21 January 2008

In What Sense Is Depravity Total?

by Phil Johnson

very member of Adam's race is born utterly depraved—fallen, alienated from God, and in bondage to evil. In Romans 6, Paul calls it slavery to sin. He furthermore says in Romans 6:20 that people who are slaves of sin are utterly devoid of true righteousness. All in such a state of sin and unbelief are God's enemies (Romans 5:8, 10). They are "alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds" (Colossians 1:21).

Totally.

Human depravity is "total" in the same sense death is total. You can't be partly dead. You can be really, really sick or critically injured and on life support, but you're either dead or alive. There are no degrees of death.

In fact, when Scripture describes human depravity, it's usually with the language of spiritual death.

Ephesians 2, for example, says people in their fallen state are dead in trespasses and sins—spiritually dead (v. 1). They walk in worldliness and disobedience (v. 2). They live in the lusts of their flesh, "indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and [are] by nature children of wrath, even as the rest" (v. 3). They are "separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world" (v. 12).

In Romans 8:6 Paul, says, "To be carnally minded is death." He is talking about the carnal-mindedness of unbelief, describing what it means to be totally depraved. He goes on to say (vv. 7-8), "The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God."

In other words, spiritual death is a total inability to love God, a total inability to obey Him, and a total inability to please Him.

Now, lots of non-Christians will deny that they are hostile toward God. But they are self-deceived. In fact, many who invoke the name of Christ and claim to love God actually do not love the God of the Bible. They love a god who exists only in their imagination—a tolerant, unholy, passive, feeble, weakling god. That is not the God of Scripture. The God of the Bible is too holy for sinners' tastes. He is too wrathful against sin. His standards are too high. His laws are not to their liking. So though they profess to love God, they do not love the one true God who has revealed Himself in Scripture. They are not able to love Him.

The inability to love God as we ought to is the very essence of total depravity. It leaves us impotent to fulfill the First and Great Commandment: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30). So everything the sinner ever does is permeated with sin, because he's living life in constant violation of the most important commandment of all.

On the other hand, "total depravity" does not mean that all sinners are always as bad as they could possibly be. It does not mean that every unbeliever will live out his or her depravity the fullest. It doesn't mean all non-Christians are morally equal to brute beasts or serial killers. It does not mean that unconverted people are incapable of acts of kindness or goodwill to fellow humans. In fact, Jesus Himself stated that unbelievers do good to people in return for good that is done to them (Luke 6:33).

The human race was created in the image of God. Though sin has spoiled that image, even non-Christians are capable of rising to great heights of human goodness, honesty, decency, and excellence. "Total" depravity does not mean that every unredeemed woman must be an angry, slobbering hag, or that every unbelieving man is a twisted, degenerate psychopath. It does mean that unbelievers, those who are in the flesh, cannot please God.

So the word total in "total depravity" refers to the extent of our sinfulness, not the degree to which we manifest it. It means evil has contaminated every aspect of our being—our wills, our intellect, our emotions, our conscience, our personality, and our desires.

In biblical terminology, sin has totally corrupted the human heart. Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?" If the heart is corrupt, the whole person is defiled.

By describing our depravity as heart-corruption, Scripture makes it clear that the real problem with us lies at the core of our being. Our very soul is infected by sin. Nothing about us remains pure. Our tendency to sin is unrelenting and ultimately unconquerable. Sin therefore defines who we are.

Before a perfectly holy and impeccably righteous God we are profane, sinful, thoroughly debased—no matter how good we appear in human terms. Being truly righteous is not merely hard for us; it's impossible.

That is as true of someone like Mahatma Gandhi or Mother Teresa as it was of Adolph Hitler or Jeffrey Dahmer. The relative goodness of the world's best people is never enough to merit God's approval. His only standard is absolute perfection. The best of sinners do not come close.

Let's illustrate: suppose every reader of Pyromaniacs lined up at Point Dume (the closest good swimming beach to my house), and we all tried to swim to Singapore. Most of us would probably drown before anyone reached Catalina—just 26 miles away. One thing is certain; no one would make it to Singapore. We'd all be dead long before the goal was met. If I were a gambler (I'm not) I'd bet everything I have that no one would even get as far as Hawaii, less than halfway.

Question: Would those who died before swimming two miles be any worse off than those who died twenty-three miles offshore? Of course not. All would be equally dead. The goal was just as hopeless for the trained, expert swimmer as it was for the fat guy who did his training by sitting in front of a computer blogging all day.

That is how it is with sin. All sinners stand condemned before God. Even the best of Adam's offspring are thoroughly sinful at heart. No matter how good they might appear through the lens of human judgment, they are in exactly the same hopeless state as the lowest degenerate—maybe even in a worse state, because it is harder for them to acknowledge their sin. So they compound their sin with self-righteousness.

People are prepared to be called sinners in their sin, but they do not want to be labeled sinners in their religion. But this is crucial: Human religion does not contradict depravity; it only proves it. Human religion substitutes other gods in the rightful place of the true God. It is the very essence of God-hating. It is false worship—nothing but an attempt to depose God. It is the very worst expression of depravity.

Remember—it was the Pharisees whom Jesus condemned with the harshest invective He ever uttered. Why? After all, they believed the Scriptures were literally true. They tried to obey the law rigidly. They weren't like the Sadducees, religious liberals who denied the supernatural. They were the theological fundamentalists of their day.

But they refused to recognize the bankruptcy of their own hearts. They trusted in themselves that they were righteous and went about trying to establish their own righteousness, instead of submitting to the righteousness of God (Romans 10:3). Remember what they told the man born blind in John 9:34? "You were born entirely in sins"—as if they weren't.

In other words, they rejected the doctrine of total depravity, and it led to their utter condemnation. Jesus said, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Mark 2:17). "The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).

They thought all their good works made them righteous. But religion and good works do not cancel out depravity. Depravity corrupts even the highest forms of religion and good works. George Whitefield said that God could damn us for the very best prayer we ever put up. John Bunyan agreed. He said he thought the best prayer he ever prayed still had enough sin in it to damn the whole world. Isaiah wrote, "We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away" (Isaiah 64:6).

Unredeemed sinners are therefore incapable of doing anything to please God. They cannot love the God who reveals Himself in Scripture. They cannot obey His law from the heart, with pure motives. They cannot even grasp the essentials of spiritual truth. First Corinthians 2:14 says, "A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised." Unbelievers are therefore incapable of faith. And "without faith it is impossible to please [God]" (Hebrews 11:1).

Note: The key word in all of that is inability. Sinners are totally unable to respond to God, apart from His enabling grace.

That's the starting point for a sound, biblical understanding of soteriology.

Phil's signature

265 comments:

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Theophilus said...

Well put.

The pharisee (then or now) is no more righetous in his own strength than the guy in "Weekend at Bernies" was truly alive. More of a grotesque parody of life. We are told by Jesus that our righteousness must exceed that of even the most rigorous Pharisees. (Enter: the imputed righteousness of the crucified and risen Christ)

I am reminded of Proverbs 15:8
"The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked,but the prayer of the upright pleases him."

The upright, at his most needy is preferred by God to the wicked at his most generous.

ChosenClay said...

OUTSTANDING!!!

DJP said...

Such a great and needed series. Well-done as usual, Phil.

Carrie said...

Excellent, Phil!!

donsands said...

Nice study. Thanks. I particularly enjoyed the swimming to Singapore illustration.
And also your bringing together the Scripture in such a fine way.

cslewis3147 said...

My wife and I are actually studying this very topic right now and she was having a hard time grasping what exactly it meant and I"m trying to do better at explaining things, this is an excellent piece that will help me explain it in a more accessible way, especially the swimming illustration. Are you going to extend the series to other points or just remain on total depravity?

SLW said...

"Unbelievers are therefore incapable of faith"
That is a jump you did not prove.
The Bible says faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. It is hearing the word of God that awakens faith, not redemption. Faith is like a seed, dormant or dead, lifeless, until activated by the correct stimulus.

Apart from that, thank you for a very illuminating and helpful description of total depravity.

Johnny Dialectic said...

"Note: The key word in all of that is inability. Sinners are totally unable to respond to God, apart from His enabling grace."

Indeed! Pictures of this enabling grace come to us in Cornelius, devout and God fearing before the arrival of Peter; and Lydia, whose heart was opened by the Spirit.

And me. As far back as I can remember, I believed in God, and that was all his initiative. When I heard the gospel in high school, and responded, it was because of his enabling grace. All credit and glory to God.

stratagem said...

Lately I've come to appreciate how selective I am in recognizing commandments. I think I have fully repented, then I realize that all I've done is repent of the commandments I choose to emphasize or recognize. In actual fact, I'm pretty sure I've never done a selfless act. On my own, I'd be totally dead, spiritually. In fact, I'd look a lot like that cat, to the Lord.

DJP said...

SLW"Unbelievers are therefore incapable of faith"
That is a jump you did not prove.


Does faith please God?

SLW said...

Yes, djp, faith does please God, but it does not follow that redemption is the stimulus that awakens it in depraved man, that would be an assumption, in my view unwarranted from scripture. No one can come to faith apart from hearing the word of God.

The Doulos said...

Well said Phil. The "total" in total depravity is so often misunderstood. In addition to total inability, I would also say that we are totally lacking the desire to please God, to obey, etc. It's not as if we want to be obedient but are unable, but rather that we have no desire to obey Him due to our depraved inability. It's in our depraved natures to be hostile to God. This is a point sometimes misssed in this whole discussion.

I also go back to what Bonhoeffer said: "We are not sinners because we commit sin; we commit sin because we are sinners." Apart from Christ, we do what our nature dictates. Or as that old Buck Owens song goes, "Doin' What Comes Naturally."

The Doulos said...

slw: No one can come to faith apart from hearing the word of God.

Agreed, but I think you miss the point. How can a person who is spiritually dead hear and receive the word of God? Thay can't, they are unable. That's the point - unless God intervenes and spiritually resurrects the dead sinner (regeneration), they cannot receive the word of God and cannot respond in faith.

Kim said...

Excellent; just excellent. The swimming analogy was really great.

I appreciated this so much even thought the graphic of that cat (that is a cat isn't it?) will probably give me nightmares.

odmorale said...

Johnny Dialectic,

I think a better example than Cornelius is Paul himself on his way to persecute and imprison the followers of God and transformed on the way.

He was regenerated instantly. That regenrated life was then able to submit and obey the Lord. He was enabled to respond with faith.

SLW said...

Doulos,
I understand your point, I just disagree with it. From my perspective you are making an assumption that the only way a person can hear is if they are already a believer. I can't see that from the scripture. Are you saying that God's word doesn't carry within it the power of God to break through the depravity of man? If so, how do you explain Abraham's reaction to God's intervening word?

odmorale said...

SLW:

In addition to what Doulos said I would that not only is the sinner unable, but he does not desire it, he does not want anything to do with God, unless it is a God that he has created.

odmorale said...

SLW:

Even according to your own view, you would have to admit that the Word has to penetrate that depravity to such an extent that it would enable that person to change his mind (repent) and accept in faith the word that was given.

When someone "chooses" to follow Christ, they have already made a decision in their mind and heart prior to an actual confession or actual steps of obedience.

But what enabled that person to do so when everything in Scripture show that they are not able and in fact have no desire either?

I think that is what Phil is pointing out. That Total Depravity leads to Sovereign election.

odmorale said...

Thanks Phil for great post.

SLW said...

odmorale,
You see, I think, the inevitability of the argument clearly, and hence also the irresolution of it. I am not Calvinistic, because I don't see depravity in a Calvinistic perspective (although I largely agree with what Phil wrote today, thanks again Phil for the enlightenment) nor the way it inevitably leads to the Calvinistic construct of election. I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree.

donsands said...

slw, How do you see this portion of Scripture?

Jesus said, "I told you, and you believed not: the works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me.
But you believe not, because you are not of My sheep, as I said unto you.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." John 10:25-27

stratagem said...

I have no idea why He chose to regenerate me, seeing as how I am, left to myself, as totally depraved as what Phil describes. The fact is, no one knows why he chooses to regenerate some, and not regenerate others. Consider what He said to the Hebrews, and then to the Corinthian Christians...

The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. (Deut 7:7..)

