Your twisting of words and context to find a "contradiction" truly shows what sort of case you build. The phrase, "He can save all who will hear Him. He does not need my help, I need His grace" is only contradictory if you accept the false premise that you have in your reasoning. You reason:
1. God's desire is to be with us 2. I (Josh) think that being with Him is conditional Therefore, God needs our help to achieve His desire
The first premise is only partially correct, for while God does desire that men be saved, He also desires that they do so willingly.
My reasoning is:
1. God's desire is to be with those who will comply with His will (Matthew 7:21) 2. I cannot comply with God's will on my own (Romans 8:7) Therefore I need His grace
My view is not contingent on God's being unable to do anything, for God could force me to comply if He so chose. I simply believe that God does not choose to override our wills. It is not a question of God's sovereignty, but of His methods.
IRT: "Of course, He must continue to be a little anxious until you "cross the finish line"."
Negative. God already knows the outcome of my Christian life. This does not preclude free will, God simply knows what choices I will make.
IRT: "Actually, what is to prevent you from rejecting Him in heaven, Josh? Will He override your will there?"
No. But I will be finally perfected in Him, my sin nature being taken from me and His divine nature totally permeating me forever. While I am a partaker in His nature right now, my old sin nature also remains, which makes it possible for me to rebel against Him.
IRT: "This is what is coming across from your posts, Josh. Your distortion of the entire panoply of redemption, that God will save His people, reminds me most of several conversations with local Jehovah's Witnesses, each of whom admitted that, in the final analysis, their security was directly contingent upon their performance. Which of course, in their denial of their own wretched, fallen condition, they somehow hoped they would be able to achieve."
It is true that my condition WAS wretched and fallen, but now that God has redeemed me, I am a new creature in Him, a partaker of His divine nature, and the temple of the Holy Spirit. So while there is no way a fallen man may live "good enough" to inherit eternal life, I am no longer a fallen man. Even so, my salvation is not contingent on "good performance," but on hearing and following Jesus through the Holy Spirit -- good works will naturally follow.
I need no comfort besides that which I already have, because my Saviour truly does save and has sent His Spirit into my heart. I don't live in constant terror of hell, I simply know that if I turn from Christ, I will be damned. I reject Calvinism on scriptural grounds; if it were plainly taught in the Bible, I would believe it. But I refuse to believe in a system of theology that is totally unsupported in scripture.
JoshT - you say your salvation is not contingent on good performance...but it's PRECISELY YOUR ULTIMATE PERFORMANCE/DISPOSITION (i.e., YOU, YOURS) that supposedly determines your entrance into God's presence on that Last Day. How can you deny your own contribution...your 'works'....your 'will'? <br><br>Rom 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. <br><br>As for Calvinism being unscriptural? Please....tell that to the hundreds of Spirit-wrought teachers/preachers/theologians and the countless millions of believers across denominational lines over the centuries who have found it not only scriptural...but the very blessed essence of the Gospel. Might it be YOU with the 'problem' NOT seeing 'grace' in all it's fullness, beauty and wonder?<br><br>In Him,
Josh<br><blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr><p>I simply believe that God does not choose to override our wills. It is not a question of God's sovereignty, but of His methods.<p><hr></blockquote><p><br>OK Josh, think about this--Saul of Tarsus was going down the road to arrest Christians. God zapped him with the glory light and his response was "What will thou have me do Lord?" Obviously God did override or change his will. We don't like the term God forces us to change, but what else could Saul do when he saw the Lord? He showed him a reality that he couldn't see before and thus he changed his heart. Isn't that what happens to every Christian when we are converted? We hated God and were His enemies and He changes us so that we are able to love Him. We had a heart of stone and he gives us a heart of flesh. Hearts of flesh do not turn back into hearts of stone.<br><br>Gotta get off now, a storm is coming!<br>Susan<br><br><br><br>
That is exactly right!! God doesn't force the will. He [color:red]recreates the will. For the will of man, by nature is totally opposed to God. Every part of man's being since the Fall is in rebellion against God. In fact, all men by nature hate God. Therefore man WILL NOT seek God nor does he have any desire for God. Unless God the Spirit regenerates a man (makes him alive), there will not and cannot be any inclination towards God.
A man's will is BOUND by it's nature. Thus, a sinful nature chooses only that which is sinful. Thus men love darkness and hate the Light. Until God creates within the soul a desire for the Light, he will run from it and cavil against it. The will is subservient to the other two faculties of man; votive (intellect) and emotive (desire).
