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

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Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1925
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

Hi Robert (CofG), you wrote:

Quote:
Brothers and Sisters,

I'm honestly not mocking anyone's intelligence or firmly and sincerely held beliefs. You are my brothers and sisters. I previously read the Bible with the same understanding as you do about this topic.



Many of us would argue that a plain, child-like reading of the scriptures will lead one to see explicitly that God has given every person the capacity to choose to either receive or reject God's offer of salvation. Imo it is mainly and mostly after one professes faith in Christ, and after one encounters your perspective being taught, that one is convinced against what they once plainly and clearly saw taught in God's Word.

Quote:
At the bottom of salvation according to this position, is this statement:

"God chose us because we first chose Him."

I know that those in the thread are well versed. Doesn't that sound strange to say as a simple proposition and matter of Scripture?


That's actually not our position at all. What we are saying is that God has first offered salvation to all the world without exception. It is God who first reveals Himself to all sinners via various ways, and it is He who first seeks after all the world via various ways, so that all are without excuse (Rom. 1:20; Acts 17:26-28). We can wholeheartedly declare as 1 John 4:19 declares, "We love Him because He first loved us."

As God says regarding unbelieving Israel (which is also true and applicable regarding unbelieving Gentiles), “All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people” (Rom. 10:21; Isa. 65:2).

God stretches out His hands to all sinners without exception and invites all to be saved. He says, “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other"(Isa. 45:22)

God sincerely pleads with sinners to be reconciled with Himself (2 Cor. 5:20). The question then becomes, is that appeal to be reconciled with God directed toward all sinners or only toward the elect? A plain and child-like reading of all those appeals to sinners in scripture leaves the impression that they are directed toward all and are invitations to all.

If those appeals and invitations from God are directed toward all without exception, and if God truly and sincerely desires for all without exception to be saved, how is it that He would "pass over" or "pass by" the vast majority of sinners and leave them without hope of ever being saved? How is it that He would grant the ability to respond positively to His appeals only to a selected number of sinners?

That proposition seems to clearly go against so much of the scriptures, which is why many of us reject it. For us to accept it would mean denying what we see clearly and plainly taught throughout God's Word, and it would mean checking our God-given reasoning capabilities at the door imo, with all due respect.


_________________
Oracio Sandoval

 2018/11/28 23:33Profile
Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1925
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

Hi Marvin, you wrote

Quote:
Hi Oracio: you are another razor that frequents here, and that Tozer quote...well, you and I could have some real dialog with that one. I do love Tozer.

Im going to get my wheelbarrow full of books just in case you open a thread on that subject.

Either way...thanks for jumping in.


Thanks again for the encouragement, although I'm nowhere near yours and Mak's writing skill levels.

Regarding the Tozer quote, didn't mean to open up a can of worms, or books.


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Oracio Sandoval

 2018/11/29 0:05Profile
CofG
Member



Joined: 2017/2/12
Posts: 139
Cambodia

 Re:

Thanks for all the thoughtful replies. Sorry for distorting the viewpoint. I think we may be talking past each other.

I don't speak for all who hold the sovereign grace view of salvation by a long shot.

Clearly, Scripture says God calls all men to repent and He desires that none would perish. He has a love for all mankind who are by Scripture His enemies.

Clearly, men must turn and believe in Jesus if they are to avoid certain judgement. Men must exercise that change of mind and they must exercise the faith required.

The only question for me is does Scripture teach that God must give them the ability to do that. Without His intervention that exercise of faith is impossible. All who read the Scripture would agree with that. Man cannot believe alone no matter how often or clearly God reveals His love for them, does miracles in front of them or rises from the dead before them.

So, theoretically, before God actually intervenes, God gives an invitation, a command, a pleading that man is theoretically unable to do.

At this point the divide on Scripture begins. Man is unable without God's help to obey or respond rightly to God's pleadings or commands.

One side argues He gives help to all and that help is sufficient for all. By help, I do not mean He merely invites or commands. Help in this sense means some form of grace that enables a man, every man to obey God not just in salvation but in every respect. I don't think any Scriptural support has ever been provided for that position. What is said, I think, is that logic dictates that God would never love someone or command someone to do something if He didn't give them the grace they needed to do the thing commanded. It is an argument from logic and reason. I don't think we should check logic at the door. However, we should always check logic against any contrary explicit Scripture and if there is clear Scripture, then we should reconcile toward Scripture being true.

Mak, I'm not ever going to say or argue that man doesn't do the believing or the responding. Of course, it is the man who responds according to his heart, his decision, his will and his exercise of faith. No one says otherwise. What is said is that all men are unwilling to believe because they prefer the lie because of their evil hearts and their desire for unrighteousness. It's a heart issue that dictates the response to God. The only heart that bears the life and fruit of true faith and faithful obedience is a pure and noble heart (Luke's parable of the soils), one which natural man does not possess.