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." (1 Cor. ch. 1)

SLW said...

donsands,
Does the verse necessitate saying they believed because God made them do so? I say no, my guess is that you would say yes. One can take the verse either way.

SolaMeanie said...

Slw,

Is all faith saving faith? Does Romans 12:3 apply only to believers, or does it apply also to unbelievers?

John Smith said...

Excellent post! It helped me because it cleared up for me something that I was having trouble with and not seeing. You are right, unconditonal election is not completely tenable without a foundation of total depravity. Do you think that it goes on from there, that is that particular redemption can only be rightly understood in the light of depravity and election and so on?? It looks like a Calvinistic Soteriology must logically flow from points 1 to 5 or you run aground trying to defend one point taken out of the whole framework. Thanks again for the help. - John Smith

The Doulos said...

slw: I understand your point, I just disagree with it. From my perspective you are making an assumption that the only way a person can hear is if they are already a believer. I can't see that from the scripture. Are you saying that God's word doesn't carry within it the power of God to break through the depravity of man? If so, how do you explain Abraham's reaction to God's intervening word?

I think you are blending regeneration with faith. To be "a believer" means to have responded to the Gospel, as communicated by God's word, in faith. But again, as a spiritually dead sinner, the only way a person is able or will choose to do so is by God first regenerating them, resurrecting them to spiritual life. God's word certainly contains the power of the Gospel, but it is never operative apart from the regenerative power of His Spirit. Consider Jesus' words to Nicodemus in John 3: "Unless one is born again (regenerated) he cannot see the kingdom of God." The depraved sinner must be born of the Spirit before they can even see or perceive of the kingdom of God proclaimed in the Gospel.

In fact this is exactly the principle we see in Abram. He never would have even had the ability to hear God or respond to Him unless God had first raised Abram to spiritual life so that he could respond in faith to God's revelation of Himself by His word. And the result: "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." Regeneration, then receiving the word, then responding in faith, and then righteousness imputed. It's the logical ordo salutis.

SLW said...

solameanie,
Let me brush past your first question to answer the second. Personally, I've always taken that verse broadly, but I do understand that is not necessitated by the verse itself. One could interpret it narrowly within context to refer only to the believing audience of the epistle.

Chris Roberts said...

How wonderful that God has given this enabling grace to all people, enabling all people to respond even though all are totally fallen. How amazing that God so loves all people that he sent his son to die for all that all might have the opportunity of life with him. How sad that so many reject the offer of salvation.

odmorale said...

SLW:

I do not see an irresolution to this. I believe it to be perfectly fine to agree to disagree, but we definitely cannot ignore the passages that Phil referred us to.

Taken in context the conclusion is that man has no ability and no desire to seek God because of his spiritual deadness, hard heartedness, lack of spiritual discernment, etc.

Phil, I believe any of the bloggers here, would deny Romans when it says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

The point is ability.

Let me come at this another way.

Faith comes by hearing correct? And that by the Word of God?

A person must respond to the Gospel in faith to be saved correct?

Therefore, the faith that is imparted was not within the sinner, according to the passage in Romans.

That saving faith came from God.

But wait, faith is something that is spirtually discerned and therefore, according to Scripture the fallen person cannot respond and will not unless he/she is enabled.

That is not opnion, but Scripture. As Phil pointed out Total Depravity is not a Calvinistic or reformation creation.

Dawn said...

SLW, it's the same with me. I agreed with every word Phil said in this post except for that one sentence you pointed out.

"Unbelievers [I take that to simply mean the unregenerate] are therefore incapable of faith."

The doulous says that the spiritually cannot hear and receive the word, but that's not what Jesus said. He says the dead CAN hear and ARE capable of believing BEFORE they are born again as seen in the verses below. (Verse 25 is not referring to a final resurrection as it says NOW is the hour.)

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

John 5:25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and NOW is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (emphasis added)

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

It depends upon a man's heart. (Mark 4:2-20; Romans 10:9-10)

odmorale said...

I've already been wording but I need to make a correction.

Phil nor any of the bloggers would not deny nor reject the Romans passage.

odmorale said...

Dawn please read my post above yours.

I think the struggle and the disagreement is regarding regeneration and at what point it occurs.

If I understand you and SLW correctly, your view is that faith precedes regeneration.

Is that your position?

Johnny Dialectic said...

"Scripture teaches both that the work of salvation rests upon the will of God, and not upon the will of man; and (secondly, the equally sure doctrine) that the will of man has its proper position in the work of salvation, and is not to be ignored." -- Charles Spurgeon

SLW said...

odmorale,
I would take exception to your assertion:
"...faith is something that is spirtually discerned and therefore, according to Scripture the fallen person cannot respond and will not unless he/she is enabled."
That is the jump Phil made that is not justified or proven in my mind.

Daryl said...

Dawn,

"It depends upon a man's heart. (Mark 4:2-20; Romans 10:9-10)"

That sounds like you are saying that the saved are saved because they had a better heart than the unbelievers, and so repented.

I hope I misunderstand but that's how it sounds.

I'd also like to bring Romans 9:16 into the mix here:

"So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy"

Paul is clearly indicating that it is not our works (no one here deny's that I don't think) or even our will (a lot of denying that one around this thread) but on God's mercy. That's why, earlier in the chapter, Paul emphasized that it was BEFORE the twins (JAcob & Esau) were born and had done anything right or wrong, that he said "Jacob I have loved, Esau I have hated."

We really need to understand the "before they were born" part and also, our Arminian brothers need to give a satisfactory answer to the question (previously asked I think) "What made you respond to the gospel and your neighbour not respond?". Any answer other than "God" is suspect, because, like it or not, it puts the final credit onto our shoulders, where it does not belong.

donsands said...

slw,
Thanks.

"How sad that so many reject the offer of salvation."

Why didn't you reject, and why would someone else reject?

Stefan said...

I am not at all ashamed to say that it is entirely by God's doing that I was saved, and that even the act of hearing the Gospel, receiving the gift of salvation was entirely by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, and not by my own will at all.

I was born and raised an atheist, who didn't believe in God at all, and had a strictly materialistic conception of the universe. I have always had a skeptical streak, and as little as a year ago, put no stock in the miracles of Scripture, or its Divine authorship. God had been leading me by degrees for twenty years since I first discerned His call, but I was still an agnostic, a secularist, a pluralist, a universalist.

I had no idea what Jesus meant when he told Nicodemus, "You must be born again," but I was pretty sure I didn't want to be like "those" Christians who call themselves born again.

But the Lord God changed my worthless, sinful heart, and 361 days ago, brought me down on my knees in repentance, my life paid for by the blood of Christ. I still struggle with my natural desire to live in disobedience to God, but now praise God, at least I'm aware that it is a struggle, whereas before I didn't care, since I judged myself by the world's standards, and figured I looked pretty good.

All this is to say, that it would be a terrible offense for me to dare to say that I, a proud, intellectual humanist from a multi-generational atheist family, chose God. The Lord God in His grace and mercy, inexplicably chose me in spite of myself, and all I can do is try to respond in repentance and obedience at this wholly unmerited gift.

Dawn said...

Odmorale, you said, "Taken in context the conclusion is that man has no ability and no desire to seek God because of his spiritual deadness, hard heartedness, lack of spiritual discernment, etc."

On his own, man will not seek God, but God draws all men (which includes all KINDS of men) (John 12:32) and He does so in various ways. He lights man (John 1:9). His creations points to Himself (Romans 1:20). His laws are written in the hearts men. (Romans 2:15). He places them in their habitations that they might seek Him. (Acts 17:26-27)

Man CAN understand the simple gospel. 1 Corinthians 2:14 is speaking of the "deeper" things of God.

Dawn said...

Daryl, did you read the scriptures I provided for it depending upon a person's heart as to whether they will accept or reject the gospel?(What do those scriptures mean to you?) I am not saying that man saves himself; rather, the condition of his heart is what determines his acceptance or rejection of the gospel. God does all the saving. If man has not choice, how then is he held responsible? (I'm really looking forward to Phil's post on that one.)

SLW said...

the doulos,
If I understand your point, you are positing regeneration as requisite for salvation (saving faith). The practical implication of doing so is that they are of the same cloth. Is it possible to be regenerated and not believe? So I don't see my confounding of the concepts as erroneous. From my perspective you end up offering a self-referencing loop: You can't be saved unless you believe, you can't believe unless you've been saved (regenerated).

As for Abram, you're not suggesting that Abram was regenerated are you? If so, on what basis since Christ had not come, died, and rose from the dead yet.

odmorale said...

SLW,

It's not your mind or mine that matter, but the truth of the Word God.

1 Cor. 2:14: "But a natural man does not (active choice) accept the things of the Spirit of God (would that not include the Gospel, which is what the passage in Romans is referring to?) for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot (inability) understand them, because they are Spiritually appraised" (discerned).

Parenthetical statements are mine.

Phil is not jumping. He is just seeing what Scripture is plainly stating about the unbeliever and accepting it.

Paul said...

When we talk about “hearing” and such things it may be helpful to remember that “hearing” does not mean the sense by which sound is perceived which is how we would normally understand it. When the Bible talks about “hearing” it usually means to understand. As Phil and others have pointed out, a un-regenerate man cannot understand the things of the Spirit.

If we understand that, then it is easy to see where our Arminian friends are going wrong. They take the “hear” to mean an audible sound, but that is not the way the Bible uses it in most cases. So while people may “hear” they cannot “understand”.

Daryl said...

Dawn,

You said "God draws all men"

Any thoughts on this?

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."

So, those whom the Father draws, will be raised up on the last day. To say the Father draws all men is to therefore teach univeralism.

I'm sure you don't believe that, so how does John 6 fit into your theology?

Daryl said...

Dawn

(Re- your answer about a man's heart being the difference)

To say that is to say that in me is some good thing worthy of salvation. Paul's insistence that we were chosen before creation (Ephesians 1) denies any consideration of my heart.

odmorale said...

Dawn,

Please re-read 1 Corinthians 2. The deep mystery is the Gospel that is now revealed.

That's what Paul is talking about.

He's saying that the unbeleiver will not and cannot accept it.

You are pouring meaning into the texts you have provided.

Dawn said...

Daryl, you said, ""What made you respond to the gospel and your neighbour not respond?". Any answer other than "God" is suspect, because, like it or not, it puts the final credit onto our shoulders, where it does not belong."

According to God's word it is man's responsibility to accept or reject Him. If man is responsible, then he must have the ability to accept or reject.

Where does it say in the bible that man gets the credit for his salvation by simply receiving God's gift?

Where does it say that God chose Jacob for salvation and Esau for hell?

Paul said...

So is it your position that Esau is in heaven?

Dawn said...

Daryl, Ephesians 1 says that God chose "believers" for salvation.

Then what are those scriptures saying. Please answer.

odmorale said...

Paul,
I agree with your statement. It is fact that hearing is being misinterpreted.

SLW said...

odmorale,
I am just as dependent upon the word as you. What you see clearly as an unavoidable repercussion of that word, I don't see at all. Perhaps things aren't so clear afterall, or maybe we each bring our own baggage to the task?

odmorale said...

Dawn,

You are making the common error of equating responsibilty with ability.

God commanded Ezekiel to proclaim the truth, to call the Jews to repentance and obedience, but He also told Ezekiel that they would not accept it.

I would encourage to you to read Ezekiel.

Jim said...

All of us are born spiritual ignorant, not stupid. Through Adam, we are born spiritually dead. The nineteenth-century Scottish commentator John Eadie described it as a case of "death walking". Spiritually dead people are like zombies--they don't know they're dead and they're still going through the motions of living.

John 6:63
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

God is a sovereign God and we have to understand that somehow, mysteriously, within the framework of predestination and within the framework of His sovereignty and the framework of election, which I believe in, there is a place for human freewill which is whether they respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

Unregenerated person means spiritually dead person. Sin is separation from God meaning spiritually dead facing eternal death. Born-again means spiritually alive facing eternal life.

