Las Vegas, NV
| Re: glorify God|
Although I do not state it the following piece, I do not accept that the chief end of man is to glorify God.
Sounds shocking, I know. I believe that we were created to walk with God, to walk with God in fellowship
Yet the chief end of man is fellowship with God.
Haha! appolus, this amuses me greatly. I won't leave you hanging on the "why" either!
A brief exposition of John 17, to explain:
3. "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
4. "[b]I glorified You on the earth[/b], [u]having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do[/u].
5. "Now, [b]Father, glorify Me together with Yourself[/b], [u]with the glory which I had with You before the world was[/u].
And, we know this glory Jesus had with the Father before the world was,
1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word.
19. "For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.
20. "I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;
21. [u]that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You[/u], [b]that they also may be in Us[/b], [u]so that the world may believe that You sent Me[/u].
22. "[b]The glory[/b] which You have given Me [b]I have given to them[/b], [u]that they may be one, just as We are one[/u].
This is what it means to "glorify Christ Jesus." To be one with Him and He with us, as it is written, "hid in Christ in God."
So when you said, "Although I do not state it [in] the following piece, I do not accept that the chief end of man is to glorify God.
Sounds shocking, I know. I believe that we were created to walk with God, to walk with God in fellowship"
You were actually defining the true meaning of "glory" and you didn't even realize it. That just greatly amuses me.
Your lengthy article was enjoyable to read as well. I was impressed with several of the ways you "rightly divided" and brought each Scripture its "proper companion". It was like reading something I had written myself. Especially the part about Jesus explaining the "works". That is something I have been teaching myself with James' "faith without works". Beautiful, well done.
I also enjoyed everything you wrote, theopenlife, as well, with one exception,
And true faith, and the salvation that accompanies it, is a gift from God, implanted into the believer by regeneration.
Everything you said was solid in Scripture until you said this. Perhaps we ought to define what faith means, so that we can understand why this phrase is incorrect, "true faith [...] implanted into the believer by regeneration".
This implies that there was "no faith" until regeneration.
The Bible says, "by grace, through faith."
And, as others have noted (sometimes I wonder where people learn this stuff, I learned this through prayer) this verse,
"faith is the substance, or substantiation, of things hoped for."
Now if we are to rightly believe that "Christ in you, the hope of glory" is directly correlated to this verse defining faith, then this is what we get:
faith is "Christ in you" and the hope there being "glory", or eternal life with Him.
And, again, "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."
Taking this to the Parable of the Sower (for if we don't get this parable, how can we understand any of Jesus' parables? This is a profound question the Lord asks.)
The seeds being the Words of Christ and sown into many hearts.
Hebrews 4:2. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was [b]not united by faith in those who heard[/b].
So if we are to just kind of go around this ...
"not united by [Christ in you] in those who heard [the seed of the Word of God].
This obviously doesn't make any sense because faith comes by hearing, thus, how can faith, Christ in you, already be in you to unite with the Word, which is also the seed of Christ to be in you?
Now before you say "because of the prevenient work of regeneration" let us continue this flow.
What I am getting at is this. In another thread there was a gentleman who was saying "Faith" is "Christ Jesus". This is simply not true and goes off into all kinds of crazy doctrines. And such verses as, "because your faith is greatly enlarged" are contrary to the Nature of God: how shall Infinite greatly enlarge?
But, rather as I was specific to write, "Christ in you" is the substantiation of faith. That is we have hope that does not fade because we know Christ is with us and in us, therefore, with all diligence and full assurance we press on to the high calling in Christ Jesus and eternal life.
So, taking this back around, we have to understand this phrase "[b]through[/b] faith."
Faith is not an "entity" or "special gift".
I like the way Strong's defines "faith"
[b]1) conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it[/b]
a) relating to God
a. 1) the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ
b) relating to Christ
b. 1) a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God
c) the religious beliefs of Christians
d) belief with the predominate idea of trust (or confidence) whether in God or in Christ, springing from faith in the same
[b]2) fidelity, faithfulness[/b]
a) the character of one who can be relied on
Thus "through faith" may be rendered "through trust that He is" or "through confidence in the Word of God" or "through conviction of the Character/Nature of God".
