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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Is the problem "unwillingness" or "inability" ?

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Gloryandgrace
Member



Joined: 2017/7/14
Posts: 825
Snoqualmie, WA

 Re:


Hi Mak: When you finish your snickers bar you can respond.

Sorry Mak about the Finney Olson stuff I had no intention of side-tracking the thread.

As to the Jeremiah text, There really isn't much difference of opinion here. They are poster kids for 'rebellion against God'.

The rub seems to lay in how the rebellious Israelites are considered elect and yet they fail to bring forth fruit.

As to bringing forth textual evidence for their rebellion in the face of repeated moves of God to restore them, there's no real variance there either.

The rubs seems to lay in God's word not having the power, efficacy to bring about what God intends, even for his own people.

I find answers in Romans 9:3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

Here we begin to get a clearer picture of why Israel fell and God's word seems to fall with them. But Paul was given insight, and that insight brings answers to who is elect and who is not, who received the good seed and who did not.


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Marvin

 2018/12/6 15:01Profile
makrothumia
Member



Joined: 2005/5/19
Posts: 577
Texas

 Re:

Thanks Marvin

I hope you are fully recovered and back to 100%. There is no need to rush through these matters, and I don't mind the extra time to give careful consideration to what I read and what I write. We all benefit from "weighing our thoughts" before we speak or write.


I think I understand your reference to Romans 9. We would probably agree that "children of the promise" here is a reference to those Jews with faith in Christ. Children of the flesh refers to mere biologically related descendants.
Is that how you understand Paul's expression? This passage in Galatians came to mind about "children of promise."

Galatians 3

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

We may understand it differently, but we agree that election and faith are inseparable. The true Israelite was a Jewish person who believed in the seed of Abraham, Jesus Christ. Am I correct in that you would express that their faith is evidence of their predestined election? In Galatians Paul expresses that they are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Am I correct in saying that you would affirm that only the elect are given saving faith?

If you have the time, I would like to know more of your thoughts on this statement: "The rubs seems to lay in God's word not having the power, efficacy to bring about what God intends, even for his own people.

Can you please expound on your thoughts about "what God intends" as it relates to the question of "unwillingness" or "inability". For example, would you attempt to further define or explain God's "intention" in those passages where He is pleading with His people through His prophets. Are you saying that what He intended in those type of passages is a "lesser form of mercy" than the grace the elect are given?

We agree that the people rejected what God was "intending." Do you believe He was extending His grace to them?

I am trying to avoid even the appearance of setting a "word trap." I don't like it when it is attempted on myself, and I do not want to manipulate words in such a manner. In the attempt to simplify or clarify your position, I DO NOT want to be guilty of putting words in your mouth. I want to hear how "you would express it yourself" and I do not want to lump you in with any other person or camp.


One of the benefit of these type of discussions is a refining of our own thoughts into clearer more precise expressions. Thank you again for your willingness to take part in the process.

mak







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Alan and Dina Martin

 2018/12/6 17:10Profile
CofG
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Joined: 2017/2/12
Posts: 186
Cambodia

 Re:

Mak,

There are many distortions and misunderstandings of the viewpoints being fleshed out, on both sides. As a noble Berean yourself and me a poor communicator, I would recommend you listen to a sermon that so eloquently and lovingly sets out the understanding that differs in part with what you have discovered. I am dumb with computers and don’t know how to link a sermon, but the title is God So Loved the World Part 2 by John Piper. It is really focused only on what God has said and it full of gentleness and love. Hope you can find the time. Blessings.


_________________
Robert

 2018/12/7 10:39Profile
Gloryandgrace
Member



Joined: 2017/7/14
Posts: 825
Snoqualmie, WA

 Re:

Hi Mak:

Your first question about biological and spiritual Jew, I fully agree.

I do affirm only the elect are given saving faith.

What I meant by "what God intends" was an allusion to the prophet...Isa 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Meaning, when God sends his word it will not fail to work and accomplish/proper where it was sent.

How is it then the word was sent by the prophets and Moses to the Israelites and they rebelled? Instead of moving toward God they lived like the pagans around them?

Paul answers this in Romans 9, where vs 4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

The above denotes the word was 'sent'

yet...vs 6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

Yet...'taken none effect', meaning that gaging by appearances, God's word did return to him void, he didn't see the prosperity of his word in his people.

now, If I were asked that question I would have stated "Well, the old covenant was deficient which the prophets told us, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel all gave prophecy of a new covenant and a new start for Israel."