Sin is where an unregenerate person runs away from God, meaning that a person called a "fugitive" that as a sinner, it is a person's inclination is to flee from God. Death is universal spiritually and also by nature. Physically we are born alive however spiritually dead. When we have Jesus Christ in our lives, we no longer spiritually dead but spiritually alive even though our physical body will continue to decay and will die someday. A spiritually dead person cannot will himself to live anymore than a physically dead person can will himself to come back to life. If the dead person (spiritually or physically) is to come back to life he/she will have to be resurrected by God. In the spiritual realm this means he/she must be born from above. A spiritually dead person is without the Holy Spirit, therefore we do not have the "ability" to get saved on our own. We need the Holy Spirit to prick and quicken us to be alive. Without the Holy Spirit is TOTAL DEPRAVITY". The Holy Spirit is the only person that can quicken people to be saved.

odmorale said...

SLW,

You speak of baggage, but I'm speaking of accepting what it says.

1 Cor 2:14 is not the only passage that describes the unbeliever and his condition.

You would have to inject what you call baggage in order to not accept what the text is saying.

The words are strong. DOES NOT, CANNOT.

How do you interpret those words?

Daryl said...

Dawn,

Here's the verse from Ephesians 1.
No mention of chosing believers (as in chosing because they believed) but rather of chosing "us", that is, specific people, not an inspecified generality.

Eph 1 : 4-5 "...just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him In love he predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, "

No mention of belief as a precondition for election but only "the kind intention of his will"

What say you?

Daryl said...

There's also the little matter of Acts 13:48 to be considered:

"48When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed."

Notice that the appointment precedes the believing again reinforcing our lack of participation until after regeneration occurs.

SLW said...

Paul,
Your point about perception (hearing) is a valid one, and, for the record, what I had in mind; otherwise, how would the deaf be saved?

Paul said...

slw,

If you understand the 'hearing" is saying "understanding" then it should be easy to see that a spiritually dead person cannot understand spiritual things, hence the need for quickening/regeneration. They are like two peas in a pod.

I look forward to this series and all that it will bring.

Dawn said...

Odmorale, you said, "Please re-read 1 Corinthians 2. The deep mystery is the Gospel that is now revealed.

That's what Paul is talking about.
"

The time of the Lord's first coming WAS a mystery which has now been revealed. It is no longer a mystery.

Starting at v 9 is what Paul is talking about in v 14.

Chapter 3 vs 1-3 emphasize this train of thought. Even the babes in Christ were so carnal that they could not understand the deeper things of God, the meat of the word.

You said, "He's saying that the unbeleiver will not and cannot accept it."

He is not saying that the unbeliever CANNOT accept the gospel. He is saying that the unbeliever cannot understand the deeper things of the Spirit.

1:21 says that it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. It simply says that the gospel is foolishness to those who do not believe. It does not say they cannot believe.

You said, "You are pouring meaning into the texts you have provided."

And I think you are.

Daryl said...

Dawn,

"He is not saying that the unbeliever CANNOT accept the gospel. He is saying that the unbeliever cannot understand the deeper things of the Spirit."

What might those deeper things be?

Daryl said...

Dawn,

Here's the verse in 1 Cor. 3

14But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. "

Where did you come up with "deeper things of the Spirit", Paul just says "things of the Spirit". I think we have to take that to mean 'anything of the Spirit' and not try to limit to some undefined area of Spirit stuff.

The Doulos said...

slw: If I understand your point, you are positing regeneration as requisite for salvation (saving faith). The practical implication of doing so is that they are of the same cloth. Is it possible to be regenerated and not believe? So I don't see my confounding of the concepts as erroneous. From my perspective you end up offering a self-referencing loop: You can't be saved unless you believe, you can't believe unless you've been saved (regenerated).

Regeneration is not the same thing as saved. Regeneration is God's act in resurrecting to life the spiritually dead sinner. SO THAT they can understand and respond to Christ and His Gospel in faith. Which they inevitably do, because they have been given a new living spiritual nature. So no, it is not possible for someone to be regenerate and not believe (be saved), but the second is logically dependent on the first. A right understanding of total depravity as Phil presents here requires that.

As for Abram, you're not suggesting that Abram was regenerated are you? If so, on what basis since Christ had not come, died, and rose from the dead yet.

I am of course stating that Abram was regenerate, and so does Paul in Galatians among other places. If he had not been regenerated, he could not have believed God, and he could not have been justified (declared righteous). Justification has always been by faith - faith in God's promises and covenants, fulfilled in time by the Messiah.

Dawn,
I see no contradiction in any of the passages you listed. Yes, faith comes by hearing the word of God. And Christ indeed said that the dead shall hear, and have eternal life. But how can a spiritually dead person "hear"? That was Christ's point in John 5 - that some of the dead will be made able to hear (regenerated) and will believe and will have eternal life. He states then the reality of what occurs in them - that they have passed from a state of death to a state of life. I think you are reading sequence into these passages, that isn't there.

Bottom line: a Biblical understanding of total depravity requires that regeneration logically precedes faith. And that regeneration is a monergistic work of God and Him alone (redundant, I know) in the heart of the elect.

Daryl said...

Dawn,

Further to that, I take "understand" in that context to mean something like "understand and believe".

Why?

Because of the line 'for they are foolishness to him'. So I take that to mean he can understand them intellectually, that is, he can grasp what you are saying, but he cannot understand that they are so. As a result, he cannot believe.

Daryl said...

Doulos,

Well said.

maritus imperfectus said...

Great post. I am looking forward to the rest of the series, and the comments that it generates!

I can see the scriptural support for the total depravity argument, especially in light of today’s post. I am not as clear on the scriptural support for the ‘prevenient grace’ position, which as I understand it, would be an argument against total depravity (please correct me if I am wrong).

To help me understand, it would wonderful if the scriptures showing the ‘prevenient grace’ position be as clear as those used today.

For example, today’s post used Ephesians 2 to show the biblical language that man is dead, as well as I Cor 2:14 to show how the natural man cannot understand spiritual things. So, if the scripture you point me towards could be as equally clear, I would appreciate that. Thank you in advance for helping me get a better understanding on this topic.

AbrahamKonda said...

Even the unbelievers that seem to be/do good are enabled by common grace to do so. if this common grace is withheld, i believe, every unregenerate person would live out his depravity to the fullest.

DJP said...

Since it is, Biblically, a fairly simple issue, I want to keep this simple.

1. SLW"Unbelievers are therefore incapable of faith"
That is a jump you did not prove.


2. DJPDoes faith please God?

3. SLWYes, djp, faith does please God, but... (blah blah blah)

Then there is no leap, as Phil has demonstrated that man is in himself incapable of producing that which pleases God.

QED — if you're interested in a Biblical anthropology.

If you're fighting for a beloved human tradition, you're on your own.

The Doulos said...

abrahamkonda:

Exactly! Praise God for His grace in all of it's various forms. It's only by Him that we are all kept from being Hitlers or worse.

Mike said...

Dawn,

You said:
"If man is responsible, then he must have the ability to accept or reject."


Really? Says who? It seems that a lot of this argument would be settled if only this statement could be demonstrated to be a Biblical concept. To me, however, it has always looked to be directly at odds with Romans 9:19-21.

Daryl said...

Maritus,

I think you may be confusing the Arminian doctrine of prevenient grace with the semi-pelgian belief (shown in this thread) that man is not totally depraved at all, but may still respond to God.

The Arminian belief is that all men are totally depraved and can only respond to God if he overcomes that depravity by his prevenient (as compared to saving) grace. Prevenient grace does not save but rather, affords the sinner a chance to repent.
Wesley believed that the gospel can only be responded to at the time p. grace was extended and that there was no guarantee that, if salvation were to be rejected, p. grace would ever be extended again. (Not sure if that belief goes for all Arminians, but it was Wesley's position.)

That is what is so troubling about most of "evangelicalism" today, the non-Calvinist position is no longer Arminianism, but Semi-pelagianism, a position both sides rejected as unbiblical and unChristian.

Your point is valid though. Where in Scripture does the idea of prevenient grace come from?

SLW said...

Paul,
I stand by the word, which says that hearing comes by the word of God, not by regeneration-- conviction, yes, regeneration, no.

odmorale said...

Daryl and Doulos,

Thanks for your comments. they are much clearer than mine.

Daryl said...

Dawn,

As it happens, Paul also addressed the issue of man's inability not removing his responsibility.

See Romans 9:18-following

"So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?" On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it?"

The answer is clear, to those who say "that's not fair, how can I be responsible if God won't let me repent" God says "who are you?"

Daryl said...

It seems to me that the real issue here is this:

Why should I insist on my freedom to respond to the gospel all the while denying God's freedom to save whoever he wants, without asking permission first?

After all, it's his world, not mine. I have no rights.

Paul said...

slw,

No problem, but it seems that your position is a bit convoluted. You agree that hearing is understanding and that the un-regenerate man cannot understand the things of the Spirit. How then does the un-regenerate man come to understand the gospel? Would you not say that in order for him to believe the gospel, that his spirit must first be enabled so that he can even begin to grasp the spiritual meaning of the gospel?

SLW said...

djp
In the interest of simplicity, point not proved:
you say faith must be produced by regeneration
the word says that it is produced by hearing.

I could care less about human traditions and don't understand the reference.

SolaMeanie said...

Isn't faith itself a gift of God? Can an unbeliever have saving faith without it being granted him?

Daryl said...

Actually slw, the Word says faith is a gift...

Eph 2:8 "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;"

Daryl said...

Incidentally, repentance is also a gift from God

1 Tim2:25
"...with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth"

Question: Why doesn't God grant everyone that gift?

Answer: 'Cause he's God, he can do what he wants.

Dawn said...

Daryl, you said, "Here's the verse from Ephesians 1.
No mention of chosing believers (as in chosing because they believed) but rather of chosing "us", that is, specific people, not an inspecified generality.

Eph 1 : 4-5 "...just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him In love he predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, "

No mention of belief as a precondition for election but only "the kind intention of his will"
"

Who is Paul addressing? He is addressing the saints (believers) at Ephesus. Who is the "us" that has been chosen? Those who have heard the gospel and believed as seen in vs 11-13. (See also Matthew 22:2-14 and 1 Corinthians 1:21 for such a pre-condition and what pleases God.) From before the foundation of the world, God determined that believers would be holy and blameless before Him in love.

The kind intention of His will is to predestinate believers unto the adoption of children by Christ Jesus to Himself and to obtain and inheritance.

God works all things after the counsel of His own will. What is the counsel of His own will? vs 12-13 That those who hear the word of truth and trust in Christ would be saved and sealed with the oly Spirit of promise...

Ephesians 1 is simply explaining who we (believers) are and in Christ and the spiritual blessing we have in Christ. We know that we are saved through faith by grace.

SLW said...

Paul,
I don't see the convolution. No one can believe apart from the conviction, stimulation, drawing, wooing, etc. of the Holy Spirit. Does that require the entirety of regeneration to accomplish? I don't see the scripture saying that.

odmorale said...

SLW:

You say you stand by the Word of God, but you gloss those that you cannot refute and cling to those that support your position.

Colossians 2:13 "When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive (regenerated) together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions".

None here deny that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, but please look at the passages that Phil referred to and those posted here.

How does the unbeliever in that terrible condition that Scripture describes him to be in repsond with faith to that WORD?

Daryl said...

Dawn,

Wow, that's a stretch.

So then I assume you would agree to the theoretical possiblity that no one would respond to the gospel (all our choice after all) and so heaven would be empty of all but angels and God? Thus rendering the cross a colossal failure?

In fact, if one person does not respond despite the fact the God wants them to, the cross is at least a partial failure. Agreed?

See, under your system, Christ's blood purchased no one. It only made salvation available.
Christ, then, did not act as your substitute, but merely made a bet, hoping you'd take it.

Why is it that we want to imagine that we are free as regards salvation, but God is not?

Dawn said...

Daryl, you still have not answered the following.

Where does it say in the bible that man gets the credit for his salvation by simply receiving God's gift?

Where does it say that God chose Jacob for salvation and Esau for hell?

What do these scriptures mean? Romans 10:9-10 and Mark 4:3-20

odmorale said...

Something had to have happened in the Spiritually dead. Because if he remains spiritually dead he will not make any acts toward God.

How can he?

His has to be made spiritually alive in order to respond to something that is spiritual.

Paul said...

slw,

What do you mean by "entirety of regeneration"?

In order for an un-regenerate man to respond to the gospel, which is the spiritual thing talked about in 1 Cor. 2:14 even though some people here fail to grasp that, he must first be given spiritual life. If he does not have that then he is like the ones that were with Paul on the Damascus road, they "heard" something, but did not "understand" what it said/meant.

