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Grace

Discussion in 'Salvation (Soteriology)' started by Reformationist, Aug 6, 2002.

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  1. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

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    I have had some very enlightening discussions lately regarding the goal of our faith (salvation) and it got me thinking about the beginning of that path to righteousness.  Many people here subscribe to the philosophy of "asking God to come into your heart and your life" or performing some event that is the actual catalyst for receiving God's gift of salvation.

    I think that one of the most important things in understanding and fully appreciating God's grace and the effect it had in our lives is to start our line of reasoning at the Fall.  The reason I think it's imparative to start there is because we were all affected by that event.

    There was a time prior to the Fall when mankind was not enslaved to their sinful nature.  It is incongrous to compare the nature of Adam and Eve, and thus their ability to respond to God, prior to the Fall with that of mankind after the Fall.

    What I would like to discuss is to what degree do you believe man was enslaved to their sinful nature after the Fall and what action, and what was the result of that action, did God have to take to enable them to make the choice to obediently follow God.

    Did God have to take an action to enable man to "choose" to be His child?  Did God have to completely regenerate man for him to be able to make the conscious decision to follow Him, or, did God only give man what is called "previent grace" which is the grace that procedes salvation but enables us to make the conscious decision to follow Him or to not follow Him?  Or, do you believe in neither of these and instead believe that the decision to follow God was something that you had to do on your own before He would bestow any grace upon you?

    Thanks for your thoughts!
     
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  2. Received

    Received True love waits in haunted attics

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    Aye, three cheers for (the doctrine of) total depravity! Romans 5:12, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned." It is not a question of if man is born sinful or not. We know there is an age of innocence upon childhood, Isaiah gives claim to that:

    "For before the Child shall know to refuse evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings." (7:16)

    Rather, it is what can be done when death comes. The dead cannot help themselves. The only solution are those chosen by God for salvation, thus the elect. This is not based on works, partiality, or picking names out of a divine hat. Rather, it is in the realm of sovereignty. Also, this sovereignty is beyond our 3rd dimension senses. Before my coming to grips with the doctrine of Predestination, I remember an arrogant young man who told me to stop praying for someone because "she was not among the elect".

    I don't believe grace can be resisted when it is seen. It would be like a starving man resisting a loaf of bread when it is placed before him. God knows our desires, and He conforms them upon our submission that we may find truth in Him alone - "delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4). But I have run across a rather interesting word by the lovely C.S. Lewis in his interview with Mr Sherwood E. Wirt. The question was raised thus:

    Wirt:
    "In your book Suprised by Joy you remark that you were brought into the Faith kicking and struggling and resentful, with eyes darting in every direction looking for an escape. You suggest that you wre compelled, as it were, to become a Chrstian. Do you feel that you made a decision at the time of your conversion?"

    Lewis:
    "I would not put it that way. What I wrote in Suprised by Joy was that 'before God closed in on me, I was in fact offered what now appears a moment of wholly free choice.' But I feel my decision was not so important. I was the object rather than the subject in this affair. I was decided upon. I was glad afterwards at the way it came out, but at the moment what I heard was God saying, 'Put down your gun and we'll talk.'

    Wirt:

    "That sounds to me as if you came to a very definite point of decision."

    Lewis:
    "Well, I would say that the most deeply compelled action is also the freest action. But that I mean, no part of you is outside the action. It is a paradox. I expressed it in Suprised by Joy by saying that I chose, yet it really did not seem possible to do the opposite"

    Any thoughts?

    blessings,

    John
     
  3. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

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    Thank you for your input Received!  Well worded. :wave:
     
  4. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Monkey Boy

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    Total Depravity. That is the state of fallen man. One only has to look at the first 3 1/2 chapters of Romans to see that we are depraved. If anyone has not looked at those chapters do so. It will be an eye opening experience.

    Anyways, the question is how do we get from a totally depraved state to salvation. Even though I thought about this subject often I really can't say 100% how this occurs. I do know a few things though.

    God is perfectly just and sovereign. He is full of grace and mercy and I believe that He loves us all. He definitely does not desire anyone to sin or go to hell.


    2 Pet 3:9
    9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
    (NAU)


    John 3:16-18
    16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
    17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
    18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
    (NAU)

    Also God is the God of everything. NOTHING occurs unless He wills it.

