NOTHING MAKES SENSE WITHOUT FREEWILL

I might add that everything makes sense with free will. Pick the subject that would keep anyone from believing and view it as if we have free will and it is obvious that we (mankind) are responsible for it.

 

Sin abounds in this world and if we have no free will then God would be responsible for it. It is sin that separates us from God. If there is no free will then it is God that separates us from Him by making us sin. Those who understand God know He would not do such a thing.

 

There are those who say “I can not believe in God because a loving God would not allow war”, but God must allow war, because if He stopped it no one had the right or power to sin in that way. The fact that man goes to war proves free will: just as any sin proves free will.

 

We pray that God will stop sin, especially when someone is sinning against us, but with a little thought it can be seen that God has tied His own hands and can not stop sin without ending this age.

 

I believe that it is right to pray that sin be stopped, however I think we should always add that we want God’s will to be done. There are more sinners that God knows will turn to Him and therefore He does not end this age.

 

Pick your sin, any sin, murder, theft, even child abuse and if you apply free will to it you can see that God cannot completely stop it without removing the power to commit it.

 

It is God’s plan that we have the power to sin. He did not prevent Eve from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, though it cursed all of mankind. Unfortunately all sin hurts others as well as the one that sins: which is one of the reasons that God hates sin.

 

Consider these two verses. (Exo 32:33 NIV)  The LORD replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book” and though I usually quote from the NIV it seems to me that the KJV says this better, (Mat 18:7 KJV) Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

 

It may seem a dichotomy, but I am not saying God can not stop sin. If you believe that God can do anything then stopping sin would not be beyond His abilities. I just don’t think it would be in His will.

 

Right now we face a great depression and life will not be as easy as it was. It will help if we can keep in mind that it was the greed of the rich that has caused it and if we are adversely affected it is not God’s fault. It is time to remember what God has done for us and to know these problems will not last forever. After theses times we will live forever happy.

 

Now we need to feel sorry for the rich and pray for them, because they are the ones who are really poor: poor in spirit and that is true poverty.

34 Responses to NOTHING MAKES SENSE WITHOUT FREEWILL

  1. Fun fact… from a biological and even largely theological standpoint, there is no free will. Many scholars of many different backgrounds believe in this. Here are some who use the bible as sources.

    http://www.the-highway.com/Myth.html
    http://assemblyoftrueisrael.com/Documents/TheMythofFreeWill.htm

  2. pochp says:

    We are breathing. All of us. If you want to die, stop breathing. You want to live, continue breathing. Where is non-freewill then?? I don’t find freewill believable but It’s less stupid.

  3. We are not too far apart about free will, except for the doctrine of the fall.
    In what Luther described as “The Bondage of the Will”, sin deforms us in such a way that our free will becomes limited.
    In a secular example, think of this: If I lie, I begin to limit my freedom. I must think, speak and act in a way consistent, not with reality or even with my present will, but in a way consistent with the lie. The further I go with the (now plural) lies, the more bondage I experience. Even in the mental health field, we usually see recovery as a move away from bondage in thoughts, feelings and actions, to freedom.

    I understand humanity as created with total free will, loosing it through our ancestral and individual sin to a point of bondage (“help! I’ve fallen and can’t get up!” for those old enough to remember THAT commercial!) and Salvation beginning to set us back on our feet, restoring to us our freedom –sort of as physical therapy restoring my ability to walk after the surgeons saved my life.

    Restored total freedom is God’s goal with us.

  4. astudent says:

    danaofthebells,

    Well, I read most of both links and I could refute them point for point, but that would waste both of our time and would not be fair to them unless they are reading these comments. There are many who follow the teaching of Calvin that believe there is no free will. Funny thing about them is they all believe they are the saved though they have no idea why.

    One doesn’t have to use the Bible to prove free will. If you want to lie, then lie. If you want to steal, then steal just don’t get caught.

    By the way you probably could seal your pipe with silicone sealer.

  5. astudent says:

    pochp,

    That’s funny! Test your theory and stop breathing. I think I can scrounge up quite a bit of money to bet that you can’t just stop breathing. It would be safe to say that you can take your own life in other ways: which will cause you to stop breathing.

    If you want to say that you do not have free will because you can not just stop breathing, you can (your free too). It wouldn’t make much sense to me, because you are free to do anything you want. Let me rephrase that, you are free to try anything, success is not guaranteed.

    I find the last part of your comment also funny. Perhaps I just don’t understand it, but if you have no free will and that is stupid, and free will is less stupid, then what isn’t stupid? Please resist the temptation to say my comment. Everyone all ready knows that anyway.

  6. astudent says:

    R. Eric Sawyer,

    Though it is true that one lie leads too many lies every lie is by choice. It is like flipping a coin. Every time it is flipped it can land either way and every time the opportunity presents its self one can either lie or tell the truth. There may be more internal pressure to lie, but the choice is up to the individual: no one makes them lie.

    Any bondage from previous lies is self imposed. I do agree that there is bondage, but anyone can break the chains of it. We are free to accept Jesus as our personal Savior or not. Some say that because God knows who will accept that He made them, but that is not logical. If God were going to save and condemn because of His will there would be no need of a Savior. There would not be any reason for the universe and all of the sin in it for that matter.

    If one has no free choice because of previous sins then we are all just victims of our own lies and if we are victims then we do not need to be saved from God: we need to be saved from ourselves. God doesn’t condemn victims. He condemns the guilty.

  7. But if we have totally free will, and have the power to choose good, then we have the power to save ourselves, we are condemned because we fail to use that power.

    In a nutshell, that was the same argument as Pelagious in the fifth century. Refuted by St. Augustine, the church decided that his teaching was heretical at the Council of Carthage in 4??

    I agree that the bondage is self imposed, but it does not follow that it can therefore be self-removed. Think again of sin as something of a lobster pot, easy to enter, but impossible to exit. There is of course the idea that salvation is first of all a rescue of those in bondage (Rom 7:24). Coupled with this is the thought that damnation is brought on by our willingly entering such bondage -not admitting it was bondage, but knowing it to be against God. Thus, our sorry fate, if not for the work of Christ, is just.

    As to your point in the first paragraph, that each sin stands on its own, that is not my experience of the nature of sin. I find that each trasgression greases the skids for the next. Each time the coin lands “heads” the probability skews towards repeated “heads” Your milage may vary.

    You have a good point that God doesn’t condemn victims. But what if I am victim of my own sin? If I am both victem and perpetrator? I ignored the warnings, and drove off into the mud bog. Now I am indeed a victim in need of rescue from beyond myself, but a victim of my own rebellion against the warning signs. The fact that I am at fault, and deserve my fate, in no way mitigates my need of help if I am to do anything but rot in that mire.

    The relationship of free choice and the soveregn will of God is a mystery. I think the truth is that an answer that denies God’s power is wrong on the face of it, but so is any denial of my need to choose. I attempted a minor exploration in “Pondering the TUL[I]P” over at my place, but I am happiest with CS Lewis’ speculation that perhaps we can’t understand the relationship of choice and time until we are beyond both.
    There is much to the idea that I seek God because He moved me to seek Him, that He is working in me “both to will and to work,” that I am to “work out my salvation with fear and trembling, for it is Christ that works in me.
    Perhaps God holds my hand in his, as I held my son’s, when we are first learning to write with free will. The more we submit to Him, the freer we become.