Dawn said...

Paul, you said, "So is it your position that Esau is in heaven?"

No.

Dawn said...

Daryl, you said, "Any thoughts on this?

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."

So, those whom the Father draws, will be raised up on the last day. To say the Father draws all men is to therefore teach univeralism."

John 12:32 states that God draws all men. John 6:44 is stating that all who come to Jesus will be raised up on the last day.

To say the Father draws all men (including all kinds of men) does not teach universalism.

Paul said...

Dawn,

What do you think Romans 10:9-10 is saying?

Do you believe that with man's corrupt heart that he is able to believe unto righteousness?

Again, you may have answered this but is it your view that Esau is in heaven?

Jerry said...

...the fat guy who did his training by sitting in front of a computer blogging all day.

Hey!

I represent that remark.

Paul said...

Dawn,

You mean that in John 12:32 that Jesus is saying that he will draw every single person that has ever been born to Him? If you answer no then you already put a limit to the all.

Daryl said...

Dawn,

Sorry about that, here goes.

Romans 10:9-10

"that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. "

They mean what they say. but the question under consideration is not what constitutes a biblical response to the gospel, but rather, who will respond at all. Romans 10:9-10 does not address this question.

Mark 4:3-20 (parable of the sower)
Again. Same thing. Here we are told what kind of soil (heart) responds to the gospel. No mention of how the soil came to be good soil. So the question we are discussing, is not being addressed here either.

The Bible is full of references the describe how one recieves the gospel. It is also full of references to our inability to respond outside of God granting that response.

-Where does it say in the bible that man gets the credit for his salvation by simply receiving God's gift?

Simple answer. It doesn't. What is does say is that faith is a gift of God. Where does it say that God gives everyone that gift?

On the other hand...

Romans 9 16

"So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy."

Not all are save (on this we agree) so, independent of our action or will, God does not show mercy to all.

If receiving a gift is not to our credit, does it not also follow that not-receiving it is not to our discredit?

Where does it say that God chose Jacob for salvation and Esau for hell?

Romans 9:13

"Just as it is written, "JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED."

Can one go to heaven if they are hated by God? I don't think so.


Have you got anything for Acts 13:48
"When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed"

Question: Which came first, the appointment, or the believing?

odmorale said...

Dawn,

I'm sure Daryl will respond, but

Mark 4:3-20- the obvious question to go along with this whole thread is how did the good soil become good, because Scripture describes everyone as bad soild that is not receptive to the seed?

Romans 10:9-10

How does the spiritually dead person get to the point where he/she will confess Jesus and believe in his heart?

Please explain how he gets from the several passages that state he does not, cannot, his heart is darkened, he sees the gospel as foolishness?

donsands said...

" predestinate believers" -Dawn


"Moreover whom He did predestinate, those He also called: and whom He called, those He also justified: and whom He justified, those He also glorified."

Who are those, and whom? believers? I don't think so. That's forcing it a bit.

Those are God's elect, or chosen. The ones God elected before He created the universe, and so, definitely before they were calle, and came to faith, and were believers. God called us while we were yet ungodly, and died for us, and He justified us.

Who are these children? Eph. 2:3: we are "by nature the children of wrath". But God .... even when we were dead in sins.
God chose children of wrath, and predetermioned to bring them to faith for salvation, through grace, so that no one can boast.

Daryl said...

Dawn,

On the John 6:44 thing. The verse says that those the Father draws, Christ will raise up on the last day. So it has to teach either universalism or unconditional election. They connection between the one the Father draws and the one he raises up on the last day is a direct one.

The Greek is even more clear on this. (So say the Greek scholars I've listened to...)

Dawn said...

It's getting really hard for me to keep up with these posts and I doubt I will be able to keep up.

Anyway, Odmorale, you said, "If I understand you and SLW correctly, your view is that faith precedes regeneration.

Is that your position?"

Yes, my position is that faith precedes regeneration which, to me, John 5:24-25 shows us.

Daryl said...

Dawn,

John 5:24 says :

"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."

Notice it says "he who...believes...HAS PASSED..."

Past tense. That is, the one who believes, has already passed.

I think it proves the opposite of what you're claiming.


P.S. I think you're keeping up just fine. Now if we could just convince you... :)

Dawn said...

donsands,

You conveniently left off "Those whom He foreknew." God foreknew those who would believe.

I know you disagree.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (John 5:25)

Faith obviously does precede regeneration. As Dawn already cited from John 5:25, those that hear Christ shall live, not those that live shall hear Christ.

DJP said...

SLW, it's pretty apparent to me that you're all about human tradition, in this case.

Evidence? Person after person has given you direct Biblical evidence, countering your assertions.

Your pretty much invariable response? "I don't see it that way."

So for instance, your position on this particular issue: dead, but not deaf? Dead, but able to respond?

It's all about what you want to believe, not about what the Bible says.

Paul said...

Dawn,

Again, what we have in John 5:25 is clear and if you can truly grasp it then you will be out of this fog that you seem to be in. It is true that ALL will hear, but notice the difference that some of the dead will “hear” and live. What is being pointed out here is what has been pointed out before that “hear” means understand and obey so while ALL hear not all understand. Why do not all understand? Because they do not have the Spirit or what you seem to define as the deeper things of God. A good example of this is Paul and his companions on the Damascus road. All “heard” something, but only Paul understood and obeyed.

Daryl said...

J.C.

Perhaps you have an answer to Acts 13:48?

Daryl said...

J.C.

So, was it a good thing that you did? Believing, I mean.

Gilbert said...

Phil Johnson:

Thank you so much for your post! I was very edified by it, and I'm just going to let that and the Scriptures swim around in my head, heart and soul the rest of the day.

The Doulos said...

DJP - Thanks you for stating the obvious here. I was starting to type a similar but much less gracious and edifying response to slc & dawn. That and going AAAAAHHHHHH!

I'm done now.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Paul, but notice that hearing precedes being brought to life; hence the way one understands the gospel is by grace, not regeneration.

Daryl, all who are saved are elect according to the foreknowledge of God, not sure how Acts 13:48 is supposed to be a problem for me. Yes, believing is a good thing, and it is by grace that we believe (Acts 18:27).

philness said...

Is it a true statement to say that just as all of us had nothing to do with our physical birth, we also had nothing to do with our spiritual birth?

Daryl said...

J.C.

So we agree. We cannot respond and be saved unless we are among those specific ones God has chosen before the foundation of the world.

Not chosen because of anything we had done or would do but simply chosen based upon a criteria known only to God, which gives no credit to ourselves.

So when Acts 13:48 says that those who were appointed to eternal life, believed, we agree that they;re believing came about only because God had appointed them to believe. Anf those who did not believe died in their sins because God did not grant them the gift of repentance.

(Just making sure we're saying the same thing)

The thing is, if what I said above, it true, then to say that it was a good thing, to believe, is to say that salvation is not a gift, but rather a payment for belief rendered.
That is at least semi-pelagianism and brings ones salvation into question.

Paul said...

J.C.

It is your view then that a dead man can "hear"?

SLW said...

djp,
Right back at you, as I see it.

donsands said...

"You conveniently left off "Those whom He foreknew."

No I didn't. I simply quoted verse 30.

But surely God foreknew all His elect children He would predestine, call, justify, and glorify.
He knew us, His elect. But those whom He didn't know, He shall say depart from Me.

The big question is why am I, a child of wrath called? Why did God predetermine to call me, and then justfy me?
Because He set His love upon me, and all His elect. Yes that the answer. But why love us? No answer here.
He surely should have judged us right along with all the others who will be judged, for there's nothing in us that's any different then the others whom God doesn't elect.

We are all children of wrath. "But God ...."

Dawn said...

Daryl, are you saying that if someone does not believe Calvinism then they are not saved?

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Daryl, election is according to God's foreknowledge of who will receive Christ by His grace. Salvation is in no way payment as it is not earned, but freely offered; it is conditional (upon receiving Christ), but in no way meritorious.

Paul, by themselves, no; by God's grace, yes the dead can hear.

Dawn said...

Donsands,

You said, "We are all children of wrath. "But God ...."

so loved the "world" that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever would believe would have eternal life.

God did not say that whosoever He caused to believe would have eternal life.

God also foreknew those who would not believe.

You said, "The big question is why am I, a child of wrath called? Why did God predetermine to call me, and then justfy me?"

Because God foreknew you would believe. :-)

Daryl said...

Dawn,

No, I'm not saying that. I'm saying that to accept any credit for ones salvation, even credit for believing, is to try and add to Christs work by implying that I too, must do something in order to be saved.

Arminius invented "prevenient grace" to get around that, by attempting to give God credit for a decision that I, still, must make.
I'm not saying you are taking credit for your salvation. I'm saying that that would be the logical conclusion of a theology of decision, a conclusion which, thankfully, most who say that we must excercise our faith before God will regenerate us, don't ever arrive at.

So we need to differentiate between heresy (Charles Finney) and bad theology (Arminius/Wesley).

At the end of the day neither Arminius, nor Wesley, nor you, would accept any credit for the salvation God has given you. Our disagreement is on the mode, I suppose, not on the "is it or isn't it".

That's why I raised the question of "was that a good thing you did, believing" because to say yes, it to make it, in effect, a good work that contributes to salvation. To say no, is of course, to maintain that the credit is only God's.

I hope you come around someday, but if not, I don't see that it'll keep you out of heaven.

Make sense?

Paul said...

J.C.

So does God give this grace that allows “ALL” the spiritually dead to hear?

Do you see that when we see the word “hear” it means “understand” and that we are told that natural man does not “understand” the spiritual things, like, oh I don’t know, maybe something like Christ crucified. If that is the case then do you not see that even if someone “hears” they must still be enabled to “understand” the meaning and significance of it?

Rather than using your reasoning to answer these questions perhaps it would benefit you to use Scripture to try and defend your view. It seems that we have used nothing but Scripture to back up what we say and you guys just use human reasoning to answer us. I have yet to see a place in Scripture where it talks about everyone given the ability to “understand” the gospel message and how one can be neither good nor bad, but rather in a state of neutrality that your side seems to cling too. Perhaps you could show us from Scripture where some of these passages can be found.

Dawn said...

Paul, you said, "What is being pointed out here is what has been pointed out before that “hear” means understand and obey so while ALL hear not all understand."

Romans 1:19 says that man does know because God has showed him; therefore, man is without excuse.

How do you reconcile that with what you've just stated?

Daryl said...

Dawn,

"Because God foreknew you would believe. :-)"

That's an impossiblity. That is, what was his foreknowlegde based upon. Upon your decision? You didn't even exist so there was nothing to know, unless he had decided to create you and save you already.

When Jesus says "Depart from me, I never knew you" does he mean he's never heard of you, never created you, doesn't know what makes you tick? Or does he mean he has not chosen you?

Surely God knows everyone. But he hasn't chosen everyone.

Dawn said...

Daryl, it makes total sense. Thanks.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

That's why I raised the question of "was that a good thing you did, believing" because to say yes, it to make it, in effect, a good work that contributes to salvation. To say no, is of course, to maintain that the credit is only God's.

That's silly. Faith isn't a work of the law, otherwise it would effectively say 'by grace you are saved through works.' The two are contrasted many times throughout the New Testament.

ChosenClay said...

Dawn,

I have a question for you, "Does God love everyone?"

And if so, does God love everyone with the same type of love?

Paul said...

Dawn,

It makes my point quite well, all know that there is a God, but not all understand because they have replaced Him with idols of their own. I am puzzled on how you would think that this verse would be a problem for me? Show me from Scripture where man is neither good nor bad? Show me where we are put in a neutral state? Show me where natural man can understand spiritual things?

I will wait.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Just so long as we preach that ANYONE who hears us, and who repents and confesses the name of Jesus, may be saved. That's the gospel message. You can believe what you like about the "mechanics" (for want of a better term) of how God brings this about. Irresistible grace? I think not. Enabling grace? I think so.

But preach the offer, first and foremost. I hope on that point there is agreement.

Dawn said...

Daryl, you said, "That's an impossiblity. That is, what was his foreknowlegde based upon. Upon your decision? You didn't even exist so there was nothing to know, unless he had decided to create you and save you already."

If God is omniscient (and He is) then He can foreknow anything within any given scenario (i.e., if He were to create me, then He could know all about me and what I would do in any given scenario) right?

