Perfection?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by BBNewton, Feb 14, 2004.

  1. BBNewton

    BBNewton
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi all,

    The logic of the day seems to teach that if God gives a man a command, the man must have the ability to obey the command, or God wouldn't be fair.

    God commands people to believe and repent, so people must be able (within themselves) to believe and repent. Right?

    In the 5th chapter of Matthew, Jesus commanded us to be perfect.

    Many a theologian--such as Pelagius, John Wesley, and Charles Finney--taught that we can (in this life) be perfect.

    What do you think of this?
     
  2. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes. The command DOES imply ability. And when the ability is not there God always provides it, if indeed he commanded it.

    For example, he says to a lame man, "Get up and walk." Can the man do that? Yes, by virtue of the command the ability was given. Jesus wouldn't say to a man "get up and walk" who didn't have that ability and then fail to grant him that ability. God always enables us to do what he expects of us.

    We do become perfect in a sense. Its no longer I but Christ. His life is imputed over mine, so God no longer sees my sin, he sees His Son's righteousness instead. That is perfect. So, with Christ I am perfect. I'm not sure exactly how these men meant "perfection," but if any of them meant they we can live without doing or thinking anything that is sinful, I don't see how anyone could believe that.
     
  3. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    You also have to understand the Jewish idea of perfection. If you look at the modern day idea of perfection that would be unattainable. When one does physics there is the issue of uncertainty factored in. Perfection is only as the increments get smaller and smaller to the point of where they reach zero. Things are only able to be measured to a unit of measurement. Within that unit is an uncertainty. For example if you measure something to the nearest inch you can reduce the error by a measuring standard that can reduce that uncertainty. But how far do you go before it is immeasurable due to the lack of perfection.

    That is not the OT or Jewish idea of perfection.
     
  4. BBNewton

    BBNewton
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    Skan,

    I don't believe within the context of Matt. 5, Jesus was speaking of inputed righteousness. I believe he was talking of a holy perfection (obedience to Law) like God the Father in this life.

    Or in the book of Leviticus, God continually commands the people to be holy as He is holy.

    I believe the design of God's commands are something like this:

    "To suppose that whatever God requireth of us that we have power of ourselves to do, is to make the cross and grace of Jesus Christ of none effect.

    JOHN OWEN, III:433
     
  5. John Owen

    John Owen
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    0
    Skandelon, you said
    Yes!! You got it! God commands men everywhere to repent and believe. Man does not have the ability to do this, in and of himself. So God provides the ability. Now manifestly, since all men do not savingly believe, then God does not impart to everyone without exception this ability, otherwise all would believe. Thus we pray, with Augustine;

     
  6. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree. And he made that possible for anyone. How? Through faith in Christ.

    You see God took the impossible, perfect holiness, and made it possible by send Christ and calling us only to believe in him.

    So it like this:

    1. God requires holiness through the Law

    2. God supplies the means of holiness through Faith in Christ

    Calvinists like to take verses that prove #1 is impossible for man to also prove #2 is impossible for man. #1 is impossible for man, #2 is the solution for man, and it is possible. Calvinist try to teach #2 is also impossible for man by making faith like its a work of the law. Paul never does that, neither does any other biblical author.
     
  7. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes!! You got it! God commands men everywhere to repent and believe. Man does not have the ability to do this, in and of himself. </font>[/QUOTE]What scripture gives you the impression that men everywhere don't have the ability to repent and believe?

    You are making the assumption that everyone who has been given the ability to believe will. Where is that taught in scripture? Often men don't act within their ability. Just because someone has been granted the ability to do something doesn't necessitate that he will.
     
  8. BBNewton

    BBNewton
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    Skan,

    You stated:

    "For example, he says to a lame man, "Get up and walk." Can the man do that? Yes, by virtue of the command the ability was given. Jesus wouldn't say to a man "get up and walk" who didn't have that ability and then fail to grant him that ability. God always enables us to do what he expects of us."

