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Thread: Does Abraham's faith disprove Unconditional Election? - One on One

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    Silver Member Nang's Avatar
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    Does Abraham's faith disprove Unconditional Election? - One on One

    Thank you TOL for providing this forum that will enable ApologeticJedi and myself to further discuss the following topic, as put forth by ApologeticJedi on the Religion Board a few days ago:

    "Abraham had faith when God said that he would have a child that God would do what he said. It was a good act, but did not redeem him by any stretch of the imagination.

    And yet God counted it [the belief] as righteousness as it met the criteria God was looking for.

    This simple story debunks both total depravity (man cannot do anything good) and unconditional election (man has nothing to do with his own election) ... Unless one argues that TULIP is only valid for the NT, in which I'd need a different counter-example."


    It is my opinion that this assertion needs to be closely examined for reasons that will be made clear as discussion commences.

    Let me say at the outset, that ApologeticJedi and I set no formal terms, other than agreeing to not exceed the two-week limit set upon this forum.

    There are points in his post quoted, that I agree with:

    1. Abraham had faith
    2. God promised Abraham a child
    3. God “counted” Abraham’s belief as righteousness
    4. (TULIP) doctrines are not solely NT teachings

    The following assertions I disagree with:

    1. Abraham had faith when God promised him a son
    2. This faith was a “good act”
    3. This faith was not redemptive
    4. This faith was criteria set by God
    5. This passage of Scripture was a "story"
    6. This “story” debunks the doctrine of “Total Depravity
    7. This “story” debunks the doctrine of “Unconditional Election”

    In our private messaging, I agreed to limit my discussion to the specific doctrine of “Unconditional Election,” without reverting to a treatise on all the five points of TULIP; although it will probably be impossible for me to not refer generally at times to depravity, grace, and assurance of the Christian believer.

    (I will try to provide basis for my disagreements listed above, and use them as my outline of rebuttal.)

    And my emphasis will be kept to “Unconditional Election,” which I define as:

    The choice (election) of Sovereign God to save many sinful souls; naming them as “beneficiaries” of His “Last Will and Testament (Covenant), performed in and through His Son:

    “ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world . . .” Ephesians 1:3&4a

    “. . Which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began. .” Titus 1:2


    God's decree to elect unto glory, many sinners in Jesus Christ, was the first Sovereign act of God, made before the foundation of the world. From this first act of Godly decree, issued all events manifested in the created heavens and earth.

    Election is the sole and divine foundation for justification, calling, regeneration, sanctification, salvation and the promise of everlasting life.

    This (legal and binding) sovereign decree, to elect persons for salvation in Christ, was a unilateral contract (Covenant) established between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, before time began.

    The Triune Persons of the Godhead were the only legal parties to this sovereign and Divine contract (Covenant).

    Those sinners elected by God for salvation in His Son, are named as BENEFICIARIES of Godly contract, not as legal or equal PARTIES to contract .

    Thus, Scripture teaches Godly election is legally binding according to the Sovereign will of God and His naming of His designated heirs, who are to be saved UNCONDITIONALLY . . . not according to any human works, but according to the grace and righteous achievements of Jesus Christ alone.





    ApologeticJedi asks “Does Abraham’s faith disprove Unconditional Election”?



    I will argue that Abraham’s faith is the result of Unconditional Election.

    Nang
    "The immutable God never learned anything and never changed his mind. He knew everything from eternity."

    " The difference between faith and saving faith are the propositions believed."
    Gordon H. Clark

    "If a man be lost, God must not have the blame for it; but if a man be saved, God must have the glory of it."
    Charles Spurgeon

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    Old Timer ApologeticJedi's Avatar
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    Nang,

    I’m thankful for you doing pretty much all the work in setting this up. I know that you did not do this alone. I’d like to thank anyone else that helped, but especially Nang, who did all the heavy lifting between the two of us.

    The Question at Hand

    So here we are in a one-on-one thread about something as straightforward (in my opinion) as “Does Abraham’s faith disprove Unconditional Election”.

    Consider the irony that here we have a passage totally about Grace. For instance, I could have picked something from Abraham’s other covenant – circumcision, which is straightforwardly conditional. The irony I speak of is that I actually picked a verse that is the crème de la crème of grace stories in the Bible, and yet, instead of being a proof text for Calvinism, it is a problem text. Shouldn’t the quintessential Grace anecdote (of Paul) teach Unconditional Election if that were a true concept? I suppose, that will be the question – whether the universal view that this story is a problem text for Calvinism can be shifted into being actually a proof text.

    A Brief History of Unconditional Election

    Warning … brief but boring history about Unconditional Election coming up.

    Unconditional Election has its roots in what I call the over-swing of the pendulum that happened during the Reformation starting even with Martin Luther. While many of Martin Luther’s observations about the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) were good points, the Reformers were apt to take an argumentative approach to anything Roman Catholic. If the RCC said it was daylight, the Reformers stressed urgently it was night, no matter where the sun might be. During this time, Martin Luther drew the first bands of a relatively new peculiarity between the concepts of Synergism (the idea that God and man work as much as possible in a mutual relationship) and Monergism (the idea that God’s relationship with man is one-sided). From this, some of the principal Reformers abandoned the idea that had been held for centuries past that man had at least something to do with his own salvation.

    Then to the scene came John Arminius. Though Arminius kept his distance from what he determined to be the “works based” salvation of the Roman Catholics, neither did he subscribe to the extremity of John Calvin. He kept what he felt was a more rational and less reactionary stance towards Rome. Thus he denied much of the works requirements of the RCC, but still maintained that God’s election was conditional on faith in Jesus. The view of Arminianism is often that God looks into the future to see the faith of men, and elects based on this knowledge.

    The Open View (since TOL has a few) differs with the Arminian view in a few ways, but mostly in that the Open View does not subscribe to the idea that men are elected based on foreknowledge. Still they stand on the side of synergism, and that God’s grace is based on a relationship with man.

    So on one side, we have Calvinists holding to Monergism. On the other side Catholics, Arminians, Open Theists, and probably many I failed to mention, stand for some form of synergism. None of them believe salvation is anything other than God’s sole decision. No one is saying that. It is rather a note that the three groups (plus others) make saying that God did not make this decision arbitrarily, but bases his decisions on something, typically faith.

    How is Abraham’s Faith Relevant?

    In Genesis 15, the narrative begins with Abraham challenging God about His promises. Abraham points out that God has not fulfilled His promise for a son. Abraham petitions God on this and lives! In fact, God is not upset at the questions. Instead He reiterates His promise for many children to Abraham. To this the Bible records:

    [Genesis 15:6] And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

    The importance is in the cause and effect here. The righteousness was accounted to Abraham because he believed in the Lord. This is the story’s cause-and-effect. This faith was a “good act” that put Abraham in a right relationship with God.

    My contention will be that taking the story at face value, we would never come away with Unconditional Election and its arbitrary and capricious nature. In fact, we would get precisely the opposite feel, that’s God decisions are actually based on something. Also, that these decisions based on something, are, by their very nature, conditional in their designation.

    About Your Objections

    Since you failed to flesh them out I have no choice but to be brief and at times guess at what you mean. I assume a more fleshed out explanation is coming, but just in case you expected me to respond to this; I shall briefly.

    You disagree with:

    1. Abraham had faith when God promised him a son
    Sure, I only meant it as a figure of speech. Actually God had promised him the son long ago. Abraham’s faith mentioned in Genesis 15 comes when God reiterates this promise and Abraham has faith in that.

    2. This faith was a “good act”
    Oh my … this is promising. So faith in God is not a "good act”. Shall we call it an “evil act” then?

    3. This faith was not redemptive
    This comes under the heading of a double negative. You disagree that this faith was not redemptive? I believe that would actually mean you think it is redemptive, which I'm not sure I need to disagree with. Later in life, Abraham must fulfill more conditions to remain justified. But as far as Paul’s teachings are concerned, he ties it directly into redemption in Romans 4. (Do you plan to struggle against the context set by Romans 3:28; Romans 4:5; and Romans 4:10-12?)

    4. This faith was criteria set by God.
    Not sure I used the word “set”. The faith was a criteria God used as I explained in my cause-and-effect point earlier. It was the criteria He was looking for, as I said in my original post.

    5. This passage of Scripture was a "story".
    Feel free to consult a dictionary. It is a narrative, which is by definition a “story”. Please tell me we are not going to waste any more time on this.

    For me to comment on the remaining two would be begging the question a bit early. I’ll leave them off.

    God Bless.
    A 'touchy-feely' CNN reporter, while interviewing an Army sniper asked, "What do you feel when you shoot a terrorist?" The Soldier shrugged and replied..... "Recoil."

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    Silver Member Nang's Avatar
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    Greetings ApologeticJedi,

    I will respond to a few points you made in your opening statement, and then will move on to presentation of my disagreements regarding your original post, that reads:

    “Abraham had faith when God said that he would have a child that God would do what he said. It was a good act, but did not redeem him by any stretch of the imagination.

    And yet God counted it [the belief] as righteousness as it met the criteria God was looking for.

    This simple story debunks both total depravity (man cannot do anything good) and unconditional election (man has nothing to do with his own election) ... Unless one argues that TULIP is only valid for the NT, in which I'd need a different counter-example."





    I agree that Genesis 15:6 reveals Godly grace. My argument will be that Abraham’s faith was the result of Unconditional Election which predestined the salvation of many souls, according to the Covenant of Grace established by the Godhead.


    The passage you quoted is not a “problem verse” for Calvinists, but rather is considered a revelation from God of His Gospel of Grace. I do not have any objections to this Scripture. My objections will have to do with your conclusions from Genesis 15:6, that contradict the grace of God.


    Your remarks regarding Reformers opposing the RCC were a bit harsh and inaccurate. Both Luther and Calvin desired to “reform” the doctrines of the RCC, not rebel against the church. Neither theologian abandoned the RCC, but were forced out by the church magistrates. Actually, those of the Reformed faith share the same Christology as taught by the RCC; differences being found in the fields of Soteriology and Ecclesiology, but both views finding common ground as classical theists.

    I will not get into the history of Arminius and his followers, the Remonstrants, for it would take us into discussion of the five points of doctrine (“TULIP”) established by the Synod of Dort, to rebut the errors of the Remonstrants, and I agreed not to go there. Some other time, perhaps.

    Our differing views will center upon the matter and beliefs of (conditional) synergism versus (unconditional) monergism, as you have mentioned. In fact, you made the following statement that expresses the difference between views, quite succinctly, when you posted:


    None of them believe salvation is anything other than God’s sole decision. No one is saying that. It is rather a note that the three groups (plus others) make saying that God did not make this decision arbitrarily, but bases his decisions on something, typically faith.