You said, "When Jesus says "Depart from me, I never knew you" does he mean he's never heard of you, never created you, doesn't know what makes you tick? Or does he mean he has not chosen you?"

Speaking of an unbeliever, He means that He never knew me as a true believer. He never foreknew me to be a believer and I never really was a believer.

You said, "Surely God knows everyone. But he hasn't chosen everyone."

Right. He knows whether or not a person is a believer and He chooses believers.

DJP said...

...which (to continue my point, to which there's as yet been no substantive response), is thick with irony.

The sinner, whom Scripture paints as dead (Ephesians 2:1f), God-hating, hostile to the law of God and incapable of submitting to it (Romans 8:7), is somehow able to produce the power to respond in a life-giving way to that Word.

But the saint (SLW, Dawn), presented with portions of the Word that contradict their tradition, simply shrugs it off.

So we're being asked to believe that those whom Scripture says have NO ABILITY to respond do, in fact, respond savingly...

...while those who, according to Scripture, CAN respond, simply and shruggingly choose not to.

Thick, as I say, with irony.

Dawn said...

Chosen Clay, yes, God loves everyone. He loves believers with an everlasting love.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Paul, I understand that we need to be enabled to hear and understand, which is why I said it was only by grace that one could believe. Scripture indicates that God at times hides the truth from some men and hardens their hearts, hence I make no sweeping claims about 'everyone at all times.' I've already used the scriptures to great effect; to recap:

Those that hear (by implication, heed) Christ shall live (John 5:25).

That in and of itself refutes the idea that regeneration is the first step towards faith, for spiritual life through Christ comes after we hear Him. The solution to any paradox lies in grace, for it is by grace that we believe (Acts 18:27).

Daryl said...

J.C.

If you have a choice to believe, or not to believe, then belief is defacto, a work.

Jesus said as much in John 6:29

"Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."

So we all agree, we must believe.

Question is, who will. Well, if we can do nothing to secure salvation (otherwise it is a payment and not a gift) then we must already be regenerated in order to believe.

How does that work? God has a chosen people, he regenerates them, they believe.

Even John 3:16 is not laying out a requirement of how to avoid perishing but merely identifying who will not perish, literally "the believing ones" (that insigtt from Dr. James White)

That would be why Jesus, in his high priestly prayer in John 17 Jesus says in verse 9:

"I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours"

If he wanted everyone to believe, if he was making salvation available to everyone, why does he specifically not pray for "the world".

The whole thing is centred on God, and those he has chosen. The rest he has rejected for reasons we will never know.

SolaMeanie said...

I should note, I was strongly tempted to inject some levity here just so things don't go completely nuclear in the meta. I was actually going to juxtapose Phil and Macbeth. Then I had second thoughts. I don't want to get sent to the woodshed this early in the week.

So I'll behave. For now.

Strong Tower said...

Theophilus- are you panhandlin at the Colosseum, or is that a cup of cold water for "these my disciples?" Boy people with animated avatars make me jealous. Its like they have been made alive unto good works or sumpthun...

Sewing- there are not many who were wise nor rich among us, most of us were foolish...what a wow, eh?

slw said- It is hearing the word of God that awakens faith, not redemption. Faith is like a seed, dormant or dead, lifeless, until activated by the correct stimulus.

Well, Jesus said that the seed was the Word, and yes, the Word is the rain, and soil is the heart, out of which only corruption can come according to the parable of the food. But that wasn't the first parable the disciples didn't understand. The parable of the soils is quite incedible, isn't it? Because, if it is not understood, then none of the others will be Jesus said. And, because, it is the type of soil, the heart, which is the key to understanding it, isn't it? But, Ezekial tells us that it is a stony thing, unless God replaces it. And, Ezekial goes further to tell us that living statutes are written upon it, and that God himself causes the recipient of that new soil to produce a walk in those statues. He causes us, and Jesus fills out Ezekial saying that the soil produces by the Word, both Seed and Water, a many fold return in righteous statute keeping. You forgot to include the seed is also his gift, as well as the Word as rain, as well as the heart the ground. And not a bare gift by one through which salvation, the many fold blessing (ah, the coat of many colors simply a Father's special choosing?)


Does the verse necessitate saying they believed because God made them do so? So, yes, but no. This is a favorite canard by the opposers of Calvinism, that God forces individual to do. But, it is true that God is our Creator, creating us to do good works. So, yes, he does make us to do so. No it is also true that the flesh does not come willing, but it must be draw against it will. But, that will is not that which has be aided, but it is that enemy which must be defeated, the will of the flesh which leads to death. The new man is caused, by a renewed heart to walk according to the statutes. It only takes a small, smooth stone to kill the giant, but David did against overwhelming opposition, what other were not willing to do. It is not that David in himself was capable, but his heart was a heart made after the heart of God. It did what God would do, slay the giant, cut of its head. Perhaps you think that David's heart was a heart of flesh, sinful and therefore did the will of God. But, if you think that you do not know what it means that David was a man after God's own heart. David was Ezekials newman, his old bones risen, a new heart given, caused to stand an army of One. Perhaps you think that Jeremiah was mistaken that the heart produces only corruption, then too that Jesus was mistaken. And, if you have missed the necessity for the creation of a new earth, a new heart, then you have missed the necessity of regeneration before the Word spoken can give understanding faith that wills to place itself at the mercy of the Father as Jesus did.

As for Abram, you're not suggesting that Abram was regenerated are you? If so, on what basis since Christ had not come, died, and rose from the dead yet. Jesus said that Abraham was happy to see Jesus' day, saw it and was glad. Are you serious, that the father of the faithful, who we are give as an example of Christ beholding faith, was not born-again. Did Jesus speak to Nicky carelessly when he jabbed with Nick's lack of knowledge of Israel? A teacher of Irael, now who could that be if Abraham was Issacs father, and Issac in turn Israel's, and just what ladder was it that Israel saw. Come now, if it is only with them that we will receive the promise, through what does the promise come to us, if it is not "Unless a man is born again..."? Nick might as well have been a deaf dumb demonpossessed blind man coming to Jesus' under the cover of darkness...

we each bring our own baggage to the task? Which is why Jesus commanded that we die to ourselves and the apostles would echoe that we become again as little children receiving with joy the implanted Word of God.

Your point about perception (hearing) is a valid one, and, for the record, what I had in mind; otherwise, how would the deaf be saved? And reminds us of other living parables- the demon possessed, blind and dumb, deaf, parlytics and men to whom Christ said, your sins are forgiven and he was healed. Gives a whole different meaning to seeing, circumcision of sin, and confession, reaching out and receiving and walking in righteousness, because it was not inherently possible in any of them. Jesus said you are of your father the devil to Jews like Nicodemus. And without the excision of the nature which cannot hear or confess to truth, a man cannot walk away saved. And, not one bit of that was due in any part to what was preexisting in any who were healed.

Dawn said- According to God's word it is man's responsibility to accept or reject Him. If man is responsible, then he must have the ability to accept or reject.

Did Jesus have the ability to reject the Father? Yet he was responsible. Does water reject itself. Does oil accept water. It was written of Christ, fully human, that "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy,—the Son of God."

Can that which is holy chose that which is unholy? And if it is unable, is it responsible? Can that which is unholy choose that which is good? If our best good is as uncleanness, are we then not responsible? If Christ being good and holy did not offer a righteous sacrifice because he was not capable of sinning, and therefore not reponsible, upon what does your hope rest, that you, more than he is capable of choosing evil? What perversion is that, that the mixed cup of evil and good, (libertarian choice), is exalted above that which is perfectly incapable of doing evil? If the sacrifice of Christ is above all sacrifices sufficient for the propitiation of sin, but was incapable of being anything less, then it follows that God's demand of perfect righteousness is the only sacrifice of Praise that is acceptable. And, so it is written be perfect as I am perfect, be holy as I am Holy. Now, if you can do that, then yours is a pure heart, but if not, then you will not see God. Now, no one has seen God, but the perfect One in whom sin found nothing, in whom the ability to choose sin did not dwell, has revealed him, but only to those who he has chosen out of the world that they might behold him, the Holy One of Israel.

Paul said...

djp,

You are right on. They use human reasoning to try and make their case instead of submitting themselves to what Scripture says and teaches. Human pride and self-centeredness is a hard thing to let go.

Daryl said...

Dawn,

"Right. He knows whether or not a person is a believer and He chooses believers."

Congatulations, you've completely removed any freedom God may have in salvation. He must say those who believe.

No, Dawn. Those whom God has chosen must believe, not the other way around.

I'm wondering why our freedom must trump God's freedom.

odmorale said...

Johnny Dialectic,

Enabling grace is irresistable grace.

what you are stating is that God makes someone alive and then that person may possibly reject the truth that he has been enabled to understand.

Does that really make any sense?

Why then would God give you enabling grace when He "foreknows"(in the Arminian sense) that you will reject the message anyway.

Logical conclusion leads to Open Theism.

donsands said...

"Because God foreknew you would believe." Dawn

Why did I believe?

And question #2 why did Peter believe, and Judas didn't?

ChosenClay said...

Dawn,

I too believe the God also shows love to all mankind.

Matt.5:45 ...for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous.

But does He love everyone in the same way?

And is this love of God eternal?

Classical Arminianism said...

Djp,

And I fear your constant mantra that "dead" means "corpse" will consistently lead you to your conlcusion: "The sinner, whom Scripture paints as dead (Ephesians 2:1f), God-hating, hostile to the law of God and incapable of submitting to it (Romans 8:7), is somehow able to produce the power to respond in a life-giving way to that Word."

Ephesians 2.1 corresponds well with Isaiah 59.2, "But your iniquities have SEPARATED you from your God," don't you think?

Rom. 8.7 admits that people are incapable of obeying God's law- not understanding the simply gospel message. Of course the unregenerate cannot obey God's law- that is not disputed. Of course the unregenerate cannot understand the deep things of the Spirit (1Cor. 2.6-14), that is not disputed.

But if "dead" to the Calvinist is going to mean "corpse," then our disagreement will always remain.

Incidentally, Calvinist A. W. Pink admits that "corpse" is a poor imagery to use of the unregenerate. He says that though it is true that a corpse cannot receive the gospel message, neither can he or she reject it.

Billy

Jim said...

Boy.. I see many debates about the topic. Often people "dislike" Calvinism Doctrine because God's Authority regarding Salvation. I am not going through step-by-step of TULIP or 5 Points of Calvinism. I am going to point out what have impacted me the most.

In this world, I have learned that by doing of the will of God leaves me no time for disputing about His providence plans. As a calvinist, I do believe we have "free will" but only according to God's will. God will direct our lives as He sees fit. Bible clearly pointed out that God have directed our lives. In Ephesians 1:11, "He works all things according to the purpose of His own will." 'Providence" means God’s faithful, moment-by-moment control over everything He has made to ensure that everything He has created are going according to His will. He is active in every detail of it. He’s active at every moment. God constantly intervenes in our lives through His Providence. This also include the election of salvation. In my position, God will not hold me responsible to understand the mysteries of election, predestination, and the divine sovereignty.

Without the Holy Spirit, we NOT do have the "inability" to get saved. Without the Holy Spirit is TOTAL DEPRAVITY. The Holy Spirit is the only person that can quicken people to be saved. Jesus did die for ALL but the atonement is only for the elected (in other words, those who are convicted by the Holy Spirit to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, repented and etc).

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Daryl,

If you have a choice to believe, or not to believe, then belief is defacto, a work.

Jesus said as much in John 6:29


Nein. Faith is something that is done, but it is not a work in the sense that you are claiming. It is not work of the law, as the law is not of faith. If you rely on John 6:29 to classify it as a work in the 'salvation by works' sense, then it doesn't matter if there is contrary choice involved or not, it's still a 'work' done by the believer (by your logic), and then you're effectively teaching salvation by works. How would it not be a work if done irresistibly, yet mysteriously become a work if one is by grace enabled to receive it?

Question is, who will. Well, if we can do nothing to secure salvation (otherwise it is a payment and not a gift) then we must already be regenerated in order to believe.

No, we believe by grace, not regeneration, as has already been shown, those that hear shall live. BTW, Christ not praying for everyone in a particular prayer is no bar to Him desiring the salvation of all, any more than saying a prayer for my wife's grandfather means I don't care about my grandmother.

