| Re: |
Thanks for quoting these explanations, Savannah.
Now it is plain to me.
Foreordained redemption before creation is consistant with man's later fall due to a bad choice and God is clear from any authorship of evil and darkness.
So He can have all the praise to His glory due to His name!
| 2018/7/16 2:59||Profile|
| Re: Please consider another brother's impression|
I have read and re-read your post multiple times and I ask you to consider the possibility that an element of the leaven of superiority has tainted your choice of words. Please re-consider the examples from your post:
Quote: "and some of you think of God according to a carnal mind where his decisions to express grace and judgment are all his and you dont get to veto any of it."
Does this statement engender wholesome discussion? Do you sincerely believe this is the mind of other believers who have a different understanding of election?
Quote: "Stop worrying about a free-will you never had, or a salvation that was the after thought of mans sin. It's really ok to believe God knows more than you, has a real sovereignty and not a contrived one as claimed by so many. Man is about as sovereign as a rock, he may exist and have purpose but he is no sovereign in his world. Only the wicked alienated mind thinks this way. It's a stain from our atheism of the past where we think we are our own little god, doing, thinking and willing as if we know something."
Please consider how these thoughts can appear to be condescending towards others.
There are many devout and sincere believers who believe that God has given men free will and they deduce this from the study of the scriptures.
I only ask that you consider whether there is a possibility of even the smallest amount of leaven of intellectual superiority in your post. I know that I am not immune to this in my own writing and communication. I also rejoice that God is your judge and not me and that my impression may be wrong.
I enjoy a confidence in the measure of faith and understanding God's mercy has granted me, and I wrestle to discern the difference between grace empowered boldness and natural intellectual confidence. May the Lord continue to perfect us in the full knowledge that only He can grant.
Alan and Dina Martin
| 2018/7/17 8:02||Profile|
| Re: |
Quote: Does this statement engender wholesome discussion? Do you sincerely believe this is the mind of other believers who have a different understanding of election?
I believe it does engender wholesome discussion. My opinions are mine so I tone them a verbiage that denotes the very thing I engage too often with my brothers, that being a complete utter denial of God's election. Man can chose, God cannot, is the bottom line. Around that is built a myriad of little mazes to keep you from the simple truth of God's predestinating power.
Some of my brothers and sisters are very cordial and gracious to discuss the topic and will listen with an open bible. Others have decided on a god that has no rights or power but what is allowable to human sovereignty. I deny this and anathematize it. They too will quote God's own word to deny what God has explicitly said.
When I read their verbiage I recognize a man who has a carnal mind portraying God after his own atheist-stain that still resides in his heart.
The atheist at heart is his own god and as god sovereign and has power of will and declares his own purpose and agendas. This virus is evident in much of our Christianity...and my own to my own shame.
I retract nothing, and rewrite nothing. What I have said is found everywhere in reformed literature the world over. My tone is that same tone found in Arminian theology the world over, such a tone that denotes their attitude towards an Electing God.
Mak: all that being said, I have no immunity to pride, harsh words and leaven of superiority. It may be that I am exactly as you've stated. As I write this, I am reminded how many failings in this area I have already committed. I thank you for your candor and addressing the issue with me. I will go to God about this. I praise the Lord you brought it up to me.
| 2018/7/17 11:46||Profile|
| Re: |
Thank you for your gracious reply,
I certainly affirm that our Father's thoughts are not as our own and that His thoughts and ways are as vastly superior to our limited perspective as the heavens appear higher than the earth. My own limited understanding of man's will and ability to decide and choose come from study of the scriptures. I am certain that we agree that men of old, spoke and wrote as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. This is the common basis for the inspiration of scripture. It is the very specific verbiage found in Holy Scripture that indicates man has a will and exercises that will - whether free or not.
I do not believe man's will is in opposition to God's sovereign election or divine foreknowledge or predestination. Nor do I believe certain passages describing God's sovereignty counter other passages describing man's accountability for his conscious choice and conduct.
God Himself, through Moses, differentiated between sins of ignorance and presumptuous sins. Presumptuous sins were not atoneable, there was no sacrifice for them. They were capital offenses requiring the guilty party to be put to death. This concept is not limited to the Old Covenant, for John also differentiates between "sin unto death" and "sin not unto death."
Therefore, we consistently find individual "accountability" based upon varying degree of intent and knowledge. However we may view corruption and depravity, scripture contains multiple references to judgment based upon degree of accountability for specific choice and action.