But that's not the answer Paul gave, he gave one that's even more difficult to explain. Namely, "For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:"
meaning Abrahams seed at large were all given the law and the temple and its service but only those whom God 'made children of promise' were able to prosper from that law, temple and service.

Here, God made a division, not by way of unbelief or sins, but by his choosing, and so we see (if you will receive it) that God's choosing and God's word together bring a saving faith to his people.

Now, someone will say Marv, your are just spouting your Calvinistic nonsense.

I say Paul by the Spirit anticipated questions like that or even accusations, so he clarified the issue of Abraham's seed and what is a child of promise'.

Then as I go on in Romans 9, I see Paul now going straight to the heart of the matter, God's determination to 'make' one vessel to honor and another to dishonor.

The vessel is not getting a say, nor do they have the right to call God into question for that making.

So, this was Paul's answer to why a rebellious unbelieving Israel...even in the face of all that Jesus did, and said and was then crucified.

So, I have my answer, though how God's election is seen and evidenced in all his providential dealings is way past my abilities.

I hope this helps you to see how this revelation by Paul serves as an interpretive principle for Israels actions and God's dealings in the past.




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Marvin

 2018/12/7 11:42Profile
UntoBabes
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Joined: 2010/8/24
Posts: 1031
Oregon

 Re:


Hello brother Robert,
I listened to the sermon by John Piper and had to scratch my head as to why you'd recommend it on this thread.

Have you encountered here someone who says, I have with my own self will conquered my spiritual deadness, removed my hardened heart, eradicated my rebellion, imparted sight and created faith in my self?

Have you not read any of brother mak's posts?

For some reason whenever I enter into a conversation with our Calvinist brothers a parallel situation immediately comes to mind.

You see, I have been watching many videos of what God is doing in the Muslim world lately and it is absolutely amazing what God is doing, it can truly be said that at the present time God had opened the door of repentance to the Muslim world, using the cyper world of Internet and satalite tv.

But it is truly facinating to watch the process a Muslim goes through before the truth dawns upon his heart.

As a Muslim watches the evangelist on TV speaks of the trinity for example, the first thought comes to his mind is polytheism.

Some get so angry they shoot the infidel speaker in the head on the TV screen only to discover he is still alive on the other tv screen.

As the evangelist tries very hard to explain the concept of the trinity and how that Christians don't really worship 3 gods but only the one true God who manifested himself in three persons, the evangelist understands that he is coming against centuries of error and indoctrination.

He know that his is not an easy task, and that the war is not physical or even intellectual but spiritual, and that patience, perseverance, and much much repetition is required.

Sometimes he becomes hopeful prematurely only to receive a shock that nothing was grasped and that he has to begin from square one all over again..
The trinity to a Muslim means 3 gods and that's that.
Sometimes I feel like the poor evangelist that not only in Islam but even in our Christian faith there are bulwarks and syrongholds of indoctrination that only the Spirit of God can bring down, And therefore, patience, perseverance and much much repetition is required.






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Fifi

 2018/12/7 14:53Profile
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Joined: 2017/2/12
Posts: 186
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 Re:

UntoBabes. The part I thought Mak would take interest in is the portion speaking of regeneration coming prior to faith.


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Robert

 2018/12/7 15:19Profile
UntoBabes
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Joined: 2010/8/24
Posts: 1031
Oregon

 Re:


I think what we all agree on is that REVELATION, not regeneration comes prior to faith.

Revelation of who we are, our sinful condition, who God is, His holiness and the impossibility of reconciling the two but through the son.


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Fifi

 2018/12/7 15:44Profile
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Joined: 2017/2/12
Posts: 186
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 Re:

Yes. I know that’s what you believe and I respect that. Piper’s point was that our unwillingness to come to Jesus originally is because we are spiritually dead in sin and God overcomes that unwillingness through the revelation of Jesus and regeneration or being made alive and then we are willing. As to inability, Piper points to John 10 and 6 to assert that people don’t believe because they are not Jesus’ sheep and can’t hear His voice. The non-sheep don’t believe because they aren’t made His sheep.

I only thought the sermon helped explain the asserted proposition of unwillingness and inability being tied to spiritual death and regeneration or being made alive first in order to remove both maladies.


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Robert

 2018/12/7 15:58Profile
makrothumia
Member



Joined: 2005/5/19
Posts: 577
Texas

 Re:

Thanks Marvin and Robert and others who are contributing to the discussion.

We would agree that Paul considers the "elect" those who had believed. Romans 10 and 11 elaborate on faith's role in obtaining God's righteousness.

