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Featured Is It Humbleness First & Grace Second?

Discussion in 'Calvinism & Arminianism Debate' started by Rockson, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. Rockson

    Rockson Active Member

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    As I was reading the scriptures the other day I came across an interesting portion and seeing I've been studying what I'll call the weakness of Calvinistic teachings....this one item stood out to me. The story is from Luke 18:9-14

    To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18: 9-14

    My point is it's been said by Calvinists teachers that God must first show his grace to a sinner for them to even have the slightest bit of remorse for sin or wanting to change or repent. But what do we see in the above? The text clearly indicates he is merely watching these two individuals observing their conduct and listening to their prayers. No favor over either one is shown until they do certain things. The Pharisee chose to take the position of looking down his nose in a condescending way towards those about him. Pride! He didn't gain the favor of God by his actions. The sinner however humbled himself and God said he went home justified.

    This whole thing was hinged on their actions as to whether they received the grace of God. While this is a parable there's other examples which are not as in the thief on the cross...same idea but a parable not. But what do we see here. By an act of the tax collector's will and humbling himself first he received after that the grace of God. NOT BEFORE HE HUMBLED HIMSELF...but afterwards. The Bible says, "God resists the proud but gives his grace to the humble" 1 Peter 5:6 Can you swing that to the opposite and say God gives grace to the proud and to make them humble?

    Forgive me I don't mean to offend but don't Calvinists have it backwards? We're told by them that God imparts grace to the sinner and must before they can come anywhere close to feel remorse or wanting to repent. We don't see it however with this tax collector. It appears that God is just watching his actions on what's he going to do and how he acts in prayer. If he acts rightly he'll receive God's grace. He doesn't receive first God's grace and then humbles himself but rather he humbles himself and then receives... grace. Wouldn't Calvinists claim that's impossible? Wouldn't they say that would constitute a work the sinner did on his own to please God and give him grounds to boast? But humbling himself first is what we see with the tax collector. And that's what we see the thief on the cross. And I'd contend that's what we see all throughout the scriptures.

    Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God Matt 5:8

    Does pure in heart here mean your nature and character is 100% conformed to the image of Christ? Does it mean they have to be regenerated to be pure of heart? Can't be for it says the pure of heart SHALL SEE God [future tense] So.... have a pure and good heart first which means humbling oneself and receiving the Lordship of Christ. One has to humble themselves to do that....then God will be pleased and take you to the next step. Being born again and having your spirit regenerated second and you'll become a new creature in Christ Jesus. John 3 being born again according to Calvinists is the only time they feel one can have a pure heart. But isn't it the truth that they misunderstand what a pure heart is in the context? Pure heart doesn't mean you have the ability to keep the law of God in perfection. It means however you can humble yourself for even as a sinner you can humble yourself and willingly choose to receive the grace of God. PEACE!
     
  2. SovereignGrace

    SovereignGrace Well-Known Member
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    Pure in heart can not mean the unregenerate, seeing they have hearts that hate Him. In Romans 8:5-9 we see the state of both the lost and saved, the unregenerate and regenerate, those who love Him and hate Him.
     
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  3. SovereignGrace

    SovereignGrace Well-Known Member
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    In the Luke 18 parable, the Christ was showing them the attitude of the religious 'elite', those who thought they had it made based upon being born an Israelite. What the self-righteous Pharisee said was not technically bad. God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ I, too, am thankful that I am not like other ppl, especially those who he mentioned in this parable. But it was the attitude he expressed that was wrong. I do this and I do that. It's all about 'I'. The tax collector saw the sin in his life and his need of a Saviour.
     
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  4. Rockson

    Rockson Active Member

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    My friend you've missed the whole point of the piece. Calvinistic thinking would have it things are what you say. The unregenerate ALL hate God and want nothing to do with him. That means their hearts would be FULL of PRIDE. The scriptures say,

    "God resists the proud BUT gives his grace to the humble" 1 Peter 5:5-6

    ...and yet you say God's grace is imparted to someone FULL of PRIDE that is to save them. Isn't that opposite of what the scriptures REALLY say? To repent truly is an act of humility but God no where states he just implants humility. Such is what an individual has to do themselves. God of course may take measures to humble his people (Deut 8:2) but that my no means is the equivalent as actually walking in humility as one can see played out with Israel in the Old Testament. They rebelled and complained and ended up NOT going into the Promised Land.
     
