For Calvinists

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Freshchicken, Jan 30, 2004.

  1. Freshchicken

    Freshchicken
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    Can you refute this web page that argues that the Arminian concept of salvation is not works based?
     
  2. massdak

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    i do not think all calvinist consider belief as a work, some do but some dont. the main contention is that belief or saving faith is wrought from God and not a human decision into believing a spiritual truth of Jesus as Lord,unless it is by His Spirit.
     
  3. Ian Major

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    Freshchicken asked, 'Can you refute this web page that argues that the Arminian concept of salvation is not works based?'

    Yes. Whatever way they cut it, Arminians make salvation a work of man. Belief springs soley from the human heart in their system - and gives the believer something to boast of. But let Scripture speak:
    KJV - Ephesians 2: 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

    'It is the gift of God' - faith is exercised by man, but provided by God.

    In Him

    Ian
     
  4. AllOfGrace

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    Ian Major,

    Amen! Just as in Hebrews 11 it is written that, without faith it is impossible to please Him, we must also understand that faith pleases Him so much that He was pleased to give it to us!

    AOG
     
  5. John Owen

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    well fresh, I do not know about refuting it, for such things are subjective, proofs are person specific, according to theologian John Frame, and what might be persuasive for one person, might be quite unconvincing for another. At any rate, I can say that the article was largely unpersuasive to me because while it is the case that Jesus says that belief is a work, He does not, in the passage focused on, say how it is that a person comes by this saving faith or belief, for clearly, not just any kind of faith or belief saves, as James makes quite clear.
    James 2:18-20 But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works." 19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. NASU

    In John 3 I believe we do see how this kind of faith comes to be, Jesus says that only those who are born from above are saved, and those who are thusly born, are such resulting from the Holy Spirit's direct activity, producing belief in some, and leaving others in their sins.

    John 3:4-8 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?" 5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 " That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 "Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' 8 " The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
    NASU

    Fallen man is, by nature, one who is "in the flesh", and Paul makes it clear that one who is in the flesh cannot please God.
    Rom 8:6-8 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God." NASU

    And all Paul is doing here is echoing Jesus' words in John 6:63 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing". Thus any activity done by a person in the flesh is not profitable, is not pleasing, and could not result in saving belief. Saving faith itself, is a gift from God. Eph 2:8-9.

    And I think we would all agree that when someone savingly believes in God, it is a good thing, and would most definitely be something that is pleasing to God. But remember, we are told that no one in the flesh can (ie no one possesses the ability) please God. Rather, it is the person who is in the Spirit that pleases God, and the only way for someone to be in the Spirit is if they are born from above. And the Spirit sovereignly goes where and to whom He pleases. Belief is a work required by God to be saved. And only the elect are given that ability. Jesus is very clear about this, in the very chapter the author of the article focuses on, namely chapter 6 of John's Gospel. John 6:63-65 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. 64 "But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. 65 And He was saying, "For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father." NASU

    Admitedly this doctrine is not popular today. It seems man wants to be at the center of everything, and he wants a religion that is on his own terms. The idea of a sovereign God choosing a Bride for Himself, of choosing a people for Himself, and not choosing others just doesn't sit well with the modern mind, its not politically correct, especially here in the democratic west. Many falsely believe that God casts His vote for your soul, and so does Satan, it is you who must cast the deciding vote. No. If God casts His vote for you, there will be no vetoing it from any quarter. Likewise there is the common analogy of a drowning man, who represents the sinner dying in his sins. A life preserver is thrown to him, indicating the Gospel message, and all he has to do is reach out and grab the preserver, i.e. exercise saving faith, and he will be saved. However the biblical portrait of the sinful man, the man in the flesh, is not one of someone drowning. No. Rather it is the picture of a man already fast asleep in Davey Jones' locker, he is dead. The only thing that will save him is the miracle of the new birth.


    So back to the point that the idea of God choosing a people for Himself, that He paid a price for a specific people, being unpopular.... well, it was the same in Jesus' day. Look at the very next verse in chapter 6:

    John 6:66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.
    NASU

    This is my 2 cents anyway.....

    blessings
     
  6. John Owen

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    I suppose I should also note that the author's stating
    appears to be arbitrary. This is so because the OT clearly indicates that one is to exercise faith in God, and to not do so is a sin. For instance Israel is reprimanded in the following passage for not believing;
    (2 Ki 17:14 NNAS) However, they did not listen, but stiffened their neck like their fathers, who did not believe in the LORD their God."

    The Psalmist says the same; (Psa 78:21-22 NNAS) Therefore the LORD heard and was full of wrath; And a fire was kindled against Jacob And anger also mounted against Israel, {22} Because they did not believe in God And did not trust in His salvation."

    and again;
    (Psa 78:31-32 NNAS) The anger of God rose against them And killed some of their stoutest ones, And subdued the choice men of Israel. {32} In spite of all this they still sinned And did not believe in His wonderful works."


    Thus there is no seperate category for the concept of belief, one concept that Paul held, and another for the OT. In other words, belief in God is a command, a law. And this simple point destroys the article's foundational premise, making his arguments of none effect.
     
