Dear Pilgrim,<br><br>IRT:<br>"1 Corinthians 4:7 'For who maketh thee to differ [from another]? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive [it], why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received [it]?'<br><br>There appears to be a clear contradiction between what you believe/stated and what the inspired Apostle has written. If, as you say, all men have received an "equal measure of enabling 'grace' then that which makes them to differ is their will and or willingness to cooperate with that grace!"<br><br>There is no contradiction. The way in which we differ is that we are saved and have the Holy Spirit living in us (a thing which God obviously did). This is not speaking of how men differ from each other with regards to how they will receive God's grace.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Again, your view denigrates grace and relegates it to a mere 'influence' which does not actually save in and of itself. Man's will is the actual and proximate cause of salvation. Your position is indefensible."<br><br>Grace is not mere influence, but I compare it to a lifeboat sent to drowning men. It is true that a decision by the man is necessary for him to be saved (for God has ordained it be so), but whether they accept or reject their salvation, it is still grace that saves. So man does not bring about his own salvation, but the acceptance of God's grace is the only way that he can in any sense 'save himself' (Acts 2:40).<br><br>It makes little difference to me what churches did what to who's proposals, the Bible is very clear on the matter. There are conditions man must meet if he is to be saved, and there are conditions to meet if he is to remain in God's grace. Notable examples of those who fell from grace by rejecting it and following another gospel appear in Galatians 5.<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh
Dear Ron,<br><br>The scripture that Pilgrim pointed out in 1 Corinthians 4:7 refers to salvation, not to what we are like; so I will go on record as saying I did not atone for my sin or fill me with the Holy Ghost. Why would God elect us according to His foreknowledge (1 Peter 1:2) if He had already decided what we would be like? Why would He need to foreknow the result of what He was already doing? So in the sense of who makes the decision to receive God's grace and follow Jesus Christ, we do. But in the sense of who makes those who accept the gospel different from this present sinful world, it is God.<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh
I don't think the lifeboat example cuts it. The biblical model would be for the life-saver to find me already drowned (ie., dead in trespasses and sin) and beyond hope (fish food) ....you know...like Lazarus. <br><br>It's only after life has been breathed back into me that I begin to appreciate what's been done for me and respond accordingly. Only is this fashion can I truly say that salvation is 100% of God, 0% of me, lest this man boast. <br><br>A former 'dead guy'....
In reply to:[color:"blue"]Grace is not mere influence, but I compare it to a lifeboat sent to drowning men. It is true that a decision by the man is necessary for him to be saved (for God has ordained it be so), but whether they accept or reject their salvation, it is still grace that saves. So man does not bring about his own salvation, but the acceptance of God's grace is the only way that he can in any sense 'save himself' (Acts 2:40).
Did you take a night course on learning "Double Talk" or does it just come naturally?
Let's take your unbiblical illustration; unbiblical as Lazarus pointed out to you in his reply because men are not "drowning" but they are drowned and lying on the bottom of the ocean stone dead. You posed a situation where a man is drowning and someone happens by and throws out a life-saving device. If the person grabs hold of it, he is saved. If he chooses not to grab hold of it, he will perish. However, even granting for the sake of argument that men are merely drowning and not as the Bible teaches, they are long since drowned and dead, let's go with an actual situation where there are more than just one person in the water. The disagreement is over what distinguishes one person from another in the matter of salvation. So, let's put two drowning men in the water. These two men represent the entire human race; those who will be saved and those who will be lost.
God, not being a respecter of persons, by your definition, throws out a life-saving device to both men. This device is representative of what you deem to be "grace". Each device lands exactly the same distance from the two men. Thus, there sits "grace" in the water easily within reach of both men. So far, everything is equal in all respects. Both men in the same water, both drowning, both with "grace" sitting directly in front of them and easily within reach. However, this "grace", as you are wanting to call it cannot save either man on its own. It is but an "aid" to their rescue and nothing more. It is powerless to actually save a drowning man. There is no inherent salvific power in your "grace".