    I underlined the words that especially caught my attention, and caused me to ask for further discussion. Indeed, Abraham’s faith is relevant, but I will oppose the notion that Abraham’s faith was a “cause” of his achieving righteousness. Rather, my following arguments will provide Scripture that reveals Abraham’s faith was an effect (caused by God’s grace), and not a cause in itself.

    God’s election to save sinners, was not based upon His foreknowledge of who would exhibit faith or not. God’s election to save sinners, was His sovereign choice of persons whom He intimately loved and “foreknew” by name, and predestined to be fellow heirs with Christ in glory (Romans 8:29&30). Godly election was totally unconditional and autonomous from any “good acts” or decisions made by His creatures.

    So the “something” by which God elected to save, was His sovereign will, good pleasure, and ultimate purposes, alone.

    I will move to my objections, by first giving explanation why I oppose calling Holy Scriptures that give account of historical events and actual persons, a “story.” I will not dwell on this, other than to say, that the word “story” is not biblically accurate, for the Hebrew word for “story” (“midrash”) is only used twice in the Bible and not in a soteriological context at all. Plus, it is unwise to form or develop doctrine according to narrative passages alone. In this case, one must study about “faith” and “righteousness” as taught by the inspired Word of God in its entirety.

    My second objection, was against your statement:

    Abraham had faith when God said that he would have a child that God would do what he said.

    I agree Abraham exhibited faith in God’s promise, but to be exact, the promise in Genesis 15 was:

    “. . ‘One who will come from your own body shall be your heir.’ Then He brought him outside and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, to number them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’” Genesis 15:4b&5

    From your statement, one might think that this was the first time Abraham believed God and exhibited faith.

    But truth is, Abraham exhibited faith way before this time, while still residing in Mesopotamia with his father and family. We learn in Acts, where Stephen quoted Genesis 12:1, that:

    “. . .The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, and said to him, ‘Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.’ Then he (Abraham) came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He (God) moved him to this land in which you (Israelites) now dwell.” Acts 7:2-4

    “Now the Lord said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father;s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curhim who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Then Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan.” Genesis 12:1-4


    According to these revelations and propositional truths, I conclude that Abraham exhibited faith in God, through a Godly CALL, by obeying that CALL. Abram’s obedience to move out as God commanded, reveals a much earlier exhibition of faith, than the later and additional promises made to Abraham in Genesis 15.

    IOW’s there was a long history of loving relationship between God and Abram, that preceded the portion of Scripture which is the topic of this discussion.

    Abram’s Godly (spiritual) lineage traces all the way back to Shem (Genesis 11:12), one of the three sons of Noah, who was delivered from the judgment of waters during the universal flood. This would signify that God’s blessings preceded the call of Abram and developed for decades prior to Abram’s physical birth. Therefore, we can conclude that this family lineage was sanctified by God, to work the future purposes of God; namely the establishment of the nation of Israel, which would produce the promised “Seed;” the Messiah and Savior of the world.

    Abram’s father Terah, was most likely a believer, and his family, a Godly family. The fact that Terah and Abram both obeyed God is evidence that they possessed faith in God, before they left Mesopotamia.

    So when the Scripture later accounts, that Abram “believed in the Lord,” it does not necessarily mean this was an initial conversion experience, but rather is evidence that Abram had already found grace in the eyes of God, and had already been given faith from God to believe the numerous promises God made to he and his family.

    Doing a review, one finds several covenant promises made by God to Abraham:

    The appearance of God to Abram, in Mesopotamia, and the initial CALL from God to leave the land, signifies Abram was foreknown and chosen of God to receive not only temporal blessings of land, but saving grace from God.

    The first promise from God, was inheritance of the land, when Abram arrived in Canaan, in the place called Shechem. Genesis 12:7

    The second promise from God, was an extension of the first promise, giving Abram more land and geographical territory. Genesis 13:14-17

    The third promise from God, was the passage you referred to, promising Abram a son that would produce numerous descendants. Genesis 15:1-8

    The fourth promise from God, was that Abram, would be a father of many nations, through the promised son named Isaac, who would also inherit the everlasting covenant. Genesis Chapter 17.

    The fifth promise from God, reiterated the promise of the son, despite the old age of Abraham and Sarah. Genesis 18:10-14

    The sixth promise from God, was reiteration of the multitude of descendants that would proceed from Isaac, whom Abraham did not withhold from offering to God. Genesuis 22:15-18

    Now, going to the N.T. teachings of Paul, further details can be learnt about Abraham’s faith in these promises.

    Abraham’s faith preceded the act of circumcision. Romans 4:11, 19-22
    Abraham’s faith came through imputation. Romans 4:11, 23&24
    Abraham was justified by faith, and the righteous blood of Christ. Romans 5:1, 9
    Abraham’s faith reconciled him with God. Romans 5:10
    Abraham’s faith was accessed through the Holy Spirit. Romans 5:5
    Abraham’s faith was sealed with the “gift of righteousness.” Romans 5:17

    A most important Scripture to read at this point, is:

    “For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is of no effect.” Romans 4:13&14

    So, when a person reads Genesis 15:6, that says, “And He believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness,” a person must ask at least two questions. Why is the law is mentioned by Paul, as he reviews this account in Romans Chapter 4? And what constitutes "righteousness?"

    After all, Abraham “believed” before the formal Law was given to the nation of Israel, did he not?

    Why does the Roman passage distinguish between faith and law, when speaking of Abraham’s “belief” and “righteousness”?

    It is because, Abraham was born under the Law, and was accountable to God under the Law, just like every other man. from the very beginning, God created man accountable to Himself under Law. God issued commands to Adam and Eve:

    1. “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28

    2. “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; for in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16&17

    3. “A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

    Adam and Eve broke command #2. They failed to believe God and freely eat of the trees provided for life, but instead rebelled against God, and ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which brought death.

    So the Law and command of God has always been to “believe God’s word and live;” accompanyied by the warning “unbelief will cause death.” Just because A&E failed to obey this command under the Law, does not mean the Law has changed. All mankind is still accountable to obey God under the Law, to believe in God and stay away (repent) from what is evil.

    So, if Abraham simply “believed” God, he would have been obeying the Law of God; thereby earning and meriting his “righteousness” according to the Law.

    But Scripture clearly teaches the righteousness of God cannot come through the Law:

    “Therefore, by the deeds of the law, no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20

    So if Abraham’s “belief” did not justify him under the law, how was Abraham declared righteous?

    Romans 4:13 says: “Through the righteousness of faith.”

    But how could Abraham be faithful, when he was born inheriting the original sin and guilt of Adam?

    Answer: Godly grace.

    So there is a progression of truth here that must be acknowledged:

    Election to salvation manifests Godly grace . . Godly grace works righteousness and justifies sinners . . .the forgiven sinner, imputed with righteousness, exhibits faith . . .faith leads to belief and repentance.
    When Adam and Eve broke the command and Law of God, they were imputed (“charged”) with their crimes and sentenced to death. This was a legal rendering under God’s Law, that is irreversible. This demand of the Law must be met. There must be a death to pay for sin. Without the shedding blood (death) there is no remission of sins.

    Adam as federal head of the human race was charged as a criminal, and his sinful nature is inherited by all his natural seed. The Law of God has not changed, so all men are imputed with sin (legally declared guilty before God); therefore, no man is righteous under the Law.

    “There is none righteous, no, not one.” Romans 3:10

    The gospel message is that Jesus Christ was sent into the world, and God imputed Him with the sins (crimes) of His people.

    “For He made Him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” II Corinthians 5:21

    It is on this basis, that His righteousness can now be imputed to His sinful children, whose criminal records He has wiped clean and pardoned (justified).

    So the righteousness that comes by faith, is not the righteousness of the believer, but the righteousness of God, imputed to the sinner, by the grace of God.

    “When Paul says in Romans 4:22 (and verses 3, 5, and 9) that "faith is credited as righteousness," he does not mean that our faith is our righteousness. He means that our faith unites us to Christ so that God's righteousness in Christ is credited to us.

    Faith is credited to us as righteousness," he does not mean that our faith is our righteousness, or any part of our justifying righteousness. He means that faith is what unites us with Christ and all that God is for us in him. When God sees faith in Christ, he sees union with Christ. And when he sees union with Christ, he sees the righteousness of Christ as our righteousness. So faith connects us with Christ who is our righteousness and, in that sense, faith is counted as righteousness. Faith sees and savors all that God is for us in Christ, especially his righteousness. That's what faith does.” John Piper


    Christians seek the righteousness of Christ . . .not their own:

    “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness . . .” Matthew 6:33a

    “He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of His salvation.” Psalm 24:5

    “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness.” Isaiah 61:10

    “Even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who and on all who believe . . .” Romans 3:22

    “And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.” Philippians 3:9







    With this lengthy explanation, I establish my basis for disagreeing on the remaining points:

    No, Abraham’s faith was not a “good act” on his part. If Abraham’s faith is to be declared a “good act” on his part, then his faith becomes a good work, and the grace of God is contradicted, if not outrightly denied by the teaching of a “works-righteousness.”

    “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work..” Romans 11:6

    Faith comes by the grace of God.

    Faith is not inherent to natural man. Faith does not abide within sinners.

    Faith was demonstrated by the Man, Jesus Christ, alone.

    Faith is a result of regeneration.

    Faith is a fruit of the Holy Spirit abiding within.

    Faith therefore, is a gift from God.

    Faith is the evidence that Christ’s righteousness has been imputed to the sinner’s account.

    Justification comes by faith, not by works of any kind.

    Faith is not a requirement or a condition of salvation; faith is the result and proof that one has been saved by the grace of God.

    Faith does not redeem a person in the eyes of God. Redemption comes by the cross work of Jesus Christ, who suffered and died under imputation of the sins of His people. He paid the price. He paid the ransom to free His children held in bondage under the Law and the powers of the devil. Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of His kinsmen

    “ Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” Hebrews 9:12

    “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” Hebrews 9:15


    “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:14

    “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Ephesians 1:7

    “ Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24



    This is an overview of my objections to your post. We can discuss further, any of these doctrines I touched upon: Election, grace, faith, redemption, justification, imputation, righteousness . . .but I will contend that they are all blessings freely given, and unconditionally provided to undeserving sinners, from God, according to the eternal purposes of God.

    “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” I Corinthians 2:12


    Nang
    Last edited by Nang; February 21st, 2008 at 11:08 PM.
    "The immutable God never learned anything and never changed his mind. He knew everything from eternity."

    " The difference between faith and saving faith are the propositions believed."
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    "If a man be lost, God must not have the blame for it; but if a man be saved, God must have the glory of it."
    Charles Spurgeon

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    Old Timer ApologeticJedi's Avatar
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    Nang,

    I just came from a wonderful Family Night and was refreshed and ready to hear your arguments. Your position loosely thrown out surmises to the following as I understood it; that Abraham always had faith, or at least prior to the verse in question and that this therefore is not redemptive.