Laz,<br><br>I would also add that calvinism is by far the most consistent interpretation of the scriptures, more so than any other system....It amazes me the type of interpretations that people come up with to escape the meanings of the texts of Eph 1,2 , Romans 8,9, JOhn 6,10,17,etc. the list goes on...<br><br>Scripture alone,grace alone, Christ alone, faith alone, & GLORY alone<br><br>brother in christ,<br>Carlos<br><br>Eph 1: 5 "He predestined us to adoptions as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, ACCORDING TO THE KIND INTENTION OF HIS WILL.."
"Let all that mind...the peace and comfort of their own souls, wholly apply themselves to the study of Jesus Christ, and him crucified"(Flavel)
Dear Carlos,<br><br>IRT:<br>"No in the sense that they are yet, but shall be. See Romans 8:29-30, Goes from God’s actions in eternity past (Foreknew, Predestination), to actions in time( Calling, Justifiaction), to a future action(Glorification). True believers will see their glorification."<br><br>The fact that believers will experience glorification does not preclude conditions on this statement. God's promises are not without conditions; Acts 2:21 says that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. This must of course be understood in the context of the rest of scripture, for not everyone who says "Lord, Lord" shall enter His kingdom. So the fact that we are to be glorified does not negate the condition of persevering in the faith (1 Corinthians 15:1-2) and continuing in the grace of God (Acts 13:43); so this passage does not really prove or disporove eternal security.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Thus, Roms 29-30 is the basis of why Romans 8:28 can says all things work together for 'GOOD' to those who love God, who have been CALLED ACCORDING to HIS PURPOSE... So I ask, is ‘falling away ‘a good thing’ to those who have been called???? If that is case, I see no force or the logic behind the statement that Paul ends with in the 8th chapter, that NOTHING in ALL of creation can SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD."<br><br>Well, "all things" refers not to what the person does or decides, but his circumstances. A believer who had rejected the gospel years before but accepts it later was obviously not affected by the former in a positive way, so falling away (which would be a decision, not a circumstance) would not be one of the things that was addressed in Romans 8. Also notice to whom the passage in Romans applies, not only to those who are called, but who love God. It is made quite plain in the scripture that all who love God are born of God and know God (1 Corinthians 8:3, 1 John 4:7,); but Jesus also indicated that in the latter days, the love of many would wax cold (Matthew 24:12). So if a believer lets his heart grow hard and forsakes the agape love of Christ, then it becomes clear that a) he is no longer saved, and b) all things will not work together for his good. Also, the fact that nothing can separate us from God does not mean that we cannot walk away. Some have argued that our own wills then could not separate us from God (I have addressed this issue elsewhere on the board), but then again, it is not our will that cuts an apostate off from Christ, but God the Father (John 15).<br><br>IRT:<br>"Does not a Christian’s life begin with regeneration & conversion. Is this not a work of God? Does not Phil 1:6 says that 'that HE[GOD] who BEGAN a GOOD work in you WILL carry it on to COMPLETION UNTIL the day of Christ Jesus.'"<br><br>The statement that God will complete us in Christ is a conditional statement. For while God is not unfaithful to change us from glory to glory, He does not force this change, but requires that one be a willing vessel. 2 Peter 1:5-11 shows that it is possible for a man not be yielded to God so that the Holy Spirit can work the fruits thereof in him. So yes, God does labor faithfully to complete a good work in us, but He will not do so with a hardened heart. But if we open our ears to Him, then we too can have confidence as Paul did in the Philippians, that God will complete His work in us.<br><br>IRT:<br>"The believers are sealed for the day of redemption and have the Holy Spirit as His arrabon (downpayment), 'guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession (eph 1:14)'" <br><br>The Holy Spirit is God's seal on each believer, and truly is a guarantee of a Godly inheritance on all who have Him. But just because one is sealed by the Spirit does not mean that God may not remove His seal if a person turns away from Him. My posts to Susan detail further why I believe that this can happen. So really, this scripture does not affect the doctrine of conditional salvation.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Also I disagree with your comparison of Lucifer’, and the believers Glorificatino in Heaven."<br><br>I did not compare Lucifer to believer's glorification in heaven, but the glory which believers do share with Christ presently (2 Thessalonians 1:12 - sorry about the confusion). I am trying to say that just because we are glorified with the Son on earth, does not mean that we cannot fall just as Lucifer did. But as far as what happens after we reach immortality, I am in agreement with you, for the old sin nature will be completely destroyed and supplanted by the new nature of Christ. Praise God!<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh
Dear Carlos,<br><br>To briefly clarify the passages you cited,<br><br>- John 15 could only apply to believers, for no one could be cut off from what they were never in. At the same time, it must refer to actually abiding in Christ (and not just an outward show), else how could abiding in the vine help us bear fruit if it is mere outward show?<br><br>- John 8:31, is not a guarantee that all true believers will abide. It simply states that those who abide are Christ's disciples. It does not say that those who were abiding but do not abide presently were never disciples, it simply implies that they are not disciples now. Judas was a disciple, but since he did not abide in Christ, he fell from that position. So a believer is a disciple so long as he abides in Christ.<br><br>- Hebrews 3:6 & 14, 2 John 9, and Revelation 2:26 all simply state the condition of perseverance, they do not guarantee that every believer will meet it.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Jesus bring the illustration of the vine, vinedresser and branches so that 'you so that My joy may be in you, and that your (14) joy may be made full.' If this is talking about 'loosing one’s salvation', please demonstrate it to me."<br><br>Certainly, Jesus said that if a branch did not abide in Him, it would be cut off, gathered, and burned (vs 6). I don't think it can be illustrated clearer than that.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Rev 22, as been stated by Pilgrim and others, does not support your position."<br><br>I have seen no credible evidence of that. Indeed, I have shown why their arguments violate the context of scripture and present impossible scenarios.<br><br>IRT:<br>"If you read Romans 9-11 in its context, I don't think that conclusion can be made that 'one can loose their salvation'. The whole point of Romans 9-11 to explain the sorrow and argument stated in Romans 9:1-6..that is 'For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel'."<br><br>While the point of Romans 11 is that Israel has fallen, and that not all of Israel's people are truly children of Abraham; a plain fact of scripture is also stated here. Namely, that we should not boast against Israel, for if God did not spare them, He doesn't have to spare us either. So we should be aware of how good and how harsh God is, for He was severe to the apostate majority of Israel, and good to those of us who believed in Him -- If we continue in His goodness, otherwise He will cut us off just as He did to those who did not believe. So while the main point is that much of Israel has fallen from God's grace, the point is also made that we could fall in the same way if we do not remain in God's goodness.<br><br>Concerning Hebrews 6, I have read many a far-fetched explanation for this passage. But the thing that they can't get past is that it says, "it is impossible to renew them again to repentance." For why would God grant people repentance (Acts 11:18) without saving them? And why would they need to be renewed if it were not true saving repentance?<br><br>IRT:<br>"In addition, Warnings, in scripture I believe, is another means that God uses to preserve his people."<br><br>I agree, but I do not believe that God gives warnings against what cannot occur. But if you think He does give those warnings for the sole purpose of causing believers to be more cautious, then why would you teach that what is warned against cannot occur? Wouldn't that go against the purpose of God making those warnings?<br><br>IRT:<br>"'This is the Father’s WILL which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath Given me I should LOSE NOTHING'.(John 6:39) . Jesus says that it is the father’s will. Can Christ Fail at the Job He was given to Do?"<br><br>The thing that you are not taking into account is that God's will being fulfilled is also partially contingent on His people. For instance, it is God's will that His people abstain from fornication (1 Thessalonians 4:3), and yet some do anyway. So if a believer falls into sexual sin, did God then fail to perform His will? It is not a failure on God's part, but on ours. In the same way, if a sheep strays from Christ and refuses to return, even though it is contrary to God's will, it is not Christ's failure for losing it, but the sheeps failure to follow the shepherd.<br><br>IRT:<br>"A true believer is one of Christ’s Sheep. A sheep has a Shepard as you know. In this Case, it is Jesus Christ. For one to say that one of Christ’s Sheep can become a Goat, is in essence, teaching that Christ can fail at being the 'Chief' Shepherd."<br><br>But it isn't. I happen to know a thing or two about sheep; a good shepherd will watch for the sheep and give his life for the sheep, but sometimes sheep stray willingly. I read an account once of a man who was an excellent shepherd, and expert at protecting his sheep, but he had one ornery ewe that kept trying to find "greener pastures" (literally), every time he turned around. The sheep ended up straying from the flock and wriggling through the fence at every opportunity, and would often happily eat of dead grass and drink of polluted water just because it was on the other side of the fence (also literally). This was a big problem for the shepherd, and he tried everything to get her to stop, but he drew the line when her lambs began to pick up the same bad habits. With much grief, he took his hunting knife an killed the ewe. So while a shepherd can guard his sheep, he cannot keep them from straying if they are determined to do so. In the same way, while Christ guards His flock against the wickedness of the world, and gives us warnings and conviction to keep us from straying, there is nothing in the scripture to indicate that He will force us to remain with Him if we are determined to go our own way.