Man's Ability to Repent

Discussion in 'Calvinism/Arminianism Debate' started by PreachTony, Feb 2, 2015.

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  1. PreachTony

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    **NOTE: If this thread is in the wrong forum, I respectfully request the mods to move it to the proper one.

    I will be using the names of a fellow BB member in this OP. I do not mean this in a derogatory way. Instead I am relating what he has written, and how it relates to what I'm trying to discern.**

    In another thread, Brother convicted1 made this statement:
    I replied as such:
    I'm curious what other think about this notion. If man is only able to repent because God allows him to repent, this how can unrepentant man reasonably be held accountable for his sin, seeing as the means of escaping that sin was never presented to that man?

    I hope for reasonable, civil discussion and debate, though I do worry that some folks simply only want to rile up others.
     
  2. thatbrian

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    First, there are very good answers to your question, and I want civil debate as well.

    Tony,

    One thing that jumps out at me, and that is a common misconception, is that men will be judged for rejecting Christ. Firstly, men are condemned for their sin. All sin is met with judgement. That judgement falls on Christ, if we are "in him", and it falls on the individual who is not in Christ. Many people have never heard of Christ, so they are not guilty of rejecting him, but they are of their sin.

    Second, when Jesus speaks for shutting people out on the last day, he says, "I never knew you". He does not say that these people rejected him.

    Also, back to your main point, it may seem unjust that God's demands remain unchanged for sinful man, but what would the alternative be? God says, "Be perfect", yet he knows that we can't be. That sounds a bit crazy on the surface. I grant you that, but the law had a purpose. The law shows us our sin, breaks our pride, and causes us to see our sinful state; therefore, our need for a redeemer. The law is our schoolmaster.

    To your direct question: I have a couple of thoughts for your consideration.

    1) Unrepentant man does not want a "way out". He hates God because he wants to be God. He does not want to be in the presence of God because his deeds are evil, he run for cover of darkness. A sinner seeks God like a criminal seeks a cop.

    2) Romans 1 tells us that although they knew God. . . "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened." (Romans 1:18-21 ESV)

    Brian
     
  3. savedbymercy

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    Because God has a Right to Hold Man Accountable for His Sin, thats part of His Righteousness and Justice as God, the wages of sin is Death Rom 6:23 so God does no man wrong for holding them to His Righteous Standard !

    23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Repentance is a Gift of Grace, God owes no man Grace, if that was so, its no longer Grace, its a debt owed to all !
     
  4. thatbrian

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    This may be the first and last time it happens, but I actually agree with SBM's statement. :)
     
  5. InTheLight

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    It's a mystery.
    It's man's fault.
     
  6. convicted1

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    This a a VERY SMART Brother, Brother Tony.

    I was going to type you a response like this verbatim, but he beat me to it. :smilewinkgrin:


    Wonderful post, Brother Brian! :thumbs::thumbsup::wavey:
     
  7. convicted1

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    :thumbsup::thumbs::thumbsup::thumbs:
     
  8. convicted1

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    Brother Tony,

    It appears I have a following now, with you and Brother Steaver. :laugh: J/K

    First off, God doesn't allow men to repent, He gives them the gift of repentance, therefore, they will repent. It takes a 'Godly sorrow' to lead one to repentance(2 Cor. 7:10).

    I have already given my take on this subject and will step back and let others give their thoughts and 'pinions...
     
  9. PreachTony

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    I only "follow" you because I seem to get the most rational conversations from you. I kinda feel like, even though our beliefs vary greatly on some aspects, either one of us could drop into the other's church and probably be okay, especially given our discussions off the video I linked a few weeks back.

    It could be argued that that position is splitting hairs. Either way, man is incapable of repenting unless God first moves within them. So we're back to the first point of contention I see with this position, which is God holding man responsible for doing something that God must first move in them to do, yet God does not move in them, but still blames them all the same.

    Now, I know some posters around here will just say "He is God, He can do as He wants." And that is true. Although, by that logic, we could say "He is God, He can do as He wants" to every theological discussion/debate. That wouldn't leave us much of a forum, would it?

    And now, since it is cold and windy here in the NE GA, I will return to my Campbell's Chunky Soup and sweet tea.
     
  10. convicted1

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    I don't and won't(kinda sounds like Charlie Brown's schoolteacher there) allow my beliefs to be a 'test of fellowship' amongst the Brethern or Cistern. I do love and enjoy our civil debates and discussions, too. :thumbs:

    Men won't repent w/o an unctioning of the Lord, Brother Tony(you know this, I'm sure). Look at the rich man in hell. In all the words he spoke, none of them involved 'Father Abraham, will you please get me out of here?' Why's that? No Spirit, no desire.

    Now, that leads us to who does the Spirit draw to Christ? If He is drawing all mankind, and many go to eternal torment, He is doing a rather poor job of drawing them. Drawing people isn't wooing them, but rather, in proper context, lovingly bringing them to Christ. The 'gifts and callings of God are w/o repentance'.

    He is God and He does as He pleases. But I agree, if we left it there, no debating and learning would ever take place.

    A bowl, soup, spoon, crackers, cup of coffee, and directions please. :laugh:
     
    #10 convicted1, Feb 2, 2015
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  11. thatbrian

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    I think that some good answers have been given, but you may have passed over them too quickly. It takes a bit of chewing for some of these matters to be digested properly. They don't go down as easily as a bowl of soup. :)

    It's interesting that Paul anticipates the reply in Romans 9 that you gave above.

    "So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? (Romans 9:18-21 ESV)

    What's your take on the above passage? Is God just in having mercy on whom he wills?

    ___________

    I'm not sure if you have thought about it, but your question is not avoided by holding an Arminian position.
     