Therefore, if either man is to be saved, there is something which must be added to that "grace", i.e., their determination, decision, and seizing hold of that lifesaving device, aka "grace". To now insist that there is nothing that differs between the two men is ludicrous. For in fact the ONLY thing that differs between the one who is saved and the one who perishes is the one's will and action. Thus salvation is not of Grace but of "grace" + works.
Let's turn this illustration around just to show how erroneous your view is even to plain old common sense. There are three men who are deeply in debt (again ignoring the biblical teaching that all men are born spiritual still-born). They are both equally deeply in debt. All three are given a million dollars with no attachments which is put in trust for them at a local bank. All three receive notification that this money is being held for them and all they need do is go down to the bank and claim it as their own. There are no "strings" attached, thus they are free to pay off all their debts and/or spend it as they will.
One man hurries down to the bank and withdraws his money, pays off all his debts and invests the remainder which will afford him financial security for the rest of his earthly life. A second man totally ignores the notification for one reason or another and consequently remains in his debt and dies poverty stricken. The third man however, like the first, runs down to the bank and also withdraws the million dollars. He sits down and begins writing checks to pay for his many debts. But after awhile he decides he would rather go on a cruise around the world. And in doing so wastes away all the money he had left. He too dies in debt.
Now, what we have here is an accurate display, using your definition of "grace" and why men are saved. The first man accepts the "gift" and uses it wisely and consequently he enjoys "salvation". The second man is one has the same "opportunity" and "possibility" of salvation but rejects it for some reason. And the third is one who initially has "salvation" but out of his love of the world fails to use it wisely and consequently looses it. So, tell me, what makes them to differ? It surely isn't that the one had an advantage over the others as far as "opportunity" is concerned. It surely wasn't that the one had more money than the others! It surely wasn't that the one had "real" money and the others were only offered or given counterfeit money. No..!! That which makes them to differ was themselves. The one's "salvation" was determined by his own will. Bottom line with your view:
[color:red]"grace" + WORKS = salvation
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that you are embracing SYNERGISM while God's Word teaches MONOGISM!! (Jonah 2:9)
In reply to:[color:"blue"] It is true that a decision by the man is necessary for him to be saved (for God has ordained it be so), but whether they accept or reject their salvation, it is still grace that saves.
This statement in itself shows that it is not grace that savews, but grace that might save, contingent on the persons active choice. Grace is unmerited favor, getting what one does not deserve, not conditional favor or potential to get what one does not deserve. This is clearly a misuse of terms.
Grace is but glory begun; Glory is but grace perfected! - Jonathan Edwards
You said that you made the decision to receive Christ. Well of course you did. The question I am asking is why did you choose to come to Christ while another does not?
You further go on to say that God "makes" us accept the gospel and not the world. My question is, again, why do you accept the gospel while others embrace the world? To say that you did not atone for your sins or fill yourself with the Spirit does not really address the questions I am asking. I'm concerned with why your sins are atoned for while another's are not. To say that you chose Christ while others do not is to only push the question back one step. In other words, why did you choose Christ, while another chooses the world? Who caused you to differ from another in this regard?
In reply to:[color:"blue"]I compare it to a lifeboat sent to drowning men
Did you happen to see the movie "Titanic?" There was a scene after the ship had sunk where there were hundreds and hundreds of bodies in the ocean, dead, frozen, still floating in their life jackets. One lifeboat, after much debate among the passengers and crew, finally decided to go back and try to "save some." The scene was eery as the boat went back in the dark of night and pushed through the lifeless (necros) frozen bodies that bobbed up and down like ice cubes in a punch bowl. There was nothing but silence, darkness, and cold, lifeless, necrotic bodies. The rescuers called and called, to no avail; no response, dead, lifeless.
Question: If the rescuers had, with the best intentions, thrown out a lifeline to those dead, frozen people floating in the ocean could they have grasp it, the lifeline, and saved themselves?
