Your session will end in  seconds due to inactivity. Click here to continue using this web page.

Once Saved, Always Saved?

Monday, March 28, 2011 | Comments (184)

Once Saved, Always Saved?
Listen to a discussion about eternal security and you’ll eventually hear this question: “Are you saying that since we’re secure as Christians, we can do whatever we want to?” It’s the “once saved, always saved” idea that says, once you are saved, you’re saved no matter how you may behave.

But the question really misunderstands the biblical teaching about our sin and God’s grace in our lives.


Pursuing Godliness


Christians have struggled over the years with the best way to deal with sin in their lives. That struggle has produced unbiblical doctrines that promise to “aid” Christians along with their own endeavors to obtain personal godliness.

Perhaps you have encountered some of them. One of the more notorious false doctrines is perfectionism. It’s the belief that we can obtain perfect sinlessness in this life. In his book, The Vanishing Conscience, John MacArthur describes the dangers of Christian perfectionism,

Church history is littered with examples of sects and factions who taught various versions of Christian perfectionism. Nearly all these groups have either made utter shipwreck of the faith or been forced to modify their perfectionism to accommodate human imperfection. Every perfectionist inevitably comes face-to-face with clear and abundant empirical evidence that the residue of sin remains in the flesh and troubles even the most spiritual Christians throughout their earthly lives. In order to hang onto perfectionist doctrine, they must redefine sin or diminish the standard of holiness. Too often they do this at the expense of their own consciences. (The Vanishing Conscience, 127)

I have met a few perfectionists in the past. What I have noticed about their teaching is how they relegate sinfulness to only outward behaviors. One perfectionist I spoke with believed as long as he never physically committed adultery, he wasn’t in sin. Thinking about adultery didn’t count as being sinful in his book. I reminded him of Matthew 5:27, 28 – looking upon a woman to lust is adultery – but he cleverly dismissed the passage as irrelevant.

I quickly discovered similar groups of Christians like the perfectionists. Rather than “dumbing” sin down, they submitted themselves to outward, legalistic codes to obtain godliness. If they failed to keep those codes perfectly, they believed their salvation was in jeopardy.

These errant views of holiness spring from a misunderstanding of the biblical teaching on sanctification.


The Sanctifying Spirit


Sanctification is a process by which the Holy Spirit works in believers to gradually move them toward Christlikeness (2 Cor. 3:18). Take note of the word gradually in this definition: The Holy Spirit is gradually moving us toward Christlikeness; it is not an instantaneous work that makes us perfectly sinless. In Christian theology, the idea of the Holy Spirit gradually moving us to Christlikeness is called progressive sanctification. Our godliness is progressive, over a life-time of following Jesus.

The apostle Paul provides a concise description of our sanctification in Romans 6. He does not specifically use the word sanctification in this chapter, but he certainly outlines the concept.

For example, he writes in Romans 6:2 “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” And in 6:6, “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” And in 6:11, “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

There are a handful of thoughts we can glean from Romans 6 that help us understand the doctrine of sanctification and answer our question, “Does being a Christian mean we can live anyway we want?” Let’s open our Bibles and look at a few theological points.

First, notice in verses 4 and 5 how Paul describes our relationship with Jesus as identified with His death and “made alive” in His resurrection. That is a reference to our regeneration we discussed in my previous article. God’s divine handiwork imparts a principle of new life in our lives.

Second, in verses 6 and 7, Paul is saying that we now have the power to obey God – a power we never had apart from Christ. Paul writes we have our “body of sin done away with.” The original word in that phrase can have the idea of made inoperative or rendered powerless.

When we were apart from Christ, we had neither a desire nor a willingness to obey God. We were “slaves to sin,” as it says in Romans 6:20. The effort we put forth to be righteous ultimately ended in failure because of our enslavement to sin’s power. Now that we are identified with Christ, sin’s power no longer holds dominion over us. We can now pursue righteousness!

Third, we are never made perfectly sinless, but we do gradually grow in righteousness with a daily life of obedience. In this respect, we put forth cooperative effort with the Spirit, but our cooperation flows out of a changed heart with new desires to obey God.

Paul exhorts us to godly obedience by telling us to present the members of our body as instruments of righteousness (Romans 6:13). His words speak to our whole person both inwardly and outwardly – our thought life, emotions and attitude, as well as our behavior when we interact with the world. For example, we turn our thought life to dwelling upon the Lord, our hands to serving God and others, and our lips to praising God and edifying His people.

Now, does this mean we automatically know how to think and act in a godly way in everything? No. We still carry a lot of baggage from our lives before Christ, and the worse we lived as sinners, the more baggage we will need to unpack. That’s why our sanctification is progressive. In Romans 12:2, Titus 3:5, and Colossians 3:10, the Bible describes that work as our renewing process – our spiritual renovation retraining our minds to think like Christians.


The Beginning of a Good Work


So is Paul saying in Romans 6 that if we are saved, we can live anyway we want? The “once saved, always saved” idea? If you look closely at Romans 6:1, Paul is in fact answering that very objection. Do we continue in sin so grace may abound? In other words, “Paul, are you saying since we are saved, we are always secure, no matter what we do?” Paul answers emphatically, No!

His entire argument rests on the fact that our salvation begins and ends with God. He saves us, and then He sanctifies us.

I can imagine someone at this point thinking, “But I struggle a lot with sin.” John MacArthur has an expression I have heard him say often, “Godliness may not be the perfection of your life, but it is the direction of your life.” Our battle with sin will be a lifelong endeavor.

We may struggle for years with leftover sin and experience those occasional setbacks in our walk with Christ. But let us lay hold of a promise Paul wrote in Philippians 1:6: “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Fred Butler
Volunteer Ministries Coordinator


Make a Comment

Click here to subscribe to comments without commenting.

You have 3000 characters remaining for your comment. Note: All comments must be approved before being posted.

Submit

#1  Posted by Jerry Simon  |  Monday, March 28, 2011at 3:12 PM

Good article. There's certainly a lot of misconception about the phrase "once saved, always saved" and some people want to immediately think of the idea that it means christians can do whatever they want. The fact is, it is GOD who saves us and it is apart from anything that WE can ever do. On the other hand, the bible says we must examine ourselves and evaluate where we are in The Faith in 2 Corinthians 13:5. A person who claims to be saved yet they habitually choose to sin while knowing it's wrong should be weary of their actions.

#3  Posted by Tim Davis  |  Monday, March 28, 2011at 5:08 PM

Thanks for this...well-said. It has been said reformed folk don't take sin seriously enough. The very scriptures pointed out above point to the fact that we tend to not take it seriously enough AND (don't miss the Good News, right?) that we do well when we comfort in the sufficiency of God's propitiation. I grew up in a schlew of false doctrines, not the least of which was an optional, second work of final grace called sanctification. This church made the mistake not of distinguishing salvation and sanctification, but of separating them. A believer could not legitimately argue the existence of one saved, who is not also being sanctified (present perfect tense). I spent untold years focusing on the lines and thresholds of what qualified as sin instead of trusting on the One who had aleady saved me and would finish what He started.
#5  Posted by Elizabeth Kellogg  |  Monday, March 28, 2011at 8:00 PM

Once we ask God into our hearts we will be changed. We may fall here and there but if our heart is not truelly changed we may have never truwlly asked God into our lifes. Many people also think they know Jesus but they do not truelly know Him.He is not within them. I still feel once you are saved you are always saved but you truelly have to be saved first. I forgot where it says it but it say nothing can take you out of the kingdom of God.
#6  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Monday, March 28, 2011at 10:17 PM

Elizabeth:

The verse you mentioned is found in Romans 8:38-39, where Paul writes:

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

#7  Posted by David Beal  |  Monday, March 28, 2011at 10:24 PM

It is my understanding of the sovereignty of God in salvation that He changes the desires of ones heart to allow them to receive the gift of salvation. In changing the inward desires of my heart I no longer crave and love sin as I formerly did although it is still present with me. I abhor it and I am constantly driven to the cross as a result of it. Therefore I would question the genuineness of one who claims to be a Christian and desires to live in habitual sin or "do whatever I want".

#8  Posted by Michael Duncan  |  Tuesday, March 29, 2011at 12:27 AM

Well said. The reality of our Christian faith is a lifelong pursuit of Christ and His righteousness. This is a pursuit that is engineered and empowered by His Holy Spirit who abides with us and in us. Perfectionism is a futile attempt to deny the reality of sin and elevate the subjective sense of personal importance. We are being made holy, growing in grace, becoming like Him, pressing on, etc. There are a wealth of other Scriptures that point to the journey and process. God bless.

#9  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Tuesday, March 29, 2011at 1:43 AM

We do all stumble with our words and struggle with finding the path through the jungle.The dangers are real and lurk everywhere.

I have no problem with giving all the glory to God. I was dead and now I am alive. My real concern is more from a satellite view of New Testament picture. Words like: Knowledge puffs up..., and if I speak in the languages of humans and angels but have no love... I see the dangers of becoming a Pharisee, where only the “privileged elite” is able to understand, and in the end turned out to be wrong and was condemned, because they kept people from the good news. This is the real danger of having another Gospel.

#10  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Tuesday, March 29, 2011at 5:40 AM

Fred, Gabriel, Tommy, & GTY Staff,

Another Excellent Study! (And obviously a slam dunk topic by viewing the comments submitted.) Your studies are like powerful doses of antibodies which help to clear out the “complacency” virus by super charging my critical thinking! Thanks! And thanks for another great series!

2 comments on this thread:

1) Your comment “That struggle has produced unbiblical doctrines that promise to “aid” Christians along with their own endeavors to obtain personal godliness.” We’ve probably ALL seen that first hand & it’s a good reminder of what happened in the Garden when Eve “added to” what God had said about eating the forbidden fruit – saying they were not to even touch it! (Revelation 22:18-19 is a good example of warning about adding to or taking away from God’s prophetic word.) This is why it is so imperative to teach The Word as God presents it & understand it as He meant it, thus challenging any false doctrines presented. Thanks for expositing the truth here with this topic!

2) You said, “In Christian theology, the idea of the Holy Spirit gradually moving us to Christlikeness is called progressive sanctification.” I’m not sure I can even recall a sermon being preached on Sanctification! I know those who claim to be Christians who are totally unaware of this word or this process! Thanks for bringing it up & pointing out that it is not something we can accomplish on our own – it is a process which requires God’s Holy Spirit at work in us – again, not something we can do on our own! It REALY IS ALL from God, isn’t it?

#11  Posted by Vic Vivio  |  Tuesday, March 29, 2011at 6:03 AM

Thanks for the message Fred. Keep them coming...

#12  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Tuesday, March 29, 2011at 8:35 AM

Two comments:

1) Here is a statement I read in regards to John MacArthur's article The Age of Accountability...http://www.gty.org/Resources/Articles/A264

"...with only a cursory reading of MacArthur's article I agree with it. But honestly, it does not seem consistent with JM's overall theological position."

The "theological position" would be Calvinism I expect.

What are the thoughts of the GTY crew regarding the consistency of JM's article with his overall theological position?

2) In terms of the doctrine of The Perseverence of The Saints there are a multitude scriptures that scream out from the pages of Holy Writ...here are only a few:

Hebrews 12:2 "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Those who are in Christ are in the One who authored and perfected the faith. We do not add anything to His work but when we are placed in Him by the Holy Spirit we are in the Perfect One.

Hebrews 7:24-26 "But because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them"

Note the emphatic "save completely"

Philippians 1:3-6

John 6:37

I think James White hit a home run with this statement:

"Some object to the doctrine of limited atonement on very pragmatic grounds. "The doctrine destroys evangelism, because you cannot tell people that Christ died for them, because you don't know!" Yet, we ask, is there an advantage in presenting to men an atonement that is theoretical, a Savior whose work is incomplete, and a gospel that is but a possibility? What kind of proclamation will God honor with His Spirit: one that is tailored to seek "success," or one that is bound to the truth of the Word of God? When the Apostles preached the Gospel, they did not say, "Christ died for all men everywhere, and it is up to you to make His work effective." They taught that Christ died for sinners, and that it was the duty of every man to repent and believe. They knew that only God's grace could bring about repentance and faith in the human heart. And far from that being a *hindrance* to their evangelistic work, it was the power behind it! They proclaimed a *powerful* Savior, whose work is all sufficient, and who saves men totally and completely! They knew that God was about bringing men to Himself, and, since He is the sovereign of the universe, there is no power on earth that will stay His hand! Now there is a solid basis for evangelism! And what could be more of a comfort to the heart that is racked with guilt than to know that Christ has died for sinners, and that His work is not just theoretical, but is real?"

#13  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Tuesday, March 29, 2011at 8:39 AM

Another misconception about Calvinism, that we are perfectionists. I remember that's exactly how I used to think about Calvinists, "those people who think once saved always saved!" I smile now.

About 18 months ago after I got saved I started looking for a church. A female missionary Arminian friend told me "I wouldn't raise my kids in a Calvinistic church, they will think they can keep sinning because they are saved!" She's been in the "ministry" for over 30 years. Sad.

Thank you Fred for another great article.

And Carol Gayheart, good to "see" you around again! =)

#14  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Tuesday, March 29, 2011at 9:56 AM

To provide the consistency with Calvinistic/Reformed theology as I mentioned earlier here is a link to John preaching on the subject:

http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/80-242_The-Salvation-of-Babies-Who-Die-Part-1

#15  Posted by Sarah Hyde  |  Tuesday, March 29, 2011at 12:50 PM

Being a Christian (a Saved one) is a daily struggle with sin! There's no way around our nature as fallen man. But that is the mark of a true Christian--one who daily takes up their cross because they can't stand the sins that plague them and must be cleansed and strengthened by Christ.

I love this Temple quote that sums it up nicely:

"In return for the love which brought the Son of Man down from heaven, in return for the love which led Him to die for us on the cross, we cannot give Him holy lives, for we are not holy; we cannot give Him pure souls, for our souls are not pure; but this one thing we can give, and this is what He asks, hearts that shall never cease from this day forward, till we reach the grave, to strive to be more like Him; to come nearer to Him; to root out from within us the sin that keeps us from Him. To such a battle I call you in His name. And even if at the last day you shall not be able to show any other service, yet be sure that when thousands of His saints go forth to meet Him, and to show His triumph, He will turn to embrace with arms of tenderness the poor penitent who has nothing to offer but a life spent in one never-ceasing struggle with oneself, an unwearied battle with the faults that had taken possession of his soul."

~Frederick Temple

#16  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Tuesday, March 29, 2011at 12:54 PM

#12 Thanks Keith, your James White quote helped me a lot. Now I see it as a look behind the curtain like Job.

My situation as a Dane is that we in reality only have two options regarding theology: charismatic which mean no theology, and liberal theology which mean bad theology. Calvin is not widely known in Scandinavia. Historically we are Lutherans, so when there is referred to a “five pointer”, I look like a questionmark?

#18  Posted by Anna Kelley  |  Tuesday, March 29, 2011at 6:23 PM

I have a question for GTY and the author of this article. Something said seems to counter the view of John MacArthur, and I am hoping it was a poor choice in wording that makes it seem that way...not a change in course by GTY.

I have read The Gospel According to Jesus and am a long time follower of John MacArthur. I believe MacArthur's view to be clear in his teachings and writings that once we are truly saved, we are always saved and cannot lose our salvation. The Holy Spirit has sealed us and will continue to work in us through the Sanctification process.

A friend posted this on FB and another friend said the article is stating that you CAN lose your salvation...because of your quote" “Paul, are you saying since we are saved, we are always secure, no matter what we do?” Paul answers emphatically, No!"

I argued, and hope I am correct, that you are not saying we CAN lose our salvation according to Paul. But rather that I think the intent of the article is in line with The Gospel According to Jesus, in that while it is an error to live with legalism attempting to hang on to a salvation that we can lose, it is equally an error to think that because someone 'said a prayer' and made a head knowledge or emotional decision once, that their unrepentant and sinful lifestyle doesnt matter and they are secure...sometimes using the "once saved always saved" TRUTH as a license to sin or as a false assurance of salvation because of a long ago decision that may never have been genuine.

I think the heart of TGAtoJ is that we live in an age of easy believism and that there are many false converts, and it is dangerous for pastors and Christians to assure people of their salvation because of a one time decision. And that MacArthur agrees that the Bible tells us to work out our salvation in fear and trembling, testing our hearts to make sure we are in the faith. That perseverance and a life yielded to God and repentance will yield fruit and prove that the Holy Spirit has in fact sealed us. In other words, Once we are Saved (through the work of the Holy Spirit), we ARE Always saved...no matter what WE do or don't do, because our salvation is a work of God and not thwarted OR enhanced/secured because of our actions. The issue is whether our conversion ever genuine in the first place....not an affirmation that we can lose our salvation.

Does the author agree with this position? Or are you/is he REALLY saying that the entire premise of "Once Saved, Always Saved" is NOT true and that we CAN lose our salvation?

Thank you in advance for taking the time to respond.

#19  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, March 29, 2011at 6:42 PM

Anna writes,

I argued, and hope I am correct, that you are not saying we CAN lose our salvation according to Paul. But rather that I think the intent of the article is in line with The Gospel According to Jesus, in that while it is an error to live with legalism attempting to hang on to a salvation that we can lose, it is equally an error to think that because someone 'said a prayer' and made a head knowledge or emotional decision once, that their unrepentant and sinful lifestyle doesnt matter and they are secure...

Hey Anna,

Yes, that was the intent of what I meant when I wrote, "Paul is saying emphatically, No!" There is a false idea with the phrase, "Once Saved, Always Saved" that suggests just as you point out: That if we said the right prayer, consented to the right things about Jesus, walked the aisle, or whatever, then if we return to living in sin or acting worldly, we still retain our salvation. We're "Once Saved, Always Saved" no matter what we may do.

This not the biblical idea of salvation. We are saved unto holiness so that we can be redeemed from sinful lifestyles. Salvation is not a fire insurance policy that merely gets us out of hell. Salvation delivers us not only from God's wrath, but from the tyranny of sin in our personal lives. Sanctification is the daily renewing of our lives to conform to the image of Christ and when we understand sanctification rightly, you can clearly see the folly of a OSAS mindset.