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  5. Dave Gilbert

    Dave Gilbert Active Member

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    Rockson,

    Admittedly, the passage that you quote shows Jesus observing two men...one a Pharisee ( a worker of the Law, and one who makes his boast in it ( Romans 2:1-11 ) ) and one a publican, who boasts in nothing and recognizes his need of a Saviour to forgive him of his sins.

    But there's a problem that needs to be answered from Scripture, not simply assumed or brought in from outside it:


    Why does one humble one's self before God, and why does one boast in the keeping of God's commandments in order to gain favor with Him?

    It's because of a heart change that has taken place ( Ezekiel 11:19, Ezekiel 36:26, Ephesians 2:1-11, Colossians 2:13 )


    It's been said because the Scripture actually says it.

    It's not a matter of "interpretation", it's a matter of what's being declared, and a person believing it with the mind.

    The only thing a "Calvinist" is doing when they state that a person comes to God humbly ( and it is a work of God, not of men ), is relating what God's word actually states...the groundwork from His word is already there, but it seems that you're having trouble putting together the pieces.

    In answer to what I've underlined in the last sentence, Yes, because Scripture when read and understood as a whole, does that very thing.

    In addition, do you realize what you just typed and what I've underlined in the first sentence ?
    To me, you've focused on one passage of Scripture that seems to show that God's grace can be merited...which gives a person room to boast, and God will not have anyone to boast in anything other than His grace and mercy ( 1 Corinthians 1:18-31,Titus 3:4-7 ).

    Yes, I see what you see, but there's more to what the word of God says in other places.
    Salvation ( as opposed to just and righteous damnation to Hell ) was accomplished by Him for one thing:

    " To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." ( Ephesians 1:6 )

    I would agree....if that were all that the Bible had to say on the matter.

    Of course we don't.

    It's because Jesus is observing something in "real time" that His Father is accomplishing through the work of the Holy Ghost...the humbling of sinners who have nothing to stand on except His mercy. Here we see that one is full of himself, and one is abased...one recognizes his own efforts, the other confesses that he is naked and destitute before God, and that all of his efforts mean nothing.

    Jesus is pointing it out for the reader to see.
    It's also in the details of the other Scriptures that many claim that the "Calvinist" is "misinterpreting".

    Can a person who hates Jesus Christ in his desires, is in love with his or her sin and has a carnal mind that is at enmity with God, be pure of heart?



    "And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins;
    2 wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
    4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
    5 even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
    6 and hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
    7 that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
    8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:
    9 not of works, lest any man should boast.
    10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." ( Ephesians 2:1-10 )



    Again, dead is dead, spiritually speaking.
    Everyone who truly believes on Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, has been changed in their natures ( "quickened", i.e. made alive, spiritually ).
    God must quicken ( make alive ) the heart ( seat of affections ) before a person can have a relationship with Him.

    Does the "Calvinist" have it backwards?
    To me, what you're asking is, "does Scripture have it backwards?".
    What gives more glory to God? Allowing a rebellious, God hating rebel to come to Him of His own volition...stop right there.

    What "volition"?
    How can someone who hates someone else, suddenly change their mind about them?
    How can someone who despises someone else and hates them in their heart, be convinced that they should make peace, and become their friend, when that's the last thing that they want to do?
    How can someone who loves their sin and doesn't want to give it up ( repent ), change what they love ( Romans 1:18-32, Romans 3:10-17, John 3:19-20, Ephesians 4:17-19 ) and begin to hate it?

    That, my friend, takes a miracle.

    So, in effect, what you believe is that a person can will themselves to be born again ( which according to God's word is not according to a person's own will ( John 1:13 ) and that it takes a miracle of God's work to even believe on Christ ( John 6:29 ) ), whom God has declared a hopeless and angry rebel ( Again, the passages in Romans and John I listed above ), to humble themselves, and God will reward them for the effort by taking them to the next step?

    To me, that violates many Scriptures, not the least of which is Ephesians 2:9 and Titus 3:5.
    It seems you're promoting man's efforts at seeking God, when Scripture very clearly states that there is none that seek Him.