One Greek word dynamically underscores this accountability: ἀθετέω - "to remove from its place, to annul". This is the word the Holy Spirit inspired men to use to describe the choice men made in response to God's dealing with them. In Hebrews 10:28 it is translated "reject" - "anyone who rejected the Law of Moses died without mercy...."
Luke and John record our Lord's use of this same word to describe men's response to Himself and His message. "He who rejects (ἀθετέω) you, rejects (ἀθετέω) me and he who rejects (ἀθετέω) me rejects (ἀθετέω) the One who sent Me." The writer specifically chose this word to describe the conscious act for which the person was fully accountable.
The decision to ἀθετέω the Lord or His message brings about a greater judgment than anything that occurred in Sodom or Gomorrah.
Whether this act or decision is "free" is not as relevant as the fact of the responsibility and accountability for the act itself. The scriptures contain these specific references to varying degrees of accountability for our benefit. These distinctions provide valuable instruction and admonition for us. Persistent refusal to receive correction is judged with greater severity than sins committed in ignorance. Persistent resistance and refusal of God's attempt to turn us from our evil ways is described with words that identify hardness, callousness, and defiant rebellion. Such responses to divine mercy cause men to become "liable" for the actions.
When God personally revealed Himself to Moses in Exodus 34, He finished the declaration of His Name with this statement - LXX (the Septuagint) - "...the liable ones He will not cleanse, bringing the lawlessness of the fathers upon the children..." He makes this distinction for a very specific reason. Men whose actions make them "liable" are different from men who God will forgive, cleanse, restore and heal." We must not lose these divine distinctions. They are not contrived by men, they originate from the mind of God.
"Unbelief" and "pride" are also actions for which men are held fully accountable. Persistent unbelief and unrepentant pride receive condemnation. Understanding the nature of these actions is far more important than underscoring whether they were made in a state of "free" or "non-free" will. Rocks are not judged for being rocks, but men are judged for their choices and conduct.
I hope we would agree that understanding the basis for God judging every man and holding us accountable for our actions is more profitable for teaching and admonition than understanding that God has already decided before the world began who He would choose, especially if such an emphasis obscures the importance of calling all men to repentance.
By studying the record of scripture, we can see what truths are rarely or seldom brought out and what truths permeate the bible from beginning to end. God is sovereign and no one can challenge His authority to choose. In His wisdom, He has chosen to leave to us a written account filled with truth to learn and meditate upon. That record is filled with truth from beginning to end that speaks to our choices and conduct.
Let it stand that God has chosen whoever He will and He is righteous and perfect in doing so. I for one, believe that He thought it wise to describe those He elects. I agree with Peter that the best way to make our "calling and election sure is to do these things" that God has described. For if we do them we will never fall and we will insure a rich welcome on that day.
Alan and Dina Martin
| 2018/7/17 14:20||Profile|
| Re: |
Hi Mak: As is customary for you, what a beautifully written response.
I will respond with more explanation a little later, for now, personal responsibility and liability for sin has never been a contention between camps, what has been the rub has been the assumption that because man can will his way into hell, he can will his way into heaven. His will turning to sin or his will turning to righteousness.
Because a man cannot will his way into heaven.
John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
So, we see a distinction, man by his nature will's after the flesh and reaps the rewards his sins, but the gift of God is not by deserving, therefore cannot be by the will of men, therefore cannot be obtained by any other means than God's own election. Many are called, few are chosen, This is the gospel we preach, though all are liable and culpable for their sins, the chosen by God will receive grace.
This of course is the heart of arminianism, where grace is always in reach of mans will. But as I said, and so says scripture God makes his choice, and God extends his grace and we do not have the veto power to annul or obtain his choosing. Man cannot veto himself out of hell by reason of his will, no matter how he may surround himself with biblical phrases that pertain to human responsibility=human ability=human-heaven-getting-power.
This also strikes at the root of so many who have been parroting their leaders "God isn't making robots". No, he is not, he is making sons...and those sons are born inspite of their rebellious rejection nature. God undertaking to bring about a heart transformation, birth, seed planting and opening of their eyes.
So Mak, I stand with God as the author of our faith, not our will to believe, repent, accept, claim, trust, love et al.
I believe this, because our salvation was authored long before the creation of the world, by Jesus who long before his crucifixion determined to be God's sacrificial lamb. His love for us predates Gen 1:1, his plans and callings, sons and salvations are all orchestrated to bring him the glory he deserves from such an act of grace toward us.