I hope that helps.

BTW, send your friends over here to read my comment. If they need further clarification, I'd be happy to respond.

Fred

[the author of the article =-)]

#20  Posted by Anna Kelley  |  Tuesday, March 29, 2011at 7:32 PM

Thanks Fred. I appreciate your quick response and will post it to FB :o) I do have a follow-up question re: using that term "Once Saved, Always Saved"...if you have time to answer it.

I have always believed that you cannot lose your salvation, because of the Bible assuring us that it is a work of the Holy Spirit, by Grace, through faith, not of ourselves so that noone may boast. I also believe in the perseverance of the saints, the process of Sactification following Justification, and basically the full premise of The Gospel According to Jesus. Because I don't believe a genuinely saved person can lose their salvation (that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and that God will 'finish' what He started), I would say that I could attest to having a "Once saved, always saved" belief.

However, I have never thought that attesting to the statement "Once Saved, Always Saved" was somehow immediately linked to the view that "as long as you said a prayer, it doesn't matter that you are carnally minded and still living like unsaved sinners, dont ever doubt your salvation". I clearly don't hold that view at all. I think that the majority of the problems in American Christianity today, the accusations by so many that Christians are hypocrites, and the fact that only 8-9% of self professed Christians even attest to the basic fundamentals of the Gospel...is directly a result of many having a false assurance of salvation based on the lack of solid Gospel preaching and the church at large making it all about a simple decision without explaining who Jesus is, what He claimed, what He did, God's holiness, the despate nature of our sin, repentance, etc.

I guess I see the issue of promoting easy believism that has lead to a 'false assurance' of salvation among many as a separate issue from whether one believes a Christian can lose their salvation or is always saved once truly saved. But I now see how the term "once saved, always saved" can be used to promote such false assurance.

Do you think we should abandon using the "once saved, always saved" altogether (even though we believe that a true convert cannot lose their salvation)? What is the alternative? I guess I am struggling with the concept of "throwing the baby (the term that was meant to indicate an assent to the truth that God's saving act is final and eternal and assures our salvation) out with the bathwater (the false idea that the reality of eternal salvation gives us a license to sin/chose not to repent and that we don't have to ever doubt a single salvation event as genuine)".

I really appreciate any insight you can give.

Anna

#21  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, March 29, 2011at 8:24 PM

Anna,

In principle, the phrase "Once Saved, Always Saved" is biblical: Once God has saved you, you will remain saved. A Christian is not in danger of losing his salvation.

However, as you pointed out, OSAS has had some errant definitions poured into it over the years, so that it can be equated to "easy believism" or the carnal Christian doctrine.

I think you can continue to use OSAS as a way to express eternal security IF you define your terms biblically and explain what Scripture says about salvation and eternal life. My concern is that we are being theologically concise with our terminology.

Make sense?

#22  Posted by Anna Kelley  |  Tuesday, March 29, 2011at 8:38 PM

Thanks Fred..for your post, your ministry, and your willingness and faithfulness to spend time answering questions to the glory of God! These are issues that are as relevant today as they ever were, if not more than ever :o)

Anna

#23  Posted by Jeremy K  |  Wednesday, March 30, 2011at 2:27 AM

On a recent reading of Robert Murray M'Cheyne, I came across these paragraphs that might be helpful. Commenting on 1 Cor 26-27; (note: emphasis is mine)

His reason for all this earnestness. "Lest when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." Not that Paul had not an assurance of his salvation; but he felt deeply that his high office in the Church would not save him, although he was one of the apostles—the apostle of the Gentiles — one that had laboured more than all the rest; though many had been converted under his ministry, he knew that still that would not keep him from being a castaway.

Judas had preached to others, and yet was cast away. Paul felt also, that if he lived a wicked life, he would surely be cast away. He knew there was an indissoluble connection between living in sin and being cast away; and, therefore, it was a constant motive to him to holy diligence. What he feared, was, being "a castaway." It is taken from the trying of metals — the dross, or part that is thrown away, is said to be reprobate, or cast away.

#24  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Wednesday, March 30, 2011at 6:56 AM

Jeremy (#23)

I don’t believe that in 1 Cor. 9:27, Paul was speaking of losing his salvation but rather his reward of preaching the gospel. In 1 Cor. 9:18 he identifies his reward as being able to preach the gospel without charge. If he no longer lived a disciplined life, conformed to God’s will, he would not be qualified to preach the gospel. Similarly, elders and deacons had to meet certain qualifications to hold these offices (see 1 Timothy 3:1-13).

Interpreting this verse as indicating that Paul was fearful of losing his salvation would directly contradict his assertion in Philippians 1:6 that “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” As has been said by many, scripture must be read in context and in the light of all the rest of scripture. May God guide each of us in the reading of His Word.

#25  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Wednesday, March 30, 2011at 11:03 AM

#23 Posted by Jeremy K

Quote:"I came across these paragraphs that might be helpful. Commenting on 1 Cor 26-27; (note: emphasis is mine)"

_____________________________________________________________

The prize is not salvation, it is winning men to Christ and the prize of the upward calling in Christ. Paul, the evangelist and Apostle, desires to win men to Christ so he runs as hard and as diligently and as rapidly as it will take him to win that prize, the salvation of men and treasure in heaven.

To be disqualified would be to be disqualified from preaching and teaching and loose the rewards of service or treasures in heaven as many "Pastors" in the pulpit today are. The good ones are worth "double" honor. If Paul were speaking of loosing his Salvation, then throw out your Bible and particularly everything the Apostle Paul ever penned.

______________________________________________________________

IN THAT SECTION OF WRITING YOU LEFT OUT M'Cheyne first of 3 points:

OBSERVE, (1.) How earnestly Paul sought the kingdom of heaven. - "I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air."—Ver. 26. It was long after his conversion that Paul writes in this manner. He could say, "To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." He felt it better to depart and be with Christ. He knew there was a crown laid up for him; and yet see how earnest he was to advance in the divine life. He was like one at the Grecian games running for a prize. This is the way all converted persons should seek salvation. "So run that ye may obtain." It is common for many to sit down after conversion, and say, I am safe, I do not need to strive any more. But Paul pressed toward the mark.

______________________________________________________________

Note how M'Cheyne see no loss of salvation, but both rewards and evangelism.

Here is the link to the writing titled "Memoirs & Remains" by Robert Murray M'Cheyne:

http://www.mcheyne.info/sermons5.php

#26  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Wednesday, March 30, 2011at 11:42 AM

I listened to a sermon today from a well known SBC pastor in TN. This pastor preached a sermon on the subject "Calvinism". Quite predictably his recommended books for support of his sermon were from Arminian sources...here is that list promoted by the pastor:

"Calvinism is a sermon from 1 Timothy 2:1-6 preached by (The pastor)in the morning Worship Service at (The referenced) Baptist Church on July 25, 2010.

Brother (Pastor's) recommended books from his message “Calvinism.”

•Whosoever Will by David Allen & Steve Lemke

•Chosen But Free by Norman Geisler

•Arminian Theology by Roger E. Olson"

In the sermon there are numerous oppositions raised against Reformed Theology...erroneous oppositions at that.

One statement that jumps out, and one which is not found in scripture anywhere but is the underlying presupposition of Arminianism is this made by the pastor: "Not all will be saved but all are savable."

Now, for the purpose of this thread my intent in leading with that story is to illustrate where this pastor draws such a conclusion...which I believe to be circular and fallacious but I digress. The pastor cites 1 John 2:2 as his foundation for Universal Atonement and that all men...every single person who ever lived...are savable.

After I listened to the TN pastor's sermon I then turned to a reliable source...GTY and John MacArthur. I wish to promote John MacArthur's extraordinary sermon on Propitiation covering 1 John 2:2 in counter perspective to the position of Universal Atonement offered by the TN pastor:

http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/62-10_The-Sacrifice-that-Satisfied

I hope folks will take time and listen to the sermon in its entirety...great exegesis, historical perspectives, and summation.

#27  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Wednesday, March 30, 2011at 11:57 AM

Keith, thanks for the link. I've been through 1 John with "John" before, but will listen to it again.

I was reading Mark today (trying to keep up with my bible reading plan), and came across this verse:

Mark 10:45 (also in Matthew 20:28)

"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." emphasis on "many". =) It's all over the place, eh?

I so hope that Pastor MacArthur goes through the Gospel of John again once he finishes Mark. I heard he is considering.

#28  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Wednesday, March 30, 2011at 12:36 PM

#189 Posted by steve stricker | Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 5:12 AM

QUOTE: Gabriel 181 you said...... "Again, there are clear passages (Rom 3:10; 8:7-8, and others) that teach man is incapable of doing anything that pleases God. There are no verses that say otherwise. Do you think it wise to hold to a position Scripture explicitly contradicts?"--END QUOTE

QUOTE by STEVE:"I say.... are you kidding me? Seriously? You cannot be serious! Havent you read Heb 11:6? Or Rom 4:3 or Gal 3:6 or James 2:23........have you read Matt 8:10 or Luke 7:9. There are countless others,,,,,,,,,,,now who is contradicting Scripture???

Another example of the misunderstanding Calvinism brings! Satan is a Master Deceiver he knows what will trip up true believers........and little error here, a little twisting of God's Word there ...and Presto! ....you have ineffective believers. People who believe God "does it all" .... that all things were predetermined before the foundation of the world .....not people who are begging others to be reconciled to God as God's Word tells us in 2 Cor 5:20.

That is why I write Wrong Doctrine = Wrong Living.

Blessings in the Truth. --END QUOTE

Dear Steve,

I assume you are still around. Please tell me and others; what must we do to be saved or how does a person enter into God's rest and how do you know?

Respectfully,

Mark Tanner

#29  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Wednesday, March 30, 2011at 12:40 PM

#27 Posted by Elaine Cavalheiro

QUOTE: "I so hope that Pastor MacArthur goes through the Gospel of John again once he finishes Mark. I heard he is considering."

JOhn made that statement on one of his most recent sermons and I have actually been praying he would preach through the gospel of John because when he did it at the time; it was early in his ministry and given the knowledge and understanding of walking with the Lord and preaching; he will have much better insights to that wonderful gospel and not at a 120 mph either and the recordings will be much better as well.

Please Lord let it be so; lay it heavy on John's heart according to your will...amen.

#30  Posted by Scott Davidson  |  Wednesday, March 30, 2011at 1:59 PM

Anna, Great questions, I have been through this discussion with several people about can someone lose their salvation. I refer back to several books I have read by John Macarthur and he uses the word "true" Christian, and "genuinely" accepted Christ. God knows the heart and if one's confession of sin and acceptance of His Son is authentic and sincere then they are saved and never have to worry about losing their salvation. There are many however who believe they have accepted Jesus but there is no evidence of sanctification in their life. I fear those who believe this were never "true" or "genuine" to begin with. There will be those who stand before God saying (Read Matthew 7:21-23).

#31  Posted by steve stricker  |  Wednesday, March 30, 2011at 2:12 PM

I used to believe "Once Saved Always Saved"......it was my favorite 'point' of Calvinism, it was the one point I wanted least to be false. Then the scales fell off my eyes and I read Heb 6 and 2 Pet 2:20-22 in a new way. The Bible is clearly talking about believers here, those who have been enlightened, partakers of the Holy Spirit, they have tasted the word of the Lord and have known the powers of the age to come and have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, then what does it say?..............They fall away, they are entangled in the defilements of the world AND are overcome then there is no renewing them to repentance.......that's pretty clear, now you can twist that around but I dont recommend it.

Romans 11 says the Jews were broken off the True Vine for their unbelief but we are to stand by our faith. And if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, IF you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

The implication is if you dont stand by faith youll be cut off just like Israel. You need to CONTINUE in the faith. Dont put the Son of God to an open shame.

Blessings.

#32  Posted by steve stricker  |  Wednesday, March 30, 2011at 2:16 PM

1 Thessalonians 5:21

But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.......

#33  Posted by Jeremy K  |  Wednesday, March 30, 2011at 2:17 PM

Hi Mark and Mary,

I think the word in contention here is ‘disqualified’. If you see the Robert Murray M'Cheyne quote I provided you’ll notice that the word he used in place of that is ‘castaway’, so what word in English is more accurate here? Because from my reckoning, it changes the interpretation of this text quite a lot to say the least.

If Paul were speaking of loosing his Salvation, then throw out your Bible and particularly everything the Apostle Paul ever penned

I don’t think that was the intention of the M'Cheyne, as he said in the above paragraph 'Not that Paul had not an assurance of his salvation';

I’d contend that those who show no evidence of a Christ led life, that they, contrary to what they themselves or others may auspiciously say or think about their salvation, don’t have it in the first place, whereas everyone in Christ certainly does and it cannot be lost.

Over to you.

#34  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, March 30, 2011at 2:56 PM

Steve #31

A couple of questions then: Was Paul lying when he wrote in Philippians 1:6 that he who began a good work in you will be sure to complete it? Was Jesus lying when he said in John 6:39-44 that all who the father gives him will come to him and he will raise them up in the last day?

Next: in regards to Hebrews 6, the concluding words of that warning say in Hebrews 6:9-10 that the warning was hypothetical. The falling away was something that wasn't true of the audience.

#37  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Wednesday, March 30, 2011at 4:26 PM

Jeremy (#33)

I guess I misunderstood the point you were making. According to blueletterbible.org the word translated "castaway" in the King James Version and "disqualified" in the NKJV and ESV is "adokimos" It means:

1) not standing the test, not approved

a) properly used of metals and coins

2) that which does not prove itself such as it ought

a) unfit for, unproved, spurious, reprobate

I would take this to mean that Paul did not want to fail the test of one approved to preach the gospel and lead souls to Christ.

#38  Posted by steve stricker  |  Wednesday, March 30, 2011at 7:49 PM

Hi Fred, 34 ...... Greetings in the name of God the Father and of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

Here I am again answering another question while mine goes unanswered. Ive asked essentially one question why do you believe in Limited Atonement, which remains unanswered, multiple Calvinists have asked me multiple questions which Ive tried to answer, honestly, succinctly, by Sacred Scripture and evident reason. I think its rather embarrassing.

I think Calvinism is a poor lens to see the whole counsel of God through.....too much twisting of Scripture, too many inconsistencies. I think there is a misunderstanding of God's Word at many points. Here is another one, Phil 1:6. Calvinists quote this like it is some kind of proof of once saved always saved which I just went over in my previous post

(31). AGAIN you HAVE to understand this in light of the WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD! Paul here is not talking to wavering Christians like in Hebrews or 2 Peter. No they brought Paul joy 1:4 he was thankful for them v3 and said they were faithfully participating in the gospel and they were partakers of grace with Paul. These are EXACTLY the kind of people God WILL complete a good work in. Jesus will lose NONE of these. NO ONE who comes to Jesus in faith will be cast out. That's why Paul could say this without qualifications but this does not supercede Hebrews or 2 Peter. Those Scriptures are dealing with totally different people. The possibility of falling away remains.

Second question; No the warning in Hebrews 6 is not hypothetical at all, it is very real. The author is simply saying that the people he has in mind who are reading it have been faithful he says he is convinced that better things, things that accompany salvation (rewards, eternal life) are in store for them. The warning is for others. That's all. Not hypothetical very real, not hot air not a waste of ink or a watse of time or energy but Holy Scripture. Very real warning. The possibility of falling away is real.

Buy truth, and do not sell it, Get wisdom and instruction and understanding.

Proverbs 23:23

Blessings in the Truth!

#39  Posted by steve stricker  |  Wednesday, March 30, 2011at 9:05 PM

@ Mark #28........Sure be happy to. You asked ..."Please tell me and others; what must we do to be saved or how does a person enter into God's rest and how do you know?"

This is a set up right I mean the way you asked it .........the Philippian jailer........well I would say 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.'

We enter into His rest by faith......unbelief keeps people from entering His rest.

And it must be a wholehearted faith that trusts in Jesus....there is a "faith" that doesnt save. In a word we must abandon any self righteousness and wholly lean on Jesus's name and His work. See James 2:14,19,20,26

Here is some of why I know: Acts 16:30-34, Eph 2:8,9, Rom 4:3, Rom 10:9, Gal 3:6 Mark 16:16, 1 John 5:9-11, 1 Chron 28:9, Jer 29:13, Heb 4:2, Heb 3:5,6,10-19, Heb 10:35-39.

Better is one day in His courts than thousands eleswhere. Ps 84:10

Blessings!

#41  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, March 30, 2011at 9:55 PM

Steve writes #38,

Here I am again answering another question while mine goes unanswered. Ive asked essentially one question why do you believe in Limited Atonement, which remains unanswered, etc.

I don't believe that is entirely accurate, Steve. Many folks have interacted with you on that subject. I even sent you to a message on 1 John 2:2 by John where he explains clearly his understanding of particular redemption in that passage. You seem to imply in one comment that you were reading it. Did you finish it and what are your thoughts? Here's another one by John on the very subject of limited atonement:

http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/80-356_The-Atonement-Real-or-Potential?

In brief, I believe in limited atonement, Steve, because I believe that what Christ did on the cross actually accomplished what God intended for it to do: to appease the wrath of God. Obviously there are those who go to hell as the Bible proclaims. If the atonement had been made for them, they would not be in hell. They are, so it wasn't made for them.

too much twisting of Scripture, too many inconsistencies.

Do you think John MacArthur twists Scripture and is inconsistent? Just curious.

Phil 1:6. Calvinists quote this like it is some kind of proof of once saved always saved which I just went over in my previous post

You went over this passage? I don't recall seeing it. Phil. 1:6 is a pretty good proof text, Steve.

You write,

NO ONE who comes to Jesus in faith will be cast out. That's why Paul could say this without qualifications but this does not supercede Hebrews or 2 Peter. Those Scriptures are dealing with totally different people.

If NO ONE who comes to Jesus in faith will be cast out as you emphatically state with all, how exactly are those people any different than the ones in Hebrews and 2 Peter? You say totally different people? How exactly are the people at Philippi different from any other sinners Paul encountered? Were they less sinful, where as the others were more sinful? You make this distinction between all these groups I just don't see Scripture making.

No the warning in Hebrews 6 is not hypothetical at all, it is very real.

