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Thread: It Is Not Of Him That Willeth

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    TOL Legend Jerry Shugart's Avatar
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    It Is Not Of Him That Willeth

    Let us look at Paul's words here:

    "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy"
    (Ro.9:14-16).

    I understand this to be saying that salvation is not based on the "will" of man. With that in mind Paul made it plain that salvation comes as a result of believing and nothing else:

    "And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:30-31).

    From this we can understand that "believing" is not a function of a person's will. Instead, what a person believes is based on the evidence that person has about anything to be believed or not to be believed. And that matches what we read about Biblical faith:

    "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb.11:1).

    The gospel of our salvation is absolutely true and it comes in power and in much assurance and in the Holy Spirit (1 Thess.1:5). Those things combine to give a person the "evidence" upon which a Christian's faith is based. It is only those who resist the Holy Spirit who do not believe the gospel when it is preached to them, as witnessed by the following words of Stephen spoken to the unbelievers:

    "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye"
    (Acts 7:51).

    Again, believing something is not a function of a person's "will." No matter how hard a person might try to will himself into believing that five plus five is nine he will find that it is impossible because the "evidence" he has tells him that five plus five equals ten and not nine.

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    Believing (as you call it) in man is the result of regeneration, not the cause.
    I know Him, correctly, as Messiah whom you call Christ. Yah Shua whom you call Jesus. Messianists who you call Christians.

    "Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm".

    I refuse, point blank, to speak peace to the unregenerate, hypocrites, religious dogma lovers and those that oppose the following statement:
    A regenerate man trusts in the evangelism of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed justness of Messiah alone.
    If you are fully persuaded, by experience, of this delightful, beautiful and life giving doctrine then I love you as a brother.

    Anyone who thinks that salvation is conditioned on anything a man thinks, does or says is atheist. I cannot and will not speak peace to him or her.

    I don't make statements online that I wouldn't repeat in front of my Maker, my grandmother or a judge.

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    TOL Legend Jerry Shugart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Truster View Post
    Believing (as you call it) in man is the result of regeneration, not the cause.
    New life comes as a result of believing:

    "Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (Jn.20:30-31).

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    Over 1500 post club nikolai_42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post

    From this we can understand that "believing" is not a function of a person's will. Instead, what a person believes is based on the evidence that person has about anything to be believed or not to be believed. And that matches what we read about Biblical faith:

    "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb.11:1).
    Note carefully what the verse says is the evidence. Faith itself. Faith IS the substance AND the evidence. In other words, it is what you point to, not evidence bringing about faith.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    The gospel of our salvation is absolutely true and it comes in power and in much assurance and in the Holy Spirit (1 Thess.1:5). Those things combine to give a person the "evidence" upon which a Christian's faith is based.
    And that succeeds in making faith the very thing you just said it wasn't - an effort of the will. You convince someone and they make a decision. The ball is in their court, they have to decide. Faith proves the truth of these things - and therefore must come from God otherwise faith becomes a merely rational decision.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    It is only those who resist the Holy Spirit who do not believe the gospel when it is preached to them, as witnessed by the following words of Stephen spoken to the unbelievers:

    "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye"
    (Acts 7:51).

    Again, believing something is not a function of a person's "will." No matter how hard a person might try to will himself into believing that five plus five is nine he will find that it is impossible because the "evidence" he has tells him that five plus five equals ten and not nine.
    Evidence is not what man needs. He knows the truth but suppresses it. The resistance of the Holy Spirit Stephen spoke of was showing that the men that stoned him were resisting what they knew to be true. Evidence was not going to bring them around - only faith.
    If God promises life, He slayeth first; when He builds, He casteth all down first. God is no patcher; He cannot build on another's foundation. - William Tyndale

    The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
    Jeremiah 17:9

    Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.
    Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

    Isaiah 50:10-11

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    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    Evidence is not what man needs.
    Of course the sinner needs the "evidence" which is revealed in the gospel in order to be saved:

    "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" (Ro.10:13-16).