    The Phantom Sentence

    Once again, let’s continue to come back to the cause-and-effect nature of Genesis 15:6

    [Genesis 15:6] And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

    The verse is simple. First, Abraham believed, and as an effect of that cause, it was accounted to him for righteousness. There is no ambiguity here. We see here which came first. It is like hundreds of other verses that scream out a similar truth.

    [Ephesians 1:13] In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also you believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise

    Again the cause and effect is unmistakeable. After you heard, you trusted. After you believed you were sealed with the Holy Spirit. There is no doubt which comes first. Salvation comes after the belief (Luke 8:12; Acts 3:19; Acts 16:31; Rom 10:9; Rom 10:17; 1 Peter 1:9)

    The struggle with this verse is gnawing so much at you that you are two posts into a debate over a verse you refuse to even quote. I had to do a double take. You would think this pinnacle grace passage would be embroidered on every Calvinist pillow, after all, it is definitely not a problem passage. Instead it is post two, and Genesis 15:6 is the phantom sentence of your side of this argument. You won’t even quote it.

    I doubt it is against the rules to quote the verse.

    Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

    You claim that Abraham always had faith in God because Abraham went to Canaan as God commanded. I’ve not maintained that Abraham was void of obedience or belief in God prior to Genesis 15:6. This fits my view as much as it does yours. It doesn't have to be Abraham's first instance of belief to fit within my position. My position works just fine with a story of a man who followed after God before this event.

    However, it is worth noting that Genesis 12 speaks of Abraham’s disobedience as much as any obedience. Abraham was told to get our of his father’s tent (Gen 12:1), and to go to Canaan. However, instead of making it to Canaan we find that Abraham stopped God's command when his father commanded (Gen 11:31). He disobeyed and stayed in Haran until his father died (Acts 7:4). These are passages you quoted, but it appears you missed the disobedience within them. And I'm not as certain in light of this that Terah was a follower of God.

    Then we have a story of God making a promise to Abraham once he arrives in Caanan, but no statement of belief in Abraham’s life. Instead we see Abraham’s doubt as he hid behind his wife to the Egyptians. Despite being told he would be a conquerer of the land, Abraham lacked courage? Still it was the Lord’s hand, and perhaps his patience with Abraham, that He set it right.

    Then we come to the separation of Lot and Abraham. Abraham here builds an alter to God - the first mentioned thus far. Then after Lot is captured, Abraham rescues him and tithes of the spoils of his battle to king Melchesidek. This leads us directly up to Genesis 15 which is the first real statement of Abraham’s faith in the Bible. This has the realism we would expect in a story that was not invented, but recounts a true salvation. Few of us had an overnight reversal from our selves.

    Perhaps you are right though; that Abraham believed is of no consequence. Based on your say so, we can discount the part of the passage as pointless. And since he was already redeemed (again on your say so) we can discount the part about him being righteous. Replacing the irrelevant parts with dashes we can review the passage in better light:

    [Genesis 15:6] And he ---- -- --- ----, and He ----- --- to him --- ----.

    There ... I've fixed it for you.

    Meaning is irrelevant I suppose. We don’t need to think something should have a meaning I suppose.

    Twas brillig, and the slithy toves,
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgabe.

    I still oddly think the point of Romans 4 is about redemption, which would imply that Genesis 15:6 is also about redemption. But alas, our newly rendered verse seems to have no meaning whatsoever.


    The Roman Road

    The point of Paul’s argument is that Abraham was redeemed prior to circumcision, prior then to the law. The Law is tied up in circumcision in Paul’s writings. The law is circumcision in many ways. The point of Romans 4 is the redemption of Abraham.

    [Romans 3:28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

    This disproves two of your points very quickly:

    Firstly, that we somehow are not speaking of salvation here. Most people should be familiar with the concept of justification and how it is used here. Paul continues the justification theme even after he mentioned Abraham’s faith in verse 3 (Rom 4:5). After all, these verses are considered by many to be the cobble stones in the so-called "Roman Road to Salvation".

    Secondly, it dismisses your attempt to split hairs and suggest that man having faith would be a work. This verse contrasts having faith with works, it does not count belief as a work. Furthermore you complicate your argument by suggesting that those that follow synergism believe that they “merit” salvation by having faith. No one is arguing that.

    The passage goes on to speak of whether Abraham was saved before or after circumcision. So that we are clear, the reason that it is important: Paul is arguing that Abraham was not yet under the law when he was declared righteous. Thus salvation by faith without the law can be seen here. Of course when God demanded circumcision, Abraham was under the law. Thus Abraham was the father to both groups; the circumcision and the uncircumcision. Paul goes on to quote a quip about David, and although David never once talks about righteousness apart from works, Paul uses the best material at his fingertips to show pieces of this concept existed (though hidden) in the OT as well.


    Let Us call it Evil

    Once again you decided to say that faith in God is not a “good act”. If it is not a "good act" we know then what it must be. Now I realize you say that based solely on your doctrinal reasons. You have to say that, no matter how dumb it sounds.

    So let me compromise and join you….

    If it is not good to believe in God (and I believe you would disagree with any “shades of grey” argument) will it be alright if from here on out we just continue to call belief in God “evil”?

    So from now on whenever I refer to Abraham’s faith, I’ll simply respond “When Abraham did the evil act of believing God’s promise” and so forth. This will make things go quicker and smoother, I think, in our ability to agree with one another.



    God Bless.

    A 'touchy-feely' CNN reporter, while interviewing an Army sniper asked, "What do you feel when you shoot a terrorist?" The Soldier shrugged and replied..... "Recoil."

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    Silver Member Nang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ApologeticJedi View Post
    [COLOR="DarkGreen"][FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Nang,

    I just came from a wonderful Family Night and was refreshed and ready to hear your arguments. Your position loosely thrown out surmises to the following as I understood it; that Abraham always had faith, or at least prior to the verse in question and that this therefore is not redemptive.
    Your quick response is welcome. My position was not loosely thrown out, but necessarily covered several points and doctrines that hopefully can be expanded and further explored.

    I will address your post, point by point, but all your sarcastic remarks will be ignored. I refuse to defend myself against sarcasm, so I would suggest you leave it out of your rejoinders.

    My argument is not that Abraham "always had faith." I simply pointed out that he issued from a Godly lineage, and a Godly family, revealing a loving relationship between God and those who came before and surrounded Abraham. There is no specific Scripture that tells us exactly when Abraham was gifted with faith to believe God's promises, but the context of Scripture reveals Abraham was an elect son, predestined to receive God's grace in his life at some point, whether he had been called out of his home country by God, or not.



    Once again, let’s continue to come back to the cause-and-effect nature of Genesis 15:6

    [Genesis 15:6] And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

    The verse is simple. First, Abraham believed, and as an effect of that cause, it was accounted to him for righteousness. There is no ambiguity here.
    Indeed, I agree. It is straightforward. However, there is much more information to be added to correctly understand what it takes for a sinner to believe, and what kind of righteousness is attributed to the sinner who does believe.

    It takes faith to believe, and to have faith, one must find grace in the eyes of God, and to find grace in the eyes of God, one must be one of His; anointed with His Holy Spirit through the process of regeneration.

    And the righteousness attributed to the sinner, is Godly righteousness, achieved through legal imputation, not good works.



    We see here which came first. It is like hundreds of other verses that scream out a similar truth.

    [Ephesians 1:13] In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also you believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise

    Again the cause and effect is unmistakeable. After you heard, you trusted. After you believed you were sealed with the Holy Spirit. There is no doubt which comes first. Salvation comes after the belief (Luke 8:12; Acts 3:19; Acts 16:31; Rom 10:9; Rom 10:17; 1 Peter 1:9)
    This is an old battle. You say faith causes regeneration. I will say regeneration causes faith. I believe Jesus Christ explained very clearly the process; delineating the order of cause and effect when he taught Nicodemus:

    "Jesus answered and said top him, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. . .Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, "You must be born again."' John 3:3,5-7

    Without the anointing and indwelling of the Spirit of Life in Christ, the sinner will not have "ears to hear" the gospel preached. Since spiritually "hearing" the gospel is the Godly means to quicken sinners with faith to believe (Romans 10:9), it is a necessity that the sinner be raised to new spiritual life, given a new heart, mind, spiritual eyes, and ears to "see" or understand the spiritual truths of God. Otherwise, when one hears the gospel preached, who is not born again and indwelt with the Holy Spirit, and not spiritually alive in mind and heart, they remain "natural men," and scoff at the gospel message:

    " . . .No one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." I Corinthians 2:11b-14

    "So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His." Romans 8:8&9


    Thus, the cause of salvation is the calling, drawing, and regeneration worked by the Holy Spirit in the sinner's life. The effects are faith to believe the gospel, repentance from sin, a new love for God and His Word (Law), and obedience.


    The struggle with this verse is gnawing so much at you that you are two posts into a debate over a verse you refuse to even quote. I had to do a double take. You would think this pinnacle grace passage would be embroidered on every Calvinist pillow, after all, it is definitely not a problem passage. Instead it is post two, and Genesis 15:6 is the phantom sentence of your side of this argument. You won’t even quote it.
    An anecdote: When I first began my post, in order to show the continuing relationship between God and Abraham, and the repeated appearances of God to Abraham, reiterating promises and expanding covenant throughout the Genesis accounts, I quoted all the verses, plus contexts . . .and was quickly overwhelmed by the length of the post, and I went back and edited out the detail, giving references instead so I could cover more explanatory doctrines. I am amused that you would pick this to criticize. If I had posted differently, I am sure you would have complained about the length of such a post. Oh well . . .



    However, it is worth noting that Genesis 12 speaks of Abraham’s disobedience as much as any obedience. Abraham was told to get our of his father’s tent (Gen 12:1), and to go to Canaan. However, instead of making it to Canaan we find that Abraham stopped God's command when his father commanded (Gen 11:31). He disobeyed and stayed in Haran until his father died (Acts 7:4). These are passages you quoted, but it appears you missed the disobedience within them. And I'm not as certain in light of this that Terah was a follower of God.
    No, I did not miss the detail that Abraham and Sarah were sinners by nature. All men are born sinners; none are righteous unless they are born again by the Holy Spirit of God.

    Abraham was regenerated and exhibited faith, but he remained depraved and subject to sin. Every believer remains subject to sin. Unless you believe in "perfectionism" you must admit the depravity of the human nature.

    But since I agreed not to talk about Total Depravity, I did not emphasize the portions of Scriptures . . .until now. Do you want to discuss this doctrine further? I would be quite pleased, if you agree.

    The point of Paul’s argument is that Abraham was redeemed prior to circumcision, prior then to the law.
    I agree that Abraham was redeemed and regenerated and a believer prior to being given the covenant of circumcision, which was not a Law, but a "sign" in the form of sacrament.