This is no "special gift" of "true faith" because we know the emphasis in not on faith as the object but on faith as being "[b]through[/b]" which Salvation comes by Grace.
The smallest measure of faith, even the size of a mustard seed, can cast down mountaints, we don't need "more faith" or "true faith" or even "truer faith".
To summarize (I hope my thoughts weren't too piecemeal):
Saying "true faith is implanted into the believer by regeneration" is the same as saying:
"it is impossible to be implanted with true faith by His Word unless He first regenerates you with His Word to be implanted with true faith" ...
Did you get the Catch-22?
| 2008/6/17 19:41||Profile|
boG, I think I follow your argumentation, and I believe I should have been more clear. I would like to respond to both you and Appolus in full, but for now this will have to suffice.
I believe that all faith, whether towards the promises of God or anything for that matter, is comprised of three attributes.
A hearty personal appropriation of belief
In order to have true faith, we must have information about what it is we are to believe. We must also assent to the truth of what is to be believed. Finally, we must appropriate that information as belonging to ourselves, personally.
Even demons have the first two factors, knowledge and assent. There are presently people in hell who both know and assent that Jesus is the savior of all who believe on Him. Yet not one man or woman in hell believes Christ to be their personal Savior, or casts themselves upon Him to be their own.
When I wrote that "faith is implanted", I did not mean that faith is a mystical object which can be placed in a box and delivered by angelic postmen. Faith is the three-fold presence of knowledge, assent, and personal appropriation.
Nor do I believe that faith and regeneration come at times apart from one another. God does not regenerate someone this week, and faith arrives next week. Within the concept of time, to have faith and to be regenerate are synonymous. But, from the order of logic, one necessitates the other. No unregenerate man has true faith in Christ, otherwise he would that instant be called [i]regenerate[/i]. Yet, the unregenerate man never places faith in Christ. Allow me to demonstrate this from the scriptures.
The moment before one has faith, he is certainly a [u]natural man[/u]. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor 2:14) There are only two categories, natural and spiritual. Before one becomes a spiritual man he is a natural man, and so long as he is natural he receives none of the things of God as belonging to himself. Not only do the things of God seem foolish to the natural man, but he [u]cannot know them[/u]. As Romans 1 says, "their foolish hearts were darkened."
Again, the moment before one has faith, he is certainly a [u]carnal man[/u]. "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." (Romans 8:7-8) It was not just that he thinks the way of God by faith is foolish, but he is at enmity with God. He is fighting to be accepted by his own deeds, or to go on in sin without repentance. According to his relentless internal wickedness he would have gone on forever in enmity against God's way, because he "neither indeed can be" made submissive in his natural frame to God's law of faith.
How is it then that people ever place trust in Christ? Because in a single instant of time, yet understood in logical order, God transforms - regenerates - His elect in such a way that their lively souls are freed from sin to believe that the promises of salvation are not only for others, but to them, and by faith these promises are applied to the elect. Again, this is not successive in time, but logically regeneration proceeds faith.
This is summed up nicely by Article 24 of the Belgic Confession of Faith,
We believe that this true faith, produced in man by the hearing of God's Word and by the work of the Holy Spirit, regenerates him and makes him a "new man," causing him to live the "new life" and freeing him from the slavery of sin.
As well, the Canons of Dort add light to this issue,
The Synod rejects the errors of those...
[b]Who teach that the purpose of Christ's death was not to establish in actual fact a new covenant of grace by his blood, but only to acquire for the Father the mere right to enter once more into a covenant with men, whether of grace or of works.[/b]
For this conflicts with Scripture, which teaches that Christ has become the guarantee and mediator of a better--that is, a new-covenant (Heb. 7:22; 9:15), and that a will is in force only when someone has died (Heb. 9:17).