    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    And that succeeds in making faith the very thing you just said it wasn't - an effort of the will.
    So you actually think that a person can will himself to believe something is true even though he has no evidence that leads him to think it is true!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    Of course the sinner needs the "evidence" which is revealed in the gospel in order to be saved:

    "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" (Ro.10:13-16).
    There's a difference between evidence and testimony. Evidence is used to convince someone to make a decision on the truthfulness of some proposition. Testimony (in this case) is simply declaring what is true and waiting to see who obeys the truth. Not mounting evidence until the proof is irrefutable. That's why Jesus didn't do miracles in some places. Not because the miracles were impossible without faith, but because the faith wasn't already there to confirm. The testimony of Christ is given to judge men's responses - not to convince them of the truth. Otherwise, John 3:18 reads rather strangely :

    He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
    John 3:18

    He doesn't speak of giving enough evidence to make it obvious of what is true, but rather of this one fact being enough to reveal this person's condemnation (condemned already). And then goes on to explain why men don't believe (and it isn't lack of evidence) :

    And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
    John 3:19

    It's not actually lack of evidence that causes unbelief. That's a pre-existing condition and no amount of evidence is going to change that.

    But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him
    John 12:37

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    So you actually think that a person can will himself to believe something is true even though he has no evidence that leads him to think it is true!
    No. I believe every man either is given faith or isn't. Those that don't have faith - evidence is more fodder for their unbelief. Until a man's eyes are opened (I think the scripture uses the term quickened here), it's foolishness to argue with such a person.

    Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.
    But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
    My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

    John 10:25-27

    It seems to me that Jesus is saying that belief must be a prior condition. In other words, Christ didn't come to make people believe - but to bring out those who believe already (since those that do not believe are condemned already). The bottom line is that faith needs to be pre-existing or men will not obey the gospel.

    Which raises another issue - that obeying the gospel makes little sense if it involves men being convinced by evidence (which is supposed to be the gospel itself). But if the gospel is a command to believe that doesn't require man to stand as (in essence) judge of the evidence, then it becomes clearer that preaching is not convincing or arguing - it's just presenting the truth to see the response of the hearer.

    I personally don't believe that there is no value in specific argumentation - but it doesn't win hearts or in any sense create (or bring about) faith.
    If God promises life, He slayeth first; when He builds, He casteth all down first. God is no patcher; He cannot build on another's foundation. - William Tyndale

    The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
    Jeremiah 17:9

    Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.
    Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

    Isaiah 50:10-11

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    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    I believe every man either is given faith or isn't. Those that don't have faith - evidence is more fodder for their unbelief.
    All people have the ability to believe the gospel:

    "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Cor.4:3-4).

    The gospel is hidden to those who are perishing and the god of this age, Satan, is responsible for the gospel being hidden from them. Satan blinded their minds to the gospel for one purpose, "so that they cannot see the light of the gospel."

    The fact that the minds of those who are perishing can be "blinded" to the gospel proves that they have the ability to see it if their minds were not blinded to it. After all, one must be able to see before being blinded can happen.

    This demonstrates that even those who are perishing have the ability to believe the gospel so the idea that God only gives some people faith is false.

    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    The testimony of Christ is given to judge men's responses - not to convince them of the truth.
    The testimony of Christ is regard to His identity was in order that the Jews could be born of God. He told them that He is the Christ, the Son of God (Jn.10:24-25, 36) and those who believed Him were born of God and received spiritual life as a result:

    "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 Jn.5:1-5).

    "Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name"
    (Jn.20:30-31).

    Faith precedes regeneration.

    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    Christ didn't come to make people believe - but to bring out those who believe already (since those that do not believe are condemned already). The bottom line is that faith needs to be pre-existing or men will not obey the gospel.
    Why would any of the Jews believe that the Lord Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, unless they were told that He is and He did miracles which were the type that the OT prophets revealed that the Christ would perform?
    Last edited by Jerry Shugart; March 12th, 2019 at 02:33 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    All people have the ability to believe the gospel:

    "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Cor.4:3-4).

    The gospel is hidden to those who are perishing and the god of this age, Satan, is responsible for the gospel being hidden from them. Satan blinded their minds to the gospel for one purpose, "so that they cannot see the light of the gospel."
    Jesus didn't seem to think all had that ability...

    Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
    Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
    And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
    Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
    He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

    John 8:43-47

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    The fact that the minds of those who are perishing can be "blinded" to the gospel proves that they have the ability to see it if their minds were not blinded to it. After all, one must be able to see before being blinded can happen.
    But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
    John 10:26

    The question that needs to be answered is which comes first. Blindness, yes, but unless God opens eyes and ears to see and hear, preaching is futile.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    This demonstrates that even those who are perishing have the ability to believe the gospel so the idea that God only gives some people faith is false.
    Everyone has physical faculties. But if one is spiritually dead, how can one understand spiritual things? As Jesus said to Nicodemus when He was telling him about the new birth :

    If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
    John 3:12

    Paul echoes this...

