How do Calvinists interpret John 3:16

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Amy.G, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. Amy.G

    Amy.G
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    I am just beginning to learn about Calvinism so forgive my ignorance. :) If God has already chosen those who will be saved, what does John 3:16 mean? Why did our Lord say: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
    Also, if we back up to verse 14: And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
    Numbers 21:9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.
    I would like an interpretation of these scriptures from a Calvinist's perspective.
    Thanks!:1_grouphug:
     
  2. reformedbeliever

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    John 3:16 means that anyone who believes would be saved.... but lets look at context. Jesus told Nic that if you wanted to be saved, you would have to be born again. Now if we read in context we will see that God sent His Son to save, but keep reading. In verse 19 we see that men (all men) loved darkness rather than the light. Where does this take us?.... right back to the beginning of the chapter where Jesus said you must be born again". It takes more than mere belief. Even demons believe and fear and tremble. You must have faith, not just mere belief. How does one have faith? In the beginning of John 1 we see that one who believes, one who has received Jesus, was born not of blood or flesh or the will of man, but of God.

    Amy, God does love the world ( all races of men). He does not love everyone inclusively. (psalms 5:5 and many others) He came to die for His sheep. His sheep are those who believe with faith. (born of God)
     
  3. webdog

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    That is the worst exegesis of John 3:16 I have read! This is nothing but mere logic in trying to read and fit regeneration prior to faith into that text. Pure example of eisegesis. Being born again prior to faith in Christ has NEVER been proven Scripturally from any reformed theologian (Spurgeon, Edwards, Pink, Piper, Macarthur,), but you just so happen to have it figured out?
     
  4. reformedbeliever

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    Webdog, do you think the act of believeing is an exercise of the will? I do. Men are not born again by the will of man, but of God. John 1:13
     
  5. webdog

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    I agree with everything you said, so I guess I'm a little confused what your point is...
     
  6. reformedbeliever

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    Regeneration (born again) is by the will of God not man. John 1:13
     
  7. webdog

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    ...still agreeing...
     
  8. reformedbeliever

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    Well webdog, I'm not sure what you do not understand. The context of John 3 is being born again. That is what Jesus told Nic. God does love the whole world ( all types of men) but men loved darkness rather than light. They must be born again of God. The whole of John could be read in the context of being born again. If one did read understanding that, the whole would be easier understood.
     
  9. russell55

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    I see you're highlighted "whosoever believes" in each passage. Is that the part you want explanation for? If so, I think you might misunderstand Calvinism a little. Calvinists believe that believing is necessary for salvation, and that everyone who believes is saved, and the purpose of Christ coming to die is to save the believing ones. So there is no different Calvinistic interpretation of that phrase.

    You've also highlighted "loved the world". I see that as saying that the way God loved the world is by sending his son. It's a loving act toward the world for God to have sent his son to save the believing ones. If I were translating the verse from the Greek, I'd do it more like the NET does:
     
  10. webdog

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    Ahhh...now I see where we don't agree :) ...the placement of "born again".

    Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children (one can only become a child after being "born") of God, even to them that believe on his name:
     
  11. reformedbeliever

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    Exactly.... they can not be a child until they are born again..... of God, not the will of man. Now you have it webdog....lol
     
  12. av1611jim

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    So....in the Calvinists theology one must be born again BEFORE they can believe?

    Do I have that right?
     
  13. reformedbeliever

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    That is what God said. John 1:12-13
     
  14. webdog

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    1. Receive Him (Christ)
    2. Become children of God (born again)

    The order is very simple.
     
  15. christianyouth

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    My main problem, is that John does not say that the phrase "the world" means all types of men. It seems to be literal in the sense that John is literally saying, the entire world, the Earth.
     
  16. reformedbeliever

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    Even if you look at it as world (inclusively) you still have verse 19 that says men loved darkness rather than the light. What is the verdict is exactly what is being said.... you must be born again.

    Webdog seems to think that receiving Christ ( all the work of God ) is by believeing.... but verse 13 of John 1 says differently.... it says being born not by the will of man but of God. To believe is to exercise your will......... hense John pointed out that is is not by an exercise of your will but of God's.
     
  17. reformedbeliever

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    Is it an act of the will to receive Him, webdog? Do you have to exercise your will? I think you will answer yes. Maybe you will not, but I think the way you believe you will have to. Verse 13 explains verse 12 webdog. Who were born .... who? those who receive Him, even those who believe... they were born not by an exercise of the will of man but of God. If you believe differently then explain please.
     
  18. webdog

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    If it's God's will to offer a gift, and my will to accept it...is the process God's will or mine? After accepting the gift, we are "born again". God is the first cause, so no, we are not born again solely on our will.
     
    #18 webdog, Dec 27, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 27, 2006
  19. 2 Timothy2:1-4

    2 Timothy2:1-4
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    To be born again prior to belief makes the cross useless. The reformed argument is that if man must believe prior to salvation then it is a works based faith as some action was necessary on the part of man in order to be saved. Salvation is based on the work of the cross and no other work. Mans belief prior to salvation does not in fact add more works to the equation. thje credit for salvation does not go to man regardless of any action on his part. Credit only goes to Him who has the authority and power to give salvation. Reformed theology only muddies the waters.
     
  20. Amy.G

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    I agree. The other posts confuse me. My reason for asking about John 3:16 is if Jesus came to save the world, how can someone say He came for only the ones chosen by God before time? I know that not everyone will be saved as some will reject the Savior, but it seems as though God offers salvation to everyone, not just a few. Just like the serpent on the pole in the wilderness.. whoever looked upon it was saved, whoever did not look perished. It was their choice. It seems to me that Calvinism removes any choice by humans to accept or reject the Savior. If this is the case, when an unchosen person stands before God in the judgement and is asked to give an account, how can they be judged guilty of something they had no control over. It's like if I were to chose members for a team. Some I choose, some I reject. Later on I ask one who had been rejected, "why weren't you on the team?" They would answer, "because I was rejected, I couldn't be on the team, I had no choice." The only way we can be judged guilty of rejecting the Savior is if we had a choice to begin with.
     

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