Well, the author uses a lot of "ifs" in his statement. Implying that if such a thing could happen. His concluding remarks indicate to his readers that the falling away won't happen to them, thus the falling away is hypothetical.

Honestly Steve, you seem to have this notion about salvation that it is God just throwing the gospel out there for anyone to take, and if a person does believe the gospel, he is left to himself to work out his sanctification on his own or something. My point with this post is that God changes people and then conforms them to the righteousness of Christ. When God saved sinners, it was for a purpose, to make them righteous. Hence the idea of he who started a good work in you will be certain to complete it.

#42  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Wednesday, March 30, 2011at 10:51 PM

Steve #31 says:

Then the scales fell off my eyes and I read Heb 6 and 2 Pet 2:20-22 in a new way. The Bible is clearly talking about believers here, those who have been enlightened, partakers of the Holy Spirit, they have tasted the word of the Lord and have known the powers of the age to come and have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, then what does it say?

Steve- I know the passage in Hebrews has been addressed multiple times already so I won't get into that one with you. The passage in 2 Peter you keep referencing is not talking about believers at all. It says as much in 2 Peter 2:1. Peter was talking about false teachers. Wolves in sheep's clothing. They never truly knew the Lord. I don't expect you to agree with me or anyone else on this site for that matter. But your claims that your question's are not being answered are false claims. It seems to me that everyone has been answering your questions in a very timely manner.

By the way, I believe in limited atonement because it is what the Bible teaches. Jesus emptied himself, and he who new no sin became sin on our behalf. He is the propritiation for our sins. Jesus appeased God's wrath for the elect. If the atonement was not limited then no one would be in hell.

I would like to ask one question myself that is a piggy back off of a question Fred posted in #41. I'm wondering if you think anyone else twisted scripture besides Macarthur, you stated in the other thread that you love R.C. Sproul, does he twist scripture?... What about Augustine, or Luther, or John Owen, John Edwards, Spurgeon, Martin Lloyd Jones just to name a few. It seems to me the vast majority of the best Bible teachers and theologians in history were "Calvinst's" I didn't add Calvin because I assume you already believe he twist's scripture.

Thank you everyone. God bless

Micah

#43  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Wednesday, March 30, 2011at 10:57 PM

#39 Posted by steve stricker | Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 9:05 PM

QUOTE:"@ Mark #28........Sure be happy to. You asked ..."Please tell me and others; what must we do to be saved or how does a person enter into God's rest and how do you know?"

______________________________________________________________

So; again I ask; what must we all do to be saved? How do we enter into God's rest and how do you know? What does it mean? "In a word we must abandon any self righteousness and wholly lean on Jesus's name and His work." What does it mean to "wholly lean on Jesus name"? What work are you speaking of?

What happens if we cannot fully and always, although perhaps most of the time "abandon any self righteousness"? What are the implications concerning one's salvation, if any, when one fails?

_____________________________________________________________

The original answer you gave (partially shown above); is that an answer you would give someone face to face if they asked you 'what must I do to be saved or enter into God's kingdom?' Please help me & the others here....thank you in advance.

Please be specific & personal as though you were actually witnessing to me. Most the Scripture references say I must believe; what must I believe?

_____________________________________________________________

What does faith mean to you; especially the "wholehearted" type? Or better yet; answer the original question as though you were actually sharing the gospel in a one-on-one basis.

If you know enough about what the gospel is that saved you, then you should be able to articulate it....right?

____________________________________________________________

You said no one answers your questions; yet I would say you are not being honest; because what I have witnessed and in fact; folks, including myself, Fred, Gabriel and many others have gone much deeper into Scripture to accommodate answering your questions; you just don't like nor agree with the answers and dismiss them as though they were not addressed.

Romans 3:9-12

John 3:8

Titus 3:3-8

Roman 8:19

May the Lord God bless you I pray..so be it.

#44  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 3:48 AM

This is a rather pointed and unequivocal scripture containing the personal words from our Lord Himself regarding "the elect". In two direct references we see clearly Jesus stating that God has ordered events in such a way as to (a) honor and to (b) protect His elect...read on"

Matthew 24:22-25 "And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand."

The key phrase in this passage with specific regards to the subject at hand is "if possible"...to be exact "if it were possible"

Here is Calvin's commentary on the passage:

"So that even the elect (if it were possible) will be led into error. This was added for the purpose of exciting alarm, that believers may be more careful to be on their guard; for when such unbounded freedom of action is allowed to false prophets, and when they are permitted to exert such powers of deceiving, those who are careless and inattentive would easily be entangled by their snares. Christ therefore exhorts and arouses his disciples to keep watch, and at the same time reminds them that there is no reason for being troubled at the strangeness of the sight, if they see many persons on every hand led away into error. While he excites them to solicitude, that Satan may not overtake them in a state of sloth, he gives them abundant ground of confidence on which they may calmly rely, when he promises that they will be safe under the defense and protection of God against all the snares of Satan. And thus, however frail and slippery the condition of the godly may be, yet here is a firm footing on which they may stand; for it is not possible for them to fall away from salvation, to whom the Son of God is a faithful guardian. For they have not sufficient energy to resist the attacks of Satan, unless in consequence of their being the sheep of Christ, which none can pluck out of his hand,(John 10:28.)

It must therefore be observed, that the permanency of our salvation does not depend on us, but on the secret election of God; for though our salvation is kept through faith, as Peter tells us, (1 Peter 1:5,) yet we ought to ascend higher, and assure ourselves that we are in safety, because the Father hath given us to the Son, and the Son himself declares, that none who have been given to him shall perish (John 17:12.)."

From this passage, and straight from our Redeemer, we see proof positive that those who are "In Christ", "The Elect", "The Chosen", "The Called", will be protected from deception (the same thing is seen in 1 John).

Finally, Calvin's last comments in the quote above are strong support in the positive for the topic at hand.

#45  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 4:03 AM

Steve Lawson has a two-volume set of books showing the history of the teachings of the Doctrines of Grace from Genesis to Revelation and from the early church fathers until now. Here is a link to both books...they should be a valuable assett to any library:

http://www.ligonier.org/store/foundations-of-grace-hardcover/

http://www.ligonier.org/store/pillars-of-grace-hardcover/

Here is a link to a set of the books:

http://www.ligonier.org/store/pillars-grace-foundations-grace-book-set-hardcover/

#46  Posted by Joshua Berdiel  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 4:23 AM

Nice to see you still blogging it up Steve. I can see that you wholeheartedly believe what you believe. A few quick points if I may. Besides the two sets of verses you continue to bring up, Hebrews 6 and 2 Peter 2, that have been explained, the list of verses and the point you make on post 39, for the most part, we would all agree with you on. I mean that in the sense that the Bible does say that there is a living faith that saves and a dead, counterfeit one that leads to destruction. Also, the list of verses that you use as a "proof text" for your stance I would say, again, I agree with it in the sense that one must have the right kind of faith to be saved. No one here diagrees that whoever calls in the Lord Jesus Christ, with said faith mentioned above, will be saved and to freely preach the gospel to all. The problem here is the same problem that your stance has had since your first post. I don't mean this in an argumentative sense, but there have been two questions asked that either you have willfully chose to ignore them, you can't answer them from the Bible with your set of beliefs, or both.

The first question is where in the Bible does regeneration come after faith? Your answers always show one needs saving faith and that is true. Without saving faith one is lost, but you have not shown one verse to back up your claim of belief triggering the new birth. If your view on the new birth is biblically valid, you should not have a problem showing verses that support your claim.

The second question I am now asking you for the fourth time, and hopefully you will acknowledge it this time by trying to answer it, what does Romans 9:14-24 mean and how does it line up with your views on the new birth, election, lossing one's salvation, and atonement?

Rather if you agree with the answers that many have given you or not is fine. I would hope though you would be able to do the same when questions are brought up about your set of beliefs. I am not trying to attack your beliefs. I just want clarity. We all agree the Bible can't contradict itself, so until you can answer these two questions, you are making the Bible contradict itself with your set of beliefs Steve.

Please look through the Bible as a whole and I will be prayerfully waiting for a response. If you find an answer that is in context of the Bible that supports your view, that is great, but I am still waiting for one. We are called as believers to rightly divide the word of truth, i.e. 2 Timothy 2:15, and to be able to defend the faith we have, i.e. 1 Peter 3:15. Due to this, you are biblically obligated to find an answer to these questions. I pray that you do.

#47  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 5:09 AM

Relating to your “Perfectionist” comments: How true! (And nothing new!) The Pharisees sought perfectionism (outwardly). Jesus condemned them for their sinful hearts. Lk 11:39-42. It’s that “Old Legalism” again, which is demonstrated on the outside, but is not always an accurate reflection of what’s really on the inside. 1 Sam 16:7 (~Man looks at the outside, but God looks at the heart.)

Again, this is MAN’S attempt at saving himself, usurping God’s sovereignty, & inserting himself into the equation, saying, “God does His part, & I do my part. It’s part God & part me.” Thus man seeks to take at least partial credit for his salvation. It puts man standing before the Judgment Seat of God one day saying, “I accepted your gift of Salvation” or “I lived a godly life,” seeking to justify himself. The question is: Where does this put Christ’s sacrifice? Where does this position God in His realm? This becomes clearer & clearer to me the more that I study it, “It is all God! I am powerless & can do nothing! So I thank God that HE has done it for me, or else I would still be dead in my sins, facing His judgment & eternal punishment! How Great is our God!

(And thanks Elaine! How very kind! :) )

#48  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 6:14 AM

Resting upon the firm foundation of Christ's finished work on the cross there are numerous pillars (Doctrines) that support our salvation and eternal security. We have discussed several: Atonement, Propitiation, Election.

There are a set of doctrines that perhaps we should look at in detail to gain a better perspective of what has been accomplished on our behalf...not just theoretically but actually.

1)- The doctrine of Justification

2)- The Doctrine of Adoption

#49  Posted by Yc Lee  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 8:40 AM

Praise the Lord for HE alone is able to save and sanctify us!

I'd like to hear anyone's comment on Exodus 32:33 "But the Lord said to Moses: whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out my book (according to JM's commentary=the book of life)." Does it mean that those who willfully and continuously sin can still be removed from the Book? God is after all holy and righteous consuming fire. No one should take Him lightly, not even any of His saved people through His grace. Just want to hear your thoughts. Thanks.

#50  Posted by steve stricker  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 8:40 AM

Fred, Just a couple of things........sorry I meant I went over OSAS in #31 not Phil 1:6. AGAIN Paul is talking to strong believers here in Phil 1 he is not addressing the possibility of falling away here! How simple is that? He is thanking God for them, they are a joy to him, they are fellow partakers etc.

Fred how do you explain Rom 11 that I brought up? God is clearly saying to beleivers in Rome 'Lookit guys if Israel can fall away so can you, you need to make sure you CONTINUE in faith!'. How do you understand that from the Calvinistic view without doing severe damage to it?

More later.

#52  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 8:54 AM

#33 Posted by Jeremy K

QUOTE:"I don’t think that was the intention of the M'Cheyne, as he said in the above paragraph 'Not that Paul had not an assurance of his salvation'; "-End Quote

Hi Jeremy,

Just making sure we were on the same page; seemed like you were implying Paul was concerned about loosing his salvation. Thanks for making the clarification.

Mark

#53  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 9:08 AM

Yc in #49,

Did you see my link to a blog article I wrote at my personal blog?

I addressed the blotted out passages.

Here's the link again if missed it:

What does it mean to be blotted out of the book of life?

#54  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 9:29 AM

Steve (#50),

Regarding Romans 11, I find it interesting you're using a primary text for election to argue against election.

Yes, it says Israel was broken off (v. 20), but the entire point of the chapter is that they will be re-included in the vine (v. 12, 15, 23, 24, 26, 31, 32). Israel's rejection by God is temporary, and for a purpose. God's election of Israel still stands despite their temporary rejection.

Steve, your arguments are unbalanced in that you hold on to passages that appear to make your point, but you completely ignore passages that contradict your point. We, on the other hand, are balanced in that we understand man is responsible and only God knows who is truly saved. Only God knows who the elect are and they will ultimately be saved. People can claim to have believed and then fall away, but their claim is not indicative of their true state in God's eyes.

The concept of losing salvation ignores the fact that salvation is determined by God who alone knows men's hearts. Only God knows who is truly saved and who is self-deceived (a la Matt 7:21ff). God has promised to preserve those who are truly saved--not those who are self-deceived.

We must judge people by their fruit because that's all we have to go on. But we cannot make definitive judgments as only God can. I myself cannot make an authoritative judgment on my own salvation. I can only judge myself based on my conscience and God's Word. But even my knowledge of myself is limited because of the deceitfulness of sin.

God alone has the authoritative list of who is saved and His Word is clear that of those who are truly saved no one is lost (John 6). But many who think they are saved will be lost because they were never truly saved.

#55  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 9:56 AM

#54 Posted by Gabriel Powell

Quote: "I myself cannot make an authoritative judgment on my own salvation. I can only judge myself based on my conscience and God's Word." - End Quote

Are you saying you cannot know with 100% certainty that you, yourself, are saved? This is how these two sentences come across. I understand the"authoritative judgment" part, which I believe in the sense you use it, you are contrasting your lack of authority over God's ultimate authority.

You state you can only contrast your conscience against God's word, but the implication seems to be you cannot know for sure that you are saved.

Is that what you are saying?

Thanks,

Mark

#56  Posted by Yc Lee  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 9:57 AM

Brother Fred,

Thanks very much for your explanation on the blog. It's clear to me now. Blessing!

#57  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 10:18 AM

Mark,

Thank you for the opportunity to clarify. Let me put it another way.

1 John 5:13 says, "I write these things to you who believe in the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life."

What did John write? He wrote a series of tests for self-examination. These tests include confession and repentance, whether one practices sin, how one loves God and others. John summarizes these tests in 1 John 5:2, "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments."

So yes, we can know we are saved on the basis of biblical tests. But I would also say this: our personal conviction of our salvation is not authoritative in God's judgment.

It is clear those in Matt 7:21ff thought they were saved. They did what they thought saved people do. But they were self-deceived. Why? Because they did not examine themselves according to God's Word.

You can know you're saved, but that knowledge has a significant objective component--the tests described in God's Word. A person may "know" they're saved, but not having examined themselves fully they may be self-deceived.

Many people today think they're saved because they prayed a prayer at one point. That is not a valid test of salvation. Ask them how they know they're saved and they'll say, "I prayed a prayer at such and such a time and I really meant it." That's nice... but that doesn't mean much if you're living in sin and refuse to repent.

I know I'm saved because today I believe in Christ and I live for Christ. If starting tomorrow and for the rest of my life I reject Christ and live for myself then that means today I was self-deceived.

And that's really where the issue comes up. Most people don't question their salvation when they're glorifying and enjoying God. They question their salvation when they are living in sin, or doubting Scripture, or dealing with depression of various kinds. At that point the tests of Scripture should be used.

A person living in consistent, habitual, unrepentant sin cannot know they're saved no matter how often they pray the sinner's prayer. You must examine yourself, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves (2 Cor 13:5), and exercise your own salvation (Phil 2:12).

Jesus Christ is in you--unless you fail to meet the test.

#58  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 10:22 AM

Paul's words in 1 Cor 4:2-5 are fitting:

"But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God."

#59  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 10:51 AM

#57 Posted by Gabriel Powell

QUOTE:"Mark,

Thank you for the opportunity to clarify. Let me put it another way."

Thanks Gabriel,

I just wanted to make sure no one got the impression that you or folks at GTY believed no one could know with certainty as that would go against what Scripture teaches.

John MacArthur has a two part series titled "Saved or Self Deceived" and I highly recommend this to anyone who has doubts or wants to know more.

As you stated; the purpose for 1 John is to give the tests to self examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith. Also, I would add that since you have received the gospel; has God done such a work in you that you hate the things you once loved and love the things you once hated and are continually hungering and thirsting after His righteousness. If there is no evidence of a transformed life, then one needs to carefully examine themselves and one must be in the word of God and again I say in the word of God and it will also manifest itself in one's prayer life.

Salvation Survey: Saved or Self Deceived?

http://www.gty.org/Shop/Audio+Series/27_Salvation-Survey-Saved-or-Self-Deceived

"Empty Words" is part 1 of 2 and "Empty Hearts" is part 2.

God bless all of you and may the Lord will be done in each of our lives according to His purpose and for His glory!

#60  Posted by Steve Nuhn  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 1:38 PM

Comment deleted by author.
#61  Posted by Cristian Balint  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 1:41 PM

What about King Saul. He was God's anointed, called by God. yet he was disobedient and perished..Therefore i believe that it rest's in our decision to stay obedient and to remain in Christ,(John 15.6) which proves Once saved, always saved to be fallible..

#62  Posted by Steve Nuhn  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 1:54 PM

To Steve Stricker

I've been following these blogs over the last few weeks hosted by Fred and I wanted to talk about something not directly related to the topic. I do hope you will see how it is however grounded in scripture. I can't help but noticing a lack of humility and meekness in the majority of your comments. It appears, at times, you almost seem to be enjoying the rebuking of what you call error as if it were a form of entertainment for you. If I'm mistranslated you thru the blogging process I sincerely apologize and don't mean any offence in any way. My point is this, I'm learning a lot more than just the doctrines discussed. They're in the bible so I know God intended for us do discuss them and we are to use scripture to reprove, rebuke and exhort. I pray every day thanking God for mercy, blessings and, yes, correction! I like what Phil Johnson once said in a sermon, I'm paraphrasing here... "don't be afraid to argue over a point in scripture. Don't just agree to disagree, agree beforehand that where ever scripture takes you that's where you're willing to go and argue until someone rebukes the other." I know scripture also warns against useless quarreling as mentioned in 1&2 Tim and Titus. This is Fred’s blog so I'll defer to his judgment. I would like to make this point, Scripture also commands us to do all this in love. I have to say I so look forward to Fred's responses and others, not because of how they reprove and exhort your comments but, mainly how meek and humbly they do so. Again there may be something lost in translation here but, it doesn't seem these gentlemen are being entertained by this at all. These are my own thought and I'll let them speak for themselves.

