No one is righteous = No one can believe???

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Skandelon, Jun 5, 2011.

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  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    When debating Calvinists I too often here them quote Romans 3 where Paul said, "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God."

    They quote this as if it proves their contention that because no one is righteous according to the law that no one can be declared righteous through faith either. They wrongly seem to equate the righteousness which people of that day believed came by observing the law with righteousness, apart from the law, which comes through faith in Christ, who fulfilled the law on our behalf.

    Paul explain this distinction if one continues to read the entire context of Romans 3:

    "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe."

    Now, on what basis do Calvinists equate the inability of man to be righteous observing the law with their contention regarding men's inability to be credited as righteous through faith in Christ?

    IOW, does man's inability to be righteous through observing the law prove his inability to be righteous through faith in the one who fulfilled the law on our behalf? If so, where in scripture is that taught?
     
  2. Martin Marprelate

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    We don't 'equate' it. Man is unable to be righteous according to the law because he is a sinner. He is unable to be credited as righteous through faith in Christ because, as sinners, 'There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.' Or. if you prefer, 'The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him.' Who would put his trust in something he thinks is foolishness?

    Now this is not because God forces them in some way to believe that faith in Christ is foolishness. No, they believe this because they are sinners and they want to believe that way. 'And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil' (John 3:19).

    That is why men will not believe unless God opens their hearts to do so.

    No. Even saved folk cannot keep the law as it should be kept. There are plenty of texts that show that unconverted men are unable to believe because of their own wickedness and the hardness of their hearts. That is why Psalm 32:1-2 is such a blessed Scripture.

    Steve
     
  3. annsni

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    Why is the "no one who seeks God" hard to understand?
     
  4. Winman

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    I know I will draw heat for this, but I believe when the scriptures say there is none good, it is speaking of 100% perfection like Jesus, it is not saying man cannot do SOME good things. I believe there is scripture to support this.

    Eze 2:20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

    You have two possibilities here;

    #1 A righteous person can lose their salvation

    #2 An unregenerate person can do righteous works

    Take your pick.
     
  5. Siberian

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    Romans 3.12b says, "no one does good..." Does that sound like the door is open for man to have the ability to do some good?
     
  6. InTheLight

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    Context is everything. In Romans 3 Paul was quoting a Psalm referring to pagans and their plethora of gods. Interpreting this verse properly should read, "No one seeks the One True God", which in the context of the paganism of those days was most certainly true.

    However, today there are a multitude of churches and belief systems many of which are claiming Jesus Christ as the one they are seeking. They are sincerely seeking God, in fact the one true God, but they are in error (Mormons for example, most Catholics, many Protestant churches, etc.) The verse was written for an Old Testament audience and not for a post-Reformation audience. People do seek God nowadays. To say they don't would be to deny clear evidence of it on street corners of every town and city in America as well as other parts of the world.
     
  7. annsni

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    I agree with you. It's not the same "righteousness" that indicates spiritual life but instead is a general "good". I've seen many unsaved people do amazingly good things - but the issue is that their "good" is not being generated by a "good heart". Because it is not being generated by a "good heart", it is tainted - and will never ever be truly "good".
     
  8. annsni

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    However, their "one true god" is not the God that is really the true God. They instead have made one that is not God but a god that they prefer because of whatever sinful reasons they have. They seek a god of their own making and that is just what satisfies them for now.
     
  9. Winman

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    double post
     
    #9 Winman, Jun 5, 2011
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  10. Winman

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    Again, I believe this means 100% good. Another verse;

    Mat 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him?

    Jesus said we are evil, but he also said we know how to give "good gifts" to our children. The word "good" is the same word used when he said "good things" speaking of God.

    A gift has no moral qualities, it can be neither good or evil. It is the intent of the giver that makes a gift good.

    There are many more scriptures besides these, but I doubt you will consider them.

    But Jesus said we know HOW to give good gifts. The word "how" speaks of ability.
     
    #10 Winman, Jun 5, 2011
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  11. Siberian

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    I don't think you are comparing the same things (even if the same word is used). The good in Romans 3 is true good - i.e., righteousness (Rom 3.10b). But your interpretation makes the statement to say the opposite. Instead of the very negative, "none does good", you are saying that Paul had in mind to "man does some good." That does harm to Paul's plain statement.

    Can you qualify his other statements in Romans 3 the same way. "None is 100% righteous (they have some righteousness). None seeks after God all the time (but some of the time they do seek God). No one perfectly understands (but all understand some). All have turned aside some of the time.... There is very little fear of God before their eyes."?
     
  12. InTheLight

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    Are you saying that Mormons and Catholics are not seeking the God of the Bible?
     
  13. annsni

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    Yes for the Mormons. I'd say that the Catholics is mixed.
     
  14. Winman

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    Well, what do the scriptures show?

    Jn 6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

    Did these people follow Jesus for awhile?

    Lu 18:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

    Did Jesus seek the young ruler, or did the young ruler seek Jesus? He came RUNNING, very strange for someone who had no interest in eternal life, don't you think?

    It is getting late, but there are MANY more examples I could show you if you are open to them.
     
  15. jbh28

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    Unregenerate people can do good acts, but they are not really good. They are as "filthy rags." And the passage in Romans doesn't say 100% nor imply it. It says that no one does good.
     
  16. Winman

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    Jer 34:15 And ye were now turned, and had done right in my sight, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbor; and ye had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name.

    Here the Jews turned and did that which was right "in my sight". Now, if God said they did right in his sight, then it is truly good, for he is the judge.

    And in the next verse they turned and did evil again. Nevertheless, for awhile they had turned and did that which was right in God's eyes.

    Even unregenerate man can do some things that are good and right as God judges them.
     
  17. dwmoeller1

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    It's not the same word used for "good" in Rom 3 though. Thus, man may do good in one sense but not do good in another sense.
     
  18. dwmoeller1

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    "Done right in my sight" here could easily refer to doing right in terms of the law. In fact, considering that the verse specifically references a requirement of the law (specifically the year of jubilee) this would seem to be the natural reading. In short this verse is saying that they did what God commanded. It makes no reference to the ultimate moral impulse behind the act.

    Hence This does not conflict with the Clvnist position as they do not deny that man can and does follow the Law. In that sense man does right in Gods sight. The Clvnist does not deny that man can do right in some sense.
     
    #18 dwmoeller1, Jun 6, 2011
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  19. dwmoeller1

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    Ditto to the previous post. Unregenerate man can certainly do what is righteous as defined by the Law. And since this passage is talking in terms of the
    Law, that is how it should be read. There is no inherent conflict with clvnism.
     
  20. Luke2427

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    I've personally never used nor read or heard of any other Calvinist using that particular verse mingled with that particular argument to support the necessity of monergistic salvation.

    Man is declared righteous by faith. There is no doubt about that as I know you understand that we all believe. The question, at least one of them, is: How does a man who is at constant enmity with God suddenly want to be a servant of God and thus trusts God for salvation? How does a man who hates everything about God suddenly STOP? How is a man who CANNOT receive the things of the Spirit of God suddenly able to receive them?

    The answer to these questions is clear- regeneration.

    Faith is not something a man generates, not even in COOPERATION with God.

    Faith is something that God gives the elect so that they can be saved.
     
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