    But I steadfastly affirm your point that I am guilty of damnation by my own deeds, and affirm that I a powerless to overcome them save by the merits and intervention of Chirst, that I must accept His help in ordered to be rescued by Him, who alone has the power to save.

    -Blessings this Christmas eve!

  8. astudent says:

    R. Eric Sawyer,

    Thanks for the thoughtful response. This seems to me to be one of those interchanges where we are both saying the same thing, just different ways of looking at the subject.

    I would argue that we do have the power to save ourselves. I know you are saying that I am wrong, but hear me out first.

    I believe that God made everything. The universe, me and everything to sustain me and that also includes His plan for salvation. The only thing that He didn’t make was my decision to turn to Him. That was mine to make and God granted me the power to make it without commanding me to do so.

    Now you can correctly say that God saved me, because of everything that He has done, and yet I am also responsible for my salvation.

    It is said, correctly I believe, that God does not condemn anyone, they condemn themselves and there is very little argument about it. But if one says they had anything to do with their own salvation there is uproar from fellow Christians. If we condemn ourselves by our actions then do we not save ourselves by our actions? Isn’t that fair to us and isn’t God always fair?

    Look at it this way; I am swimming in a very rough sea, about to drown. I call out for help and a boat appears with one rowing it. The sea is very turbulent and the will of the one that is rowing is to keep his hands on the oars to study the boat. He says grab the side of the boat and if I refuse to reach out and grab the boat I have condemned myself to drown, but if I do grab the side of the boat I have saved myself. I am not saved without the one in the boat, but I am not saved if I do not do my part and I believe it can also be said I am saved by the one in the boat, but I am also saved because I did my part.

    It seems to me that the problem with free choice comes from one word and that is predestination. It seems to say that God made us accept or reject Him. However with some thought one can see that God knows who will accept Him and therefore that person is predestined to be saved. If one takes the position that God makes the choice for us then there is no need for all of this sin and strife.

    That leads to deeper thought on why God made this universe and everything in it. Perhaps I will post my understanding for a review.

    Merry Christmas and may God bless you even more than He blesses me (If that is possible!).

  9. M. Patterson says:

    It’s really just another paradox. Yes, people have free will. Yes, they are predestined. Rid your faith of predestination and God cannot be both all-knowing and all-powerful. It’s like taking your hands off the steering wheel and blaming the car for driving off the road. On the other hand, there really is free will. Every second I live is an opportunity to make a choice or commit a deed. Were it not so, then there could be no sin, guilt, salvation, humanity, or even my own human soul. I would be unable to live life through this body, for it would live quite nicely without me, as do all other human bodies. So, yes, both sides of the argument are exactly true, even though they seem to contradict each other. The real truth lies in discovering how the two coexist, and there’s no guarantee that a simple human mind can grasp it. The answer is probably metaphysical in nature, only to be hinted at through physical thought processes.

  10. Al says:

    I have often pondered a thought that what is predestined is the action and reaction – the cause and effect. Not whether a man is saved or damned. If that were the case then God would have created people to go to hell and that is not consistent with the nature of God as I know it.
    If one chooses to walk to the right, the narrow gate, then the end result will be as it is written – salvation. The end is predestined, but it is tied to the choice, not the man.
    So the all knowing God has laid out all the possibilities in principal, mental and physical reality. We are then added to the mix and told to choose ye this day.. it is then over to us to exercise free will and choose, no man being without excuse.
    Why would Mordecai tell Esther ( Esther 4:14) that perhaps now is her time to play a part for the Kingdom and that if she did not play her role then God would use someone else? Perhaps because the plan is laid out by God and the events will unfold, we are called to make ourselves obedient and available to do the work of God here on earth.

    Think of a maze. The paths are predestined, but you can choose which ones you walk on. There is a map available if you want to trust in it and use it.

  11. I think Al is pretty much on the right track, although his metaphor, like all metaphors, breaks down if we try to push it too far. When we try and understand the relationship between free will and sovereign election, I think we are in the position of characters in a two dimensional painting trying to describe the intersection of lines in a three dimensional space. It can be done only with a lot of metaphors, each one abandoned as soon as we have extracted the illumination it possesses, then moving to the next partial image.

    My idea, still very formative, is that God intends for us to operate in, grow into, be freed into full free will. As it is now, I still operate partly as a link in a chain of causation: I do x because someone else did y. Freedom and health allow me to grow in ability to choose.

    Depravity equals bondage. We can see it even in mental health issues, where “I had to hit him, after he said what he did!” The first step to freedom is regaining the power to choose, and to fight for that power rather than being pure reactive. Perhaps another partial image is that God by his own free power chooses to heal me, then tells me (as He told the paralytic man) “Take up your mat, and walk” At that point, I can exercise my newly restored free will to choose to acknowledge my benefactor and redeemer, or sink back into that reactive bondage as before.

    I think this idea is worth a fuller treatment than I have, or probably can do, but I would appreciate your thoughts. This is the link, but I am posting it here so that it can be part of this very interesting chain.

    http://rericsawyer.wordpress.com/2006/05/03/irresistable-grace/

    I have been pondering Calvin’s idea of “irresistible grace” (the I in the TULIP mnemonic), in light of the obvious truth that if I am dead in my sin, I do not become “spontaneously regenerate”, by my own choice, any more than did I become “spontaneously generate” , by my own choice, the first time. And also of the commissioning of the apostles and of us to spread the gospel, of the v. in John about “…as many as received Him, to them He gave power to become children of God.” (I assume the orig. refers to an active reception, rather than passive?)

    I have also been thinking in the light of what I understand of God’s ultimate purpose for this creation, limited as that understanding is. That purpose, that God desired to create a being which could give and receive total love, in total submission, and total freedom. As is modeled in the Holy Trinity.

    In the original creation, Adam gained life not of his own choice, clay having no power to choose. He was given freedom, and the ability to respond to the love of God by obedience, by the gift of the prohibition. By choosing wrongly, he lost his freedom, we became bound in sin, and dead in our trespass. In once again quickening us by His irresistible grace, does it seem consistent that He would take us from being bound in sin, to being bound in grace, without passing through the stage where the first Adam fell? If “the free gift of God is eternal life” is not one of His gifts to me the ability to make a “free gift to God” of my response to Him?

    Admittedly, by choosing to respond “Yes” to God, we are giving Him a gift only because He has empowered us to give it. I was powerless before His calling. I was powerless even to say no. When my daughter was 5, she could buy me a gift only by asking me for the money. But I was more touched so, not less. And “all things come of Thee oh Lord, and of Thine own have we given Thee”

    The ability to respond affirmatively, in freedom, to God (which carries with it the possibility of responding negatively) would seem to be very close to the first gift bestowed irresistibly upon us by His grace.

  12. astudent says:

    M. Patterson,

    Now there is a comment that I can not add to. Seems spot on to me.

    I do not think that we can discover how the two coexist. However I do believe God will give us the answer if we ask Him.

    The answer that I believe God gave me is though God knows if we will accept Him He did not make the choice for us, but then perhaps I am just hinting at understanding.

  13. astudent says:

    Al,

    I think I can understand what you mean by predestination is tied to the choice and I agree with you.

    The only thing that I do not completely agree with is when you said “If that were the case then God would have created people to go to hell”. It is against the will of God for anyone to choose to deny Him, but still He knew the decision of the lost before He even made them and yet He did make them. That requires some thought before one can accept it, but with out free will God would be responsible for their fate.

