How do Calvinists explain this passage?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by William C, Mar 1, 2003.

  1. William C

    William C
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    Look at the Rich young ruler. When he turned away from following Christ, Jesus specifically said that it is more difficult for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom.

    Why?

    If men are chosen by God before the foundation of the world and effectually called, what difference would their wealth make on their coming into the kingdom?

    The only way this makes any sense is if a man's will is involved in deciding or "considering the cost" of following Christ.

    Money blinds the heart of many people. Money or "the love for it" affects man's decisions. Apparently, it affects men's decision to follow Christ.

    How do Calvinists explain this passage?
     
  2. sturgman

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    Does God cause anyone in scripture to be spiritually blind? Of course he does, we all see it. How does he do that? I see that he can use many different means to do so. Just as he uses many different means to call his elect. Money is one of those means, that man can trust in themselves rather than trust in the one who controls their wealth.

    Again, I see "counting the cost" in scripture to always speak of sanctification rather than justification.
     
  3. tnelson

    tnelson
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    Question: "Who then can be saved?

    Answer: "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

    Jesus was underscoring the impossibility of anyone's being saved by merit. Since wealth was deemed proof of God's approval, and those who had it could give more money, it was commonly thought that rich people were the most likely candidates for heaven. Jesus destroyed that notion, and along with it , the notion that anyone can merit enough divine favor to gain entrance into heaven.

    Salvation is possible only through divine grace.
    You cannot work your way in like the rich young ruler thought he could.

    It's all about GRACE, GOD's GRACE

    mike
     
  4. Frogman

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    I don't equate salvation, nor the church to the kingdom.

    God Bless.
    Bro. Dallas
     
  5. William C

    William C
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    Could you elaborate for us?
     
  6. William C

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    Why? Why does God cause people to be spiritually blind if they're already naturally blind from birth due to the Fall? This doesn't make any sense. You've got Jesus speaking in parables and God Hardening hearts of people whom you claim are born spiritually unable to understand or beleive in the first place. It's pure none sense!

    The sancification process nor the justificatioin process will begin until one considers the cost of following Christ.

    Can a man be Justified, then sit down and consider the cost of following Christ as if that decision wasn't already made? I am not following you.
     
  7. The Archangel

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    Bill,

    Passages: Matt. 19:16-24 and Luke 18:18-30

    Context: A person comes to Jesus and asks about eternal life. This person has many possessions. Luke call him a "ruler." So, this person was, most likely, a rich ruler of a synagogue.

    The text is from the Matthew Passage.

    16 Just then someone came up and asked Him, "Teacher, what good must I do to have eternal life?" 17 "Why do you ask Me about what is good?" He said to him. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."

    Ok. Jesus, right off the bat, nails down the criteria--Keep the commandments. To a synagogue ruler this would have great meaning.

    18 "Which ones?" he asked Him. Jesus answered, "You shall not murder; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; 19 honor your father and your mother; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself. 20 "I have kept all these," the young man told Him. "What do I still lack?"

    Together, Jesus and the ruler go through a score card.

    21 "If you want to be perfect," Jesus said to him, "go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me." 22 When the young man heard that command, he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.

    Since Jesus had just listed off the 10 commandments, He chose to test the ruler on commandment number one: "No other Gods." Obviously, this ruler had not kept the commandments as he thought he had. When tested with the first one, "Who (or what) do you worship?," he fails.

    The ruler proves that his money and possessions are his god.

    23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "I assure you: It is hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven! 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God."

    Those who worship things and money, etc., usually find a way to emass these things, usually to the exclusion of all and everyone else. When a person has their hearts bent around that goal, it is real hard for someone to see that they need God. That is, unless God regenerates his heart and he sees his need for God and then begins to search after Him.

    Blessings,

    Archangel
     
  8. William C

    William C
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    Yes and just a chapter before Jesus says, "Everything is possible for him who believes."

    Arminians don't have any problem with this passage. For men alone, salvation is impossible. God provided the atonement for sin, and the gospel message which brings faith to those who hear it, and the Holy Spirit who calls all men and indwells those who respond in faith. This passage is true, without God that would be quite impossible!