To Fred and others, I'm encouraged and taught as much by the patience and tenderness in your comments as I am in the depth and strength that backs them up. I heard MacArthur say that we emulate our teacher. You gentlemen are certainly teaching me as I'm sure MacArthur teaches you and we all know who his heroes are.

Thank you,

Steve

#63  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 1:55 PM

Cristian,

Being God's anointed is a separate issue from salvation. It simply meant that God chose him to be king--just like He sets all kings in their positions (Rom 13:1-7).

Apples and oranges.

#64  Posted by Cristian Balint  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 2:19 PM

Gabriel, No disrespect but i strongly dis-agree. You're telling me that God had no plans for King Saul, but to set him as a king.. Not only was Saul a king, but he was a king for God's beloved people Israel. That means something. God had a plan for Saul, but Saul's wretched character of jealously, anger, strife, etc. pretty much back-stabbed God's sovereign plan. It has everything to do with salvation.

#65  Posted by steve stricker  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 2:20 PM

Fred Ok Im reading the sermon on atonement MacArthur says this ......

"Now when we talk about the death of Jesus Christ then we are talking about an actual purchase. We’re not talking about a potential purchase, we’re not talking about a general sort of act on Jesus’ part that may in the future become a purchase. We are talking about a real purchase. It is the act of Christ dying on the cross that pays the price to God, purchasing the people who will be redeemed from every tribe and tongue and nation. Now what I want you to put in your mind is that the death of Jesus Christ is an act by which He purchases His people. It is not a potential act, it is an actual act. It is not a general act, it is a particular act."

I agree ACTUAL purchase.......Yes Jesus's death was real and it was sufficient to please the Father.......nothing else needs to be done no other work salvation is not of our works lest any man boast. And it says in the BIBLE that His work is appropiated BY FAITH. That EVERYONE who BELIEVES on HIM will not perish but have everlasting life. WHOEVER COMES to Him (in faith) He will in no wise cast out. You come to Christ in faith and youre in the family. The worst sinner need only truly believe and all their sins are as white as snow totally forgotten by God.

Here is where I would take issue with MacArthur again the wrong view (in my opinion) that God gives you faith. God draws you yes God gives you opportunity to believe otherwise how could people be without excuse (Rom 1:18-20). He shows us Himself we cant come to Him He MUST come to us and MUST reveal Himself to us. And like I said before HE KNOWS THIS!! This is not news to Him; He, above ALL, is aware of our spiritual condition. He requires FAITH for salvation it's all over the Scriptures and we need to CONTINUE in that faith til the end; we need to perservere then we will be saved. God IS faithful He will never leave us or forsake us but we must draw near to Him and THEN He will draw near to us. This is wrongly thought by Calvinists to impinge on His sovereignty.........Ummmm how could it that's exactly how He wants it. Sheeesh. I want to beat my head against a wall. You cannot dictate to God how He must run the universe, how salvation is obtained, that is ridiculous.......arrogant even.

Hey I hate to bring the Bible into this but 1 John 2:2 says.........and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole WORLD.

Did you notice that it doesnt say 'those of the elect' . Wow. Dont let the Bible get in the way of your theology.

#66  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 2:29 PM

Cristian,

You're quite wrong. Saul was anointed king (against his will, mind you). He wasn't anointed into salvation. When God chose Israel, He did not thereby save every person that belonged to the nation. They were His chosen people, but most were not saved (as both the OT and NT make exceedingly clear).

So Saul was not the king of a saved nation. He was the king of God's rebellious people (remember it was rebellion against God that caused them to want a king). Saul was chosen as king in the same sense that God appointed Pharaoh as leader over Egypt. God did have a plan for Saul, but the Scripture doesn't tell us salvation was part of that plan.

In fact, Scripture is entirely silent on whether Saul was saved. But when we examine the fruit of Saul's life it appears clear he was not saved. Ever.

The leaders God chooses reflects what God wants to do with the people they will lead. Sometimes it is to judge the people (Saul), other times it is to bless the people (David).

Now, if you have a passage that teaches Saul was saved (in the sense that he believed God and was counted righteous), I'd be glad to hear it.

#67  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 2:30 PM

Btw, to say Saul "back-stabbed God's sovereign plan" is nearly blasphemous. If Saul could do that, God is not sovereign in any sense. God's plans cannot be frustrated.

#68  Posted by Cristian Balint  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 2:38 PM

Sure thing. You make Saul seem like a terrible wretched man..One, no one would care for, however you forget the fact that David spared his life thrice and respected and even loved Saul. 2Samuel 14. Read it. David cared for Saul so much. You might ask why. What was the reason? King Saul was the Lords Anointed! Anointed by God was and is a extremely special privilege! God doesn't just anoint random people. Pharaoh was never anointed and has nothing to do with Saul, however Saul was anointed by God. God had a plan for Saul FOR GOOD or else Saul would not have been anointed, and i ask what plan is more mighty than to be saved?? However, (John 15.6) clearly states you must remain in Jesus...poor Saul did not remain.

#69  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 3:05 PM

Cristian,

David didn't kill Saul because he refused to kill the God-appointed king. Yes, it was a privilege to be anointed, but that had nothing to do with salvation. That is not something you can disagree with, it's a fact.

#70  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 3:08 PM

Steve,

You continue to mention God drawing activity as if God merely woo's people. See my comment in the previous post explaining that concept biblically. When God draws someone, He is effectively guaranteeing their salvation.

#71  Posted by Cristian Balint  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 3:33 PM

Saul was anointed by the Holy Spirit!(1 Samuel 10.10) How could Saul be filled with the Holy Spirit, and become lost? How then can you explain once saved, forever saved? It just doesn't add up..

#72  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 3:39 PM

Cristian,

The Holy Spirit played a different role in the OT. The filling of the Spirit was temporary and sporadic. He did not fill OT people in the same permanent way He fills believers in the NT.

This is well known, and I'm sure you can find John MacArthur explaining it on this website.

#73  Posted by Cristian Balint  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 3:52 PM

Good point.

Your right, the Holy Spirit does play a different role. I thank God for the privilege of being His temple(1 Corinthians 4.16), indwelt with the Holy Sprit...thanks be to Christ Jesus!

#74  Posted by Jane Wilson  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 4:37 PM

I have to agree to some extent with Steve Stricker. (And I am largely surrounded by the reformed.) Why would Jesus have given so many warnings and examples/analogies as the messenger from God/Saviour of the world if we were not even capable of turning away after coming to Him? If God is the same yesterday, today, and forever... then I think we must at least look at the truth of all Scripture. There are clearly passages that indicate that God will not fail in gathering HIS sheep to Himself ("no one shall snatch them out of My hand") However, we can not erase all of the other passages that speak of warning. Warning after warning after warning to the CHURCH of the Lord Jesus Christ. We agree that faith in Jesus Christ is the only ticket to salvation, but should we not also agree that our Savior Himself gave a lot of warnings, as well as Paul to the church about falling away, false teachers, and the good seed (real seed) falling on ground that can be choked out by the cares of the world? (Choked OUT.) I think it a bit scary to try to reason all of that away. You would have to say Jesus picked a faulty analogy. It is most certainly THERE. And it is our job to grapple with it all, and evaluate ourselves to be sure we are in the faith. Paul, also obviously had a genuine concern for the real church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Or he would not have needed to waste his time with so many rebukes, directives, warnings, etc. As the general flavor of reformers tends to be marked with a smug tone, "Those who understand, understand." (ie: Some have it, some don't.) Rather than humility. Therein I tend to smell a rat in doctrine. (Just as with charismatics, "some have it, some don't" smugness about tongues or experiences.) There is some need then for us to be honest with ourselves and guard our hearts that we are not deceived by doctrine laced with deception/pride. When God came to Cain... He gave him an option, and a warning. Does He not also use real relationship with us? "Here is the truth, here is the option, here is the warning." His love is obvious because He made Himself known, and showed concern (and of course paid the price). If we imagine that we are okay if we are "true" believers... and the warnings are only for the unsaved, then what of the parables about the virgins who ALL thought they were getting into heaven? Several were sincerely deceived. And God thought it a very important teaching that everyone hear it, and evaluate themselves to see if they were the wise OR with foolish virgins. What a lot of wasted parables if we do not feel we need to take them to heart. ("They must be for someone else, not the truly saved.") I am just advocating that we treat all of Scripture with respect as all truth from God. The reformed have the sovereignty part down, and in their hip pocket, and pull it out to debate with eloquence, but I fear there is a tendency to make it the prize pet doctrine when God has said a great deal more in numerous warnings...

#75  Posted by Jeremy K  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 6:02 PM

@ Steve #65 “God IS faithful He will never leave us or forsake us but we must draw near to Him and THEN He will draw near to us. This is wrongly thought by Calvinists to impinge on His sovereignty”

Just food for thought, but it's probably worth mentioning the need to distinguish between efficacious decrees and permissive decrees.

Something like;

”An idea in man is first impressed upon him and afterwards expressed in things, but in God it is only expressed, not impressed, because it does not come from anywhere else.”

Source: The Decrees of God by Dr. William Ames

#76  Posted by Caleb Cook  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 6:26 PM

Primarily in response to #65 from Steve Stricker

Sir,

I have read through the replies to this blog post and I wanted to comment in a few areas that I have concern over.

In response to your understanding that natural man must first bring his own unregenerate faith to the table and then he will be saved is not what Scripture teaches. It seems to me that you think that there is some sort of an island of righteousness that remains in fallen man that "allows" him to turn to God in faith and repentance. I am sorry, but I can not see where the Bible says that there is anything in man at all that is even remotely capable of seeking after God. In fact, I do believe that Jesus, Paul, John as well as other Apostles as well as many OT Prophets explain that sin has so invaded every aspect/dimension of the human heart, mind, and soul that like a drop of ink in a gallon jug of water there will not be a single ounce that remains pure. This lack of purity in natural man is darkness. Darkness hates the light. How can darkness seek after light? Sin pollutes the totality of man. I firmly believe you are not grasping this Steve and this is a strong concern that we all on here have for you. Man must first recognize the totality of his depravity before he can recognize how amazing God's grace is to him. From my limited understanding of your true understanding of this biblical doctrine of man, it seems that you have a flawed view of natural man.

This flawed view you have of natural man has you claiming that the unregenerate man can truly seek after God - and in this seeking (that you are calling coming to Christ in faith) you have God then "responding" to man by THEN giving that same natural man the new birth. So, with this way of understanding, you have MAN dictating God's action of saving a person. You have man saying "when" in other words...

So, continuing with your rationale here, you assume that if the unregenerate man must first bring his "own" faith to God before he can be born-again would suggest that God and Jesus are nothing more then mere spectators from Heaven and are sitting up there hoping that people choose to make the right choice and walk the aisle or invite Jesus into their heart "through their unregenerate faith".

I am sorry, but that view is absolutely insulting to God's sovereignty. It is borderline heretical too I would suggest. Since when does man dictate God's will in the saving of His elect?

I would continue to go on, but I think my point is clear.

Your view of OSAS is flawed also. What you are saying is that if a person can possibly "lose" his salvation; then the body of Christ is full of holes. The true and universal Church is not fractured. It is perfect. Just as He is.

Sir, I kindly ask you to please evaluate and examine your replies and veracity and truth. Take care.

In Christ,

Caleb

#77  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 6:38 PM

#65 Posted by steve stricker

QUOTE:"Hey I hate to bring the Bible into this but 1 John 2:2 says.........and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole WORLD.

Did you notice that it doesnt say 'those of the elect' . Wow. Dont let the Bible get in the way of your theology."

______________________________________________________________

If Jesus was a propitiation for the "whole world"; in the sense that you use "whole world" as in every single individual, then why is there a single person in hell? See the problem and the contradiction to Scripture? I hope so.

The "whole word" in this context is every tribe, tongue, nation, great, small, young and old. If you are new to the family of God I understand the error, but if you are not, then you are without excuse for not discerning the context.

The only other time the word is used is in 1John 4:10 and the context is 1 John 4:7-13 and here it is quite obvious that the Apostle John is speaking to Christians only.

____________________________________________________________

If you look at the word propitiation; you will see it used in primarily two ways as another form of the word show up in Romans 3:25 & Hebrews 2:17. In these passages it is a the context of a protective covering; like the Ark was for Noah. Or the phrase we "are covered by the blood of Christ".

In 1 John, you will notice the word "the" before each use of propitiation; because John is saying Jesus is that covering, that sacrifice, that payment; ever how you want to put it.

Look at how many time the phrase "in Christ" or "in the Lord" is used in relationship to the Christian. Just the phrase "in Christ" is used 76 times in the NT (NAS); there is good reason for that. Apart from Christ we have nothing and "in Christ" we have everything.

_________________________________________________________

QUOTE:"MacArthur again the wrong view (in my opinion) that God gives you faith."

Here is God's answer to you, not John MacArthur's. Ephesians 2:4-10

Do you know what the character of a dead person is? The inability to respond to anything; so unless God regenerates or resuscitates or resurrects your "dead in trespasses and sins soul"; then you will remain dead!!

How many people; left to themselves seek after God; how many? Not according to me nor John MacArthur, nor Martin Luther, nor John Calvin - what does God say? Romans 3:10-11

The best (righteousness) man does toward other men is like what before God? Isaiah 64:6

____________________________________________________________

So who are your "heroes" from the past that are not in Scripture? I like Spurgeon, Ryle, Dabny, Edwards, Bunyan & Whitefield to name a few. What about you?

I noticed you skipped the gospel question; thought you did not like it when people did not answer your inquiries.

May God bless you for His namesake.

Mark

#78  Posted by Daniel Flaherty  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 7:03 PM

Thank you all for this discussion - I have an on-going debate with members of my family who are Roman Catholic. I have many issues with Rome - # 1 being that it is a different gospel and anathemized by Paul in the book of Galations. (I have left this system, by the grace of God, 7 years ago when the God of all graces awakened me from my spiritual death. But on this topic my family members think it is presumptuous to believe you are saved - you can never know you are saved until after you die. I have listened and read the excellent series by MacArthur "Doctrines of Grace" several times and I love it! However - I am a bit disheartened by Gabriel's comments earlier: In post # 57 you wrote:

"I know I'm saved because today I believe in Christ and I live for Christ. If starting tomorrow and for the rest of my life I reject Christ and live for myself then that means today I was self-deceived.

And that's really where the issue comes up. Most people don't question their salvation when they're glorifying and enjoying God."

That seems to conflict with MacArthur when he states (paraphrasing) "If being saved and keeping our salvation were up to us none of us would be saved" From your comments we could screw up tomorrow and reject Christ even though today we are clearly believing in Him. As Paul has said "I know whom I have believed in..." I just need reassurance that the God of all graces will complete what He has started and your comments brought doubt in my mind - God could abandon us... I don't think that is what you intended. Anyways - thank you all - listen to Mac's "Doctrines of Grace" - it's excellent!

#79  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 7:38 PM

Jane (#74),

In the parable of the soils, the seed is fruitful in the good soil but not the others because the good soil represents the one who receives salvation and is a new creation. The Holy Spirit produces fruit in the life of a believer. The other three soils, while they hear the word, they do no bear fruit because they are not truly saved.

A true believer does not need to fear losing his salvation because it is imperishable, kept in heaven for him (1 Peter 1:4). However, we do fear grieving the Holy Spirit due to our living in the flesh and we fear failing be the salt and light we are meant to be, and we fear being poor reflections of our Lord. We don’t fear because we are going to lose our salvation but we fear because it grieves us to grieve the Lord. While saved, we still live in bodies of flesh and in a world under the influence of Satan. The warnings in scripture remind us to be on guard so that we might be good instruments of righteousness in a world of darkness. Praise God that He is at work in us to both to will and to work for His good pleasure, but we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13) that He might be glorified in us.

#80  Posted by steve stricker  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 8:23 PM

Joshua 46 Hi I was perusing the blog when I came across this....... hadnt seen it b4. Sure Id be happy to go further w the two things you asked about but heres what I would ask from you. Please provide me with Scripture that shows regeneration occurs b4 faith, ok? Please dont just quote someone please show me from God's Word. And if you want to give your take on the verses you raised from Rom 9 you can do that too. Thanks.

Rebuke wise man and he will love thee.

Blessings!

ps I have a CE class Fri and Sat so Ill be busy but Ill be thinking and praying about it. You can respond w yours any time.

#81  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 9:13 PM

Daniel,

In saying, "If I reject Christ tomorrow..." I definitely don't mean, "If I screw up and sin..." The critical part of what I said was, "if tomorrow and for the rest of my life I reject Christ..."

The difficulty in this issue is right at the point of the division between man's responsibility and God's sovereignty.

If we are elected by God, then we can know for certain that, having believed in Christ, repented of our sin, and growing in Christlikeness, God will finish the work He started. God will preserve His saints. I have no need to fear that God will not preserve me.

That's the Divine side.

On the human side, I need to make sure that I continue to believe in Christ, continue to repent of my [daily] sin, and continue to grow in Christlikeness. I need to, as Paul charged the Corinthians, examine myself, exercise my salvation, and ensure my life validates my profession of faith.

Of course we understand even the human effort is guided and empowered by God ("for it is God and works within you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure").

Therefore, if someone falls away and rejects Christ long term, we can conclude they were not saved otherwise God would have preserved them.

To be clear, one can have some doubts, struggle with sin (see previous blog series), and even struggle with a life-dominating sin while still being a believer. However that will be temporary (unless their time is cut short, like some in 1 Cor 11:30). There is a difference between having honest doubts and fully rejecting Christ. There is a difference between struggling with sin and being fully invested in it.

A true believer, one who has been predestined, foreordained, and elected by God (all biblical terms describing believers, btw), will in the end be saved. Whether they are a thief on the cross, an Apostle Paul, or a doubting Thomas.

#82  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 9:15 PM

#74 Posted by Jane Wilson

QUOTE:"The reformed have the sovereignty part down, and in their hip pocket, and pull it out to debate with eloquence, but I fear there is a tendency to make it the prize pet doctrine when God has said a great deal more in numerous warnings... "

_____________________________________________________________

Hello Jane and welcome. Please note the topic of discussion; might explain why we are so focused on election, security of the Christian and regeneration.