[b]Who teach that Christ, by the satisfaction which he gave, did not certainly merit for anyone salvation itself and the faith by which this satisfaction of Christ is effectively applied to salvation, but only acquired for the Father the authority or plenary will to relate in a new way with men and to impose such new conditions as he chose, and that the satisfying of these conditions depends on the free choice of man; consequently, that it was possible that either all or none would fulfill them.[/b]
For they have too low an opinion of the death of Christ, do not at all acknowledge the foremost fruit or benefit which it brings forth, and summon back from hell the Pelagian error.
[b]Who teach that what is involved in the new covenant of grace which God the Father made with men through the intervening of Christ's death is not that we are justified before God and saved through faith, insofar as it accepts Christ's merit, but rather that God, having withdrawn his demand for perfect obedience to the law, counts faith itself, and the imperfect obedience of faith, as perfect obedience to the law, and graciously looks upon this as worthy of the reward of eternal life.[/b]
For they contradict Scripture: They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ, whom God presented as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood (Rom. 3:24-25). And along with the ungodly Socinus, they introduce a new and foreign justification of man before God, against the consensus of the whole church.
[b]Who teach that all people have been received into the state of reconciliation and into the grace of the covenant, so that no one on account of original sin is liable to condemnation, or is to be condemned, but that all are free from the guilt of this sin.[/b]
For this opinion conflicts with Scripture which asserts that we are by nature children of wrath.
May God cast light on this for all who read.
| 2008/6/18 2:05||Profile|
Thank you Bog for your kind comments. I do understand your point and I did not go into great detail abouth the fact that to "walk with God" is to walk in a state of glorifying Him. Oh the riches of His presence, and the vastness of who He is.
Openlife gives this quote
"We believe that this true faith, produced in man by the hearing of God's Word and by the work of the Holy Spirit, regenerates him and makes him a "new man," causing him to live the "new life" and freeing him from the slavery of sin."
There is, of course, a missing element here. There is Gods Word, there is a work of the Holy Spirit , yes, but there is also a response to that Word and the work. If we respond to what is offered, then we cross the line of justification, we become the elect. Next November, two men will run for office. The criteria will be put forward, whatever it is they stand for, and based on that criteria, one of them will become the President elect.
Now, the acceptance of a gift, in no way takes from the giver. If I accept of reject a gift from someone, then it does not take away from the gift or the giver. The gift is bought and paid for by the one giving it. The reciever has nothing to do with this gift, he did not add to it nor did he take away from it. There is no emphasis on man when one belives that man has the right to accept or reject what is offered freely from our heavenly Father, through Christ our Lord. None whatsoever. It does not empower men, or take power from the Lord. It is simply the choice. The Lord Himself told us to count the cost. He told us it was all or nothing. There is a gift, it is purchased, it is ours, now, are we willing to die to receive it? This does not add to anything, it is a prerequisit. There are many of those before one can be a disciple. If we put our hand to the plow and look back, if we do not love Jesus more than our families, if we are not willing to die. All of this is on the unsaved side of justification. When you present yourself before the Lord, He knows the genuine from those who are not. You can come forward and sign on the dotted line, but unless your heart is willing to die, that very moment, then you may fool yourself and others, but you will not fool God. There will be no regeneration, no sanctification. You may clean up your act for a period of time, you may become religious and ultimately self-righteous, but you will not become Christlike. Jesus explains this well with the parrable of the seed. Time, and circumstances, trials and tribulations, life itself will reveal who it is that has their house atop the foundation. When the storms come and go, then the genuine article will still be standing and look more like Jesus. Now openlife, I sound like a Calvinist :) Perseverance of the saints.......................Frank
| 2008/6/20 1:29|
As usual, i would like to respond more fully at a later time. For now...
You can come forward and sign on the dotted line, but unless your heart is willing to die, that very moment, then you may fool yourself and others, but you will not fool God. There will be no regeneration, no sanctification.
I agree fully with this statement, but I disagree about the order of cause and effect. That's the crux of the issue. I believe my election preceded my willingness. God did not elect me on account of any foreseen obedience to His command to repent. The moment God regenerates the heart, it becomes naturally and truly willing, and then justly receives the imputed benefits of faith: justification, sanctification, perseverance in faith, and ultimately glorification.
| 2008/6/20 4:38||Profile|
| Re: Radical Depravity = "Tulip Calvinism"|
Reply to all
Its getting very difficult to have a conversation on the Bible Word Of God due to the increasing number of secular responses that quote men that are not mentioned in the Word Of God. Men exalted by secular scholars with the clear intent of using them as examples so they can create doubts in OMNISCIENT GOD.
