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The Call to Believe is Not Without a Promise

Discussion in 'Calvinism & Arminianism Debate' started by Ken Hamrick, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. Ken Hamrick

    Ken Hamrick Member

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    Imagine how sinners would react if the gospel offered no promise of eternal life to those who believe. If there were no amazing grace, no opportunity for forgiveness, no loving heavenly Father to welcome us into His family, no Savior who gave His life to save us, but only a proclamation that God ought to be worshipped for who He is, and that sin must be punished, would anyone come to God in faith? If only hell awaited—even for believers—would any be willing to pray, “Not my will but Thine be done?” No one would come.

    Why does God always provide a promise to go with a call to believe? He does not merely command, “Believe in Me because it’s the right thing to do,” but instead, He implores us to “Be reconciled to God!” The promise that reconciliation can be ours is wrapped up in the call to believe. This is the gospel that He wants preached to all men—“… that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

    Calvinists teach that the unregenerate man is so averse to God and so unable to do any good that not even God is capable of bringing him to freely surrender in repentant belief without first regenerating him from within. But yet, the gospel’s appeal is not to selfless ones who fully love God already. Rather, the gospel appeals to men by showing how it is in their own best interest to surrender their hearts and lives to God—that heaven and hell hang in the balance, that their sin and misery can be overcome by grace, that the insatiable spiritual hunger within them can be satisfied, and that their conscience can find peace.

    Of course, no sinner can realize or comprehend these things on his own, but the question becomes, can the Holy Spirit bring this realization by coming alongside the sinner and speaking to him from without—or is God limited to a coercive regeneration from within? I contend that the conviction, revelation and persuasion of the Holy Spirit as He speaks to the sinner from without, in conjunction with the preaching of the gospel, can be sufficient to enlighten his mind and move his heart to do what is simultaneously the right thing and the thing that is in his own best interest.

    When you do God’s will at the expense of your own self-interests, you do the right thing meritoriously. When you do your will at the expense of God’s will, then you sin. But when you do God’s will to the benefit of your own self-interests, you simply do the right thing unmeritoriously.

    (Also posted here.)
     
  2. Dave Gilbert

    Dave Gilbert Well-Known Member

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    Paul implored those that had already believed, to be reconciled to God:

    "Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
    18 And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
    19 to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
    20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you ]in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
    21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
    ( 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 )

    Plugging verse 20 back into the text ( because I think the OP is unconsciously quoting it out of context ), I see several things almost immediately:

    For those having trouble deciding what "world" means in verse 19, it cannot disagree with the "us" in verse 18.
    To do so, would introduce into the text the idea that all men are actually reconciled to Him and their sins are not imputed to them...at this moment.
    Universal Salvation.


    But Scripture states:

    " For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." ( Romans 5:10 )
    This was spoken to the believers at Rome... reconciliation, according to this passage, happened at the cross, "by the death of His Son".

    So, what we see in 2 Corinthians 5 cannot contradict this, because Romans 5:10 clearly states that they were already reconciled, by the phrase, "being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." This agrees with verse verse 18 in 2 Corinthians 5, where it states that God has ( past tense ) reconciled the believer ( the "us", and the "any man in Christ" from verse 17 ) to Himself by Jesus Christ.

    Only those who believe on Christ have had their sins imputed to Him, while His righteousness is only imputed back to those that believe.
    In verse 19, if the word "world" means all men, then by the same token, all men are actually reconciled to God, and their sins are not imputed to them.

    Reconciliation is linked directly with imputation.

    With that stated, I would like to direct the reader's attention to 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 as I've listed it above.
    Paul is telling believers, not unbelievers, to be reconciled to God.
    But, they already are, and it was stated as such in verse 18 in the past tense.



    So, if they are already reconciled to God, why then the admonition to be reconciled to God?
    This was dealt with in post #42, here: Inability of the Will is Never Literal
     
  3. Dave Gilbert

    Dave Gilbert Well-Known Member

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    This was dealt with, as well, and I'd like to add a few things...
    God's grace is not "coercive" from man's viewpoint...He works, and we simply go right along with it.
    Having had things I know were His will, and Him causing it, happen to me over the years, I can say with certainty that I was never coerced.