    I agree, but you seem to think that faith is viewed as a merit. Paul obviously doesn't think so in Romans 3:27-31 as he set up faith as in opposition to observing the law.

    Look at the story of Christ healing a possesed boy in Mark 9:14 and following. Did God show this man mercy? Yes. Why? Because the man had faith. He didn't have much and he had to ask the Lord to help him in his unbelief, but the condition upon which the man received mercy in this situation and in many others was based upon their faith.

    So too, our salvation is conditional upon us having faith in Christ. And faith is not seen by scripture as a merit or a "work of the Law."

    This really doesn't address the question: How is it more difficult for a rich man to enter heaven if God effectually calls all who are saved?

    Correct, and grace is applied through faith, not the work of the Law, like this man thought.

    Apparently this Rich Ruler believed Jesus was a "good teacher" but he obviously didn't have saving faith in Christ. Why? Was it because he wasn't effectually called by the Holy Spirit? No. According to Jesus it was because his wealth affected his decision.
     
  9. Yelsew

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    There is not one investor anywhere in the world that would give up what he has to follow an itinerant preacher. Most of you would likewise not give up what little you may have to follow an itinerate preacher. You just would not do it, which is your free will choice!
     
  10. William C

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    Angel, I agreed with your entire post as you clearly explained Jesus' discourse with the Rich Young Ruler, until you got to this last paragraph.

    You write, "It is real hard for someone to see that they need God." Why did you say "it's real hard." That makes it sound like it is possible, but just difficult for someone to see that they need God. Calvinist are usually really careful not to say that. Did you mean to say that "it's real hard" or did you mean "it's impossible."

    I think we all know why you didn't use the word "impossible." Jesus doesn't use that word so you didn't feel like you could take that liberity. The reason that it is "very hard" for this man to see that he "needs God." Is because he is blinded by his wealth. This is clearly presented in such a way that it appears that this man would be more capable of entering into heaven had he not been wealthy.
     
  11. The Archangel

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    Bill,

    My friend, Please don't put words into my mouth. No one can see their need for God without His intervention.

    Verse 24 says, "24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God."

    I don't know about you but I think a camel going through the eye of a needle is impossible.

    Now, you may suggest, as some have, that the eye of the needle is a gate to the city of Jerusalem and that a camel had to duck, with great difficulty, when going through it. I doubt this interpretation.

    Anyway, within the entire Biblical framework there are passages, like Romans 3 and Ephesians 2 which suggest that it is impossible for anyone to come to God unless God first draws him.

    Blessings,

    Archangel
     
  12. tyndale1946

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    Here you go again Brother Bill sending another one to hell that didn't belong there... The rich young ruler was commanded to follow Jesus... I dare say there isn't one on this board equal to the rich young ruler... Who kept all those thing since his youth... One thing thou lackest sell all your goods to feed the poor and follow me... Where to heaven?... No in fellowship... It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven... The kingdom of heaven is the church... The called out to follow the Lord... Now you want to make it the eternal heaven... Then explain how Abraham and Job got there who were very wealthy?... Jesus is teaching a lesson in fellowship here... As the young ruler was very sorrowful because he couldn't lay aside all his wealth to follow the Lord as some are today... And it is not always money?... That's what a Primitive Baptist would tell you and probably not a Calvinist... That's the way I understand this scripture... Brother Glen [​IMG]
     
  13. Frogman

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    I agree Bro. Glen.

    God Bless.

    Bro. Bill,

    I don't equate salvation to the church, why? The church does not save any.

    I don't equate salvation to the kingdom, why? the kingdom does not save any.

    Salvation Was accomplished at the Cross. Being a member of the church is different, entering into the kingdom is different. This will soon get us into ecclesiology and cause our departure from soteriology, so I will leave off there. (I am pre-millennial and landmark, give some thought to what these are and you will know the meaning of my statement without further elaboration.

    God Bless.
    Bro. Dallas [​IMG]
     
  14. William C

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    I'm not putting words in your mouth, you wrote: "It is real hard for someone to see that they need God." Now you are saying, "No one can see their need for God without His intervention." If you just "misspoke" the first time, fine, but don't blame me for putting words in your mouth.

