“Real” Ability of all God’s Creatures to Respond to the Influence of Him/Seek Truth

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Benjamin, Jul 2, 2011.

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  1. Benjamin

    Benjamin
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    I have no argument against that salvation is all of God, but would like to hear what others believe regarding whether man (all men) truly has/have the (real) ability to freely seek and grow in faith, granted within the condition that God is the influencing agent.

    I will start by presenting scripture that commands men to seek the Lord, then the argument which brought up the above question, finally my argument that men must freely respond to God’s influences to receive His promise of grace to all on the condition of “real” faith which necessarily relies on “real” creaturely volition.

    (Deu 4:29) But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

    (1Ch 16:11) Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.

    (1Ch 16:12) Remember his marvelous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

    (1Ch 22:19) Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of the LORD.

    (1Ch 28:9) And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off forever.

    (2Ch 11:16) And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers.

    (2Ch 12:14) And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.


    (2Ch 15:2) And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.

    (2Ch 15:12) And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul;

    (2Ch 15:13) That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

    (2Ch 30:18) For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good LORD pardon every one

    (2Ch 30:19) That prepareth his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.

    (Ezr 7:10) For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

    (Psa 14:2) The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

    (Psa 22:26) The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live forever.

    (Psa 27:4) One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.

    (Psa 27:8) When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.

    (Psa 34:10) The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.

    (Psa 40:16) Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.

    (Psa 69:6) Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel.

    (Psa 83:16) Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.

    (Psa 105:3) Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.

    (Psa 105:4) Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

    (Pro 28:5) Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.


    (Isa 55:6) Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

    (Hos 10:12) Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

    (Amo 5:4) For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:

    (Amo 5:6) Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.

    (Amo 5:14) Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.


    (Zep 2:3) Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD's anger.


    (Act 15:17) That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

    (Act 17:27) That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

     
  2. Benjamin

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    ____________________________________________________________________
     
  3. Benjamin

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    You say it “seems” that I “brag” of creature ability/volition but I will suggest that is because of the dogmatic Determinist’ view in which you hold that necessarily must attempt to outright deny the volition of God’s creatures. Your point seems to oppose any “reality” (truth) to man’s ability to respond to the (real) influences of God.

    No, I do not attempt to limit man’s ability which would only serve to dispute God’s ability; His truths that He is an Omnibenevolent God of judgment and His righteous ways of offering true grace through real faith (a real promise) to all His creatures reveals how Loving He is. How can a creature respond in faith, for love of this Truth if he does not have the real/true ability to do so? How can there be true/real Divine judgment without true/real ability of those being judged to respond to God’s calling/influences.

    Scripture reveals that God’s work is perfect, He is Truth, without moral evil and all His ways are judgment,(Deut 32:4) He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.


    I contend it is the Determinism view which limits God’s ability to be sovereign apart from their interpretations of Him predestinating the election of certain individuals which inevitably abandons the attributes of God as laid out in Deut 32:4, including His just and righteous ways of judgment and through a view of predetermination places “all responsibility”, including evil and sin, on the Creator of this World (Who is without moral evil/inequity, Deut 32:4). The Calvinist view often results in a blatant and offensive assault on the character and nature of God through its attempt to discount the volition of His creatures in order to hold to a traditional, must fit, systematic determinist’ view. A purely fatalistic doctrine.

    The Word reveals the “truth” that faith is near; with the heart (faith) a person believes and whosoever believes in Him will not be disappointed (Rom 10:8-11). Those are the words we are to preach to the world!

    Rom 10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
    Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
    Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
    Rom 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

    “Choose you this day”; it is up to the individual to believe/have faith:

    (Eph 1:13) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,

    God truly gave Himself as a ransom for all (1Tim 2:3-6).

    (1Ti 2:3) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
    (1Ti 2:4) Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
    (1Ti 2:5) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
    (1Ti 2:6) Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

    He is a God of Truth and a Rewarder of those who seek Him. (Heb 11:6).

    (Heb 11:6) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

    The command to do what is right and seek the Lord in faith is not an empty statement nor void of truth (Isaiah 1:18-20;

    (Isa 1:18) Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

    (Isa 1:19) If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:

    (Isa 1:20) But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

    Jeremiah 29:13;
    (Jer 29:13) And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

    Acts 17:24-27;

    (Act 17:24) God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

    (Act 17:25) Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

    (Act 17:26) And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

    (Act 17:27) That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

    Malachi 3:1;

    (Mal 3:1) Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

    Zephaniah 2:3;

    (Zep 2:3) Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger.

    Hosea 10:12;

    (Hos 10:12) Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.


    Psalm 83:14-16;

    (Psa 83:14) As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;

    (Psa 83:15) So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.

    (Psa 83:16) Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.
     