    However I know also that man does make a choice. I believe a free choice. Even fallen man makes a free choice to sin. That is his/her desire. Also man freely chooses to place his/her faith in God. God does not force man to love Him.

    But how can these conflicting realities be resolved without contradiction? That is the part where I can't say I know completely. To make my views more clear I will answer the questions that Reformanist asked now.

    "Did God have to take an action to enable man to "choose" to be His child?"

    yes. The totally depraved man can't choose God by himself. God has to be the One who begins (and ends) the salvation process.

    " Did God have to completely regenerate man for him to be able to make the conscious decision to follow Him, or, did God only give man what is called "previent grace" which is the grace that procedes salvation but enables us to make the conscious decision to follow Him or to not follow Him?"

    Now here I lean more to previent grace. I think God definitely does more than make it a 50-50 choice. He seeks after us. No one has any kind of excuse to say to God. Like "Hey I did not have a chance." We all have a chance.

    Now let me say that would be God perfectly just if He sent us all to hell. We deserve it. From the beggining God's plan was for the salvation of all the world. He set up the jews to be priests to all the nations.

    Now why then if God is sovereign but still some of His desires do not come to pass? Because God's will is for us to have a choice. For some reason God let's us choose if we want to be a part of His kingdom. I do not understand it but He sovereigntly gives us that choice.

    Now I probably left somethings out from what I want to say and I know the problems in my statement above. However at least for me the "how" when it comes to salvation is somewhat of a mystery. I know I am a sinner saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. But if I go to far beyond that then I just have ???? I see the good in Calvin and Arminius.

    Somehow God's sovereignty and our free choice (notice I did not say freewill) are compatible but I just do not understand exactly how.

    " Did God have to completely regenerate man for him to be able to make the conscious decision to follow Him, or, did God only give man what is called "previent grace" which is the grace that procedes salvation but enables us to make the conscious decision to follow Him or to not follow Him?"

    No. I think left to our own natures without God's salvific grace we would choose 100% to go to hell.

    Sorry for the ramble.

    blackhawk
     
  5. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

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    Let me start by saying welcome back!  We have missed your deep insight and understanding of God's Word.  Now, on to the discussion!

    I don't want to discuss something if it is merely semantics but I don't know if I would go so far as say that God does not desire that anyone go to hell.  I would definitely say He does not delight in it.  As I understand them, the words "desire" and "will" seem to be interchangable with regard to God's relationship with His creation.  It is most definitely God's Will that some go to hell.  To not acknowledge that is to imply that the fact that some do go to hell is against God's Will, or outside of His control.  Complete sovereignty and not being in control of something are incongruous, as I understand the words.

    So in light of this, and by the way I agree, is it His Will that some people go to hell?  Personally, I think it is.  I don't think it's due to some malicious vendetta against those that don't profess Him as Lord, but rather, by contrast, to show those whom He did save the extent of the depravity from which they've been saved.  Granted, I think God is full of wrath against those who have not been brought to a knowledge of Him and that is what separates fallen man from Him, His wrath. 

    I would go further by saying that "choosing to sin" is always fallen man's greatest desire due to his fallen nature and that man, be he saved or not, will always choose according to their greatest desire.

    Here's where I always get confused.  You say that man "freely" chooses to place his faith in God but then go on to say "left to our own natures without God's salvific grace we would choose 100% to go to hell," and "The totally depraved man can't choose God by himself. God has to be the One who begins (and ends) the salvation process."  Do you mean regenerate man "freely chooses" to place his faith in God, or does this include fallen man as well? 

    If by "all the world" you mean everyone does that mean that you think that God's plan will not come to fruition as He had sovereignly foreordained since not everyone in all the world will be saved? 

    Here I have to disagree with you.

    1 Thessalonians 4:3
    For this is the will of God, your sanctification:

    True, as a saved person, our sanctification will be brought about by the choices we make in obedience, or disobedience to God's Law.  But, for the the non-elect, their disobedience will not, nor is it intended to, bring about their sanctification.  The non-elect will not be saved.  God is not "working everything to the good" of those He will not extend His saving grace to.

    How can man be totally depraved,  guaranteed to "100%" choose to go to hell without God's salvific grace (grace which saves, not "makes an offer of salvation") but still be given the choice to "choose to be part of His Kingdom" with any kind of success?  If man's totally depraved and then the choice is left up to him whether he wants to be part of God's Kingdom he will choose the totally depraved course of action, which is to not desire God's rule in their life.