    And the reason you doubt this interpretation is because verse 24 would be contradicting your premise that it is "impossible" for someone enter heaven and not just "difficult" or "hard" as the actual scripture says. Right?

    Well, if we take that interpretation then Jesus has just told us that it is impossible for this man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Why? Because he is rich. Is it now impossible for some people to be saved, just because they are rich? Well, since those who live in America are in the top 5% of the world's wealthest people; I guess we are all doomed. :confused:

    We agree that God seeks us and calls us to himself. We disagree about the fact that this calling must be effectual and limited to the elect.

    Romans 3 simply says, "no one seeks God." We all believe this. Christ seeks and saves that which is lost. How does he seek his lost? The apostles were appointed to spead the gospel throughout the world along with the general calling of the HS is God's chosen method of seeking out the lost.

    Eph 2 simply says that we were dead in our sins until God made us alive. You assume that He makes us "alive" by an arbitary choice rather than through the means of faith. You also assume that "spiritually dead" must mean that we are unable to have faith, but that is never taught in the text. The analogy of being "dead" doesn't have to mean "total inability." That is just an unsupported Calvinistic assumption.

    With Respect,
    Bill
     
  15. KenH

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    So why didn't God simply take away his wealth so he could enter heaven?
     
  16. William C

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    Wow. So the "kingdom of heaven" or the "kingdom of God" is not the eternal heaven? I'll have to remember that next time a Calvinists uses John 3 when Jesus speaks to Nicodemus about being born again.

    I guess you believe that in order for Nicodemus to see the church he must be born again.

    What about this passage out of Luke 13:

    27And he will reply, `I tell you, I don't know you. Go away, all you who do evil.'28"And there will be great weeping and gnashing of teeth, for you will see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets within the Kingdom of God, but you will be thrown out.29Then people will come from all over the world to take their places in the Kingdom of God.30And note this: Some who are despised now will be greatly honored then; and some who are greatly honored now will be despised then."

    So, you believe that we are going to see Abraham and these fathers of our faith in the church?

    Glenn and Dallas, you need to explain this further.

    Through faith, like the rest of us.
    "Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness."

    You have a weird way of understanding the scriptures. You think Jesus was just saying it is difficult to have fellowship with rich people? Please explain this.

    With Respect,
    Bill
     
  17. William C

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    So why didn't God simply take away his wealth so he could enter heaven? </font>[/QUOTE]Well, Ken, maybe He did, we don't know. Or maybe he allowed that man to consider the cost for himself.
     
  18. KenH

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    If you believe that God is not willing for anyone to perish(of his own free will), and if taking away the man's wealth would have caused the man to come to Christ(by his own free will), then to be consistent I think you must believe that God took away the man's wealth.
     
  19. The Archangel

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    Bill,

    I guess you'd have to know me and hear my inflections. "Real Hard" in the first post was and is intended to mean impossible.

    You asked this honest question and, admitedly, I did not read it as clearly as I should--through to the end.
    I should have clarified and said "It's impossible." The whole "words in my mouth" thing was based on this part of your next paragraph: I think we all know why you didn't use the word "impossible."

    No, that is not why I reject that interpretation. Jesus usually illustrates points He makes with ludicrious examples. This is one of them. He takes the largest common animal and has you imagine it fitting through the smallest imaginable hole. The "wooden" attempt to define this example as the camel ducking through a gate of Jerusalem misses Jesus' sense of humor and it misses that it is impossible. [taken from R.T.France "Matthew" in the Tyndale New Testament Comentaries, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985) 287.]

    No, that's not what I said. Besides, the following verses show that, indeed, it is impossible. However, God makes the impossible possible. Look here: 23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "I assure you: It is hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven! 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." 25 When the disciples heard this, they were utterly astonished and asked, "Then who can be saved?" 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

    It is further obvious from this passage that anyone can be saved provided God makes it possible.

    Blessings,

    Archangel
     
  20. The Archangel

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    Bill,

    Ok, let me turn the tables. Why does Rom 3 and Eph 2 NOT support total inability?

    Blessings,

    Archangel
     

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