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#27877 Fri Sep 09, 2005 6:37 PM
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One thing I don't understand about Calvinism is it's teaching that the there are no conditions for a person to be saved. Salvation is all of grace states Calvinism. That doesn't make much sense. Either the person does the believing or God does it for the person. Also a person needs to be sorry for their sins and ask forgiveness.So does the person say I'm sorry, please forgive me or does God do that? So the human will must be willing to acknowledge their sins personally and believe the gospel at the same time.This makes more sense to me.

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delvanis said:
One thing I don't understand about Calvinism is it's teaching that the there are no conditions for a person to be saved. Salvation is all of grace states Calvinism. That doesn't make much sense. Either the person does the believing or God does it for the person. Also a person needs to be sorry for their sins and ask forgiveness.So does the person say I'm sorry, please forgive me or does God do that? So the human will must be willing to acknowledge their sins personally and believe the gospel at the same time.This makes more sense to me.


Let me try, <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> (forgive me if it is a simple language I use, English is my third language) God has chosen to redeem a people to Himself from eternity. And so the redeeming is all the work of The Triune God. It is the Holy Spirit that makes us see our sin, He makes us regret our sin and makes us look upon Jesus Christ as our Savior and mediator. He died in the place of sinners, and by that satisfied God the father.
When we are given faith, the Lord does change our will too. We are now made a people that want to do the will of God. The will of God is written in the Bible, and it is again the Holy Spirit that applies it to our hart. So repentance and believe are both given.


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delvanis said:

One thing I don't understand about Calvinism is it's teaching that the there are no conditions for a person to be saved. Salvation is all of grace states Calvinism. That doesn't make much sense.

That's called "Unconditional Election." This is one of the five points of Calvinism. The first question which we need to ask ourselves then is, Do we find this doctrine taught in the Scriptures?

Let us turn to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. There we read: “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before Him in love; having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,” 1:4, 5. In Romans 8:29, 30 we read of that golden chain of redemption which stretches from the eternity that is past to the eternity that is to come, — For whom He foreknew, He also foreordained to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He foreordained, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” Quoted from Boetner

We see this illustrated by the story of Nicodemus when he came to Jesus at night. Jesus told him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." (Jn. 3:3) Regeneration (new birth) is the act of God alone, in which He renews the human heart, making it alive when it was dead. In regeneration, God acts at the origin and deepest point of the human person. This means that there is no preparation, no preceding disposition in a sinner that requests or contributes to the new life given by God.

Elsewhere Jesus said, "Without me, you can do nothing"; and in speaking about salvation, "Without God, nothing is possible." Regeneration is the gift of God's grace. It is the immediate, supernatural work of the Holy Spirit wrought in us. Its effect is to quicken us to spiritual life from spiritual death. It changes the disposition of our souls, inclining our hearts toward God. The fruit of regeneration is faith. Regeneration precedes faith.

To understand Calvinism you also need to understand total depravity and that unless God's initiates a work of grace in our lives we will never repent and believe. However, when the Holy Spirit comes and changes our very nature through regeneration we have our eyes opened to our sin and that forgiveness is only possible through faith in Christ Jesus. Being transformed by grace we not only repent and believe but we live a life of faith and repentance enjoying fellowship with God and His church.

Total Depravity

Salvation By Grace Alone

Efficacious Grace


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delvanis said:
One thing I don't understand about Calvinism is it's teaching that the there are no conditions for a person to be saved. Salvation is all of grace states Calvinism. That doesn't make much sense. Either the person does the believing or God does it for the person. Also a person needs to be sorry for their sins and ask forgiveness.So does the person say I'm sorry, please forgive me or does God do that? So the human will must be willing to acknowledge their sins personally and believe the gospel at the same time.This makes more sense to me.
First of all, Calvinism does NOT teach that there are no "conditions". We much prefer, however, to speak of "prerequisites", i.e., there are certain things which must be present and done in order to be saved, e.g., conviction of sin, repentance and faith.

Man in his natural state is totally unable to be convicted, repent or believe because he hates God, loves himself and most of all he is wholly given over to sin. (Gen 6:5; 8:21; Jer 3:13; 7:19; Jh 3:19, 20; Rom 3:10-18; Eph 4:17-19; et al) Yet, man is responsible and required to repent and believe despite the fact that he is unable to do so. This is why what is most needed first is an act of effectual grace, i.e., a working of God the Holy Spirit to regenerate, make alive, resurrect, recreate a sinner's soul. And in so doing, a new nature is born which is then predisposed, inclined to hate sin, love God and desire to live a life of holiness.