    We can see our life like God does when we view our past. Our past can not be changed, but in the present we have free will and we can make choices that, after less than a second, form the past. God sees all of our life as the past and it can not be changed. So when God views the life of the saved, knowing their choice, He knew they would be saved and another way to say the same thing is they were predestined to be saved.

    I like the metaphor of the maze.

  14. astudent says:

    R. Eric Sawyer,

    You say so much that leads me to think about the many aspects of many subjects.

    First I would point out the metaphors are a wonderful way to illustrate a point. You are right that they all break down at some point, but a good one will make clear what the author is trying to convey without causing the listener to defend his position. I think that is why Jesus used so many metaphors.

    Because I am usually way too blunt I anger those that I communicate with: until they realize that is a fault of mine and I do not intend to cause strife. Metaphors help me to explain, but I am not very good at using them.

    You say much that I agree with. Personally I try very hard not to let others influence me. I definitely do not do x because someone else did y. I have found that everyone always seems to have a reason to do y and it is usually for only their benefit for me to do x and it usually causes loss on my part. That is not to say that I do not consider the possibility that it would benefit both parties and if so I do x.

    Anyway I do agree that we sink deeper into sin as we sin. You say the first step to freedom is regaining the power to choose and I would say realizing that we have the power to choose is the first step. However I am not in the mental health business. Perhaps your approach to helping someone is the best, but it does not change the truth and the truth is every time one is tempted to sin they can choose to do so, or not to do so.

    One of Calvin’s principles is that we are dead in our sin and the dead can do nothing, but true death is separation from God and that is what the phrase means. One, who is separated from God, or dead in their sin, can live because they are physically alive and therefore can ask Jesus to be their Savior.

    Using my metaphor “from my side of the table” it seems to me that we usually put both “free will” and “predestination” on the table at the same time and from one side of the table free will blocks the view of predestination and then free will is blocked from the other side. If we put only free will on the table it can be seen as true from all angles and the same can be said of predestination.

    I believe we all understand both are true. It helps to see the view from everyone else’s side: which are all of these comments are. At least it is helping me.

    I must admit that I have never considered my response to God as a gift to God, but as I do so I agree with you. I could not give myself to God, because He already owned me, but He did give me the power to choose and that is mine. Choosing correctly could be viewed as a gift to God. It also reinforces the saying, “It is better to give than to receive”. I like the way you look at it.

  15. futurefaith says:

    The doctrine of grace, of redemption, of forgiveness were invented by God to destroy the causal sense of man: they are an outrage on the concept of cause and effect. Grace isn’t Newtonian. Glory abounds because grace does not follow a Newtonian track. Grace breaks all the rules. Consider Paul’s response when his message of “election” would come into question.

    Romans 9:15-21, “For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion”. So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on GOD who has mercy…So then He has mercy on whom HE DESIRES, and He hardens whom HE DESIRES. You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?”. On the contrary, WHO ARE YOU, OH MAN, WHO ANSWERS BACK TO GOD?”

  16. astudent says:

    futurefaith,

    If I understand your thoughts you are saying grace is not logical. Of course I disagree and for many reasons.

    God’s plan is that He be glorified. Because all mankind sin and the penalty for sin is death then without grace there would be no one left to glorify God. Grace therefore seems logical to me no matter if one can claim it, or not claim it.

    If God were to choose at random who would be saved and who would not (Muslims believe that) then God would be unjust to those not chosen. You started your verses with 15, but look at 14 (NIV) What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all!

    It seems to me that if we look at the children of God as God can, it can be seen that God knew before He made any man that the man would or would not turn to Him, so to God the man was chosen, but chosen because he did, or would do the will of God.

    (Gen 4:6-7 NIV) Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

    Look what the LORD said to Ezekiel (Ezek 3:17-21 NIV) “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself. “Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before him, he will die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for his sin. The righteous things he did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the righteous man not to sin and he does not sin, he will surely live because he took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”

    If God chooses at random with no input from man then Ezekiel 3:17-21 and what He said to Cain are not true for the verses claim man has a responsibility in the matter.

    Read on in Romans (Rom 10:4 NIV) Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
    (Rom 10:8-13 NIV) But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

    God does say “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”, but He means He will have mercy on anyone who will confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that God raised him from the dead and it is what the person does that allows him or her to receive God’s mercy.

    It seems to me that Romans is first written to the Jew. Jews had a different view of God than Gentiles because they had always been told that they were God’s chosen and therefore would be saved. When we, who are not Jews, read what Paul wrote to the Jews the meaning, or meanings become confused. Suppose you were Jewish and you had always been told that you had nothing to worry about because God had already chosen you and then along comes Paul and he says God didn’t choose you because you are Jewish. Instead God has chosen those who have faith. Wouldn’t it take many words to change what your priests have been telling you sense birth?

    This, it seems to me is why Paul says God will have mercy on whom He chooses. It is not saying we have nothing to do with it. We would have to disregard most of the Bible to believe that. Paul is trying to make it clear to the Jew that they must accept Jesus and not rely on their nationality.

    (Mat 11:12 NIV) “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.” Those are the words of Jesus. I am forceful and I have got my hands around the kingdom and I am holding on for dear life. I believe God’s word and it says that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

    Every time I examine myself before I take communion I see a wretched sinner that still needs Jesus and I know in my heart that God will honor His Word. Let the Muslims and Calvinist believe God is irrational and unjust. I’m just hanging on to the Word and with white knuckles I might add.

  17. futurefaith says:

    astudent,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. May we not be guilty of vain arguments or fleshly spirits but in the encouragement and building up of the believer. May God be glorified by our conversation.

    Yes, you understood me correctly. Grace is not fathomable. It is truly amazing! Why God would ever save me I do not know. Grace does break all the rules. I shouldn’t have received it, I should receive eternal damnation, yet I speak to you as one redeemed, not by my will, choice, faith, but by the blood of the crucified one. This shows the truth of God’s Holy Word, “by grace you have been saved.” (Eph. 2:5b)

    Please allow me to respond to some of your statements.

    “God’s plan is that He be glorified. Because all mankind sin and the penalty for sin is death then without grace there would be no one left to glorify God.”

    My response: Luke 19:40 “He answered, I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out!” I disagree that there would ever be a time where there was not anyone or anything left to cry out and praise [glorify] our God and Savior. In fact, we know from Revelation that indeed the whole world past, present and future will glorify God…even in spite of their “freewill”?

    “If God were to choose at random who would be saved and who would not (Muslims believe that) then God would be unjust to those not chosen. You started your verses with 15, but look at 14 (NIV) What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all!”

    My response: My dear sibling in Christ, to choose everyone because He has to is not free grace. Please remember that you admitted that the [just] punishment for sin is death. If God allowed every human to experience eternal damnation He would be just. No different than a judge in our human court sentencing a criminal to prison. He earned that. That God saves anyone is pure grace. NO ONE DESERVES SALVATION! The fact that God desires to save anyone is the expression of pure, unadulterated, mercy. The fact that this mercy is accompanied with forgiveness, heaven and life eternal is the free grace of God. Free meaning God didn’t do what He did because he must, or is required to. We must understand these words and their meanings correctly. God is not unjust, AT ALL!

    “It can be seen that God knew before He made any man that the man would or would not turn to Him, so to God the man was chosen, but chosen because he did, or would do the will of God.”

