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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Accountability for Conscious Rejection of God's Mercy

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CofG
Member



Joined: 2017/2/12
Posts: 139
Cambodia

 Re:

Brother Marvin.

Thanks for your reply. There is a Puritan quote I often refer to. It is....”If I had the power of God I would change everything. If I also had the wisdom of God I would change nothing. “. I embrace God’s grace in salvation and I was only focusing on the issue being discussed which I saw as the condition of man.


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Robert

 2018/11/27 11:47Profile
Gloryandgrace
Member



Joined: 2017/7/14
Posts: 817
Snoqualmie, WA

 Re:


Hi Robert: it was a great post, I appreciate summaries and I appreciate both aspects being taken into consideration.

I realize the men and women I am responding to are well versed and articulate, they hold contrary views but we do not hold a contrary gospel, our gospel is a gospel to be preached to all men in all nations with the expectancy of God's answer to bring in the lost until God has all of his Elect.

When we go out to preach the precious promises of God contained in the gospel, we do not know who will respond or who will reject, we do not know how God will work among the peoples who hear that message, we also do not concern ourselves with who is Elect and who is not. Our concern is with being faithful to our Savior and faithful witnesses of his Spirit and word as he has worked in our own lives.

No gospel-minded preacher says "well, he didn't believe my message he is not the elect of God". Can we be sure we are the last witness of God to that man or woman? There may be some who answered the call of God to be saved upon their first hearing. I for one, didn't answer for years, I heard and refused, heard and refused and heard again and still refused...with blasphemies, cursing, mocking. Yet God in his goodness sent another messenger. God pursued me, I didn't pursue God at any time. I was an atheist, my parents were atheists, my family were mostly atheists or agnostics.

Yet, I do not hold my beliefs from reverse-engineering my own conversion and thereby make scripture to fit my experience. To the contrary, what I learned from scripture is that God seeks, God calls, God works, God appears, God speaks...all to wicked men who didn't seek him or want him.
I found my own conversion unnecessary to substantiate God's pursuit of men, I have abundant testimony from God himself as to his own willingness to save.

I would have needed little more than one single sentence from one verse to prove my sinful heart and failings...it was easy to be persuaded as to my own condition, what took me by surprise was a God who by his own will and purpose chose to reveal Jesus Christ to me. I had nothing, no family, no religious feelings, no Christian interest, no heart whatsoever toward anything having to do with the bible, Church or God.
I am saved, I am exactly like multitudes that have gone down to the pit and will eventually be cast into the lake of fire. It would be no shock to me if I found out vastly better men, more educated, more moral, with godly families, with a godly heritage, without mocking, blasphemies and disrespect toward God...and they are yet in hell.

Who would chose me over them? No one, no one would with a right mind. To me, salvation has nothing to do with fair/unfair or super-fair, to me it has to do with the God who gives grace to sinners. There is no other plausible reason for my own salvation than that.

I take my own doctrines for a spin, I know God has granted me grace and kindness...and it sure wasn't because I made the choice to believe. I found out I believed because of grace and kindness which God gave to me while I was a blasphemer.


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Marvin

 2018/11/27 13:48Profile
makrothumia
Member



Joined: 2005/5/19
Posts: 544
Texas

 Re:

Hi Todd,

You asked - "Do you see the “refusal to be persuaded” as an issue of will, or an issue of inability?"

I can share with you my considerations of that question, but I am not claiming to have an answer. I am intrigued by some of the mysteries in the scriptures and I am learning that they are too deep for me to claim to fully know a matter prematurely. "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, and the glory of kings to search it out."

I will share with you my present thoughts, so that you and others on the forum can consider them along with me. Perhaps contemplating them together, we can all benefit from one another.


There is a passage in Hebrews that has Greek word for "not persuaded" and "ability" in the same context.

Hebrews 3:18-19 "And to whom did He swear by oath not to enter into His rest if not to the ones who refused to be persuade. And we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief."

Here we have the people categorized as "those who were not persuaded." We are also given the cause of their "inability". The reason for their "inability" was THEIR OWN UNBELIEF."

Indwelling sin was not named as the reason for their "inability", rather their "inability" was due to "unbelief"

Does "indwelling sin" prevent men from believing? No, we have an entire group of men who obtained witness that they "believed" God. All of these men had indwelling sin.
It is evident then that "indwelling sin" does not prevent men from hearing and believing God.

Sin does enslave men, and corrupt them, but does it prevent men from "being able" to believe? The scriptures do not seem to indicate that sin prevents men from hearing and believing God.

