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Astonishing Grace!

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by KenH, Oct 19, 2023.

  1. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

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    And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.—Exodus 33:19.

    Carnal reason, pride, and unbelief, like a threefold cord, binds the soul under legal bondage; each of these mutually strengthens the other, and all combine to oppose the sovereign goodness and grace of our Lord. Instead of believing in, so as to be comforted by free-grace declarations from our God, how apt are we to consult flesh and blood! How prone to reject them, because we cannot reconcile them to our carnal reason! here is the grand source of that damning sin, unbelief. Marvel not, believer, though the pride of thy flesh rises and rebels against distinguishing grace and discriminating love. This, though sweet to the experience of faith, is bitter to the stomach of rebellious nature: but here is thy mercy; grace, which is sovereign in its nature, is saving in its operations; all must be resolved into this humbling acknowledgment, "I, a poor sinner, who could neither will nor run the way of salvation; the Lord wills to shew me his goodness, to proclaim his name, to bestow his grace, and comfort me with his mercy in Christ Jesus, to the salvation of my precious soul."

    Thus the Lord speaks in love; let all his children hear in faith, rejoice, and be humbled. Where, O soul, canst thou fix thy foot, but thou standest upon the ground of free grace? Hast thou faith? It is of grace. Dost thou find pardon of sin and consolation of heart in Christ Jesus? It is of grace. Dost thou "love God? It is because he has first loved thee." Dost thou hate sin as contrary to God's glory and thy soul's peace? What astonishing grace is this! Consider it on thy knees; reflect on it with meltings of soul. Why shouldst thou be singled out by the power of the word, marked by the grace of the Spirit for salvation, when many hundreds perish everlastingly? Why are thine eyes opened amidst a throng of blind sinners? Why art thou watered, like Gideon's fleece, while others are dry? Was thy nature better, thy desires holier? What conditions hadst thou performed to procure this? Grace has taught thy soul otherwise than so to think; all must be resolved into this soul-humbling, God-exalting truth, "I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious." Here is an inexhaustible source of comfort; this a never-failing motive to love and obedience; that grace and mercy which God owes to no one sinner on earth, he has freely given to thee; it is thy privilege to rejoice in it, thy duty to confess it, and to lie in the dust and be humble. "If by grace, it is no more of works."—Romans 11:6.

    - William Mason, A Spiritual Treasury for the Children of God, Volume 1, October 19
     
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  2. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Romans 11:6
    But if by grace, no longer on the basis of works, since otherwise grace is no longer grace.

    Therefore, when we put our faith in Christ, our election for salvation is not on the basis of works, since it is God's grace that credits our faith, as worthless as it may be, as righteousness.

    To claim God cannot bestow mercy upon those whose faith He credits as righteousness, because then our salvation would be of works, is to make God's word to no effect.

    Roman 6:23
    For the wages of sin is death, but the gracious gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
     
  3. CJP69

    CJP69 Active Member

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    I started to go through this quote of William Mason a point at a time and realized very quickly that it would be massively long to the point that no one would read it and so I decided just to respond to the last two sentences of the piece because it serves as an example of what the author has done throughout the book from which the piece is excerpted and, more than than, serves as an excellent example of what all Calvinists do throughout their doctrine, whether its in a book written in 1803 or posted on the internet in 2023.

    Notice the contradictions!

    The author believes that God is trustworthy, not because He's always existed and that He has demonstrated His trustworthiness throughout an infinitely long period of time culminating in these last days (even two thousand years ago is a tiny amount of time compared to God's whole existence), demonstrated His love for us by choosing to become one of His own creation and allow Himself to die at His creation's hands so that some might be saved from the condemnation that they deserve. Oh NO! That isn't nearly sufficient for this author (or by extension Calvinists in general) to place his trust in God. The reason that they trust God is because they believe that God CANNOT change. God's infinitely long track record and His demonstrated integrity of character (i.e. God's unblemished reputation) is not sufficient to convince the Calvinist to trust God. Having a God that will not betray them isn't good enough, they insist on having a god that cannot betray them.

    More than that, they can only trust in a God that is not only incapable of any sort of change but that also has to be a control freak to the point of having absolute meticulous control of ever single event that happens in all of creation. If one single atom was out of place, God would break and could no longer be trusted, according to the Calvinist.

    And yet...

    They expect you to be motivated to love and obedience. They expect you to feel privileged to rejoice and believe it to be our duty to confess, etc. The problem is that all of those words imply a choice is being made. Whether I feel privileged, whether I rejoice, whether I confess or if I do none of those things, it was all completely predestined by God long before I ever existed, according to the Calvinist. If I confess, it is because God predestined it. If I curse God and die, it is because God predestined that I would. If I believe that God predestined everything then I am compelled to believe that anyone showing up on a debate forum who believes that the future is open must have been predestine by God to not only believe it but to show up on the forum and beat every Calvinist he's ever encountered in every debate any of them have engaged him in.