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Jesus is a perfect savior; HE cannot fail to save His sheep. That’s why John 10 states' 27MY sheep LISTEN to my voice; I know them, and they FOLLOW me. 28I give them ETERNAL life, and they shall NEVER perish; NO one can snatch them out of my hand. Jesus' Sheep Will never perish. This is stated with the double negative in the Greek to emphasize never ‘ever’, denying the possibility. Why is this?"<br><br>As I indicated in my last paragraph, Christ will not forcefully keep a sheep that wilfully strays. His sheep listen to His voice and follow Him, but if a sheep stops listening to Him, then it is certain that it will no longer be one of His sheep. "Never perish" is a conditional statement, contingent on remaining one of Christ's sheep. For Christ's sheep never will perish, but if one who strays will not return to Him, it is no longer His sheep. The fact that no one can pluck one out of Christ's hand or the Father's hand simply underscores what I wrote elsewhere: No one can forcefully tear a believer away from God. The word for "snatch" here (harpazo), indicates seizure by force.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Both Jesus and Father are preserving the sheep. He prays for his people(Romans (8:34), John 17. Do sheep wander? Yes. See Peter. However, note that Jesus prayer for him (Luk 22:32). That’s why peter was kept and did not fall away permanently."<br><br>I agree that both the Father and Son work to preserve the flock. Peter was preserved by God's grace, and restored by God. I also believe that God will extend this kindness to all of His children, but this is no guarantee that every one who goes astray will always return (see Luke 13:6-9). 2 Peter chapter 2 speaks of false teachers who have been bought by God (vs 1), and yet have forsaken the right way and gone astray (just as some sheep do, vs 15). But it does not indicate that there is redemption for them, but indicates that their final destination is hell (vs 17). They obviously despised God's patience and grace, and did not give heed to His warnings. Hebrews 10:29 says,<br><br>"Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite (i.e. 'insulted') the Spirit of grace?"<br><br>This indicates that it is possible for one who has even been sanctified by Christ's blood to stray and not repent to the point that he despises Christ's blood and insults the Holy Spirit. Though he was once sanctified, I can not see such a person as being saved any longer.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Contrast true disciples (sheep) with that of those apostates in 1 John 2:19. For John goes on to say in 1 John 3:9-10.. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, BECAUSE God's SEED REMAINS in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God."<br><br>1 John tells of many ways to discern a believer from an unbeliever, but does not address fully the issue of falling away. There is a third possibility not addressed here (but it is in other areas of scripture), which is one who has been born of God in the past, but has not kept the word of God in his heart.<br><br>"Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip." (Hebrews 2:1)<br><br>If you don't believe that such a class of people exists, then I would point to the book of Galatians. Notice that the people that Paul writes to had been "known of God," and yet were wilfully sinning against Him by returning to the bondage which He had called them out of (Galatians 4:9). If they were known of God, then His word must have been in them at one time; and yet they still continued to sin against Him. My only conclusion is that they had let the word slip from their hearts as Paul warned against in Hebrews 2.<br><br>IRT:<br>"A true Christian cannot alienate his inheritance in Heaven, for the deeds concerning this inheritance are written and sealed, and part possession is given the believer even in this life (Jer 32:40). 'I will put My fear in their hearts [present gracious possession] that they SHALL NOT DEPART FROM Me'"<br><br>I disagree. Though we do have a portion of our inheritance now, a warning to not be like Esau appears in Hebrews,<br><br>"...Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." (Hebrews 12:16-17) <br><br>Oh yes, and Jeremiah 32:40 is speaking of Israel proper at the time when they shall be saved (read the context). This extends into the millenium and into the new heavens and earth which God will create. This is actually what will happen when Israel and all the other true children of Abraham (aka 'the gentile Christians') will be glorified with God. He will take away our old sin nature and make us completely sinless just as Christ was. This is not a present possession (not in full anyway), but God haste the day when it is.<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh
Hey Carlos,<br>Okay, to begin with, you wrote,<br><br>"In fact, to teach your view of Election is to indeed "EXPLAIN AWAY" the scriputres, such a Ephe 1:3-14, Romans 8:28-9:23. See, The election is spoken as a according to God's purpose and Plan. You have to ‘read into the text’ to come up with your position."<br><br>Negative. My view is based on harmonizing what is spoken in the scriptures; there is nothing in either Ephesians or Romans that contradicts what I believe. If you don't agree, you are more than welcome to show me where it does.<br><br><br>IRT:<br>"You said there are conditions to God’s Election. WHERE IN THE SCRIPTURE?"<br><br>Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5-6 - Humility<br>Hebrews 3:7-8, Hebrews 3:15, Hebrews 4:7 - Hearing His voice and not hardening your heart<br>Matthew 18:3-4, Mark 10:15, Luke 18:17 - Humble yourself and become like a little child<br>Romans 11:20-23 - Not remaining in unbelief (note in 11:20 that they were broken off because of unbelief, not unbelieving because they were broken off)<br><br>It pretty much boils down to "How does a person react to God's voice. After God has broken their pride, do they humble themselves, hear His voice and obey? Or do they stop their ears from hearing the truth and harden their hearts to the point of unbelief?" You may say that it is God who hardens a person's heart, indeed. But it is also made plain in the scripture that men harden their hearts as well (Exodus 8:15, 8:32, 9:34, 1 Samuel 6:6, 2 Chronicles 36:13, Psalm 95:8, Proverbs 28:14, Jeremiah 17:23, Hebrews 3:8, 3:15, 4:7). It can then be seen that if a man hardens himself against God's words and does not receive them, but abides in unbelief, then God will harden that man's heart to the point that even physical evidence will not convince him (such as in the case of Pharaoh).<br><br>IRT:<br>"You can’t get around Eph 1:3-14, nor Romans 8:28-9:23, and many other texts."<br><br>I don't need to "get around" them. My beliefs are in alignment with them. Indeed, there may be a few scriptures which at first glance may appear to pose a problem for me (but on closer examination, do not), but there is a much larger portion which is totally incompatible with Calvinist doctrine. If you think I am wrong, then don't explain away, but show how what you believe is not contradicted by this passage:<br><br>"Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34)<br><br>Clearly, this passage is in direct conflict with the belief that people cannot resist God's will and calling. For why would they be desired by God unless they were elect? Yet they resisted God's will and stopped their ears from hearing the truth.<br><br>"But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear." (Zechariah 7:11)<br><br>So we see that while God did desire the people of Jerusalem to come to Him, they violated the condition for being elected.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Election precedes Belief. See Acts 13:48. Belief Does not precede Election, as we have been pointing out to you."<br><br>Already agreed. I have made it clear that I believe this more than once, that God's election according to His foreknowledge precedes our faith. I also agree that election is according to God's purpose and plan, but I believe that God's plan is based on what He foresees in people's hearts.<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh<br>
Dear Prestor John,<br><br>IRT:<br>"What I'm trying to state is that you are adding conditions to the term "sheep". <br><br>In John 10 Christ makes no such distinction."<br><br>I have not read any conditions into the passage. The characteristics of Christ's sheep are made plain,<br><br>* They hear His voice (vs 4 & 27)<br>* They are known of Him (27)<br>* They follow Him (4, 27)<br>* They will not follow a stranger (5)<br><br>The last characteristic proves that the redeemed are Christ's sheep, for His sheep will not hear the voice of another. If you think Christ's sheep include people that are yet to be saved, then it would be logical to conclude that no one who has ever been in a cult could ever be saved, for they have heeded the voice of another, and therefore cannot be of Christ's sheep.<br><br>No one has yet presented me with a scriptural or logical reason to believe that Revelation 22:19 is not a literal and relevant admonition.<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh
As I stated previously, I would believe Calvinist doctrine if it were supported by the scriptures, regardless of my feelings on the subject; I simply don't see any support for it. The fact that God is no respecter of persons actually goes against the Calvinist theory of election. You seem to think that not being a respecter of persons means that God does not judge based on the conditions that I have stated previously. But being no respecter of persons means that one does not let who a person is or what position that person holds affect their judgement, but instead judges righteously and objectively according to God's word (Leviticus 19:15, Deuteronomy 1:17, 16:19, Proverbs 23:24). So in other words, God judges righteously according to a man's thoughts and intents, and not according to who they are; therefore, even one who had been one of His at one time may fall into condemnation, for it is written, "The Lord will judge His people" (Hebrews 10:30).
IRT: "Also consider this with respect to anything taking us out of God's hands.
You say that NOTHING can take us out of God's hands, EXCEPT ourselves.
First, you've added a gross assumption to the clear and emphatic teaching of the text. I covered ALL THE BASES...nothing means nothing."
"God says NOTHING...but NOTHING can separate us from the love (and saving adoption) of God. The sheep are NOT fooled. They are not suckered. They are not cheated out of their inheritance. They do not reject their one and only Love....and if one in 100 'tried'...the Good Shepherd would bring them back."
First of all, the word for "pluck" or "snatch" in John 10 implies taking by force.