    Every covenant promise from God is ratified with blood to signifiy that God provides remedy for death caused in the flesh.

    When God promised Abram a son and descendants that would count as numerous as the stars in heaven (Genesis 15:4&5), it was God Himself who ratified the promise, to give Abram assurance of His Word, through an animal sacrifice. (Genesis 15:8-18)

    The point of Romans 4 is the redemption of Abraham.
    Yes, I agree. The redemption and salvation from the penalties of the Law are taught throughout Romans Chapter 4 and 5; and not only the redemption of Abraham, but the redemption of all Abraham's spiritual seed, found in Christ.

    [Romans 3:28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

    This disproves two of your points very quickly:

    Firstly, that we somehow are not speaking of salvation here.
    Romans 3:28 concludes sinners are justified (forgiven, pardoned, saved) by faith, and not by works under the Law. Why do you think I say something different?




    Most people should be familiar with the concept of justification and how it is used here. Paul continues the justification theme even after he mentioned Abraham’s faith in verse 3 (Rom 4:5).
    It seems you are confusing mention of "belief" with "faith." When a person believes, they are manifesting faith. When faith is exhibited, Godly righteousness is manifested. Where Godly righteousness is seen, there is a witness of the Holy Spirit indwelling the sinner. And where the Holy Spirit dwells, there is evidence and witness of forgiveness (justification), regeneration, and conversion to new spiritual life.

    So there is more to the process than simply faith = justification.

    In fact, that is backwards. It is those who have been justified by the blood of Christ on the cross (Romans 5:9), who have been quickened and brought to new spiritual life through the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit, who are released from the obligations and penalty of the Law.

    The doctrine of Justification by Faith, as taught by Paul, is the contrast between Godly grace and good works. Those who are saved by the grace of God, live by faith in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. They are saved accordingly. They are no longer accountable to God under the works of the Law, for Christ has fulfilled all the Law on their behalf, and imputed His righteousness to their record.

    So we have justification = faith, not the other way around.




    After all, these verses are considered by many to be the cobble stones in the so-called "Roman Road to Salvation".
    If you teach that faith must be displayed by the sinner, in order to be justified in the eyes of God, then you teach the same Pelagianism that the RCC teaches.



    Secondly, it dismisses your attempt to split hairs and suggest that man having faith would be a work. This verse contrasts having faith with works, it does not count belief as a work.
    My "splitting of hairs" is my attempt to say exactly what you say above. Paul is contrasting faith to works. Faith is not a work. Faith is a gift from God. Faith is the resulting effect of Godly grace bestowed through the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

    But to teach that Abraham was declared righteous because he believed, without considering the work of God in the process, makes the exhibition of faith a human work . . .not a Godly effect or fruit.

    For indeed, faithfulness comes only from God. Not from the sinner at all. Faith is a fruit of the Holy Spirit:

    "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." Galatians 5:22&23



    Furthermore you complicate your argument by suggesting that those that follow synergism believe that they “merit” salvation by having faith. No one is arguing that.
    I know you deny it, but synergism is a philosophy that concludes that man cooperates with God in order to be saved. Thus, man must DO SOMETHING, and that "something" is believe. Belief becomes man's requirement to find righteousness, rather than simply trusting in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, which is true, saving faith.

    The passage goes on to speak of whether Abraham was saved before or after circumcision. So that we are clear, the reason that it is important: Paul is arguing that Abraham was not yet under the law when he was declared righteous.
    Abraham was never under the formal Law. His descendants were place under the Mosaic Law. But Abraham, like every other human being, was born under the natural law of God (Which declares all men guilty. Romans Chapters One - Three.)

    Circumcision was a covenant and a sign, not a formal law.



    Thus salvation by faith without the law can be seen here. Of course when God demanded circumcision, Abraham was under the law. Thus Abraham was the father to both groups; the circumcision and the uncircumcision.
    No, your premise that circumcision represents the formal law is faulty, and therefore your conclusions are wrong.

    There are not two groups of people; one accountable under the law, and one not.

    All men are accountable to God under the Law, and it is only by the grace of God and the righteous works of Jesus Christ, that failure to obey the law is no longer imputed to many; but instead they are imputed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

    These are the spiritual seed of Abraham, men justified by faith in Christ's righteousness, not their own righteous works under the Law. These are the "children of promise," the "sons of God."

    The "two groups" of circumcized and uncircumcized are the Jews and Gentiles who are called by God into the spiritual family of God through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. These two groups are the people reconciled as one body, through one faith, to God through Jesus Christ, as taught by Paul in the Book of Ephesians.


    Once again you decided to say that faith in God is not a “good act”.
    I am saying faith is not an act or a work at all. Faith is a gift; a Godly attribute imparted to the sons of God, by which they live and stand in the grace of God.

    "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law." Romans 3:27&28



    Nang
    "The immutable God never learned anything and never changed his mind. He knew everything from eternity."

    " The difference between faith and saving faith are the propositions believed."
    Gordon H. Clark

    "If a man be lost, God must not have the blame for it; but if a man be saved, God must have the glory of it."
    Charles Spurgeon

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  9. #6
    Old Timer ApologeticJedi's Avatar
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    Nang,

    Sorry for the delay. I was away for the past two days and only just now read your rebuttal. I admit being disappointed by the fact that we are now three posts int your side and you’ve yet to even try to provide evidence for your side. You’ve maintained many suppositions – and then decided, it seems, not to establish them in the slightest. I'd like something of meat.

    Why should anyone hold to Unconditional Election in light of Genesis 15:6?

    Isn't the more reasonable position, considering this verse, that unconditional election is a shame? Why or why not?


    Attack of the Groans

    I will return to the main verse of our discussion yet a third time because if all we had was your side one would fail to understand what was being discussed.

    [Genesis 15:6] And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

    Now about this verse I’ve established that the verse has within it, a self-contained cause-and-effect. I’ve establish this, and even showed a half-dozen other verses that show a similar cause-and-effect of salvation. Specifically, I also quoted Ephesians 1:13.

    About this I had the first in a series of disappointed groans (perhaps indigestion) following your last post:



    Groan #1 This is an old battle. You say faith causes regeneration. I will say regeneration causes faith.



    This “old battle” is what you jumped up and down to get a one-on-one discussion about. Why do you think I’ve been diligently laying out the cause-and-effect of Genesis 15:6? Are you conceding your side already?

    Since you recognize that this is all about cause-and-effect, then you should admit my points are strong and valid. It’s not as if I’m saying faith causes regeneration in a vacuum. I gave six verses, plus Ephesians 1:15, plus our verse … the main verse … the Phantom Sentence - all of them dealt with cause-and-effect.



    Groan #2 I know you deny it, but synergism is a philosophy that concludes that man cooperates with God in order to be saved. Thus, man must DO SOMETHING, and that "something" is believe.



    Actually I’ve not denied any of that. What I denied is that synergists believe this "something" will “merit” salvation. In fact, I've denied it. They deny it. No amount of good works merits salvation.



    Groan #3No, your premise that circumcision represents the formal law is faulty, and therefore your conclusions are wrong.



    It was Paul’s point that it does represent the law. It was his point here in Romans 4, and again in Galatians chapters 2, 5, and 6. Circumcision is Paul's picture of the law. And yes, circumcision was both a law to Abraham and a symbol. If Abraham did not circumcise, he would have lost his salvation (Gen 17:14). Your debate on this would be with Paul.

    You argue that faith in a fruit of the spirit. I agree. So is patience --- something unbelievers often have. So is self-control --- something unbelievers often have. So it gentleness – something unbelievers often have. So is kindness – something unbelievers often have. That we gain MORE faith, MORE kindness, MORE patience when we are in tuned with the Holy Spirit is a truism. But what are you trying to say here? Are you seriously arguing that faith couldn’t come before salvation based solely on Galatians 5:22? Not a well thought out position if you ask me.


    Groan #4It seems you are confusing mention of "belief" with "faith."



    Faith and belief are synonyms. In fact, they are from the same Greek root word. They have the same basic meaning. Paul uses them interchangeably at times including in Romans 4 (compare Romans 4:3 and Romans 4:5).


    Groan #5I am saying faith is not an act or a work at all.



    Are we playing "Ring Around the Roses" here?

    In light of your confusion of "faith" and "belief" let us note that the passage says Abraham "believed". And Paul, when he mentions it, uses the word "believed". So is "belief" an act? If so, isn't it then a "good act", in particular doesn't Paul say it was an act of redemption in Abraham's case? If not, then what is it?


    Groan #6then you teach the same Pelagianism that the RCC teaches.



    And this ad homien is supposed to be what? --- guilt by association?


    More Cobbles for the Road

    It seems a bit unfair of me to give more cause-and-effect evidence while you still haven’t dealt with Genesis 15:6 and Ephesians 1:15, but let’s continue with yet more cause-and-effect evidence.

    [Acts 16:31] Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.

    [Romans 10:9-10] That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

    In Acts 16:3, again it is belief that causes salvation according to this verse. Belief is the cause in this verse, and salvation is the effect. And Romans 10:9-10 not only says the same, but is still on that Roman Road to Salvation. Once again, it is belief that is the primarily given cause for salvation in the Bible.

    This, I suggest, is why many non-Calvinist groups send out Missionaries and go out and help people, and the Calvinist groups have risked total annihilation at times. From Iain H. Murray’s “The Forgotton Spurgeon” he tells how the Calvinists didn’t even want Spurgeon to teach the gospel to large audiences for fear that non-elect might be in the audience. This is what happens when bad theology is the foundation instead of God’s word. (I realize that you think it is, but it is certainly absent from the passages that are most used to witness to the lost.)

    An Attempt at Progress

    Since you are hesitant to even talk about Abraham’s faith other than with supposition, can you at least provide your best three verses for Unconditional Election. Perhaps we can at least make headway there.

    I have given four verses for my side at this point that debunk the concept (Ephesians 1:15; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9-10; and the Phantom Sentence), though I did so two at a time with hopes that you would address them. Can you provide two-to-three verses that speak about Unconditional Election? I’m suggesting I can directly deal with your verses (no matter what they are) much better than you’ve attempted mine.



    God Bless.
    Last edited by ApologeticJedi; February 24th, 2008 at 08:31 PM.
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  10. #7
    Silver Member Nang's Avatar
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    Greetings ApologeticJedi,

    I will begin my reply to your most recent post, by answering your last question, first.

    You ask:

    can you at least provide your best three verses for Unconditional Election.

