ROMANS 8:5-8 DOES NOT SUPPORT TOTAL INABILITY

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by William C, Feb 21, 2003.

  1. William C

    William C
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    Here is the logical argument that Calvinist have been making to support Total Inability:
    I've heard in 7 different post that Romans 8:5-8 support the Calvinistic premise of Total Inability. I will now dispell that myth:

    Calvinist look at this passage and assume that he could not possibly be addressing "believers" eventhough that is his audience. That's ok, sometimeS Paul does refer to the lost, but is he doing that in this passage?

    Facts to consider:
    1. He just spent an entire chapter (7) telling us how he is at times controlled by the nature of sin within him.

    2. These passages never speak of becoming a "believer" or being "saved." It only refers to where the mind is set, how that affects our fellowship with God and how it displease him when anyone (believer or not) acts in the flesh. And it infers that if one continually acts in the flesh and never in the Spirit, he is not of Christ.

    3. We must use scripture to interpret scripture. What does Paul say in other passages about those who "live by the sin nature" as compared to those who "live by the Spirit." Please read Gal. 5:13-26:

    This passage (and others) are clearly instucting believers, who hae the "freedom to set their minds on the sinful nature." But are instucted to "live by the Spirit." So to assume that Paul is not addressing believers in Romans 8 is not consistant with this passage.

    With Respect,
    Bro. Bill
     
  2. romanbear

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    Romanbear,

    This is your last warning. You will not receive another. I have consistently asked you to change your demeanor and appraoch and you have refused. Comments such as you made will not be tolerated and you know that.

    You may believe that you have the truth and that can be debated. But you will not make comments as you made here.

    Your future participation in this board is in your hands. You can learn to control your thoughts and emotions or you can watch from outside. It will be your choice.

    Let me disabuse you of any notion that this is a personal attack. It is not. It is the direct result of the choices you made with respect to your demeanor.

    Larry

    [ February 21, 2003, 02:15 PM: Message edited by: Pastor Larry ]
     
  3. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Had you continued to vv. 9-11, you would see that the contrast is between believers and unbelievers. Verses 9-11 make clear that the Spirit of Christ indwelling is the deciding factor between those in the flesh and in teh Spirit and you are in the Spirit if the Spirit of God dwells in you. if you do not have the Spirit of God, you do not belong to God, i.e., you are in the flesh.

    The context of Paul contradicts you.
     
  4. William C

    William C
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    1. God's choice of those who would not be hardened (the Remnant) was unconditional; in other words, the Remnant did nothing to earn that choice.

    2. His choice to allow the Gentiles entrance into the covenant was unconditional. In other words, the Gentiles did nothing to earn that choice.

    3. His choice of the apostles was unconditional. These 12 men did not do anything to earn that choice.

    The problem is that Calvinists extend "election" to mean salvation for each individual. The scripture doesn't do that.

    Only universalist don't believe that atonement is limited. Calvinist believe it is limited to "the elect." Arminians beleive it is limited to those who believe the gospel. This should not be the real focus of the debate, unless we are debating Ken, who is a universalist.

    This point is most definiately debatable on both sides of the issue. Nevertheless, true faith will last.

    [Moderator's note: I have edited the problemmatic statements from the post being quoted because they were edited above. For those who read the original post, Bill distanced himself from those comments. I edit it here only to be consistent with the above edit.]

    Thanks for understanding,
    Bill

    [ February 21, 2003, 02:12 PM: Message edited by: Pastor Larry ]
     
  5. Brutus

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    Fourth:Our rebellion is TOTALLY deserving of eternal punishment.Eph.2:3 goes on to say that in our deadness we were "children of wrath."That is,we were under God's wrath because of the corruption of our hearts that made us as good as dead before God.The reality of Hell is God's clear indictment of the infiniteness of our guilt.If our corruption were not deserving of an eternal punishment God would be unjust to threaten us with a punishment so severe as eternal torment.But the Scriptures teach that God is just in cindemning unbelievers to eternal Hell(2Thes.1:6-9;Mt.5:29f;10:28,13:49f;25:46;Rev.14:9-11;20:10).Therefore,to the extent that Hell is a total sentence of condemnation,to that extent we must think of ourselves as totally blameworthy apart from the saving grace of God.In summing it all up,total depravity means that our rebellion against God is total,everything we do in this rebellion is sin,our inability to submit to God or reform ourselves is total,and we are therefore totally deserving of eternal punishment.It is hard to exaggerate the importance of admitting our condition to be this bad.If we think of ourselves as basically good or even less than totally at odds with God,our grasp of the work of God in redemption will be defective.But,if we humble ourselves under this terrible truth of our total depravity,we will be in a position to see and appreciate the glory and wonder of the work of God.
     