  4. Benjamin

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    Faith has not been predetermined for man, but a promise has been put in place for all His creatures before the foundation of the world and he who hears the truth in these words should be declaring that God is not willing that any should perish and whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely :

    2Peter 3:9;

    (2Pe 3:9) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    Rev 22:17-19;

    (Rev 22:17) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

    (Rev 22:18) For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

    (Rev 22:19) And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

    Through the promises of God all men will be drawn (John 12:32)

    (Joh 12:32) And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

    …and all men (In His perfect work of creation) are commanded to seek and not without purpose, (a genuine offer of grace through faith for all His creatures) again, for all God ways are judgment (Deut 32:4) and that is not possible without the true condition of creaturely volition to respond to the truth of the promise, or not.

    (Deu 32:4) He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

    The invitation of grace through faith is real and extends to all (1Jn 2:2).

    (1Jn 2:2) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

    God’s nature does not change. God’s creatures were made with God-given free will and that has not changed. God’s creatures do change, they are converted, and only by the influence of the Holy Spirit can they do so by the free gift of grace enlightening the heart which calls for a response of faith.” Without God we cannot, without us God will not.”
     
  5. quantumfaith

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    Great posts Benjamin. Will take me just a bit to digest better, I do appreciate you sharing.
     
  6. Winman

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    Man of himself cannot seek or believe on the Lord, but through God's revelation of himself all men are enabled to do so. A good example in scripture is Rahab.

    Jos 2:9 And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.
    10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.
    11 And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is the God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.

    Rahab had faith and sought the Lord. Why? Because she had HEARD of him, faith comes by hearing the word of God.

    If men were in a vacuum, never hearing of the Lord, then man could neither seek nor believe. But God's word has gone throughout the world, enabling all men to seek him and believe.

    Rom 10:18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

    Men of themselves could not seek or believe God, but God has sent his word to the ends of the world that all men might seek him and believe.
     
    #6 Winman, Jul 2, 2011
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  7. quantumfaith

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    I am convinced that man was created (engineered) to have fellowship with God. I see it as a natural almost genetic function designed into us, to seek the divine. Obviously, the fall affected this function, hence from the ages of old mankind seeks in many cases false gods and even more so man invents them in many cases to satisfy what He desires God to be. But the essence to seek the divine is (in my opinion) a natural built in function from God himself.
     
  8. DHK

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    Though it goes against all Calvinistic thought and belief:

    Christ did not come seeking out Nicodemus,
    Nicodemus came seeking out Christ.
     
  9. InTheLight

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    So did the Magi.
     
  10. Winman

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    So did the unknown man in Macedonia

    Acts 19:9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.
    10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.
     
  11. preacher4truth

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    Dear Benjamin,

    This is a little lengthy, but it will help you understand why I say we cannot, and that it is based upon a fundamental truth of the Word that is of upmost importance.

    If you want to think God was pulling your leg, then that's up to you. Maybe He is and wants you to understand something. It could be that "pulling our leg" is a good way to understand this.

    What is the purpose of the Law, and that we are commanded to keep it? Because we can, or because we cannot?

    I wonder what "keep" it really means?

    It (the Law) was to point us to where? Ourselves that we can? Or to ourselves, that we cannot? Or...to the fact we need a Savior to save us, because we cannot?

    What did Paul account to all his "keeping the law" &c? That is was for nought, he could not do it, he threw it all away as dung.

    You think you can do it. Paul says you can't, and he couldn't.

    I believe Paul, and will explain why.

    Now we have this, as to why the Law was given, and to what end:

    as it is written, "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
    Rom 3:11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
    Rom 3:12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE."
    Rom 3:13 "THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE, WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING," "THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS";
    Rom 3:14 "WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS";
    Rom 3:15 "THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD,
    Rom 3:16 DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS,
    Rom 3:17 AND THE PATH OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN."
    Rom 3:18 "THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES."
    Rom 3:19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;
    Rom 3:20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
    Rom 3:21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
    Rom 3:22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;
    Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

    How many are seeking God here? How many are righteous? None because every man failed to do these things and are guilty. Why are there none righteous? Because they failed to keep the things God commands us to keep.

    Before you go off to explain this please continue to read and listen to this. Your error lies in not believing this passage at face value, or, perhaps not understanding what all of this means, as you think you can do the above.

    I say this in grace brother. All "man can" based theologies wrest this passage to say they can keep it. They don't understand what it really means.

    So lets understand what it all means that there are none. I'll give you a heads-up, it's because once you failed to do it, the law, one time, it's over. You are separated from God. End of story.

    But let's move forward and understand this.

    Paul realized he cannot keep it. All of his efforts were dung.

