Considering Romans 9:16 in context

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Van, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. Van

    Van
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    Calvinists offer up Romans 9:16 as a linchpin verse, demonstrating the truth of Calvinism. But, if interpreted contextually, the verse demonstrates that Calvinism misconstrues Paul’s words.

    Premise 1 - not necessarily a view held by all Calvinists, but certainly a view offered up by some Calvinist, is that God controls every thought and deed, and our reactions and responses to the circumstances presented in our lives are all predetermined by God, we make no choices, and our decisions and actions are an illusion - sort of a Sci-Fi Matrix theology.

    In such a world folks destined for destruction would not need to have their hearts hardened in order to bring forth to fruition God's plan of salvation for those that believe (Romans 11). Calvinists actually teach that everyone is "totally" depraved with "totally" meaning spiritual inability; no one is willing to receive the gospel or seek the righteousness of God at any time. But the fact is when our minds are set on the flesh, we are not seeking God, when we are sinning, and we all sin, we are not seeking God, and by extrapolating these truths, Calvinists insist no one who is unregenerate seeks God at anytime, contrary to Romans 9:31.

    Now lets consider Romans 9:16 in context. Romans 9:18 says two things: God has mercy upon whom He desires and He hardens whom He desires. Now to have mercy is to accept the person just as he is, a sinner, and save him in light of his condition. On the other hand, verse 18 says God alters some others - He hardens their hearts - such that they reject God and act adversely toward God’s message in order to implement God's glorious purpose and plan. In summary, Calvinists say everybody is unable to seek God, until God alters some folks by irresistible grace, with everybody initially hardened from the beginning of their lives such that none are willing to seek the righteousness of God.

    But Scripture actually says the opposite – first God has mercy upon us without mention of prior enablement by irresistible grace, and second, God must intervene in the thoughts and motivations of some folks in order to bring about his purpose and plan such as Pharaoh and Esau, for He hardened their hearts. Therefore their actions, had they not been hardened, may not have been according to God’s purpose and plan – teaching independent thoughts and actions on the part of men.

    Premise 2 – Calvinists teach that none are willing to seek God, yet Romans 9:16 says it does not depend “upon the man that wills” teaching that some men do seek God. Paul concludes chapter 9 of Romans by saying the Gentiles attained righteousness by faith but the Jews did not pursue righteousness by faith. Both groups were willing to pursue righteousness, with one group (Jews) trusting in the Law of Moses and the other group trusting in God and His Christ. The Jews pursuing the righteousness of God stumbled over the stumbling stone. The man that runs in verse 16 is the Jew who stubs his toe on the stumbling stone, he trusts in works of the Law. Paul says rather than trusting in the Law of Moses, by which no man is justified, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved” (Romans 10:9). Note the “if you” indicating action by the individual seeking the righteousness of God through faith in God and His Christ.

    Premise 3 – Calvinists teach unconditional election, God chose specific foreseen individuals before the foundation of the world, before we were conceived in iniquity, and before we demonstrated our depravity by thinking wicked thoughts and doing wicked deeds. In other words, before we were unjust sinners, needing mercy because we were facing the wrath of God due to His just punishment. Therefore this choice did not include mercy, the passing over of our sins, and having mercy upon us. Just the opposite of what Romans 9:18 teaches - for God has mercy upon whom He desires. Choosing folks who are sinners is merciful and compassionate and is consistent with scripture, picking folks as foreseen individuals without regard for their wretched condition is neither merciful nor compassionate. Therefore individual election occurs during our lifetime according to Romans 9:16, because the choice results in God having mercy upon us.

    In summary, Romans 9:16 contextually considered, is a linchpin verse, demonstrating that Calvinism is a mistaken doctrine.
     
  2. asterisktom

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    To argue against unconditional election necessarily means that you believe in conditional election (or none at all). I'm assuming that you believe in conditional election. Is this right? If so, whatever condition would prompt election is a merit of some type or other. You thus would believe in salvation according to merit.

    Those are the two types of election logically speaking. Scripturally speaking, there is only one, the one that Calvin saw clearly from Scripture. I disagree with some other beliefs of Calvin, but not this one.
     
  3. Van

    Van
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    Thanks for asking an on topic question that is soundly based on what is included in the above post.