  7. Yelsew

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    Ian said,
    Yes. Whatever way they cut it, Arminians make salvation a work of man. Belief springs soley from the human heart in their system - and gives the believer something to boast of. But let Scripture speak:
    KJV - Ephesians 2: 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

    'It is the gift of God' - faith is exercised by man, but provided by God.

    In Him

    Ian</font>[/QUOTE]You are declaring that Paul, in Ephesians, says faith is a gift of God! You are wrong! “it is a gift of God” refers to “are ye saved”. If this statement were to be written in modern English, it would read thusly. While God’s grace is present, you are saved through your faith, and not of anything you do, salvation is a gift of God, Not of works so no one can boast.

    And in what part of the human does the Calvinist belief system reside? Is it not in the human heart as “heart” is used to describe the “inner man”, or spirit?

    What is there to boast about if one accepts a truth that he or she did not originate?
    What is there to boast about if one accepts a promise made, that provides something for one to hope for?

    What is faith? [Heb 11:1] Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Everyone has faith in something or someone. Faith in a fishing pole is not a gift of God. Faith in a national governmental system is not God given, Faith in the tires on your car is not God given. Faith in God is not God given either.

    Where does it come from? [Rom 10:17] So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Scripture does not say that faith comes from God, but rather by man hearing God’s word. Faith is man’s belief in something or some one that is sustained, and which most often shapes that which man does.

    What is there to boast about if one believes in someone else?

    Suggest you try a different approach!
     
  8. Yelsew

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    Perhaps you Calvinist linguistics experts can identify which of these definitions requires work. I certainly cannot find a single one. But then I don't have limited "elect-ive" thinking as most Calvinists do.

    Keep in mind that I am not an Arminian either!
     
  9. massdak

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    Perhaps you Calvinist linguistics experts can identify which of these definitions requires work. I certainly cannot find a single one. But then I don't have limited "elect-ive" thinking as most Calvinists do.

    Keep in mind that I am not an Arminian either!
    </font>[/QUOTE]yelsew what do you believe in that will keep you safe for all eternity ?
     
  10. Yelsew

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    I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ who died in my stead, so that I have life everlasting by believing in Him.

    What do you believe?
     
  11. massdak

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    to use a quote of paul i know whom i have believed that is Christ &gt;&gt;&gt;
    2Ti 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
     
  12. Yelsew

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    That makes us brothers in Christ.

    So why did you ask? Have I not made it clear all along who I believe in?

    It seems to me that you are concerned about my faith, can you amplify and express your concern?
     
  13. massdak

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    that depends yelsew if your faith is in the biblical Jesus that saves and keeps you saved and that cannot be lost unless you never had it.
     
  14. Yelsew

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    that depends yelsew if your faith is in the biblical Jesus that saves and keeps you saved and that cannot be lost unless you never had it. </font>[/QUOTE]Well since you put it that way, let me tell you something else I believe.

    Once a relationship with Jesus has been established, Jesus says that HE will never leave us nor forsake us. I believe Jesus is absolutely true and that He will never take the action to sever our relationship. However, that relationship does often get broken because we humans work our way out of the relationship...Not because Jesus failed, but because we failed to maintain. We allow our unconfessed sins to be driven between Holy God and sinful man like a wedge. That wedge of sin causes our human faith to wain and soon it becomes non existant. Oh yes, we can say that we believe, but your lives do not show any evidence of our belief.

    God the Son remains where He is in our relationship, and we move away! God the son is the Constant, we are the variables.

    So if you are telling me Once Saved Always Saved is the only relationship between man and Holy God, I must tell you your are absolutely WRONG! One is saved only so long as one stays completely committed to the relationship, the same with human marriage. Hence, the parables and illustrations such as "one shall be taken the other left behind", "the vined dresser at work, the different kinds of ground upon which the sower's seed falls. etc. And then there is temptation from the Father of Lies. No matter who you are temptation is always present knocking at your door attempting to seduce you away from your relationship with God the Son.

    God the Son is in a place where He cannot be seduced, nor moved by any force whatever. But man is not! Man can be conned, man can be tempted, man can be urged away, man can stop believing in one object of faith and take up believing in another.

    So my friend You believe a false doctrine if you believe ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED! If you have faith when you die in the flesh, then you truly are saved for all eternity. If along the way you lose your faith in God, you will be cast into the lake of fire.
     
  15. massdak

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    that depends yelsew if your faith is in the biblical Jesus that saves and keeps you saved and that cannot be lost unless you never had it. </font>[/QUOTE]Well since you put it that way, let me tell you something else I believe.

    Once a relationship with Jesus has been established, Jesus says that HE will never leave us nor forsake us. I believe Jesus is absolutely true and that He will never take the action to sever our relationship. However, that relationship does often get broken because we humans work our way out of the relationship...Not because Jesus failed, but because we failed to maintain. We allow our unconfessed sins to be driven between Holy God and sinful man like a wedge. That wedge of sin causes our human faith to wain and soon it becomes non existant. Oh yes, we can say that we believe, but your lives do not show any evidence of our belief.

