Some reasons I'm a Calvinist: The Chain of Salvation (Rom. 8:30)

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Monergist, Apr 4, 2003.

  1. Monergist

    Monergist
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    “ For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30)

    Romans 8:28 contains a precious promise to a specific group of people, the characteristics of which are: 1) They love God, and 2) they are called according to His (God’s) purpose. This promise is rooted in God’s sovereignty, i.e., He causes all things to work together for them. Here, in giving us one of the most precious verses in all of scripture, Paul sets the stage by recognizing that God causes all things to happen; things perceived by us as both good and bad, for our own good. Not only does He cause them to happen; He causes them to happen in such a way that they “work together” to accomplish His purpose. Sickness, trials, victories, accomplishments, failures, events resulting in despair, joy, bewilderment, fear, sadness, grief, sorrow, rejoicing, praise, comfort and conviction all are orchestrated and brought about by God for our own good. As are the things which work to bring about our salvation.

    Verse 29 also addresses a specific group of people; those whom He foreknew. The typical non-calvinist identifies this group as those whom God, looking forward from eternity past, saw accepting His son. He saw their acceptance of Him, so that became the basis of His choosing: He “chose” them. The text does not support this argument. Upon casual reading it may appear so, but careful reading shows otherwise.

    God “foreknew” those that “were predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.” He literally knew before. That goes beyond stating that He knew certain facts, such as whether or not we would accept Christ. It means that He knew us deeply. He knew all our sin, rebellion, misery and unworthiness---yet He loved us. He knew that we were at enmity with Him, that we were self-righteous and hard of heart. That’s how He knew us.

    Verse 29 further states that He predestined us to something; conformity to the image of His Son. This predestining includes the means by which we would ultimately be brought to the desired end, for if we were left to our own means and efforts we would certainly fall miserably short (for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God). It also states a glorious purpose to the predestining, that Jesus would be the firstborn among many brethren. All of which is the gift of the Father to the Son to allow sinful men to behold the infinite glory of the triune Godhead.

    Verse 30 tells us more about the predestined, that He called them. It doesn’t say that He also called those who weren’t predestined, only that the predestined were called. Could those who were not predestined have also been called? I will admit that if it can be shown from the text that those who were not predestined were also called, then weight would certainly be given to the argument that God’s foreknowledge is merely rooted in His knowing certain facts about us.

    But who are these who in the end are ultimately glorified? Answer: These whom He justified. And who are these whom He justified? Answer: These whom He called? And who are the called but these whom He predestined? To say that all the called are not justified is to say that all the justified are not glorified! That does a radical injustice to the text. The text is clear—all the justified are glorified, all the called are justified, all the predestined are called. If we have a view that God owes everyone an equal chance at salvation, that He predestined based on knowledge of certain facts or that He issues His “call” to all, yet sovereignly imparts the gift of faith to none apart from human cooperation—The we break the chain of salvation!

    Salvation (justification and ultimately glorification) cannot be based on foreknowledge that merely consists of God knowing certain facts. He does know them; in fact He knows everything about us, but thus cannot be the grounds of His predestination. His purpose is grounded in His deep, intimate “foreknowledge” of us. He initiated the relationship, not us. He brings us, in the context of our lives, through events, circumstances and the hearing of the gospel to a place of conversion and faith in Him. He foreknew us. He predestined us. He called and justified us. Our glorification rests on this, so we have hope and persevere to the end.

    No one will stand in God’s presence and claim merit based on anything they did. “I prayed the sinner’s prayer” won’t cut it. “I accepted Jesus” won’t do when the emphasis is on what “I” have done. The only acceptable answer will be “Jesus died to pay the penalty for my sins, and He imputed His righteousness to my account in His sinless life.”

    To God alone be all glory.
     
  2. William C

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    I am an Arminian I believe that "foreknew" means that God knew those who would believe deeply too. Of course he did know who would and wouldn't believe, but I also believe he knew each of us intimately. How does God come to "know" us in this manner?

    God is eternal. Therefore, God not only knows of our belief in him before time begins, but he also knows us intimately in the way you have described. We think in linear time but consider this issue from God's eternal viewpoint. Would God not have an intimate knowledge of those who believe in and trust him and spend the rest of eternity with Him being that God is already completely knowledgable of our times together that are yet to come. God not only "foreknows" our faith, he foreknows our lives with Him, He knows our failures and our needs and He even knows of our future glory with Him for all eternity. But, does that necessarily mean that he directly causes certain people to believe and act in the way He determines while binding the rest over to disobedience? No.

    He bound all men over to disobeidence so that He might have mercy on them all.

    How does one become "known" by God?

    21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord!' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to Me, 'Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?' 23 Then I will announce to them, 'I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!' 24 "Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn't collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn't act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!"

    Its seems as if from this passage that God's knowing us is directly related to our faith in him.