You are right, it is important to walk in the light as Jesus is in the Light, to be willing to recognize sin and error in ourselves and repent when it is evident we have sinned. Yet, God's electing love is the basis for believing him for sanctifying grace and the continued work of the Spirit. I need not dismiss what God did in order to reveal my election, what I need to do is know that having such an election I should prove it and honor God by making my calling and election sure.
That confidence in the reality of my and your own personal election originates in God's electing grace, not by reason of "I just now realized" I have grace so I will to find confidence and security that I might not fall. The grace of God didn't originate with me, nor does that grace depend upon me, what I depend upon is an already provided grace and an already provided sonship...never a potential one.
Thanks again for the correction.
| 2018/7/17 16:48||Profile|
| Re: |
Thank you Marvin,
Please allow me to clarify that neither of us, nor I doubt very many at all, believe that men can "will their way into heaven."
I believe that Jesus Christ is God's grace towards all men and that His appearing, His life, His words, His miracles, His death and resurrection, His ascension and His Holy Spirit are all aspects of saving grace that are offered to all men and that this grace in Christ is what enables all men to believe.
Without God's grace in Christ there is nothing man can do to receive eternal life, but I believe along with all the apostles that this grace has appeared to all men and was given for all men.
We, gain access into this grace by faith, the faith that comes from hearing the message. We give glory to God that the good news quickens faith within the heart of man. YES! Only Jesus Christ can give authority to become a son of God, and He gives this authority to ALL who receive Him, even to those who believe in His name.
His death by the grace of God was for all men. His atonement by the grace of God was for the whole world. The light He brought into the world lights every man.
Apart from Him there is no promise to believe, no ability to receive, no hope of experiencing salvation unto eternal life. I believe we agree with these truths. No one is saved by their own works or will.
Where we may see differently is how this grace is imparted to those who receive it. I fully affirm that it is only by the grace of God in Christ Jesus that we are saved. This grace proceeds faith and enables faith. The scriptures affirm that this grace is for every man - "for by the grace of God, He tasted death for every man." Scripture also affirms that - "He is the atonement, not only for our sins, but for the sins of the whole world." The grammar in the original language is so specific it has only one meaning - the entire world. John's use of cosmos throughout his epistle determines how the expression is to be understood.
God knowing who or choosing who He will choose is His divine sovereign prerogative. So is His choice to offer His grace to every man and to atone for the sins of the whole world. This is what all the apostles and church fathers affirm.
God's election and whosever believeth in Him are both expressions worthy of embracing and rejoicing in. I agree with the Apostle Paul who knowing God's sovereign election declared without reservation that "God wills all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
God's will for "ALL" to be saved is the very reason why "all" can be born again - not because of or by their own will, but because He does "will" that all be saved. Salvation is by His will alone, but His will is for ALL to be saved.
It is technical, but worth study to understand why Paul chose to express "to be saved" with the Greek infinitive. In short, this allows Him to have the purpose and intent without determining the outcome. These are not my own thoughts, but those of Greek scholars who have devoted themselves to determine the meaning of the text.
Thank you again for the opportunity to discuss this topic. Although we may differ still in some areas, we both agree that it is by God's will, not ours, that we are saved.
Alan and Dina Martin
| 2018/7/17 18:45||Profile|
| Re: BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD; BEFORE TIME BEGAN |
BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD;BEFORE TIME BEGAN -
For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him.
He chose us beforehand in him from before the foundation of the universe, that we shall be holy and without spot before him, and he ordained us beforehand in love for himself.
Before the creation of the world, he chose us in Christ to be holy and perfect in his presence.
He chose us as His own in Christ before the creation of the world, that we might be holy and without blemish in His presence.
Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him.
2 TIMOTHY 1:9
He is the One who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not based on our works but of his own purpose and grace, granted to us in Christ Jesus before time began.
Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the world began.
The One having saved us and having called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, having been given us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.
He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not because of our own works, but by His own purpose and by the grace He granted us in Christ Jesus before time eternal.
He has saved us and called us to a holy life--not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.
| 2018/7/17 19:47||Profile|
| Re: |
//This also strikes at the root of so many who have been parroting their leaders "God isn't making robots". No, he is not, he is making sons...and those sons are born inspite of their rebellious rejection nature.//
The only problem here is that per your view God willed them to have a rebellious nature.
