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jta #57272 Thu Dec 23, 2021 5:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jta
All are commanded to repent and to believe in Christ, but only the regenerate can. All others including myself are unable to due to their sin.
No. Wrong. False.

Only the regenerate will. All others are unwilling. Indeed, we are all unwilling, until God makes us willing, in the day of his power. God brings a man to Himself, not against his will, but by giving him a new will. To say that a man cannot because God has not enabled him, is to say that God has prevented him, and is therefore to lay the blame on God.


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There is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. - C.H. Spurgeon
jta #57274 Sat Dec 25, 2021 8:26 AM
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Originally Posted by jta
That is what makes me think I am not only unregenerate, but reprobate. I have heard and understood the Gospel, clearly, for my entire adult life. Yet I remain a wicked sinner. I don't think that is going to change, though I wish it would.
1. You have no warrant, biblically, to determine and pronounce yourself "Reprobate"!! nono Only God may (permission) and can (ability) to decree the end of anyone or anything. And, this was done in eternity by His immutable determinate counsel. That God has revealed that some out of Adam's fallen race have been predestinated to either glory or hell is true. But who those individuals are, with the exception of Esau, have not been revealed. Through the eyes of a human with less than the intellect of a clam it can be understood that some of the most heinous and damnable individuals who ever lived and who could be said that they are prime candidates for damnation, God has brought out of the blackest darkness into His marvelous light, e.g., Nebuchadnezzar and the Apostle Paul. And, to be perfectly honest, I too could be thrown into that category as is the undeniable case for every single sinner who has been shown the love, mercy and grace of God in Christ Jesus. In short, YOU have no corner on depravity nor the pejorative title of Reprobate.

2. Your last part of the quote above is woefully contradictory. rolleyes2 That you may be as you have boasted a vile individual and worthy of damnation by the most holy God. However, such individuals invariably are at enmity with God, rejecting the truth of His being and attributes, hating all His commandments, precepts and laws, wanting nothing to do with His chosen people and even persecuting them, and having no desire whatsoever to be rescued from their corrupt nature which is odious in the nostrils of God, which such individuals would ever admit. Soooo, how is it that you preen yourself on being beyond God's ability to save you? As Meta4 rightly observed, although you have no natural ability to repent and believe, you are guilty nonetheless of refusing to repent and believe. Regardless of your perceived depravity of heart, mind and soul, you are still accountable for your [b]unwillingness[/i] to repent and believe. I would venture to guess that you would affirm that despite that no one CAN keep the law of God perfectly, which God demands of everyone, they are responsible to do so and will face judgment for their refusal to obey. Your own refusal to repent and believe and God cannot be accused of withholding grace to you even though you claim to truly "wish" to be delivered from sin and death. Sorry, that doesn't equate. nope

So, are you going to continue to blame God for your inability to be united with Christ? Or will you confess that such odious charge is nothing more than the expression of your sinful soul, repent of your sinfulness and sins and cling to Christ who is not only able but willing to save ALL who come to Him believing?


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ATulipNotADaisy #57282 Mon Dec 27, 2021 8:17 AM
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We're beating the same poor dead horse into glue, and I don't see how Christ is thereby edified. I am sorry for starting this discussion. But perhaps you will allow me to end it.

For hopefully the last time: I do NOT consciously blame God for my fate. Only myself. I haven't the slightest doubt as to God's ability and willingness to save all those who come to Him in repentance and faith. Actually I'm counting on it. I would have no reason to finish out this last remaining part of my life if I weren't assured that those around me who have repented and believed upon Christ will one day go home to be with Him, to know and enjoy Him forever. Or that even those who have not, yet, still might; that God might draw them to repentance and faith in Himself during whatever time remains for them.

And, no, I can't say for certain that I'm reprobate, but I am likely nearing the end of my life, and can certainly say, as would every lost person if he or she was both honest and biblically informed: (a) I have no hope except for the shed blood of Christ; and (b) I as yet see no evidence of the new nature or the indwelling Holy Spirit, and therefore must presume that whatever faith and repentance I have are lacking (MY fault, no one else's), that I remain in a lost and unregenerate state, and that, should He choose to end my life at this moment, I will die in my sins, and remain in them, and in the everlasting punishment they deserve, for all of eternity. He may yet choose to have mercy on me; but, if I were Him, I would not.