    But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
    I Corinthians 2:14

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    The testimony of Christ is regard to His identity was in order that the Jews could be born of God. He told them that He is the Christ, the Son of God (Jn.10:24-25, 36) and those who believed Him were born of God and received spiritual life as a result:
    Again, Jesus said they couldn't hear Him because they were not His sheep. That says "causal link" to me. One believes because one is born of God.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 Jn.5:1-5).

    "Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name"
    (Jn.20:30-31).

    Faith precedes regeneration.
    Those verses provide evidence of life, but they don't say that evidence begets faith. If quickening and regeneration are different things, then I would agree with your statement that faith precedes regeneration. I would say, then, that quickening precedes faith. It is the Word that does the work in us by the Holy Spirit:

    For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
    Hebrews 4:12

    Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
    The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
    Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
    And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
    When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.

    Acts 5:29-33

    Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
    Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
    Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
    When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.

    Acts 7:51-54

    These men heard the truth but responded faithlessly. What difference is it between them and those who heard and believed? Was there something that allowed them to be more perceptive? Better brains? Better upbringing? If you say it was faith, I say fine - but that faith had to have been given them by God unto life. Anyone who hears and understands and concedes to something doesn't just decide (for no reason) to walk away from it. There may be hindrances (different types of soil) but ultimately the understanding, ability and inclination has to come from God. That doesn't mean we have to be able to say in ourselves that God has given us faith - we recognize it after the fact. Thus, faith itself is the evidence of things not seen. There is no receiving it or accepting it to validate it - it validates itself. And so it must be given.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    Why would any of the Jews believe that the Lord Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, unless they were told that He is and He did miracles which were the type that the OT prophets revealed that the Christ would perform?
    Many didn't believe that were told - and yet Jesus said what He said. They couldn't hear or understand Him (spiritually) because of a precondition - they were not His to begin with.
    If God promises life, He slayeth first; when He builds, He casteth all down first. God is no patcher; He cannot build on another's foundation. - William Tyndale

    The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
    Jeremiah 17:9

    Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.
    Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

    Isaiah 50:10-11

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    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    Jesus didn't seem to think all had that ability...

    Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
    Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
    And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
    Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
    He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

    John 8:43-47
    This what the Lord Jesus said about His words:

    "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life"
    (Jn.6:63).

    The Jews who couldn't hear were the same ones who resisted the Holy Spirit and that is why they couldn't hear:

    "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye" (Acts 7:51).

    Again, all people have the ability to believe the gospel:

    "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Cor.4:3-4).

    The gospel is hidden to those who are perishing and the god of this age, Satan, is responsible for the gospel being hidden from them. Satan blinded their minds to the gospel for one purpose, "so that they cannot see the light of the gospel."

    The fact that the minds of those who are perishing can be "blinded" to the gospel proves that they have the ability to see it if their minds were not blinded to it. After all, one must be able to see before being blinded can happen.

    This demonstrates that even those who are perishing have the ability to believe the gospel so the idea that God only gives some people faith is false.

    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    The question that needs to be answered is which comes first. Blindness, yes, but unless God opens eyes and ears to see and hear, preaching is futile.
    Can you not even understand that since some people are blinded to the truth of the gospel that means that they had the ability to see the light of the gospel before they were blinded? According to your logic it is possible to blind those who are already blind. Can you not even understand that makes no sense?

    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    Everyone has physical faculties. But if one is spiritually dead, how can one understand spiritual things?
    Because the gospel comes in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much assurance (1 Thess.1:5). You seem to think that the Holy Spirit is impotent to bring spiritual life to anyone despite what the Lord Jesus said here:


    "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life"
    (Jn.6:63).

    You must be able to trick your mind into believing that it only takes hearing His words in order to receive spiritually life and believing them is not what brings life. But the Apostle John made it plain that it is by believing His word which brings life:

    "Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (Jn.20:30-31).

    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    As Jesus said to Nicodemus when He was telling him about the new birth :

    If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
    John 3:12

    Paul echoes this...

    But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
    I Corinthians 2:14
    You left out the part when the Lord Jesus told Nicodemus that he should have known about what He was speaking about (Jn.3;10).

    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    Again, Jesus said they couldn't hear Him because they were not His sheep. That says "causal link" to me. One believes because one is born of God.
    No, a person is born of God by believing:

    "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn.1:11-13).

    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    Those verses provide evidence of life, but they don't say that evidence begets faith.
    The following verses prove that life is a result of believing despite the Calvinist teaching that regeneration precedes faith:

    "Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (Jn.20:30-31).

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