    It felt like I was doing exactly what I wanted.
    His will.
    Which is what "Prevenient Grace" ( "the grace that comes before" ) basically states:

    The Wesley Center Online: Sermon 85 - On Working Out Our Own Salvation

    In this sermon, Wesley puts forth his thoughts on this subject here:

    " Salvation begins with what is usually termed (and very properly) preventing grace; including the first wish to please God, the first dawn of light concerning his will, and the first slight transient conviction of having sinned against him. All these imply some tendency toward life; some degree of salvation; the beginning of a deliverance from a blind, unfeeling heart, quite insensible of God and the things of God. Salvation is carried on by convincing grace, usually in Scripture termed repentance; which brings a larger measure of self-knowledge, and a farther deliverance from the heart of stone. Afterwards we experience the proper Christian salvation; whereby, "through grace," we "are saved by faith;" consisting of those two grand branches, justification and sanctification. By justification we are saved from the guilt of sin, and restored to the favour of God; by sanctification we are saved from the power and root of sin, and restored to the image of God. All experience, as well as Scripture, shows this salvation to be both instantaneous and gradual. It begins the moment we are justified, in the holy, humble, gentle, patient love of God and man. It gradually increases from that moment, as "a grain of mustard-seed, which, at first, is the least of all seeds," but afterwards puts forth large branches, and becomes a great tree; till, in another instant, the heart is cleansed, from all sin, and filled with pure love to God and man. But even that love increases more and more, till we "grow up in all things into him that is our Head;" till we attain "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."

    What I see the OP stating is that the middle ground's position, in this case, is indeed the Wesleyan doctrine of "Prevenient Grace".
    What I see Wesley stating in the above, is that "preventing grace" happens first, and then "convincing grace" gets the prospective believer closer to salvation, and finally "proper Christian salvation" then occurs.

    To me, this is man cooperating with God, and is nothing more or less than works salvation.



    God's word tells us that when believer's do His will, it is because He is doing it...not because we, as believers, are doing it "meritoriously":
    " For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure." ( Philippians 2:13 )

    We don't put aside our will, He causes us to do His will.

    He works in us to both will, and to do, of His good pleasure.

    There is no merit with God, and men cannot gain favor with the Almighty.
    He gets all the glory.

    With respect, Ken, I'm not seeing any Scripture in the entire first post.
    For example, do you have any references for the immediately above quote?
     
    #3 Dave Gilbert, Jul 13, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  4. Dave Gilbert

    Dave Gilbert Well-Known Member

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    Ken,
    The Gospel was never, and is not, an "offer".
    It does not appeal to all men ( 1 Corinthians 1:18 ).

    To many, "them that are perishing", the preaching of the cross is foolishness...while to "us which are saved" it is the power of God.
    It does not appeal to men, because they hate Jesus Christ... which I believe was established, once again, in the other thread.

    In addition,
    " 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 carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace.
    7 Because the carnal 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.
    9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his
    ."( Romans 8:7-9 )

    Breaking this down..

    Verse 5 contrasts the difference between those that are "after the flesh" ( the unbeliever ), with those who are "after the Spirit" ( the believer ).
    Verse 6 states that to be "carnally minded" is death. To be "spiritually minded" is life and peace...the difference between the natural man and the spiritual man ( 1 Corinthians 2:14-16 ).
    Verse 7: The "carnal mind" is at enmity ( odds ) against God.
    Verse 8: They that are "in the flesh" cannot please God.
    Verse 9, and where we as believers have hope... We are not "in the flesh", but are "in the Spirit", if we have the Spirit of God within us.

    Tying it all together:

    Only the believer, who is not "in the flesh", but is "in the Spirit" because the Spirit dwells in them, can please God.
    Only the believer, who is spiritually minded, can ever receive the things of God...the Gospel.
    Only the spiritually minded have any sort of "spiritual hunger" ( Matthew 5:6 ) in them, because their natures have been changed.

    Before the new birth, there is no hunger for God, only hatred ( John 3:19-20 ).
     
  5. Dave Gilbert

    Dave Gilbert Well-Known Member

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    Ken,
    Salvation is not and never has been "potential"...it is definite, real, and bought and paid for with the blood of His Son.
    He did everything necessary to bring His blessed children ( the elect ) that surety.

    The Gospel does not "offer" anything...it promises salvation to all that, from the heart, believe ( Romans 10:8-10 ).
    How can someone whose heart was never changed, trust in someone they hate?
    They cannot.