    Thanks for the input blackhawk, and again, welcome back.

    God bless.
     
  6. sola fide

    sola fide neo-Puritan

    323
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    Ahhh..."As cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a far country." - Prov. 25:25
    It's so nice to hear Christians expounding on pure Biblical truth. I find these truths few and far between to be found now-a-days.
    Regeneration is purely monergistic- it is done by God and God alone. Man can offer God no assistance in the process...we cannot even seek the things of God without His aid in grace.
    "There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none who understands: There is none who seeks after God."-Ps. 14:1-3, Romans 3:10,11.
    To say that the depraved human seeking God is synergistic, that we are co-workers, is Biblical heresy. Man will not and cannot seek after God, for we are utterly corrupt to our innermost core.
    God is truly the "hound of heaven" who seeks His elect. If He were not to seek us, we would all pay the ultimate price for our sin, we would be consumed by our wicked lusts. Glory be to God, for He is merciful and sovereign.
    Woe, that almost sounded eloquent or something...I'm just thankful that God has illuminated this concept to me. My understanding of human depravity has changed my life drastically...God is truly great!

    Soli Deo gloria!
     
  7. Slave2SinNoMore

    Slave2SinNoMore Active Member

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    What's odd is that in my 23 years as a Christian, I had never heard anyone express a belief in regeneration before the moment that someone becomes a Christian. Now, from this forum, I see that it seems to be quite a popular idea.

    I don't agree with pre-salvation regeneration, however.
     
  8. sola fide

    sola fide neo-Puritan

    323
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    The reason for my belief in what you would call a "pre-salvation" regeneration is that I believe humans do not have to moral capacity to incline themselves toward God. They would rather run and keep running. God must impute faith in a human for them to believe. And if God has imputed faith into them, that in essence means that they are being regenerated.
    Modern day teachers that faith follows, and does not proceed, confession of Christ could be said to be embracing semi-Palagianism. The early church teacher Palagius denied original sin and the depravity of humans.
    Luther and other reformers embraced original sin and boldy declared that regeneration was "operative" of God, and not "co-operative" with humans. God alone can give us the faith to believe because our carnal and deprave minds won't allow us to do so. To say that faith only comes after confession is to deny simple logic. It takes "faith" to confess Christ as one's savior. You must have faith that He is who He says He is.
    The only question that remains is "how did you get that faith"? From my view I say the faith came from God for the purpose of His divine election. Otherwise we begin to give credit to the human for "making a decision for Christ" when the truth is Christ made a decision for them.
    That's why I used the hound of heaven analogy. As a hound seeking a fox, God seeks His elect diligently, His grace is effectual, not to be denied. We, on the other hand, would never seek God because it is no longer in our nature due to the fall. Credit in salvation must go purely, 100 percent to God. He must impute the faith to us in order for us to believe.

    Soli Deo gloria!
     
  9. Received

    Received True love waits in haunted attics

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    The simple problem with predestination, preordination, election, etc. is that it is part of God's mind set. I have to agree with C.S. Lewis in saying that God is almost certainly beyond time. And when you come to grips with that, that destroys your entire thought process or indoctrination of who, why, and when someone will be saved, and if it is will or not. But I agree with you reformationist and blackhawk. God has to will something to happen for it to happen. And what He desires can be different than what He decrees. If you doubt, I ask you to read Hosea, or at least chapter 11. Is it free will for man to accept salvation? I would say no, because if it were there would be total anarchy and pride on the side of the church. People tend to believe "they" are leading people to Christ. Also, it would force people into a highly altruistic lifestyle. How can you think of sleeping when you can go and save more people? But it makes sense for God, who knows who are his, and who has everything in the bag, but gives us the freedom to be His vessels, for nothing more than the joy of doing His work. Treasures in heaven Christ does talk about, but that is not revelation to the afterlife, but now. English translation takes away the plural. Christ is really saying "you will have treasures in the heavens", which means He is speaking on the Kingdom of God, which is not millenial, but now. And He goes on to say "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21). The treasure He is talking of is the joy. Also, the first shall be last and the last shall be first. Everyone will be equal in heaven. I will not have a bigger mansion then Joe Shmo. But I am reminded that beauty is based on perspective, and perspective is personal, and thus it cannot boast. But I'm really chasing this rabbit...