    I already provided two excellent verses that teach Unconditional Election in my Opening Statement, that apparently you have forgotten about. They were:



    “ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world . . .” Ephesians 1:3&4a

    “. . Which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began. .” Titus 1:2


    But I will quote more Scripture for your benefit:

    “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. II Timothy 1:9

    “God chose you from the beginning to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this He called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” II Thessalonians 2:13&14

    “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of God; and as many as were ordained to eternal life, believed.” Acts 13:48

    “The Lord of Hosts has sworn: ‘As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand . . For the Lord of Hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?” Isaiah 14:24, 27


    For the sake of brevity only, here is a list of Scriptures for you to investigate, that teach Godly election, which is always “unconditional” and decreed by God, apart from the works, merits, or demerits of His creatures: Deut. 10:14, 15; Psalm 33:12; 65:4; 106:5; Haggai 2:23; Matthew 11:27; 22:14; 24:22, 24, 31; Luke 18:7; Romans 8:28-30, 8:33; 11:28; Colossians 3:12; I Thessalonians 5:9; I Peter 1:1&2; 2:8&9; Revelation 17:14; Mark 13:20; I Thessalonians 1:4; Revelation 13:8; 17:8; Romans 9:11-13; 9:16; 10:20; I Corinthians 1:27-29; Ephesians 1:12; 2:10; John 15:16; Acts 18:27; Philippians 1:29; 2:12&13; I Thessalonians 1:4&5; James 2:5; II Peter 1:5-11; Romans 11:27; II Timothy 2:10; Exodus 33:19; Deut. 7:6&7; Romans 9:10-24; 11:4-6; 11:33-36; Ephesians 1:5; I Chronicles 29:10-12; Job 42:1&2; Psalm 115:3; 135:6; Isaiah 46:9-11; 51:2; 55:11; Jeremiah 32:17; Daniel 4:35; Nehemiah 9:7

    If you study these samples of God’s word that teach Unconditional Election, you will find that many of them properly equate and attribute Election as God’s sovereign, and eternal decree, that ordains the performance of His ultimate “purpose.”

    And it is God’s purpose, legally established according to divine and everlasting Covenant, that is the first cause of all things. So when you reveal a cause and effect in any single verse of Scripture, you by logical necessity, will regress back to this first cause.

    For example, the verse upon which you find a “cause and effect” (“belief causes the effect of righteousness”), states:

    “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” Genesis 15:6

    Indeed, there is a cause and effect contained within this verse; “belief” being a cause, but one must ask, what is the cause of the belief? The answer being,“faith.” Then one must ask, what is the cause of faith? The answer is “Godly grace.” Then one must ask, what is the cause of Godly grace? The answer is the unilateral and everlasting “Covenant” established between the Person of the Trinity to that manifests grace through the “redemption of sinners.” Then one must ask, what was the cause of the Covenant of Redemption? The answer is, the eternal “decree” of God. Then one must ask, what was the cause of God’s eternal decree? The answer is, The Father’s will to “elect” a people to be saved in and by God the Son. So then one must ask, what was the cause of this election? The answer is God’s good will and pleasure to glorify His Son.

    And that friend, is as far as seeking cause and effect can regress. For that is as far as divine revelation takes us. No creature dare to speculate further as to the motives of God, or why He knew, loved, and chose particular souls as an elect in Christ.

    I could take each of your proof texts offering specific but limited cause and effects, and go through the same process if you wish . . .but I don’t see why you cannot do this for yourself. For example, you can do this with the Ephesians verses you ask about (Not sure if you want response to Eph. 1:13, or 1:15. You referred to both, so I will quote all three verses in context):


    “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13-15


    What is the cause and effect revealed in this passage?

    The “effect” is easy to recognize, for it will be the “praise of His glory” in the promised and eternal kingdom of God, where Christ reigns with the redeemed sons of God, who will worship and sing praises to Him forever, and ever. However, there are other, temporal effects; namely, “salvation,” being “sealed with the Holy Spirit,” receiving “guarantee of our inheritance,” that assures “redemption.”

    The “cause” would trace back from “having believed,” to hearing “the word of truth; the gospel,” to trusting in Jesus Christ.

    But one must ask, what was the cause of this trust? The context of Ephesians 1:3-12 traces back to the first cause. Can you find it for yourself? What is the answer of first cause found in this great revelation and teaching from Paul? I could easily give answer with the Scriptures right before me, but I think, since you have brought up the matter of cause and effect, you should answer this, yourself. If you are intellectually honest, you will discover your answer will be the same as my earlier answer, italicized and bolded, above.


    You also asked what defines "belief":

    So is "belief" an act? If so, isn't it then a "good act", in particular doesn't Paul say it was an act of redemption in Abraham's case? If not, then what is it?

    I have already answered in my first reply that any act of “belief” falls under Law, since God commands men to believe and obey His word, lest they die. I am not going to repeat the argument. You can go back and review that post.


    Now, I will answer your first question, and expand on what I have already posted, regarding the passage we discuss.

    You asked:

    Why should anyone hold to Unconditional Election in light of Genesis 15:6?

    Besides determining the first cause of the “belief” of Abraham that was reckoned (“counted”) unto him for righteousness, one must study God’s ordained performance of everlasting Covenant. Holding to Covenantal Theology, I comprehend God’s plan of salvation has worked the same for all saints, whether O.T. believers or N.T. believers. The redemption of all elect sinners has been accomplished according to Godly decree and the performance of His divine grace.

    I have often expressed my view, that the O.T. saints were saved just like the N.T. saints, but pondering these truths during our exchange, I have altered my view, and would now prefer to say that the N.T. saints are saved exactly like the O.T. saints. There is no difference, other than Old Testament redemption was primarily performed for Jews, but since the casting away of national Israel, the plan of salvation is working globally; saving an elect remnant out of all nations and people of the world (Romans 11:6, Rev. 5:9, 7:9); Gentiles are being gathered into the elect and spiritual body of Christ as well as elect Jews. (As exampled in the revelation of Gentiles being grafted into the “wild olive tree” as taught by Paul in Romans Chapter 11.)

    So, in order to exegete Genesis 15:6, and provide answer to your question, I will exegete Paul’s teachings sent to the church at Rome, explaining the context of the letter, which quotes this very verse. It is here in the Book of Romans that the events and the significance of Genesis 15:6 are explained.

    The first few verses introduce Paul’s subject and motive for the epistle in its entirety; namely:

    “. . .The gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord . .” Romans 1:1b-3a

    The key words I have underlined, reveal the one and only plan of salvation according to the purposes of God. These highlighted words reveal God’s M.O., if you will.

    The gospel message of grace and redemption has been proclaimed since the garden, when God promised Eve a “Seed” who would provide remedy for sin, death, and enslavement to serving the devil. God raised up regenerated and holy men to teach righteousness (e.g. Noah [II Peter 2:5]). This gospel was to be preached to Gentiles as well as Jews (Romans 1:14), for it is the gospel that provides the saving power from God to salvation, “for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.” Romans 1:16&17

    Immediately Paul establishs faith and Godly righteousness to be the effects of salvation from sin, brought to His elect through the means of the gospel (good news of Jesus Christ) proclaimed. Paul reveals the necessity of all the underlined above, is due to men failing to live according to Godly law; whether it be they are under the natural witness and law of creation, or under the formal Law (Decalogue) given through Moses to the nation of Israel. (Romans 1:18-3:4)

    This failure under Godly law is universal; thus no mortal has ever found salvation and reconciliation with God according to Law. Rather, the Law declares all men “guilty” and “without excuse.” (Romans 3:5-20)

    “But now the righteousness of God, apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousnenss of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe . . .” Romans 3:21

    Here, we see clearly God’s salvation is according to His own righteousness, witnessed in the O.T. (by Law and the Prophets) as well as the witness of Jesus Christ in the N.T. God’s gospel witness has always been the same “good news” of Godly righteousness that would work grace to save sinners. . . via faith apart from the Law.

    The importance of this passage, deserves quotation, for therein we find the formula of cause and effect that explains all mention of redemption, salvation, and righteousness throughout the Holy Scriptures, including our all important verse, Genesis 15:6:

    “For there is no difference (between Jew and Gentile), for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith*, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forebearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. “ Romans 3:22b-28

    *please note: Jesus Christ exercised and demonstrated faith by the volitional shedding of His blood for the sins of His children. Thus, the source of faith and faithfulness proves to be Christ Himself. Faith is an attribute of the God/Man. Christ demonstrated His righteousness. His righteousness included His faith and faithfulness to the Father.

    Paul, is therefore establishing the cause of redemption, justification, and propitiation that was achieved by the Christ, as being the sole remedy for sin. Jesus Christ has demonstrated the faith, Godly righteousness, and Godly grace that saves. This is the everlasting gospel, established upon the everlasting Covenant that has always been God’s means and provision to save sinners, apart from Law.

    Now, Paul begins to teach the universal nature of this salvation caused by the grace, righteousness, and faithfulness of Jesus Christ the Savior. Paul reiterates that this redemption is promised to Gentiles as well as the Jews, who received, by faith, the promises of salvation unto everlasting life, according to the Godly Covenant of grace. (Romans 3:29&30)

    And the great example Paul uses, is the person of Abraham, who exemplifies all sinners saved by the grace of God. The accounts of Abraham are not a mere “story” but constitute typology. Abraham was a type of every man gifted with faith to believe in the Godly promises of a Savior. Abraham was a type of the spiritual body (church) of Jesus Christ.

    First thing revealed by Paul, is that Abraham was NOT saved by his deeds or any works under the Law. Rather, quoting Genesis 15:6, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

    From the preceding context, we can easily find the cause of the righteousness, to be in Christ Jesus. It was the righteousness of God that was “accounted” (imputed) to Abraham. And Abraham believed God and God’s promises (“gospel”) due to the grace and cross work of Jesus Christ, who demonstrated Godly grace and faith.*

    Abraham believed on Him who justifies the ungodly. (Romans 4:5-8)

    Abraham believed before being circumcised, so that he might be representative of all his spiritual offspring, including the uncircumcised Gentiles. (Romans 4:9-12)

    *Abraham, and the spiritual seed he represented, were promised an inheritance through the gift of faith, “that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to ALL the seed, not only to those who are of the law (Jews), but also to those who are the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.” (Romans 4:13-19)

    “He (Abraham) did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore, ‘It was accounted to him for righteousness.’’ (Romans 4:20-22)

    Godly righteousness was imputed to Abraham, who was fully convinced and strengthened in faith, to rest in the works of Jesus Christ for salvation, rather than his own works under obligation to the Law. Abraham did so, as a type and representative of every elect believer ever brought into this world, called and justified by the sacrifice of the Son of God. (See Galatians 3:6&7)

    “Now it (Genesis 15:6) was not written for his sake alone that it (“righteousness”) was imputed to him, but also for us. It (Godly righteousness) shall be imputed to us (N.T. saints) who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” Romans 4:23-25

    Therefore, I conclude the interpretation of Genesis 15:6, quoted twice by Paul in this passage, and in the context of revealing salvation by grace through faith, is found in Romans Chapter 4. Paul provides the explanation and exegesis of the verse you emphasize. And, you are correct, in that you say that Genesis 15:6 is great revelation of God’s grace. Indeed it is!

