bible
And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard [us]: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. 1599 Geneva Bible (note - The Lord opens the heart to hear the word which is preached.)
And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard [us]: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. Young's Literal Translation.
And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple of the city of Thyatira, one that worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened to give heed unto the things which were spoken by Paul. American Standard
A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. New American Standard
One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyati'ra, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to give heed to what was said by Paul. Revised Standard Version.
First of all we note that Lydia did indeed attend or listen to the words of Paul. She gladly heard and willingly believed his message. As we have already shown, she had to do this in order to benefit from the gospel and be saved. Lydia's attending, or hearing and believing, illustrates points One, Two, and Three above, and refutes Hyper-Calvinism (which says the elect will be saved regardless of whether they hear and believe the gospel or not). Lydia did indeed choose to believe, and she did it only because she wholeheartedly wanted to. She did not do it unwillingly nor did God hear and believe for her. It was her own response and it was a most willing response.
Next, we notice exactly what God did. We see here demonstrated what God must do before Lydia can be saved.
(1) He provided a salvation of "by grace through faith" that could be preached. Obviously the things spoken by Paul were the gospel facts concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and surely this Lamb is God's gracious provision.
(2) God also brought the message of His provision to Lydia. He sent a preacher to tell her about this great plan of salvation. God went to a lot of trouble to provide such a gospel - He gave His only begotten Son. He went to great ends to provide such a preacher as Paul - read about it in Paul's testimony in Acts 22.
It is at this point that Arminianism departs from the Bible and proceeds to apply human logic to the above truths. They tragically fail to look at the rest of the biblical text and see that God must do something else.
(3) God must open Lydia's heart (or give her spiritual life) so she will be able to believe. Her natural mind is blind, her natural heart is averse to God, and her will is in bondage to sin and spiritual death. Only the power of God can free her from this graveyard of spiritual depravity. The giving of this life and power is solely the work of God. Notice that the Bible explicitly gives God alone the credit for Lydia's heart being opened. If you do not see that in this text then you simply cannot read.
....whose heart the LORD OPENED...
Notice also how clearly the Holy Spirit teaches us the relationship between the cause and the effect in the conversion of Lydia. God was the One Who opened Lydia's heart, that is the cause, and He did so in order that she might be able to attend to the truths that Paul preached, that is the effect. Now that is what the Word of God says! Do not bluster about dead theology or throw Calvin's name around in derision, just read the words themselves in the Bible. If you try to deny that the one single reason that Lydia understood and believed the gospel was because God deliberately opened her heart and enabled her to believe, you are fighting God's Word. If you try to get man's free will as the one determining factor into this text, you are consciously corrupting the Word of God.
God's grace not only provides salvation, but His power also gives us the ability to both desire and receive it. He works in us both to will and to do. "And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." Ezekiel 36:27
His working in us to will is the new birth, and, I say again, this work of regeneration is totally the work of the Holy Spirit.
The moment we lose sight of this distinction between being saved by faith (the act of man) and being bom again by the Holy Spirit (the act of God), we are heading for confusion and trouble. We will be convinced that man is able to do what the Bible emphatically states he is unable to do. The necessity of the Holy Spirit's work being thus theologically denied, it will not be long before it is ignored in actual practice. This is the plight of modem day evangelism. Since they are convinced that the new birth is within the power and ability of man's will, their man- made methodology has become far more important than the theology of the Bible.
Organization and advertising become the absolute essentials to success while the necessary work of the Holy Ghost is all but forgotten. It is true that lip service is given to the need to "Pray for the Holy Spirit's guidance," and cards asking people to promise to pray every day are always sent out months in advance of the big campaign. However, some people are not sure if the promise to pray or the other pledge (to give money) which is always included (only your gifts can make this great campaign possible) is the most important to the success of the campaign. That would be Mammon...
Repentence is a gift Ruth. As are all aspects of Salvation-including the good works God has foreordained that we are to walk in. All GOOD is of God. Grace is IRRESISTABLE . When grace knocks can the child of God resist ?
We are made willing in the day of His power-not through our "choice" . Salvation is all of grace. "Choice" is "works".
And also there is the Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) Spurgeon edition.
10. Effectual Calling
Those whom God has predestinated to life, He is pleased in His appointed and accepted time to effectually call by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death which they are in by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ. He enlightens their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God. He takes away their heart of stone and gives to them a heart of flesh. He renews their wills, and by His almighty power, causes them to desire and pursue that which is good. He effectually draws them to Jesus Christ, yet in such a way that they come absolutely freely, being made willing by His grace.
This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not on account of anything at all foreseen in man. It is not made because of any power or agency in the creature who is wholly passive in the matter. Man is dead in sins and trespasses until quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit. By this he is enabled to answer the call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed by it. This enabling power is no less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead.
Infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, Who works when, where, and how He pleases. So also are all elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.
Others are not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may experience some common operations of the Spirit, yet because they are not effectually drawn by the Father, they will not and cannot truly come to Christ and therefore cannot be saved. Much less can men who do not embrace the Christian religion be saved, however diligent they may be to frame their lives according to the light of nature and the requirements of the religion they profess.
Notice that they Do Come to Christ. An act of their will. God changes their will so they will desire to Come to Him, but it is still their choice to accept or reject Him.
BookMark said: Thanks Tom. Reisinger says that both God and man must do something before a man can be saved. This is not Calvinism but Arminianism.
Mark, I fear you have never come to a right understanding of what the Bible and thus what Calvinism teaches concerning how a man is saved. A man isn't saved because God waves some magic wand over his head and then he is instantly made a Christian. As the article by Reisinger points out, BOTH man and God have their respective roles in salvation. It is God who predestines, elects, atones for and regenerates a sinner, draws him infallibly to Christ and providentially preserves him unto the end. The result of God's work [regeneration] is that a man is radically changed from one who begins as a sworn enemy of God to one who loves God and irresistibly seeks out reconciliation through Christ alone. Thus, "Salvation is of the Lord" (Jonah 2:9)
A man must do something before he can be JUSTIFIED, which is but one aspect of "salvation". But he can do nothing to obtain salvation; that has been accomplished 100% by God alone. In regeneration, God frees the sinner from the bondage of his sin nature and gives both the desire and ability to repent and believe. And because this new nature is superior to the old, the person is "irresistibly" drawn to Christ according to God's eternal counsel.
Tell me, what writer(s) have so influenced you, if there has been any, concerning this matter?
Perhaps this article by John Murray may help clear up any errors and misconceptions you hold: Irresistable Grace, by John Murray.
Pilgrim, I AGREE with this post. God frees the sinner from the bondage of his sin and nature and gives both the desire and ability to repent and believe.<img src="/forum/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
Tis a God-given desire and ability to repent and believe.