___________________________________________________________

I'll ask you a question; when you were saved and when you pray; did you say to yourself; "self; I'm so happy I was smart enough to chose God unlike that sinner over there; what's wrong with then, why won't they believe like me?"

Or do you so say to self;"I thank you God for my salvation" and in wonder and owe think to self; "why me?...thank you soooooooooooo much Lord Jesus!".

______________________________________________________________

Here is what the feeble human mind cannot ever fully comprehend; at least in this life. The Biblical fact that God chooses some for salvation and others He does not while at the same time holding man accountable for his/her unbelief; yet one cannot believe unless God awakens a spiritually dead sinner. Romans 9:15, Romans 9:16, Romans 9:18

Here is the BIG question: Roman 9:19. What is the answer to those that scream "THAT IS NOT FAIR!!". Romans 9:20 answers that and in today's vernacular "Shut up!", then we have Romans 9:22 {God prepares vessels for destruction and God also holds man responsible for unbelief } That is the crux of the matter; which the stained eyes of man cannot fully comprehend; not even the best theologians. But the Christian walks by faith and not by his own understanding and his bread is the word of God and His trust is in Christ and all of for His glory forevermore.

____________________________________________________________

What people do is take to one side or the other; one is called Arminism, which makes man sovereign over his salvation based on some inherent good in man which allows man to chose God and the other is hyper-calvinism, where God loves His own, the elect, and hates the rest, but Scripture teaches that God is 100% sovereign in all aspects of determining who is saved and who is not, while at the same time showing a measure of love and compassion to all people. At the same time Scripture teaches that man is culpable for his unbelief. It is an apparent paradox that perhaps all will understand when we are fully redeemed or condemned. Since both are taught clearly in Scripture we accept what Scripture teaches in full.

___________________________________________________________

Hope that sheds some light and may God bless you this day.

Mark

#83  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 9:39 PM

#47 Posted by Carol Gayheart

Very well said; I hope to remember the great analogy you used: "It puts man standing before the Judgment Seat of God one day saying, “I accepted your gift of Salvation” or “I lived a godly life,” seeking to justify himself. "

_______________________________________________________________

A side note; Christians will not be at the "Great White Throne"; that is for the condemned as I see and understand from Scripture. Another topic that gets deep into Scriptural understanding for some other day perhaps.

God bless you sister; see ya in heaven.

#84  Posted by Joshua Berdiel  |  Thursday, March 31, 2011at 10:34 PM

Thank you Steve for responding to my post. I have no problem showing you a proof text for the new birth before faith. That would be John 1:13. There are others but I picked this one because I want to explain what I have found as the appeal to this verse from people that have a likeness to your view of the Bible. Many will say that this verse shows that faith causes the new birth, since John 1:12 appears if read quickly to say that, but it doesn't. John 1:12 is not speaking about the doctrine of the new birth. It is speaking of a doctrine known as adoption. Adoption is the act of God that happens after justifaction, or other known as being saved. Once one has been justified by the blood of Christ and one's sin debt has been paid in full, past, present, and future, God then adopts said believer as one of his kids. A proof text to this is Ephesians 1:3-5. By taking the Bible as a whole one then can understand that John 1:12 is saying that by your belief, God becomes your daddy but that is only because of his sovereign will of the new birth that is shown in John 1:13 that lets you answer his call. This view fits in with what the rest of the Bible teaches that no man of his own free will without God acting first will seek him, i.e. Romans 3:9-12, and that God must change the heart for one to be able to accept the gospel message, i.e. Ezekiel 36:26-27, Jeremiah 32:29-30. There are many more verses that show faith comes first and at least 7 different people have shown them in the past 3 blogs. If you need more verse to show that please let me now and I will show them to you by either typing them myself or pointing to the many that have been shown to you in the past 3 blogs.

As far as Romans 9:14-24, I wanted you to answer how this fits your theology because these verses show all five points of calvinism in them and I have never heard anyone with your set of beliefs explain how these verses fit. I have only seen them skip over them. Also Romans 10 and 11 agree with this stance. Who ever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, that is our role in salvation, election is God's role. One must answer the call, but natural man can't because he is unable to, i.e. 1 Corithians 2:14. God atones the ones he picks, i.e. Acts 13:48.

When you get time please repond to the post by showing biblical proof of faith that results in the new birth and not just verses that show one needs saving faith and your respones to Romans 9:14-24. God bless and let the Word of God be your guide.

#85  Posted by Jane Wilson  |  Friday, April 01, 2011at 12:57 AM

Response to #82... I must emphatically put myself in the second camp of your options as a response to God's grace/gift of salvation. I am almost offended to read the first. Not offended at you, but rather at the notion of that response. I have often challenged Paul's quote that he is the worst of sinners, because I am surely in the running. For to whom much is given much is required. Paul "woke up" by God's grace at a later age. I was taught from a little tot the truth of God and His Word, responding with simple faith. I have benefited from repentance, peace, and the convictions of a faithful Holy Spirit ever since.

I am in no way implying all of the reformed teaching is error. My main concern is that we as Christians, "grasp the one without letting go of the other", (Eccl.). God's sovereignty, along with His warnings to us that we must "Come, follow Me". It does really seem both truths are evident in Scripture. Yes, one can go to the Armenian Camp, or the Calvinist Camp... but I don't see either wholly laid out in black and white in God's Word without some contradiction to grapple with. Reformed wish to convince me that I have little to nothing to do with anything- so repent if it's in my heart, and enjoy the ride. No need to be anxious as I am a basically a non factor in the whole experience. No worry if you don't obey right off, God did not enable it. Baptists wish to convince me that I need to choose to pick up my cross and follow Him, being careful lest I fall away, a willing, active cooperation. With some fear and trepidation. So much to convince!

I actually see BOTH, almost equally presented. A sovereign God who forms us, calls, us, and makes our election sure. Clearly there. Along with a righteous God who couches our response to Him as a choice. Also clearly there. The parable of the seeds imply each seed DIED and was burried in the ground. You can not get new life sprouting up without death to the seed, or death to self- for that new life within. Implying that some started in genuine faith and repentance, yet love of the world choked it out. My concern is that both the reformed AND the "Armenian" do not pick their favorite doctrines and try to explain away other Scriptures based on what they wish they would mean. The Father sent Christ while we were yet sinners, and then Christ says, "Come, follow Me." A fact, and a directive of choice/obedience. "Guard your heart." Why bother if I am not involved?

I personally rest in the God of Scripture who calls me by name by His merits alone, yet fully aware there is a calling that I must follow Him. I can read about it in God's Word, so I believe it. I believe both. I believe I'm in by faith alone of His sovereign will. I also believe God put those warnings there for ME because He knew I could be deceived- my heart is deceitful. The grand paradox. The clear fact: "No one will snatch them out of My hand.", with the clear directive: "Take up your cross, and follow Me." Still growing in grace...

#86  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, April 01, 2011at 2:49 AM

Wow, what a lot of wonderful answers.

But no one can say it like God:

Ezekiel 16

The Lord’s Faithless Bride

Read and weep

#87  Posted by Anna Kelley  |  Friday, April 01, 2011at 3:23 AM

I agree with posts #81 & #82. It is interesting that so many people, when discussing these issues, just "assume" people are either taking a hard "Calvinist" or "Armenian" stance...hanging on to a "pet doctrine", & thus cannot be objective or good Bereans. I was saved at 6 yrs old. I clearly recall my 1st understanding of grasping my sin & seeing myself as personally responsible for Jesus' suffering on the cross in my place. As a child, I did not have it all figured out, or understand the finer details of doctrine. But in God's mercy, He revealed to me the gravity of my sin in a way that was real and clear to me, that grieved me, and that produced what I believe is lasting faith.

Not having been brought up with much Christian example, or understanding the importance of Scripture, I failed to "live" like a Christian many times. I went through very tough things as a kid, but the one thing that got me through many hardships was an assurance that I cannot articulate, an assurance that God was God & in control, and that He loved me, forgave me, & would protect & guide me. There was no "pet doctrine" or understanding of "how" I came to be saved, other than the Holy Spirit within me testifying to God's greatness and that he saved & loved and was patient with me.

Not until I was 25, had I even heard the Calvinist vs. Armenian debate. I then began studying scripture & reading books to learn for myself the issues. I still dont consider myself Calvinist or Armenian, but it is clear that Scripture teaches there are the elect, that some die apart from God, that God is sovereign, that man is fully depraved & uncapable of coming to Christ on our own, & that in God's sovereignty, He also commands that we "repent" & have faith. There is a seeming paradox in our human feeble minds, but with God, we know that both Sovereignty and Free Will work together in His ultimate plan...and cant work against eachother to thwart God's purposes.

We know from Scripture that the Holy Spirit seals us at the point of salvation & that HE (not we) is faithful to complete the work of Sanctification in us. What has convinced me, in addition to the priority of Scripture, is that I had a period of time where I was in nighlty, blatant disobedience/sin & running from God. I did question my salvation because of that. However, not a day went by that His spirit did not testify to my spirit that I was greiving Him with my choices, that He loved me and wanted me to 'come back' out of the land of the dead I was swimming in despite being His child meant to live for Him. In my flesh or human desires, I was having fun swimming in sin (except for the nagging conviction). But God's will was stronger than my own & HE continued to chasten me and convict me, working in me to continue the race. Some would say I "lost" my salvation when I was in blatant sin. But I KNOW that I did not. His Spirit testified otherwise to mine. Thank GOD it is not up to me to "stay" saved. ALL glory to Him alone!

#88  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, April 01, 2011at 7:52 AM

Steve writes in #65

I agree ACTUAL purchase.......Yes Jesus's death was real and it was sufficient to please the Father.......nothing else needs to be done no other work salvation is not of our works lest any man boast. And it says in the BIBLE that His work is appropiated BY FAITH. That EVERYONE who BELIEVES on HIM will not perish but have everlasting life. WHOEVER COMES to Him (in faith) He will in no wise cast out. You come to Christ in faith and youre in the family. The worst sinner need only truly believe and all their sins are as white as snow totally forgotten by God.

Steve, I don’t believe you are seeing the inconsistency. If Christ’s atonement is actual, and it has been made for everyone in the world without exception as you say, then no one is going to hell. You basically affirm universalism. Actual means that it actually accomplishes what it was designed to do, turn away God’s wrath. Hence, if Christ died for everybody without exception, then everybody without exception no longer has God’s wrath abiding on them.

But, if Christ’s death is actual as you say, and the mechanism for its effectiveness is our own, personal faith, then Christ’s death is merely potential, not actual. It is potential because it requires something from us to make it work. Of course, many folks, including myself, have pointed out that we don’t have saving faith within our selves, it is given to us by God. The Bible says, as I have been arguing here and in the previous post, that when God gives someone saving faith, that person WILL believe and be saved. You reject that, it appears, which is why it would be nice to see you interact a bit with what Gabe has challenged you with regarding the definition of “drawing.”

Steve writes,

Hey I hate to bring the Bible into this but 1 John 2:2 says.........and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole WORLD.

I take it that you read the article I linked that is John’s study from this passage? If yes, please interact with the exegesis he put forth for propitiation and his understand of the word “world.” Why is he wrong? I was kind of hoping you would give us something instead of repeating the same lines.

#89  Posted by Joshua Berdiel  |  Friday, April 01, 2011at 8:43 AM

wrote wrong verse on last post. I ment to write Jeremiah 32:39-40

#90  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Friday, April 01, 2011at 11:48 AM

Steve #65 writes

The worst sinner need only truly believe and all their sins are as white as snow totally forgotten by God.

Steve, It seems inconsistent to say that if your truly a Christian God totally forgets your sins and then say at some point you can lose your salvation. How does this fit into conditional salvation? Can you elaborate a little here? Are you only referring to past sins and not future sins? When people lose their salvation does God at that point not forget their sins anymore? You also stated that once you come to God in faith your "in the family" Are you saying that if sinful human beings are not capable of holding onto that faith then God disowns them?

#91  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Friday, April 01, 2011at 12:59 PM

#78 Posted by Daniel Flaherty

QUOTE:"From your comments we could screw up tomorrow and reject Christ even though today we are clearly believing in Him."

___________________________________________________________

Obviously Gabriel can speak for himself, but as I understand his point; that many can be self deceived and this is a reaction to the many different gospels out there and the knowledge that many are indeed deceived. I would say to myself; why are so many self deceived?

This relates to your Catholic relatives, which I have many as well and the more devout they are the harder to get an audience to even listen...so I emphasize and weep and mourn with you in all regards to the pain of knowing there destiny if God does not act for His namesake.

___________________________________________________________

So back to the WHY?

1) Most "professing" Christians do not read nor study their Bibles SYSTEMATICALLY; so how can you either know or love the God of Scripture when you don't bother to read and study to know Him. To know Him is to Love Him.

2) Prayer; most "professing" Christians have a prayer life that is almost non-existent or pray only in bad times and/or for things outside the "will of God", which is another reason why reading and studying the Bible is so important because you cannot separate the two since prayer is a major way in which we commune with the god we love.

**Keep in mind; that no amount of reading nor studying will stick to the false Christian; the Bible is for Christians.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

As far as Catholicism is concerned; don't bash there religion in any form; always battle with the Word of God and for Catholics Psalm 19 & Psalm 119 is where I would begin because they have the belief that only the RCC can interpret scripture contrary to Psalms 19 & 119.

Also; have them read aloud to you Romans 8:19, then ask them who the sons of God are? When they answer Christians, then ask who are the collective body of Christians? When they answer the "church" or perhaps "Bride of Christ", then ask them to read Romans 8:19 again and then ask has the Bride of Christ be revealed yet? They claim to be the only true and visible church.

The take them to 1 Peter 1:3-5; this not only backs up Paul's writing that the sons of God are yet revealed, but you will see the "born again" & "New Birth" & the definitive source of such birth.

Catholics are taught that John 3:5 speaks of water baptism because of word "water".The topic is the "New Birth" as Jesus uses the phrase "Born Again" before & after John 3:5, in john 3:3 & John 3:7, then John 3:8 is the "kicker"; who knows where the wind blows? The Catholic Church?

Also, did God promise a "church" or "Savior"? It is the Father who gave the Son a group of redeemed, the "church". Most Catholics never thought of that; that God gave man a savior, not a church per se.

God bless you and may God be merciful as you witness to them.

#92  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Friday, April 01, 2011at 1:57 PM

# 83 Thank you, Mark, for the correction. : ) I guess my point was that I don’t have “Faith” in the “I’s” (“I did this” or “I did that” or “I prayed this”… back to Mt 7:21-23) but my faith rests totally on what Jesus did for me! (Which is everything – start to finish!)

#93  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Friday, April 01, 2011at 1:59 PM

#85 Posted by Jane Wilson

QUOTE:"I actually see BOTH, almost equally presented. A sovereign God who forms us, calls, us, and makes our election sure. Clearly there. Along with a righteous God who couches our response to Him as a choice."

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jane how many, left to themselves would chose God according to Scripture? Romans 3:10-11; so zero people would chose God according to God. Is God wrong or is God correct?

On your other point? Revelation 22:17 An invitation to be saved among many. This is the apparent paradox that we, as stained-humans. cannot comprehend and we will not in this life.

Calvinism in it's true sense teaches both because they are biblical. Hyper-Calvinism and Armininism do not; they take one side at the expense of the other and there is no balance in biblical doctrine and actually is non-biblical in it's doctrines, but true Calvinism is biblical in all 5-points.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

So it seems we are actually in agreement, but I just wanted to clarify in case you have additional questions.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Also; read the Charles Spurgeon sermon titled "God's Will and Man's Will"; Spurgeon has a way of articulating biblical truth's in ways that many are unable. The link is below and he goes through all of it so you might want to have your Bible handy or online Bible; again just a suggestion for futher blessing in understanding.

http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0442.htm

May God bless you this weekend and forever!

Mark

#94  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Friday, April 01, 2011at 2:00 PM

# 91 - My family is mostly Catholic and/or Spiritualist. Charismania is big down in Brazil and my family mistakenly include me in that category. Only recently the reformed theology is growing, but I am sad to say that most of it is through the "social gospel" and church planting that a lot of the "young and restless" are preaching/teaching now. Mind you, still reformed, but emphasis is in social works and training people to do these social works. I have yet to come across an ex-Spiritualist in North America, I'd love to hear their testimony.

But I digress. In talking with Catholics I've found that most of them have faith in faith. They are happy to be ignorant of the truth, attend mass regularly, but refuse to open their bibles and read. I've watched an interesting movie the other day, called Luther, for what I know about Luther (and I don't know much) it was a fair representation of his life. Luther (nor Calvin) simply came up with a "new" theology or "new" interpretation of Scriptures. The Doctrines of Grace are all over Scripture, and, like you said, a systematical study of Scripture will prove that. Keith (#45) mentioned Steven Lawson's books, which are a great recent resource to understand that.

At our church we sing a lot of hymms. We recently sang one by Charles Wesley, who was Arminian but wrote this:

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.

My chains fell off, my heart was free,

I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

(from And Can It Be That I Should Gain?)

#95  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Friday, April 01, 2011at 2:14 PM

Gabriel and Fred,

Thanks for all the hard work both of you have done this week and may God grant both of you "humility in Christ" as we continue moving forward and not for just you two, but for all of us. For when we are weak, then we are strong in Christ...may that be true for all of us in Christ.

Have a great weekend and rest up!!

Blessings,

Mark Tanner & others I'm certain.

#96  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Friday, April 01, 2011at 2:51 PM

Elaine #94 writes

I have yet to come across an ex-Spiritualist in North America, I'd love to hear their testimony.

I am not sure what you mean by ex-spiritualist but before God saved me from my sins I was part of a 12 step recovery program for over about 12 years. What we were taught is that you can basically invent your own God or "higher power" as long as the God is loving and caring. Would that count as an ex-spiritualist? Just curious

God Bless

#99  Posted by Jeremy K  |  Friday, April 01, 2011at 6:16 PM

@ Mark & Mary I actually did get back to you re the M’Cheyne article but somehow it was not put up here, maybe I clicked the wrong buttons.

