Resisting Grace

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Heavenly Pilgrim, Sep 4, 2006.

  1. Heavenly Pilgrim

    Heavenly Pilgrim
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    If a dead man must receive ability to obey, does he have to receive the ability to resist God's grace by God's grace also? How can a dead man resist anything? If one is dead and powerless, he can no more resist than to believe or accept apart from that power being granted to him, would you not agree?

    Is it by God’s grace that God grants to the sinner the power to resist His offer of grace in salvation, also by grace? ( A kind of grace to resist grace)
     
  2. pinoybaptist

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    I don't know if this answers the question/s.
    But you see, as I understand it, all men have come short of the glory of God, including the elect.
    When God quickens a soul dead in sin, that soul receives spiritual life, and a new nature in him.
    His old nature is still in him, but this time God added a new one, and a struggle now ensues between these two, here in time.
     
  3. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Thanks for the reply although that does not speak to the question IMO . The question is simply asking where the power to ‘resist’ comes from.

    Many paint the picture of those dead in trespasses and sins as a dead log floating down a stream. Some have went to great lengths to define for us the word ‘dead’ in such a way that one dead in sin is ‘dead as a doorknob.’ It is obvious, at least to me that some resist the invitation of God to salvation, therefore my question is where do they get this power or ability?

    Even once a believer one can resist the power of God in their lives. Where does this power come from? Does God have to bestow upon man the power to resist as well as the power to accept and or be obedient?

    It takes ability to resist just as it takes ability to accept, believe, and repent. Who grants to man this ability and when is it granted? Does man, as a ‘dead man’ have ability to resist God and His persuasive influences to salvation?

    If it is grace that grants the ability to believe and accept God's offer of salvation, is it grace that grants to man the ability to resist the offer as well?
     
  4. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    This question seems to be having a hard time getting off the ground so I will attempt to sweeten the pot.

    Let’s assume that the ability to resist is indeed granted to man by God as well as the power to believe. To get a picture of this one might place two identical cloned pit bulls in a tug of war, both with equal strength. Which one is going to win? What might give one the edge over the other? Can one be granted an edge without determining the outcome? If the outcome is determined, who is the cause of the outcome, the pit bulls or the one granting to the other the edge? If the one is granted an edge by some other force, is there really any meaningful challange being presented? Are the results predestined necessity or was there any contest there to begin with seeing the game was tilted in favor of one side? Why or why not?
     
  5. Helen

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    The problem is with your definition of 'dead.' It does not mean unconscious/unable to respond. It means separation. Physical death is separation from the body. We see the body lying there and think of death as unable to respond, but the soul, which inhabited the body is simply gone and still very much in existence.

    In John 17:3, Jesus stated that eternal life is knowing the Father and the Son. Therefore eternal death is NOT knowing the Father and the Son. The 'knowing' here is the intimate knowing of a close relationship, not intellectual acknowledgement. In other words, spiritual death is separation from God.

    If it were truly a sort of spiritual unconsciousness/inability to respond, then the Bible has some serious problems. First of all, hell would have no meaning whatsoever in terms of human beings. Second, God's invitation to 'Come let us reason together' in Isaiah 1 is hogwash, for there would be no way a spiritually dead person could reason. Third, Jesus' invitation to "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy-laden" would not mean that at all, but rather be a summons only to the elect. Fourth, John 3:16-18 would be nonsense, for it would not be a matter of belief or unbelief (how can a spiritually unconscious/unresponsive person respond with unbelief?), but a matter of simple uncontrollable election.

    Spiritual death does not mean one cannot respond to spiritual matters. The entire Bible is predicated upon the opposite -- the the spiritually dead man CAN respond to God or at least to the truth he or she is initally presented with, and at least WANT what is true and good, even if that is unattainable in the unredeemed state. God judges the heart... He knows who wants Him and He will lead those who do want the truth and the good to Christ, who then refuses none whom the Father leads to Him.
     
  6. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Now can you answer the first question I posed? Is it by God’s grace that God grants to the sinner the power to resist (initiate a negative response) His offer of grace in salvation, also by grace? ( A kind of grace to resist grace)

    Where did man find this power to resist? Is it a universal power granted to all? If it is, is it not also true that if one is said to be able to resist, that logically it would also indicate a power of choice to either resist or, in the case of salvation, believe?

    So I ask you, is this power to resist granted to man by God as grace, or is it granted to man as part of the necessary makeup requisite of man’s moral nature, without which he would be no man as you indicate?
     