    God demonstrated saving grace in Abraham, through faith, who was chosen by God to be the representative of all the spiritual seed who would come from his loins, through the Savior, Jesus Christ. This grace, according to His eternal decree, and the everlasting Covenant (“gospel”) established and performed by God alone, is given to just men made perfect by the faith and imputed righteousness of the “Seed” promised throughout the ages.

    So . . .since Abraham is taught by Paul to represent “us all” who likewise been gifted with faith to believe the promises of God, has taught me that New Covenant salvation, according to grace, is the same as the salvation of the O.T. saints, as witnessed by the prophets. Let us look at a few more Scriptural details to see if further scrutiny will uphold this fact. If God has always provided and works salvation, according to grace, for the Gentiles as He did the elect Jews, then Paul’s teaching of the “Ordus Salutis” will apply to Abraham, who represents all Christians, as well as to those of us saved in this present age.

    “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are His according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30

    Does this divine order of salvation apply to Abraham?

    1. Was Abraham “predestined” to be given grace and faith to believe in the promises of God? I believe that if you review my first reply and the Scriptures I presented outlining the godly lineage of Abraham, tracing back to Noah through Shem, that indeed God purposed to raise Abraham up as representative of all the godly and spiritual seed.

    And the fact that the genealogies of Christ Himself trace back through a godly lineage, directly to Abraham, through the tribe of Judah, that Abraham’s existence and salvation was purposed, decreed, and predestinated by God, as His means of producing the Messiah; the Savior Jesus Christ our Lord.

    To deny the predestination of Abraham, would be to deny the predestination of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. If one agrees that Abraham was raised up by God for the purpose of fulfilling the promise of the “Seed”, then one has acknowledged Godly Election, that is unconditionally established on Covenant promises and eternal purposes of God, alone. The predestination of Abraham, to produce the Christ, is evidence of Unconidtional Election.

    Denial of Godly Election has very serious theological ramifications, because such denial alters the reality of Covenant promise (“gospel”).

    2. Was Abraham “called.” Yes. Genesis 12:1-6, Isaiah 51:2; Acts 7:2-4, Hebrews 11:8

    3. Was Abraham “justified?” Yes. Genesis 14:19&20; 15:1; 15:6; 15:15; 17:1-7; 18:17-19; 22:1-19; John 8:56; Romans 4:2&3; James 2:21

    4. Was and will Abraham be “glorified?” Yes. Genesis 12:2; 15:4&5; 25:8, Hebrews 11:16; Matthew 8:11, Luke 13:28

    Does the context of Genesis Chapter 15 support all the above? I quote the entire passage:

    “. . The word of the Lord came to Abraham in a vision, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.’ But Abram said, ‘Lord God, what will you give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’ Then Abram said, ‘Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!’

    And behold, the word of the Lord came to him saying, ‘This one (Eliezer) shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.’ (Christ prophesied, promised, and predestined through Abraham.)

    Then He brought him outside and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.’ And He said to him ‘So shall your descendants be.’

    And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

    Then He said to him, ‘I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans (“Call”), to give you this land to inherit it.’ And he said, ‘Lord God,how shall I know that I will inherit it?’

    So He said to him, ‘Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon. Then he (Abraham) brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other, but he did not cut the birds in two. And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them off. Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him.

    Then He said to Abram: ‘Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them for 400 years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; after ward they shall come out with great possessions. Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.’

    And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces.” Genesis 15:1-17


    This constitutes the full context of the passage. Is there anything within this context that does not accord with the other Scriptures I have presented, to interpret the Scripture of Genesis 15:6?

    Does this passage not show promises of both geographical land and biological seed . . .as well as heavenly promises and a spiritual seed? (See Hebrews 11:10; 13-16) Was this covenant not equivalent to the “gospel?” (See Galatians 3:8)

    Does this passage not demonstrate the sovereignty of God over, not only Abraham, but the nations amongst whom Abraham traveled? Does not God provide clear prophecy of the future exile and enslavement of Abraham’s seed in Egypt?

    Is not this entire passage clearly a demonstration of Godly initiative to interact and establish a continuing and loving relationship with Abram? Does this passage not reveal God ratifying, validating, and performing all covenant?

    Taken as a whole, how can you believe that Abraham should take credit for any of the “effects” of all the occurrences that were purposed, predestined, predicted, promised, and surely fulfilled, by God alone?

    No, Abraham was elected by God unto sanctification and salvation, in order to be the father of not only two great nations, but to represent all the saints of God, saved by the grace of God through faith. All things worked together for good for Abraham, according to Covenant promise; sovereign power and Godly ordination; to the glory of God alone.

    Abraham was gifted with the faith of the Son of God, from God; filled with the word and Spirit of God to understand and believe the truths and promises (gospel) of God; according to the grace and imputation of the righteousness of God; to the glory of God alone.


    “Therefore, He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? . . Just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ Therefore, know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying ‘In you all the nations whall be blessed.’ So then, those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.” Galatians 3:5-9


    This Scripture clearly says the cause of Abraham’s belief was “supplied” to him by the miraculous working of the Spirit. God is the cause of Abraham’s faith; belief is the effect that brings glory to God, alone.

    Soli Deo Gloria!


    Nang
    "The immutable God never learned anything and never changed his mind. He knew everything from eternity."

    " The difference between faith and saving faith are the propositions believed."
    Gordon H. Clark

    "If a man be lost, God must not have the blame for it; but if a man be saved, God must have the glory of it."
    Charles Spurgeon

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  12. #8
    Old Timer ApologeticJedi's Avatar
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    Nang,

    I will apologise up front, and say that I may be called away for at most two-to-three days should a friend of mine take a turn for the worst. In the meantime I wanted to respond quickly so that I can address your points. The downside to this is that I have very little editing done on this post.

    Also, thank you for giving me a few verses that you feel show Unconditional Election. I think it is quiet revealing that the verses you highlighted (the ones you quote in full) are the ones you must think are the strongest verses for Unconditional Election. I think this shows just how weak and unbiblical the Calvinist position on, at least, this portion of TULIP is.


    When Your Best Verses Fail You

    Let’s look at each of the verses you gave and see if any one of them suggests unconditional election. Please realize that all groups I have mentioned on the synergism side agree with election, just not the “unconditional” part. Thus you need to show “unconditional” election, and shouldn’t just give supposition that it “is always unconditional” --- that is what I want to see proven.

    Also, I won't be giving my opinion on these verses at all. I am only going to look at them and see if I can discern any mention of an unconditional election within them at face value. Anything that remotely mentions unconditional election would at least be something more than I think you can provide.

    Your Verse #1: [Ephesians 1:3-4] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

    Did you notice anything missing? I did. Or at least I fail to see what you think makes this verse shows it.

    I see election here. I see election from the past. But no mention of whether it is conditional or unconditional. Thus you’ve only proved election – which is not debated. Whether the election is conditional or not is what is debated. You stressed in your first post that this happened in the past. Armenians also believe election happened in the past, without a belief in unconditional election.

    Do you see how this verse comes up woefully short of proving the point you were asked for? Let's move on....

    Your Verse #2: [Titus 1:2]in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,

    Here we are speaking of salvation, but not even talking specifically about election. The subject here is “eternal life” that God promised. Worse, it certainly doesn’t offer whether the eternal life is conditional or not. The previous verse speaks of the “elect” (Titus 1:1 which mentions the elect, to which Paul is bound), but the subject of the promise, the context of this verse, is "eternal life”, not election itself. This doesn't help us determine whether election is conditional or unconditional.

    You are just throwing out verses in hopes that something will stick? Do you read these verses before putting them out there?

    Thus far, those are the two you lead off with, that you chastised me for missing. Missing? If you see some argument that can be made for “unconditional election” it would help if you didn’t require people to guess at it.


    Your Verse #3: [2 Timothy 1:9] who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began

    This one is more the typically given verse for unconditional election. But did you notice that it doesn’t say that the election is unconditional? I don’t just mean that it didn’t use the word, but that it doesn’t even give the meaning either. The best it offers is the phrase “to His own purpose”, but this doesn’t mean that it was unconditional. So this verse is closer, but still, as of yet, we’ve found no verse in the Bible that speak directly to an unconditional election.

    As far as “to His own purpose”, even I agree that when God conditionally elects, He does so to His own purpose. Also this verse say "not of our works", but then no one is saying that our works merit the salvation. Salvation is obtained in how God purposes - which the Bible portrays as conditional.

    Still, this is the closest we will get from your side.

    Your Verse #4: [2 Thessalonians 2:13-14] But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    This is a step backwards from 2 Timothy 1:9 for your position. This verse touches on that God elected (something all groups agree on) and did so long ago (something all groups agree on), but nothing to give us any hint that election is unconditional or not. Thus far, we still have no clear indication of “unconditional election”.

    Your Verse #5: [Acts 13:48] Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

    Again, no mention that they were unconditionally election. Whether they were appointed by God or by themselves is unclear, but even if we assume God we cannot know if it was by his foreknowledge in their end faith as the Arminiens propose or not. I mean --- this is what you feel is your proof text. Shouldn't it hint at an answer to the divide?

    So we come to the end of your verses on unconditional election that you felt were the strongest, and still no mention of the debated portion. So why then hold to a belief that you can’t even find within the Bible. This is why I asked you to give your best verses. Your very best can’t even survive the most important scrutiny there is …. Do they touch on the area of contention? The answer is, they do not.

    Return to the Phantom Verse

    [Genesis 15:6] And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

    Nang, here you string together your argument … that Abraham’s faith was really no big deal but something that came from his faith, which came from God (not in the sense that God gave him something to have faith in, but in that God gifted him the faith directly). That’s supposition. In other words, from what you've described of your position I cannot tell it from something you’ve just added to the text to fit your theology. The text itself doesn't show this, and you make no offer of scripture or logic, or anything else to back up what you say. You are like the cult leader who tells you how it is and gives you nothing with which to compare his own suppositions against.

    So which should I cling to? Theology or Scripture? If Scripture, please give me some.

    In the verse concerning Ephesians 1:13-15, you suggest that if I am intellectually honest I will trace back a cause and effect beyond the given cause “you also trusted after you heard”. So now, unless I follow your badly put together supposition with no evidence to support it I am intellectually dishonest? If I only allow Scriptures to be my guide, the cause-and-effect ends at “after you heard” in this passage of scripture. What are you allowing to be your guide here? No where in the first 15 verses of Ephesians chapter 1 does it say that their faith was given to them. Are you just asking me to abandon the Bible altogether? Is that what one must do to be a Calvinist?