"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Romans 11 makes it clear that the fall of Israel is not final, but an opportunity for the Gentiles. He speaks of Israel's future recovery, even the possibility of recovery for those who he called "the rest" who were hardened - or (the non-elect). There are only two groups, "the elect" and "the rest". Paul leaves the door of hope open even for "the rest".

This group (the rest) who were hardened, the non-elect, were broken off because of unbelief, but Paul writes that if they do not persist in unbelief, God is able to graft them in again.

It is for this reason, that I see "faith" as being the decisive factor in "who is elect" and "who stands".

Have you ever heard or read that Paul's reference to the Potter in Romans chapter 9 may be best understood in the context of Jeremiah Chapter 18? The context of Jeremiah is Israel and God's sovereign choice to make a different vessel than the vessel He first intended to make - "because the vessel failed in His hands."

Jeremiah 18
And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make...Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! 7 The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, 8 if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. 9 And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, 10 if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.

We know that Paul considered men's role prominent in what type of vessel that they might become. His letter to Timothy includes this understanding.

I say this to offer a different consideration regarding vessels of honor or dishonor. Men's response to God can determine what type of vessel they are made.

It is by faith that men subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again.

The vast majority of these were Israelites, but the difference between these Israelites and their peers was "faith". I believe Paul is making this same distinction in Romans. The elect are those who have believed.


I believe God genuinely desired to save and bless the people of Israel through His grace and mercy extended to them through His disciplines and the pleading of His prophets. I believe His desire for them was "Life". He was genuinely extending His grace to them so as to turn them so they could live and not die.


Those who heard and turned back to Him received mercy, those who refused to hear, hardened their heart and rejected His grace were hardened.

I believe God "willed" and "purposed" for the people to live. This is what He commanded His prophet to tell the people. "I DO NOT WILL the death of the wicked."

This is why Paul could state so emphatically, God wills for all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."

God does not change what He says - "Tell the people, I DO NOT WILL the death of the wicked."

If God said it once, it is immutable, and I for one do not intend to take away from that word or add to it.

mak









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Alan and Dina Martin

 2018/12/7 19:14Profile
Gloryandgrace
Member



Joined: 2017/7/14
Posts: 825
Snoqualmie, WA

 Re:


Hi Mak: Yes, this quote is true for all of us...
"If God said it once, it is immutable, and I for one do not intend to take away from that word or add to it."

Rom 9:9 For this is what the promise said: "About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son."
Rom 9:10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac,
Rom 9:11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—

I too believe since it is said in God's word
"Rom 9:11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—"

And again.

Rom 9:15 For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."
Rom 9:16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
Rom 9:17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."
Rom 9:18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

Mak, scripture nullifying is poor exegesis, you cannot just dismiss Romans 9 texts as 'mans rebellion' answers to the reason for Israels failure.
That is only part of it. Paul could have said many things, but what he did say clearly is Gods election makes all the difference (see vs 11)

So, you can pick chose a scripture that befits what you want to believe about God, but the scripture is explicit, God chose.

If God's choosing them to failure was simply their rebellion as you state "Those who heard and turned back to Him received mercy, those who refused to hear, hardened their heart and rejected His grace were hardened."

So, you introduce Jeremiah 18 where the generality of the term 'potter' is used. But Pauls usages of God as the potter is different than Jeremiah...and you should know this. Jeremiah was told God as the potter was going to 'remake' Israel...and their 'plucking up' was going to happen under the siege of the Babylonians.

But Pauls usage was not portraying God as 'remaking' by way of breaking down Israel with chastening and punishments But 'making' and that making was cast in the light of Elect and non-elect, honor and dishonor, my people and not my people.
Paul was speaking of a divine choice of his own.

The whole chapter is to frame the deep concern Paul had for his own people who for the most part missed the coming of the Messiah, while the Gentiles were coming to him in multitudes. Why would God's word 'take none effect' in Israel and yet take effect in godless pagans? Because God's choice in the matter plays a vital part in mans salvation.

Step beyond man, look to the author of 'faith' who is God, to the giver of repentance who is God, the giver of grace who is God. God calls to those who do not know him to make them his children.
No one minimizes faith for a second, but I know where that faith comes from, it is the gift of God, it is not the manufacture of men and its presence in one man and not another is not due to some intrinsic 'will' or capability of one man over another it is the working of God's grace to have mercy on whom he will have mercy.

I have neither added or taken away anything from the word of God, nor am I seeking to nullify other texts by putting them in opposition to one another...for the scripture does not nullify itself nor contradict itself.


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Marvin

 2018/12/8 1:48Profile





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