  6. Primitive Baptist

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    While it is possible for the children of God to walk after the flesh [Romans 8:13], the contrast in verses 7-9 is between those who have the Spirit and those who do not. Nice try, though. [​IMG]
     
  7. russell55

    russell55
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    BB,

    Well, this is a novel approach to debating the point I made, I'll give you that.

    Well, actually, I do believe Paul is addressing believers in this passage. I just don't happen to think that those whom Paul describes as having their minds set on the flesh (or who are living according to the flesh) are believers. If it is possible for these to be believers, then it is possible for believers to</font>
    • be God's enemies (verse 7)</font>
    • be unable to subject themselves to God's law (verse 7) even though they have God's laws written on their hearts (Hebrews 8)</font>
    • not have the Spirit of God dwelling in them (verse 9)</font>
    • not belong to Christ (verse 9 and Galatians 5:24)</font>
    • die (verse 13)</font>
    • not be a son or daughter of God (verse 14)</font>
    • not inherit the kingdom of God (Galations 5:21)</font>
     
  8. sturgman

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    Seems like those christians have a lot of work to do. :D
     
  9. Yelsew

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    I don't think the book of Romans was written to the Roman Senate or to the Ceasar. It seems inappropriate that it is an editorial for the Vatican Free Press. So That leaves either the Lions or the Christians of Rome. Since Lions have too much 'pride', that leaves only the Christians. That which makes one a Christian is Belief. So Romans must be written to the Roman believers.

    I'm not so sure about the Galations, but I'm willing stake my life on it that Paul was writing to Galation Christians Too!
     
  10. npetreley

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    Read my lips, Yelsew: No new taxes... No, that's not what I meant to say. Oh, right:

    Yes, Romans is written to believers. But this section of Romans is not written about believers.

    This is a pretty simple concept. I'm writing to YOU about Romans right now. Yet as far as I know, you're not a Roman, are you?
     
  11. rufus

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    Romans 8:5-8
    5.For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnallyb minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnalc mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.


    vs. 5 - "they that are" is present stative participle, meaning "continuous state of being" in the flesh: "the flesh, denotes mere human nature, the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God."

    vs. 5 - "do mind" is present active indicative, meaning "to direct one’s mind to a thing, to seek, to strive for, habitually."

    vs. 6 - "death" = "in the widest sense, death comprising all the miseries arising from sin, as well physical death as the loss of a life consecrated to God and blessed in him on earth, to be followed by wretchedness in hell."

    vs. 7 -"enmity against God" = "at war with God, opposed to God."

    vs. 7 - "not subject" = present passive indicative, meaning "continously refusing to be controlled by God."

    vs. 8 -"cannot (present middle indicative) please (aorist active infinitive) God" means "cannot accommodate one’s self to the opinions desires and interests of others."

    Lost men are without divine influence, habitually seek the desires of the flesh, are spiritually dead, are at war with and opposed to God, continously refuse to be controlled by God, and CANNOT submit to the will and interests of God.

    rufus [​IMG]
     
  12. Yelsew

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    No, I'm not a Roman, but I did drive through Rome NY once.

    The fact is Paul is instructing the Roman believers in principles of the Christian Faith.
     
  13. William C

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    I disagree. Please hear me out. Paul is not really contrasting believers verses non-believers. He is contrasting the sin nature verses the Spirit. This chapter is a continuation of Chapter 7 in which he speaks of the war between these two natures within the life of a believer. We are not obligated or controlled by sin, for we have freedom in Christ. But in that freedom sometimes we still mess up, just like 1st century believers, and choose to follow the nature of sin.

    If you look at Romans 8:5-8 in its context this battle between the two natures is clear. Here is what Paul is telling the believers in Rom. 8:

    1. There is no condemnation (even when we sin)(vs. 1)

    2. The Spirit has freed us from the power of sin, so we have the ability to resist temptation. (vs.2)

    3. The Law could not save us because of that sin nature, so God sent Christ to free us from sin and save us. (vs. 3)

    4. Christ fulfilled the law for us, and freed us to follow the Spirit, not the sin nature. (vs. 4)

    5. Those controlled by the sin nature think about sinful things, those controlled by the Spirit think on Spiritual things. (vs. 5)

    Notice this is a comparison of the natures, not necessarily "lost" verses "saved." If we are honest we could all think of times we allowed our minds to be "controlled" by our sinful nature.