    So this passage in Romans 8, which doesn't even mention faith, cannot be a conclusive proof text that God is the direct cause of our belief or unbelief.
     
  3. The Archangel

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    Bill,

    You said: Its seems as if from this passage that God's knowing us is directly related to our faith in him.

    You also mentioned that you believe in foreknowledge rather than predestination.

    The problem I have with these points is this:
    Faith, becomes a work that God rewards us for. This idea does not hold-up the whole of God's grace. It places our work of faith in addition to God's work of grace.

    This cannot be, for obvious reasons.

    I've gotta run.

    Blessings,

    Archangel
     
  4. Yelsew

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    The reward for our faith is eternal life with Jesus. So truly God does reward us for our faith, which is not a "work". You are attempting to equate apples and oranges by comparing man's faith with God's grace. They do not compare at all.

    If you are speaking of salvation, it is while God's grace prevails, that man can come to faith in the Christ. So both God's grace and man's faith are necessary for man's salvation. But man's faith is not a work!
     
  5. KenH

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    But you are claiming that man's faith is necessary for regeneration to occur, thereby meaning that you are saying that God's grace alone is not sufficient to save.
     
  6. William C

    William C
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    I know that Calvinist like to throw faith in there with works but the scripture doesn't do that.

    Look at these texts:
    Rom. 3:26 He presented Him to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By one of works? No, on the contrary, by a law of faith. 28 For we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law. 29 Or is God for Jews only? Is He not also for Gentiles? Yes, for Gentiles too, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then cancel the law through faith? Absolutely not! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

    Rom. 9:30 What should we say then? Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained righteousness--namely the righteousness that comes from faith. 31 But Israel, pursuing the law for righteousness, has not achieved the law. 32 Why is that? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.

    Rom. 10:1 Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God concerning them is for their salvation! 2 I can testify about them that they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 Because they disregarded the righteousness from God and attempted to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted to God's righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. 5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is from the law: The one who does these things will live by them. 6 But the righteousness that comes from faith speaks like this: Do not say in your heart, "Who will go up to heaven?" that is, to bring Christ down 7 or, "Who will go down into the abyss?" that is, to bring Christ up from the dead. 8 On the contrary, what does it say? The message is near you, in your mouth and in your heart. This is the message of faith that we proclaim: 9 if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation.


    Notice that Faith is set up in as the replacement for the works of the Law. The Old Covenant was a covenant entered in through works. The New Covenant is entered in through faith. Faith is not seen as a work, otherwise why would James teach that "faith without works is dead." That would be like teaching, "this work without works are dead" and that doesn't make any sense.

    Our response of belief is not a "work" as defined by the scripture. When scripture uses the word "works" it is speaking about the works of the law, not about every response of man. To apply our response of faith to a work in which we can boast contradicts these texts.
     
  7. William C

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    But you are claiming that man's faith is necessary for regeneration to occur, thereby meaning that you are saying that God's grace alone is not sufficient to save. [/b]</font>[/QUOTE]God's grace is always sufficient. If God sovereignly willed to saved everyone by his grace it would be done, but the scripture never teaches us this. It teaches that he saves those who believe. So, as we believe that it is sufficient for all but only applied to some. (kinda like Calvinists)
     
  8. npetreley

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    Quite the contrary. No calvinist I know of makes faith a work, because they point to the scriptures that say we are given faith as a gift, and it is not of ourselves.

    The arminians are the ones who make faith a work by attributing it to man's free will.
     
  9. Yelsew

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    But you are claiming that man's faith is necessary for regeneration to occur, thereby meaning that you are saying that God's grace alone is not sufficient to save. [/b]</font>[/QUOTE]Absolutely Correct. It takes two, baby! One to be saved and one who saves! One provides Grace, the other gains faith!
     
  10. William C

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    Quite the contrary. No calvinist I know of makes faith a work, because they point to the scriptures that say we are given faith as a gift, and it is not of ourselves.

    The arminians are the ones who make faith a work by attributing it to man's free will.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Clearly scripture teaches that faith is man's response and is held accountable for acting in faith or not.

    Christ rebukes man for not acting in faith. If your correct He should be rebuking himself for not giving man enough faith. This is non-sense.

    Grace is of God and faith is man's response. Faith is never spoken of as being considered a work even a work that God directly causes within a man, so either way this contradicts your premise.
     
  11. Yelsew

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    Quite the contrary. No calvinist I know of makes faith a work, because they point to the scriptures that say we are given faith as a gift, and it is not of ourselves.

    The arminians are the ones who make faith a work by attributing it to man's free will.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Your accusation seems quite off target when you call faith a work. No where in scripture is faith considered to be a work! You simply Spin! Spin! Spin!
     
  12. KenH

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    Thank you for admitting that your position gives man partial credit for his salvation.

    Your position is therfore condemned by your own words.
     