    I believe in predestination and election because it is biblical. I still have to say sinners throw themselves into Hell, because of their ignorance. And the gap in logistics from sinners seemingly "rejecting" the message and God predestining them is beyond me, but I know He gives everyone a fair chance. If He didn't, He would not care for the wicked, but He does. Ezekial 33:11 "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from His way and live". Perhaps the sinners loss in salvation has to do with "not putting his gun down" as Lewis says. Ecclesiastes does speak clearly on sinful man, that "He has placed eternity in their hearts." (3:12), which means He is their desire just as He is for the saved. But the choice of saving himself is impossible. I've never seen a dead and buried man dig himself out of a grave.

    In short, I believe in pre-salvation because I am anything but "pre". That leaves me area to trust, and praise God for trust, because only with trust may you not understand what you can be going through, but still have a real feeling of "peace", of which is offered freely, that everything is under control. Perhaps we should look to the peace before we look to the doctrine, which can confuse us all at first glance.

    blessings,

    John
     
  10. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Monkey Boy

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    Glad to be back. I always like discussing God with you also. (1 Thess. 1)  





    God is completely sovereign.  What is in His sovereign will will come to pass.  I just do not think His desire and His will are the same thing. 

    For example God never desired Adam to sin.  If He did then it would not of been a sin. right?  So we can say that Adam went against God's moral will although God in His sovereign will allowed it to occur.  In fact it was in His sovereign plan.  God knew it would occur and used it to further His plan for man and creation.  His plan was no way thrwarted because of Adam's sin.  It is just not what God desired.  (Romans 8:28, John 17:24)





    It is in God's sovereign will that some go to hell.  Whether one is a Calvinist or Armininian one has to believe that for God if it was not in His sovereign will it would not occur.  Now I do not believe that God has ever forced me to disobey Him.  It was my choice.  Before salvation I chose to disobey God and live in sin. 

    And yes God's full wrath is against the unregenerated.  It is fully against fallen man although God does not feel delight in pouring out His wrath on His creation.  (John 3:36, 2 Peter 3:9, Isiaiah 30:18, Lam 3:33)

    He is somewhat like a parent.  A parent will discipline his children willfully but he does not enjoy it.  Also the parent (as much as any human can be) is in control.  The parent sets the rules and boundries and even gives the setting for the child.  A small child can't choose between Chocalate or vanilla ice cream unless that parent gives him that choice.  Unless the parent sets it in front of the child and allows the child to choose one or the other freely. (prov 19:18, Heb. 121:6-10)




    Okay. I agree. man chooses what is his greatest desire.  One question though this is johnathan Edwards right?  Or is it Luther?  I mean no disrespect by asking this because both of these men were great men and we must all learn from the great and small alike. I am just wondering.




    This is where we disagree.  You say that only some men are fully regenerated by God and they choose to be saved because God changes their desires so that they place their faith in Him. 

    I say that God comes to everyone and shows Himself to all.  And I do not mean just common grace.  I believe that the Holy Spirit comes to all and "woos" all.  I think God makes it so all men get to a place where they can choose God or reject Him.  basically "previent grace."  I might go farther than that because I do believe in a form of limited atonment because it is so easily displayed.

    I believe that not all men have an equal chance to be saved.  This is easy to see when we speak of me vs. a man born in Afghanastan and although he has heard of the gospel all the social, economic, and political factors go against him choosing the Truth.  It is so easy for me to choose Christ when i will not be killed or shunned because of it.  When my parents teach it to me and it is my families and my country's norm. (when I was growing up in the 70's it was) 

    Also God made us.  He gave us our makeup.  He knew me and formed me while I was still in my mother's womb.  And He is still forming me.  God has never left me alone even when I was not saved.  He was coming to me either personally through the Holy Spirit or through His respresenatives. (my parents, church, etc.) 

    Also God has a soveriegn will and allowed me to choose Him and allowed the Afghanstan man not choose Him.  He did not switch us at anytime.  He let that certain man in Afghanastan be in those circumstances while I am where I have been. 