Secondly, I believe that the context of the Romans 8 dictates that it also means that nothing can force a believer out of God's hand. But if you want to get technical, then I would also point out that it is not a believer that separates himself from the Vine, but God the Father separates a branch if it does not meet the condition of abiding in Christ.
"I am the true Vine, and My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away...If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." (John 15:1-2, 6)
So if a believer does not abide in Christ, it is the the Father (not himself) who will cut Him off from the Son. God the Father is not a "created thing" as is mentioned in Romans 8. The way that a man can walk away from God is by not abiding in the Vine.
It's funny that you should mention being suckered or cheated out of inheritance. Because Paul warns,
"...Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." (Hebrews 12:16-17)
So we are warned by Esau's example not to be "suckered" out of our eternal reward.
Lastly, while Christ does go and seek His sheep that stray, there is nothing in the scripture that indicates that He will forcibly return them. In fact, it says of some,
"...there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." (2 Peter 2:1)
IRT: "Second, if someone is born again, a new creature, justified, adopted by God, filled with the Spirit, etc....then SOMETHING, yes, SOMETHING must have been introduced into the equation to make a person CHANGE THEIR MIND/HEART/NATURE. So, can that mind changing 'something' be logic? Can that mind changing 'something' be temptation? Can it be regret? A better argument? Love of money? Sin? What can draws us from God. No, what's strong enough to PRY us out of an all-mighty God's hands? "
As I have already made clear, nothing can "pry" us away from God. But the sin nature that is still in us can be our downfall if we do not take control of it by the Spirit of God. So a believer can be not forced, but simply lured away if he does not keep his focus on God.
"Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling..." (1 Timothy 1:5-6)
So while Christ cares for and protects His sheep, and even goes after those who stray; even so, some refuse to return to Him and go their own way to destruction.
Don't worry, I didn't take offense to your comments. I recognize the difference between a writing that is insulting, and one that is simply passionate (I've done the same myself a time or two...).
IRT: "It’s just that your argument is so contrary to what the Bible teaches about perserverance. Your idea that a man who is truely born again spiritually would actually walk away from God and His grace blows my mind. How can one have any confidence in their salvation when it depends on themselves? You just can’t build sound doctrine by interpreting one or two verses that disagree with a larger body of Scripture."
I realize that what I believe sounds a bit strange to you, coming from a Calvinist background. You ask how can I have confidence in my salvation? Well, let me pose you a similar question: How can I truly know that I am one of the elect? Even John Calvin himself had to face the problem of those who seemed to follow Christ sincerely for a time (maybe even years), and had what was apparently fruit of the Spirit in their lives, yet afterward fell into apostasy. Calvin concluded that God did give them (I forget the exact translation of the word, so please accept my layman paraphrase) a 'substitute' grace. That is, a grace that would not save them, but would at least make them live better lives. Now the tough question is: Do I truly have God's grace, or do I just have this substitute that makes me act like and think I am a Christian? And if it is only this substitute grace that I have, is it then possible that I am one of the non-elect, making salvation is impossible for me, and I am just living a lie in thinking that I am on my way to be with God? Scary thought.
I corresponded once with a reformed theologian (not a Calvinist, but definitely an eternal securist); after much discussion about people falling into sin and scriptural examples of falling away, his final analysis was that while the saved were eternally secure, one could never (in this life) truly know whether he or she was saved or not. I am not trying to over-exaggerate your position, this is simply what perseverance of the saints theology boils down to. I don't know how you feel about it, you may well differ; but I would rather serve the Lord believing that my salvation was secure as long as I follow Him by the power of His Holy Spirit, rather than believe that God has already taken care of everything for His elect but not knowing for sure if I could even be one of them.
It would be impossible to have any comfort in what I believe if I believed that I were still a pathetic and helpless sinner. I WAS a hopelessly lost sinner, but Christ changed me into a new creation, and gave me the strength I need to endure by the power of His Holy Spirit. So it is true, a human being in his own strength is incapable of living for God or holding fast to Jesus Christ, but God has transformed His children and made them partakers of His divine nature.
I see why you think I believe in a "works righteousness." The problem lies in what you consider works. Works are good deeds, acts of righteousness, or keeping of the law. The same term does not apply to humility, open-heartedness, love, or faith (this specifically is contrasted to works numerous times in scripture). These are neither work nor merit, but simple conditions that God has put on man to receive salvation through His Son. You may think that all of these are the result of salvation rather than conditions to receive the same, but the scripture plainly teaches that some of these are required to be saved. One has to open their hearts and ears to God's word to be saved, one cannot enter the kingdom of God unless one becomes like a little child (Mark 10:15), and one must believe before he is saved. There is no scripture that groups or classifies these conditions which God has set as works; for if faith is not a work, what makes you think that humility and hearing are? Some rely on the argument that there is nothing that one can do to save oneself. This is incorrect, else the term "save yourselves" in Acts 2:40 is meaningless.