    My response: Paul explains in Romans 8:29-30 that in God’s “plan knowledge” He foreknew those whom he predestined. They must be saved in accordance to His plan. In knowing who he must save for his plan, he predestined to be saved. Then follow the divine order of our coming to Him as found in the rest of the verse. Jesus said in the Gospels that those who were of God [present tense] hear his words unto obedience (John 8:47). Those who will not come to Christ do not because they can not (John 8:43). John 15:16 says, “You have not chosen me but I have chosen you…” notice the punctuation that separates that phrase from the rest of the verse. God chose us (the what) to be bearers of good fruit (the why). In regard to the last part of this statement, please remember that NO ONE is saved by what they have done. Your statement should cause a reflection on what “freewill” really means. I have pages more but time and space does not allow.

    (Gen 4:6-7 NIV) Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

    Look what the LORD said to Ezekiel (Ezek 3:17-21 NIV) “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself. “Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before him, he will die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for his sin. The righteous things he did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the righteous man not to sin and he does not sin, he will surely live because he took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”

    If God chooses at random with no input from man then Ezekiel 3:17-21 and what He said to Cain are not true for the verses claim man has a responsibility in the matter.

    My response: This passage in Ezekiel is grossly misrepresented. This passage has nothing to do with an eternal, spiritual state. Rather, this is speaking about being saved from physical death. To use it to mean an eternal salvation is exegetically incorrect. Cain already expressed his heart as being of unbelief by the attempt to make himself right before God on his own. The plea is the same today John 3:17-21. Notice the last phrase of vs. 21.

    “God does say “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”, but He means He will have mercy on anyone who will confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that God raised him from the dead and it is what the person does that allows him or her to receive God’s mercy.”

    My response: Even in your choice of version you can not extract this “meaning” from the statement. This is an adding of human understanding to the divine words. I wish you to read Romans chapter 9 again without your preconceived idea and let God say what he means. Ephesians chapters 1 and 2 may also be a help. I find it interesting that in defending the “freewill” of man we are willing to remove the free-will of our Creator who has created our will. Is the created thing greater than its Creator? Isaiah 55: 8-9?

    “Suppose you were Jewish and you had always been told that you had nothing to worry about because God had already chosen you and then along comes Paul and he says God didn’t choose you because you are Jewish. Instead God has chosen those who have faith. Wouldn’t it take many words to change what your priests have been telling you sense birth?”

    My response: Thus we have many references concerning the characteristic of salvation. John 1:12-13 we find that we are not born [again- John 3] by blood (being a Jew) or by the will of the flesh (ability, intellect,) or by the will of man (effort, strength, decision) but OF GOD!

    “Every time I examine myself before I take communion I see a wretched sinner that still needs Jesus and I know in my heart that God will honor His Word. Let the Muslims and Calvinist believe God is irrational and unjust. I’m just hanging on to the Word and with white knuckles I might add.”

    My response: I hope that you haven’t misread my intention or spirit. I truly hope this will challenge and strengthen you and nothing less. I think the problem with the whole ‘freewill” argument is that we fail to see salvation as deep rather than wide. By that I mean we know and experience the “what” of salvation. That is, we realized that we were a sinner; we understood who Jesus was, and we believed in our heart, we confessed with our mouth, we got saved. The problem is we fail to realize the “why” of salvation. Why did we do what we did? The Spirit made us alive unto Christ (Eph. 2:4-5). Why because we were dead in our sins (Eph. 1:1-3), an in our flesh were unable to please God (Romans 8:8).
    A man can not see the Kingdom of Heaven unless he is born [from above Gk.] (John 3:3-7) (Titus 3:5) (John 3:8).
    Predestination, Election, Choosing, is everywhere in the scripture and when referring to salvation is rarely without God being the subject.

    As a use-to-be “freewilly” I have found that the Bible made a whole lot more sense when the understanding was that God, and not I, was the performer, and completer of my faith. May God bless as you seek His truth.

  18. astudent says:

    futurefaith,

    It is also my desire that we do not argue, however we do disagree and I hope we can do so in peace. I agree that the main purpose should be to glorify God.

    I have had other conversations with those who believe as you do and I don’t believe I have changed even one of their views and it should be obvious that they have not changed mine.

    You see I have a vested interest in my view. I am sure of my salvation because of Rom 10:9 (NIV) That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Also Rom 10:13 (NIV) for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” I have called on the name of the Lord. The name means God saves and I believe that, for who else could. I believe in my heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and I have and do claim Jesus as Lord: Lord of Lords.

    So I am sure of my salvation. If I believed as you seem to I would have no assurance of my salvation. What do you base your salvation on? You say, “Why God would ever save me I do not know. Grace does break all the rules. I shouldn’t have received it, I should receive eternal damnation, yet I speak to you as one redeemed, not by my will, choice, faith, but by the blood of the crucified one.” How do you know that you are “one redeemed”?

    I have never conversed with a Calvinist that believed he was not chosen, but I have always wondered why they thought they were! Please forgive me if I have categorized you as a Calvinist in error.

    It seems to me that some go too far with the meaning of mercy. I have three dictionaries on my computer and they all agree – Compassionate treatment, especially of those under one’s power; clemency. 2. A disposition to be kind and forgiving.

    Now I am going to say something that will probably shock all my Christian brothers, so please take a deep breath and count to ten before you pick up that stone.

    It is true that God did not owe me anything and His plan of salvation comes from His love and mercy. He didn’t have to offer anyone mercy, but He did. However his offer has a qualifier. Up to that point it is pure mercy, but if someone meets the conditions then it becomes an agreement between to parties.

    God says that if I confess with my mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in my heart that God raised him from the dead, I will be saved. I did and I do, so I have completed my part of the agreement and I am sure that a God of truth will complete His part. It is not like an agreement between men where you have to worry about the other, more powerful one to keep his side of the agreement. The only one I have to worry about is me, because He says that I must endure. I admit that I am a forceful man and I intend to hold on to the agreement with everything I have and with the help of God I am going to endure.

    Now that you understand why I will not change let’s look at both our comments. In order to keep this comment within reason as to length I will not reprint your previous comments as I would have to include my comments also. I trust that anyone that is interested enough will look at our past comments as they are still here.

    It is true that we know from Revelation that the whole world past, present and future will glorify God, but after that, (Rev 20:15 NIV) “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” and as I said there would be no one left to glorify God. That is unless you say they will glorify God from the lake of fire and they probably will, but it would a cruel way for God to demand to be glorified and I am sure God is neither cruel nor demanding.

    You say, “to choose everyone because He has to is not free grace, but as I said, after God makes the offer grace is complete and the agreement begins. I totally agree with you when you say “NO ONE DESERVES SALVATION!” and I would add GOD WILL HONOR HIS OFFER!

    Those spoken of in John 8:43 can not hear, because they refuse to hear. One must believe in Jesus to understand what he says. Anyone who will not admit that they are a sinner and in dire need of a Savior can not hear, because they are not listening with truth. We know it doesn’t mean they do not posses physical ears, but that they do not understand. God did not block their understanding, they did. God went to great pains to teach anyone that believes, but one who refuses to accept the truth blocks his own understanding. John 8:13-55 is an attempt by Jesus to make the Pharisees and the Jews and along with us understand this without telling anyone plainly. Verse 8:27 (NIV) says, “They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father.” and yet some came to their senses and began to hear (John 8:30-32 NIV) Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him. To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” “They” put their faith in him, not “he” made them put faith in him.

    You say, “This passage in Ezekiel is grossly misrepresented. This passage has nothing to do with an eternal, spiritual state. Rather, this is speaking about being saved from physical death”, but no one is saved from physical death; everyone must die.