Once the sinner is "born from above" by the sovereign work of the Spirit of God, through the means of the Word, conviction is formed in his heart and this new nature responds to this new apprehension of the corruption of his entire being, offensiveness of his thoughts, words and deeds before God and the guilt which he bares for not only the sins committed, but his very state of being under God's judgment in that he has inherited the punishment rendered to Adam at the Fall. The end result is an irresistible confession of and turning from sin (repentance), and a firm dependence on Christ as his substitute, Who by His atonement, has merited all that is needed to be reconciled to God.

So, man does the repentance and believing, but only AFTER God has first created within him a new heart which despises sin and yearns after God and holiness.

I hope that helps?

In His grace,


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If God causes the sinner to believe and repent, then the sinner does not freely choose God of his own will. In other words, the sinner may be influenced by the urging of the Holy Spirit, but if the sinner is helpless to refuse God's calling to salvation, then the sinner is responding as a mere robot. And not by a free consciuos choice of his will.

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delvanis said:
If God causes the sinner to believe and repent, then the sinner does not freely choose God of his own will. In other words, the sinner may be influenced by the urging of the Holy Spirit, but if the sinner is helpless to refuse God's calling to salvation, then the sinner is responding as a mere robot. And not by a free consciuos choice of his will.

How can a complete change of the will be opposed to the will?


Kyle

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That is the point I was making. If the human will is completely overtaken by God's power, whereas the person is unable to refuse God's calling to the gospel, then that person never had a free choice in the matter of I will or I won't.

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delvanis said:
That is the point I was making. If the human will is completely overtaken by God's power, whereas the person is unable to refuse God's calling to the gospel, then that person never had a free choice in the matter of I will or I won't.
But that is NOT what Calvinism believes nor does the Bible teach such a thing either, i.e., "the human will is completely overtaken by God's power"!! This is typically what those antagonistic to Calvinism and the truth of Scripture charge Calvinists with believing. Sorry, but it simply isn't true. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

Again.... man in his natural state is born with both an imputed guilt and an inherited corruption of nature. This depravity precludes any man from seeking God because the inclination of the heart/soul is toward sin. Put another way, the natural man has an insatiable desire, a hunger for sin and a complete hatred for God and righteousness. Thus comes the "inability" of the natural man to repent and believe. What person casts of what he loves most for something he hates and is thoroughly convinced he has no need of? No one! (Jh 6:44)

So, as a with a man who is born blind and who hates the light, so is the natural man toward God, Christ and righteousness. (Jh 3:19, 20; et al) What God does, is to "recreate" the will, i.e., the Spirit restores the soul, in principle, to that which it was in Adam before the Fall. Thus a new disposition/inclination is formed which hates sin, deeply desires reconciliation with God through the remission of sins and irresistibly turns to Christ, Who to the mind and affections of this new nature, is most lovely and Who alone is able to effect that which is most needed; salvation.

Thus, whereas the unregenerate man most "naturally" loves sin and hates God, the regenerate man most "naturally" hates sin and loves God. There is no forcing of the man's will for that which determines how the will acts (intellect and emotions/affections) is inclined toward God. There is certainly nothing unethical about God taking that which is only profitable to be cast into eternal hell and remaking it into a thing of beauty and priceless worth. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

In His grace,


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delvanis said:
That is the point I was making. If the human will is completely overtaken by God's power, whereas the person is unable to refuse God's calling to the gospel, then that person never had a free choice in the matter of I will or I won't.

The will isn't overtaken, but changed. Whereas before the work of the Spirit, the will is inclined toward sin and against God, after the work of the Spirit, the will is inclined toward God and against sin.


Kyle

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This is my point exactly. If God overtakes a person to believe and repent and that person MUST do so, how can that person have chosen God freely in the matter of salvation? I certainly believe a sinner is influenced by the gospel and the Holy Spirit to believe and repent, but this is not the same if the person is coerced to do so, where his power of choice is superseded. Otherwise the words of Jesus saying "whosoever will" are meaningless.

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I might add, all through the entire bible God has given men a choice to obey his commands, whether it was a matter of life or death, the promised land, or a personal need man sought. Man has always had the power of free choice. Even Pharaoh of Egypt was warned of God and countless kings and prophets in the bible.

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Delvanis,

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God has given men a choice to obey his commands, whether it was a matter of life or death, ... Man has always had the power of free choice

While I am certain that others here will challenge these assertions in depth on biblical grounds, let me ask you to consider the implications of 2 questions on a personal level:

1) Did God command your existence as a person?

2) Did you have any power of free choice to obey or disobey that command?

If God is just to give no free choice when he creates us out of the dust--and he is--how can you imply that he is unjust to give no free choice when he re-creates us, "born, not ... of the will of man, but of God."