These are not the result of salvation, but conditions for obtaining it. You may then counter that God is the one who works all of these things into the lives of His elect, but much of scripture testifies to the fact that men can stop their own ears (Zechariah 7:11), harden their own hearts (Hebrews 3:7-9), and choose to abide in unbelief (Romans 11:20 -- note that they were broken off because of their unbelief, not unbelieving because they were broken off). Let me also state that I do not believe anything man can do in his own power can save himself; I believe that man cannot come to God of his own free will unless God draws him first. So the will is not what saves us, though its compliance with God's will is essential for a man to be saved.
IRT: "There are many passages that teach that those who are truly born again, who are genuinely Christians, will continue in the Christian life until death and will then go to be with Christ in heaven."
Forgive me for sounding so forward, but I must disagree on that point. I have seen no scriptures in the Bible that support the idea that all believers, without exception, will endure to the end. For instance, John chapter 6 which you cited: The assumption that you have that I do not is that just because it is God's will, it must then happen. There are many things that happen against God's will, it is not because God isn't strong enough to stop them, but simply that He chooses not to interfere in every circumstance. Many people displeased the Lord in scripture (Genesis 38:10, 2 Samuel 11:27, Isaiah 59:15, etc...), but I find it highly doubtful that it was God's will to set up the circumstances that would displease Himself. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 says that it is God's will that believers abstain from fornication, yet apparently, not every believer does. Indeed, to say that the will of God is always done would require that no true believer ever commit sexual sin.
Contrarily, I have seen multiple references to people turning aside after Satan (1 Timothy 5:15), denying the Lord that bought them (2 Peter 2:1), forsaking the right way and going astray (2 Peter 2:15), and counting the blood of Christ (even after being sanctified) an unholy thing (Hebrews 10:29); as well as many warnings and commands to keep ourselves in the love of Christ (Jude 21) and continue in His goodness (Romans 11:22).
Susan sent me several theoretical references to eternal security, you can read my responses if you like so I don't end up reinventing the wheel here; and then send me any more if you think they contradict what I say.
IRT: "Arminians have objected that 'eternal life' is simply a quality of life, a type of life in relationship with God, which one can have for a time and lose it."
Let me throw out a third alternative. Eternal life IS in fact, Jesus Christ. Colossians 3:4, John 14:6, and 1 John 5:20 make it clear that Christ is our eternal life, and so believers do in a sense possess eternal life because they have Christ (1 John 5:11-12). If a man falls away from Christ, that eternal life doesn't end, for Christ will last for all time, but that man is cut off from its source. Eternal life as in "that man's life shall never end" is not received until a believer dies (Titus 1:2, Romans 2:7, 1 Timothy 6:12, etc...).
Concerning Hebrews 6, I have read many explanations for this passage. But the thing that not one of them can get past is that it says, "it is impossible to renew them again to repentance." For why would God grant people repentance (Acts 11:18) without saving them? And why would they need to be renewed if it were not true saving repentance? That is why I believe that this refers to true believers who became apostates, not false believers from the beginning.