    Perhaps the KJV would make this clearer. The KJV uses the word “chayah” for life in verse 18 and it says the man will die in his iniquity, meaning he will be unsaved, but it uses the word “nephesh” in verse 19 and it means soul. With a little thought it can be understood the NIV says the same thing, just in a different way. If I thought you were correct I would go around warning everyone of their sin and I would never die the first death.

    You say, “This is an adding of human understanding to the divine words”, but we are both human, so any understanding that either of us has is a human understanding: is it not? We have a slightly different understanding and it is my desire to come to an agreement that is aligned with truth. You accuse me of having a preconceived idea and you are correct, but don’t you also have a preconceived idea? My ideas come from the study of the Word of God, just as yours do. One of us is either wrong or there is some way to reconcile the two. I have yet to find the way: probably because they seem so opposite to me.

    I am not willing to remove the free-will of our Creator, but neither am I willing to dissolve our agreement. God was free to sentence me to Hell for my sins before I acknowledged Jesus as my Savior, but now He is bound, by His own words to save me. It is not an agreement that I invented, but one that He did.

    You say, “I hope that you haven’t misread my intention or spirit. I truly hope this will challenge and strengthen you and nothing less”, but how could it strengthen me if it removes my confidence of salvation: and it would.

    You can call me a “freewilly” if you want and I have enough of a sense of humor to laugh along with you. I might just start calling myself a “freewilly”. I like the sound of it!

    I will accept and repeat your statement; I hope that you haven’t misread my intention or spirit. I truly hope this will challenge and strengthen you and nothing less. When you are tempted to teach Calvinism please remember Ezekiel 3 and warn those who are headed for Hell, because it will affect others that do not hear that anyone can be saved by accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, for if you do not believe it you can not convince anyone, nor would it make any sense to try.

    May God bless you even more than He blesses me.

  19. pochp says:

    That’s the problem with the docrtine of Predestinaton:
    If we have no free will, then some are predestined to go to hell– which makes salvation a non-issue.

  20. Susejevoli says:

    “but how could it strengthen me if it removes my confidence of salvation: and it would.”

    Please excuse me, but what if you had confidence in the wrong view of salvation? I guess my question here is that suppose that you are wrong, are you willing to part with that confidence for truth and for confidence in the the truth, or?

    Now to continue, suppose that you did have confidence in something that was wrong, but was rebuked and now possess confidence in something that is right. Would that be strengthening even though you had to first lose your confidence?

    I have a friend who also loves God’s Word, and everything he does is well grounded in Scripture, but being humans sometimes we can get it awfully wrong, even with the use (probably incorrect) of Scripture, i guess this is my perspective here, and thus my challenging you.

    But i do apologize for the rudeness, i don’t think i said these things with ill-intent. I’m not too good at articulating, but i did spend quite a bit of time starring at this response trying to better it as much as i can.

    Tony

  21. pochp says:

    I think you weren’t rude Susejevoli. And I see your point.

  22. futurefaith says:

    Dear Friend,

    I have thought prayerfully, long, and hard about your theology concerning salvation and I am truly troubled at the gospel you preach. In response to your last comment I must address a couple things. First, your explanation of John 8:43 is incorrect and stands backwards to how Christ explains it. Truly the Pharisees did reject the words of Jesus, but not for the reason you explained. John 8:43 Jesus told them that they did not receive His words, “Because you are UNABLE [Gk. means “absolutely impossible”] to hear [Gk. comprehend] what I say” (NIV). He then explains in context why they were “UNABLE” to except His words in vs. 44 “You belong to your father the devil…” (NIV) and in vs. 47 “…the reason you do not hear [comprehend] is that you do not BELONG to God.” (NIV) The first rule in Bible interpretation is context. The Bible is the best commentary of itself. This response comes after He tells them that they WILL not accept his words. He has gone past “the what” and has explained “the why” (see me previous response).

    Secondly, I am so sorry that you are left with nothing else as security of your salvation then fallible ol’ you. I also am sorry that you believe in a god that can only provide the possibility of salvation without really ever being able to actually secure it. I don’t know how you can believe in an “eternal salvation” or “everlasting life” when you may slip and fall from this half grace teaching. The truth is that you will fall and you will not see heaven. For the Bible says that all have fallen short of God like glory. You are imperfect and ultimately will slip from your “hanging on with white knuckles” effort. May I help you with some scripture? You asked me how I can know that I am redeemed. I hope this answer is only because of your wrong theology and not of ignorance of His word. 1 John 5:1 tells me that, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God…” (NIV). The first way, I am told, that I KNOW I am redeemed is that I believe.
    1 Corinthians 12:3 also tells me that, “…no one can say [confess], “Jesus is Lord”, except by the Holy Spirit” (NIV). A third proof is that I will obey and live in accordance to his commands (1 John 2:4-6; 3:24). This “working out” of our salvation (Phil. 2:12) is the proof in the pudding idea. This faith, confession, and obedience comes from the Holy Spirit who has made me alive unto Christ (Eph. 2:4-10) (Titus 3:5) (1 Cor. 2:6-14). I am also told in 1 John 4:13, “We KNOW that we live in him and he in us, BECAUSE he has given us of his Spirit” (NIV). Romans 8:16, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (NIV). In summery: I know that I am redeemed because the Spirit made me alive to the truth of God which caused me to receive the things of God which I believe and now confess.

    You see, I can KNOW that I am redeemed; I can KNOW that I am secure in Christ, and I can REST in Christ alone for my salvation. Phil. 1:6, “being CONFIDENT of this, that he who BEGAN a good work in you will CARRY it TO COMPLETION until the day of Christ Jesus” (NIV). Phil. 2:13 “for it is God who works in you to WILL and to ACT according to his good pleasure.” (NIV). Hebrews 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter [completer] of our faith…” (NIV). I say with the utmost confidence that I have no merit or work of my own, concerning my salvation, wherein I may boast.

    Ask yourself why it is that you can not allow God what is rightfully his. That is, the sovereignty, and transcendency that the Bible clearly says that He has over all things including man. Man’s will is not removed at all, but divinely and sovereignly influenced to fulfill His good pleasure. Man hates the fact that it is God and not he who is in control of his life. Thus Paul responds in Romans 9:20, “but who are you, O man, to talk back [contradict, argue] to God” (NIV).

    Lastly, I am truly offended at the insinuation that I or Calvinist do not warn people of hell. I was simply stating the fact that Ezekiel was speaking about avoiding dying at that particular moment in time. It does not refer to an eternal state. He was warning Israel of a coming physical captivity and death. While we may make spiritual application the fact remains he was speaking of a present coming punishment. If you will look into Christian history you will find that many of the early contemporary missionaries and pastors where Calvinist, men such as, William Carry, Hudson Taylor, Judson, John Patton, David Brainerd, George Muller, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon. As a Pastor I am faithfully preaching the Gospel to the lost and hold the same conviction that the Apostle Paul held in 2 Cor. 5:11-21. If they do hear and believe I know it is because God made to. If not, I know that they are not of God. My responsibility is plant and water, but it is and must be God who gives the increase. Soli Deo Gloria!

  23. Susejevoli says:

    “Lastly, I am truly offended at the insinuation that I or Calvinist do not warn people of hell.”