    Yes, I understand the bible to teach conditional election.

    Now to address the old chestnut that any conditional makes it a salvation of merit or works, rather than by grace. Scripture says we are saved by grace through faith. So our faith might be seen as something of merit, from an unbiblical point of view. But what would our faith be according to the Bible. A filthy rag, a sack of skybalon. We can do nothing to merit salvation, so saying if we put our trust in Christ, that somehow merits salvation is completely bogus.

    However, if God credits our worthless, filthy rag, wretched faith as righteousness, Romans 4:4-5, then God could use His righteousness to conditionally choose us. And this is exactly what scripture after scripture says. See Romans 5:2 where our faith provides the access to God's grace, not because of any merit of or by itself, but because God credits it as righteousness. See 2 Thessalonians 2:13 which says, in my view, that God chooses believers by setting them apart in Christ, the sanctification by the Spirit when He baptizes us spiritually into Christ, and God makes the choice based on faith in the truth, indicating He has credited our faith as righteousness.
     
    #3 Van, Apr 3, 2011
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  4. Winman

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    Imagine you were approached by a stranger who offered you a key. He tells you he is a wealthy billionaire who desires to help people in need. He has heard you have a serious medical condition and will die soon unless you have a very expensive medical procedure that you cannot possibly afford. He tells you this key will open a safe deposit box at a certain bank and there you will find a million dollars which is yours for free to pay for this operation. His motive is simply that he is a merciful and compassionate man who desires to help persons in need. He hands you the key and leaves.

    Well, what do you do? You do not know this man except for what he has revealed to you, but this is all the evidence you have. It sounds too good to be true.

    Nevertheless, you decide to trust the man and take the key down to the bank. You find the box the man described and that the key fits. You turn the key and the box opens, and inside you find one million dollars as you were told. You are amazed but the bank president tells you this offer is true and the money is your's to take.

    Now, how did you merit this money? Did you work for it or earn it yourself? No, you simply trusted this man and took him at his word. Any honor or glory goes to the man who offered to help you because he is a loving and compassionate person.

    Would you run around town bragging how you saved yourself, or would you rather tell everyone about the kind and loving man who helped you?
     
    #4 Winman, Apr 3, 2011
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  5. Jarthur001

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    What do we have here? yet another..."I hate Calvinism thread?? :)

    I hope this one is better.

    YOU SAID...
    Romans 9:16 is a verse that Calvinist teaach, but we also teach John 3:16.

    as I wrote in my column last year..."The reformers said that grace could be found on each page of the Bible. " When I say grace I mean the full doctrines of grace.

    Please read this here...LINK

    Calvinism is not limited to one verse. In fact I will argue that the verses that Calvinist must content with by free-willers are just a small handful and nothing compared with the mounds of Scripture declaring its truth.


    *******
    YOU SAID...
    Premise 1 - not necessarily a view held by all Calvinists, but certainly a view offered up by some Calvinist, is that God controls every thought and deed, and our reactions and responses to the circumstances presented in our lives are all predetermined by God, we make no choices, and our decisions and actions are an illusion.

    ME...
    I would like to see where a Calvinist says we make no choices. I have never read this and I have read many many men, both reformed and non-reformed. Calvinist teach that man has a will, and that he does chose. But we also teach that the will is bound by our own desires. In other words, the chice is always there before men, but they see no need to chose God because of their love for pride, lust or other sins.

    Please get this right before we move on.


    YOU SAID...
    In such a world folks destined for destruction would not need to have their hearts hardened in order to bring forth to fruition God's plan of salvation for those that believe (Romans 11).

    ME...
    Paul in Eph and the writer of Hebrews in his book, tells us that believers can harden their heart.


    YOU SAID..
    But Scripture actually says the opposite – first God has mercy upon us without mention of prior enablement by irresistible grace.

    ME...
    Well, really it does say this.

    Notice what Paul says here. Election and not human desire is why people are the children of the God's promise. But verse 6 says this purpose will not fail.

    so...
    when Paul says in verse 22....."What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction?

    This means those prepared for destruction will indeed see destruction."

    AND in verse 23 when Paul says..."What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—

    This means that those God has made objects of mercy, will indeed see glory.