    It takes the miracle of the new birth to change a God-hating person ( Romans 1:29-31, Romans 3:13-18, John 3:19-20, John 15:18 ) into someone who loves Him.
    A grace that is "irresistible" and overwhelming, and results in them loving Him, because He first loved them ( 1 John 4:19 ).

    The "call to belief" is given to them that are foreknown ( Romans 8:30 ).
    It is not given to many ( 1 Corinthians 1:19-31 )...but among billions, that is quite a few.

    It characterizes a child of God ( Romans 1:6, "the called" ) and defines who they are...
    The inheritors of everlasting life ( 1 Peter 1:3-5, Hebrews 9:15 ).
    The Gospel is the means by which it happens ( 2 Thessalonians 2:14 ).

    Track the word "called", "calling" and "call" throughout the New Testament, and I think you will find that there is a special calling given to the people addressed in the epistles, and it is specifically aimed at them.
    It is to both a limited audience, and a vast multitude that no man can number ( Revelation 7:9 ).

    But it is "effectual", in that it produces a guaranteed response, each and every time.
    Its persuasion is not of men, with sensational words or "marketable language" intended to lure a person into a decision, but rather a matter-of-fact set of statements from His very words, given through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    The ones to whom it is preached to, and has an effect in, will come.
    They will say to Him, much like their Saviour did in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Thy Will Be Done."

    If only Hell awaited?
    The results would be the same as if God had never created His everlasting Gospel and not worked in the power of His Spirit...mankind would still be in our sins, with no hope.
    The fact that he saves any of us is what makes it amazing grace.


    May God be pleased to bless you in your studies.:)
     
    #5 Dave Gilbert, Jul 14, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
  6. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Somethings to note that Paul wrote to the Corinthians: ". . . But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. . . ." -- 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. ". . . Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, . . ." -- 2 Corinthians 13:5.
     
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  7. Ken Hamrick

    Ken Hamrick Member

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    Well, Dave, I see you've been busy. I'll consider what you have offered, and try to be back here tonight with a reply.
     
  8. Ken Hamrick

    Ken Hamrick Member

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    Your claim that God's message imploring men to be reconciled to Him was intended for believers was refuted in that same thread. Nevertheless, I'm happy to go over it again in more detail.

    The logic of a one-sided reconciliation, in which God is reconciled to us but we are not yet reconciled to Him, is like the sound of one hand clapping. Reconciliation is mutual or there is no reconciliation. God is not reconciled to us until we believe. This is why elect unbelievers remain under God’s wrath:

    Eph. 2:3 ESV
    among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

    All of us were once under wrath like the rest of mankind, due to our nature causing us to "live in the passions of our flesh..." Being under wrath is not consistent with reconciliation.

    John 3:36 ESV
    Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

    Think back to the days when you were an unbeliever. Those were days when the wrath of God remained on you.

    Rom. 1:18 ESV
    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

    Before you were saved, did you ever suppress the truth by your unrighteousness? If so, then the wrath of God was against your unrighteousness.

    Rom. 2:4-5 ESV
    Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

    In this verse, Paul reveals not only that by a hard and impenitent heart one stores up wrath for oneself on Judgment Day, but also that the impenitent ones to whom he was speaking were the very ones whom God meant to lead to repentance through His kindness and forbearance and patience. And some of them (myself included) reading Paul's words, who were of a hard and impenitent heart, eventually repented and believed--but that does not falsify the fact mentioned by Paul that God had been storing up wrath against them until they repented.

    Rom. 4:15 ESV
    For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

    Notice that it does not say that the law brings wrath only on the unelect. God’s wrath is not removed from us until our sin is removed, and we remain in sin until we believe in Christ and His blood-sacrifice is applied to us. The world is reconciled to God one sinner at a time, as each one comes to faith. No one is reconciled until they are reconciled.
    More to follow...
     
  9. Ken Hamrick

    Ken Hamrick Member

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    2 Cor. 5:18-20 ESV
    18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

    God reconciled us to Himself at the same time that He gave us the ministry of reconciliation—at our point of saving faith. God’s acts of “reconciling the world to himself,” and, “not counting their trespasses against them,” and, “entrusting to us the message of reconciliation,” are not spoken of here as past, finished actions, but as ongoing actions. This is further shown by the fact that we are still making God’s appeal, and imploring men, “Be reconciled to God!” From the first moment of Christ’s incarnation, God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself—and He has continued to do so even up to today. He is even now reconciling the world to Himself, and He does so through the combination of what Christ did on the cross and the ministry of reconciliation given to believers, whereby we implore men, “Be reconciled to God!”

