Russ (Continuing our Packer dialogue)

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by skypair, Jul 22, 2007.

  1. skypair

    skypair
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    The thread was hijacked iwth some iimportant things still left to consider.

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    Absolutely NO disagreement here!! I believe the value and significance of the gospel are the facts! And that we act upon it by repenting and receiving/trusting Christ. That is being "CONVINCED" enough to let it change your heart and life, right?


    Same thing I believe. Here's where we may differ ---- I believe that, until we are regenerated receiving the Spirit seal, we "hope" for eternal life. Belief is merely "hope" regarding anything future. We Christians talk about the "blessed hope" because we believe it but we haven't experienced it so it is unproven. Likewise, we have no proof when we act upon our belief in Christ. But when we act upon it, we receive the HS and receiving Him, we have faith --- we have proof that our hope was true!!


    Here's my thought: Have you ever heard the expression "I've had a change of heart about him/her?" What happened? You found out something that wasn't what you first believed, right? Say you hired someone thinking they were honest and you found that they weren't. It wasn't the Spirit that changed you mind. It was the facts. Same with the gospel -- except it is the Spirit feeding you the facts.

    Change of heart" accounts for changing not just the mind but the emotions and will.

    That latter is certainly true! Calvinists would say "change of heart" and most wouldn't even know what the heart is. So yeah, we'd be talking about 2 different things.

    But show me how the Calvinist heart is changed. That is the point I have been trying to drive home --- there is no discernable meaning of "heart" in Calvinism. Faith for Calvinism is a spontaneous thing --- something out of nothing. But man is already something.

    skypair
     
  2. russell55

    russell55
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    It's never the bare facts that change minds. It's understanding the significance of the facts. It's appreciating the value of what the facts point to. As to the gospel, it's "seeing the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." It's perceiving the wisdom and power of God in Christ. It's discerning the value of "the things freely given us by God."

    That discernment, that understanding, that appreciating, that perceiving is called, "God's doing" or "God's revelation through the Spirit" or "the teaching of the Spirit" or "God's shining in our hearts."

    When scripture talks about God replacing hearts of stone with hearts of flesh, what it the word heart referring to? When the Spirit writes God's law on people's hearts, what is the word heart referring to? When God circumcises hearts, what does the word heart refer to? When God shines in hearts, what does the word heart refer to?

    God replaces a heart of stone with a heart of flesh. The Spirit writes God's laws on people's hearts. God circumcises hearts. God shines in our hearts. The changing of hearts is God's work.

    The heart is the part of a human being that either loves God or is at enmity with him. The heart is the part of a human being that either knows God or rejects him. The heart is the part of the human being that either sees the facts of the gospel as foolishness or a stumbling block or the wisdom and power of God.

    No, faith comes as a result of the work of the Spirit working according to God's purposeful plan.

    Exactly: Something out of nothing worked by a God who created us in Christ Jesus so that we will do the good works he prepared beforehand for us to do; something out of nothing worked by a God who makes those dead in trespasses alive together with Christ; something out of nothing worked by the God who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; something out of nothing by a God who calls us out of darkness and into his marvelous light; something out of nothing by a God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” and has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

    Man is dead in trespasses and sins. Man is fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind. Man is an object of God's wrath. Man is in darkness. Man is a slave to sin. So yes, he is something, but the something that he is might as well be nothing because nothing good comes from the something that he is.

    It is of God's doing that we are in Christ Jesus, "who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, 'Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'" This is all so that so that "no human being might boast in the presence of God." We can't say, "I was something, and so changed my heart." We can't say, "I was something, and so I believed." We can only say, "I was nothing, and the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in my heart to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
     
  3. skypair

    skypair
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    Good. Now we're on the same page. CONVINCING involves hearing the facts and the Holy Spirit arranging them in understandable terms for us to believe. But it is NOT the indwelling Spirit, regeneration and new birth, that understands. It is YOU that must understand and believe in order to discern and receive "the things freely given us by God."

    Let's just take Jesus word. Who did He say He was sending the Spirit to in John 14-16? To BELIEVERS, right? You know better than to answer that Jesus was sending Him to indwell unbelievers. So how can an unbeliever receive the Spirit, russ?

    Taking hardened minds, emotions and wills and turning them to believing minds, emotions and wills.

    When the Spirit writes the law on a person's heart, they have been saved by the faith that knows that the law is replaced by love. In loving the Lord and loving thy neighbor, the whole law is fulfilled. But this is done by the power of the indwelling Spirit.

    When the heart is circumcised, the mind, emotions, and will are sanctified to God by the indwelling Spirit. Do you realize that the indwelling Spirit IS our sanctification? Regardless of how much of little we have grown, the Spirit prepares us to be raptured. He is the "oil" in our "lamps," Mt 25:1-13.

    When God shines His light abroad in our hearts, He shines on our mind, emotions, and will. And you know this --- what is heard and seen physically goes straight to the mind for comprehension and understanding. The Holy Spirit actually inhabits the word of God giving the gospel the added advantage of beaming light in a dark mind/heart.

    See, these are just symbols of what actually happens. Your heart never was stone -- it was stone hard. God didn't cut on your heart --- He did set it apart to Himself when you were reborn. Shining into our hearts is not physical light but spiritual -- the mind of God and Christ spoken through the words of the Holy Spirit. It involves God, that is true. But it involves us too making us either acceptors or rejectors of the gospel.

    I would submit that it is the soul that directs the attitude of the heart either for or against God. It is the soul that dies immediately on account of sin. From then on, the human mind is without divine direction from the soul but may be CONVINCED to take up divine direction through the hearing of the gospel.

    If that happens, believing causes repentance of the soul particularly toward God eternally. The soul is the "seat" of the new birth and eternal life. The heart may still be "distracted" by sin through the flesh, but the soul is "seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" -- though the "ship" drifts in sea of life, the soul keeps us "anchored" to salvation!

     

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