Daryl said...

J.C.

"Christ not praying for everyone in a particular prayer is no bar to Him desiring the salvation of all, any more than saying a prayer for my wife's grandfather means I don't care about my grandmother."

It does if in the course of the prayer you say "I don't pray for my grandmother" as Jesus did.

And no, faith is not "...something that is done" but it is the mechanism, provided by God, by which we can believe. It is not an action.

Daryl said...

"How would it not be a work if done irresistibly, yet mysteriously become a work if one is by grace enabled to receive it?"

Because if one is simply "enabled to recieve it" they must still do something, that is, recieve it.

But Paul taught the reverse, we are regenerated first, and so we believe. Just like James says our works, even as Christians, come as a result of the faith we have been given. No faith given, no works worked.

wordsmith said...

It seems to me that by emphasizing man's choice to believe, our Arminian friends are overlooking one of the biggest obstacles to unbelievers coming to Christ: they're going the wrong way. They're running in the opposite direction - away from Christ, not to Christ. They hear the gospel, and they hate it; therefore, they do not receive it. All of us are born in this state, and we would all remain there were it not for the grace of God that takes away our stony heart and gives us a heart of flesh to respond to Him. That is why Calvinists say that regeneration must logically precede faith: how can someone who hates Christ's guts believe on Him?

There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.... (Rom 3:10-18) We are all God-haters before He saves us.

Left to our own devices, there is no believing on Him, just as Lazarus left to his own devices would still be stinking up that tomb.

Jim said...

The great enemy of faith is a complacent spirit, an attitude of self-satisfaction with the status quo. I have an issue with pride because pride can lead a Christian to think, “Look what I've accomplished.” The logic behind that unbelievers are responsible for the salvation. NOT. Unbelievers are responsible to "acknowldge the Holy Spirit" to repent. Is my faith being lead by my own flesh's efforts? Or, is my faith being lead by the Holy Spirit? Efforts comes from Holy Spirit through the power of Grace.

Faith comes as a result of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit-He quickens our hearts to believe.

That is why the Apostle Paul wrote, “Your salvation is nothing you have achieved by your good works. It is a gift of God. You receive it by faith. That way no one can boast of his own accomplishments.”

My faith is not in my works. My faith is the generator of my works. Faith produces works. Works reveal faith or the lack of it. Being is expressed in doing. Faith is a gift from the Holy Spirit, without the Holy Spirit, you can't have faith and without the Holy Spirit, you can't be spiritual. If you don't have faith, then you don't have the Holy Spirit. Faith don't come before the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit comes before Faith. Faith will express itself in faith deeds not just words alone. Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

"The Gospel is open to all; the most respectable sinner has no more claim on it than the worst sinner" D Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Welsh & Reformed preacher and writer.

odmorale said...

Well said Wordsmith,

Daryl said...

I guess the big question for J.C., Dawn and slw (at least) is this:

Did Jesus death save anyone?

Or did it simply make people saveable.

If the former, then salvation depends only on God's sovereign work or regeneration, everything else follows.

If the latter, then we are saving ourselves on a road Christ built to provide a way.

See, Christ didn't die for all. The bushman who died, never hearing the gospel, or the Canaanite woman, killed in the streets of Jericho at God's command clearly never had a chance to believe, so we know he didn't die for them.

So if he didn't die for all, for whom did he die?

If he says he died for all, either he is a liar, or we can be saved after we die, which of course the bible denies, so again, he is a liar.

And if we are able to respond outside of God's gracious, specific work of regeneration, then we must be better than our neighbour who does not believe, or at least we did one more good thing than they did, thus earning our way. Which, of course, Scripture denies.

So how else can we legitimately believe?

Classical Arminianism said...

Daryl,

"But Paul taught the reverse, we are regenerated first, and so we believe."

And where did Paul say that one must first be regenerated in order to have faith in Christ?

Wordsmith,

"That is why Calvinists say that regeneration must LOGICALLY precede faith: how can someone who hates Christ's guts believe on Him?"

Now this admission I can tolerate: you state that it is logical, but offer no biblical reference.

I'm not being a jerk, guys; I just want some Scriptures to back up Regeneration preceding Faith.

As far as Rom. 3.10-18 is concerned, have you ever looked up each verse that Paul quoted? Have you ever heard of the Midrash or Rash? The Jewish interpretation of OT Scriptures used in the NT, an exaggeration to make a point?

I wish I had more time, but I don't.

Dawn said...

I'm not yelling when I type in all caps...just being lazy with html code at times.

Paul, you said, "It makes my point quite well, all know that there is a God, but not all understand because they have replaced Him with idols of their own."

That is not what the scripture says. It says they DO understand because He HAS shown them. BUT when they rejected what they KNEW and UNDERSTOOD their foolish hearts were darkened.

"Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are CLEARLY SEEN, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
(Romans 1:19-21) (emphasis added)

You said, "Show me from Scripture where man is neither good nor bad?"

I never said man was neither good nor bad. And for the record, I do not believe that man is good. Only God is good.

Where does it say that one must be "good" to have faith once presented the gospel?

You said, "Show me where we are put in a neutral state?"

I never said we were. We're exposed to God's grace (in its many forms) which allows us to seek Him (Acts 17:26-27 just one example) and respond to His drawing (John 6:44). He gives grace to the humble and resists the proud. (Proverbs 3:34; 1 Peter 5:5; James 4:5) He has stated that it is with the heart that man believes unto righteousness. (Romans 10:9-10) It doesn't say with a NEW heart man believes unto righteousness. Only God knows the heart and why some believe and some do not. (Acts 1:24; 15:8)

You said, "Show me where natural man can understand spiritual things?"

See Romans 1 above.

J.C. Thibodaux said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J.C. Thibodaux said...

Daryl,

It does if in the course of the prayer you say "I don't pray for my grandmother" as Jesus did.

No, He is simply emphasizing who He is praying for, possibly in the form of negation idiom.


And no, faith is not "...something that is done" but it is the mechanism, provided by God, by which we can believe. It is not an action.

Wait, first you argue that it is a work from John 6:29, now you argue that it's not an action? I think your system's a bit messed up. "Believe" in and of itself implies action.


"How would it not be a work if done irresistibly, yet mysteriously become a work if one is by grace enabled to receive it?"

Because if one is simply "enabled to recieve it" they must still do something, that is, recieve it.

Ah, but our ability to receive it is by grace which God works in us. Receiving something is not a work any more than faith is.


But Paul taught the reverse, we are regenerated first, and so we believe.

Paul taught no such thing anywhere. And you still can't get past the fact that Christ plainly states that hearing precedes spiritual life.

Dawn said...

Daryl, you said, "Why should I insist on my freedom to respond to the gospel all the while denying God's freedom to save whoever he wants, without asking permission first?

After all, it's his world, not mine. I have no rights."

I don't insist on anything but what God has said in His word. I do not deny God's freedom to save whoever He wants without asking permission. God is the one who has made the stipulation for salvation and that stipulation is belief.

I don't believe we have any rights either. We are saved by grace.

Classical Arminianism said...

Daryl,

"Did Jesus death save anyone? Or did it simply make people saveable."

So, the only way for God to be sovereign is for Him to elect whom He would save?

The bible says that God chose to save those who believe (1Cor. 1.21). Could God NOT have foreknown who would believe? Is that an impossiblity? So, God could not be guanranteed that Christ's death would actually accomplish any purpose unless He elected to save some?

I think the question for Daryl, Wordsmith, Jdp and others, is: Does the gospel have any real power? "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes . . ." (Rom. 1.16).

If someone must first be regenerated in order to have faith in Christ, then there is NO power in the gospel whatsoever.

Jim said...

While I cannot ignore Romans 9 and Ephesians 1 which focuses on Predestination because we cannot selectively choose the verses that pleases us. Also, we cannot choose to twist the scriptures to to avoid the upsetting of knowing God's concept of election.

In concept of "hearing", ever see a deaf person "hear" the gospel? I am legally deaf and I am beginning to understand what it means to "hear" spiritually. 1 Thessalonians 1:5 "because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake."

Jesus did die for ALL but the atonement is only for the elected which means those who were convicted by the Holy Spirit to repent and be saved. This is the works of the Holy Spirit, not man.

Dawn said...

Paul and Daryl, I may have gotten you guys mixed up and quoted you incorrectly sorry about that. I can't find the original post.

Daryl said...

Dawn,

Romans 1 says nothing about man knowing the gospel, only that man knows that God requires obedience to the law, hence Pauls blanket condemnation of all men. We all sin, those with the law, those without it.

Nowhere does Scripture say that we can know the gospel apart from Scripture itself.

Classical Arminian,

"And where did Paul say that one must first be regenerated in order to have faith in Christ?"

And where did Paul say that faith was something other than a gift from God.

Does God give all men faith?

Does he give faith to some and they never exercise it?

Where does Paul say faith is something to be exercised?

Seems to me that you asked your question because you don't understand what faith is.


Related, but indirectly

Acts 13:48 "those who were appointed to eternal life, believed."

Which came first, belief or appointment?

Paul said...

If man cannot do anything to please God and our best effort is nothing but a filthy rag then how again can you come to Him without first being enabled? Also, Dawn where does Romans 1 say that man can understand the "spiritual things" of God?

I guess in your system Lazarus was still dead when he heard Jesus command him to come and that Lazarus could of rejected it by not accepting the command and then he would not have been resurrected? Because he was not alive yet when he “heard” Jesus from outside the tomb.

ChosenClay said...

Classical Arminianism said,

"If someone must first be regenerated in order to have faith in Christ, then there is NO power in the gospel whatsoever."

Spoken like a true "Finneyite"

Jim said...

Christ's atonement which is the actual work, for whoever believe. The "freewill" is always subject to God's sovereignty and His divine freewill. People can debate all they want "this".. "that" Debating Arminianism vs Calvinistic doctrines... and so on... on.... Proverbs 16:33 "The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD."

A.W. Tozer made an interesting comparision for us to ponder about man's doctrines we believe in.

Imagine two men reading the same passage of Scripture, one a Calvinist who has been brought up on Calvinistic theology from his youth, the other reared in the Arminian tradition and thoroughly indoctrinated in Arminianism. The passage they read is Hebrews 6:4-6, "It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance". The impressions the Calvinist receives from these words will differ radically from those received by the Arminian, yet neither one will be conscious of adding to, subtracting from or otherwise altering the passage in any way. Each will understand the words to mean exactly what he has been taught that they mean. The meaning he sees there will appear to him so natural, so logical and right that he will wonder how anyone can see any other. (And sadly enough each will more than likely think the other a hypocrite who receives his teaching from the devil. But that is not pertinent to this particular argument.)"

Daryl said...

"If someone must first be regenerated in order to have faith in Christ, then there is NO power in the gospel whatsoever."

That make no sense considering it is the preaching of the gospel that is the mechanism God uses for all of this. God does not regenerate people in a vacuum.

Strong Tower said...

Billy-

Is that what you're hung up on is the term corpse?

Deal with the issue, is depravity, incapability to keep the commands of God, namely, believing, which John 3:16 equates with eternal life. Or, is believing what is meant by life?

I cannot understand why it is that the Scripture references have been repeatedly given then someone says they haven't. The case is as djp said, they are just rejected out of hand, or by slight of hand by pointing to another which does not explain, but only repeats the claim-

It has been demonstrated, and really needs not be, that a man must be born again to understand the Gospel is a salvific sense. Faith is a gift which is sure and certain, the very substance of hope, not some superfluous addendum to salvation but the very vehicle of it and substance of it. The best answer that the opposers of the free gift of salvation have proposed is that faith is both ability to believe or unbelieve. What a strange definition....

ReformedMommy said...

Not to try and hijack this commentpalooza, but I'm hoping we can get into the exacte nature of our depraved state AFTER regeneration - what changes and what doesn't...

Daryl said...

"Without faith it is impossible to please God"

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, it is the gift of God"

Has God given all men faith?

bi0dr0ne said...

Ill keep this brief, my finger is tired of scrolling through pages of long comments.