At any rate I think that point I was somehow making was that Paul *would* have lost his salvation if his life descended into a pattern of sin and M’Cheyne may have been making that point as well given he said ” He knew there was a crown laid up for him”… but ”Paul felt also, that if he lived a wicked life, he would surely be cast away”.

We all know in retrospect that he did live a life with a clear conscience and was certainly a holy man. Further if you read the sermon a bit farther on - perhaps M’Cheyne did interpret the word ‘castaway’ as not just failing to lead sinners to salvation but I think he actually meant being thrown into hell because he goes on to explain what being a castaway means and I quote ”What is it to be cast away! I. Wicked men shall be cast away from God.— "Depart from Me, ye cursed."— Matt. xxv. 41. "Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power."— 2 Thess. i. 9.”

I think I may have cleared that up without confusing myself! If I'm looking at that wrong please tell me. I do understand the need to be on the same page, as you put it Mark, because if you have spent much time about the internet it's not long before you come across all sorts of accusations against the apostle that are not just in err but have their roots in absolute depravity.

While I’m here I’d just like to thank everyone for the discussion, I don't normally participate or even read the blog comments but it’s been great and I’ve learnt a lot. A special thanks to Mark #59 for recommending Salvation Survey: Saved or Self Deceived? It is a powerful read to say the least.

God Bless all.

#100  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Friday, April 01, 2011at 9:07 PM

#99 Posted by Jeremy K

Hi Jeremy,

I did get your response and it was posted and I actually responded to it. I think it was at the previous blog and I copied and brought it over here...somewhere among the 100 plus posts...LOL

After searching Post #'s 23, 25, (#33**), & #52 are the posts with the dialogue.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

It is all good; I will say that the Apostle Paul was not concerned about loosing his salvation regardless of how M’Cheyne may have viewed it, which it appears he in not suggesting that and at the same time it appears he his; we will ask him when we all get to heaven and talk about it over some 100% pure water and divine fruit.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm glad you decided to participate; the internet, like many things, can be used for good or for evil. I have made my share of errors by being over zealous to the point of "pride"; praise God who will always help bring me down a notch or two at the right times and through repetition I eventually learn my lessons and again I say "Praise God"!! My wife; such a blessing and a tool God will often use to calm my hyper-zeal.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Another good read for you would be Spurgeons sermon titled "God's Will and Man's Will"; Spurgeon buries the entire debate from 3 different angles and what a man that is very poetic in his articulation of divine truth. Here is the link below:

http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0442.htm

Also; if you want to here it, then go to:

http://www.gospelgems.com/

Here is the specific link to the message titled "God's Will and Man's Will".

http://www.gospelgems.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=CS-027

I have ordered many times here and Tony Capoccia, a friend of GTY, reproduces them and does a great job and for $4.95 per CD (including shipping) and less for the MP3 download; you can't beat it. He has reproduced many sermons from Spurgeon, J.C. Ryle, John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, Dabney and others.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

God bless you Jeremy K, and I really hope you return and participate and learn along with all of us and enjoy the time we spend here.

Sincerely and with all of God's love in Christ,

Mark Tanner

#101  Posted by steve stricker  |  Saturday, April 02, 2011at 4:39 AM

Micah Hi ......it may seem inconsistent to us but thats because weve been fed only part of the story were so focused on God's faithfulness and that IS a sweet truth......but we go and forget the fact we are not so faithful....hmmmmm.. not so sweet. And we want our ears tickled so preachers preach it. Gotta keep em happy you know. The very first point I made when I started blogging was that our salvation was conditional....it's all over the Bible. I wanted to oppose it to the wrong doctrine of Unconditional Election/Salvation of Calvinism.

Ive covered some of these verses in previous blogs you can read Heb 6 and 2 Pet 2 and Rom 11. And like i said b4 I dont see it as a big problem I dont think people are abandoning their faith in droves but the fact of it is, it is possible. I have two examples of it in mind one Biblical and one modern day maybe Ill share them later.

No the people are described as being able to hold on knowing the truth being enlightened partaking of future glory but willfully turning away from it. A kind of settled rebellion against God and not only does God disown them but their fate is worse than if they had never believed and been enlightened.

Yours for truth, S

Col 3:12-17

#102  Posted by Caleb Cook  |  Saturday, April 02, 2011at 11:33 AM

Steve,

Again, if God left it up to "us" as to whether we were finally saved, then NONE of us would ever be finally saved!

I would examine yourself and ask yourself this question:

Am I believing that salvation is conditional because it allows me to contribute my part to ensure I "stay" saved?

I would say that those of us who understand the Doctrines of Grace that are so clearly shown throughout Scripture would suggest that you like to think that there is something in YOU that likes/wants to take credit in doing something that only God can do.

You seem to know the Christian lingo pretty well but your Bible hermeneutic is absolutely twisted if you think you see in Scripture EVERYWHERE that Salvation is conditional.

Bottom line Steve, if you are indeed a regenerated believer in Christ then God and ONLY God was the author of your Salvation from beginning to end and there was absolutely NOTHING you did to ensure any aspect of it was completed.

It is unsettling that you sit there and consider your own personal filthy works as what is keeping you saved instead of looking only to Christ and His finished work. It is by grace we are saved, not by our own works and you my friend are espousing a doctrine that is not just a secondary issue, but something that is against historical Christian orthodoxy and I consider it heretical. Again!!! There are no holes in the body of Christ. Like John 10 says, NO ONE can snatch them (God's elect - His sheep) from His hand. If you are truly in Christ, then you can never be lost again by losing your faith.

Think about it Steve, these are some serious matters here. Stop thinking that it is YOU that is keeping you saved. That is seriously flawed theology.

Take care. We are praying for you.

#103  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Saturday, April 02, 2011at 12:24 PM

#96 Posted by Micah Marchewitz in response to #101

#101 Posted by steve stricker

QUOTES: "I wanted to oppose it to the wrong doctrine of Unconditional Election/Salvation of Calvinism" --->>> {AKA:Christianity 101-mine}

"The very first point I made when I started blogging was that our salvation was conditional"

-------------------------------------------------------------

S/B as follows: "The very first ERROR I made when I started blogging was that our salvation was conditional"

Philippians 1:6, John 1:13, Ephesians 1:4-5, John 6:37,

Romans 8:29-30 and it goes on & on & on in both the NT & the OT.

Psalms 37:28, Psalms 3:8, Psalms 18:2, Psalms 27:1, Psalms 37:39, Psalms 68:19, Psalms 85:7, Psalms 119:41, Psalms 149:4, Isaiah 61:10, & Ezekiel 36:22-36 and it goes on & on.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Please make sure you read the posts before you begin to follow along Steve's lack of understanding. He has decided that God is hanging around His throne waiting & hoping that men will come to Him & then hopes they will remain w/ Him; so Steve takes the position that one can gain their salvation by their own "free" will/choice & give it back by their own will/choice; thus creating the "god of ineptitude" & having salvation depending on the fallen sinful creature called man rather the the perfect & Almighty Savior.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Steve, you refused to explain the gospel or even what it is 2-3 times; I will tell you so you do know.

First; one must understand that sin is rebellion against God & that all of us have sinned against God who created the heavens & the earth & all it contains. The Bible tells us that God created the heavens & the earth Gen. 1:1 & also in the creation of man; made man in His image, which explains why man is different in many superior ways to all the rest of the creatures ever made. God has given us a moral standard to live by & His standard is perfection & those who fall short are condemned to a place called hell. The Bible tells all men have fallen short of the glory of God & His Law & all are guilty & under condemnation & deserve to be in hell.

Second; in His love for mankind; God sent His only begotten Son, who is both fully man & fully God, who came into our world born of a virgin via the Holy Spirit&Mary, lived the perfectly obedient & sinless life, then willingly laid down His life, on the cross, as a propitiation/substitute for the sins of those who would be effectually called to Him of the Father. In other words, Jesus sole purpose was to redeem & save a group of people for Himself. To prove He was perfect & defeated death & it's penalty He rose on the 3rd day & ascended in heaven where he lives to make intercession for His own.

So you must repent, turn away from your sin & turn towards God, admitting your guilt & believe all of the above and you will be saved. Luke 18:9-14 as an example. All4 His glory.

#104  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Saturday, April 02, 2011at 12:26 PM

#102 Posted by Caleb Cook

QUOTE:"Think about it Steve, these are some serious matters here. Stop thinking that it is YOU that is keeping you saved. That is seriously flawed theology.

Take care. We are praying for you."

------------------------------------------------------------------

I concur and join you in prayer.

Mark

#105  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Saturday, April 02, 2011at 12:31 PM

Steve,

It is very apparent that there is nothing that is going to be said on here that is going to change your views. But you keep referencing scripture that has been addressed over and over again. I'll admit that Hebrews 6 looks like it COULD be referring to a believer with just a casual reading of it. But it's not referring to true authentic believers. The link I have provided comes from the intro page from the Macarthur study bible on the book of Hebrews and is very helpful. I am not sure if you will read it as I am not sure of your view of Macarthur as a bible teacher. Unless I missed your response you never answered Fred or myself for that matter on weather you think Macarthur twists scripture along with some other bible teachers I mentioned. Here is the link:

http://www.gty.org/Resources/Bible+Introductions/MSB58_Hebrews

Here is an excerpt from that page regarding of the passage in question:

By far, the most serious interpretive challenge is found in 6:4–6. The phrase “once enlightened” is often taken to refer to Christians, and the accompanying warning taken to indicate the danger of losing their salvation if “they fall away” and “crucify again for themselves the Son of God.” But there is no mention of their being saved and they are not described with any terms that apply only to believers (such as holy, born again, righteous, or saints). This problem arises from inaccurately identifying the spiritual condition of the ones being addressed. In this case, they were unbelievers who had been exposed to God’s redemptive truth, and perhaps made a profession of faith, but had not exercised genuine saving faith. In 10:26, the reference once again is to apostate Christians, not to genuine believers who are often incorrectly thought to lose their salvation because of their sins.

As far as 2 Peter 2 again I encourage you to go read 2 Peter 2:1. It is obvious that Peter is referring to false teachers. Not Christians. The major theme of the whole epistle is to expose false teachers. I don't feel like you have answered any of the question's I posted in my last blog adequately but just danced around the issue. If eternal security is false and conditional security is biblical how do you reconcile these verse: John 5:24, John 6:35-37, John 10:27-29, Romans 5:9, Romans 8:1, Romans 8:35-39, Romans 11:29, Hebrews 3:14 (how does this verse fit in with your view of Hebrew 6?) 1 John 2:19, 1 Corinthians 15:10, 2 Corinthians 5:19, Ephesians 2:4-6, Ephesians 4:30, Philippians 1:6, 2 Timothy 1:12.. I could keep going but I think you get the point. Please, if you can, reconcile these biblically with you view of conditional security. If you can please use different scripture as Hebrews 6 and 2 Peter 2 has already been shown multiple times to not refer to genuine believers. Also if you have the time and are willing can you answer some of the other questions I have posted. Thanks to all for their time. God Bless

Micah

#106  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Saturday, April 02, 2011at 12:39 PM

Caleb #102- Good post Caleb!

Elaine- Thanks for the link on spiritualism, I was no where near that before God saved me. I have honestly never met anyone who had those types of beliefs.

I have enjoyed following this series and participating a little. I have been following the blogs for the last couple of years but rarely do I say much. Thanks all for your time

Micah

#107  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Saturday, April 02, 2011at 2:08 PM

Tit 3:10 Reject a factious man after a first and second warning,

11 knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.

To a believer who is well grounded in the Word, the errors and sinfulness of factious and divisive people in the church should be obvious, knowing that a person who persists in quarreling over foolish ideas is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned. Perverted translates ekstrephō, which has the meaning of "turning inside out, or twisting." The factious person, who is twisted by his constant sinning, will manifest his wicked condition by his own words and actions, thereby becoming self-condemned.

It is sad that men and women in evangelical churches who teach ideas that are utterly foreign to Scripture often are not only not disciplined but are instead praised and given opportunity for promulgating their aberrations.

~ MacArthur New Testament Commentary, The - MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Titus.

#108  Posted by Cristian Balint  |  Saturday, April 02, 2011at 2:43 PM

Steve Stricker, I defiantly agree with you to an extend.

We have to ask ourselves why Jesus would constantly give us warnings against not remaining in Him, and also warnings of false teachers and such. I mean why give us any warning at all? If we are once saved forever saved, we have no need for warnings...

#109  Posted by Cristian Balint  |  Saturday, April 02, 2011at 2:56 PM

I see many times someone will say,

"You have to ask yourself why you are saved and not the person down the street? Are you some special person to be able to choose God." However this question is not biblical and never is there a verse to support it. Some might ask it and so i will answer it. The truth is, it is not a matter of "choosing God", but of finding favor in God's eyes. For example Noah. (Genesis 6.8) How can we today find favor in Almighty God's eyes? It is by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, & ONLY through that!!! Not by being chosen, but by being responsible and finding favor in God's eyes by believing in God the Son as our LORD and SAVIOR.

#110  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Saturday, April 02, 2011at 5:57 PM

Cristian and Steve,

Your continue to wonder about all the warnings. It's the same issue as the command to evangelize. God is sovereign, but man is responsible. You must abide, but God keeps you. You must believe, but God must enable you. You must evangelize, but God has chosen. You must choose God, but He has already chosen you. Do you realize the doctrine of adoption finds no place in your system? Orphans don't choose their adoptive parents. Sheep don't choose their shepherd. Buckets don't choose the Man who draws them. Clay doesn't choose it's molder. Babies don't choose their parents. Almost every biblical metaphor for salvation requires God's election of incapable sinners.

You may scoff at the idea of God finding fault with powerless man, but God anticipated your response and lead Paul to write Rom 9:19ff.

Cristian, your description of finding favor is works-based language and blatantly contradicts many passages not the least of which is Acts 13:48 which explicitly places choosing before believing.

#111  Posted by Steve Nuhn  |  Saturday, April 02, 2011at 6:12 PM

Comment deleted by author.
#112  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Saturday, April 02, 2011at 8:45 PM

#109 Posted by Cristian Balint

..."The truth is, it is not a matter of "choosing God", but of finding favor in God's eyes...."

Q. "HOW" do I "find favor in God's eyes?" I honestly can't think of one thing that I could possible do that would impress God enough for me to find favor in His eyes. His standard is perfection - only Christ Jesus was perfect - I can NEVER measure up to that! Now what finds favor in YOUR eyes? Which little doggie in the window finds your favor? YOU CHOOSE! They both want you to choose them, but YOU CHOOSE which one to take home. It's a subjective choice, in which YOU are the one making the decision. That’s how we find favor in God’s eyes, just because He chose to favor us. It’s His prerogative as Creator. And isn’t that really what you are saying when you even mention "God’s favor"?

Q. What do I have to DO find favor in God's eyes? The “I” here is self-centered; the “DO” is works-based. I've been in these churches for 30 years; it's ingrained, but it's a legalistic system not unlike that which the Pharisees developed & which Jesus condemned. It is a self-centered, rather than God-centered, theology. It puts man in the driver's seat, & it makes God responsive to man. Also, it doesn’t require a “relationship” with God. (Now THERE’S a topic for discussion!) As a Victorian-era child was expected to be silent & obedient, perhaps “to please” his parents through his actions or inactions, it was an IMPERSONAL relationship. May I go so far as to say that it was NOT EVEN a relationship – which requires some INTERACTION from BOTH sides? And isn’t that exactly what Gabriel is saying in #110 when he said, “God is sovereign, but man is responsible. You must abide, but God keeps you. You must believe, but God must enable you. You must evangelize, but God has chosen. You must choose God, but He has already chosen you.” No, we are not robots, but we – like robots – have a Creator & Author of our Salvation, Who has declared His love for His creation, but has declared His special, interactive, relationship with His chosen. Yes, we serve Him, but out of love, because "we love Him because He first loved us!" To God be the Glory!

#113  Posted by Cristian Balint  |  Saturday, April 02, 2011at 9:40 PM

You find favor in God's eyes by believing Christ Jesus died for your sins..because thats when the power of God is displayed. When God looks at Jesus's perfect sacrifice, instead of us sinners..That is finding favor in God's eyes. So the only way to find favor in God's eyes is by accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Apart from that, it is impossible. You can't find favor by being "chosen", so are you implying God randomly decides who receives eternal life or not? What makes you better than your neighbor down the street who doesn't believe in Christ? The fact that you were chosen??? Maybe its the fact that Jesus Christ died for our sins and we BELIEVE and we REMAIN IN HIM!!!

#114  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Saturday, April 02, 2011at 10:03 PM

Cristian,

I'm amazed at how quick you are to speak so contrary to abundant and clear biblical statements.

How does your position understand Romans 9:16; Acts 13:48; Matt 11:25-26; John 1:12-13 (v. 13 is key); 1 Cor 1:26ff; Eph 2:4-5; 2 Thess 2:13-14; Titus 3:3-5; James 1:18; 2 Tim 1:9; Acts 2:47 (who is doing the adding?); John 10:16, 26-27 (you are His sheep before you hear His voice); Rom 8:30 (notice what comes before justification); Rom 11:7; Acts 11:18 (who was the source of repentance?); Matthew 11:27; John 6:44 (to draw also means to drag, to pull, to compel); John 6:65...

Do I need to keep going? Do you see a pattern?

#115  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Sunday, April 03, 2011at 5:59 AM

#108 Posted by Cristian Balint

Steve Stricker, I defiantly agree with you to an extend.

QUOTE:"We have to ask ourselves why Jesus would constantly give us warnings against not remaining in Him, and also warnings of false teachers and such. I mean why give us any warning at all? If we are once saved forever saved, we have no need for warnings..."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Why so many warnings? So the Christian is able to discern between solid biblical teaching and false teaching through repetition. This blog has demonstrated the very reason. There are some, we won't need to mention names, who have either never understood or have strayed from sound doctrine into doctrines of demons and/or men.

Why so many warnings? Many are self deceived and need to warned, but again this blog has shown that despite repetitive warnings; there are some, that without God first moving, will never come to the knowledge of the truth.

Why so many warnings? To help the weak in faith.

Why so many warnings? God knew many false teachers would, have and will continue to permeate the churches and try to lead astray the elect, if that were possible.