    Now where I depart for Calvinism's view of limited atonement is that I believe that God came to us all in such a way that we all had a chance to be saved.  That all of us had an oppurutnity to choose or reject God.  Now God did not have to do this.  He was and is under no obligation to us in anyway.  But He chose to do it this way.  He chose to let us choose Heaven or Hell.  And i think He chose to let us be able to reject His grace. 



    God's plan will come about as He has designed it to come about. 




    I believe thaqt God desires all of us to be sanctified but it is only in His sovereign that some are sanctified.  He could of made us all be sanctified.  He set up the rules.  He could of forced all to believe in Him and to put our faith in Him.  All knees will bow and everyone will confess one day but God could of made it so that all would do it now before it is too late for the nonelect. 




    True but I think God goes past all of our depraved natures and allows us to have a choice.  We do not have a freewill because we can't make any choice for God on our own but I feel that we have a God given free choice.  He gives grace to all in a way that we can choose.  And I definitely do not believe that the choice is irresistable.  I think we can resist God but that God is still sovereign because He is in control. 

    This is also like a parent who allows his child to freely disobey him.  ( although there will be a peanalty for wrong behavior) However unlike a parent I believe God can change us internally so I will not will to break His will at all.  This is a common view of Calvinists also but they just believe that God allows this after regeneration.  Hence He allows us to still sin.  But not for the choice of salvation. 

    So I see one side of God and that is that He is completely sovereign, just, and one that should be feared.  He is omnipotent, omnipresent, Omniscient, and is the alpha and the omega.  (no verses needed because we both believe this)

    But also see the other side of God and that He is completely and perefctly gracious, and merciful. (Ezekial 18:25, He is full of forgiveness and wants His peace to permeate all of His creation which it will for He will not be denied.  I also see that He has perfect love.(1 john 4:8,16)  I see that He loves all and desires none to perish.  (1 tim 2:4, 2 peter 3:9) He is also not partial. (Deut 10:17-19, 2 chron. 19:17, Acts 10:9-16, Rom 2:11) And  I believe God died for all men. ( John 3:16-18, 1 John 2:2, Heb 2:9)

    But how do we bring these two sides together?  I really do not know 100%.  I lean more to Arminianism because I see God's universal love to all of man and that He is not partial to any men.  Also I think for us to love we must be able to choose not to love. 

    However Calvinism and Arminianism are both human attempts show how this occurs but I believe that answers lies somewhere in between the two. 

    Calvinism is more about God sovereignty while Arminianism is more about Man's choice.  Both are orthodox and are again trying to answer a question I believe will not be fully answered until we know like we are fully known.  (1 Cor. 13)

    blackhawk
     
  11. stephen1964

    stephen1964 Regular Member

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    I have enjoyed reading this entire thread and cannot possibly hope to write a post that makes half as much sense as anything already here. With that disclaimer said, let me give you my take on predestination. I feel that while God has already chosen his elect; we have no possible way to know who they are. This includes ourselves (gasp!) but is particularly important in regards to others and how we relate to them. I have yet to meet one professed Christian who believes in predestination and doesn't consider himself or herself one of the elect. I think we lack God's view of all eternity so that we perceive our lives as a sequence of choices which we are indeed making constantly. The only catch is that God knows the outcome. If I make a moral choice based on my faith in Jesus Christ, then a history of my life would have led to my choice. If God has led me to this place, then who am I to argue? I like the analogy of the starving man being offered a loaf of bread (very biblical). Our duty then is to act on the faith which God has given us and live our lives under His grace, asking in prayer for his guidance.
     
  12. eldermike

    eldermike Pray Supporter

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    I believe there is a reason why at least two different views of the mechanics of salvation can be biblically supported. Because they are both right. God took Paul out of the world with no help from Paul. But also many believed that were reasoned too.
     
  13. Received

    Received True love waits in haunted attics

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    It's so wonderful when you get down to it. God has everything figured out. It is by His grace that He allows us to be His vessels. The submission will bring meaning and joy. Nobody is going to be lost on behalf of a "lazy Christian". One problem I had with predestination when coming to grips with it was the idea that "God doesn't seem to have as much mercy as I thought He did". But a good revelation of my own logic pointed that I was outmercifying the one of infinite mercy, which makes no sense. None of us are beyond the compassion of God. If it were to take one chance or a million for a person to turn to Him, He would give it to them. But Hell is first a state of mind, that being without submission and enjoining pride. God has all this in mind, and more than we can ever muster.

    blessings,

    John
     
  14. LightBearer

    LightBearer Veteran

    +42
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    Then why does God through the Bible encourage man to do so?