    Scripturally speaking, you've put the cart before the horse, and given men something that they can take credit for in their own salvation...

    The effort at seeking Him.

    You don't see anything wrong with God giving a person something that they can potentially take credit for in gaining a gift, especially one as amazing as having eternal life with Him and His Son? Eternal life is a gift, not a reward for good behavior, Rockson.

    From my perspective, your entire approach to God and His Son is based on something you want to be there... A desire to reconcile yourself to the One you've offended, which God specifically states is not present at birth ( Psalms 14:2-3, Psalms 51:5, Psalms 53:3, Psalms 58:3 )

    If it is there, it's because He chose you and put it there ( Psalms 65:4, Ezekiel 36:26 )


    I don't wish to offend either, but this is what separates me from you...God's grace as being gained, versus being given as a gift.




    God's peace to you sir, in all of your trials and tribulations.

    * EDIT*
    Sorry, folks, for again making such a long post. Sometimes breaking it up into smaller pieces isn't conducive to getting my thoughts on another person's long post all down. Plus, I run the risk of someone who is online, breaking up my train of replies with additional questions which I feel would confuse and de-rail my own "train".

    I will keep trying. ;)
     
    #5 Dave Gilbert, Aug 5, 2018
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  6. SovereignGrace

    SovereignGrace Well-Known Member
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    I see this as putting the onus of one’s salvation upon the lost person, and not on God. You say that those who humble themselves are saved and those who don’t aren’t. Then it boils down to this...the reason why one is saved is because they humbled themself.

    My Calvinistic thinking is not having me seeing things that way. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.[Romans 8:5-9] Those who are according to the flesh have their minds set upon the things of the flesh. These who are according to the flesh are hostile towards God. And they can not please God in any way, shape, form, or fashion.

    Fallen man is not the goody-two-shoes you guys purport they are. Fallen man hates God, loathes Him, is hostile towards Him, is at enmity with Him. They, of their own accord, will never humble themselves before their God. No more than a Jew would have willfully humbled themself before Hitler during the Holocaust.
     
  7. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    Dave we will forgive your long post, there are a few long winded brethren on here... That being said lets look at the thief on the cross... Actually there were two thieves, lets not over look that, that fact its important... If it was humility then grace, why did one thief acknowledge the Son Of God and the other one didn't?... If you read the event both railed on the Son Of God hanging between both of them... Why was one changed and not the other?... Lets not forget this fact humility did not change the thief but the grace of God did... Just like the publican who declared what he is, not what he was... Both thieves on the cross were sinners and one was saved and the other was not... I hear the naysayer mumbling saying well that's not fair God is a God of Love... He is also a God of Mercy who saved us when we didn't deserve either... And you thought you did?... Think again!... Brother Glen:)
     
    #7 tyndale1946, Aug 5, 2018
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  8. Dave Gilbert

    Dave Gilbert Active Member

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    Good question. ;)


    " He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
    44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth." ( Matthew 27:43-44 )

    " Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him." ( Mark 15:32 )



    Yes, the second thief, at first, berated Christ as well, and both heard from the crowd that Christ was the Son of God.
    What made him change his mind and believe on the Son of God ( Luke 23:39-43 )?

    Desperation?

    What made the first thief hold on to his bitterness and go to his death in disbelief...something in his own will?
    Something about his own nature that hated God?
    Why would a man die, knowing that the person being crucified next to Him was Lord and Master of all Creation?


    Because he didn't "know" and didn't believe.

    To one thief, He was not Lord, and to the other, it was revealed to Him:


    " When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
    14 And they said, Some [say that thou art] John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
    15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
    16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
    17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." ( Matthew 16:13-17 )

    In order for a person to believe on Christ, it must be revealed, not by flesh and blood, but by the Father in Heaven.





    May His blessings be increasingly evident to you until you see Him.
     