    You state:
    You are incorrect. "18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;" Did He give the whole world the ministry of reconciliation? No. Did He even give all the elect who did not yet believe the ministry of reconciliation? No. Verse 18 speaks of Paul and of those who already believe. Paul is looking back at his own conversion, by which he was reconciled to God and given the ministry of reconciliation. He then continues, "19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation." God, in Christ, was in the process of reconciling the world to himself (one believer at a time)--as each comes to faith, God stops counting their trespasses against them. This message of reconciliation, which is the gospel of Christ, God entrusted to Paul (and all believers by extension).

    You continue:
    Eph 2:1-3 ESV
    1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

    Col. 1:21 ESV
    21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,

    You who were once alienated and hostile in mind, a child of wrath—when were you reconciled to God? When was God’s wrath against your sins propitiated?

    Col. 1:21-22 ESV
    21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,

    We are now reconciled, now that we have been saved through faith. How is it that we are now reconciled? —Through “his body of flesh by his death.” It is His death then that reconciles us now.

    Col. 2:13-14 ESV
    13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

    When we were still dead in our trespasses, God made us alive in Christ, “having forgiven all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us…” How did He cancel this record of our debt? By nailing it to the cross! Had He nailed it to the cross before we were born it would not need to be further canceled. The language is clear: we were dead in trespasses, and then God made us alive in Christ, and He did so by nailing the record of our debt to the cross. This speaks of our condition when we came to Christ, but does not mean that the two states, dead and alive, were in any way concurrent.

    How is it that the record of our sins can be nailed to the cross today? It is by our blessed union with Christ…

    Gal. 2:20 ESV
    20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

    Even when we were dead in our trespasses, the children of wrath by nature (“while we were enemies”), He made us alive together with Christ by grace through faith.

    Rom. 5:1 ESV
    1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Rom 5:6-11 ESV
    6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

    In verses 6-8, we see that Christ died while all men were still sinners and weak. Paul and his immediate readers did exist at the time of His death, and so the pronoun, “we,” fits doubly for them. But notice the difference for us in v. 9: “…we have now been justified by his blood,…” Now can only refer to the point of faith that is spoken of in v. 1, “justified by faith.” “…much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” This refers to the future “day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (2:5). Verse 10 is held up by many as establishing that Christ’s death was an immediate transaction that reconciled us to God at the time of His death, but in the light of Col. 1-2 and Eph. 2, we see a different meaning. “While we were enemies” refers to our state before God “made us alive together with him.” We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son at our point of faith; and now that we have been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life from the wrath to come. It is now that we have received reconciliation (v. 11). To be reconciled by the death of the Son does not require that the reconciliation happen at the time of that death—and indeed, it cannot happen at the time of death for those who remain under the wrath of God.
     
  10. Ken Hamrick

    Ken Hamrick Member

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    Are you seeing any Scripture now?
     
  11. Ken Hamrick

    Ken Hamrick Member

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    You keep making such statements. The problem is that you posted a bunch of prooftexts and then, without waiting for my rebuttal, posted, "This will be my last post in this thread." Now, you claim you established your points in that other thread. I invite the reader to go back and see what you left on the table.
    If the Holy Spirit is to regenerate your nature, as Calvinists claim (and you do propagate what is generally their doctrine, whether or not you claim the label), it must be done from within the man. So then, would you say that you, before you were regenerated, wanted the Holy Spirit to come into you and regenerate you? No, for how an unregenerate person want such a thing? Right? Therefore, since the regeneration and indwelling was not wanted, it was forced--accomplished in spite of the wishes of the one to be regenerated. That's what I mean by coercive. But God knows how to cause us to "simply go right along with" His working--and He doesn't need to indwell unbelievers to do it.