Of course you know the answer. This necrotic condition, deadness, is the condition of all men since the fall of our first parents. We cannot grasp the lifeline unless we are first made alive. We cannot come out of the tomb, like Lazarus, until the Lord effectually calls us through regeneration. We, like those poor, dead, necrotic bodies in "Titanic," cannot respond to the lifeline of the gospel unless we are vivified, made alive.
This appears to be the key to the argument that has been going on between you and other members of this board. The point that we Calvinists wish to stress is that you cannot, we cannot, no man can "decide" for Christ, obey him, or perform any other evangelical obedience until we are resurrected from death to life.
We believe that the Bible teaches that salvation is of the Lord from beginning to end. And so,
IN a previous post, I brought up verses John 8: 46 and John 1:12 -13 to indicate that they are clear in showing who are those who will hear and believe and those who wont.
JoshT reponded with the following:
In reply to:[color:"blue"]
It is very clear. The phrase 'because you are not of God' indicates that God did not choose to give His grace to these individuals because He knew that they would harden their hearts against the truth and against His grace.
Carlos Responds: Talk about classic “eisegesis”. Please prove me from the text where it says God witheld His mercy and grace to them ‘because HE KNEW that that they would harden their hearts agains the truth and against His grace”. Yes, the passage speaks of God had not chosen them. They were not his; as John 10:26 has the similar statement that “but you do not believe because you are not my sheep”. Yes, God never opened their hearts and their ears so that they would accept the gospel. But I am interested to find where in the text it says that God did withold his grace from these pharisees ‘because He knew’ that they would hardern their hearts againt the truth and his grace. For infact, all men in their natural state, behave like the pharisees in this contex; that is they reject the truth. Onfly after God has given ears to hears, can any one accept the truth. The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the LORD has made them both” (Pr. 20:12).
JoshT Continued with the following:
In reply to:[color:"blue"] The phrase 'WHO WERE BORN, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but OF GOD' makes it clear that it is not man who has sought God, but God who has sought man and chosen certain of them to be saved (based on His foreknowledge). No problems from either passage.
Carlos writes: Do you always read into the scriptures with your “God-forsees glasses”? That seems to be your number 1 hermeneutic presupposotion. The passage[john 1:12-13] means what it says. God regenerates , gives spritiual birth to the natural man. As Eph 2 says, God “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.” This occurs without any doing on the part of the un-regenerate. As that passage state, “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man. Not even the arminians’s beloved “free-will”. God regenerates irrespective to any of those things. James 1:18 ...”Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth..” . God ‘monergisticly’ imparts spiritual life( i.e man is passive and God is the only one active). Just as a baby had no part in his beginnings of his/her birth, so it is with the regenerate. The idea of resurrection to life also supports this. "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life... Therefore have I told you that no man can come to me, unless it be given to him by my Father." ( John 6:63,65) . 1 John 3:8 “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit “. God is not only seeking man, He is regenerating them. That’s the meaning of the passage. Why Regeneration? Because the un-regenerated does not accept the things of God, and they are foolishness to him, as 1 coritians 2:12-14 demonstrate. His nature is bent agaisnt God( romans 1). The total depravity of man runs throughtout scripture. So how can one who is dead in their sins, who walks according to his lust and nature chose God? One word: The new birth. Thus, God gives life to people who are dead in the sins so then they can accept things of God and believe in Him. As John 1 passage says, Those who believe, “Who were born... of God”. The birth preceded the belief. "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God ( 1 john 5:1)" . The greek tenses of the verbs make point very clear: As John Piper states “Every one who goes on believing [present particle denoting a continuous action] that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God [perfect, completed action with abiding effects].
God chose to give birth to them because of HIS GRACE...HIs Kind intention..Because It pleased him to do so.. not because of any forseen merit,etc or anthying seen in any man. As ephe 2:4 states, But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses,”. The Bible says “16It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy.