Why so many warnings? Because God knows the heart of men.

Why so many warnings? Because He chose to give so many out of His love for mankind.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

God bless you all this Lord's day.

#116  Posted by Ernest Feigenbaum  |  Sunday, April 03, 2011at 3:40 PM

In Fred Butler's original post, I read, "'Paul, are you saying since we are saved, we are always secure, no matter what we do?' 'Paul answers emphatically, No!'" The manner in which that was written could make someone think that works have a role in our salvation, which would disqualify Ephesians 2:8, 9 and other verses.

#117  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Sunday, April 03, 2011at 5:20 PM

Ernest,

Another person raised a similar objection like yours earlier in this comment thread. If you read #19, you can see my response.

Fred

#118  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Sunday, April 03, 2011at 7:03 PM

For those having a hard time dealing with God’s sovereignty in “spiritually saving” some, but not “spiritually saving” others, how will you handle God’s sovereignty in “physically saving” some while not “physically saving” others? People ask, “Why doesn’t God cure this person of this disease? He has the power; He can do it.” Thus we come again to “God’s will.” If He wills to heal a person of a disease, it is because He “wills” to do so. But if He doesn’t, do we say God is unfair or unjust? (After all, the person suffering & dying may be one of His saints! See what even Nebuchadnezzar said in Dan 4:37) Or worse, perhaps we may think God is impotent & unable to save them! I believe I have come to the simple resignation that I am not God, I do not understand all of His ways (Isa 55:8-9), but I am eternally grateful for all He has done for me. I do not understand all of His purposes for my life or that of others, (including many that I love!), but I must trust His word, & I must trust my situation & my circumstances to Him. He is Sovereign, He is MY Sovereign, & He knows what’s best for me. I’m not saying that is easy, it is sometimes a daily struggle – letting go of (a perceived) “self-control.”

To continue that line of thinking: If we do question God for not “physically” saving our loved ones or a godly person, do we also question Him when He doesn’t spare an obviously sinful & unrepentant person? Perhaps we may say, “Well, that person lived an unholy life & is just suffering the consequences/the fruits of his labors.” Now, are WE judging who God should spare & who He should not? (James 4:11b-12) And are not ALL guilty of sin & worthy of eternal separation from Him? (Rom 3:23) So if He spares any - spiritually or physically – no matter how that choice is made, is it not a display of His mercy?

Finally, even Jesus, while praying in Gethsemane, asked God, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me,” and yet even Jesus resigned His will to the Father’s will saying, “Not MY will, but Thine be done.” (Matt 26:39)

#119  Posted by steve stricker  |  Sunday, April 03, 2011at 8:27 PM

Arrrggghhh spent alot of time on a post and my computer rebooted and I lost it.......I'll try it again.

Well #101 ws not my best post ever. Sorry. I should know better than to whip off a response in a few minutes when I dont have a lot of time. First paragraph I was talking about salvation and Unconditional Election, and in the second I switched over to OSAS/Perseverance. Confusing, sorry about that.

I do want to clear up something though since people seem obsessed with trying to correct what they THINK I believe. It's has happened several times and it's unecessary since I think we believe the same thing essentially. That is this; salvation is all of God we contribute nothing to our salvation, all that God requires of us is that we BELIEVE; that's it we must simply believe. Nothing to do at all, our righteousness is as filthy rags to God. To contribute anything is unnecessary and to believe you can is the height of arrogance. This reminds me of when I was trying to get someone to talk about Limited Atonement each time it seemed I brought it up Gabriel or someone else would lecture me about depravity, which I largely agree with; we are spiritually dead I've said it many times. It's a misunderstanding or a strawman argument whatever. I'm trying to distinguish our differences and determine where I need to change my thinking if anywhere.

Caleb says in 102 ...."Again, if God left it up to "us" as to whether we were finally saved, then NONE of us would ever be finally saved!"

If you mean that we cant find God on our own I agree I already brought this up but I'll do it again 1 Cor 1:21 clearly says we cannot know God thru human wisdom. No need to argue about that. If you mean God doesnt require anything from us and He 'does it all' I have an issue with that. The Bible clearly DOES NOT teach that. We are saved by grace thru FAITH. We need to believe...... God requires this of us. AND HE is fully aware of our spiritual condition. He knows we cannot find Him on our own....ummmm He WROTE 1 Cor 1:21 for crying out loud. This is NOT news to Him. He draws us to Himself and reveals Himself to us and we are required to BELIEVE!!! Not only that but we are required to persevere in that belief to be saved in the end.......Bible is very clear on that. Please handle it with care. No twisting or mangling allowed. Study to show thyself approved unto God a workman that need not be ashamed accurately handling the Word of Truth.

#120  Posted by steve stricker  |  Sunday, April 03, 2011at 8:35 PM

What does God require of me (besides Micah 6:8) .........well in Mark 4 He says ' sow the seed and go to bed'. Paul says you can plant and water but God gives the increase. Good night!

#121  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 6:33 AM

Example: Define a Marathon Runner: Can one be considered a marathon runner if one never finishes the marathon? He may be a runner, but he has not finished the marathon race, which is what truly defines him as a marathon runner. He may have completed a 5K, or a 10K, & may currently be running in a marathon, and while so running, he may give the ‘appearance’ that he is a marathon runner, but the real truth won’t be known until he reaches the end. Now as this pertains to the fruit produced, if he is running & is very winded at 2 miles, it is unlikely that he is a true marathon runner – this is visible evidence that others can perceive. And when he is at the 22 mile point & still going strong in his stride, it appears he is a genuine marathon runner, but the race isn’t over until the 26 mile marker is passed. Spiritually speaking, it is the Holy Spirit who provides that endurance for the runner to complete the race. WE must keep taking the steps, but those steps are powered by the Holy Spirit.

Can we use this sort of analogy to apply to the definition of a True Christian?

Mt 10:22 “and you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

And taking this analogy into account, I can say that my Creator did not give me the physical body capable of running a marathon. I was not “gifted” with that ability. He “chose some” to be marathon runners, but not me. Oh how thankful I am that salvation is not dependent on my physical abilities to “run the race” or “fight the good fight” or run to completion, but that I can fully depend on my Savior to carry me to the end – of His power - & to His glory! Amen

#122  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 8:16 AM

Here is a fantastic article; some may find it very helpful:

http://www.christianjournal.org/problems-with-arminian-universal-redemption.html

Here are a couple of excerpts:

a) "It cannot be over-emphasized that we have not seen the full meaning of the cross till we have seen it as the centre of the gospel, flanked on the one hand by total inability and unconditional election and on the other by irresistible grace and final preservation." J. I. Packer

b) "God imposed his wrath due unto, and Christ underwent the pains of hell, for, either all the sins of all men, or all the sins of some men, or some sins of all men. If the last, some sins of all men, then have all men some sins to answer for, and so shall no man be saved. If the second, that is it which we affirm, that Christ in their stead and room suffered for all the sins of all the elect in the world. If the first, why, then, are not all freed from the punishment of all their sins? You will say, ‘Because of their unbelief; they will not believe.’ But this unbelief, is it a sin, or not? If not, why should they be punished for it? If it be, then Christ underwent the punishment due to it, or not. If so, then why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which he died from partaking of the fruit of his death? If he did not, then did he not die for all their sins." John Owen

#123  Posted by steve stricker  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 8:33 AM

Ok further comment on Micah 105 ......Micah quotes MacArthur who says.......

By far, the most serious interpretive challenge is found in 6:4–6. The phrase “once enlightened” is often taken to refer to Christians, and the accompanying warning taken to indicate the danger of losing their salvation if “they fall away” and “crucify again for themselves the Son of God.” But there is no mention of their being saved and they are not described with any terms that apply only to believers (such as holy, born again, righteous, or saints). This problem arises from inaccurately identifying the spiritual condition of the ones being addressed. In this case, they were unbelievers who had been exposed to God’s redemptive truth, and perhaps made a profession of faith, but had not exercised genuine saving faith. In 10:26, the reference once again is to apostate Christians, not to genuine believers who are often incorrectly thought to lose their salvation because of their sins.

Wait a minute, MacArthur uses the one term that could be interpreted either for believers or people who were just being drawn. HOWEVER it goes on to describe these people as "have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit,

and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,"

These people are CLEARLY believers. These terms are not brought up, its so plain there is no way to explain them away without twisting the text. Partakers of the Holy Spirit? Come on, these are BELIEVERS. It goes on to say that "it is impossible to renew them again to repentance...". Once you are saved and you fall away there is no way to be saved AGAIN. That's it, your eternal destiny is sealed, youve made your choice. Some have mistakenly made fun of this verse saying it teaches 'once lost always lost' but that is just ANOTHER Calvinistic misunderstanding. There's a million of 'em folks!

No one (Calvinist) has tackled my question about Rom 11 verses 20-22. I asked Fred to address it but anyone is welcome. You can see my previous post on it.

Blessings.

#124  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 9:37 AM

Steve,

I realize you may be busy, but I did tackle your question on Romans 11... a long time ago. See my comment #54.

#125  Posted by Cristian Balint  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 9:54 AM

Gabriel #114,

"I'm amazed at how quick you are to speak so contrary to abundant and clear biblical statements."

Why are you criticizing me? We have our own beliefs and our own convictions, yet you act like i am speaking contrary to the Bible. Shame on you. I can quote hundreds of verses where it says PLAINLY you must believe in Jesus in order to be saved. If you have some spare time, read the bible for a change. Read the New Testament, and note the passages where it say's, believe in Jesus. It does not say, be chosen in Jesus. These blogs are pretty pointless if all I'm not being built up in Christ, but being disgraced because i disagree on some issue's...However i will conclude with one verse I read this morning. John 12.40. Notice how if you turn to Jesus, you will be healed, even in the midst of being hardened. So it does not depend on being CHOSEN!

#126  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 10:33 AM

Cristian,

You're right. I was wrong to criticize you in that way. I ask for your forgiveness.

I trust you read through all those verses I quoted (just need to hover over them to read them). There appears to be a misunderstanding between your position and my position. My position does not deny the requirement to believe. We agree you must believe and repent to be saved. That is clear to everyone and no one denies it.

But what we also believe, is you are only capable of believing if you are previously chosen by God (see all the verses I pointed out for clear undeniable statements to that effect). Of course no one (either the hearer or the preacher) knows who is chosen except God alone. So we are to preach to all, and command all to believe. We are to freely offer the gospel to all people because we don't know who is chosen. But we must recognize that if someone genuinely comes to faith in Christ, that means they were chosen beforehand by the predetermined will and foreknowledge of God.

So we clearly agree that belief is necessary for salvation. Belief and repentance is what you must do to be saved. But election is what God must do for you to be saved.

I believe both those statement are clearly and explicitly taught in Scripture (see my post #114 for biblical statements). But it appears you're affirming the first but denying the second statement.

#127  Posted by steve stricker  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 10:38 AM

Gabriel 124 I'll check it out TY

#128  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 10:44 AM

Cristian,

Just to be more pointed, how do you understand the following statements:

"as many as were appointed to eternal life believed," (Acts 13:48).

"Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life," (Acts 11:18).

"who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:13).

You don't need to deny belief as necessary for salvation to believe what these teach, rather you need to reconcile all of what Scripture teaches. So how do you reconcile these passages with your belief system?

#129  Posted by steve stricker  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 11:15 AM

Gabriel in 54 says this in regards to the Calvinistic doctrine 'Once Saved Always Saved'......

Quote........"Regarding Romans 11, I find it interesting you're using a primary text for election to argue against election.

Yes, it says Israel was broken off (v. 20), but the entire point of the chapter is that they will be re-included in the vine (v. 12, 15, 23, 24, 26, 31, 32). Israel's rejection by God is temporary, and for a purpose. God's election of Israel still stands despite their temporary rejection.

Steve, your arguments are unbalanced in that you hold on to passages that appear to make your point, but you completely ignore passages that contradict your point. We, on the other hand, are balanced in that we understand man is responsible and only God knows who is truly saved. Only God knows who the elect are and they will ultimately be saved. People can claim to have believed and then fall away, but their claim is not indicative of their true state in God's eyes.

The concept of losing salvation ignores the fact that salvation is determined by God who alone knows men's hearts. Only God knows who is truly saved and who is self-deceived (a la Matt 7:21ff). God has promised to preserve those who are truly saved--not those who are self-deceived." End Quote

I say ..............unbelieveable........ you missed the whole point of the passage and what I was asking about. You talked about what you wanted to and even called it a primary text for election'....ummmm, not in my book. We werent talking about who is deceived about their salvation at all. Rabbit trail. Here are the verses I was asking about they are CLEARLY teaching you can lose your salvation..........."You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in."

20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith Do not be conceited, but fear;

21for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.

22Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

23And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.".

The Holy Spirit is saying IF YOU CONTINUE IN HIS KINDNESS you wont be cut off from His vine (salvation). However if you DONT you will fair no better than Israel who were called and chosen by God yet were CUT OFF!!

That's what I"M talking about. You call me unbalanced tho.....hmmmmm.

"Scripture can't be broken." Jesus

#130  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 11:22 AM

#119 Posted by steve stricker

QUOTE: "Well #101 was not my best post ever." "This reminds me of when I was trying to get someone to talk about Limited Atonement each time it seemed I brought it up Gabriel or someone else would lecture me about depravity"

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Hello Steve, that is because it all starts with the recognition of total depravity of man before God.

------------------------------------------------------------------

QUOTE: steve stricker "We need to believe...... God requires this of us."

Steve, what do we need to "BELIEVE", for the fourth time, and how can we do that when we are spiritually dead? The keyword is DEAD; the inability to respond to anything. This includes you Steve.

Romans 8:10, Ephesians 2:1, Ephesians 2:4, 1 Peter 3:18

Also, if the atonement in not limited in a definitive way, then it is universal in in a tentative way because it depends on the sinful man and not the sovereign God; it means the man lifts himself up by the "boot-straps" from his "spiritually dead" condition as opposed to the God who resuscitates the dead soul.

This makes God a real "cheerleader"; waiting for man to come alive somehow, then God hopes man will make the right choice & NOT CHANGE HIS MIND, but where is this "impotent" God found in Scripture? Where is this ability of any man or woman to wake himself from spiritual deadness/blindness?

PLEASE SHOW US. You can't and the reason is because God is not a "cheerleader"; He decides everyone's destiny & you just hate not having any control over that; that is the truth. You no longer have the ability to hide behind ignorance since you have been repeatedly exposed to the truth & have rejected the truth; I just pray, for your sake, you are not the Hebrews 6:4-6 person.

I would love to hear you explain to everyone that Scripture teaches that Judas Iscariot was a true believer and walked away and lost His salvation..NOT. Or perhaps how the Apostle Peter was saved, lost His salvation, then regained it.

You have some very serious doctrinal flaws that I have now concluded are not from ignorance, but because you have never really dealt with your sin issues before God nor see the infinite power and value of Jesus Christ and are teachings doctrines of demons to your own satisfaction. May God have mercy on your soul if He has not already.

Steve. it appears to me and others that you are much like the religious leaders in Jesus day and this appears to pertain to you. 2 Corinthians 3:14.

We all hope that is not the case and I'm certain that many prayers have been heard by God concerning you and others.

What religious affiliation do you belong? This will help all of to discern the reasons for your heretical & blasphemous teachings & also help has pray more feverishly & specifically on your behalf.

May God through Christ remove the veil if He hasn't already!!

Sincerely & respectfully in Christ,

Mark Tanner

#131  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 11:48 AM

Exerpts fro Spurgeons sermon titled "GOD'S WILL AND MAN'S WILL"

Then another difficulty comes in; not only is everything made contingent, but it does seem to us as if man were thus made to be the supreme being in the universe. According to the freewill scheme THE LORD INTENDS GOOD, but he must win like a lackey on his own creature to know what his intention is; God willeth good and would do it, but he cannot, because he has an unwilling man who will not have God's good thing carried into effect. What do ye, sirs, but drag the Eternal from his throne, and lift up into it that fallen creature, man: for man, ACCORDING TO THAT THEORY NODS, AND HIS NOD IS DESTINY. You must have a destiny somewhere; it MUST EITHER GOD WILLS OR AS MAN WILLS . If it be as God wills, then Jehovah sits as sovereign upon his throne of glory, and all hosts obey him, and the world is safe; if not God, then you put man there, to say. "I will" or "I will not; if I will it I will enter heaven; if I will it I will despise the grace of God; if I will it I will conquer the Holy Spirit, for I am stronger than God, and stronger than omnipotence; if I will it I will MAKE THE BLOOD OF CHRIST OF NO EFFECT, for I am mightier than that blood, mightier than the blood of the Son of God himself; though God make his purpose, yet will I laugh at his purpose; it shall be my purpose that shall make his purpose stand, or make it fall." Why, sirs, if this be not Atheism, IT IS IDOLATRY; it is putting man where God should be, and I shrink with solemn awe and horror from that doctrine which makes the grandest of God's works—the salvation man—to be dependent upon the will of his creature whether it shall be accomplished or not. Glory I can and must in my text in its fullest sense. "It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy."

There are two things, then, this morning I shall have to talk about. The first is, that the work of salvation rests upon the will of God, and not upon the will of man; and secondly, the equally sure doctrine, that the will of man has its proper position in the work of salvation, and is not to be ignored.

First, then, SALVATION HINGES UPON THE WILL OF GOD AND NOT UPON THE WILL OF MAN. So saith out text—"It is not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy;" by which is clearly meant that the reason why any man is saved is not because he wills it, but because God willed, accord to that other passage, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you."

CONTINUED

#132  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 11:48 AM

But, lastly, in the way of argument. and to bring our great battering-ram at the last. It is not, after all, arguments from analogy, nor reasons from the difficulties of the opposite position, nor inferences from the know feebleness of human nature, nor even deductions from experience, that will settle this question once for all. To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not accord to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Do me the pleasure, then, to use your Bibles for a moment or two, and let us see what Scripture saith on this main point. First, with regard to the matter of God's preparation, and his plan with regard to salvation. We turn to the apostle's words in the epistle to the Ephesians, and we find in the first chapter and the third verse, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself according to the good pleasure of his will"—a double word you notice—it is according to the will of his will. No expression could be stronger in the original to show the entire absoluteness of this thing as depending on the will God.