    Both you and Wesley are wrong. You've taken a truth of Scripture, that faith is all of God and He determines the destinies of men, and taken it farther than Scripture warrants--so far, in fact, that you've trodden over top of another truth of Scripture, which Wesley grasped and took father than Scripture warrants. I like what Fuller said about it:
    If I find two doctrines affirmed or implied in the Scriptures, which, to my feeble understanding, may seem to clash, I ought not to embrace the one and to reject the other because of their supposed inconsistency; for, on the same ground, another person might embrace that which I reject, and reject that which I embrace, and have equal Scriptural authority for his faith as I have for mine. Yet in this manner many have acted on both sides: some, taking the general precepts and invitations of Scripture for their standard, have rejected the doctrine of discriminating grace; others, taking the declarations of salvation as being a fruit of electing love for their standard, deny that sinners without distinction are called upon to believe for the salvation of their souls. Hence it is that we hear of Calvinistic and Arminian texts; as though these leaders had agreed to divide the Scriptures between them. The truth is, there are but two ways for us to take: one is to reject them both, and the Bible with them, on account of its inconsistencies; the other is to embrace them both, concluding that, as they are both revealed in the Scriptures, they are both true, and both consistent, and that it is owing to the darkness of our understandings that they do not appear so to us [“The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation,” The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller, (Harrisonburg: Sprinkle, 1988), vol. II, p. 367.]​

    I had stated:
    You replied:
    I was not arguing that believers do meritorious works. I was arguing that a sinner's initial coming to the Lord in faith is not, in itself, to be considered a meritorious work, as some would claim if regeneration follows faith. However, there was one man who gained merit with God by his works, and He did pray, "...not My will, but Thine be done."
     
  12. Dave Gilbert

    Dave Gilbert Well-Known Member

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    No need.
    I've already been where you currently are, in my understanding of Scripture.

    Sure, I see a lot of Scriptures there.
    I also see many that are either being used out of context, or whose conclusions I believe to be faulty.

    For example:
    It can't be nailed to His cross now.
    The point is, when was it nailed to His cross?
    When He was nailed to His cross.

    " And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
    11 in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
    12 buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [him] through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
    13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
    14 blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
    15 [and] having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it."
    ( Colossians 2:10-15 )

    When He went to the cross, we as believers went to the cross with Him:

    "I am crucified with Christ..." ( Galatians 2:20 )
    "...even when we were dead in sins..." ( Ephesians 2:4-6 )
    "....in whom we have redemption through His blood..." ( not will have, Colossians 1:14 ).
    " And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
    22 in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
    " ( Colossians 1:21-22 )

    Believers were reconciled at the cross...not when they believed.
    When we ( not those whom would never believe ) were DEAD, He did all those things...not when we believed.

    When He died, we "died", positionally.
    When He suffered, we suffered, positionally.
    When He was buried, we were buried with Him, positionally.
    When He rose again, we rose again with Him...that is what water baptism commemorates.

    Christ, who is our life and the Saviour our lives are intertwined with, did all those things for us, as believers...as His precious sheep.
    Again, salvation was never "potential", as the "Semi-Pelagian" or "Wesleyan" or "Molinist" teaches...it is "vicarious", acting in behalf of, or done for another.
    His atonement is vicarious, not "held in reserve" for someone.

    In Romans 5:6-11, I see this:

    " For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
    7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
    8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
    9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
    10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
    11 And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement."


    The context here is not "all men", but the ones Paul is writing to from Romans 1:7,
    " to all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called [to be] saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ."

    None of these declarations spoken of in Romans 5:6-11 are in the present tense, but in the past.
    They were done with a specific people in mind...His elect, not all believers.
    Those things were done at the cross, and were "applied" then...not now or to be held in store until the sinner believed.


    Where it seems that your mind arrives at the conclusion that he is speaking to all, mine looks closely to see who is being spoken to and what is being said to them.
     
    #12 Dave Gilbert, Jul 14, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
  13. Ken Hamrick

    Ken Hamrick Member

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    I see some problems with your arguing from these comparisons. Like many comparisons in the Bible, they speak of the two opposites, but they are not intended to address those in between. There is the sinner who is the natural man and the believer who is the spiritual man. And, of course, the Calvinist insists that one must be regenerated into a spiritual man in order escape the limitations of being a natural man in his understanding (including, supposedly, the ability to understand the gospel). But this overlooks the power of the Holy Spirit to convict and teach and persuade men of the truth (without first indwelling or regenerating them.)