    *********

    You said...
    Premise 2 – Calvinists teach that none are willing to seek God, yet Romans 9:16 says it does not depend “upon the man that wills” teaching that some men do seek God.

    ME..
    :)
    I'll not waste my time with this one. Just read Romans 9.
     
  6. Deacon

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    Wow, not only do you not understand Calvinist theology but you misunderstood the Matrix too, unforgiveable! :laugh:

    Rob
     
  7. Van

    Van
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    Yet another charge concerning my qualifications, and each time, folks, you should realize Calvinism is defended by logical fallacies such as ad hominem arguments.

    And yet another charge that I hate Calvinism, when I hate false doctrine, as the Bible says I should. More character disparagement and no content. This is how they defend the indefensible.

    Did anyone say Calvinism is limited to one verse? Nope so yet another strawman argument, another fallacy.

    Some say they have never read any Calvinist put forth the theory of exhaustive determinism, and yet claims to know something about Calvinism. QED

    The Calvinist points out that people can harden their hearts, but since they suffer from total spiritual inability, there is nothing to harden to cause them to not believe and be healed. But since they can harden their hearts, the doctrine is shown by the very defense, to be false. QED

    And then yet another strawman, the issue is God has mercy on people without saying He softened their heart, he either has mercy or He hardens. The exact opposite of Calvinism. QED

    Does it mean those prepared for destruction will see destruction? LOL What about children of wrath being saved? How does Ephesians 2:3 read to you? Folks, as you can see, one false premise after another springs from Calvinism.

    And the Calvinist response had no answer to Romans 9:16 which said men can will to be saved, teaching total spiritual inability is false doctrine.

    And still nothing on premise 3, that God having mercy requires that the person has committed sins or had been conceived in iniquity. So election must occur after we were children of wrath, deserving condemnation, because God has mercy on us.
     
    #7 Van, Apr 3, 2011
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  8. Winman

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    Isaiah chapter 1 refutes Total Inability.

    Isa 1:16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

    Isaiah chapter 1 refutes Total Inability in every way and shows it to be a false, unscriptural doctrine. Even though God describes these people as sick from the head to the sole of their feet (vs. 5, 6), God says they have the ability to cease from sin, they can learn to do well, they can reason with God, they can choose to be willing and obedient, or they can refuse and rebel.

    The scriptures do not describe us as a corpse without ability to hear and obey God. They do compare us to a sick or diseased person, but men retain the ability to respond to God and turn from sin and obey him. They can come to God for healing and cleansing from their sin.
     
    #8 Winman, Apr 3, 2011
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  9. Jarthur001

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    Van,

    Here is the point from my standpoint.

    Your premises show lack of understanding of Calvinism.
    Your logical fallacies are to many to go over...... but the funny thing is this. Yet you are so sure of yourself that you are right.

    If others do not reply, you act is if you have topped them.
    If they do reply to show you have not a clue about Calvinism, you cry out..."people are picking on me".

    To me, your threads have become a waste of time. You can't even address me by name....calling me "Calvinist".

    Your hate drives your life.
    You act like a sort of megalomaniac theologian. If you would listen when someone replies, maybe you would learn what Calvinism is, and will act a little better.
     
  10. Van

    Van
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    Yet more falsehoods, now you say I am sure I am right. I sure want my view to be right, but if someone presents scripture that indicates I have missed the mark, which Iconoclast did, I will switch my position and will publicly state I was mistaken. What I am sure of is that I make mistakes, and therefore, like all of us, I am not inerrant.

    Do I act as if I have "topped them." Do you see me as dancing around my computer after posting, thinking I sure topped that Calvinist." I am begging you, be reconciled to God and His word. Stick with what it says, and play it where it is, not where you want it to be.

    My posts are not about individual Calvinists, but about the false teaching that has taken them away from the truth of scripture in my opinion.

    Study Romans 9:16 in context, think through its implications, and I believe you will find more evidence that the TULI of Calvinism misses the mark.
     
    #10 Van, Apr 4, 2011
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  11. revmwc

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    I have known many who hold to the belief that when they were saved God willed thme to be saved at that time and they had no choice but to be saved.
    Paul makes it clear that God predestinated us to be children of God due to His foreknowledge.
    Romans 8: 29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

    30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

    God knew the choices a person would make, God did not will that person to be saved but since God knew ahead of time who would accept Christ those He Predestinated to be conformed or Christlike, and He called them, and He justified them and glorified them upon that choice being made.