    I believe you are inconsistant in your position. It is true that God commands us to have faith in Christ. And by his grace, we will have faith in Christ. But he also commands us to obey all of his commands, which according to 1 John 1:8, we cannot and do not do.

    God does not always enable us to do what he expects of us.
     
  9. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    I may be inconsistant with Calvinism, but I'm perfectly consistant with what I believe the scripture reveals.

    As I just wrote in a previous post. God does not "expect" us to obey all of his commands. He doesn't condemn man for not obeying his commands. He condemns man for their lack of faith. The law was given to show us our need for him, it was not given as a means to salvation, mercy or grace. Faith was. That is the difference.

    God commands us to obey the law, yes. But he supplies the means for that to be accomplished through faith in Christ. Calvinists try to teach both are impossible for man, the law and faith. That's not true. The law is impossible but faith is the provision. Go back and read my last post and I explain it more fully.
     
  10. Hamtramck_Mike

    Hamtramck_Mike
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2004
    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    0
    I may be inconsistant with Calvinism, but I'm perfectly consistant with what I believe the scripture reveals.

    As I just wrote in a previous post. God does not "expect" us to obey all of his commands. He doesn't condemn man for not obeying his commands. He condemns man for their lack of faith. The law was given to show us our need for him, it was not given as a means to salvation, mercy or grace. Faith was. That is the difference.

    God commands us to obey the law, yes. But he supplies the means for that to be accomplished through faith in Christ. Calvinists try to teach both are impossible for man, the law and faith. That's not true. The law is impossible but faith is the provision. Go back and read my last post and I explain it more fully.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Yes Skandelon you are 100% correct! [​IMG] [​IMG] The ONLY WAY we, as Christians fulfill God's Holy Law is through faith in the Lawgiver! Christ wrote the Law! It is His! He knew full well when He gave Moses the Law that the Isrealites then, and us now would NEVER keep one jot or tittle of it of our own abilty! I honestly though Arminians did NOT believe this! :eek: :eek:
     
  11. BBNewton

    BBNewton
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    Skan and Ham,

    "As I just wrote in a previous post. God does not "expect" us to obey all of his commands. He doesn't condemn man for not obeying his commands. He condemns man for their lack of faith."

    According to Paul, faith comes from hearing message. People who do not hear the message of Christ cannot have faith in Christ. Are you suggesting that people who never hear the message of Christ cannot be condemned?

    The Apostle John defined sin as such, "sin is lawlessness."
     
  12. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    That may be because you have not been debating true Arminianism. Most Calvinists that I know haven't really ever dealt with true Arminian theology. They deal with non-Calvinists who are usually ignorant of the issues, because they have never been instructed in them. This is why I believe Calvinism is having such a resurgance today. There are very few real Arminians who know how to combat the tide. Calvinists are used to coming up against non-Calvinists who can only quote John 3:16 and are surprised to find that Romans 9 even exist, no wonder Calvinists are often seen as having a big head. In comparison with most today, they are the most educated ones on these issues.

    I speak from experience as a former Calvinist. It was only when I went and actually read Arminian and scholars who expound on these views that I was convinced to leave the ranks of Calvinism. Not all would be so inclined, I'm sure, but I do believe many would have been a lot less likely to go over to the Calvinistic side had they dealt with these issues fully beforehand. If you pick up a piece by Arminius you would think he was a stauch 5 pointer. He sounds a lot more Calvinistic than many Calvinists today. You might be plesantly surprised by some of the things he has to say.

    In the same light, I've been pleased with much of Calvin's writings as well.
     
  13. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, I agree. Consider these passages.
    Notice that this teaches sin is not imputed when there is no law. Without the law there is no knowledge of sin. But Paul also explains that the natural revelation is sufficient to teach men the difference between right and wrong (Rom. 2) so even those who are not under the law will be judged, they just aren't judged according to the law, they are judged according to the natural revelation given them. Paul wrote:

    Both Jews, who had the revelation of the law, and Gentiles, who did not, are guilty of sin yes, but only the Jews are seen as violators of the law. Gentiles are violators of the natural revelation and the conscience within them, if they indeed they don't have regard for God.

