Is Faith A Choice?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Tumbleweed, Aug 9, 2004.

  1. Tumbleweed

    Tumbleweed
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    Somewhere recently, Ray asserted that we believe something because we choose to, which although it is a point that is closely aligned to everything else in this discussion, it is very specific and helpful. Predictably, I disagree with Ray on this.

    As an illustration, Ray wrote of how we choose to believe our car will get us to work, otherwise we would walk. Now surely he has drawn a wrong conclusion here: The reason I believe my car will get me to work is not simply because I choose to believe this, but because I have very convincing EVIDENCE that it is so. IE: It is obviously capable of doing so, It always has in the past, it is in good mechanical condition, etc.

    If you will allow that I am not insane, then under these conditions, I cannot do otherwise than believe the car will get me there. The evidence leaves me with no choice but to believe it.

    Apart from the usual tautologies, can anyone give an intelligible response to the proposition that FAITH IS A RESPONSE TO THE EVIDENCE PERCEIVED?

    - Paul
     
  2. Me2

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    without the spirit of the testator within our very being....the evidence is hear say.

    1Jo 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

    In The flesh...although many have applied this to Jesus existing in his own flesh 2000 years ago. this is hearsay to me. To be evidence I cann rely on. the truth of the statement would point to HIS SPIRIT BEING WITHIN MY FLESH TODAY.

    1Jo 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
    1Jo 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

    GREATER IS HE THAT IS "IN ME". THE EVIDENCE OF THE RESURRECTED SPIRIT.

    faith is not a product of my mind. it is a product of my spirit. In the case of those possessing the spirit of Christ. It is the faith of Christ based on the evidence of what He has experienced and proven to first himself and then to me. I have the evidence within me. of his death burial and resurrection. as he was resurrected from death.

    so am I.

    and then there the seal of the Holy Spirit. The accompanying witness of the love of God to me.

    If the spirit within me yearns for the love of the father. It yearns to be one with the fathers love. The holy spirit is supplying this love of the father proving to me that we are one.

    1Jo 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

    the evidence of Love between father and son makes us one. ergo the commands. love man, love God is evident. as I am Loved, I set forth to love.

    and this means "all" of the fathers creation. not some. we are becoming Christ. the reconciler to the father. if we hold back love from any. we prove ourselves to be false witnesses.

    Me2
     
  3. npetreley

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    Let's get straight to the point. We are asked to believe without any tangible evidence other than manuscripts that God exists, that God chose to be born as a man who lived, went around healing people supernaturally, willingly died on a cross to suffer for our sins, and rose again, after which He disappeared into the sky to intercede for us to the Father. We've never seen this man, and we've never seen this Father.

    If you can "choose" to believe this of your own free will, then I challenge everyone here to prove it by choosing of their own free will to believe that they will inherit eternal life by trusting in their left sock.
     
  4. Skandelon

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    You guys make it sound as if we believe in Christ without any assistance from above. NO ONE HERE BELIEVES THAT!

    Once again you are attacking a straw man based upon your presumption that if God's divine call is not irresistable then it must be all together powerless. That is absurd!

    MOVE ON!
     
  5. Me2

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    Skandelon,

    are you saying that the spirit of man called Jesus Christ who has been resurrected from death does not reside within man as needed proof of evidence to have the proper faith towards God?

    (apart from the infinite and absolute spiritual connection of the father, Son and Holy Spirit)

    Me2
     
  6. Johnv

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    The decision to follow Christ and have a relationship with him is a choice. (not to be confused with Christ having a relationship with us, which is not our choice).
     
  7. Ray Berrian

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    Is Faith A Choice?

    We too, believe that the Spirit of God is active in bringing sinners to Christ.

    John 5:40 says, 'And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life.' Jesus is eternal there for all sinners, [I John 4:14] but they must ask for forgiveness through His Name. God does not switch certain sinner on and turn others off like a button on a busy street in town, where there is a red light.

    'He wishes all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.' [I Timothy 2:4] Check the words 'will have' in the Greek. The true God is God Who has a universal love, mercy and justice toward all depraved persons, who are in need of grace and everlasting life from Him.
     
  8. Skandelon

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    Uh? :confused:

    I don't know what I said that made you write this but I am pretty sure you missed my point...................I have no idea what you are talking about here.
     
  9. dianetavegia

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    Luke 17:5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. 6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you...

    John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

    Jude 1:3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.
     
  10. Sularis

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    I heard an example recently - from a guy who was reading on the teachings of Calvinism - this man was shaken - and was walking away from the concept of the total depravity of man

    This man had been an elder - and one of our churches leading forces for sound doctrine - and yet he had never heard of Calvinism

    well the example he came across was that of men are at the bottom of a well; of which they cannot climb out. God lowers a rope halfway for all mankind - but man is uninclined to jump or grab the rope - thus God chooses to whom He lowers the rope and thus elects whom He shall save.

    I thought not a bad example, (although still horribly wrong) but they havent quite explained God's role well enough.

    All men are sinners and depraved - God lowers a rope to them halfway with revelation and prevenient grace. However that wasnt enough since man isnt inclined to go jumping willy nilly after a rope that they might not reach - when they are focussed on trying to stay alive at the bottom of a well.

    So God realizing the depravity and inadequacy of man, jumped down into the well with us, and is the process of lifting every single person onto his shoulders so that they can grab the rope that is now in front of them. Some will think its a trick, some will think that they're not worthy - and thus refuse the rope - but a few will grab the rope that is smacking them in the face; and thus they are saved.

    God did all the work of saving. Grabbing the rope does no good if no one is there to pull you up - it is almost impossible for you to grab unless someone sacrifices themself and lifts you up. Your grabbing the rope may allow you to be saved - but it does not save you - God saves you.
     