    In short, out of one side of their mouths they say that God is as unchangeable as any stone idol you've ever seen and has, therefore, predestined everything that has or will ever happen. Out of the other side of their mouth they talk about things that require a choice to be made, like trust, love, rejoicing, humility and all other things that have any moral value. And they ignore the contradiction. Those that acknowledge the contradiction simply declare that it only seems to us to be a contradiction but isn't really an actual one. They call it a mystery or, if they're really educated they might pull out the term "antinomy" and more or less tell you that you aren't intelligent enough to understand such things and that you should turn off your rational mind and simply believe these things in spite of the verdict of your mind. They will tell you that this is what faith is. The more you turn off your mind and simply choose to mindlessly believe their doctrine, the more piety they'll give you credit for having.

    The Calvinist has constructed a version of God that is arbitrary and done so inside of a religion that is all about love and trust and righteousness - not to mention justice (i.e the precise opposite of arbitrary). They are, therefore, doomed to an endless parade of contradictions as exemplified in not just the tidbit that I've quoted above but throughout that book and their entire doctrinal system. The Calvinist (or any other flavor of Augustinian) is the very definition of what it means to be double minded, which is why they are forced to appeal to "mystery" and "antinomy".

    The bible, of course, teaches none of this nonsense. It does not ask you to turn off your mind - ever! On the contrary, God Himself is Mind. Turning off your mind is as ungodly a thing as anyone could do! No good thing can be done mindlessly. It isn't possible. That which is moral must be done on purpose and by choice - by definition.
     
    #3 CJP69, Oct 20, 2023
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2023
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  4. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

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    Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not.

    (emphasis mine)


    Psalms 110:3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.

    (emphasis mine)


    The conditionalists, in their powerless false gospel, ascribe to God their own variable characteristics, in spite of what the Bible teaches:

    Psalms 50:21 Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself.

    James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

    (emphasis mine)


    The conditionalists, in their powerless false gospel, ascribe to their own power and self-effort what the Bible says is attributed to the power of God, as shown above in Psalms 110:3, and in -

    James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.

    (emphasis mine)
     
  5. Piper

    Piper Active Member
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    Calvinism is absolutely consistent with the entire Bible.
     
  6. CJP69

    CJP69 Active Member

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    God's righteous character does not change.

    Irrelevant, seemingly random verse.

    Saying it doesn't make it so.

    Out of context and actually irrelevant verse of scripture.
    Here's some that are actually relevant...

    Genesis 1:26a Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;
    Genesis 9:6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.

    (no added emphasis needed)

    Again, God's character is unwaveringly righteous.

    The completely false doctrine stated is being read into the scripture quoted. The verse, on it own, doesn't say anything close to what is being claimed. Which, by the way, is the case with the whole of Calvinism's distinctive doctrines. If you don't bring Calvinism to the bible, it isn't there at all.
     
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  7. CJP69

    CJP69 Active Member

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    Saying it doesn't make it so.
     
  8. MrW

    MrW Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely NOT.
     
  9. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

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    I am not surprised that you would say that. You think that the God of the Bible is pretty much the same as Zeus or some Marvel superhero - sometimes He succeeds and sometimes He fails, in your thinking.
     
  10. MrW

    MrW Well-Known Member

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    Rather, sometimes He gives people choices so that they have responsibility for those choices.
     
  11. CJP69

    CJP69 Active Member

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    Saying it doesn't make it so and your personal opinions mean exactly nothing to me.

    Let me see, should I agree with this substantive-less Calvinist who couldn't rationally argue himself out of a wet paper bag or should I believe the prophet Isaiah?

    Hmm, that seem like its not too hard a decision to make really!

    Isaiah 5 Now let me sing to my Well-beloved
    A song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard:

    My Well-beloved has a vineyard
    On a very fruitful hill.
    2 He dug it up and cleared out its stones,
    And planted it with the choicest vine.
    He built a tower in its midst,
    And also made a winepress in it;
    So He expected it to bring forth good grapes,
    But it brought forth wild grapes.

    3 “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah,
    Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard.
    4 What more could have been done to My vineyard
    That I have not done in it?
    Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes,
    Did it bring forth wild grapes?
    5 And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard:
    I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned;
    And break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.
    6 I will lay it waste;
    It shall not be pruned or dug,
    But there shall come up briers and thorns.
    I will also command the clouds
    That they rain no rain on it.”

    7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel,
    And the men of Judah are His pleasant plant.
    He looked for justice, but behold, oppression;
    For righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.
     
    #11 CJP69, Oct 20, 2023
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2023
  12. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

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    Likewise.
     
  13. CJP69

    CJP69 Active Member

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    Well, unless God predestined otherwise, right?
     
  14. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

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    You think that your will is stronger than God's will. You are mistaken, just as all conditionalists who base salvation on their own efforts, who think that Christ did not tell the truth when He said, "It is finished!", and that they have to finish what He started.
     
  15. CJP69

    CJP69 Active Member

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    I never said any such thing but your doctrine demands that God has no more will than I have!
     
  16. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  17. CJP69

    CJP69 Active Member

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    Are you suggesting that God's future is, or was at any point, unknown to Him?

    If the future is settled, it's settled for everyone, including God. Your doctrine demands that what God does is just as set in stone as what anyone else does.
     
  18. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

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    No.

    Isaiah 46:9-10 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.

    Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

    Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
     
  19. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

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    No.

    Isaiah 46:9-10 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.

    Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

    Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

    Proverbs 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: Yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
     
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