While I agree in most of the tail end of the post, I do not agree that people are born with guilt of Adam's sin, rather they are born with the consequences of Adams sin, which is death. Romans doesnt make a distinction between physical and spiritual death, so taken at face value I interpret it as physical death. People are responsible for their own sin, and therefore are condemned by their own sin. To elevate mankinds sinfulness to a doctrine is going beyond scripture. Why not then just say what scripture says: all have sinnned and fall short of the glory of God. So we agree that everyone needs Jesus in order to see heaven, and not hell. God gave us a gift, freely receivable to those who choose it (how they choose it is going beyond scripture). The simple truths are that God wants everyone to be saved, and those who have faith and repent can recieve the gift of salvation.

Talking about "quickening" and "regeneration" is not as helpful as talking about faith and repentance.

BTW I agree with Dawn and SLW

Jim said...

Paul,

Regarding your example of Lazarus was still dead. If Christ raised Lazarus from the dead by saying, "Lazarus, come forth," I KNOW and assured that when Jesus returns and says to His own, "JIM, Come forth," I will come be gathered to be with Him forever. That's MY hope. When Jesus said, "I am the resurrection, and the life" (Jn. 11:25).

We have to understand, when we are spiritually dead, we are not really hearing God's word because it will communicate as dead words. In order to "hear" spiritually, we are made alive by hearing the words through the Holy Spirit.

God's promise is eternal because Christ is the mediator of the covenant, that we receive the promised eternal inheritance. With that promise, as a Christian, I always thank God continually for my guarantee of my spiritual security and freedom in Christ. Christ is the mediator of the new covenant, that we receive the promised eternal inheritance.

Daryl said...

So BioDrone...you are a Pelagian. Men suffer from the consequences of Adams sin but are able to rise above it?

Strong Tower said...

You received life from your mother, and you did nothing.

A baseball receives a hit from a bat, a leaf a lift from the wind, a head, upside, a slap from dad, none do anything themselves to receive.

Back to text, it was those born of God, that received the right to become the sons of God. Like this, when my boy was born he was born of me, and simultanus, received the right to be my son by virtue of the fact that he was.

Classical Arminianism said...

Chosenclay,

Thank you. And you totally cleared up the matter for me. I'm so relieved.

Daryl,

"And where did Paul say that faith was something other than a gift from God."

Eph. 2.8- Salvation is the gift referred to, not faith (John 4.10). See also Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. XXI, pp. 227-228, footnote.

"Does God give all men faith?"

"Give" faith is where we differ. God "requires" faith (1Cor. 1.21; Heb. 11.6).

"Does he give faith to some and they never exercise it?"

Ibid.

"Where does Paul say faith is something to be exercised?"

Hello? (Rom. 3.25, 28; 4.5, 13, etc.) Faith is not benign, is it?

"Seems to me that you asked your question because you don't understand what faith is."

Now you're just being mean . . . :)

Billy

Daryl said...

I don't mean to be mean Billy, but Paul is clear that faith is a gift of God.

So whether or not he gives it to all men is an important question.

Hence Augustine's prayer "Lord, command what you will and do what you command" (or something very near to that)

Yes he requires it. Yes, it is a gift. Therefore he gives what he requires us to have. (Just like he gives us the righteousness we required in order to inherit eternal life)

So, does he give it to all?

If he does, we have a problem, because he's not requiring that we use it, only that we have it.

bi0dr0ne said...

Daryl,
Im not fluent in all the theology lingo. Just look at Abraham, moses, david, John the baptist, Jesus etc. Plain facts, we have all sinned (except Jesus), thats the problem. The solution?

Id be interested to hear how a Calvinist converts someone:

Calvinist: So are you a Christian?

Non-Christian: No, Im not. How do I become a Christian?

Calvinist: Well you have to wait for God to do something to you so you can have faith

Non-Christian: Oh, well,Ok. In that case Ill just wait.

Me: Wait Non Chrisitan, you can gain faith by reading the word of God and hearing the message... Sever hours pass...

Non-Christian: Wow, my sin crucified Jesus!? How can I be saved?

Me: Do you believe Jesus is the son of God and died for your sins?

Non-Christian: Yes!

Me: Well then according to Acts chapter 2 you just have to repent and be baptized and you will recieve the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is a seal guaranteeing what is to come.

Non-Christian: Thanks bi0dr0ne

Strong Tower said...

Well CA what power is that, could it possible be the Word of Life? Ahhhhh regeneration? Where else will you go, He alone has the words of life. Just what power is that, the power of persuasion unto life, then what good was Jesus' death if it did not purchase life for us which is bequethed by the Word of Life, the Gospel. It is the Gospel that gives life to believe, not the choice to believe it that gives life, but Christ himself.

Classical Arminianism said...

Daryl,

" . . . but Paul it's clear that faith is a gift of God."

I'm having trouble seeing how Paul "clearly" teaches that faith is God' gift given only to the Elect- or to anyone for that matter.

Ouside of Eph. 2.8 which some think faith is the gift referred to, where else does Paul teach it?

Sincerely,
Billy

bi0dr0ne said...

Well that was an obvious oversimplification, but several examples of such conversions can be seen in the Bible without talk of total depravity, or aremeniisms, or pelagianism, or rasta-farianism

Daryl said...

Ummm Biodrone,

Not only have you misunderstood this discussion (no one is talking about how to go about evangelism...except you)

Who has ever said what you say a Calvinist would say?

What Calvinist has denied the need to preach the gospel?

Daryl said...

Billy,

It's not particularly necessary to go outside of Eph 2:8. The sentence structure makes it clear the gift referred to is faith.

However...

Heb 12:2 says "...Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith".

He makes it and perfects it. (We don't)

Rom 10:17 says " ... faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of Christ."

In both cases faith is something that comes from the outside, into a life.

And gain, if we can alter terminology to repentance (ie, What must I do to be saved, repent...)

Go to 2 Tim 2:25

"Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,"

Again, a requirement for salvation, given by God.

What say you..?

odmorale said...

Romans 12:3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.

Here you go Billy!

Jim said...

Biodrone, you reminded me of "ME" with that attitude when I was a younger Christian. Many Christians are confused that evangelism is "man-lead" when in fact its "Spirit-lead".

The BEST Evangelist is the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ and as I talk, the Holy Spirit will work in a person's heart to be convicted.

1 Thessalonians 1:5 "because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake."

John 6:29 Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent."

As a Calvinist, I serve to "witness" others while the Holy Spirit does the REAL work.

This is why I have problem with pride within the Christian community. I have an issue with pride because pride can lead a Christian to think, “Look what I've accomplished” which mostly involved with "salvation".

Strong Tower said...

bOO- that caricature is a old one. You do realize that you would still be within the RC fold except for the protestation against free-will, right?

Our gospel is the same as it has always been, repent and believe.

The question is not about how we do evangelism, that sidesteps the issue. The issue being what is depravity? Can a person, naturally born, believe? Is belief salvific, that is, is one save by Faith, not believing, but the gift of FAITH. Is FAITH the gift of salvation, which includes knowing absolutely the truth into which we trust. Or, is faith nothing? Hebrews says faith is the substance of hope. It is not the will, but the will does what faith dictates. If faith is neutral, where does that leave your will. If we were at first unbelieving, our will was bent away from God, but when faith comes, it bends the will toward God, or it is neutral, and worthless. But, that is not what Hebrews says, it says it is sure and certain, the hupostasis of hope, the very thing itself possessed.

Simple, unless a man is born again, he cannot see, but seeing is being there, eternally assured.

Classical Arminianism said...

Daryl,

"It's not particularly necessary to go outside of Eph 2:8. The sentence structure makes it clear the gift referred to is faith."

It's funny: Calvin's commentary says that salvation is the gift, not faith; and Arminius' commentary says that faith is the gift- of course given to those whom He foreknew would comply. Nonetheless . . .

"Heb 12:2 says '...Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.'

It seems that the TNIV got this one right when it translated it as: " . . . Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." Pioneer, and not originator.

"Rom 10:17 says '... faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.' In both cases faith is something that comes from the outside, into a life."

I disagree with you here, though. Of course, we both agree that the message is the outward cause of a person's faith- but to say that faith "comes from the outside," I'm not feelin' that one. And I'm sure that we both agree that faith "belongs" to the individual, correct? Faith is spoken of as "your faith" (2Cor. 10.15); "our faith" (Heb. 10.23), "their faith" (Matt. 9.2), etc. God is believing for us.

Moreover, we both see faith as grace-induced, though in a different light. " . . . he greatly helped those who had believed through grace" (Acts 18.27).

For you, grace is regeneration. Unless I have spoken out of turn . . .

Billy

Dawn said...

Well, this "pride[ful], self-centered" thang has got to go.**Hi Paul! :-)** Thanks, all, for the dialogue. I'm really looking forward to Phil's next installment. I have never heard anyone explain how man is responsible for his rejection yet, unable to receive the gospel.

Daryl, you said, "Romans 1 says nothing about man knowing the gospel, only that man knows that God requires obedience to the law, hence Pauls blanket condemnation of all men. We all sin, those with the law, those without it."

It may not say anything about the "gospel," but it clearly states that God has SHOWN man His TRUTH and that men SAW, KNEW and UNDERSTOOD that truth. God's truth IS spiritual. Therefore, man CAN understand spiritual things.

Classical Arminianism said...

odmorale,

Romans 12:3, ". . . by the faith God has given us." Here you go Billy!

The NASB has it as, ". . . as God has allotted to each a measure of faith." Charles Ryrie comments (who BTW, believes in single, unconditional election), "In introducing the subject of the use of spiritual gifts, Paul warns against highmindedness and exhorts sober-mindedness, based on the 'measure of faith' to work for God that has been given each one" (Ryrie Study Bible, p. 1809).

I'm not sure Paul was trying to advocate faith being the gift of God to His elect in this verse.

Strong Tower said...

Phil on Depravity

Doug said...

Thanks for putting in the time to compose such a clear essay, Phil. Very well done.

Doug

Classical Arminianism said...

Okay all,

I must call it quits for one day. God bless you guys and ladies.

'Til next time.
Billy

Daryl said...

Dawn,

"God's truth IS spiritual. Therefore, man CAN understand spiritual things."

Granted. I think the issue is moral ability, not comprehension.

I've read many an accurate account of the Gospel by those attempting to discredit it.

Billy,

I wouldn't say grace is regeneration. I'd say grace is the motivation behind God's dealings with his elect. I don't think grace is a substance or an action, if you follow me.
Regeneration is regeneration, grace is that by which regeneration is warranted (bad word but I can't come up with a better one). That is, grace is unmerited favour. (Now that was easy, why couldn't I have started with that???)
So because of his grace, God regenerates his elect via the mechanism of faith, which he has given to his people. All this on account of Christ's work, not mine (at any level).

I've enjoyed this, but I gotta run.

AbrahamKonda said...

reformedmommy:
total depravity doesnt mean that a change has occurred in the substance/nature of our soul and that it is somehow brought back to its original pure state after regeneration. Owen, i believe, refers to an unregenerate as one in a fog who cant see the light. The unregenerate seeking God is more like them groping for the truth in the fog. They catch glimpses of it but it is always a hazy version of the truth. Regeneration is akin to the fog being lifted up where we see the light/truth clearly. So what really has changed is the inclination of the will to seek God. Before, we didnt seek God (as He wants us to) because we are spiritually dead, after regeneration we do because the Spirit reasons, convinces and persuades us(our will) to seek God (and keep his commandments - repentance + faith).

atleast what i understand from the reformed POV. hope this helps.

Jim said...

Unbelief have to do rejection of the HolySpirit, not doctrine. Faith is a gift from God and I have great faith. Jesus Christ’s redemptive work on the cross provided the basis for my salvation and the foundation for me to pursue a life that reflects Christ.

The point for Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures is great news. Jesus purged our sins, He mediates grace to all who believe, is wonderful news for this sinful nature world. Our Messiah, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself as a ransom for all Christians who did not reject the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

The mystery of the God cannot be known by human (spiritually dead) but all that Christians can know of God in this life is revealed in Jesus Christ (spiritually alive). Through the self-revelation of God and His Son, Jesus Christ in the Scriptures, with the help from the Holy Spirit, Christians who is spiritually alive gains everything and loses nothing.

Paul said...

Dawn,

You are right that Romans 1 does not talk about the gospel and it has been our contention from the beginning that the ‘spiritual things’ consist of the message of the gospel. Yet we are told that un-regenerate man/woman cannot “understand”/”hear” them unless the Spirit has enabled them. Yet for some strange reason you seem to deny that part of Scripture. It seems that you hold so tightly to that because you want some control over the situation and the outcome. After all, who is God to decide that you will be an adopted daughter without your express permission.

donsands said...