  11. Ray Berrian

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    God admonishes us not to dwell on cunningly devised fables. [I Timothy 1:4 & II Peter 1:16]

    Maybe the man in the well was not a fable, but close to it. As an illustration it is poor but may speak to some people.

    Someone said, 'So God realizing the depravity and inadequacy of man, jumped down into
    the well with us, and is the process of lifting every single person onto his
    shoulders so that they can grab the rope that is now in front of them. Some
    will think its a trick, some will think that they're not worthy - and thus refuse
    the rope - but a few will grab the rope that is smacking them in the face;
    and thus they are saved.'

    Personally, if an Elder has not heard of Calvinism or Arminianism then he should most definitely remain a Deacon and not be elevated to such a place of spiritual authority in the church. He should be able to explain the concepts of both systems of theology.

    And by a Deacon I'm suggesting a man or woman Deaconess who is in charge of financial and things connected with keeping the church properties in good condition. Some call the latter category Trustees.
     
  12. Tumbleweed

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    Let me try to keep this on track here: The question is, "Is faith a choice?"

    On the simplest level, if I see a red car in my driveway, I believe it is there because I am convinced by the evidence of my eyesight. This belief is not a choice, but a rational response to the evidence I perceive. The car is REAL to me - what can I do but believe?

    Why did I turn from my sin in repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21)? The answer is, Because I found that the things I read in the Bible concerning my sin and God's salvation were REAL to me. I did not sit down and consider whether or not I would choose to believe it. Rather, as we so often sing, "I once was lost, but now am found; was blind but now I SEE," and my response to that spiritual sight was faith. I could not choose to deny what I KNEW to be true.

    Nick wrote of how the only basis we have for faith is the written word which speaks of things we have never seen with our physical eyes. This is true. But 2000 years ago, thousands saw Christ in the flesh, heard Him speak, and witnessed His miracles, yet remained blind to who He really was.

    Contrast this with Peter in Matt:16:16, when he confessed, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God." What was the difference between Peter and the other who did not beleive? Was it simply a matter of choice? Never! For Jesus says in the very next verse, "Blesed art thou Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in Heaven."

    We believe because the Holy Spirit gives us sufficient evidence to make faith not only possible, but certain. Notice the two parts to Isaiah's question: "Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord REVEALED?"

    - Paul
     
  13. Skandelon

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    Paul,

    But merely believing Christ existed doesn't seem to be real faith according to James. The demons believe such things. Its a belief that causes one to actually obey and follow Christ, which He calls us to "sit down and consider" as a man building a tower or a man going to war would do? God tells us to come and reason together with him as to our sins being washed white.

    My point is that God may give us all that we need to know the truth, whether its by being blinded on a road, reading it in a book, touching his side, or hearing someones testimony, but it comes down to us sitting down and reasoning while considering the cost of following Christ. The rich ruler was forced by Christ to consider that cost and he refused, because for him the cost was too much. He didn't refuse because God didn't choose him as your dogma suggests. The text never even suggest that he didn't follow because something that God failed to do. He had a choice and he made the choice. He will be judged by that choice which is why he is responsible (response able).
     
  14. billwald

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    Thought experiment: offer a prize for the first sane adult who "believes" that the moon is made out of green cheese and can pass a lie box test.
     
  15. npetreley

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    Excellent explanation and examples, Tumbleweed.
     
  16. FriendofSpurgeon

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    I thought Paul taught pretty clearly that faith was a gift of God.
     
  17. npetreley

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    Very clearly, IMO, as inspired by the Holy Spirit.
     
  18. Tumbleweed

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    I agree entirely with your comment re. James. True faith is not merely acknowledging certain historical facts and religious theories. It is our heart-response to something we know is true, and upon such a solid foundation, such faith will certainly determine our actions - Jas.2:18

    Again I agree that the admonition to count the cost of following Jesus is very important. On a number of occasions the Holy Spirit has impressed upon my heart to immitate Christ's method with the rich young ruler when I have been dealing with certain would-be Christians, and like him, they walked away.

    What is the purpose of this cost counting? The answer is that it sorts our the sheep from the goats, as it were. It separates those who are truly being convicted by the Holy Spirit from those whose interest in Christianity is purely of the flesh.

    In the rush to gain converts and grow our churches, this is something that is often (usually?) neglected, which has resulted in most modern evangelical churches carrying a large percentage of unregenerate people.

    However, as I said, it is a matter of sorting out the Spirit-led from the flesh-led. The former will not "also go away", because to them, Christ has the words of life. To whom else would they go? (Jn.6:67-69) For Peter, faith was not a choice, but simply a heart-response to the things that were obvious to him - "we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God."

    The rich young ruler on the other hand, simply wanted to inherit eternal life. He was not under conviction of sin. He was not seeking cleansing and forgiveness that he might be restored to fellowship with God. He just wanted to be sure he would go to Heaven when he died, which was just another expression of his human selfishness. Thus, when he was called to count the cost, it was a case of pitting one aspect of his self-interest against another, and he seems to have basically concluded that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

    Faith is the consequence of a personal revelation of God to the sinner, in which mere religious theory about sin and salvation suddenly becomes very real. Peter had experienced it, the rich young ruler hadn't.

    - Paul
     
  19. Primitive Baptist

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    Both Arminians and Calvinists believe that salvation is by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). Are there any Arminians on this board who believe that a sinner can come to Jesus apart from the drawing of the Father (John 6:44)?
     
  20. npetreley

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    Faith is most definitely a choice.

    If your heart is regenerated by the Spirit, then you choose yes.

    If not, then you choose no.

    ;)
     

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