  7. Helen

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    The ability to want, and to make choices (which includes the ability to resist or submit) is part of who man is. We see it everywhere around us. We see references to it in the Bible. We see God, in the Bible, appeal to that very quality in men that they might come to Him.
     
  8. gekko

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    how can a dead man resist anything?

    what are you talkin about?

    if you ahve that theology - then this question too can be asked - 'how can a dead man make choices?'
     
  9. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: You make an excellent observation here. Without that ability of contrary choice man would not even be a moral agent, responsible for his actions. He would be the mere product of necessity.

    Would you conclude then that God does not have to give man the ability to respond to the gospel message, for He instilled that ability naturally from birth as an intricate part of his makeup as a moral human being, and that man only needs the opportunity to hear the message and enlightened by the Holy Spirit to the requirements mandated by God to respond?
     
  10. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Who said I believe that a man is dead and cannot resist anything? Not I. To be dead is not to be unable, but unwilling when we are speaking of spiritual death, according to Scripture and reason. God does not call dead logs to salvation, but willing rebels, men that have the ability and power to respond. That is what I believe.
     
  11. Helen

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    Thank you. From what the Bible and our own knowledge of people say, man is created a moral creature who can make true and free choices. Romans 1 indicates that it is what a man does with the truth he is presented with in his life which is the telling point in terms of damnation or salvation. The Bible tells folk over and over again to seek God. Romans 1 indicates that even simply seeking or following the truth you are presented with will be the starting point needed. In John, Jesus says that all who are given to Him by the Father will not be rejected. Putting these and other passages together -- thus letting Bible explain Bible -- it becomes clear that, because God judges the heart, those who want the truth and earnestly seek it (whether or not they initially know the truth is connected with -- and IS -- Jesus Christ), will be led by the Father to the Son. Thus, as John 17:3 states, eternal life IS knowing the Father and the Son.
     
  12. BD17

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    You mean letting Helen explain the Bible.
     
  13. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: We all do our share of explaining, and so do you.:)
     
  14. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: So am I understanding you correctly in that you believe that God grants to man the abilities naturally from at least our youth up to choose between selfishness and benevolence, thereby bestowing upon everyman that reaches the age of accountability and enters the realm of moral agency, the power of moral choice?
     
  15. BobRyan

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    Good points all.

    But this gift comes only because God supernaturally creates it.

    From the very start in Genesis it is the unconditional act of God to bestow the grace on all mankind to resist Satan "I WILL PUT enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent".

    God "DRAWS ALL mankind to Himself".

    God "Convicts the WORLD of sin and righteousness and judgment".

    Even the most narrow-minded concepts of Calvinism can not help but confess that ALL whom God DRAWS ARE fully enabled to choose life!!

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  16. Helen

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    Yes. Unless I am misreading something you stated there, that would be what I believe the Bible and life both tell us. It is what our legal system, until this postmodern era, was based on as well -- that men are accountable for their choices, one way or the other.

    Once upon a time I tried to count the 'if...then' clauses in the Bible to see if I was mistaking things. I stopped about halfway through Genesis. There were too many of them! God clearly presents choices which He has created mankind as capable of freely making. This does not deny God's foreknowledge of what those choices will be, however, as He is outside of time, having created it and knows, as He tells us in Isaiah, the end from the beginning.

    A pastor I had where we lived before called this the Divine Paradox, and I am happy with that term. God has always known and yet we freely choose (not with a 'choice' limited to one thing, as Calvinists claim, as that is NOT a choice -- it is merely trying to fool around with words to protect a nonbiblical doctrine). Not something we can truly fathom with our limited brains, but something the Bible and our own lives clearly indicate is true.
     
  17. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Then would you also agree that to be dead in sin is NOT to lack abilities to do right, but rather reflects an unwillingness to do right? Would you agree that grace is NOT granting of ‘abilities’ to do right, but rather the offering of undeserved favor, the offering of salvation ‘in spite of’ man possessing all the needed abilities to do right but has refused to exercise their wills in obedience, and doing such, has became a willing rebel against God and their own conscience?
     
  18. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Are you saying that Adam did not have the power to resist Satan before the fall? Why is such power grace? Without such power moral agency would be non-existent. There could have been no choice in the fall if Adam did not possess the power of contrary choice. I see this as confusion between grace and justice, between unmerited favor and necessary abilities granted to everyman without which moral agency, accountability, or culpability could be predicated of man or his subsequent actions.
     

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