  13. tyndale1946

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    HE... Foreknew
    HE... Predestinated
    HE... Called
    HE... Justified
    HE... Glorified

    He did it all... For ME!... Because I couldn't do it for myself... Being

    Totally Depraved... Because he did it all for me and I had no hand in it... I'm Totally Saved!... That is bible... That is the word of God!... That is what Primitive Baptist believe!... Brother Glen The Primitive Baptist [​IMG]
     
  14. npetreley

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    Oh, yeah. The Bible never teaches that. Here's one place, for example, where it never teaches that.

    Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
     
  15. The Archangel

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    Bill,

    My answer to that is simply this:

    Ephesians 2:8-9
    For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift--
    not from works, so that no one can boast.


    Faith is a gift from God. Grace is a gift and faith is a gift. The greek is ambiguous at this point. However, grace and faith are closley related. It is possible, perhaps, that this passage is saying Grace is from God; Faith also if from God. Therefore, there is nothing to boast about.

    If (and this is a big if) God saw into the future (which He easily can do--that's not the debate) and saw who would believe, then it is not Grace by which He saves us. If it is "Foreknowledge" of who would believe, then it is a reward for a work of man. The Bible clearly does not teach this.

    I'll write more later...I gots to go!

    Archangel
     
  16. npetreley

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    The Greek is ambiguous but the grammar isn't. To say that grace is a free gift is redundant, and therefore not worth saying unless you're emphasizing something specific and only about grace. (For example, when Paul says something like "otherwise grace would not be grace" in Romans.) But Paul is not doing that in this passage.

    Paul identifies grace as the pivotal issue in this part:

    "...even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)..."

    Then he expands upon it here:

    "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works"

    This says that the free gift is:

    1. The (free) gift of God
    2. Not of yourselves
    3. Not of works

    The only way these make sense (gramatically speaking) is if they refer either to salvation or faith. The first would be redundant (this free gift from God is a free gift from God). The second is obvious (we didn't give it to ourselves). And the third doesn't even make sense (does anyone need to be told they didn't work for their free gift?)

    The grammar also makes it extremely unlikely that "that not of yourselves" points back to salvation. The grammar does not allow that. One does not say "By grace you have been saved by faith, and that (saved) is not of yourselves..." If that was what Paul was communicating, the proper way to write that sentence would be along the lines of: "You received your salvation by grace through faith, and that (salvation) is not of yourselves...".

    So the most natural and unstrained interpretation is that we are saved by grace through the faith we are given, which is the gift of God, it is not of ourselves, and it is not a work, so that no one can boast.
     
  17. The Archangel

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    The Greek is ambiguous but the grammar isn't. To say that grace is a free gift is redundant, and therefore not worth saying unless you're emphasizing something specific and only about grace. (For example, when Paul says something like "otherwise grace would not be grace" in Romans.) But Paul is not doing that in this passage.

    Paul identifies grace as the pivotal issue in this part:

    "...even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)..."

    Then he expands upon it here:

    "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works"

    This says that the free gift is:

    1. The (free) gift of God
    2. Not of yourselves
    3. Not of works

    The only way these make sense (gramatically speaking) is if they refer either to salvation or faith. The first would be redundant (this free gift from God is a free gift from God). The second is obvious (we didn't give it to ourselves). And the third doesn't even make sense (does anyone need to be told they didn't work for their free gift?)

    The grammar also makes it extremely unlikely that "that not of yourselves" points back to salvation. The grammar does not allow that. One does not say "By grace you have been saved by faith, and that (saved) is not of yourselves..." If that was what Paul was communicating, the proper way to write that sentence would be along the lines of: "You received your salvation by grace through faith, and that (salvation) is not of yourselves...".

    So the most natural and unstrained interpretation is that we are saved by grace through the faith we are given, which is the gift of God, it is not of ourselves, and it is not a work, so that no one can boast.
    </font>[/QUOTE]I enjoyed and agree with you post. I know that the greek grammer can be ambiguous. But, I think that you have it right when you say "If Paul wanted to say salvation is a gift (as opposed to faith), he would have written it differently."

    The Pillar NT commentary on Ephesians does, if memory serves, say that the whole things is abmiguous. That is not to say that our interp. is ruled out. In fact, I think (as I posted) that Paul meant to say that grace and faith are gifts of God. The gift of faith and coming from grace established in the death of Christ on the cross.

    Thanks for you post!

    Archangel
     
  18. Ray Berrian

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    Brother Bill,

    Your post 903 was excellent and correct.
     
  19. Yelsew

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    Thank you for admitting that your position gives man partial credit for his salvation.

    Your position is therfore condemned by your own words.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Smile when you see me standing before the throne of God, Praising Him, and being equal in every way with you! I'll be there, you can count on it!
     
  20. KenH

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    I most certainly will. [​IMG] I am not questioning that as we are not saved by theology but by the finished work of Christ Jesus on our behalf.
     

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