    Maybe we should see it as this way, like the way Mark Driscoll puts it; “I am not a Calvinist, but i do believe in what he taught, and i believe he was just teaching the Bible.” (or something like that)

    And this notion that since God uses Single-handed Predestination, with unconditional election, and irresistible grace we don’t have to be zealous evangelists is also false. I can say this confidently because my regenerated heart absolutely desires that everyone hears the Gospel and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (and although not enough, i do act on it). Furthermore, people who teach this also testify. Such as Paul who experienced predestination most strongly, those that argue that ‘Calvinism’ causes people to be slack in their evangelism efforts totally miss the heart of Paul. And likewise with Mark Driscoll himself, his desire that all repent and turn to Jesus is echoed in his sermons. Predestination fuels evangelism!

    Maybe we aught to pause and examine seriously what the verses are saying instead of brushing over them and pulling out other verses which may appear to support our personal position. I apologize if this is an incorrect observation, it just looks that way to me.

    I am just a flawed person, there are many times when i get depressed and let go of God willingly, but i am glad that He is faithful and will never let go of me, and for that hope, for that Good News, i desire to proclaim the Gospel to all.

    All this is done in love, i hope it does not cause disunity in anyway.

    Tony

  24. Susejevoli says:

    Sorry i just had to add that i strongly believe that a Gospel lacking in Hell, and things like condemnation, God’s Wrath, eternal punishment is an inadequate Gospel. In no way do i proclaim such a Gospel.

    Tony

  25. astudent says:

    pochp,

    Sorry to be so late, but the snow got me. I couldn’t agree more with both of your comments. Now that is unusual isn’t it?

  26. astudent says:

    futurefaith,

    Thanks for the comments and thanks for hanging in there.

    You say that you are troubled with the theology that I preach. Well I do not preach as I am only a student conversing with other students. I want only the truth and I have few problems with other students. However I do not get along well with those who view them selves as teachers: perhaps because Matthew 23:10 keeps popping up in my mind.

    Let us both back up from the trees and look at the forest as a whole. If I am wrong what damage have I done to God’s people? If god chooses and I have nothing to do with my own salvation then I certainly could not affect the salvation of another. So why would you be troubled with my theology? You might say that I am preaching something that is not in the Bible and I should not be, but would that hurt you, or anyone that was chosen?
    The truth is “IF” you are right I have hurt no one.

    Now let’s assume, for the sake of argument that I am right. If I am right your theology nullifies Matthew 28:19 (NIV) “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The word for all means just that in Greek. Why would Jesus tell us to “make” disciples if only God chooses? If it is God only that makes disciples why did Jesus, who said only what the Father told him to say, tell men to make disciples? If I am right your theology stands in the way of those who can be saved, or must be saved by their own actions. So if I am wrong no one is hurt by my theology, but if you are wrong many could be hurt by your theology. And “you” are troubled by my theology!!!!

    I am afraid our discussion is becoming an argument about words and we are told not to do that.

    It should be apparent, from the Bible as a whole, that anyone who would turn away from the devil will receive ears to hear and eyes to see. Listen to yourself “They WILL not accept his words!!!! Not CAN not accept.

    Now I have to laugh! You say that you are sorry that I am left with nothing else as security of my salvation than fallible ol’ me! The Bible is the word of God (Rom 10:8-10 NIV) But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” These are not my words. I didn’t print them in either my Bible or yours. What the heck to you mean nothing else than fallible ol’ me? I believe in a God that keeps His word and those are His Words.

    Here is the bottom line. You say there can be no conditions for ones salvation, but don’t you understand that you have added a condition and a condition from man and not God.

    I believe in Jesus as my Savior just as you do. Why do you say that I will fall and not see heaven? Don’t you see that you have added that one must believe as Calvin taught in order to be saved?

    You are a pastor, so I suppose you have an alter call. If I came forward in the Church that you pastor, confessed Jesus as Lord and believed in my heart that God raised him from the dead and allowed you to baptize me; would I be saved? Or would I have to confess Calvin? I did all of these things in another Church (except confess Calvinism) and you say I am not saved: basically, it seems to me, because I do not accept the teachings of Calvin!

    One of us is confused.

    The basic thing about your way of understanding is that Calvinists believe that nothing is necessary for salvation: anything a man does that would qualify him for salvation is considered a work. Well, thinking is work (American Heritage Dictionary) wk. 1. Physical or mental effort or activity directed toward the production or accomplishment of something. So just thinking about salvation is work. Calvinist seem to believe that I must think (work) the way they do or I am not saved. If nothing else is required then baptism is unnecessary. God sure wasted His time if it is unnecessary!

    You list many men that believed Calvin, but you did not list the apostle to the Gentiles. What does Paul say about whether or not work is required for salvation? (Phil 2:12 NIV) “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to WORK OUT YOUR SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING.”

    I know you will cite the next verse and so will I. (Phil 2:13 NIV) for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. God and I should both work. God, by the Spirit within me, tells me what I should do and I, when I understand, should do it. The truth is that sometimes, though I do understand, I do not have enough faith to obey. Jesus told a rich young ruler that in order to be perfect he should sell everything that he had and give the money to the poor and then follow him. I confess, I do not have enough faith to do this. However God is still working on me.

    My point is that I still have freewill. God does not make me obey Him and sell everything. Neither did He make me obey him and ask Jesus to save me.

    You cite Phil 2:13 as proof of your salvation, but if it was God working in you would you call me names, talk down to me, or say that I am bound for hell when I called on the Name of the Lord, just as you did? Let me make it clear that I do not hold anything against you as most of it is justified. But my point is if God gives us no choice then He must have made a mistake when He allowed, or made you do those things. It should be clear, or it is to me, that God does not make us, or stop us, from doing anything, no matter what kind of sin we choose to commit. Not taking the time or effort to determine if there is a real God or not is the sin that leads to death, because if one searches in truth God will lead him to truth.

    We are not that far apart in theology really. We both agree that God has done everything required for our salvation and it is only God that could. We only disagree as to free choice in the matter and I suppose what God requires of us to receive that salvation.

    When someone says that we are wrong about what we believe we go into a defense mode and only try to prove the other person wrong. Then because we only consider the points that seem to prove our side of the argument we do not consider if the other person could be right. I have tried to consider Calvin right, but I have not been able to reconcile those views with the whole Bible. If I take only some verses Calvin makes sense, however when all verses and the character of our Heavenly Father is taken into account I can see that Calvin was wrong. Well, let me say that I believe Calvin to be wrong.

    I suppose that I have said this already, but I can not believe that God would be unfair to anyone and giving a person life only to condemn that person to hell, when he could do nothing about it, would not be fair or just. No man can say to God “why did you make me like this” because He made us all like this. God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on us all. It is sin that separates us from God and the unforgivable sin is not asking God to save us. If God made us sin, or gave us no choice in the matter, then He would be responsible for sin and there is no way that He would do such a thing. Though He could, it would be out of character for Him to do so.

    Think about it.

  27. astudent says:

    Susejevoli,

    This is in regard to your first comment. I am running a bit behind as you can see.

    First you have not been rude at all. You merely challenged me and that is the very reason that I write these posts. Second you certainly have my permission to be rude, it will not bother me. I would be suffering from pride if I become offended because you say that I am wrong about something. Because all wisdom and knowledge are a gift from God I can not be proud of myself if I believe I understand something: rather I am proud of God for teaching and not condemning me when that is what I deserve.

    You make a very good point. Men are quite often confident in error. There are many atheists that are confident that there is no God.

    Not being a politician I will give you a straight answer. YES, if I found that I was wrong I would not only change what I thought, but change many things that would be affected by my error. The Bible is all true and one can not, or should not have confidence about anything that would disagree with something else in it.