For example, Cain was warned that "sin was crouching and desiring to master him". Cain was being shown the way of escape, but he failed to embrace the help God offered and gave in to sin.

There are other men listed in scripture who were not controlled by sin in the same way that Cain was.
Enoch, Noah, Job, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Hannah, Samuel, Naomi, Ruth, David, and many of the prophets. All of these men and women had the same sinful nature that we are born with and yet - "indwelling sin" did not prevent them from believing, and following the Lord.
None of them were "perfect" and never sinned, but God Himself called many of them "perfect, upright, and righteous".

We are also aware of Zachariah and Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, Simeon, Anna, and Cornelius in the New Testament. All of these had one trait in common, they were approved by God as people who were devout.

"Total depravity" did not prevent them from finding favor with God, despite the reality that every one of them still needed God's mercy and forgiveness. Their lives were contrasted as different from the other people of their time.

Lack of faith, is more the cause for men's disability than "indwelling sin". Consider the testimony of Abraham.
When faced with a body almost 100 years old and the deadness of Sarah's womb, he did not waiver in unbelief but was "ENABLED BY FAITH". Yes, he was enabled by faith to come to a "full assurance" and this is why it was accredited to him as righteousness.

Furthermore, Joshua and Caleb had the same "indwelling sin" as the other 603,498 men over twenty years old that died in the wilderness. That entire generation witnessed the same miracles, ate the same manna, saw the same cloud and pillar of fire, but two men out of that entire generation entered into the promised land - because "they mixed what they heard with faith."

"Indwelling sin" was not the cause for God's judgment upon their generation. God called out their "unbelief" as sinful because He had provided every opportunity for them to have faith.

These are some of my own thoughts about your question. I realize we have all been corrupted by "indwelling sin", but I do not believe that "indwelling sin" prevents us from hearing the word of truth and believing.

Another thought comes to mind, regarding our responsibility for the sinfulness of our condition. Paul taught that we participated in our own enslavement. We "offered our members as instruments of sin unto slavery." We are not entirely passive victims in our total depravity. No, we were willing participants.

It is a mystery that not all men yield to sin to the same degree. These men are held out as our godly examples that we are to imitate. And it was "their faith" that enabled them to overcome the same "indwelling sin" that we all have to deal with.

I hope these thoughts offer some benefit for this topic. My present understanding of the scriptures is that God regards unbelief as evil, not an inability.

mak






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Alan and Dina Martin

 2018/11/27 13:49Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 4962
NC, USA

 Re:

Thx Mak—

I really enjoying this thread. Thanks for starting it.


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Todd

 2018/11/27 14:53Profile
CofG
Member



Joined: 2017/2/12
Posts: 139
Cambodia

 Re:

Jesus says in John 3 that men will not come to the light because they love the darkness. The "inability" that the NT speaks of for the man of the flesh is one of desire or love ( which is spirit) more than incapacity. You will not do that which you hate and you will do that which you love most. That is why new birth is so essential. It is the nature of the sinful nature to hate the things of God. The new nature loves and desires the things of God. It is an inability of nature not an inability to hear or see or understand in the intellectual sense or to say yes with the mouth. The old nature is at natural enmity with God.

As to the saints of the OT, a circumcised heart is the description Paul gave of those who are "true Israel" for not all Israel is Israel. And that heart was not circumcised by human hands. So it is simple enough to conclude that God circumcised the OT saints' hearts.


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Robert

 2018/11/27 15:05Profile
Gloryandgrace
Member



Joined: 2017/7/14
Posts: 817
Snoqualmie, WA

 Re:


One could draw some pretty unbiblical conclusions from mak's post on 'indwelling sin'.

What Mak seems to minimize and it does really cause me to question...Mak says "indwelling sin didn't stop" such and such a person.
But...what made the change? I hear only crickets. Its as if the person just 'obeyed God' without God's aid.

So, when God does aid the sinner in coming to faith, is it simply a happenstance, or maybe an unnecessary encounter? Because if man is able to fix himself along the way...since his own sin doesn't get in the way and God is definitely not to be mentioned as the causal agent, why should we not all become Pelagians...deny sinful human nature altogether and think like Finney, we hear the right words, believe the right doctrines and poof we change our minds and we are saved.

It can be easily construed that the new birth is just a human-willed decision away. The real problem is not indwelling sin, its just bad surroundings, bad doctrines, bad parents, bad religion...because we are the answer to our own demise.