    God the Son remains where He is in our relationship, and we move away! God the son is the Constant, we are the variables.

    So if you are telling me Once Saved Always Saved is the only relationship between man and Holy God, I must tell you your are absolutely WRONG! One is saved only so long as one stays completely committed to the relationship, the same with human marriage. Hence, the parables and illustrations such as "one shall be taken the other left behind", "the vined dresser at work, the different kinds of ground upon which the sower's seed falls. etc. And then there is temptation from the Father of Lies. No matter who you are temptation is always present knocking at your door attempting to seduce you away from your relationship with God the Son.

    God the Son is in a place where He cannot be seduced, nor moved by any force whatever. But man is not! Man can be conned, man can be tempted, man can be urged away, man can stop believing in one object of faith and take up believing in another.

    So my friend You believe a false doctrine if you believe ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED! If you have faith when you die in the flesh, then you truly are saved for all eternity. If along the way you lose your faith in God, you will be cast into the lake of fire.
    </font>[/QUOTE]and in light of that, this is why i have continuing concern regarding your faith.
    examine yourself to see if your election is sure. you should be trusting Jesus to keep you despite your best efforts and even considering your own efforts as of no use in keeping your salvation. and if you trust Him your faith will endure for sure
     
  16. Yelsew

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    I am quite sure of my faith, and that is all that a person can be sure of. You certainly cannot be sure of my faith, you have enough to handle with your own faith.

    Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. What surity is there in hope? All we have to go on is Promises! What assurance does one have in what cannot be seen? Have you seen God? "No man has seen God and lived".

    Perhaps in your spirit God has given you a glimpse of heaven, but you have not been there and seen it. All you have is the "spiritual evidence" of things unseen. Thus you have no surity, only faith! You have no assurance that there is such a thing as 'the elect', All you have is a concept that such may exist. You cannot prove that such exists! You cannot prove that God exists, that is what faith is all about! So for you to question my faith is an exercise in judgment. Judge not lest ye be judged.

    So If I were you I'd question my own faith, instead of questioning the faith of others.
     
  17. Ian Major

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    Yelsew said:
    'You are declaring that Paul, in Ephesians, says faith is a gift of God! You are wrong! “it is a gift of God” refers to “are ye saved”. If this statement were to be written in modern English, it would read thusly. While God’s grace is present, you are saved through your faith, and not of anything you do, salvation is a gift of God, Not of works so no one can boast.
    And in what part of the human does the Calvinist belief system reside? Is it not in the human heart as “heart” is used to describe the “inner man”, or spirit?'


    Hi, Yelsew. Yes, the reference of 'gift' to faith or salvation is debated by the commentators and grammarians. So I agree to differ with you on that.

    Let me then point out that Repentance, Faith's twin, is clearly declared to be the gift of God.

    Acts 5:31
    Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
    Acts 11:18
    When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life."
    2 Timothy 2:25
    in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,


    But you touch on the crux of the argument when you point out that faith springs from the heart. Here is how the Lord explained the parable of the sower,
    Luke 8:11 "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

    When folk who have 'a noble and good heart' hear the Word, they sincerely embrace it. This would be good grounds for boasting. 'I believed and my neighbour did not, because I have a noble and good heart and my neighbour hasn't'.

    But to refute such a mistaken thinking God has revealed just where we get 'a noble and good heart'. Jeremiah 31:31 "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah-- 32not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, "Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

    God puts His Law in the hearts and minds of His people. This is the difference between the Old Covenant, which depended on man's 'free-will' and the New Covenant, which depends on God taking captive our will.

    Hear what God says through Ezekiel,
    Ezek. 36:26I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

    And here is a NT example:Acts 16:14
    Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.

    God meets vile wretches, with stoney hearts and gives them hearts of flesh, hearts that are willing to obey Him, noble and good hearts. These sinners have nothing to boast of, for 'who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?' I Cor.4:7.

    Calvinism is not denying the operation of the human heart in faith and repentance - it totally believes in it, but knows that it is God who gives us the New Heart that will gladly repent and believe the gospel.

    In Him

    Ian
     
  18. Yelsew

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    Ian, you err when you bring the concept of "noble and good heart". That is nowhere in the parable. The ground that is good, is ground that is receptive to seed, and ground that is capable of incubating life, nourishing life and retaining adequate moisture for the the sustenance of that life. The ground has nothing to do with its abilities. The ground exists in "good life condition" due to the circumstances in which its ingredients came together. Likewise the rocky soil is that way because of the many variations that exist. The weedy soil is good soil in which there are deficiencies that cause weeds to grow. the hard soil is hard because of its circumstances.

    There is no reason for one to boast, because they had nothing to do with their condition or circumstances when the seed was sown.
     
  19. Ian Major

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    Yelsew, you said, 'Ian, you err when you bring the concept of "noble and good heart". That is nowhere in the parable.'

    The Lord Jesus said, 'But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with A NOBLE AND GOOD HEART, keep it and bear fruit with patience.' Luke 8:15 [emphasis mine].

    Your argument is not with my interpretation, my brother. In the light of that, review what I wrote concerning the human heart.

    In Him

    Ian
     

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