    Understanding is acquired a little at a time and many times I have not been able to reconcile verses that seem to say different things until the Spirit would plant a question in my mind that the answer to it would lead to the reconciliation of the two verses.

    Understanding of the Bible can not be given to another and neither can confidence. One must work out their own understanding and along with that comes confidence.

    I did not reach my understanding by believing what any other man said. The Bible says do not put your trust in man and if I just accepted what another may say without careful examination I would be guilty of putting my trust in a man. I view what others say as only questions and it is important to consider that they may be right. My comments are only statements where they seem not to fit my view. I might add that it is a human error to try to bend what verses say to fit ones own view. I try not to do that, but sometimes I think we fool ourselves. I try to heed the warning found in second Peter (2 Pet 1:20 NIV) Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation.

    If you see error in anything that I say you can do nothing better than to tell me. I will be eternally grateful if you do. However as I said I will not accept it at face value and if we can keep pride from spoiling our attitudes and our comments we will both benefit.

    “O”, by the way I confess: I am “not” always right there have been times when I was confidently wrong!

  28. pochp says:

    HA HA HA! all ok, Astudent. waiting for other replies.

  29. astudent says:

    Susejevoli,

    You make a good point. We do tend to pull out verses that support our view only, but I don’t know any other way to find or determine truth. But if one takes a verse out of context then it is only logical that someone else would say that it doesn’t fit with some other verse.

    I am beginning to think that Calvinism or predestination, which is where this post has gravitated to, should be viewed first from a position of what we learn as a whole about God.

    I believe God is absolutely fair and just and I have reached this position from the Bible as a whole. There is no way that I would believe that God would make a man in His image and then condemn that man when the man had no chance of salvation. I understand that we condemn ourselves by our actions. One would have to disregard most of the Bible to believe God would unjustly condemn anyone; or that we do not condemn ourselves.

    It seems to me that Romans chapter 9 thru 11 was written to the Israelites mainly. These are people that believed that because they were born physically Israelites that they were God’s people and they could quote many verses that seem to back them up.

    We were never thought to be God’s people and we know this, so when we read 9 & 10 it confuses us. We do not read it with the same mind set that a Jew has.

    Paul had to show them first that they were not God’s people because of their birth right, but had to have faith and be born again. It is those who have faith that are chosen and even Gentiles were among the chosen.

    Somehow when some Gentiles read chapter 9 they get the idea that they were born to be saved, which is just the opposite meaning that Paul was trying to tell the Jews!

    As one reads on it is clear that anyone can be saved. (Rom 10:9-13 NIV) That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

    It is clear to me from these verses that “Anyone and Everyone” can be saved. Just because God knew from the time even before He gave us life that we would confess and believe did not remove our free will to do so. Because God knew our choice, to Him, we were always His children.

    I believe that disunity is sometimes necessary. If speaking what seems true to you offends someone the fault is theirs, not yours and some would try to stop you by claiming offense. Don’t let that stop you, because it would hamper not only your understanding, but also mine.

  30. Susejevoli says:

    astudent,

    Thanks for your thoughtful replies, i can see where you are coming from, you make many points worth considering and meditating on. I will definitely add this to my list of to-dos in quiet time in hope that much wisdom and understanding can be had from this.

    I think is indeed is an in-house debate between Christian brothers and sisters. It may cause disagreement, but it need not cause disunity where the devil may enter and cause havoc. Let me continue to work out my Salvation with fear and trembling.

    In unity, Tony

  31. Susejevoli says:

    Hello astudent, i have given this a little more thought, i would like to present these thoughts to you to hear what you have to say.

    “You make a good point. We do tend to pull out verses that support our view only, but I don’t know any other way to find or determine truth.”

    What i am asking – if this indeed is the case – is for us to stop hiding behind our respective verses and perhaps derived understanding of verses which do not fit our view of salvation, and consider them in light that we could be wrong. Then to seek counsel from Godly men and women on their understanding of how these verses which may seem to point to different views of salvation fit together, and on that which we receive meditate and decide.

    To reconsider once more is really what i’m asking. Of course in saying this i appoint myself the highest rank of hypocrisy, but i do intend to do the same in the near future. But i hold onto my view so strongly because it plays out in my life so strongly.

    In an attempt to understand your stance (aka; view of salvation), i would like to ask some questions and say a few things.

    Do you believe that we are in bondage to sin(total depravity)? That we are spiritually dead?

    Can someone who is spiritually dead become alive by their own ‘freewill’ and choose God by confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord? To me, for a sinner by nature and choice to do this would mean that God has been working in their heart long before they have known. So what you would say is your ‘choice’ to confess, i would argue that God not only enabled you to have that choice, but he regenerated your heart to an extent where you would WANT to make that choice.

    So in essence i’m arguing that it was all God’s doing, and what you did was merely exercise your free choice, which is also given to you by God.

    Now getting to this point, people who support ‘freewill’ would have problems. God is good and just is something that will not be disputed, but then how do we reconcile this fact with a human race created by God all choosing disobedience? Surely if this is the case, then God is the cause of sin?

    Absolutely not.

    I find my answer to this in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. Before the fall there was no curse of sin, there was no bondage. They truly had a choice (‘freewill’) to chose obedience or disobedience. If anything i would argue that because of all the things that God has given them, they should be more inclined to be obedient to him, but they chose disobedience out of their freewill (which then was possible) at mere promises by the Devil.

    Perhaps it is our nature to respond biased to things that we think will benefit us, instead of discerning (first) to what TRULY benefits us (doing as God says). I would argue that even without the bondage of sin, we would have still chosen disobedience, so the removal of the choice to be obedient makes no difference, since none of us would have picked it. To say otherwise would imply that you are by nature more righteous than Adam or Eve before the fall.

    This of course is all speculation, since it is yet to be tested against the Word of God. But nonetheless it is my current attempt of understanding why we all chose disobedience to God.

    Anyways, thanks for reading, before i get a barrage of verses which support Freewill and Conditional Election, could you please have a look into verses that demonstrate Total Depravity and Unconditional Election and perhaps reveal to me how we (believers of Single-handed Predestination) possibly missed the mark by so far.

    Thanks, Tony

  32. astudent says:

    Susejevoli,

    I don’t think that I am hiding behind any verses. At least I try not to. What I meant is I pull out verses that support my view when others do the same. I always try to fit verses together that would show me wrong. That is why I post as I do. I am a student speaking to other students. It may seem as if I only defend what I say, but I could not write everything that goes on in my head, so it may seem as if I am not listening to others, but I have considered and I hope I will always seriously consider the truth of what others say.

    It may seem like I am defending myself, but I am only trying to explain why it may seem as if I am not listening to others. I am trying to do the very thing you suggest: and I have been trying. It is very easy to view my posts and comments as coming from a teacher, but I am not the Teacher or even a teacher; just a student.

    If someone quotes a verse that seems to support predestination I may quote a verse that says the opposite, because there are verses that seem on the surface to say we are predestined to be saved. I have tried to reconcile this, what seems to be a dichotomy, and in my mind I have succeeded; or I should say the Spirit has taught me how to put the two together.

    Now there is danger: if I say the Spirit has taught me something others might believe I am saying “You can’t argue with me, because you would be arguing with God”, but I am not. I do not always understand what the Spirit is trying to teach me, so when others say that I am wrong it causes me to go back to the Teacher within and rethink my understanding.