    Before I leave the Phantom Verse this time, please note that Paul's argument that it was not of works is contrasted against Abraham's "belief". I stress this because you are under the foolish impression that there is a great deal of difference between "faith" and "belief". Therefore it probably comes as a great shock to you that Abraham's belief is not a work, according to Paul (despite your arguments to the contrary).

    The New Hope?


    So you’re main position is that the faith Abraham has was supplied to him. That might be an interesting point if true. You claim that Galatians 3:5-9 says this. Let us see if this is just more “fast-and-loose” handling of scripture on your part or if you are finely tuning into a passage’s meaning.

    [Galatians 3:5-9] Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

    Isn’t this amazing? You have maintained for some time that Abraham’s faith was supplied to him.

    This Scripture clearly says the cause of Abraham’s belief was “supplied” to him by the miraculous working of the Spirit.
    Unbelievable. Did you even bother to read the verse before putting this in your post? We all make mistakes, but please remember that this is God's word.

    This verse says nothing about faith being supplied to Abraham. Did you just do some word search on a passage that had the word “supplies” and “Abraham”?

    Now that you've had an opportunity to read your own verse again, you do realize the verse is saying the Spirit was the object that was being supplied here, and not faith? And you do realize that the possessional object is the readers of the letter, and not Abraham that were “supplied” with the Spirit? Perhaps Greek makes this more obvious, but even in the English it is not difficult to tell who received what in this verse.

    “He supplies the Spirit to you” is neither ambiguous in what is being supplied, nor who it is being supplied to.

    And the "miracles" were what the readers of this letter were working, not a "miraculous" supplying of faith to Abraham. Again, there is no ambiguity. You needed only to read the passage before putting it in your post.



    More Ring Around The Roses

    Nang, I asked you if belief in God is a good act. I did not ask whether it was part of the law or not. I realize this is painful for you because you don’t want your theology to make you appear dumb. That you discern how foolish admitting your own theology would be, shows that you have some common sense. You are just embarrassed by a theology that has derogated your intelligence.

    You pointed me to your second post, but you didn’t answer the question there. You said his “faith” was not an act. But see how you are playing a semantical game with that? You claimed that though his "faith" was not an act; his “belief” was an act (which only tells me that you struggle with two languages).

    So I want to know whether that act (his belief in God) was a “good” act or not.

    If your have the Truth, why be ashamed? I can think of nothing I believe as Truth I would be ashamed to tell you.

    God Bless.
    A 'touchy-feely' CNN reporter, while interviewing an Army sniper asked, "What do you feel when you shoot a terrorist?" The Soldier shrugged and replied..... "Recoil."

  13. #9
    Silver Member Nang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ApologeticJedi View Post
    [COLOR="DarkGreen"][FONT="Comic Sans MS"]


    we’ve found no verse in the Bible that speak directly to an unconditional election.
    By "unconditional," it is meant that salvation by God's grace, through faith, comes solely from God, according to His will, purposes, and good pleasure alone.

    Salvation by by grace is not dependent upon the sinner, in the slightest, for that is ther very definition of grace. A pure gift, freely given.

    Faith to believe is a resultant benefit, evidence, and fruit of God's grace. Faith is not a latent power residing in sinful man. Faith is not inherent to the sinful nature, inherited from Adam, who, even in his innocent and upright state before the fall, never exhibited faith in God. Adam was faithless; else he would have believed God's word of command and not rebelled against God. The only Man who exhibited faith in the Father God was the incarnate Son of God; Jesus Christ.

    So, no sinner inherits the ability to be faithful from Adam. Faith must be given to man from the faithful Man, Jesus Christ. The faith that becomes ours through the imputation of Christ's righteousness, is the faith OF Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:22; Galatians 2:16; I Timothy 1:14, 3:13; II Timothy 1:13; Hebrews 12:2; James 2:1)

    The Apostle Peter taught that the saints "obtained" faith:

    "Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." II Peter 1:1

    There is never a need for a person to "obtain" something he already possesses.

    Paul taught the church at Ephesus that salvation by grace, through faith was . .
    ."not of yourselves." Eph. 2:9

    Paul taught the church at Rome, that Godly election was decreed before the births of men, and not according to whether they had . . ."done any good or bad." Romans 9:11

    Paul taught the church at Philippi that salvation is worked by God . . ."Who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." Philippians 2:13

    And of course you and I have been well taught, that "Without faith, it is impossible to please Him . . ." Hebrews 11:6a

    Paul taught the church at Corinth that they . . ."might know the things that have been freely given by God." I Cor. 2:12b

    The Apostle John taught the spiritual children of God . . ."were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:13

    And James, the brother of Jesus Christ, taught . . ."Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." James 1:17

    These Scriptures teach that all things come to man from God; including grace, faith, repentance, and salvation. And the Scripture teaches that grace, faith, repentance and salvation are meant by God for His elect, only. Thus, grace, faith, repentance, salvation and election are unconditional works of God:

    "We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, according to His purpose, for whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified." Romans 8:28-30

    Nothing conditional about this straightforward teaching. No criteria or requirements on the part of the creature mentioned to receive good from God or glory with God. God alone works the good things . . .not sinful man.

    Depraved, corrupted sinners, are unable to work good, understand the things of God, or help themselves get saved. Depraved, corrupted sinners are totally dependent upon the mercies, grace, and Spirit of Christ to find faith to believe and turn away from sin. Such capacities are not in them. They are unable and unwilling to believe or repent, unless and untill God gives them new hearts implanted with love of God and faith in God, and changes them to new spiritual men. So taught the Prophet Jeremiah:

    "And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." Jeremiah 32:40


    Please note Jeremiah refers to the everlasting Covenant, which is unilaterally established by God, promised by God, and performed by God alone. This Covenant is uncondtional and legally bound to benefit the elect sons of God.

    If the Covenant is unconditional, so is the decree that established this Covenant; and that decree was the Father choosing to save a people in the Son, apart from His foreknowledge of their eventual actions; whether good or bad.



    So why then hold to a belief that you can’t even find within the Bible.
    Unconditional Election is in the Bible. The problem is, persons who are predisposed to deny the Bible, will not see the clear teachings.


    This is why I asked you to give your best verses. Your very best can’t even survive the most important scrutiny there is …. Do they touch on the area of contention? The answer is, they do not.
    These are not "my verses;" they are the revelation and words of God. You do not oppose me, you are denying God's teachings.


    Nang, here you string together your argument … that Abraham’s faith was really no big deal but something that came from his faith, which came from God (not in the sense that God gave him something to have faith in, but in that God gifted him the faith directly). That’s supposition.
    Your opposition does not surprise me. What surprises me, are you repeated denials that are presented without counter-argument.

    We are one week into our two-week opportunity to hash over these theological differences, but instead of "hashing," all you are doing is bashing. Why?

    Are you going to get around to making a biblical case for your synergistic views, or not?



    So you’re main position is that the faith Abraham has was supplied to him. That might be an interesting point if true. You claim that Galatians 3:5-9 says this. Let us see if this is just more “fast-and-loose” handling of scripture on your part or if you are finely tuning into a passage’s meaning.

    [Galatians 3:5-9] Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

    Isn’t this amazing? You have maintained for some time that Abraham’s faith was supplied to him. . .

    This verse says nothing about faith being supplied to Abraham. Did you just do some word search on a passage that had the word “supplies” and “Abraham”?
    God supplies dead sinners with the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit, who raises them to new life, implanting faith and the love of God in new hearts; which changes the mind, will, and actions of the regenerated and converted soul.

    IOW's faith comes via the Holy Spirit abiding within.

    Faith results from His presence. Faith is one of the fruits and evidences that the Spirit tabernacles with the saint, and the saint abides in Jesus Christ.

    So I want to know whether that act (his belief in God) was a “good” act or not.
    Read James 1:17 again. If faith is a "good act," then it first came from God, for "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above . . ."

    I can think of nothing I believe as Truth I would be ashamed to tell you.

    I am glad to know this. When are you going to get around to presenting your side of the argument? Time is running short, and a real one-on-one discussion has not yet developed.

    ???

    Nang
    Last edited by Nang; February 26th, 2008 at 08:00 PM.
    "The immutable God never learned anything and never changed his mind. He knew everything from eternity."

    " The difference between faith and saving faith are the propositions believed."
    Gordon H. Clark

    "If a man be lost, God must not have the blame for it; but if a man be saved, God must have the glory of it."
    Charles Spurgeon

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  15. #10
    Old Timer ApologeticJedi's Avatar
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    Nang,

    I was disappoint to hear the frustration in your last post in that you didn’t feel you were making good progress. From my perspective we have made some reasonable amount of progress thus far that I will document (though this post may run a bit long because of it).

    Summary of Progress

    Concerning the Main Topic
    1. First we’ve looked at the verse Genesis 15:6. Initially I showed cause and effect in the verse, which you have admitted to. This is a good step on its own. The Scriptures show that belief comes before salvation.
    2. You have hinted that this is only a perceived correlation because actually Abraham’s belief came from his faith, which ultimately was given to him by God (ie. Abraham had nothing to do with his own belief ).
    3. You provided Galatians 3:5-9 as your evidence that faith was given to Arbaham.
    4. I have painstakingly had to waste time showing that Galatians 3:5-9 says nothing of the sort, but that you confused what was begin given (it wasn’t faith), and who it was being given to (it wasn’t given to Abraham). I say it was a waste of time, because you should have at least read the verse yourself before using it.

    This was really embarrassing that you would treat God’s word with such carelessness. When someone stoops to this level of deceit in something so sacred, it is difficult to hope to salvage a conversation with them.

    On this I would say that the ball is in your court to ;
    A. explain how Galatians 3:5-9 shows that Abraham was gifted faith or to
    B. come up with another verse to show this or to
    C. admit that there is no scripture that says this.

    Honestly, if you can't do (a), an apology would be nice.


    Concerning Unconditional Election
    1. Originally you gave verses in Ephesians 1:3-4 and Titus 1:2 that you must have felt indicated Unconditional Election.
    2. Not seeing the connection, I asked for at least three verses from you to help move your points along.
    3. You explained that these verses were meant as evidence, and gave three others (2 Timothy 1:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; Acts 13:48).
    4. I did what you didn’t bother to do, I walked through each of the five verses showing exactly how they related to the subject at hand. I showed that while four of them do speak on election, they do nothing to settle the long debate on whether election is conditional or not, and one verse wasn’t even speaking of election at all. Since you seem more concerned with impressing with the number of verses and don’t bother to make sure the verses are actually on topic, this seems to be a theme with you.
    5. You claimed that I came to this conclusion because I was biased (apparently you couldn’t be bothered to show how these verses are relevant to topic).

    At this point I am going to have to ask what phrase in these verses (say Ephesians 1:3-4, for instance) leads you to think that they are either; denying election is conditional, or is positive toward the idea of unconditional election. I actually think (and I hope that I am wrong) that you already know that these passages don’t speak to whether election is conditional or not.