    Some spiritual truths will not be understood until after conversion, but the gospel is simple enough to be understood by sinners without first indwelling them with God’s Spirit. God does reveal truth and convict sinners, but He reveals enough to every man to leave him without excuse. Any man who hears the gospel can understand enough to be without excuse for not believing.

    The Word of God does require more than a mind—it requires that we engage our spirit in understanding by having a spiritual attitude of seeking truth and the God of that truth. If we do not engage our spirit in the process, we will leave out one of the cogs, so to speak, and the whole thing may seem nonsense. In other words, when it comes to the truth of God, the spirit must be willing to embrace the truth before the mind can understand it. Men build up many defenses in their minds to protect their spirit from the hated truth—and human beings are the sole creatures able to tailor their own perception of reality and to embrace as true what they know down inside are lies, just to keep up their comfort level. But God sees through all that, and all the excuses.

    And thank God, that He does, from time to time, cause the power of His Word to pierce “even unto the dividing of soul and spirit”—to pierce our defenses and confront that spirit in our heart with the truth. I believe this is what is described in Acts in two places, the preaching of Peter and the stoning of Stephen. Both crowds were cut to the heart, but with much different results. Confront men with something they really don’t think is true and don’t like it, and they might call you stupid; but confront them with something that they hate but are lying to themselves about, and they will hate you with the same level of hatred toward that truth.

    Both of us believe that God unconditionally elected men in eternity past. Both believe that faith is a gift of God, and only those whom God chooses to bring to faith get saved. I just believe that what He overcomes to do that is our unwillingness, whereas you believe that He overcomes an absolute inability. But the results and the ones saved are the same. We both believe that God must reveal His truth to men before they can understand it. I just believe that He does that regeneration is not required--and further, that regeneration is rebirth, and is the essence of salvation itself--and that this great saving gift of the Holy Spirit's indwelling (uniting us to Christ) is only given by God to those who truly believe in repentant faith.
     
  14. Dave Gilbert

    Dave Gilbert Well-Known Member

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    No, I don't think we really believe that the same way.;)
    Again, I have to disagree.
    To me, they don't "get saved", they are saved ( 1 Corinthians 1:18 ).
    Chosen "in Him" before the foundation of the world ( Ephesians 1:4-5 ).
    I believe He overcomes our rock-solid unwillingness ( Jeremiah 24:7, Ezekiel 11:19, Ezekiel 36:26, John 3:3, John 3:5 ), which is what makes it "inability".
    Agreed.
    I disagree.
    Regeneration comes first, if only by a split second ( Acts of the Apostles 2:37, "pricked in their heart", Acts of the Apostles 16:14, "whose heart the Lord opened" )... with the fruit of the Spirit ( Galatians 5:22-23 ), true faith, following the belief of the truth and the sealing of the Spirit ( Ephesians 1:13 ).

    There is no chance that anyone other than God's elect child will ever believe the Gospel.
    It is hid to the lost ( 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 ).
     
    #14 Dave Gilbert, Jul 14, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
  15. Ken Hamrick

    Ken Hamrick Member

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    Dave,

    I have other responsibilities that need my attention, but I will return, Lord willing, tomorrow night.
     
  16. Dave Gilbert

    Dave Gilbert Well-Known Member

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    Ken,
    I'm going to draw this out so you will see why I believe as I do.
    Not only do I understand from scripture that there is no "in between", I've also carefully weighed the differences between the two and have arrived at this:

    In the first bolded sentence, I see you making an appeal to something I can only surmise is what you see in Scripture.
    Regardless of what you may see in God's word, if there is a "middle ground", it gives mankind something they can rest on besides His mercy and grace.
    God's decision to save someone is "conditioned", under your view, my what the person does or does not do.

    To me, you're arguing against God's doing all the work.
    To what end?
    In an attempt to show that there are others besides God's elect that can potentially believe?
    That's not a middle ground...that's "Semi-Pelagianism" and swings all the way over to man cooperating with God, from my perspective.

    Again, and my apologies in advance for any seeming offense, but to me, that means that you are, in effect, denying election...God's right to pardon whom He will.
    What I see you affirming, is a "synergistic" ( man co-operates with God ) form of gaining eternal life, instead of it being a gift from out of nowhere.
    There is no middle ground between "Monergism", and "Synergism".
    Either man is passive, or he becomes active in some small way.