The responses are couched in a religious sounding language, they are secular , not food but thistles and thorns.
| 2008/6/20 7:35||Profile|
The parable of the sower has always been my instruction on the order of regeneration and faith. True saving faith is represented in the last soil ( or heart) in the parable. This too me in a very simplistic way confirms other Scripture that the word of the kingdom ( the gospel ) is sown and true faith becomes rooted in the heart that is good and pure. Maybe oversimplistic, but a new heart comes first, then the Gospel, then the root of faith. While simplistic perhaps, Jesus said if you can understand this parable then all the others will be understandable as well.
| 2008/6/20 8:08||Profile|
Hi Guys....not really sure what Rowdy is talking about in regard to this conversation. Openlife, I am glad that we are cloes to agreeing :) I think that you are right, it does come down to your belive in pre-destination, and what that means. Whyme, the new heart does come first, its just that openlife belives that God has ordained that new heart before you were born, before time actually. And I feel safe to say that openlife believes that God gave you this new heart, based on nothing that you did, nothing at all, including choice. Of course, hopefully openlife is consistant in his error :) If he believes truly, that God predestined him to be saved, then he must also believe that God also chose people to be born just to go to hell. That no matter , they have no possibility of redemption, that the Gospel was never for them, and the only possibility is that they will go to hell. And so, when the Gospel states that "For God so loved the world," openlife would argue that it was not the whole world that God loved, but just the "elect," world. When the scriptures talk about the fact that God would have that none would be lost and that all would come to a saving knowledge in Him, he would consider that scripture to be a "problem ," scripture, along with the "whosever," scripture. Please correct me if I am wrong openlife and perhaps explain simply and shortly to whyme why these scriptures do not mean what they seem to mean. I love you bro, it is a good honest conversation and hopefully it is really not over anyones head. The problem with this topic, is that it can become bogged down. That is why I too love the simlicity of the Scritures...."For God so loved the world........that whosever......and for me , this Scripture just defies logic if one believs as openlife does...2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness, but is long-suffering toward us, not purposing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." Now if that is true, and we simply and literally believe what Peter has just said, and we know that there is harmony in the scriptures and that they are never broken, then one muct believe in that God loved the whole world, sacrifices His son , and based on what you do with that sacrifice(conditions) then one can be saved.( John 12:32, 2 Pet, 3:9, John, 3:15, Acts 16:31)...............Frank
| 2008/6/20 9:11|
What I was trying to do was agree with openlife by my pointing out the parable of the sower. In that parable, before the Gospel has saving effect and before faith is received, the heart must be "noble and good". Man's heart that is noble and good is a gift by God and I take that from Ezekiel 36 and from Psalm 51 where in the first, God says he will give them a new heart and create a new spirit within them and in Psalm 51 David prays for the exact same thing from God. So, if the new heart precedes the receiving of the Gospel and precedes faith, then regeneration precedes faith. You are correct that this means not everyone is born again and some will perish in their sins. Your conclusion that this must mean God predestines some to punishment isn't warranted when you keep in mind that man is responsible for rejecting the truth whether it is the Gospel or God as revealed in nature or in our conscience.
As for predestination for Hell, this concern or issue is equally relevant to those who object to predestination. If God foreknows our choices, then he actually creates millions and maybe billions of men whom He knows will never choose Him. God has created beings destined for Hell albeit by their own choice.
Believers in sovereign grace believe exactly the same thing as you do in this regard. God creates humans whom he knows will go to Hell and we are taught in Scripture that they go to Hell out of their own rejection of God. The fact that out of this group destined for Hell, God by His grace gives a new heart to some is not grounds for objection but rather grounds for worship of His grace that He saved any.