So, while Mak is right about human accountability and sin-guilt...he consciously leaves God's Spirit, God's election, God's interventions, God's providences and God's divine plans completely out of the picture.

It's as if I am listening to a cult...a Mormon telling me how to know God, not sin, serve God and yet leave God's Spirit and his workings totally out of the message.


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Marvin

 2018/11/27 17:14Profile
makrothumia
Member



Joined: 2005/5/19
Posts: 544
Texas

 Re:

Now Marvin,

"So, while Mak is right about human accountability and sin-guilt...he consciously leaves God's Spirit, God's election, God's interventions, God's providences and God's divine plans completely out of the picture."


Please know that I did not leave out what is innately understood. All those who obtained the witness that they pleased God did so by faith. We KNOW that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

None of those who are mentioned in Hebrews 11 could believe except that God had made Himself known. That is so foundational that I assumed it is understood. God called them, He spoke to them, He commanded them, and they "believed" unto righteousness.


My focus was upon how all of these believed having the same sin nature that you and I are born with. I have no issue that you believe they were all the elect. In fact Israel is called the "elect of God over and over again" and look at their history. God's election did not guarantee them righteousness. They were called and chosen, just very unfaithful.

That is why men are "broken off", not because of "indwelling sin", but because of unbelief. We are not to boast that we are standing, but to remember that we are standing by faith. It is wise to consider the kindness and severity of God. Severity to those who did not believe, but kindness to us provided that we continue in His kindness, otherwise we too shall suffer their fate.


And marvelously, those who were broken off because of unbelief can be grafted in again, as long as they do not persist in the same unbelief that caused them to be broken off in the first place.


Faith or unbelief is far more determinate than the "sinful nature" that is common to both the believer and unbeliever.

mak


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Alan and Dina Martin

 2018/11/27 17:38Profile
CofG
Member



Joined: 2017/2/12
Posts: 139
Cambodia

 Re:

It appears that according to our brother and sister "Mak" and those very sincere and many that hold the view that those who have faith determine their election into new birth and the family of God. Seems upside down just a little bit.

I presume everyone agrees that faith is a gift of the Spirit ( Galatians 5: 22) and that not all have faith. Peter addresses those who are in Christ as those who have "received" a similar faith as his own. ! Peter says that we have been chosen unto sprinkling with blood and obedience to Jesus. If Jesus commands us to believe it would seem that election preceded that obedience. It does not conversely suggest that we have been chosen because of our obedience to believe in God and His Son whom He sent.

I recognize these arguments are not new. I just don't understand how they are ignored. I'm not being argumentative or dismissive of other opinions. I am so thrilled for all who have believed and truly wish all were so. Truly! Like brother Marvin essentially said, we long for all to have true faith and explain the few who do by the mercy of God.

At the end of the day, we preach Christ, a pleasing aroma to the Father which means whether all or a few are saved, our preaching is a victory because the Father is well pleased by the exaltation of His dear and beloved Son. Make the supremacy of Christ your aim in evangelism, worship, justification, sanctification and glorification. Praising Him for the glory of His grace in Jesus Christ!


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Robert

 2018/11/27 19:06Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 4962
NC, USA

 Re:

//If Jesus commands us to believe it would seem that election preceded that obedience//

Why?

Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands **all** men everywhere to repent,
Acts 17:30

Are you saying God calls all men to repent but only enables some to do so?

Again, a logical absurdity.


_________________
Todd

 2018/11/27 21:14Profile
makrothumia
Member



Joined: 2005/5/19
Posts: 544
Texas

 Re:

I doubt that any of us would deny that God's decisions are "at times" based upon how men respond. God Himself declares that He is willing to change His mind from the destruction He has planned and instead give blessing and peace, if men will hear his words, humble their hearts, turn from their ungodliness and walk in His ways. And most certainly it is His grace to even give men this opportunity, but since He Himself has consistently acted this way, it should not trouble anyone that there are those who believe men's response determines God's response at times.

There are too many passages in scripture where this principle is so clearly stated that it leaves no doubt that God is willing to reconsider what He has declared and will indeed withhold either good or bad based upon the response of men.

Jeremiah 18 is one such passage where the Lord affirms His right to change His mind about whether a vessel will be unto one purpose or another and explains that this principle is true for any nation or kingdom.

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.
11 “Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.

Some of the sincere people who believe that men's response to God's word will determine their fate with God appear to have been biblical writers.

It was while reading the bible that I became aware of this principle.

mak



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Alan and Dina Martin

 2018/11/27 21:14Profile





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