What God's word says is that He "grants" repentance, He gives the Spiritual fruit of faith. No man can come to Jesus unless the Father draws Him and all that HE draws come, He grants men to believe in Him, HE distributes faith to some men and not all have faith ( that is the ability to believe, not the exercise of that belief ), men receive a love of the truth, men obtain a faith like ours. Scripture says that before the New Covenant that, generally, the Gentiles were without hope and separated from the covenant of promises, even the one made to Abraham that because of His faith, he would be the father of many nations. God gave mankind apart from the Jews the access to the new covenant in Christ, a new covenant that purchased a new birth.

What is being asserted is that Scripture says man is unable to perceive, understand or discern the things of God until he is born again, has the Spirit, is renewed in mind. That is what Scripture specifically says and seems to say many times.

Jesus says, people do not believe because they love the darkness. Jesus says people do not believe because they are not His sheep. God says we have a sinful nature. It does not say we have a sinful nature but every time God commands something, He temporarily eliminates or suspends the sinful nature so we can obey and then He reinstitutes it after we obey or disobey. He says that prior to the new birth, we love our sin and enlslave ourselves to Satan because we are of our father the Devil and do as he does according to his nature and ours. That is what God says about men prior to the new birth. That is very clear in the Gospels and in 1 John 3.

All men are guilty of refusing God if they do so. None go to Hell because God made them disobey or reject Him. God gives a certain mercy to all everyday. He loves them everyday. Gives them a constant witness of Himself. Gives families, crops, rains, human joy. He strives by His Holy Spirit with their conscience constantly. He, however, does not share the news of Jesus with all. Over the centuries there have been billions of people who have perished in their sins without hearing of Jesus. None can deny that simple fact. Why does God offer salvation in Jesus to some and leave billions over centuries, entire continents of people, without that witness and without that offer? This is a question for those who argue that God's desire for all must include access for all.

God in fact created billions of people whom He foreknew would die in their own sin. He did not have to create them having this foreknowledge, so we are all in the position of having to ask why? All must have an answer for that question as well if we are going to argue logic. Logic would say, God, whether free will or enslaved will, why did you create so many people who would suffer forever? I think that is a legitimate and logical question. I've heard some argue He did that so that love could be a free choice. That is wholly inadequate.
HE could have created only those men and women who would freely choose Him. That He didn't clearly do. So the great mystery remains. I'm trying here to address this double predestination nonsense. It is a red herring.
Men who go to Hell predestine their own fate. They are responsible.

So, why would God give commands and pleadings to men who are spiritually unable to obey? I did not say physically unable. Men have a conscience and a will and the law written on their heart. I think the argument is He wouldn't by logic do that. Don't mean to oversimplify. Just repeating what I read. What does God say about that?

God commands all kinds of things that men are unable to do perfectly. He always has. Even under a preveinient grace argument, we have to concede that. Man is unable to love God with all His heart mind and soul. No amount of prevenient grace or salvific grace has been given to surmount this sinful nature problem except for Jesus. Why? He had no sinful nature.

In order to overcome the sinful nature in His people, God's solution was not prevenient grace. It was the New Covenant in His blood where He forgives us our sins, cleanses our hearts, gives us spirit life, and puts His Holy Spirit in us. That is the grace God gives to "cause" us to obey His commands. That is God's solution to the sin nature problem. He circumsises the heart. Man's heart is the problem. He loves what God hates and abominates and he hates what God loves. A change of nature is in order and that is God's logical solution. His wisdom.

Am I sure about the Scriptures that teach that man is unable apart from God's intervention to do the things God commands in a way pleasing and acceptable to Him? Yes. Am I sure that God's intervention is to change man's nature and make Him a new man who though still fighting the flesh, His old man, He now is a son of God and able to please His Father? I say yes to that as well. I am convinced totally by direct explicit Scriptures.

This is not a debate on some theoretical plan of salvation theology to me. We are talking and discussing the heart of God and of man. I left the theoretical debating far behind me in my walk, so winning an argument is a waste of time to me. Like you, I just want to know God's word and His ways and His works. I'm not against everybody being saved. I wish it were so. Our desires are irrelevant though in this. The only issue being discussed is how they are saved. We can't argue on the basis of preferences, human logic or our own view of what is best, fair or loving.

Again, I have always wanted and pleaded with someone to show Scripture that explicitly says that God gives sufficient grace to all men to obey His commands. Not a logical argument based on indirect references. The question is so huge that it would be "logical" that God would says directly He gives prenient grace to obey.

God desires a lot of things to be done that men don't do and can't do. To suggest that He gives sufficient grace to do those things because He desires they be done is an argument, not a Scripture.


























_________________
Robert

 2018/11/29 6:05Profile
TMK
Member



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

 Re:

//Am I sure about the Scriptures that teach that man is unable apart from God's intervention to do the things God commands in a way pleasing and acceptable to Him? Yes.
.....