    As I have said “I do not get along well with teachers”. At some point a teacher will give up. But I am not here to teach and therefore I have no pride in what I think I know. I only want to learn “everything” “exactly correct”, so I do not give up. It only seems like I “will” not view what others say as correct when the opposite is true. Actually I want others to disagree with me, because one can not learn anything from agreement. It only reinforces what one thinks they know and they may well be wrong.

    Do you see why I do not attempt to write everything that goes on in my head? This is only part of what I thought about when I read your third paragraph and I agree with you, but to just say that I agree without saying why seemed wrong to me; because it would not be clear.

    Then we have the problem of too many words. Most words have more than one meaning and sometimes just one word taken wrong can change the meaning of a sentence and that sentence can change the meaning of a paragraph and that paragraph can change the meaning of the whole comment!

    That seems to me why there is so much disagreement about freewill. There are verses that say one is predestined to be God’s elect and there are other verses that say anyone can be saved. Because both are the Words of God and therefore both are true there has to be a way to reconcile them.

    I think that I can reconcile them: at least I am satisfied with this way. If one views eternity form God’s perspective it is apparent that He knew, even before He made me, or even before He made time that I was going to be His child, because He knows everything. So to God I was always predestined to be saved: but that does not negate freewill. Just because God knew my choice does not mean that He made me choose one way or the other. That is, as I see it, the error in Calvin’s approach to salvation.

    Calvin says that someone who is dead can not make a decision for salvation, but Calvin did not understand the two deaths. Calvin is correct if we consider both deaths as being like the first death, but death is merely separation. The first death separates us from the world and of doing anything more about salvation: or anything about anything for that matter. But the second death is separation from God. Anyone who sins suffers from the second death can be alive physically and because they are alive physically they can confess with their mouth, believe in their heart and be raised a new person in Christ. So, yes, someone who is dead in their sins can accept Jesus and be made alive.

    When I read verses that support predestination I understand it is from God’s view of history and when I read verses that support freewill I see them from my place in history. God always knew that I would turn to Him, but I just found out.

    I speak against Calvin’s predestination because God does not stop us from sinning. Jesus told his disciples to “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned”. Now if one believes God appoints those to salvation there would be no reason to do as he said and that would be a great sin. There are many that believe in predestination that do preach the good news, but I do not understand why and I don’t think they do either. Could one really preach that Jesus came to save anyone who will confess with their mouth, believe in there heart, and is baptized will be saved, when they do not believe it?

    As I have said that if I believed in predestination I would have no assurance of salvation. It would only be a thought in my mind and I am only a man. But if I believe Mark 16:15&16 I am assured from the very Words of God that “I could be saved” and when I read Romans 3:22, 10:8-13 I know that “I am saved”.

    I speak against Calvinism because there is no assurance of salvation in his doctrine. One who believes in Calvinism is not likely to understand the importance of Baptism along with the need to evangelize the world. The more one believes Calvin the less reason there is to obey Mark 16:15&16. You seem to believe Calvin, so I would be interested in hearing what you base your own personal salvation on. Where does your assurance that God chose you come from? God’s word or just your own feelings? I have asked others this question and it seems they base their salvation on only part of the Word. Verses like 1 Cor 12:3 (in part) “no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit”, but even Satan knows who Jesus is and he will confess it. Will Satan be saved because he will confess Jesus is Lord? I believe all of Scripture is true and if it says in one verse two things are necessary for salvation and then in another verse only mentions one of them that it does not negate the one not mentioned.

    As far as baptism is concerned it would not even be an issue if those who preach the Word would obey Jesus. They should just do what the King commands even if they do not understand why He commands it. I wonder what kind of subject would openly question the command of his king. No, let me rephrase that, I wonder what kind of subject would openly teach the kings command is unnecessary.

    Finally I will attempt to answer some of your questions from my point of view.

    Yes we are bound to sin (Rom 11:32 NIV) For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. Be careful that you do not read “permanently bound over to disobedience” into the verse: it easy to do, but not correct, because if you take the verse as absolute then God would have to have mercy on all men and He will not. We may start out to be bound to disobedience, but God will untie anyone that asks.

    Total depravity suggest that we are worthless, but the God of the universe sent His only begotten son to die for my sins and I can not consider myself worthless when I consider such a sacrifice. We should not think of ourselves more highly than we ought, but neither should we think of ourselves lowlier than we ought. Calvin would have me think of myself way to low.

    You seem to agree in a way that God enabled me to have a choice, but then you remove the choice by saying “He regenerated my heart to an extent where I would WANT to make that choice”. Why would He do that for me and you and not for someone else? This is where the conclusions of Bible study become apparent even though there is no verse that I can think of, that says God is absolutely fair and just to all men; although He is. I bet I could show that from Scripture, but this comment is getting to long as it is.

    Finally we agree. You said, “So in essence I’m arguing that it was all God’s doing, and what you did was merely exercising your free choice, which is also given to you by God.” Yes God made everything that was and is made, so yes God made the choice and He gave me the choice, but if He chooses for me then He really didn’t give me a choice.

    You said, “How do we reconcile this fact with a human race created by God all choosing disobedience? Surely if this is the case, then God is the cause of sin?” Well, again consider (Rom 11:32 NIV) “For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.” We didn’t choose disobedience; God made that choice for us. That wasn’t “the choice” that He gave us, but the choice that He gave us is to believe, or not to believe, that Jesus removed the penalty for our disobedience and we only have to accept it.

    God made the Tree of Good and Evil and God put it in the middle of the garden and God told Adam and Eve not to eat of it, but God knew they would. You are right to imply that God does not cause anyone to sin, but He did create the possibility and He also knows we will sin and could stop us if it was His will. We could not choose if there was no choice and if sin were not possible there would be no choice.

    You cite Adam and Eve and say they had a choice and imply that we do not, but this is not true and can be proven. If you truly believe we do not have the choice to sin, which was Adam and Eve’s prerogative, then test it. Go steal something. You will not be able too if man sees you, but God will see you and He will not stop you. The same can be said for doing something good. So we do have a choice.

    You say, “To say otherwise would imply that you are by nature more righteous than Adam or Eve before the fall.”, but Adam and Eve were not righteous before they ate of the Tree. The fruit of the tree was “the knowledge of good and evil” not sin itself. As soon as they had the knowledge of good and evil, they realized they were naked. Before they ate they felt no shame, but after they ate they knew they had sinned by walking with God naked and that is why they hid from God. Adam did not say we hid from you because we ate of the tree, but because we were naked. It was wrong to eat of the tree when God told them not to, but they had already sinned and just didn’t know it until they ate, because they did not posses the knowledge to understand until after they ate.

    You asked if I could perhaps reveal to you how you (believers of Single-handed Predestination) could have possibly missed the mark by so far. Well I don’t think you missed the mark very far. I think you missed by only a small amount, but I am shooting for a bull’s eye and just a little error is not acceptable for me. I want to understand everything perfectly.

    I hope you will agree with me when I claim that I did not hide behind any verses even though I did cite and quote some. I also hope you understand that I don’t think you are completely wrong; just not completely right; but then neither am I. I believe you like me are searching in truth, for truth, and I like your sincere approach to study.

  33. pochp says:

    Nothing wrong with citing verses IF we are arguing about biblical doctrines.

  34. Susejevoli says:

    Hello astudent, thanks for the reply. And indeed what a reply it is. I have not forgotten, but there’s a few things i gotta sort out and think about before i can get back to you.

    In due time, Tony

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