    1st Peter 1: 2Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

    3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

    4To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

    5Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

    We are the elect because of God's foreknowledge and we are sanctified of the Spirit and we are saved by Grace in Christ effacacious work on the cross and because of His ressurection.

    God's will is that everyone be saved, that all come to repentence. So that if God willed some to be saved and iothers not too that would make Peter a liar when in 1 Peter 3: he state "9The 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" What does Peter say God's will for all mankind? That all should come to repentence, and by the 5 point Calvanist view that simply is not true, as they believe God willed certain to be saved and others not to be saved. God because He knew what our choice would be simply Predestinated our position in Christ.
     
  12. Van

    Van
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    Hi Revmwc, welcome the the fray. :)

    You are correct, when we are saved, it is because God willed us to be saved. He puts us in Christ and 100% of those given to Christ are saved.

    What divides us is why did God give us to Christ, what was the basis. We agree on the purpose, to choose a people for His own possession, so that we might declare is excellencies, in the more familiar phrase, glorify Him.

    2 Thessalonians 2:`13 says God chose the Thessalonians as first fruits for salvation through... faith in the truth. But since the one carrying out the action is God, the idea is God determining the one chose had faith in the truth, and then chose him or her on that basis.

    Paul did make it clear that God did predestinate us to become children of God due to His foreknowledge. But the issue that divides us is: Did God predestinate "us" individually, or corporately, the target group of His redemption planned, whoever Christ redeems?
    My view is Ephesians 1:4 refers to God choosing the Word to be His Redeemer, and therefore He chose us in Him [corporately] before the foundation of the world, Then during our lifetime, based on crediting our faith in Christ as righteousness, He puts us in Christ as now a member of that corporately elected group. Thus He chose us in Him corporately.

    So we were foreknown corporately, and predestined corporately before the foundation of the world, but then called out of darkness during our lifetime after hearing and learning (believing in Christ) from the gospel. And when we were called according to His purpose, we were spiritually placed in Christ and justified, the circumcision of Christ, and glorified, being spiritually in Heaven in Christ. When we are placed in Christ that gives us the right, as spiritual children of God, to be heirs of our inheritance, eternal life. When Christ comes, we will be resurrected bodily, and therefore become physical children of God, brethren of the first born from the dead, Christ Jesus our Lord.

    There is nothing in the bible that says God knows all the future choices we will make. It is possible, for all things are possible with God, but just because God could do something, does not in the least suggest He chose to do it.

    He predestined corporately anyone placed in Christ would be conformed to the image of Christ after they were placed spiritually in Christ. And He formulated this redemption plan, with conditional election of individuals based on crediting their faith as righteousness before the foundation of the world.

    We are the elect because God chose us individually during our lives based on crediting our faith in Christ as righteousness.

    God's will is that everyone be saved, that all come to repentance. So that if God willed some to be saved and others not too that would make Peter a liar when in 1 Peter 3: he state "9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" We totally agree on this point. Welcome to the fray my Arminian leaning brother. :)
     
    #12 Van, Apr 4, 2011
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  13. revmwc

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    I am not Armenian and I am not a Calvanist. There is one other choice that is Pauline although Paul said we are not to be of Paul or Appolos or Cephas but of Christ. I believe Paul's teaching on presdestination and salvation as a believer God foreknew us, just as he foreknew Esau and hated the choices he would make. God is Omnisceint, He knows all and I believe He knows every choice we are going to make. Nothing we do surprises Him because He is all knowing.
    God gave man a volition, the ability to choose for or against Him. Because He knew the choices we were going make before we were ever born. Since he knew our choices he appointed our place in the family. Adam was given a volition and he chose to disobey but God made the way of Salvation and Adam repented and trusted. Cain was given the chance to offer the more exceelent sacrifice and he chose not too, God gave him the opportunity to chose but did not force him to chose to reject God's plan. He was given every opportunity and he chose to reject. Esau was given many opportunities and he too chose to reject. Joseph was given choices and he chose to believe. Abraham chose to believe and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Noah preached for 120 years judgement was coming and all but the 8 that were saved chose to reject, God gave them every opportunity and they free made their choice to reject.
    God gave man volition which is one of the divine institutions God has given mankind. Everyone has a chance and a choice to make and they make that choice freely, God has just reserved a place in the family for those He knows will chose Him.
     