    In the underlined, of course the "Calvinist" insists on regeneration happening first.
    Why?
    Because in any other scenario, God's decision to regenerate someone is not based on His desire to do it, but on a person's performing an action, and then the Lord relying on that "action" to then reward the person further.
    Either the impetus is from God alone, or it devolves into man co-operating with God.

    This is what I see you arguing in the second bolded sentence.
    Man's ability to seek God apart from a change of heart...a complete "heart transplant" which results in change of desires.

    In the bolded first sentence, I agree with you:
    Of course it requires more than a mind...it requires that we engage our spirit in understanding by having the spiritual attitude of seeking the truth and the God of that truth.
    But I think you're forgetting Romans 3:10-18 and several others.
    When the Lord says that no man seeks Him, that's from His perspective...that's where every man starts out at.

    In the underlined,
    There is no way for man to disregard his hatred of God long enough to break the cycle.
    Engaging the spirit results in simply more sinning.

    in the second bolded sentence...
    Bingo!
    Regeneration, better known as the new birth or God "begetting" someone by the word of truth.
    The spirit ( nature ) cannot embrace the truth before the mind can understand...because the "natural mind" cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God...they are foolishness to it ( 1 Corinthians 2:14 ).
    The "carnal mind" is at enmity with God...at odds to it.
    Without the spirit change, there is no change of mind...period.

    In the second underlined sentence...I agree to an extent.
    Men build up all sorts of things in their own minds against god and His ways.
    But I think you're forgetting something the Lord tells us about ourselves:

    " O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." ( Matthew 12:34 ).
    " But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man." ( Matthew 15:18 ).

    The Lord is describing the source of the problem...the evil "heart", or nature.
    Evil originates from a heart that is corrupt...it then "generates" evil thoughts and actions.
    Even though the spirit must be willing to embrace truth before the mind can understand it, the mind cannot be freed until the spirit is freed.

    Best wishes.
     
  17. Ken Hamrick

    Ken Hamrick Member

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    Dave,

    Perhaps this will better explain my position.
    Fuller spoke of a two-sided Biblical truth that neither side can fully accept:

    …It appears to be the same controversy, for substance, as that which in all ages has subsisted between God and an apostate world. God has ever maintained these two principles: All that is evil is of the creature, and to him belongs the blame of it; and all that is good is of Himself, and to Him belongs the praise of it. To acquiesce in both these positions is too much for the carnal heart. The advocates for free-will would seem to yield the former, acknowledging themselves blameworthy for the evil; but they cannot admit the latter. Whatever honour they may allow to the general grace of God, they are for ascribing the preponderance in favour of virtue and eternal life to their own good improvement of it. Others, who profess to be advocates for free grace, appear to be willing that God should have all the honour of their salvation, in case they should be saved; but they discover the strongest aversion to take to themselves the blame of their destruction in case they should be lost. To yield both these points to God is to fall under in the grand controversy with him, and to acquiesce in his revealed will; which acquiescence includes “repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.” [“The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation,” The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller, (Harrisonburg: Sprinkle, 1988), vol. II, p. 330].​

    Unless God graciously intervenes to suppress the evil and effect the good, men would continually be as sinful as possible. Because mankind sinned in Adam, all men are depraved, and there is no good within us apart from God’s intervening grace. Therefore, if there is to be anything good within human events, God must intervene and bring about the good. However, those parts of God’s plan that include allowing sin to occur need no divine intervention, as men are naturally quite willing to sin on their own.

    All that happens that is evil is foreseen of God and permitted, while all that happens that is good only happens because God has decided to cause it to happen. All good is caused by God in some way, while all that is evil is of the creatures alone and is not caused by God in the same sense. In both cases, creatures freely choose; but in the case of chosen good, the ultimate credit must go to God, while in the case of chosen evil, the ultimate credit rests with the sinner.

    A man is saved only due to God suppressing sin and effecting the good, persuading the man by His grace to come to the cross in repentant faith. God is the author of our faith and the only One to whom credit is due. But the man who perishes has only his own rejection of God’s call to blame. God can suppress evil and effect good, but He is under no obligation to do so. For reasons that only He knows, His plan, which is being perfectly carried out, includes allowing sin and evil to do their damage to an extent. Were this not so, there would have been no betrayal, no cross, no Savior.