This is not a debate on some theoretical plan of salvation theology to me. We are talking and discussing the heart of God and of man.//

I appreciate your tone Robert. But honestly, the scriptures are not as clear as you suggest; otherwise this debate would not have raged on for the number of years that it has.

The end result of one view is to portray God as monstrous; the other does not. Why choose a view that paints a monstrous view of God? Because a Being who creates persons with eternal souls in order to torture the vast majority of them mercilessly for all eternity when there is nothing they can do about it because He chooses not to help them is not the God revealed in scripture. That is a monstrous hateful parody of the God revealed in scripture.


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Todd

 2018/11/29 9:06Profile
TrueWitness
Member



Joined: 2006/8/10
Posts: 474


 Re:

Yes, nobody is saved without God first "drawing" them unto Himself and opening their blinded eyes to see their lost condition and need for forgiveness and salvation. He grants them the ability to humble themselves and repent and avail themselves to the new life He has for them in Christ. This is a work of grace that happens before salvation of course. We are saved by grace (God's doing) through faith. This pre-salvation work of grace is God's way of giving us the ability to believe (have faith) in order to be saved. He bids us to believe but He won't believe for us. We must do it ourselves. And believing is not a meritorious act that earns us salvation. We are simply receiving a free gift from God. The Bible is clear that faith is never a work, the two are opposed to each other. So let's be clear that we aren't saved before we believe. The idea that God has to regenerate us first in order for us to believe is not scriptural. The Philipian jailer asked Paul, what must I do to be saved? Paul said, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. He didn't say, You have to wait for God to save you so that you can believe. This question of "Does salvation precede faith?" has come up before here and I have found an article that is a thorough treatment of the subject found here:

http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/reformed/regenera.htm

-Daniel

 2018/11/29 9:17Profile
Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1925
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

Hi Robert, I too appreciate your tone here. You wrote a lot in your last post and it would take quite a bit of time to reply to all your post. You quoted certain scriptures which to you and many, support your view. We would argue that there are different, valid interpretations of those scriptures; valid interpretations which reconcile well with other explicit portions of Scripture dealing with God's own character, particularly His holiness and justice and love.

But you would have to be willing to take off the particular "lenses" through which you've been seeing those scriptures in order to begin to see the biblical validity of those interpretations. That's what I had to do when I held to your theological position at one time in my walk with Christ. When I did that, I found that there were indeed solid, robust biblical answers to what you pointed out as counterarguments and proof texts.

I'll see if I may have time to reply to certain of your points soon. For now, I'll briefly reply with Scripture to this statement of yours:

Quote:
Again, I have always wanted and pleaded with someone to show Scripture that explicitly says that God gives sufficient grace to all men to obey His commands. Not a logical argument based on indirect references. The question is so huge that it would be "logical" that God would says directly He gives prenient grace to obey.


1 Corinthians 10:13 teaches, "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."

It may be pointed out that Paul is addressing Christians there, which is true. However, I would encourage you to consider the context of that chapter and the Old Testament examples Paul gives before verse 13. Paul exhorts them, and us through the Holy Spirit, to consider how Israel during Moses’ time failed to resist the temptation to commit idolatry and how they chose to rebel against God. They could have resisted that temptation with God’s aid. God provided everything they needed to resist it, but they chose rather to give in instead. And they suffered both temporal and eternal consequences as a result of their own willful rebellion and refusal to submit to and trust God. Mak pointed out earlier in this thread the similar example of Cain. God told him that sin was lying at his door to overtake him but that he should rule over it. Again, God provided everything Cain needed to overcome his temptation, but he refused to go God’s way and chose rebellion against God instead. Again, that's the same basic choice God has placed before all humanity throughout all time.

Again, God has provided sufficient revelation and aid for all to seek Him and find Him, though He is not far from any, being that in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:26-28). We hear of many instances of people in other countries coming to faith in Christ through dreams and visions as well as through other means via missionaries. Scripture seems to teach explicitly, and experience seems to show, that if any person responds to the “initial revelation” God provides them with, God will provide them with more revelation and will allow Himself to be found by them. The problem is that many who never hear the gospel don’t want anything to do with the true God, and God knows it, therefore God does not provide them with more revelation.

Yes, it is certainly true that before coming to Christ we are enslaved to our sin and that we cannot keep God's law due to our bondage to sin. But the fact that one is a willing slave to sin does not mean one cannot acknowledge their bondage and their desperate need for deliverance; it does not mean one cannot accept the deliverance that is offered to them by God Himself. God is more than willing and able to deliver any and all sinners to the uttermost, but we must acknowledge our need and receive that offer via repentance and faith/trust in Him. That is the picture which the Bible over and over paints of God and of His heart toward all.


_________________
Oracio Sandoval

 2018/11/29 11:21Profile





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