    Acts 17:26-28
    ”And he made out of one [man] every nation of men, to dwell upon the entire surface of the earth, and he decreed the appointed times and the set limits of the dwelling of [men], 27 for them to seek God, if they might grope for him and really find him, although, in fact, he is not far off from each one of us. 28 For by him we have life and move and exist, even as certain ones of the poets among YOU have said, ‘For we are also his progeny.’

    Isaiah 55:6-7
    ”Search for God, YOU people, while he may be found. Call to him while he proves to be near. 7 Let the wicked man leave his way, and the harmful man his thoughts; and let him return to God, who will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will forgive in a large way.”

    Psalm 105:4
    ”Search for God and his strength.
    Seek his face constantly.”
     
  15. Slave2SinNoMore

    Slave2SinNoMore Active Member

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    Very good post.
     
  16. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

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    I am regularly amazed when people seek to disprove the utter depravity of mankind by looking up a word in a concordance and then providing scripture, out of context, which speaks volumes about God's sovereignty in controlling all things related to our salvation.

    Let's look at this verse in context:

    We have Paul addressing the the men of Athens and he says, "I perceive that in all things you are very religious."  The people of Athens were paganistic in their worship, though devoted, and the altar that he addresses is probably a reference to the Altar of the Twelve God's at Athens which was their effort to ensure that no god was left out of their worship.  Paul used this point of contact to begin his discourse about the God who made the world, who is not carved out of stone or confined to any temple, and who controls the times and places where people live.

    He proclaims, "the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you."

    So what Paul is explaining to the Athenians is that He who is God needs nothing from us because He is the giver of all life.  He preappoints when and where people live.  He decides the circumstances of our lives and controls them and brings about His Will.  He doesn't initiate things and hope for the best.  It is because He has complete control over all aspects of His creation, which is everthing created, that He can determine exactly how things will come about.  If there was even one thing that God wasn't in control of, how is it that He could promise to work ALL things to the good of His body of believers?  He couldn't.  The obvious fact that not everyone will be saved is undeniable proof that it is not His Will that everyone be saved.  See, you have the process backwards.  We don't seek Him to be saved.  We seek Him because we're saved.

    Psalm 10:4
    The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; 
    God is in none of his thoughts.

    Romans 3:11 
    There is NONE WHO SEEKS after God.

    Fallen man will not, nor do they desire to, seek God.

    The exhortation to "seek God" goes out to all mankind for two reasons.  First, because those making the plea have no idea who will heed the call and they're commanded to preach to all nations.  Secondly, because, once saved, it is the only way we are purified by His Grace.  God, however, does know who will seek Him because they were created for that purpose.  Those that weren't created for that purpose, simply won't.

    God bless.
     
  17. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Monkey Boy

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    Well let me say that we do seek after God. In my readings Calvinist and Arminian alike believe that we do.  Basically in order to be saved we need to have faith in Him by His grace.  (Eph. 2,  Rom. 10)

    One of the more major questions that seperates Arminians and Calvinists is not do we seek God?  It is what makes us seek God? And really it is not that. It is more is God's grace irresistable? 

    For both C & A scholars alike say we seek after God for our salvation but the Calvinists say that since we are totally depraved (not utterly depraved for we are not as evil as possible)  and thus spiritually dead, we must be fully made alive or fully regenerated before we can place our faith in Jesus.  And thus if we are fully regenerated our irresistable choice will be to seek after God.  Now since all do not seek after God all are not sought after by God in this efficacious (effective) way. Thus we have limited atonement. 

    Now Arminians claim that we are all totally depraved but God only  paritally regenerates all men. (Previent grace)  After this then we can either choose to seek after God or choose not to seek after Him.  Thus His grace is resistable. Also since He partially regenerates all men then it is possible for all men to become saved (unlimited atonement)although not all men will choose to receive God's gift of salvation. 

    Now of course there are claims on both sides that say that both sides are untrue but that is the gist of their arguments without rebuttal.