In Christ,
Paul S
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delvanis said:
This is my point exactly. If God overtakes a person to believe and repent and that person MUST do so, how can that person have chosen God freely in the matter of salvation? I certainly believe a sinner is influenced by the gospel and the Holy Spirit to believe and repent, but this is not the same if the person is coerced to do so, where his power of choice is superseded. Otherwise the words of Jesus saying "whosoever will" are meaningless.

Then how do you deal with John 6:37:
All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will in no way cast out.

Will all the people the Father give to Jesus go to him?

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delvanis said:
I might add, all through the entire bible God has given men a choice to obey his commands, whether it was a matter of life or death, the promised land, or a personal need man sought. Man has always had the power of free choice. Even Pharaoh of Egypt was warned of God and countless kings and prophets in the bible.
1) God has indeed commanded all men to obey His commands/commandments. The primary commandments are summed up as: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength." and "Love your neighbor as yourself." However, what you have not considered and that which the Bible also teaches is that a command given does not imply that man is capable to obey that command. Rather what the Bible teaches is that God has the authority (right) to command His creatures to do whatever He pleases. And, all men are responsible to do all that is commanded of him, regardless whether or not he is capable of obeying. (see below)

2) Men have always been "free" to obey all that God has commanded according to his nature! Man's freedom is, first of all, restricted and determined by his nature (aka: inclination). Before the Fall, Adam and Eve had a holy nature, i.e., they were inclined toward God and all that is good. Thus they had the ability to obey God's commandments, since they were predisposed to all that was good. However, and this is where most people err, after Adam transgressed the explicit command to not eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, because of their sin, the punishment promised for disobedience was put on them. This punishment was "death"; physical, spiritual and eternal death. And it is the noetic affects of the Fall (aka: Original Sin) which is most often ignored and/or flatly denied. This "Original Sin" consisted of two elements: a) Guilt: violation of the explicit commandment to not eat of the fruit resulted in Adam and all his progeny to be guilty before God (Rom 5:12-18). Thus, all men are under the wrath of God and liable to judgment (eternal death). b) Corruption of Nature: also known as spiritual death (Eph 2:1-3; et al) immediately came upon Adam at the moment he sinned and can be seen in his hiding, lying, casting blame, etc. This corruption of nature radically changed Adam's disposition/predisposition. As said before, when Adam was created, his nature was inclined toward God and all that was good. After he sinned, he experienced spiritual death so that his inclination/predisposition was inclined against God and toward all that was evil. (Gen 6:5; 8:21; Job 14:4; 15:14-16; Ps 51:5; Eccl 9:3; Jer 17:9; Rom 3:10-18; Eph 4:17-19; et al) What this shows is that man's "freedom" was restricted according to that which he deemed desirable. A simple example might be seen by considering that a lion, for example, has no ability to fly or to do commerce, etc., because it has no desire (inclination/predisposition) whatsoever to fly or to start a business, etc. Men always do that which is most desirable to them at any given moment and in any given circumstance. Since men hate the light and love sin (Jh 3:18, 19), they cannot obey God because they will not obey God. The will is under the total influence and control of man's intellect and affections. No man can be forced to do what he has determined not to do.

John Gerstner gave this most illustrative example when he said, "I can be sitting here at my desk writing and a man can come in and put a gun to my head and threaten me with, 'Either stop writing or I'll shoot you!'. Even in such a radical situation, I still have freedom of choice; either stop writing or stop living. The choices may not be to my liking, but nevertheless I still have a choice. If my strongest desire is to go on writing, that is exactly what I will do. If my strongest desire is to go on living, they I will put down my pen. But regardless, there is nothing the man with the gun can do to force my will. He can only limit my choices.

Thus, because man since the Fall is "totally depraved" (possesses a corrupt nature) his choices are limited and determined by that nature, but he is still "free" to choose which sin he will think, say or do. Man is totally able/capable of committing any sin but he is not "free" (able/capable) of doing that which is good and right or loving God. Such things are most despicable to him and no amount of preaching, pleading, reasoning, etc., will ever convince him to change his mind any more than one could convince a lion to fly or to start a business. The ONLY way any man will ever repent of his sins and believe upon Christ is if he first undergoes a radical change of nature. And this is exactly what happens when God by His immeasurable grace sends His Spirit to regenerate a man's soul. He is thus "born anew". And this new nature created within him gives him the ability to comprehend his sinfulness, his guiltiness before God, the need for forgiveness and reconciliation, a love for God, and the understanding to know that the Lord Jesus Christ through His atonement is his only hope.

In His grace,


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delvanis

Others have given good answers, but I believe Pilgrim has answered your questions in a more detailed way.
Therefore it is my suggestion that for now, you read over his posts carefully and if you still have any objections or questions, post them.
I mention this because if you are like me, sometimes consentrating on answering too many posts only causes me to become confused and perhaps miss some relevant points.

Tom

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