The John 1:12 verse quoted contains the word “believe.” If believing is not an act of will, what is it?
The Bible continually speaks of human responsibility for choices made, which can only truly exist if the choices were made freely without some irresistible divine manipulation. The Bible never suggests that all of people's choices are controlled or ordained by God. Nor does it indicate that all of men's choices are totally free. God did harden hearts, from time to time, but God never hardened the heart of a man who had not previously, by his own series of unfettered choices, already set the trajectory of his own life toward a collision course with God's judgment.
Taking Joseph as an example, his brothers, to be sure, inadvertently played into God's plans—but there is no indication that God was feeding choices into their will at the time. They despised Joseph. All God had to do was to place Joseph at their mercy, and their own hatred would take its course. God did not sovereignly ordain that they would hate Joseph. If for any reason, Joseph's brothers had experienced a brief crisis of conscience before selling Joseph into slavery, and failed to do so, there were certainly lots of other ways God could have arranged for some other circumstance (being kidnapped by Midianite traders comes to mind as one alternative) to get Joseph into Potiphar's house.
The same is true of Judas, Caiaphas, et al. involved in Christ's arrest and crucifixion. They fulfilled God's purposes without realizing it. However, there is nothing in scripture suggesting that God turned them against Christ. They were planning to kill Him since the beginning of His public ministry. Until that final Passover, they were divinely prevented from doing so, because "His hour was not yet." When the proper time came, God removed His protection and "delivered" Jesus to them (Acts 2:23). God did not need to interfere with their freedom of choice, the trajectory of the choices they had already made and were making over a three year period rendered it predictable that, given the freedom to act upon their own schemes, Jesus would be crucified—thus fulfilling God's purpose.
Even if God, in these cases, and possibly a few more, had sovereignly made these people sin in the ways they did (an entirely unnecessary theory), we have to admit that these were special, world-changing cases, in which God might make an exception to his general hands-off policy. It would not suggest that He also determines everyone's choices (for example, their choice to believe or not believe the gospel). The Bible nowhere suggests that God interferes with, or has preordained, all human choices.
| 2018/7/18 7:20||Profile|
| Re: Who are the children of God|
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Marvin, I see an erroneous interpretation of this text. The text is simply making a distinction between two groups of people . Group (1) are those who think that because they are the physical seed or blood line of a particular man ( namely Abraham), that makes them automatically children of God. John calls that group here those who are born of blood or of the will of the flesh or the will of man.
And group (2 )are those who have received Him ( Christ ) or believed in His name, these who are given the power to become the sons of God.
You, on the other hand say that the two groups are (1) those who believe in man’s ability to have faith, or those who believe in human decision to follow God are those who are described in the text as children of the blood , or the will of the flesh or the will of man, while group (2) are those who are the true sons of God the elect, chosen before the foundation of the world.
So, while the Bible says that those who believe in and receive Christ are the same as born of God .
You and you camp on the other hand give a completely different context to this text and consequently change the interpretation and the conclusion drawn, and thus while you pretend to defend God’s sovereignty, you become your own sovereign. You do that with the whole Bible. I urge you to please ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten your understanding. The best way to understand the word is to interpret it in its original context, then withdraw a conclusion or a principle, them apply that principle to any context. So, while we can not change the context of the original text while we are trying to understand what the text is saying, we can certainly apply the principle drawn to any new context.
| 2018/7/18 12:26||Profile|
| Re: |
Hi Todd: Sorry for the long pauses between responses.
A couple of things.
Because I cannot spell out precisely the workings of divine concurrence in individuals, that fact really has no bearing on whether there is an election of God.
Election stands because of God's decree, not because I can articulate all the inner workings of God in mens hearts. No one can.
So, in short, divine concurrence is another issue.
Next, God is not the author of sin, nor does he tempt man to sin. However, God does judge men, turns the hearts of men, and gives men over to their lusts.
God's passivity in one situation does not dictate he must be passive as a general rule, nor the opposite where he is actively bringing about his own plan, man by his own choices fulfilling everything God had purposed to do.
Lastly man in believing and acting in obedience must and does with his own will.
(thanks for asking that question so I can clarify) But man's will is not the source of his desire, it comes from God's Spirit who authors our faith and plants the seed of God's word in the heart. Man is a responder, not an originator of his faith or repentance.
| 2018/7/19 11:31||Profile|