    God knows everything about every man—every thought before we think it. He knows exactly what persuasions would be necessary to bring any man to his knees in repentant, surrendered faith. No man is too hard for God to convert by mere non-coercive means. And yet, He only provides enough persuasion to result in conversion in the case of some and not all. Since no man will choose God unless and until God brings enough persuasive influence to bear to successfully result in the man choosing God, then it is God alone who decides who will choose Him, through the use of selective disparities between the level of influence that God knows will result in conversion and a level that He knows will not result in conversion. Thus, the Baptist middle position is once again vindicated, as there is no contradiction between the free will of the sinner to respond and the sovereign, selective grace of God in ultimately deciding the destinies of men.
     
  18. Dave Gilbert

    Dave Gilbert Well-Known Member

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    Ken,

    I understand your position...fully.
    I'm also not interested in what Fuller had to say.
    To me, he was in error...and he did not understand what the Scriptures have to say about how the will is affected by the nature.

    How the mind is affected by the spirit.
    How the moral ability is "hamstrung" by the natural inability.
    From my perspective, it's as if he keeps trying to find a way out of man's utterly helpless condition by any other way than acknowledging the Lord's right to pardon whom He will.
    In other words, he was rebelling against God's words in Romans 3:10-18, and deep down, Romans 9:14-16 and Exodus 33:19.

    I see nothing redeeming in trying to read, much less adopt his philosophical ways of thinking, any more than I see things that John Calvin or any other writer tried to reason out, contrary to what Scripture states.
    At the end of the day, I'm not interested in what John Calvin had to say, either.
    I'm definitely not interested in anything John Wesley had to say, except for "Jesus is Lord."

    Man is "dead" in trespasses and sins.
    To me, that paints a very condemning picture of our situation before the Lord even begins to get involved.
    His involvement brings spiritual life from the dead.

    The Lord Jesus raising Lazarus is a good example.:)
    I'm sorry, Ken.
    I have to disagree.

    With that, I have done what I came to these threads to do...not to persuade you, but to address the teachings as I see them being;
    In error.
    With Fuller, nothing new has been introduced...only a modified version of "free will" that has a hand in determining its own destiny.

    This is my final reply to you on this subject.
    I believe I've exhausted the issue quite thoroughly.;)



    May God bless you Ken.:)
     
  19. Ken Hamrick

    Ken Hamrick Member

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    You haven't even begun to understand mine or Fuller's position. The fact that you refuse to read my last post because you're "not interested in what Fuller had to say" shows that you were never really interested in my position or what I had to say. So if you're not willing to go more than a few introductory rounds, and not willing to get into it very deeply--and you certainly haven't been willing to go toe-to-toe on any exegesis, since your idea of how this should go is simply for you to post some proof texts, tell me how you think I'm wrong, and then walk away--then why are you here, Dave? Why post at all? When you post your proof texts, but will not substantively engage any detailed rebuttals, then what you're doing amounts to nothing more than spamming and pontificating. You ASSUME you know my position or Fuller's, but you are not willing to read at any length required to honestly investigate in depth. You superficially dismiss based on your assumption that my view (and Fuller's) must be just another version of what you've already encountered. But the fact is that they are not--and I can tell that's the case by your misunderstandings that you won't hang around long enough for me open your eyes to. You've mentioned elsewhere that there's no need for further discussion because you're not going to change your mind. But that's not the real purpose of such discussions. They ought to be for the benefit of those who read here. If your position is the stronger one, then you ought to be able to demonstrate that by such discussions--not to YOUR satisfaction, but to a reasonably objective standard, which you have not done. And if your position cannot be defended, and cannot hold up under such a comparison, then you ought to give serious consideration to changing it. The Church has had a long history of using the tool of debate to ferret out hidden assumptions and weed out false ideas. It is how theology has developed through the centuries. So don't think that your own view is somehow above such things, so that you're able to pass judgment on another view, throw some proof texts at it, and leave without having to substantively engage.

    I'm not saying you've avoided all substantive engagement, but you're certainly in too much of a hurry to exit.
    I believe your ideas of exhausted and thorough are superficial and convenient.
     
    #19 Ken Hamrick, Jul 15, 2019 at 7:10 PM
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019 at 7:15 PM
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