    #8 Dave Gilbert, Aug 5, 2018
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  9. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    I heard an Old Line Baptist preacher say this, according to scripture... The thief that was saved never went to church that we know of, yet he was crucified next to the one that set it up in the world... He never heard the Gospel preached, yet he was crucified next to the living one it is written about... Never was baptized with water but was baptized with the Holy Ghost and born again on a cross... And we know he went to Heaven because the Lord told him that very day he would be with him... Oh the Amazing Grace of God!... Brother Glen:)
     
    #9 tyndale1946, Aug 5, 2018
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  10. 1689Dave

    1689Dave Well-Known Member

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    “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law. And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof.” (Galatians 5:19–24)

    Where does true humility reside? In the flesh of the natural man. Or in the spirit of the believer?
     
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  11. canadyjd

    canadyjd Well-Known Member

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    I think "grace" as used in the verses you cited may be enabling grace, not salvific grace. Btw, the passage from Luke says "justified", not grace or salvation.

    That's important because the Pharisee was attempting to justify (validate) himself before men. The publican was justified (validated) before God because of his humility. This passage is not talking about salvation and how it occurs.
     
  12. Dave Gilbert

    Dave Gilbert Active Member

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    God justifies based on what He does, not on what we do, sir.


    "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." ( Romans 4:5 )

    "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? [It is] God that justifieth." ( Romans 8:33 )




    His blessings upon you.
     
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  13. canadyjd

    canadyjd Well-Known Member

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    Paul's use of "justified" in Romans, in context, is a legal justification: that is being declared not guilty before a court.

    The passage from Luke, in context, seems to concern validation. Luke is clearly contrasting the prayers taken by these two men, proclaiming prayers that come from a sense of humility before God are justified (validated) by God, but those that come from pride and a sense of self-rightesness are not.
     
  14. Dave Gilbert

    Dave Gilbert Active Member

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    To me, the definition is the same in both cases, sir.
    The publican went away justified, because it was God who changed his heart and justified him in His sight. The evidence was his faith in God ( Hebrews 11:1 ), and his humility.
     
    #14 Dave Gilbert, Aug 5, 2018
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  15. canadyjd

    canadyjd Well-Known Member

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    Not the same, imho. All words have meaning in the context in which they are written.

    The Luke passage clearly focuses on which prayer (and the one saying the prayer by extension) is acceptable before God, one filled with pride and self-rightesness, or one prayed with a sense of humility.

    The Romans 5 passage is part of a long theological discussion by Paul about how someone enslaved by sin can somehow be declared innocent (justified) before God's court.

    Thanks for the comments
     
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  16. Wesley Briggman

    Wesley Briggman Active Member
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    Conviction of a individual soul for sins against God is the work of the Holy Spirit and is the first step of salvation.
     
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  17. Rockson

    Rockson Active Member

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    Well as you can guess David I have a differing opinion on how those 4 scriptures you put down are to be understood. But going back to the OP what could possibly be the reason of even showing or revealing what is acceptable behavior before God if he's merely going to put it in you anyway? Would such really make sense? I'd suggest not.

    David consider the account of Peter walking on the water, When Peter was in the boat and wanted to do this and we both know Peter had to do something. Didn't he have to get out of the boat? Didn't he have to do his part?

    Matt14:22-33 Jesus sustained him with his power albeit for a short period of time. So who is fully responsible for Peter being able to do that as in walk on the water? Can Peter make a boast he was ? Nope, Jesus got all the glory BUT Peter did his part but here's the key....not in any way that he can receive praise.


    If he tried to receive such you know Jesus would have I'm sure reproved him. But Peter still had to do his part which is get out of the boat. If Peter was asked by somebody don't know you can now boast for having a part to play in that event I'm confident he would have answered, "Why would you think that I'd reason like that. It was all God's doing! All I did was get out of the boat!" :Cool
     
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  18. Dave Gilbert

    Dave Gilbert Active Member

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    Other than as they are stated?
    I have no idea why, other than to speculate that you don't understand my usage of them.


    In my opinion, you've missed the point of what I'm trying to convey, and what Scripture teaches...

    Those who are given the gift of salvation will glorify God for everything...their ability to overcome the world, the flesh and the Devil by the power of God's Spirit, and for being the architect of each and every facet of their coming to the knowledge of their salvation, and for HIS work in saving them; In other words, they have nothing to stand on...literally nothing...except His mercy and His grace towards them.