  14. Van

    Van
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    I am not an Arminian or Calvinist and I believe some of their views deviate from scripture including the writings of Paul. So far, so good.

    I too believe Paul's teaching on election, predestination and salvation. But we differ as to our understanding of what Paul taught.

    I believe God foreknew us but we differ on the manner of that foreknowledtge. I believe God formulated His redemption plan before creation and choose Christ before creation, and therefore chose us in Him before creation corporately, as the target group - those Christ redeems - of His redemption plan.

    God is Omniscient, but we differ as to what that means. My definition of Omniscience is God knows everything He has chosen to know, and therefore He could choose not to know beforehand what a person would do, in the same way He chose not to know if Abraham loved God more than his son, and therefore tested him to create an illustration of God's love for us being strong enough to sacrifice His Son.

    We agree that we were created with the capacity to choose autonomously, in a manner that alters the outcome of our lives. God passed over Esua and chose Jacob so that the older would serve the younger. God brought about, caused, the circumstances that fulfilled His promises. He did not look into a crystal ball and choose the one who would make decisions according to His promise, He brought them about.

    My minimalist view, believe what is said, not what is conjecture, differs from yours, but we both know Christ is at the center of everything, God Bless.
     
  15. Iconoclast

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    1] you do not understand foreknowledge
    2]it is not God's will that everyone be saved
    3] What does Peter say God's will for all mankind? it does not say..all mankind..it says to-usward[the elect]
    4] your god looks forward to see,or learn something ,the biblical God knows acts 15:18
     
  16. revmwc

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    But I do understand God foreknew us before we were ever born.
    God is not slack with his promise to us-ward, the believer. He is longsuffering God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentence is what Peter said. Notice the promises associated with salvation are for us-ward, believers. But that God is not willing that any (any human being) should not perish but that all (all mankind) should come to repentence. That is quite clear what Peter means, Gods promises are for believers and God divine will is that none should perish but all should come to repentence (salvation). Since God gave man a volition to make the choice then God's permiossive will enters the picture and the unbeliever perishes and doesn't come to repentence.
    Wow you actually put a verse that supports God foreknowing a persons thoughts here is the context of Acts 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.

    18Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

    19Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

    Man seeks after the Lord and God knew all mans (individuals) works from the beginning of the world. Looks like God knew what choices a person would make prior to their birth. God knew who would turn to God.

    Thanks for supporting the view of God forekowing what choices we would make.
     
  17. percho

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    I do not think it has anything to do with God foreknowing what choices we would make, however I do think these might be the same did foreknow and which from among the Gentiles and may be related to this verse Jer. 3:14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:

    Just who did God foreknow? Amos 3:1,2 Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.

    And where were the great majority of these people when Paul wrote Romans? Amos 9:9 For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, (Gentiles) Hosea 8:8 Israel (house of Israel see Hosea 1:6,7) is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles (nations) as a vessel wherein [is] no pleasure.

    What is God doing? Romans 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. Acts 15:14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
     
  18. ReformedBaptist

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    I asked before, so I wil ask again....where in the text does it say specifically that God kenw the choices a person would make?

    Isn't more correct to say that your reading that into the text? Look at it again...
     
  19. revmwc

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    Acts 15:18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
     
  20. Greektim

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    Scenarios and metaphors like these are hardly ever right. In this case, it assumes the harmful condition is something that only affects the life and death of a person. However, the Bible paints the picture of sin marring more than a person's spiritual estrangement to God. His thought process has also been corrupted. Therefore, to be accurate, in the situation above, the person given the key would, because of a fallen intellect we might call insanity here in our story, would throw the key down a toilet laughing at his own demise while watching it circle the bowl. That paints a much more accurate picture.

    And why is it that when someone depicts the gift of salvation, it always has that added "response" motif as if that was necessary. Somone, I believe on this board, pointed out that the picture of salvation as a gift is more like someone depositing money in your account without your knowledge. It is not up for you to decide if you want it or not. It is there. It was conditioned on the one who put it in the account and not the one receiveing it. I like that!
     

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