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jta #57284 Mon Dec 27, 2021 9:15 AM
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Originally Posted by jta
(a) I have no hope except for the shed blood of Christ; and (b) I as yet see no evidence of the new nature or the indwelling Holy Spirit, and therefore must presume that whatever faith and repentance I have are lacking (MY fault, no one else's), that I remain in a lost and unregenerate state,
Soooooo, I'm curious to know just what exactly is the evidence(s) you believe are necessary for someone to have assurance of salvation in Christ? The incontrovertible truth is as James rightly wrote, "faith without works is dead". However, those evidences are exactly that; evidences of justification and NOT the grounds of justification. Arminians and semi-Pelagians (the majority of western christianity) make that fatal mistake. Other 'hyper' types of Calvinism and others who we classify as "Mystics" (e.g., Brother Lawrence, Huntington, Andrew Murray, J.C. Philpot however are guilty of a similar sad error which is basing their salvation on having a (fictional/unbiblical) subject experience. They spend their entire life hoping and searching for a xxxx amount of deep-seated guilt, remorse, hatred of sin within themselves and a faith that could move mountains at their disposal. Again, this is a distortion of a biblical truth where we find sporadic and special 'movements of the Spirit' that all true Christians are given some time in their lives. Jonathan Edwards wrote extensively on that subject as it occurred to him from time to time, albeit seldom and unexpected. In short, these times of the sweetness of God which came upon him were rare and not the typical daily experience, which many "Deeper Life" advocates claim to have. This type of error I choose to call "morbid introspection". Thus, basically the two types of errors above can be categorized as "objective" and "subjective".

The first type; objective where the the external is focused upon; works is damnable for it is the antithesis of the Bible's doctrine of Sola Fide... justification by (Greek: dative of means=through) faith alone and not by works. The most common expression of this is seen with those who insist that man has a free-will choice to believe, thus making "faith" a work. It's a clever and deceitful lie which the Devil has developed and which results in a false assurance of 'faith'. Also, this pernicious and damnable heresy is given full reign in the visible church due to it's "companion" heresy of Sandemanianism, i.e., "Easy Believism" (see more of this here: Sandemanianism)

The second type; subjective in most cases doesn't lead to damnation but rather ineffectiveness and a lack of assurance of salvation. It is this error which you may be guilty of, mixed with an unconscious mixture of "faith+works=justification", i.e., expecting some conscious/visible supernatural experience/evidence in your life which meets some personal arbitrary standard of your own making which exceeds what Scripture teaching concerning the life of a regenerated person. The Bible, written by men under the direct inspiration of God never paints any human being as one who should be elevated to 'sainthood' albeit, all believers are called "saints". Take any of the individuals which God raised up to do incredible feats, leadership, sacrificial deeds, etc. and they all committed heinous sins in their lives and/or were disobedient, faithless, self-dependent, etc., as well. King David, the apple of God's eye and one of the types of Christ was an adulterer and murderer. His son Solomon, who was filled with godly wisdom was guilty of many gross sins. The Apostle Peter denied Christ when pushed, fell into legalism until confronted by Paul at Antioch. And Paul's own inspired writing concerning himself, eg., Rom 7, confesses that throughout his entire life the things he knew he shouldn't do he did. And those things he knew he should do, he failed to do. There was a war being fought within him between the remnants of the old man and the new man which was being conformed to the image of Christ. His lament was:

Quote
Romans 7:24-25; 8:1,2ff (KJV) 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. 1 [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

A couple of passages which I often return to when I am plagued by my own personal sins of all stripes are these:

Quote
Matthew 9:13 (KJV) 13 But go ye and learn what [that] meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (KJV) 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called]: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.


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ATulipNotADaisy #57285 Mon Dec 27, 2021 2:12 PM
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Thank you for your reply. And your previous ones also. I ought to have said that before.

I'm with you on most of this. Especially works as grounds for salvation (heresy!!!) versus evidence. Also the Arminian/Pelagian tendency to turn faith into a work. I was ostracized from a past church in part because of my efforts to explain that any form of works salvation, including making faith into a work, robs God of His Glory and at best comes close to damning heresy. (Especially, as you note, mixed with "Easy Believism" which gives so much false assurance to people who think they are saved because of a "magic prayer" but no demonstrable repentance or faith.)

I actually do have a great deal of guilt, remorse, and hatred for sin (especially my own), yet, seemingly, not the power to overcome it. Of course in some sense every person does. No temptation exists that God has not made a way out of. But I seem to almost never actually take it. I may regret it later but that doesn't stop me from doing it now. (Like Paul toward the end of Romans 7?)

I do believe that works evidence faith, but it is not so much the degree of works I see in others that convinces me of their salvation (or not), but their growth. Are they becoming visibly more like Christ over time? Or more like the devil?

It's honestly hard to tell whether someone who was outwardly decent and kind and moral before they professed Christ, has grown in his or her walk. In those cases - were it my place to judge this, which of course it isn't - I'd be looking not so much as love for man, but love for God. Does this person now have a love for Him, for His Word, for His infinite perfections and attributes, for His Bride, the Church? These are all things very unlikely to exist apart from salvation - though I could claim to have them to a *very* small degree. They certainly should if a person truly is saved . . he or she should be growing in these graces.