"Ouside of Eph. 2.8 which some think faith is the gift referred to, where else does Paul teach it?" -Billy

1 Timothy 1:14 & Philippians 1:29

The grandest thing that God's elect has is their faith.
Paul fought the good fight of faith. But he always says, "But not I, but the grace of God in me".

Even our faith is to the glory of God, the great fight of faith that we live, which is more precious than pure gold, will all bring praise to the grace of our Lord.

And yet all this, our Lord will still commend us, when He says to us, "Well done, my faithful servant".

ReformedMommy said...

abrahamkonda:

Thank you - it does a little. But questions remain for me around how our view of our depravity AFTER regeneration, and throughout our sanctification, informs how we live with and love other Christians when that depravity manifests itsself. My understanding of my sinfulness was transformed years after my initial conversion when I sinned in two ways - once, when I did something I used to say I was not capable of doing, and once when I like the worst of the Pharisees "lovingly confronted" someone only to discover that I had been entirely, pridefully and ignorantly wrong (even when my regenerated heart was telling me I was absolutely right). God in His infinitie goodness used those times to first, show me more of His goodness and mercy in paying for that sin; second, gave me a greater fear of my own propensity to wickedness so that I am driven more to the means of grace to fight it and more inclined to consider my own self-deception when I am confronted and tempted to deny it; and three, have grown in my compassion for others when they confess to sin, rather than internally praying the Pharisees' "Oh Lord I thank thee that I am not like . . ."

And not to point fingers at any of the dear brethren on either side here, but this very debate raises for me the question of whether or not ignorance and depravity are connected,and if so, how. Was it Adam and Eve's sin that made them and us ignorant and eternally prone to all manner of stuipdity and inability to see or understand reason, or, were we even in our pre-Fall condition created to be limited in our capacity to know and think, and then the Fall corrupted that limitation so that the problem is devastatingly compounded so that now all of our ignorance is inclined towards evil?

Kevin M. said...

In response to - J.C. Thibodaux:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (John 5:25)

Faith obviously does precede regeneration. As Dawn already cited from John 5:25, those that hear Christ shall live, not those that live shall hear Christ.


"the dead shall hear" does not mean dead men hear without first being changed. Consider Matthew 15:31: so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel.


How can a mute man speak or a lame man walk unless he is first cured of his condition? This is easily understood in the greek and is not a contradiction. The same with "the dead shall hear" - the dead man was changed, then he heard.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Odmorale:

"Why then would God give you enabling grace when He "foreknows"(in the Arminian sense) that you will reject the message anyway."

Because he is sovereign and omniscient and just.

"Logical conclusion leads to Open Theism."

Not at all. God is omniscient and omnipotent, in both classic Calvinism and Arminianism. Open Theism is a heresy.

Strong Tower said...

Just a taste.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Ephesian 2:8

This verse is easily mishandled. Please note that the pronoun in the Greek is neuter. "Faith" is feminine. Greek rules of grammar rule out "this" (or "that" in KJV) referring to "faith." It must refer to the preceding clause, which is the entire salvific transaction.

Here's the note from A. T. Robinson:

"Through faith (δια πιστεως [dia pisteōs]). This phrase he adds in repeating what he said in verse 5 to make it plainer. “Grace” is God’s part, “faith” ours. And that (και τουτο [kai touto]). Neuter, not feminine ταυτη [tautē], and so refers not to πιστις [pistis] (feminine) or to χαρις [charis] (feminine also), but to the act of being saved by grace conditioned on faith on our part."

Jim said...

Kevin M

About "How can a mute man speak or a lame man walk unless he is first cured of his condition?"

I have this same issue and attitude from Word of Faith believers. If physical healing is guaranteed by FAITH, then all Christians who are in Christ are healed before physical death.

Regarding to a deaf man sitting by the road, not hearing what Jesus have preached AND not hearing what people are saying about Jesus. I would not know a thing about Jesus. This was BEFORE sign language and BEFORE technology. Deaf people in those days were considered very disabled and often though as ignorant therefore people of ignore them. There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man." This tells us clearly that the man is just sitting there, not hearing what is going on and could hardly talk. Did any of the verses say that this deaf man had faith to be healed? I didn't see the word "faith" in those verses. During Jesus' three years ministry, He was showing evidences that He is God. The Greek word behind "faith" in the NT is pistis. As a noun, pistis is a word that was used as a technical rhetorical term for forensic proof. In the subject of "healing", Jesus have provided evidences that He is GOD.

I am legally deaf since birth (Hard of Hearing) and I have Relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) (Diagnosed in April 2002). (deafness caused by nerve damage, MS caused by nerve scars.) God knows me so well that He will do His providential actions at the very moment of my need according to His will. For the longest time, I thought I have planned and executed my life all by myself but really never aware that my life have always been guided by God.

Recognizing the Jesus voice is like a sheep recognizing the shepherd's voice through the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can prick a person's heart to cause a person to hear Christ's voice. Jesus said in John 10:14-15 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

The new creature in Spirit within us as for example Jesus likened the religious Pharisees to a group of dishwashers who clean the outside of a cup while leaving the inside dirty. He said, "Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also?" (Luke 11:39-40). Jesus knew that a person can change his image without changing his act (Matthew 23:1-3). The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

As Christians, with the help from the Holy Spirit, we have the understanding of what pleases God; our thoughts, our desires, our affections that are transformed in over time. Christianity is radical because we change from old nature to the new nature, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of God that created us. From our old creature, we learned worldly desires and causing us to think more worldly. Our selfish desire for happiness and getting what we WANT are really more worldly than spiritually.

As I said earlier in my previous posts, All of us are born spiritual ignorant, not stupid. Through Adam, we are born spiritually dead. The nineteenth-century Scottish commentator John Eadie described it as a case of "death walking". Spiritually dead people are like zombies--they don't know they're dead and they're still going through the motions of living.

John 6:63
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

Romans 8:2
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

pastorbrianculver said...

good job Phil. See, I didn't get on at 3am. I am slipping!!

I will be serving on a jury trial tomorrow. I wonder if I will be seeing any depraved sinners in the court room?

duh, yeah!!
guilty!!!!
(but if they repent of their sins and put their faith and trust in Jesus, they can be set free!)

Johnny Dialectic said...

A. T. Robertson.

My bad.

David Smithey said...

classical armianism,

Here it is straight from Calvin on Eph 2:8.

8. For by grace are ye saved. This is an inference from the former
statements. Having treated of election and of effectual calling, he arrives at
this general conclusion, that they had obtained salvation by faith alone.
First, he asserts, that the salvation of the Ephesians was entirely the work,
the gracious work of God. But then they had obtained this grace by faith.
On one side, we must look at God; and, on the other, at man. God declares,
that he owes us nothing; so that salvation is not a reward or recompense,
but unmixed grace. The next question is, in what way do men receive that
salvation which is offered to them by the hand of God? The answer is, by
faith; and hence he concludes that nothing connected with it is our own. If,
on the part of God, it is grace alone, and if we bring nothing but faith,
which strips us of all commendation, it follows that salvation does not
come from us.
Ought we not then to be silent about free-will, and good intentions, and
fancied preparations, and merits, and satisfactions? There is none of these
which does not claim a share of praise in the salvation of men; so that the
praise of grace would not, as Paul shews, remain undiminished. When, on
the part of man, the act of receiving salvation is made to consist in faith
alone, all other means, on which men are accustomed to rely, are discarded.
Faith, then, brings a man empty to God, that he may be filled with the
blessings of Christ. And so he adds, not of yourselves; that claiming
nothing for themselves, they may acknowledge God alone as the author of their salvation.

I don't see where Calvin says that faith is not the gift.

David

Paul said...

Johnny Dialectic,

Your only partially right.

…would have to admit that the grace mentioned in Eph. 2:8 is a gift: yet, it is feminine singular as well, which, if we follow their{or your} reasoning, would mean that grace is not a gift anymore than faith is… There is no reason, contextual or grammatical, to accept the fact that two of the three substantival elements (grace and salvation) are a “gift”, while the third, faith, is a strictly human contribution. Paul’s entire theology, including the fact that he specifically refers to faith as something that is “granted” to us (Philippians 1:29), would indicate that all three elements together constitute a singular gift of God, for surely grace is His to freely give; salvation is His to freely give, and likewise, saving faith is the gift of God given to His elect. The Potter’s Freedom by James R. White

Thank you for letting me read this again to see just how awesome God truly is and how He saves His elect.

Strong Tower said...

jd- but to the act of being saved by grace conditioned on faith on our part


Pistis

I would draw your attention to the third definition, because faith is not reduced to merely action, but includes the Person of Jesus Himself: Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

It was mentioned in another comment that we should be "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith". Author is the word archegos- chief leader, the first, and finisher-telieotes, completion, or the end looked toward, the purposed goal. Earlier in Herbrews author is rendered from aitios, which means the causer.

If you can show that pistis, or pisteuo, are negative, you've got something, but the Greek is unforgiving, because it has a negative for them (apistia;apeitheo). They are not neutral swinging both ways. Pistis is a noun, anyway, and not a verb, though it generally does infer action, it does not always. Faith is not a protitute, she is not unfaithful, but faithful, without shadow of turning, she is the light. She does not hold in her heart lust for another, which in Jesus' own words is adulterated affection, fornication.

So we have this, Jesus is faith's cause, its creator, he is the first in it, its champion, for he is faithful and completes her, bringing forth fruits of repentance.

To make it simple-

Salvation through Faith
Salvation through Christ
Salvation is in the Faith
Salvation is in Christ
Christ is Faith
Jesus is Christ
Jesus is Salvation
Jesus is Faith

Now let's see, what does the name of Jesus mean, Joshua or Jehoshua = "Jehovah is salvation". Seems as if you have reduced Jesus to your ability to make him be or not be; a figment of imagination, what you believe. But, Scripture does not allow you the freedom to. Truly, Scripture makes Jesus our all sufficency, our all in all, we in him he in us, the Father in him and they in us, Faith.

Calvin utilized an entire book to define Faith and enough references in other places of his Institutes to put together another one. To reduce faith to a positive or negative action betrays how little those who reject how great a gift it is think of it. And, I say that only to let you know that he was not reductionistic as his detractors were, making believism the means. By through, he meant the entire substance: it is the grace, it is the ability, it is the vessel, it is He Himself, the way the truth and the life. John Murray makes it of at least three vital parts: knowledge, conviction, and trust. And it is vital because these are not dead things, but are useless apart from the Life of Christ to whom and from whom they all derive their substance.

Far from the worthless gullibility of the faith of the Arminian, or whatever name it grants itself, the dead faith that is doubleminded is earthly wisdom from below and not from above, and the man who asks with this kind of faith that waivers between two things to decide its own fate, should not even begin to consider he will receive anything from God.

Kent Brandenburg said...

DJP,

Does every human being who ever lived know God and suppress the truth?

DJP said...

That is the natural tendency of every naturally-conceived child of Adam, as I read Romans 1.

Classical Arminianism said...

David Smithey,

"If,on the part of God, it is grace alone, and if we bring nothing but faith, which strips us of all commendation, it follows that salvation does not come from us."

I agree. But notice his comment that "we bring nothing but faith." Who brings it? We do. What do we bring? Faith.

The reference, if you read my comment correctly, was to the footnote. I gave the referece in my post.

God bless.
Billy. Classical Arminianism.

Strong Tower said...

"If,on the part of God, it is grace alone, and if we bring nothing but faith, which strips us of all commendation, it follows that salvation does not come from us."


Or could be written: Faith, on the part of God is grace alone, we bring nothing, which strips us of all comendation, then it follows that salvation does not come from us.

Calvin is negating anything on the part of man. The final clause, "salvation does not come from us" is the summation that we have done nothing.

"If on the part of God it is grace alone, and if we bring nothing; but faith which strips us of all commendation, it follows, that salvation does not come from us."

I wonder if the understanding of Calvin's phrases are not the intention to make them, independent, saying the same thing?

But, it really doesn't matter, because Calvin has said that it is a grace, this faith, which is the only thing we bring which proves that it cannot come from us.

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