    Yes, faith in Christ comes through the gospel. But people can have faith in God through what is revealed to them through nature and their conscience. Just as those who have not heard the law aren't judged by it, I believe those who haven't heard the gospel won't be judge by it. Instead, they will be judged by the revelation they had. If they refused the natural revelation and their own conscience and refused to acknowledge God they will stand without excuse.
     
  14. GH

    GH
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2002
    Messages:
    478
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think that we do not know the truth about what perfection means. Our Lord spoke it:


    And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.


    Mat 5:42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.


    Mat 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.


    Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;


    Mat 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.


    Mat 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?


    Mat 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so?


    Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.


    Our Father loves all. He goes the extra mile. He does good to those who hate Him. He loves those who do not love Him. Be perfect as He is perfect and love as our Father does, by His great loving grace.

    It is NOT about external perfection. IT IS ALL ABOUT LOVE.
     
  15. BBNewton

    BBNewton
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    Skan,

    You stated:

    "Yes, faith in Christ comes through the gospel. But people can have faith in God through what is revealed to them through nature and their conscience. Just as those who have not heard the law aren't judged by it, I believe those who haven't heard the gospel won't be judge by it. Instead, they will be judged by the revelation they had. If they refused the natural revelation and their own conscience and refused to acknowledge God they will stand without excuse."

    I completely agree with you here. I thought you meant that when people are judged, they are judged because of their lack of saving faith in Christ.
     
  16. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    You had asked the question:
    They can be condemned based upon the revelation they have recieved. But because of this I also believe that this revelation is sufficient to bring someone to saving grace, that is where I'm sure we disagree. If your doctrine removes man's ability to have faith to the level of their revelation, then you give them back their excuse. I believe that is the point Paul is making.

    Everyone has heard and clearly seen the revelation of God, no one has been righteous by the works of the law, but still all have everything they need for FAITH, which is all God requires. His audience, especially Jews, may think he requires more, but faith is it. It always has been.
     
  17. BBNewton

    BBNewton
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    Skan,

    Apparently you believe that all people who hear the gospel are gifted by God with the ability to have saving faith. People must exercise the faith in the direction of God to be saved.

    Its sort of like God reaching out his hand, but in the end it is you that must grasp it.

    When two people hear the gospel and one becomes a Christian, why is that? Why did one decide to put his or her faith in Christ?
     
  18. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    Because the powerful Holy Spirit wrought gospel message convicted his heart and he believed unto salvation.

    The other guy's heart was self-hardened and after hearing and refusing to listen became harder still.

    God gets all the glory for without the cross and His inspired message we would have been without hope.
     
  19. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    By the way Newton, I'm a former Calvinists so I know exactly where you are going with your argument. I've made the same argument hundreds of times myself. I got it from Sproul's book, "Chosen By God."

    But the thing Calvinists overlook is that they have the same question to answer on the other side of the issue.

    Two guys hear the message and one doesn't believe? Who is at fault for this man's lack of faith? Its the whole question of how can God sovereignly choose but still hold mankind accoutable. Calvisints often respond, "We get all the blame if we reject Him, and He gets all the glory if we receive Him."

    I can say the same thing from this side. "God gets all the glory if man chooses to believe and man gets all the blame if he doesn't.

    Calvinists emphsize the glory of God for those being saved and the tension is created on making it seem as if God is to blame because this man had no choice.

    Arminians emphasize the responsiblity of man thus protecting God's justice but create the tension is by making man 'share in the responsiblity of salvation" so as to recieve part of the credit for salvation, which you interpret as recieving some of the Glory due to God. The answer to these objections for both sides is the same. God gets all the glory either way, and man gets all the blame either way.

    It then goes back to which objection does the scripture afford? There is were we should determine which tension to accept and which to deny as being false.
     
  20. BBNewton

    BBNewton
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    Skan,

    If you answer this, I will understand your beliefs better:

    In your view, what causes a man to exercise his saving faith?
     

Share This Page

Loading...