    Note the words here deny your premise that we can. But the reason in where the law served, and as to why it is given is plainly described by saying "through the Law comes the knowledge of sin" In other words, by being intimate with this Law, we become aware that we are missing the mark, or that once we missed it's too late. In other words, that we cannot do it. Again, once we broke it, there is absolutely zero percent chance, we don't get two tries. And you didn't succeed the first time. No mere man has.

    Now, do you understand what it means to "keep" the law?

    Does it mean:

    Only part of it?

    Or, does that mean all of it? And that breaking any point of it means that you can't keep it? James 2:10 says you cannot keep it if you offend in one point you are guilty of breaking all of it. Guilty. Done. No more chances.

    Galatians says it means you must keep all of it or your under a curse. To keep it is not to pick and choose. It's not multiple choice. Your misunderstanding of this is one of the biggest misunderstansings you have that leads you to your belief that you can. It's too late Benjamin. You can't do these things and fail in them, and be separated, then find God somehow because now you are sinful and guess what HE now must seek YOU and save YOU. That's the Gospel.

    So tell me now, Benjamin, now that you see what keep means, again, tell me that you can keep the law as commanded, and seek after God, as commanded?

    You cannot. Why? Because the objective is perfection in doing so, and you fall short as does all mankind.

    You're saying God is perhaps (or suggesting) that He is pulling our leg. That shows you do not understand the purpose of the Law and the apex of whatit means when He commands us to keep it, that it is come to show we are helpless to keep it. But you say you can do these things. I say this is your main fallacy and effects all every aspect of your soteriology, and it fails to understand what "keep" truly means.

    Only One Person has ever "kept" the Law, and it's not you and your crew that think you can, or that think you can seek Him. It's too late to fulfill that. I hope you see this and understand this.

    All this was given to prove you and I cannot.

    - Peace
     
    #11 preacher4truth, Jul 2, 2011
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  12. DHK

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    This is a slur against every non-cal here, and should be retracted. No one on this board believes this.
    No one disagrees with you that only that only Christ could keep the law. You entire post is in vain. You allegation here also is false. Why do you continue to misrepresent the views of the non-cals on this board.
     
  13. Winman

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    The problem with your view is that the scriptures show men who did seek God, so your interpretation cannot be correct.

    Luke 19:2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.
    3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.

    Zacchaeus sought Jesus and found him.

    2 Chr 17:3 And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim;
    4 But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.

    King Jehoshaphat sought after the Lord.

    2 Chr 14:2 And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God:

    2 Chr 14:7 Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us; because we have sought the LORD our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered.

    King Asa was able to do that which was good and right in the sight of the Lord. He sought the Lord and was blessed by God.

    So, you have many examples of men who clearly did seek God in the scriptures. Therefore, your interpretation of Romans 3 cannot be correct.
     
  14. InTheLight

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    Because only by arguing with a strawman can he 'win' the argument.
     
  15. Winman

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    More examples of people who sought after God.

    Luke 4:42 And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them.

    These people went out into the desert seeking Jesus.

    Jn 6:22 The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone;
    23 (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks: )
    24 When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus.

    These people hired boats so they could cross the Sea of Galilee and find Jesus.

    So, there are multiple examples of people seeking God in the scriptures.
     
  16. preacher4truth

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    So, you're saying every non cal based theology is man based? Not even I said that, nor do I believe it.

    Nothing in my post or the OP is about cal/non cals.

    Who said anything about calvinism but you?

    And I never said a word about arminianism. I said "man can" based theologies.

    I have nothing to retract. And I most certainly am not goint to tip-toe around here because of your objective against me.

    I find it quite odd that as soon as I post, you're on your objective to attack whatsoever I say. Kind of "lying in wait."

    I attacked no one. We can all see who is on the attack here, and it's not me, friend.

    Your objective is so apparent DHK. I sought to answer Benjamin, and you have my answer to why we cannot keep the commands of God. Everything yuo accuse me of is assumption on your part.
     
  17. Alive in Christ

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    OF COURSE all men have a "real" ability to seek their creator

    Christ said



    Christ said it was not His desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentantance.

    The scriptures are clear that God gives potentially saving "Light" to every human being who comes into the world.

    From Acts...

     
  18. preacher4truth

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    We cannot come unless HE draws us.
     
  19. quantumfaith

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    Here is what you repeatedly "communicate", irregardless of how you say it.

    If you don't view God's sovereignty in exactly the same way I do, then your theology is flawed

    This is what comes through loud and clear at least to me from your thoughts and postings.
     
  20. preacher4truth

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    Not one word of mine addressed Sovereignty in what I have written.

    None of it.

    All of this is assumption on your part.

    - Peace
     
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