    But again both C & A claim that God has to help man seek after Him.  Arminianism is somoetimes called semipelagianism and that is because far more on the liberal side was the theology of a man called Pelagius who believed that man could seek after God without God's help.  That man had that ability and thus was not totally depraved.  Pelagius debated with Augustine about this and Augustine won.  Pelagius was labeled as a heretic and rightfully so since the Bible is clear that we do need God in order to seek after Him.  Romans 3 makes that clear. 

    Well it looks like I explained more than I thought I was going to oh well I think it helped my point.  All of the elect at sometime choose to seek God.  And in both C& A God has to help man do it. The question is how does God help man seek after Him?

    blackhawk
     
  18. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

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    Let me reiterate that I was speaking of fallen man's inability to seek God, and their lack of a desire to do so.  Once saved it is a whole different ball game because God is working in us a new desire and ability to do for His good pleasure:

    Philippians 2:13
    for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

    As I understand it, neither John Calvin nor Jacob Arminius believed that fallen man sought God in their depraved state.  Granted, they have different views as to the level of regeneration God enacts upon His creation but that is another debate.

    I guess I should choose my words more carefully. ;)   By "utter" I meant that our depravity has spread to every part of our being.  "Complete" would probably have been a better word. :)

    Well, as is pretty obvious, I am in the camp of Calvin on this.  I think it is unbiblical as well as endangering to our reverence and ultimately our relationship with God to assume we played such an integral part in obtaining our salvation.  When looked at in this manner it begs the questions, "What exactly are you thanking God for if you believe in previent Grace?  What exactly are you thankful to Christ for doing?"  The obvious answer to the application of previent grace shows that God did not give you something you couldn't get for yourself, you did get it.  You earned it by making the correct decision.  Oh sure, He brought you to the point where you could make the decision.  But, did He save you with or without your help?  The brutal death of Jesus Christ did nothing for you with regard to your eternal disposition.  Only when you make the decision to "allow" God, the Creator of all things, including you, into your heart, which He also created, are you saved.  Who is the focus on?  You, and your decision.  How arrogant to assume that the Creator of all things needs His creation to "agree" with Him to enact His Divine Will.  The Bible clearly states that Christ was the propitiation for our sins.  There are two veeerrrry important points to make about 1 John 2:2.  First, and foremost, propitiation doesn't mean something that creates an opportunity.  It means "something that gains or regains the favor or goodwill of something else."  Christ's death was an appeasement to God's wrath.  It is God's wrath that separates us from Him.  Christ's death was the SOLE factor in FULLY bringing man to a restored relationship with his Creator.

    1 John 4:9,10
    In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.<SUP>&nbsp; </SUP>In this is love, NOT THAT WE LOVED GOD, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

    Secondly, now that we understand what Christ's death was we have to determine who is brought to a restored relationship with God.&nbsp; Is it all mankind?&nbsp; Of course not.&nbsp; This makes the second point so easy to understand.&nbsp; As Christ's death was efficacious (having the power to produce a desired effect), it becomes quite obvious that the "desired result" was not the reconciliation of "all mankind" to his Creator, but rather, all whom the Father was pleased to bring (this is different than "allow to come") to a knowledge of Himself.

    I'd like to point out something else.&nbsp; John 6:44 says this:

    "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;"

    If the Father extended that grace to all mankind Jesus wouldn't need to make a distinction between who can and who can't come to Him.&nbsp; He would have just said something to the effect of, "The Father draws everyone, so anyone can come."&nbsp; Obviously the Father doesn't draw everyone.

    There is nothing in the Bible that says that all men will be saved, nor does any Christian I know believe that to be the case.&nbsp; There is, however, plenty in the Bible that speaks of man's original depravity, their continual sinfulness even after their salvation, the requirement to live in a "state of forgiveness" due to that continual sinning, and&nbsp;Jesus' efficacious propitiation which needed no supplement to accomplish that which it was intended for.

    God bless.
     
  19. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Monkey Boy

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    All of this is true.&nbsp; I was just trying to show that someone that men do seek after God but they have to have God's help to do it.&nbsp; They will not seek after God alone.&nbsp; I thought that what was getting confused was that some were thinking that man NEVER seeks after God.&nbsp; But man does but it is not until God steps in and makes it so man can.&nbsp;

    Know that this thread was not directed towards you because I know what you believe and that you would not say that no man ever seeks after God. Heck I do not even knwo if the person I directed it towards was confused by what I thought he was.&nbsp; It is possible i misread the posts.

