Acts 17:27

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by jerry wayne, Dec 9, 2002.

  1. jerry wayne

    jerry wayne
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    I have been wrestling with Calvinism a lot recently. My question concerns Acts 17:27. If man is spiritually dead and cannot seek God, what is the meaning of this verse?

    "so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;" (NKJV)
     
  2. Primitive Baptist

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    In my humble opinion, this text simply means that men should seek to know their Creator. God has clearly made Himself manifest in His creation so as to leave all without an excuse. Nature is enough to convince man that there is a God, and after all their search and groping, there is only an "haply," a peradventure, that they find him. The Scriptures otherwise testify of the fact that the natural man does not seek God (Jn. 6:44; Rom. 3:11; 1 Cor. 2:14).

    [ December 09, 2002, 09:11 PM: Message edited by: Primitive Baptist ]
     
  3. ScottEmerson

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    So which one is it? Why would the Bible tell man to seek God, even when He can't? That just doesn't make much sense.
     
  4. Primitive Baptist

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    Men should seek God. They might "haply," or peradventure, find Him. Seeking God is not someththing that only the unregenerate do. In fact, read the prophets. They always talked about seeking God and things of that nature.

    [ December 09, 2002, 10:18 PM: Message edited by: Primitive Baptist ]
     
  5. npetreley

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    Here's a better one for you.

    Why would Jesus tell us to be perfect if he knows full well we can't of our own free will be perfect even as our heavenly Father is perfect?

    IMO, He is communicating several messages here. First, that God wants us to desire to be perfect. I also think that if He inspires us to try hard enough to be perfect, what we'll soon find out is that we can't even come close. The elect will learn that what they really need to do is rely upon Him. If I'm right in that analysis, then the lesson of Matthew 5:48 teaches exactly the opposite of what many people assume about Biblical commands -- that to be commanded to do something implies the ability of the listener to do it.

    Now I could certainly be wrong, since I have added my opinions to the text. But IMO it contradicts the plain meaning of other texts to interpret Matthew 5:48 to mean we have the ability to be perfect. But I think I've made my point - you can't come to a conclusion about a text through logical extensions such as "one would never tell someone to do something if they didn't have the ability to do it." That simply is not true.

    The other fallacy is to attribute ability to statements that begin with "if". To say, "if you believe, you will be saved" does not necessarily confer upon the listener the ability to believe of his or her own free will. It is a simple truth. If you believe, you will be saved. And if you let go of a rock in mid air, it will fall. Anything you add to either truth about the will of the believer or the will of the rock is your own. It's not in the text.
     
  6. Pastor Larry

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    I was thinking about this verse yesterday. IT seems that it must be taken in conjunction with the previous, that he appointed their times and boundaries, that they would seek him. In other words, perhaps we should understand this as supporting the idea of God putting people in the right place for his intended outcome ... putting his elect in places where they would encounter the gospel and seek him throught that. After all, that is what the text says.
     
  7. Bible-belted

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    Some people try to make the verse about free will, even though the context is clearly about God's sovereignty.

    But there is certainly a sense in which "free will" enters into the picture. From C. Peter Wagner:

    "Why didn't the Athenians know this God who was so claose to them? It was essnetially that they had chosen, rather, to worship idols and to submit themselves to creatures such as Apollo, Dinoysus or Zeus."

    That is the impact of "free will" as it is exercised under the yoke of sin.

    When will people get it? There is no such thng as free will in thesense tha we are equally able to choose God or Satan? That's just a pagan dualism. It isn't Christian.
     
  8. Frogman

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    Brothers and Sisters,

    I am on WKU's campus and do not have my bible to reference for clarity.

    I believe the context of Acts 17.27 confirms the drawing of the Holy Spirit.

    paraphrase (if haply they should feel after him).

    Correct me if I am wrong.

    If not, this context is in line with the rest of scripture that teaches from the mouth of Christ, no man can come to me except drawn by the Father.

    God Bless.
    Bro. Dallas
     
  9. Rev. G

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    They SHOULD seek after God. This is true. No questions asked. It is true. That's that. The problem is, they WON'T! (Romans 3:11)
     
  10. Charlie T

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    Rev. G:

    Have you noticed the Optative mood and particles. This is a very weak form of potentiality. Reality is not at all presumed in the 'groping'.