Ofourse, the is no problem after you have twisted to the scripture to your liking. Anyone can do that. The problem is seen when the text is exegesized properly.
Originally I wrote
"A. God regenerates the person (" born of God") [john 3]. Remember, natural man is 'DEAD', spiritually. That is why they are regenerated; it gives spritual life, gives them a ' heart of flesh'. Thus:
B) they 'hear' & 'believe' and love the word of God and accept Christ as Lord and Savior."
JoshT reponded with the following:
In reply to:[color:"blue"] Men are not born of God or regenerated before they are saved-- there is no Biblical indication of this. God sheds His grace upon them, enabling them to humble themselves, hear Him, repent, and believe the truth. The 'heart of flesh' is given by God to those who are born again. Note in Ezekiel 11, that God will give Israel this after they show the fruits of repentance, not before.
Carlos Writes: I have already demonstrated above that faith is fruit of the being born again(.i.e regeneration) and not the cause of it. The heart of flesh is given to those who initially have a heart of stone. “I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh” as the ezekial verse states . Are you imlying that those with a ‘heart of stone’ can believe and humble themselves??? I disagree with your intepretation of ezek 11. The point of that passage is that Since God will give them a undivided heart or a heart of flesh , in turn they will serve Him and not idols and keep his commandments, humble themselves, etc. Is it similar to Deut 30:5-7: “He will bring you to the land that belonged to your fathers, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. 6 The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. “7
Notice it is God who is circumcising their hearts so that they will worhsip him.Wehn people repent and turn to Christ and serve Him it is because of God has wrought that work in them. They willingly turn to embrace the Savior since their hatred of God has been transformed to a love for Him.‘Repentance Unto life’ is a Gift from God. “They glorified God, saying, ‘Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life’” (Acts 11:18).
I had written
"JoshT that is why in John 3 it is stated that unless one is born again, He "CANNOT SEE" the kingdom of God. Natural man is 'BLIND'."
JoshT reponded with:
In reply to:[color:"blue"] The kingdom of God in John 3 refers to the eternal kingdom. In other words, one cannot see God's eternal kingdom unless he is saved. Natural man is blind, until God gives him grace enabling him to see.
I disagree. One can not see..that is He/She cannot perceive nor comprehend nor know the kingdom of God UNLESS is given spiriutal life by GOD, unless He is made a new creature. That passage is similar to 1 Cor 2:14: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”. Being born again refers to the new birth( i.e regeneration) and not being saved. They are two dinsctict things. The new birth will lead to being saved. Although the two are necesserarily linked, they are separate things , just like sanctification and justification. That grace by which GOD is “enabling him[natural man] to see” is called REGENERATION. That is what the passages is reffering to. Conlusion: Natural man sees ONLY after He has been MADE ALIVE.He has to be born of the spirit before He can see, hear, know, and welcome the things of the the Spiirt, the things of God. “..Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves ( col :12-13). Although the kingdom of God is spoken in various ways throughout the scripture, I believe john here is emphasizing entrace into the kingdom of God NOW according to the context. I would like to know you definition “Enabling”. I doubt very much you would describe it as I would, and I contend, as the bible does. If you don’t agree I would like you to explain to me how then can it be possible for the unregenerate, who is dead in sin, enslaved to his sins, captive by satan, walks according the world, at enmity with God, hates the light, mocks the Gospel of Christ Crucified, can excercise exercise faith except He/She be first be made a new creature???
"Long my imprisoned spirit lay, Fast bound in sin and nature's night; Thine eye diffused a quickening ray; I woke: The dungeon flamed with light! My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee" --
"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)
In reply to:[color:"blue"] but the acceptance of God's grace is the only way that he can in any sense 'save himself'
So if God leaves up to man to accept His grace
WHY WOULD ANY SINNER WANT GOD'S GRACE SEEING THAT WE BY NATURE DO NOT WANT ANY PART OF GOD
Ephesians 2:2-5 "Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lust of our flesh fulfilling the desires of the flesh of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath even as the others. But God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherein he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath made us alive together with Christ, (by grace you are saved.)"