    But anyways You say that unregenerated man never seeks after God but God makes it so that the regenerated man can seek after God.&nbsp; That is a huge part of Calvinism and one that I know you support. Cool?




    I should of also.&nbsp; I am sorry about the way i handled it.&nbsp; You can probably point out little things in my posts that are wrong but you do not.&nbsp; The reason why i pointed it out though is that total depravity is often confused for utter deepravity and that God gives no grace to all people not even common grace.&nbsp; But that is not total depravity.&nbsp; Total depravity means that man will always sin because he will not seek after God and his thoughts and actions are not directed towards or for God.&nbsp; But not that depraved man is as evil as possible.&nbsp; I was just trying to clear up something I thought might be confusing.&nbsp; Sorry.




    This is where we part company theologically.&nbsp; I totally understand what you are saying but Ifeel that the Bible is clear that God gives us a true choice of salvation.&nbsp; And that our choosing to accept God's gift of salvation is not a work and that it is not something that I can't reject.&nbsp; Thsi is getting off the subject of the thread though so we will have to debate it another time.&nbsp; So I will create another thread so we can debate it but not clutter up this one with a different debate than what the thread is about.&nbsp; And i am sorry for my last post that went into things that you were not speaking about in this thread.&nbsp;

    I will answer the rest of your post in another thread.&nbsp;

    blackhawk
     
  20. mjwhite

    mjwhite Member

    210
    +0
    Psalms 36:1-4
    1 The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, There is no fear of God before his eyes. 2 For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, That his iniquity will not be found out and be hated. 3 The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: He hath ceased to be wise and to do good. 4 He deviseth iniquity upon his bed; He setteth himself in a way that is not good; He abhorreth not evil.

    Psalms 14:1-3
    1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works; There is none that doeth good. 2 Jehovah looked down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there were any that did understand, That did seek after God. 3 They are all gone aside; They are together become filthy; There is none that doeth good, no, not one.
    Psalms 14:4-7
    4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge, Who eat up my people as they eat bread, And call not upon Jehovah? 5 There were they in great fear; For God is in the generation of the righteous. 6 Ye put to shame the counsel of the poor, Because Jehovah is his refuge. 7 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When Jehovah bringeth back the captivity of his people, Then shall Jacob rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.

    Psalms 17:8-15
    8 Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me under the shadow of thy wings, 9 From the wicked that oppress me, My deadly enemies, that compass me about. 10 They are inclosed in their own fat: With their mouth they speak proudly. 11 They have now compassed us in our steps; They set their eyes to cast us down to the earth. 12 He is like a lion that is greedy of his prey, And as it were a young lion lurking in secret places. 13 Arise, O Jehovah, Confront him, cast him down: Deliver my soul from the wicked by thy sword; 14 From men by thy hand, O Jehovah, From men of the world, whose portion is in this life, And whose belly thou fillest with thy treasure: They are satisfied with children, And leave the rest of their substance to their babes. 15 As for me, I shall behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with beholding thy form.

    As we can see from these Psalms there are those who care nothing for God. Now that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a ‘god’ they serve and think they can trust. It means that they are separated from the One True God and His righteousness. But we were once like these:

    Ephesians 2:1-3
    1 And you did he make alive, when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins, 2 wherein ye once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience; 3 among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest: —

    Why did we turn away from following after the prince of the power of the air and from our very nature as children of wrath and seek the One who we were enemies of?…

    Romans 5:6-11
    6 For while we were yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: for peradventure for the good man some one would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from the wrath of God through him. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life; 11 and not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

    The answer is that God drew us to Him by grace….

    Ephesians 2:4-10
    4 but God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have ye been saved), 6 and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus: 7 that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus: 8 for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not of works, that no man should glory. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.

    What then makes us different then those who aren’t saved? God’s grace especially as shown by the death of Jesus for His lost sheep. The good shepherd goes out and gets the strays and brings them home. By grace have we been saved. God is all the difference between heaven and hell so we….

    26 For behold your calling, brethren, that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put to shame them that are wise; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong; 28 and the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, did God choose, yea and the things that are not, that he might bring to nought the things that are: 29 that no flesh should glory before God. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: 31 that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

    ..so we glory or boast only in the Lord Jesus. It is because of God that we are in Christ Jesus, and God alone.

    In Jesus,
    love
     
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