    Charlie
     
  11. pinoybaptist

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    This is simply the gospel as should be presented whether one is of the Arminian persuasion or the Election side and the result of the preaching of that gospel when it falls on the ground.
    It could fall onto stony ground, loose ground, or fertile ground. The gospel:
    Diplomatic, but bold, and to the point.
    God is creator and ruler of the universe, man is estranged from Him because he seeks God in his own way and thinks of God as some distant, hard-to-please being when in truth he is not, that God has now issued a command to repent and to look to His Son whom He raised from the dead and whom He had appointed to judge all.
    The result of the preaching ?
    (v.23) and when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked (stony ground): and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter [loose ground].
    v. 34 -Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed...(fertile ground).
     
  12. Ray Berrian

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    God speaking though the Apostle Paul and documented by Luke is speaking not merely of a superficial search for God, but one that culminates in a person 'finding Him.' God is all around the sinner but they are not often aware of Him. God would gain nothing by men and women merely 'seeking' and 'feeling' after Him, unless they take that final step in 'finding' Him. Dr. James Strong indicates that the word, 'find' suggests {getting or obtaining} something or someone. Almighty God desires that sinners 'seek' and 'feel' or as Strong says, (paelaphao)--'search for' the Christ of God.

    '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.' [Acts 17:27]

    Hebrews eleven has repeated testimony of the truth that ' . . . without faith it is impossible to please Him' and that the one coming to God 'must believe that He is . . . ' The author of this book and the truth coming from God insists that the person searching must 'come to God,' a rather clear assertion that a sinner must approach unto God in order to be found of Him.

    'Without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he who cometh to God must believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.' [Hebrews 11:6]
     
  13. Yelsew

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    Yet another example of Jesus teaching us to use our God given free will to do something. It truly does take free will to be perfect!

    The context begins in verse 20, and concludes with 48. The context is Jesus establishing a new standard for his followers that is higher than the old. A standard where man must use his free will to choose to behave at a level higher than the old, thus putting on the new. "Do not even the gentiles do so much? You must therefore be perfect just as your havenly father is perfect". Or, said another way, you must go that extra mile because you are the children of the heavenly father who is perfect.
     
  14. Bible-belted

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    Believers have a chance to meet that stabdardas they have not a free will, but a freed will. Before they were Christians that was not the case.
     
  15. Ray Berrian

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    Yelsew,

    Yelsew-good points.

    Adam and Eve had a free will when they were in the Garden. A temptation could not be a temptation without a choice either to do good or evil. [Genesis 3:1b,c]

    'The annointed cherub' fell from grace and his lofty position surrounding the throne not because God autocratically appointed his spiritual demise, but because God in His sovereignty allowed him the power to rebel against our God of holiness and justice. This is why God clearly said in effect you were perfect when I created you until sin was found in you and apparently more than one as noted in Ezekiel 28:18. Almighty God allowed the cherub the leverage to either remain true to God or to rebel against holy God. This is documented in Ezekiel 28:15.

    'Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.'

    God did not ordain the cherub to fall; He in His omniscience saw his many iniquities [Ezekiel 28:18] which the cherub might have thought that he had hidden from Almighty God.
     
  16. npetreley

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    IMO it is a mistake to compare satan and mankind, as if one could prove free will or predestination based on what we know of spiritual beings. From what little we learn about them in the Bible, they seem to be created and judged differently than we are. So even if one could prove conclusively that satan had/has free will, that wouldn't necessarily have any bearing whatsoever on what the situation is with us.
     
  17. Yelsew

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    npetreley,
    Do you then think that God forced Lucifer to rise up in defiance of God?

    Like man, who exercised free will and disobeyed God, Lucifer, of his own free will rose up to usurp the throne of God. The comparison is valid.
     
  18. npetreley

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    No, and I don't think God forced Adam to disobey, either. But my point, which you seem to have missed completely, was that what little we know of the history of satan doesn't tell you what Adam was capable of doing or what man is currently capable of doing. The assumption that satan and Adam both disobeyed of their own free will doesn't tell you anything about the current condition of satan, the current condition of man, or whether they are different or similar.
     
  19. Yelsew

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    We do know that Man is spirit housed in flesh, and we
    do know that Satan is spirit without flesh that possesses uncanny abilities to persuade man; and because there is no physical manifestation of Satan that man can see with the natural eye. We can, however, recognize Satan's work because it is always in opposition to Jesus' work which we have defined for us in the writings called the Bible.

    The scriptures define the differences between Satan and man. The commonality between them is their disobedience of God.
     

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