Bloody do-gooders

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by npetreley, Oct 6, 2004.

  1. npetreley

    npetreley
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    Here's a very simple, basic question:

    Can any man (or woman), of his/her own free will unassisted by the Spirit or any other external natural or supernatural force, think, purpose, or otherwise do anything good as measured by the standard of God?

    I'm looking for a yes or no answer.
     
  2. Johnv

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    Yes. The works of many unbelieving people on 9-11 is a good example. (otoh, many will say that those people were moved by the Spirit, which is something that is considerable).

    [ October 06, 2004, 03:51 PM: Message edited by: Johnv ]
     
  3. NateT

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    no. There are no acts that are completely sinless and therefore, no acts that could be classified as "good"
     
  4. pinoybaptist

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    Agree with Engineer Nate.

    Not to be argumentative, but the extraordinary deeds of courage and kindness displayed by the 9/11 people were simply proof that Total Depravity does not mean inability to do what is decent and right by human standards.
     
  5. Paul33

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    Romans 7:14-25. No. Man cannot do the good he desires unassisted by the Spirit.

    Romans 8:1-4. Man requires the Spirit so that the requirment of the law (God's righteous standards) MIGHT be fulfilled in him.
     
  6. Johnv

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    Good point. It asks the question, what is the standard of God that was missing in the actions of those on 9-11 that makes those actions bad? Help me out here, as I'm leaning towards agreeing with the others here and retracting my first answer.

    Npetreley, what is the focus of the question you're asking? Is this pertaining to total depravity, by chance?
     
  7. NateT

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    I obviously don't know the hearts of those who helped out in 9/11. I don't personally know anyone who helped out, but these are some thoughts:

    The rescue workers could have been rescue workers to sacrifice their life for others so that they would look good.

    Some could be helping out for the profit that they might get (eg. Company Y gave us all bottled water while we were working)

    Some might have been doing it with the spirit of pride such as "They can't beat US!"

    It is possible that none of these things actually occurred, but simply examples of what COULD have been in someone's heart or thoughts.
     
  8. npetreley

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    Yes, but from a slightly different angle. The noble deeds of men are often (if not usually) dung in the sight of God because the motives are not from God, and not towards God for His glory. Then again, some do noble deeds because they are assisted by the Spirit, and those are pleasing to God. We don't know the motives or hearts of those who did "good things" after the 9/11 disaster, so the fact that they did "good things" in the sight of men is meaningless to this discussion. The standard is God's standard, not men's standard.

    My personal view is, no, we cannot do anything good in the sight of God to pleas Him, unassisted, of our own free will.

    That includes the ability to "trust in Christ", which I think everyone here would agree is pleasing to God.
     
  9. Johnv

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    The reason I ask is that many have an incorrect understanding of total depravity. Many believe that total depravity is the inability of humankind to do anything good. According to the Reformed Church in America's website (www.rca.org), a denomination whose parent denom was founded by John Calvin, that is not accurate. Calvin's view was that man alone can do nothing perfectly in accordance with God's will on his own. (Note that Calvin did not use the phrase "total depravity" although it is commonly attributed to him).

    I adhere to Calvin's view of total depravity.

    Also of differing opinion is the proper definition of free will, but that's a topic for a later time.
     
  10. Paul33

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    Johnv,

    Good point.

    Man cannot keep the "whole" law which he desires to keep.

    He can keep part of it, etc. But whoever breaks one law is guilty of breaking the whole law.

    Anyway, total depravity does not mean that a person cannot do a "good deed" as defined in common language unassisted by the Holy Spirit.

    If that were not true, we wouldn't have to talk about self-righteousness.

    What man cannot do is be "righteous" jin God's sight without the imputed righteousness of Christ.
     
  11. pinoybaptist

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    I agree with nick. There is no point in discussing the good deeds in 9/11 because we can only credit them as fellow humans and do not really see the hearts and intents. We see the actions, but not the root of the actions. Personally, I think they were brave and selfless as far as their acts go.

    As for Total Depravity, I take it to mean as the inability of man to revert back to what he was before the fall and that is living in full fellowship with, trust and dependence on his Creator and God.

    The fall violated that fellowship, and placed trust and dependence on fellow creatures and on self, and allowed spiritual pride in to what was once pure. I think that is what the phrase 'ye shall be as gods' meant and effected on Adam and Eve.

    We find a similarity in the lamentation against the king of Tyrus in Ezekiel 28, where this anointed cherub was perfect until the day iniquity was found in him.

    There is no man who ever lived, is living, or will live who can claim full trust, faith, dependence and fellowship, and utter lack of some speck or semblance of spiritual pride, whether this man be Arminian, Calvinist, or Primitive Baptist.

    Jesus Christ, the Son of Man has that glory and honor.
     
  12. Matt Black

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    What about the sheep and the goats passage in Matt 25:30-46

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  13. Ray Berrian

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    Sinners without question can do 'good works' in the eyes of the social public, but, I think what we are trying to talk about is the fact that not one sinner can do 'good works' that will please Almighty God, without first yielding to the Lord first.

    The high look is sin; the proud heart is sin; and even 'the plowing of the wicked, is sin.' [Proverbs 21:4] When God looks at the sinner who is plowing to either feed his family or for profit, still looks at him as being sinful. Only the calling of the Spirit and received grace can change the mind and heart of God toward His fallen creatures.
     
  14. Johnv

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    Given all the food for thought, I'm going to change my initial "yes" answer to "no". It's clear that man can do good deeds that are devoid of selfishness and are selfless in nature, but these acts are likely not devoid of the presence of the Holy Spirit, which even an unbeliever may be an unwitting servant to from time to time (just as God moved many unbelievers in scripture to accomplish His will).

    Don brings up the point that man, bother believer and unbeliever, can certainly keep parts of the law, but that none of us can keep the whole law. Acts by an unbeliever (as well as believer) are often in keeping with the law, but in part at best.

    Thanks all for the eye opening diuscussion. I've learned much.
     
  15. Pete

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    No, "..our righteous acts are like filthy rags.."

    "Niceness" is not holiness. God's standard is "Be holy for I am holy", only His Grace can get us to where He calls us.
     
  16. BobRyan

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    Nope.
     
  17. BobRyan

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    I disagree. It is proof that the Holy Spirit works with the World "convicting the WORLD of Sin and Righteousness and Judgment".

    Calvinism has not yet been able to confine Him to a box.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  18. BobRyan

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    The discussion here falls into the trap of "assuming" that the Holy Spirit does NOT convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment, does not motivate the lost to do good, does not exert power as Rev 7 insists that He does "to hold back the four winds of strife".

    It is the goodness of God that leads mankind - lost mankind - to repentance.

    It is the goodness of God that sends rain (blessing) on the just and the unjust.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  19. npetreley

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    I don't know where you got that idea. My question was simply whether or not man can do good by God's standards of his free will only, apart from any assistance by the Spirit or any other assistance. I didn't rule out the possibility that man could be assisted by the Holy Spirit even if he's unsaved.

    I personally rule out the possibility that man (saved or unsaved) could be unassisted by the Holy Spirit (or anything else) and still do good (by God's standard) of his own free will.
     
  20. BobRyan

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    Then my answer at the top of this page stands.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     

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