Here Paul emphatically states that while were in our miserable rebellion to God, while we loved our sin more than Him and while were just as the rest of humankind, it was there in that state(dead in sins) that God who was rich in mercy saved us(made us alive).
God grace is what changed us, and we didn't change to get God's grace. Christ came to save the sinners and not the righteous. He came to save those who were not "seekers" and those who were of a hard heart. He came to save those who were godless terrible people. He did not come to save those who were willing. If this were true then no one would be saved.
IRT: "In other words, why did you choose Christ, while another chooses the world? Who caused you to differ from another in this regard?"
The decision to accept or reject the calling of God rests with each individual, for God has delegated to each man a responsibility for his soul. This concept is plainly derived from scripture. But as far as who made us differ in the context of the scripture Pilgrim quoted, God did, for it is ultimately God who justifies us.
Dear Pilgrim,<br><br>IRT:<br>"There appears to be a clear contradiction between what you believe/stated and what the inspired Apostle has written. If, as you say, all men have received an "equal measure of enabling 'grace'" then that which makes them to differ is their will and or willingness to cooperate with that grace!"<br><br>That which makes us differ in the context of that scripture (referring to salvation) is Christ, but it was not referring to who made us differ in regards to deciding to follow God's call.<br><br>IRT:<br>"Again, your view denigrates grace and relegates it to a mere "influence" which does not actually save in and of itself. Man's will is the actual and proximate cause of salvation. Your position is indefensible."<br><br>Grace must be received to save a man. Man's compliance is necessary for salvation, but not the cause; and my position is clearly defended by scripture, as I have shown repeatedly.<br><br><br>In Christ,<br>Josh
IRT: "WHY WOULD ANY SINNER WANT GOD'S GRACE SEEING THAT WE BY NATURE DO NOT WANT ANY PART OF GOD"
It is because when God shines His grace on a sinner, the sinner can then see the truth and accept it, it does not force him to, but allows him to.
IRT: "God grace is what changed us, and we didn't change to get God's grace."
God's grace allowed us to change and accept it so that we could be saved.
IRT: "Christ came to save the sinners and not the righteous. He came to save those who were not "seekers" and those who were of a hard heart. He came to save those who were godless terrible people. He did not come to save those who were willing. If this were true then no one would be saved."
True, but God's grace did not force them to seek Him or repent either, it simply sets before them the choice of life or death.
IRT: "Question: If the rescuers had, with the best intentions, thrown out a lifeline to those dead, frozen people floating in the ocean could they have grasp it, the lifeline, and saved themselves?
Of course you know the answer. This necrotic condition, deadness, is the condition of all men since the fall of our first parents. We cannot grasp the lifeline unless we are first made alive. We cannot come out of the tomb, like Lazarus, until the Lord effectually calls us through regeneration. We, like those poor, dead, necrotic bodies in "Titanic," cannot respond to the lifeline of the gospel unless we are vivified, made alive."
You are overdrawing an analogy. There is no indication in the Bible that a person is made alive before they believe. A person, though spiritually dead, is not so dead as they cannot respond to the light of God's life giving grace. You might as well say that believers cannot be saved because they are dead with Christ!
"Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him" (Romans 6:8)
So trying to equate spiritually dead with being unable to answer God's call is an overdrawn analogy and logical fallacy.
"And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring." Acts 17:26-28
IRT: "We believe that the Bible teaches that salvation is of the Lord from beginning to end."
Good. So do I, and the Lord has decreed that we must obey Him to be saved (Hebrews 5:9).
Merits and conditions are two different things; fulfilling conditions does not make one deserve or merit anything; so the term is perfectly sound.<br><br>At my work, there are conditions I must fulfill to merit a salary increase. I fail to see how the two are not related.<br><br>Thanks, <br>Steve