    Those that think they've "met the requirements" will be shown on Judgment Day that their efforts were not good enough ( and not from a genuinely changed heart ), and so Jesus will tell them that He never "knew" them ( because His "knowing" them is based on His foreknow;ledge of them ), and that their efforts to believe, or keep His commandments, or anything else were rooted in the power of the flesh, and not in any real desire to be reconciled with God and have a genuine relationship with Him.

    If there's anything I'd like you to take away from this exchange, it is this:

    No man can force God's hand to give him what he wants, and no man can gain His favor by having anything or doing anything...period. God is not a man, that He can be influenced by who or what we are or what we do.

    "
    For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
    16 So then [it is] not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. " ( Romans 9:15-16 )


    Please take the words at face value, sir.



    To me, this has nothing to so with salvation, but with obeying the Lord after the rebirth.
    With Peter, he did as he was commanded, because he loved Jesus. Also, Peter was already regenerate ( had been born again ), and desired to follow Jesus every word.

    Some years ago, I remember reading a sermon similar to what you've stated ( in the outlined portion above ), by John R. Rice, in which he said something like, " We have to do our part, and you can bet that God will do His part." To put it bluntly, if mankind has to do anything to receive a gift ( other than to stand there and receive it ), then it's no longer a gift. It becomes a reward for performing whatever action that God requires.

    I'm sorry if you find that offensive.


    But one thing I do have to ask is, " Why do you object to salvation being entirely of God's grace?"
    Because you don't see it in Scripture?
    Then to me, one of us is seeing it wrong, and that's why we're having this conversation.

    Rockson, there's a big difference, "grace-wise", with "accepting or rejecting Christ" versus believing on Him due to the work of the Holy Ghost. Many people hear about the benefits of being a Christian ( and are "coached into a response" by some preacher ), but they don't seem to understand that salvation is a miraculous work of God, start to finish ( the details of which are actually found in Scripture )...and it's for one reason:

    To the praise of the glory of His grace.


    With respect, you seem stuck on this idea that receiving the gift of eternal life is a cooperative effort, rather than an operative one.
    Even if I draw out in minute detail how your theology stacks up against others, I don't think it will do any good, because you see what you see, and I see what I see.

    However, I can tell you this, after having compared what the Bible actually says about salvation ( "The Five Points of Calvinism" ) to all other views...All man-made religion bases their attainment of salvation on man's efforts ( no matter how small or "insignificant" ), rather than God's alone. As far as I know, salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone ( Biblical faith in Jesus Christ ) is the only one that doesn't.

    To put it in systematic theology terms, "Arminianism", "Semi-Pelagianism", "Pelagianism", "Molinism" ( Catholicism ) and "Traditionalism" all condition salvation upon man's response, coupled with various degrees of effort on the part of men...from believing all the "right doctrines", to veneration of Mary and on and on. "Calvinism" is the only one that does not, and gives God all the credit for that man's response.

    Many people read the Bible and get "man's cooperation" out of it...I could list dozens of denominations and cults that do this; But when I read it, I get His grace to me, through no effort of my own, because of the details of Scripture, which it seems you think I am misinterpreting.



    That is why we keep having this back and forth, IMO....because you don't understand Scripture the same way I do.

    Finally, where do you think I got all of this? Out of a theology book?
    I don't read them, and the church I believed on Christ in, is "Traditionalist".


    May God's blessing be upon you, sir.
     
    #18 Dave Gilbert, Aug 6, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2018
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  19. Rockson

    Rockson Active Member

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    No I'd say to repent is humility and humility is repentance. They're really one and the same. Repentance has always been a choice and when I see now God resists the proud BUT gives his grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:5-6) and that is a universal principle that God never changes why shouldn't that demonstrate that Calvinistic way of thinking has to fall short of being accurate? Grace goes again...to the humble or those who show humility. Can we keep saying that NO he grants the grace first? I'd respectfully suggest not 1 Peter 5:5-6 gives us the order.
     
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  20. SovereignGrace

    SovereignGrace Well-Known Member
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    Nope. Try again.


    He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.[Acts 5:31]

    When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”[Acts 11:18]

    Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?[Romans 2:4]

    with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,[2 Timothy 2:25]

    I have shown you four verses that state repentance is a gift of God, and not a choice made by fallen man to repent or not.
     
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