But sometimes a person comes from a really rough background, comes to Christ, and all their old life just melts away. Perhaps immediately or perhaps over time. I've seen both. But before they used to drink and do drugs and hurt people and openly mock and blaspheme God. They might even persecute His people as did Paul. Then God decides to draw that person to Himself, and all that old garbage goes away, and the person insists that he or she didn't make it happen, but, rather, it was all, from eternity past to eternity future, 100% the sovereign and undeserved Grace of God, and gives Him all the glory.

Yeah . . . David and Saul/Paul and Peter and of course no there are no perfect Christians in this life.

But would it ruin some "vast, eternal plan" if somehow it were possible to see even just the tiniest bit of Christ in me? Of His Holy Spirit, without Whom a person cannot be Christ's?

Or, even better, a LOT more of Him, and a LOT less of me?

Perhaps it is assurance I still struggle with and not salvation, but I've been warned by many pastors and friends that to try to speak as a Christian without any disclaimer, if I am truly not, would do exactly the opposite of glorifying God. Also, that without the indwelling Holy Spirit, most or all I think I know about Scripture is likely false, since all such things are spiritually discerned.

I've read bits of Bunyan, Bridge, Pink, and others on this subject, and certainly their thoughts seem more encouraging than my own. (E.g., several of them state that hatred for sin, as opposed for merely its consequences, are evidences of regeneration, and even that the saved person might see himself as becoming less holy over time rather than more, because the more we know God, the more we know of Him, and hence of His perfect holiness and righteousness and justice, against which no person can possibly stand other than by virtue of being covered in the righteousness of Christ.)

Yet I remain pretty convinced that no one who is truly regenerate would have spent close to 4 decades having consistently grown less rather than more like Christ.

He remains my only Hope. To whom else could we go? His are the words of eternal life. And I remain committed to doing my feeble best to learn His Word, to pray to Him (knowing He is in no way obligated to hear), and, insofar as possible without causing needless offense, to fellowship with His people. None of these things begin to atone for my least sin. Not all of the combined works of all of humanity, save for Christ's, possibly could. But they are described by our confession as being among the means of grace, and it might be that He will either save me, or if He already has then to begin the process of sanctifying me, through these means.


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jta #57286 Mon Dec 27, 2021 3:38 PM
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1. Hardly could one admit to the things you have above; hatred of sin, Christ YOUR only hope, a love for God's inspired Word (cp. Jh 6:1-67, then v. 68 where c. 5000 men + women and children ate the miraculous multiplication of food from but 5 loaves of bread, and heard the words spoken by the incarnate Son of God, but only 11 believed on Him with hearts of love and submission.) Your words, at least give evidence of regeneration and the doctrine you held dear are Scriptural, et al. Yes, of course, there is always the possibility of a person deliberately deceiving others to the contrary. And, yes, there is always the possibility of someone being self-deceived, but that is generally mated to false doctrine, easy believism, no evidence of the fruit of the Spirit, and most always, no acquaintance of the Word of God nor any love for it as the rule of faith and practice. Soooo, on the surface at least, without knowing more I would conclude that your problem is more to do with assurance.

2. I would counsel you to obtain a copy of Dr. Joel Beeke's book: Knowing and Growing in Assurance of Faith which is available from myriad sources online. If this is not acceptable to you then at least go to The Highway website and type "assurance" in the search box and you will find a number of excellent articles on that subject by reliable godly men.


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ATulipNotADaisy #57287 Mon Dec 27, 2021 3:54 PM
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I will be happy to check out the resources you mentioned.

Again, thank you for your insights.


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ATulipNotADaisy #57288 Mon Dec 27, 2021 7:34 PM
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Here is a link to a video about assurance, which I've just finished watching: Bible Study on Assurance. The audio has some difficulties with being out-of-sync with the video, with some static, and with a few periods of silence, particularly at the very beginning (so be patient there). But if you can get past that, it is well worth while! I hope it will be of help to some, including yourself.

This video is one of a group of three bible studies with reference to the 1689 London Baptist Confession, so the entire series (if there are more) does not appear to be available. It is from a church called Grace Heritage Church in Auburn, AL, about which I know nothing more than the videos I have watched. I found this group of three videos on youtube, after watching another series of eight bible studies on Baptist Covenant Theology from the same church. That eight-part series (of videos) is also on youtube, and they are of significantly better quality, technically. But if you visit this page on that church's web site: Baptist Covenant Theology, you will find handouts and overheads for each of the eight lessons, as well as links to the youtube videos. I found this series to be an excellent introduction, and highly recommend it for anyone interested.


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There is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. - C.H. Spurgeon
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