#133  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 12:12 PM

Steve writes,

20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith Do not be conceited, but fear;

21for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.

22Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

23And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.".

The Holy Spirit is saying IF YOU CONTINUE IN HIS KINDNESS you wont be cut off from His vine (salvation). However if you DONT you will fair no better than Israel who were called and chosen by God yet were CUT OFF!!

Steve. You do understand that Paul in Romans 11 is addressing why Israel remains in unbelief while the gentiles believe? This point has significance in our overall understanding of the text.

You will further note that none of the original branches (Israel) believed in Jesus. In other words, they were not saved to begin with. They rejected the Messiah. They are, according to prophecy and God's purposes, still in hardness of unbelief. Hence, they could not have lost their salvation if they had none to lose to begin with. Right?

When God says He "did not spare the natural branches" He is not talking about saved Jews walking away into apostasy. He means they were cut off in spite of being God's covenant nation. But you will note, as Paul goes on, that it was for the sake of the gentiles (11:25) they are in unbelief. Then he states they are beloved for the sake of the father (11:28). As you read through to the end of the chapter, this is speaking about Israel's disobedience being for the mercy of all (the gentiles) and that God's promise to make Israel a great nation are not revocable (11:29).

So this idea that this is speaking about Christians being able to lose their salvation just doesn't wash in light of the context.

#134  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 12:16 PM

Help me out with this Steve.

God's standard is perfection.

Mt 5:48 "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Not in one thing but in all things. He will not accept anything less.

Nothing one atom short of perfect faith and obedience will be acceptable.

To lower God's perfect standard to our imperfect standards is blaspheme.

So how do you measure your human ability by this standard?

#135  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 12:20 PM

Gabriel said: "So we clearly agree that belief is necessary for salvation. Belief and repentance is what you must do to be saved. But election is what God must do for you to be saved." I agree

However, the generic term "belief" is not sufficient in and of itself. Believe in what? There must be a set of propositional truths one embraces in order to have properly apprehended the Gospel. Belief in anything from orthodoxy to heresy as long as one "believes" is not in keeping with scriptural demands. We must believe in the Christ that is presented in the bible...prophetically, historically, and personally.

Jude urges us to earnestly contend for THE faith...once and for all handed to the saints. There exists only one Gospel...one set of truth statements regarding Christ and His work. It is crucial to be assured of what and in Whom we have believed...

Here is John MacArthur addressing the subject:

"Truth simply cannot survive if stripped of propositional content. While it is quite true that believing the truth entails more than the assent of the human intellect to certain propositions, it is equally true that authentic faith never involves anything less. To reject the propositional content of the gospel is to forfeit saving faith, period." JM

I assert that history provides consistent evidence of God's total sovereignty over all of His creation...a truth that is absolutely essential for a proper understanding of creation, fall, redemption, and consummation. From Genesis to Revelation and from the early church fathers to modern day Christians the thread of our God's sovereignty reigns supreme...this is THE faith once and for all handed to the saints. It is not a faith that has God doing all He can only to tag-team autonomous humans to finish the work...that is blasphemous! It is not a faith that sees a frustrated God who cannot see the results of His sacrificial work because men "will" themselves out of fellowship with Him...again-blasphemous! This is not a faith that has our Redeemer pleading at the altar in heaven for men who fall away from His strong hand...blasphemous!

Our God is Sovereign. He reigns in unchallenged power and authority. His works will not be thwarted and His plans will not be spoiled!

#136  Posted by steve stricker  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 1:17 PM

Fred.....I see one of your points and I agree with you ....took me a minute but I believe you are right that it is possible they did not have salvation and lose it.....However they were the covenant people and they had opportunity to believe and they didnt. He came unto His own and His own received Him NOT. Verse 20 says they were broken off for their UNBELIEF!! They missed out on salvation because of their UNBELIEF!!

You are wrong however that this is not a warning about losing salvation. Paul is warning Gentile Roman believers that IF they DONT CONTINUE they will be CUT OFF from God's vine. Paul is educating them in God's ways. Paul is warning them not to be conceited but to fear the Lord and to continue to stand by their FAITH, and not fall into UNBELIEF because they will be CUT OFF if they dont. Youre right Paul makes other points but that does not negate the fact that one of the points he makes is that you need to CONTINUE in YOUR FAITH or you will be CUT OFF from God's vine, you will lose your salvation.

I'm thinking Calvinists are like Evolutionists who because of their belief system CANNOT allow for the possibility of special creation so they twist all the facts to fit their hypothesis. Calvinists CANNOT allow for the possibilty of losing your salvation because it does not fit their theological system so they twist the Scriptures to make them fit. That's what it seems like.

Blessings to all those who partake of the Holy Spirit. Heb 6:4

#138  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 2:22 PM

Steve (#136),

Calvinists CANNOT allow for the possibilty of losing your salvation...

This issue is not what Calvinism can and cannot allow. The issue what Scripture does and doesn't say. And it's not just what one passage does or doesn't say, but what all of Scripture does or doesn't say.

You are hung up on just a couple passages that, admittedly, been argued and debated for centuries. The problem with your position is it conflicts with the rest of Scripture.

You see, theology is not like a compartment store where we can categorize and isolate doctrine. Theology is integrated everywhere and Scripture ties many strings together in what sometimes looks like a Gordian knot (key phrase being, "looks like").

You decry definite atonement, but you haven't answered how unlimited atonement is reconcilable with a perfectly just God. You haven't in any way answered the multitude of Scripture that clearly says God elected, predestined, and foreknew those who would be saved. You haven't made a distinction between one's subjective claim to salvation vs. God's objective knowing whether one is truly saved. You haven't answered in what sense eternal life is "eternal".

What we are trying to do is understand the abundant and clear passages of Scripture, and then interpret the few unclear passages of Scripture. What you appear to be doing is interpret the few unclear passages (which no doubt you view as clear), and then... well... what do you do with the abundant Scripture that seems to say the opposite?

#139  Posted by Jane Wilson  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 2:25 PM

I admit I am still grappling with the EMPHASIS that reformed believers have in this discussion/debate. I'm not trying to be disrespectful at all. God's sovereignty can not be argued, and yet we have this:

"And the Lord was sorry that He made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart." (Gen 6:6)

So we present a God who is totally sovereign over all... and nothing can/will surprise Him. A God who enables each and all to come or not to come. We are to accept this because it is presented as truth. Yet, there are a lot of Scripture passages that challenge the EMPHASIS of that doctrine. It is a doctrine to be sure. And yet, why would a sovereign God have a response of sorrow over what He could have prevented? What could we possibly do that would cause Him to be GRIEVED IN HIS HEART? Or to be WILLING to be grieved in His heart? If you follow your emphasis, God can not be grieved, neither should He be, for He knows all, enables all. We can agree that He knows all, and enables. But wouldn't He cease to be a perfect God, given the reformed emphasis, if ANYTHING might cause Him sorrow or grief if He is perfectly in control over all things, and nothing can be done, or chosen, or adjusted except by His own sovereign drawing of hearts? Did He then fail Himself? God does not fail. Why does it not read, "And God knowing full well that man would rebel, was not surprised in the least, and had a plan to destroy the earth from the start. He drew Noah and did not draw the rest." Does that not make more reformed sense? What translation reads like that? Would God choose, on His own accord to cause Himself grief, when by His own accord, He could have prevented the whole shebang, and drawn a few more hearts in His direction? He wanted to bring a forshadowing of salvation through the flood? Of course! But why then was He GRIEVED about His own plan?

There should be legitimate space for seeking to know this living God who we can't quite wrap our brains around. For not only does He cause us to will and do His good pleasure... He is sorry and grieved when we don't do it. We need to offer one another abundant grace to sort this out by examining all Scripture. I'm not sure what a truly reformed believer does with such a verse. That verse is a heart-melting verse, not a stand and debate verse. God has a heart... and He can be sorry and grieved. Does this not stir anyone to stop and consider why God would allow Himself such pithy emotions when it is completely uncalled for, given that He is perfect, in full control, and could have changed the outcome at any point? Thus the part of this equation that needs a bit more emphasis, in my humble opinion. (And I do mean humble because I fear to read what might be thrown back at me.) God made us in His image copied after Himself. Was He sorry then that those hearts did not believe and repent when they could not have apart from His drawing? So the question remains: WHY was He grieved?

#141  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 2:48 PM

Jane,

You ask a great, if difficult, question. One thing you have to realize is grieving is not necessarily tied to a lack of knowledge or control. When a 60 year old father and husband is given six weeks to live and his health deteriorates accordingly and then he dies on schedule, his family is fully aware of his impending death. Yet they still grieve. A baby can be born with a congenital disease which gives her days to live. Her parents can be fully aware of the prognosis, and yet they still grieve when she dies.

So grieving isn't tied to knowledge. You don't have to be surprised to grieve. Grief is an emotional pain we experience when something happens that appeals to our sense of rightness. That's not a technical definition by any means. But imagine this: God is perfectly holy and dwells in unapproachable light. He creates a universe and mankind to serve, worship, and glorify Him. Man rejects God and descends into unspeakable evil. Even though God knew this would happen--and planned for it to happen--it is still a sad state of affairs.

We have to be careful not to over interpret the anthropomorphisms in Scripture (human qualities applied to non-humans), but Scripture does speak of God as having clear and vivid emotions. You see that clearest in the life of Christ who wept despite knowing He would raise Lazarus from the dead. He wept over Jerusalem knowing they would reject Him.

We have emotions because God has emotions. Our emotions combine with our finiteness, but God's emotions combine with His infiniteness. So we cannot truly fathom how God "feels" about things because He lives at a different plain of existence than we do. But I can only imagine that if we suffer based on our experiences, how much more does God grieve over billions of souls lost, and billions of wicked acts, and countless rejections of His Son, and endless blasphemies against Him.

The fact that God is sovereign--knows everything and is in complete control--doesn't mean He is a heartless being who doesn't care. As you know He does care, and love, and hate, but that does not mitigate His sovereignty.

Ultimately, God does what brings most glory to Himself. Sending many people to hell glorifies God as much as saving many people from it. Unlike many of us, God does not live by His feelings, but He still has them.

Hope that helps a tiny bit.

#142  Posted by Cristian Balint  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 2:49 PM

Gabriel,

I will answer your questions but first you have to answer mine.

How is it possible for God to predestine someone to go to Hell? &

2 Peter 3.17 Why does Peter say, "You can lose your secure footing"?

#144  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 3:08 PM

Cristian,

I'll be more than happy to answer those two questions. But since I asked mine repeatedly (#110, #114, #128), you'll have to answer mine first. :)

#145  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 3:10 PM

I'd like to thank a lot of people for their wonderful comments and for their defending the faith with such love for truth; I am not naming names simply because I don't want to leave anyone out, however I wanna point out that I am not thanking those who argue for a works-based salvation - anyone who thinks that the origin of faith is in themselves other than God giving them faith after regenerating their hearts, believes in works and that's a man-centered gospel.

Frankly, all the false teachings of man being able to respond to God without God enabling them to respond has its origin in the garden: pride. Nothing new under the sun. People, wake up, we are not gods! We cannot do anything righteous, even after we are saved our righteousness is not ours, it's from our Lord Jesus Christ! How one can believe they can be righteous BEFORE the regeneration of their hearts, it's beyond me!

Since the fall what man seek is to be like God. How can one not see that believing God is passive in salvation is in reality wanting to be like God? My only guess is that they are blind.

I've noticed in many churches that hold to the WRONG Arminian "theology" this: they think God is not as Holy as He is, and they are not as depraved as they really are, so the distance between God and man is not really that much. They have no concept of the Holiness of our God, they want to believe they have some kind of control over their lives. It's pathetic, really, to believe in a God who is not all powerful and sovereign. God is not only sovereign, but He IS sovereign above all!

I fear for those who want to steal God's glory.

I fail to see where the Doctrines of Grace steal God's glory. We who believe in these Doctrines, which are clearly taught in Scripture, start from one important reality: God is Holy Holy Holy! And man is utterly incapable of righteousness!

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Lastly, it might just be that Job chapters 38 to 42 are not in your bibles. Read it carefully. And please note how Job ends, and repent of your own prideful ways!

Job 42:1-6

"Then Job answered the LORD and said:

I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? There I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me. I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You; there I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes."

Grace and peace, and to our God all glory!

#146  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 3:13 PM

What does Gen 6:6 have to do with man's moral ability to choose what is good.

Or how does it prove that man has the free will to choose anything spiritual?

If anything it speaks to the total depravity of man and shows the absolute necessity for God to violate the will of man and elect some unto eternal life out of that necessity.

#147  Posted by Michelle Peery  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 3:14 PM

I have questions but I don't think I will get a chance to get them answered because of all the arguing going on?

#149  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 3:26 PM

Michelle,

Please feel free to ask your questions! I'll be happy to answer any of your questions.

#150  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 3:49 PM

#139 - Jane, great question, and great answer by Gabriel.

There is a passage in Scripture that is amazing to me. It's Ezequiel chapter 16. The language is graphic, the intent is to shock. Do you not wonder why a Holy God would choose such an undesirable thing? Yet, He did. Didn't He know that Israel would play the harlot and commit adultery? He did. Why did He still choose Israel? You will spend your entire life and won't find an answer for that question. Some things belong only to God, and I am fine with those. (Deut 29:29)

#151  Posted by Cristian Balint  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 4:16 PM

Ok,

I will give you an answer of what i think about predestination.

Romans 8.29 is the verse I will expound on.

Romans 8.29 talks about God's foreknowledge. Foreknowledge here is key. Ok lets take a believer in Christ for example, you. You made the choice to follow Jesus and believe in Him, and you are saved. We as humans, stuck in the realm of time, will say Gabriel Powell was saved on date...idk, Jan 20, 1992. Before Jan 20, we as humans had no way of knowing that Gabriel will be saved on Jan 20. However God Almighty knew that Gabriel would be saved on Jan 20. God knew this before the foundations of the earth. Therefore God predestined you, the Greek word is Proorizo, which means to appoint beforehand. What it really means is God was conscience that Gabriel will be His Son, therefore to God, Gabriel already is His son! We have to remember God is not in the realm of time. I mean, To God you were already His Son even before the world began because of His FOREKNOWLEDGE. Some might ask, foreknowledge of what information? Well...information to whether you will accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. A human example would be a man who adopts a child he has never seen before and knows nothing about. The man walks in the orphanage on June 15 and adopts a child. Before June 15, the man had never seen his child before and never knew a single thing about the child. However God's knowledge is greater than human knowledge. If it were God walking into that orphanage, God would have already known every single little detail about the child and already would have everything prepared for the child back at home. You see God could have called you His son before Jan 20, God loved you before Jan 20, because God already knew that you would choose Jesus as your Lord and Savior! How wonderful is the wisdom of GOD!

#152  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 4:17 PM

It's not a mystery Jane.

Eph 1:5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,

6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace

8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight

9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him

10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him

11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,

12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.

#153  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 4:32 PM

Christian,

If your foreknowledge view were correct, then God should have rejected the Israel as candidates for Election.

Foreseen obedience had nothing to do with God's election of Israel.

And your illustration of adoption is logically inconsitent. How does a child make himself adoptable, is it by choice? Did the Child do anything to earn the adoption. No the child makes no effort on his part and the adoption is soley the choice of the Father. You do not make yourself adopted you become adopted legally which is the sole work of the one adopting.

Ro 9:16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

#154  Posted by Cristian Balint  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 4:39 PM

Greg,

I knew someone would be a smart alec and say your adoption story leaves everything up to God. Just for you, i'll revise my story. The only children who could be adopted were the ones who choose to believe in Barney. You happy Greg?

As for Romans 9.16, Of Course ITS GODS WORKS. Wake up, JESUS HAD TO DIE ON THE CROSS! No human could be saved without GODS WORKS! Wow, stop taking your doctrine of election and applying it to the bible, you become blind putting doctrine before Gods Word.

#155  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 4:42 PM

Cristian,

Thanks, but that isn't what I asked. I narrowed down the passages you needed to answer, and you didn't address them. Furthermore, your answer of Rom 8:29 contradicts the passages I asked you to explain.

Nevertheless, here's a critique of your understanding of Rom 8:29:

1) You're missing the chronology of the text laid out in verse 30. Predestination is the basis upon which we are called. Our calling is the basis upon which we are justified. Our justification is the basis upon which we are glorified. According to how you handle the text, maybe God justified us because He knew we would be glorified. That makes no sense of the context.

2) The text tells us what God foreknew. God foreknew people ("those"). It denies He foreknew decisions only, and teaches He foreknew a person. Of course that includes decisions, but far more than that. It is used similarly in Rom 11:2 and 1 Peter 1:20.

3) You stated the Greek of "predestined" means "to appoint beforehand." You state the reason God appointed us beforehand (a question the text doesn't answer, btw) is on the basis of our own belief. That is a claim that is made up out of thin air and foreign to Scripture, but unfortunately purported by a lot of Arminians. Ephesians 1:11 tells us exactly the basis upon which we were predestined, namely, "according to the purpose of Him who works all things according the counsel of His will." He says essentially the same thing earlier in v. 5.

4) Romans 8:29 is not primarily speaking about salvation. It's speaking about why we go through the trials we go through. Paul is saying God appointed believers beforehand to become like Christ. That is the good toward which all things work. Verse 30 is more about salvation, and as I said in point 1, your chronology is incorrect.

#156  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Monday, April 04, 2011at 4:42 PM

#151 - Christian, can I ask you something? In your understanding (and still using your example), God knew beforehand that Gabriel would choose Jesus in Jan 20th, 1992, hence He choose Gabriel to be one of His elect because Gabriel made a righteous decision, right? So it was something that Gabriel actively did that caused God to respond?!

How does these below fit into your thinking?

"Among them we too ALL formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

BUT God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, EVEN WHEN WE WERE DEAD IN OUR TRANGRESSIONS, made us alive together with Christ," Ephesians 2:3,4

"By grace you have been saved through faith; and THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES, IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD; NOT THE RESULT OF WORKS, so that no one may boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

(caps mine)