    6. The mind controlled by the sinful nature leads to death, the mind controlled by the Spirit leads to life and peace. (vs. 6)

    Since we as believers sometimes allow our minds to be lead by the sinful nature does this means we will die. No, look back at verse 1. He is contrating natures that are within all of us. These natures are at war (chapter 7)

    7. The sin nature is always hostile toward God.

    Does this mean when a believer looks upon a woman with lust that he becomes an enemy of God. No, look back at verse 1. It is saying that the "sin nature" is always hostile to God and His Law. We see that fleshed out in us every day as we wage war against our sin nature.

    8. Those who only act in the sin nature cannot please God. (vs. 8)

    Can a believer acting in sin bring God pleasure? No. Can a non-believer who can only act with a sin nature ever please God. No. That is all this verse says. Once again the natures are being contrasted.

    9. Believers are not under the control of sin, but you have the Spirit. In other words, you can choose in your freedom which nature to follow. Those completely controlled by the sin nature, those without freedom, are not Christians at all. (vs. 9)

    This second part of verse 9, is the first time I believe Paul specifically refers to those COMPLETELY UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE SIN NATURE (the lost). Those without freedom to choose whether or not to sin. He points them out as examples of being under complete control of the sin nature and warns his audience that if they act like them it might be because they don't have the Spirit either.

    10. Verse 10 shows us this comparison of the two natures within a Christian perfectly. The body, or flesh is going to die, but the Spirit will live on in Christ. (vs. 10)

    Believers have flesh and Spirit, we are still waiting for the redemption of our bodies so we still struggle with the flesh which is an enemy of God and it will die. Our Spirit will live on.

    11. Just as the Spirit raised Christ, he will raise us. (vs 11)

    12. So, believers, you are not obligated to follow the sin nature within you, you are free. (vs. 12)

    13. But if you do continue to follow the sin nature, you have reason to doubt your eternal security, for you will perish (vs. 13). You will know them by their fruits!

    14. For true believers are lead by the Spirit of God. (vs. 14)

    15. So don't act like slaves, you are His adopted children.

    Here is the NLT (paraphase) so you can see the line of thought throughout the text:

    Once again, nothing in this text is mentioned about how one is saved. The gospel and faith are not even mentioned in this text. It simply compares the two natures: Flesh/Sin verses Spirit both of which we as believers possess, while non-believer only possess flesh.

    In summary:

    The sin nature is hostile to God.
    The sin nature cannot please God.
    The sin nature leads to death.

    The Spirit is not hostile to God.
    The Spirit can please God.
    The Spirit leads to life and peace.

    Believers contain both the flesh and the Spirit and we must choose daily to follow after the Spirit.

    Non-believers contain only flesh and cannot please God and are hostile to God.

    We all agree to these points, and this is all this passage teaches. Everything else brought to this passage is assumed. Here is the Calvinistic assumption:

    Non-believers are unable to be influenced by the geniune, powerful calling of the Spirit through the gospel message because their nature is hostile to God and cannot please God.

    This passage NEVER says this, it is assumed. The calling of the gospel to faith and repentance is never mentioned. In fact, this passage never even speaks of how one goes from being "controlled by the flesh" to being "controlled by the Spirit." It only speaks of the consequesis of each. It never explains the means by which the Spirit enters a man.

    Look at the passage, the word "unable" only refers to man's inability to submit to the Law and his inability to please God when acting in sin. Nothing is said about his inability to hear, see, understand and turn to God through faith in Christ. Therefore, to ASSUME that a non-believer in NOT ABLE to believe the geniune call of the gospel is unsupported in this text!

    With Respect,
    Bro. Bill

    Is this the only support that Calvinist's have for "Total Inability?" It's pretty weak.

    [ February 22, 2003, 09:09 PM: Message edited by: Brother Bill ]
     
  14. npetreley

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    That's funny - I thought that's exactly what we were discussing, too. Yet we talk about the unsaved here all the time.
     