Dear Prestor John,<br><br>IRT:<br>"Nope don't see pull apart by force. Where did you get this greek translation again??"<br><br>The meaning of "separate" in this passage is contextually derived. This passage describes many things that may try or be used to try to force a believer to renounce his faith in Christ. If it were impossible for us to depart from God, I doubt He would have given the commands to continue in His love (John 15:9) and to keep ourselves in the love of God (Jude 21); it would also be impossible for the love of many to grow cold (which it will for some, Matthew 24:12). Therefore I conclude that the meaning of "separate" in this passage means "to force away," just as I conclude that "sin" in 1 John 3:9 means "continue in sin," even though this is not the literal denotation. But if you insist on getting technical, I would also point out that it is not an apostate's departure that separates him from Christ, instead it is God the Father who cuts him off for not abiding (John 15:1-2, Romans 11:22).<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh
Dear Lazarus,<br><br>Though different contexts can give different meanings to the word "sanctify," it is clear from this passage that the person spoken of has counted the blood of His covenant, by which he was sanctified, an unholy thing. So whether sanctification is always by Christ's blood or not, it definitely is in this case. And yes, I realize that many messages in scripture are given corporately; that does not affect the meaning of Hebrews 10:29, which speaks clearly about an individual commiting this abomination.<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh
Dear Joe,<br><br>IRT:<br>"If your only defense is to take things out of context than the Arminian in you but treads into the deep waters of the abyss."<br><br>I pulled nothing out of context, as any rational person can see. I repeat: "force" means "to produce with effort and against one's will." do against the will." So while no power on earth can force me away from Christ, there is nothing implying that I cannot willfully walk away. For my will to drag (and I do mean forcefully drag) me away from Christ, my will would have to drag me against my will (?). Also, I was under the impression that the abyss was hot (little joke).<br><br>Concerning Exodus 32, if God can plan in advance to pronounce a sentence and then recant it (as your article implies), then could He not put a person's name into the book of life (knowing that such a man will not endure to the end), and then later remove it if He so chooses?<br><br>That was quite a long article on Hebrews 6, but two things about it go against your case. For one, his argument is based on the idea that the people spoken of passed up the opportunity to be saved.<br><br>"...who may even have made some profession of faith in Him, yet turn around and walk away from full acceptance, are given the severest possible warning. Persistent rejection of Christ may result in such persons’ passing the point of no return spiritually, of losing forever the opportunity of salvation."<br><br>If I understand Calvinism correctly, those who are eternally lost never had an opportunity to be saved. So the hinge of his argument contradicts the second main point of your doctrine. Secondly, the passage in question could only refer to those that are saved; for it says that "it is impossible to renew them again to repentance." Why would God grant a person repentance to life (Acts 11:18) and not save them? <br><br>Additionally, the author's whole argument:<br><br>"People can go to church for years and hear the gospel over and over again, even be faithful church members, and never really make a commitment to Jesus Christ. That kind of person is addressed here."<br><br>Is clearly contradicted by vs 9, which says,<br>"But beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation (literally: 'that you are holding fast salvation'), though we thus speak."<br><br>IRT:<br>"And all those that truly believe will be secure for they are in the hand of God--NO POWER--being able to remove them.....unless of course you believe in a God that is less powerful than mankind."<br><br>I do believe that if He so chose, He could unstoppably compel as many as He wished to willfully accept Him and like it; and then keep them from falling away, even if they wanted to leave Him. I also believe that if He so chose, He could draw a man, but give him the ability to reject or accept Him; keep a man secure from being snatched away from Him, but let this transformed creature decide whether he will abide by the power of the Spirit in the One that saved him, or surrender to his still-present sinful nature and depart from his Lord. So as I stated before, it is not about sovereignty, but method. All evidence considered, I believe the latter to be true.<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh
Concerning Exodus 32, if God can plan in advance to pronounce a sentence and then recant it (as your article implies), then could He not put a person's name into the book of life (knowing that such a man will not endure to the end), and then later remove it if He so chooses?
But, Josh that IS NOT what the Scripture states:
Revelation 13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. and [color:#000099] Revelation 17:8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
That was quite a long article on Hebrews 6, but two things about it go against your case. For one, his argument is based on the idea that the people spoken of passed up the opportunity to be saved...."...who may even have made some profession of faith in Him, yet turn around and walk away from full acceptance, are given the severest possible warning. Persistent rejection of Christ may result in such persons’ passing the point of no return spiritually, of losing forever the opportunity of salvation."
Then I submit that you do not understand Reformed Doctrine. Man does have a will, it is not just a free as the Arminian thinks it is. Man makes decisions! They make decisions based on the knowledge they possess. Thus they can turn down a genuine offer. They reason they turn it down though is because they have not been changed by the Holy Spirit to see it (John 3:1-8). This man until he is changed by the Holy Spirit will not seek after God (Rom 3). He can not seek after God because he is dead in trespasses and sin (Eph 2). Thus as John 1:5 says 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Additionally, the author's whole argument:
"People can go to church for years and hear the gospel over and over again, even be faithful church members, and never really make a commitment to Jesus Christ. That kind of person is addressed here."....Is clearly contradicted by vs 9, which says, "But beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation (literally: 'that you are holding fast salvation'), though we thus speak."
The word "But" refers to a different audience!
This term shows a change of audience and a move towards a change from a message of warning to a message of encouragement. That the address is to believers is further confirmed by the expression of confidence that “better things” [not the same things] could be said of them (as compared to those who were being warned in the preceding verses).
The “things that accompany salvation” are their works which verify their salvation (Eph. 2:10; James 2:18,26). The very statement implies that the things described in 5:11–6:5 do not accompany salvation but are indicative of unbelief and apostasy. though we speak in this manner. Though it had been necessary to speak about judgment in the preceding verses, the writer assures the “beloved,” those who are believers, that he is confident of their salvation.