Finally the Gospel should be preached to all men and whosoever believes will not be cast out. We agree on this as well. God's grace in extending this command/invitation to all is glorious and very sincere.
| 2008/6/20 11:11||Profile|
Hi whyme. First of all I reject the notion that God gives you a new hear and then you get saved at some point after that. As soon as you make the choice to die to yourself and give over your life to Him, the rest happens at one time. It is multi-faceted, but there is no time controversy. To say it most simply, one is either saved or not, one is never half saved.
You then write this...........
"Your conclusion that this must mean God predestines some to punishment isn't warranted when you keep in mind that man is responsible for rejecting the truth whether it is the Gospel or God as revealed in nature or in our conscience."
At best whyme, this is disengenuous. To say that God made a man resposible for something he could not possibly attain, does not and has never made sense neither is it scriptural. If that was scriptural, it would be in direct violation of the Scriptures that I gave you in my last reply, to which you did not mention. What does "world," mean to you whyme? What about the word "whosoever,"? The word "all."? And what of 2 Peter 3:9. I have been taught by Calvinist profs(great guys) and they are more honest and willing to answer the question. They say two things about these Scriptures, first of all they call them "problem," scriptures and then they say that it is a mystery. Do you agree?
You then write this..........
"Believers in sovereign grace believe exactly the same thing as you do in this regard. God creates humans whom he knows will go to Hell and we are taught in Scripture that they go to Hell out of their own rejection of God. The fact that out of this group destined for Hell, God by His grace gives a new heart to some is not grounds for objection but rather grounds for worship of His grace that He saved any."
It is my opinion, and I respect yours whyme, that you make a fundamnetla error in the purpose of life in the first place. If God created men to walk with Him in fellowship, then how could He create a being that would gladly worship Him and walk with Him. Remember, He had already created beings, the angels, who dwelt in His presence and many of whom had rejected Him. So how to solve the problem? Man must be created with the abiltiy to choose or reject Him, based on a limited knowledge of Him. This limited knowledge, and the the existence of evil, gives man the abiltiy to choose between right and wrong. Man, of course, choose wrong and there developed a gulf between man and God. Of course Jesus bridged the gulf and Gods perfect plan for having fellowship with a being that has chosen Him was complete. We all know that God could have created a being that could only choose Him, a automan or computer. He did not. So, in order to create a being that could accept or reject Him, and for this to be genuine, He had to allow men to not choose Him. This is a far , far , far cry from what you belive whyme. You believe that God created men for the soul purpose of going to hell and you give no reason why you believe that. For a fuller explanation of my belief, you can read "The difference between men and Angels," here http://scottishwarriors.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/the-difference-between-men-and-angels/
| 2008/6/20 12:58|
I intend to respond more fully this evening.
And I feel safe to say that openlife believes that God gave you this new heart, based on nothing that you did, nothing at all, including choice.
That is correct. I believe God chooses His people according to grace, which is the entirely unmerited favor of God, rooted in the eternal provision of Christ on their behalf.
If he believes truly, that God predestined him to be saved, then he must also believe that God also chose people to be born just to go to hell.
This is a caricature which, by God's grace, I will dismantle this evening (though Romans 9 already has). In short, God foresaw the willful sinfulness of all men; all of them deserved hell. Yet, from this group God chose to manifest His grace towards some - not on account of any good or evil they had done, but of grace, that His purpose according to election might stand. The others were passed over to become examples of God's justice and wrath. God is not obligated to give grace to any sinner, even if He gives it to another.
Once again, Romans 9:
8They 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.
9For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.
10And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;
11(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
12It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
13As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
14What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
15For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
16So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
17For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
18Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
19Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
20Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
21Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
22What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
23And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
24Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?"
There are reasonable answers to the questions posed by Appolus. Their answers are found in the context of the scriptures mentioned, and by God's grace I will comment on them tonight. Of course, the answers will appear foolish if one is resolved to deny God's justice in condemning one sinner while freely giving grace to another without works.
I do recommend John Murray's "Redemption Accomplished and Applied" and A. W. Pink's "The Sovereignty of God."
| 2008/6/20 13:03||Profile|