    #11 thatbrian, Feb 2, 2015
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  12. PreachTony

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    I know. Down here we call it the "convicting power of God," but it's the same premise, I think. I have never believed that man can move within himself to be saved. It has always been my belief that, if a man is to be saved, the Holy Ghost of God must convict that man first, and that conviction comes from the Spirit after hearing the preached Gospel. Some hear it, feel the conviction, and move to repentance. Others hear it, are convicted of God, and reject it. It's obvious I don't believe in Irresistible Grace, under the Calvinist heading.

    As for the example of the certain rich man, could we not also say that he realized the permanency of his situation, and instead sought only to warn his brethren of such damnation? I not saying we should go one way or the other or digesting this scripture, but rather that it's a point of consideration.

    I have heard this argument several times. Some people, especially amongst the Cals I've posted with on this forum, seem to think that if God allows acceptance or rejection by man, then God is somehow weakened. If you believe, as I do, that God allows men to accept or reject Him, then God is not weakened in the fact that so many reject Him. God is not a salesman concerned with getting His cut of the commission.

    Agreed, and agreed.

    Sorry, brother. Soup's gone. I do have a couple of Nilla wafers left, though.:smilewinkgrin:
     
  13. savedbymercy

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    The giving of repentance and faith for that matter is a matter of God giving grace or being gracious. God is gracious in a Sovereign discriminating manner as He told moses Ex 33:19

    And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

    Thats what Paul alludes to in Romans 9:14-15

    14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

    15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
     
  14. convicted1

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    I believe in conviction. Here's the 'cow kicker', in all of Jesus' sermons, many times He used 'let him that hath ears', 'let him with ears hear' &c. Why did He state it in that manner? Many didn't have the ears, therby no true hearing, in the inner man, the soul of man. People 'hear' the gospel with those thingies on the sides of their head, but it's much deeper than that. If all it took was to literally hear the gospel, none of the deaf would be saved. Yes, we are to preach the gospel to every creature. Yes, all men are required to believe, but even the ability to believe is the power/work of God(John6:29). God works(regenerates) a man to truly hear(My words are Spirit and they are Life) the gospel preached. And after they believe the gospel of their salvation, then are they sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise(Eph. 1:13)

    I have thought of this as a possibility, too. Some think it's a parable, but not I.


    People say they can reject or accept a gift. From man? Yes. From God? For the gifts and callings of God are without repentance(Rom. 11:29). God doesn't have to allow them to reject Him; they already do that. No allowance necessary.


    :thumbsup:


    Soup and crackers and Nilla wafers. Yup. You're a single feller...
     
    #14 convicted1, Feb 2, 2015
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  15. PreachTony

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    I'm beginning to think we share a lot more similarity in belief than we first thought, though I can tell we definitely differ in scope as to who the offer is given. How do you, in your doctrinal belief, reconcile the fact that God commands "all men everywhere" to repent, but then withholds the unction/ability for repentance from the vast majority of those men? I really believe this to be our greatest roadblock toward consensus, and I'll admit, from my very human perspective, that sweeping it away under the verse thatbrian quoted is difficult to comprehend, even though it is simple.
    I believe it to be a real accounting, and not a parable. That said, it still contains great instruction.

    While I need to mull over this for a bit, I would like to say how it's funny that we all, Cal and non-Cal alike, jump to Romans for scriptural support, but we seem to gloss over the heavier things of the scripture. You quoted 11:29, and as I read over chapter 11, I couldn't help but notice it said:
    Heavy, no?

    I'm not single anymore, though breaking some of the habits might take a while. Also, it was cheap and easily prepared, which is good for the single and the non-single. :thumbs:
     
  16. Reformed

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    Tony,

    We are sinners for two reasons:

    1. We are born in sin.
    2. We sin.

    Secondly, I believe you are injecting a human understanding of fairness and equity into your question. In order to be fair must God provide each and every person the opportunity to hear the gospel? Actually God is under no such compulsion.

    Under American jurisprudence ignorance of the law is no excuse. You can still be convicted of a crime if you break the law without knowing the law existed. Is that fair? Similarly we are required to obey the command (law) of God by repenting and believing. God is under no obligation to rescue any from the penalty of sin. If God was just, as we interpret justice, He would be obligated to judge all of us a law breakers. While God is just, He is also merciful and grants mercy to some based on the counsel of His own will.
     
  17. convicted1

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    God is the standard which everyone will be judged by. 'Be ye holy even as I am holy'.

    --For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.(Lev. 11:44)


    --For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.(Lev. 11:45)


    --Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy.(Lev. 19:2)


    --Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God.(Lev. 20:7)

    --Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.(1 Pet. 1:16)


    These verses state the biblical standard is to be holy. None outside of being in Christ can attain that standard. Yet, those who died never hearing the gospel, never knowing of Christ's existance, are still held accountable.

    Oh, I agree.

    Heavy? Yes. But easily explained. Israel was a type, a shadow, of the NT church. All of the church, the church which Christ died for(Eph. 5:25), all of them shall be saved.


    What I meant by single is you're still unmarried...


    This is what you've got to look forward to...


    [​IMG]




    Enjoy!!! :laugh:
     
  18. Don

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    Anybody remember the (in)famous discussion between a calvinist and an arminian?
     
  19. Iconoclast

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    PreachTony
     
  20. JamesL

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    Look in 2Timothy 2 for Paul's other exposition of the vessels of honor. It has nothing to do with being predestined to saving faith, or predestined to be regenerated, or predestined to be saved from hell.

    Good grief, it would be nice to see somebody work through Romans EIGHT before jumping into chapter 9.

    I digress
     
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