  15. russell55

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    As far as I'm concerned, this is where the engine of your argument goes off the track. By chapter 8 your train is already wrecked....

    Chapter 7 is not speaking of the life of a believer (at least of a NT believer). The "I" of chapter 7 is "sold under bondage to sin". This, then cannot describe a NT believer, who is everywhere in Paul's writings described as redeemed, freed from bondage, delivered from the dominion of darkness, etc. Even you acknowledge that when you say:

    But the person in chapter 7 is indeed obligated by sin. That's what being "under bondage" is.

    Anyway, this is about it for me for this discussion. I really only have a small amount of time each day for these forums....
     
  16. William C

    William C
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    As far as I'm concerned, this is where the engine of your argument goes off the track. By chapter 8 your train is already wrecked....

    Chapter 7 is not speaking of the life of a believer (at least of a NT believer). The "I" of chapter 7 is "sold under bondage to sin". This, then cannot describe a NT believer, who is everywhere in Paul's writings described as redeemed, freed from bondage, delivered from the dominion of darkness, etc. Even you acknowledge that when you say:
    </font>[/QUOTE]I can name many Calvinistic scholars that disagree with you. Sproul and MacArthur for example.

    And are you arguing that Christians don't have the flesh and the Spirit a war within them? Are you arguing that man no longer struggles with sin after becoming a Christian?

    Questions about your view of Chapter 7:
    1. How can a non-believer "want to do what is good?"
    2. What does Paul mean when he writes: "Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin." Are you really trying to argue that Paul is not speaking about himself in this passage?
     
  17. russell55

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    I don't know what Sproul and MacArthur believe about this passage, but it doesn't really matter. It's not a Cal vs Arm disagreement.

    I'm arguing that the Christian is no longer sold under bondage to sin. They may indeed struggle, but it is a struggle they are now capable of winning. They do not have to give into the flesh.....

    I believe Paul is speaking of himself as a faithful Jew before his conversion. He wants to obey the Law, he makes up his mind to, but because he is a slave to sin, he cannot be obedient.

    Notice that in the verse you quote, Paul says that in whatever condition he is in in chapter 7, he is a "slave to the law of sin". But in chapter 8, he says, There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

    I believe these must be two different conditions, for in the first condition, one is a slave to the law of sin, in the second (being in Christ Jesus), one is set free from the law of sin.

    If you are interested in discussing this further, why don't you start a new conversation up in the Baptist Theology section, since this discussion really doesn't belong here in this section. I will participate as time allows me....

    BTW, it's been quite some time since I studied the various interpretations of this passage in depth, so don't quote me on this, but I think that the interpretation I give above was the common interpretation for the first four centuries or so.
     
  18. npetreley

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    russel55, I agree with your interpretation. I was about to post that same beginning of chapter 8, but you beat me to it. ;)
     
  19. Yelsew

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    What made the difference Russell55?

    The before and after had to have common point where something made the difference. Paul says that something is belief in Jesus, what say you?

    Yes individual belief is what makes that kind of difference. Belief that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah and that Jesus is the atonement for the sins of mankind.

    It is the free will belief, within man, of who and what Jesus is that sets one free from the bondage of sin. It is the free will belief within man that the sins he confesses to Almighty God are forgive, and not remembered against him. It is the knowledge from God's Holy Scriptures about the nature and essence of God, that man has assurance that God's word is true, and that is confirmed by the Holy Spirit's assurance of our spirit that it is.

    Paul never tells any of the congregations to whom he writes, that it is anything other than our free will belief in Jesus that saves us. But he does much writing about how we are to live our lives now that salvation is ours.

    Therefore, I do disagree strongly with what you've said.
     
  20. William C

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    Russell55,

    I see your point.

    But being "set free from the law of sin and death," doesn't remove the fleshly sin nature that the believer still battles. He is merely saying that I am not under the "bondage" of sin any longer. I don't have to sin.

    The two natures are still in focus as he speaks to believers about those natures.

    You have focused this debate on the one point I made in reference to chapter 7 which many scholars, both Calvinistic and Arminian, disagree on.

    The real issue has therefore been sweep under the rug. I'm not accusing you of doing that intentionally, I'm just wanting to refocus back to the many other points that I made in understanding Romans 8 that have not been addressed.

    Honestly, this issue really doesn't make much of a difference in seeing that this passage is focused on the two natures and not on "total inability."

    With Respect,
    Bill
     

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