    I realize you will continue to claim … “Unconditional Election is in the Bible. The problem is, persons who are predisposed to deny the Bible, will not see the clear teachings.” … however without any work on your end (as I am doing all the deep diving into the Bible), that supposition comes off a bit hollow.

    Concerning Abraham’s Faith
    1. I presented the case that Paul uses Genesis 15:6 as his example for the soteriology he is presenting.
    2. You argued that Abrahams always had faith, because God called him out of the land he was in.
    3. I pointed out that Abraham’s disobedience gives us a genuine reason to question whether Abraham was saved until Genesis 15:6. I also pointed out that being “called” is not always the same as saved.
    4. You maintained – to that point – that Abraham was saved but backslidden.
    5. My final point on this was that your supposition was reasonable, though uncertain and moot. Paul uses Abraham’s belief as his example during his discussion on salvation in Romans 4. This means that we are speaking of a redeeming point in someone’s life that is based on a condition.

    Concerning Depravity
    1. You claimed that you didn’t want to get into Depravity (based on the idea that we agreed not to), but then quipped that Abraham’s faith in God was not a “good act”.
    2. I asked whether you would entertain calling it an “evil act”.
    3. You then drew a distinction between “faith” and “belief” and said that “faith” is not an act, but “belief” is.
    4. I have pointed out that “faith” and “belief” mean the same thing, and are from the same root word in Greek. And I have further challenged whether you would call “belief”, since that is the actual word used in Genesis 15:6 as a “good act” or an “evil act”.

    On this one, the ball is in your court. You have avoided this, while I have pressed it. Since you’ve opened that door, I have felt that it was fair that I walk through it as well.

    Concerning Evidence Beyond Genesis 15:6
    1. I gave other verses besides Genesis 15:6 that show salvation (and thus election) is conditional. Those verses include: Ephesians 1:15, Acts 16:31, and Romans 10:9-10.
    2. You argued that those verses have causes that are somehow unsaid, and that go beyond what is found directly in their passages.
    3. I have challenged you that this is supposition on your part.
    4. You have challenged that 2 Peter 1:1 shows that God gives us faith, and then challenged why I was not giving more evidence.

    Firstly, 2 Peter 1:1 is an excellent verse that speaks of people who have heard the gospel and obtained a like precious faith (after all, one is not born with faith, but must obtain it). What is missing from the passage is the point you hoped to make – that the faith comes monergistically through God alone. But you won’t be trifled with actually proving your point. You’d much prefer to string together unrelated passages so that you get the reward for more bible verses quoted (though you are unprepared to do any deep diving into any of them).

    As for the challenge, I will act as if the ball is in my court on this line of thought. I will use this post as an opportunity to give even more evidence that shows salvation is withheld until certain conditions are met synergistically. Further, assuming I have the space, I will begin a new line that shows that one is able to reject their election.

    More Cobbles

    Since you cannot provide even one verse that speaks to election as unconditional, my point that almost all salvation verses point to conditional election becomes even more highlighted.

    [Luke 13:4-5] Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

    [Luke 15:10]Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
    [Mark 6:12] So they went out and preached that people should repent.

    [2 Corinthians 2:10] For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted

    I believe these three verses above show repentance as a requirement for salvation. I have emphasized the particular phrases to call attention to.

    [Romans 3:22] even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;

    [John 3:16] For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

    [Mark 16:16] He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

    I believe these three verses above show belief as a requirement for salvation. I have emphasized the particular phrases to call attention to.

    [Romans 10:13] For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.
    [Luke 14:26] If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.

    [Luke 14:33] So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

    I believe these three verses above show one must make Jesus his Lord as a requirement for salvation. I have emphasized the particular phrases to call attention to.

    Since this is a theme I’ve already established, and since these are your typical salvation verses I will not make this post too much longer by trying to go into each. They are the verses we give unbelievers when we attempt to convert them (at least those groups that believe that witnessing to the lost is a good thing). So if you don’t agree that these are straightforwardly conditional, please point out where in one or two and we can dive into those passages.

    Rejecting Your Salvation

    There are quite a few verses that speak of people who reject the election offered to them. That they do not achieve salvation is an indirect evidence that salvation is conditional. It was conditionally offered, and conditionally rejected.

    [Luke 13:34] O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!

    Notice in this verse that Jesus’ heart bleeds for Israel Jesus weeps over the salvation of the city as he does also in Luke 19:41. Jesus wanted them to come to him, tried to reach them, but alas, they rejected Jesus’ desire for them. This speaks to many of the topics of TULIP, but to Unconditional Election it teaches us that when people are not meeting the necessary conditions, God’s heart breaks.

    To the Calvinist, these are but crocodile tears. In fact God is the one who holds their head under the water and shouts to them "Why don't you get out of the pool?!"

    [2 Peter 3:9] The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance
    Here we see that God offers salvation to all. God doesn’t want any to perish, but each should come to repentance. That every man does not come to repentance shows that they failed in the conditions God has set up for their salvation.

    [John 5:40] But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

    Clearly the offer for life Jesus presents as “on the table” as it were. The implication is that would they come to Christ, they would have enjoyed eternal life. Still yet they rejected the offer. They did not meet the criteria of salvation.

    [Luke 7:30] But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.

    The baptism here, seems likely to be towards salvation in nature for them. This was the will of God for them, and yet they rejected it. They do not meet with the conditions for salvation.

    [1 Timothy 4:10] For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.

    God is the savior to all men, what this means to unconditional election is that those that “believe” benefit the most for this salvation, but those that do not, though he is their Savior too, do not reap any of the benefits of it.

    I have a few more of these, but I'll let these soak with you first.


    Nang Strikes Back

    You were a bit bitter in this last post, perhaps correlating with the thought that you do not feel you are doing that well. I wanted to respond to some of your statements in this post as well beyond what I've already categorized.

    These are not "my verses;" they are the revelation and words of God. You do not oppose me, you are denying God's teachings.

    How childish. Of course these are the verse you gave. They were your verses that you were suppose to show unconditional election with. Are you now pretending that you are from a country where English is a second language? You knew what was meant, but decided to be petty.

    Yes they are the Words of God (I would expect that would cause you to handle them a little better than you’ve shown --- see your Galatians 3:5-9 debacle). But they were the verses you presented that don't even touch on the point you wanted to make.

    Maybe three was too many? Can you provide even one verse that says that election is unconditional?

    Read James 1:17 again. If faith is a "good act," then it first came from God, for "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above . . ."
    When my neighbor gives me a good gift it is both from him and from God. Synergism is there. There is no doubt that we cannot have belief in God without God first giving us something to believe in. In this way, I believe our faith is also a gift, just not in the way you mean.

    You are building a strawman as if I am saying God has no part in it. And yet you admit that I am the one arguing for synergism. Of course I think God is a part of it.


    Are you going to get around to making a biblical case for your synergistic views, or not?
    You mean beyond the ones I’ve made in every post I’ve given? That I've gone into detail into? You mean besides those?

    If you were so concerned about time running short, perhaps if you did your part with less whining, and dove deeper into the scriptures that would help?



    Let's face it. If you were really interested in a discussion you would discuss the points with me. You seem extremely hesitant to do that. I had to prod you just to get you to look at the verse we were supposed to be talking about. It was your third or fourth post before you even talked about it.

    You have only yourself to blame as far as I see.


    What surprises me, are you repeated denials that are presented without counter-argument.
    When you give only suppositions, you are not making an argument to counter. Perhaps you thought merely saying it makes it so?

    Nang, is it not a hypocrite that complains about supposed "bashing" and within a sentence does finger pointing about the one-on-one not going their way.

    Just a thought.



    God Bless
    A 'touchy-feely' CNN reporter, while interviewing an Army sniper asked, "What do you feel when you shoot a terrorist?" The Soldier shrugged and replied..... "Recoil."

  16. #11
    Silver Member Nang's Avatar
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    Greetings ApologeticJedi,

    I will begin this reply with your counter-argument first, and then I will provide answer to some of the questions you have regarding our previous discussions to date.

    The basis of your assertion, which is the title of this thread, is the question of whether Abraham’s faith disproves the doctrine of Unconditional Election. Implicit in your assertion is that Abraham was counted righteous, on the basis of his belief; specifically at this point in his lifetime.

    So Genesis 15:6 is the beginning of your argument, and I will respond a bit further, according to your own commentary on this portion of Scripture:

    1. First we’ve looked at the verse Genesis 15:6. Initially I showed cause and effect in the verse, which you have admitted to. This is a good step on its own.

    There appears to be a cause and effect in this verse, when examined in isolation, but in reality, “belief” is an effect of faith, and I challenged you to pursue cause and effect found embedded in any Scripture, back to the first cause, which will always bring a bible student back to the sovereign will and eternal decrees of God; proclaimed before creation of the heavens and earth. God is the first cause of all things. All things manifest are the effects of God’s purposes and good pleasure. This truth reveals your next remark to be inaccurate:

    The Scriptures show that belief comes before salvation.

    Genesis 15:6 does not teach all there is to know about “salvation.” In fact, the word “salvation” was not used in Genesis 15:6. The Scripture, as written by Moses in the Book of Genesis, and as taught by Paul in Romans and Galatians, correlates “belief” with imputed “righteousness.” This is a spiritual phenomena, worked by God; the result of which provides ultimate salvation.

    Here is the gospel in its proper order, according to the entirety of the Holy Scriptures, by which we can understand the brief teaching of Genesis 15:6:

    The Father decrees (elects) many sinners to be blessed IN God the Son.

    Father and Son covenant the incarnation of the Son, to vicariously fulfill all human accountability under the Law, and work redemption through sacrificial suffering and death.

    God creates and God the Spirit inspires the gospel message (covenant promises of a Savior) be made known on the earth, through the preaching of righteous men, revelation made by the Prophets, and all of Holy Scripture.

    Through the hearing of this gospel, the elect chosen by God IN Christ, before creation, are called and quickened to new life by the power of God; provided with faith to believe God’s promises of a Savior, and granted repentance to turn away from sin.

    God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ the Word come in flesh, in the fullness of time, under the Law, to demonstrate perfect faith and obedience to the Father through submission of His will . . .even unto death. Overcoming death on behalf of His elect people, whom He came as federal head, Jesus Christ resurrected from the grave, in order that all the sons of God can be assured of reconciliation with God in heaven, at the throne of grace, and the future resurrection of their bodies on the last day.

    Jesus Christ paid the ransom for the sins of this elect people, which cost Him the price of His infinitely valuable life’s-blood, and in exchange for the remission of the worldly sins of all His children, imputed His righteousness to their account with God; justifying them and thereby ratifying the covenant promises that they would be heirs with Him of the kingdom of God and everlasting life.

    The Holy Spirit calls, regenerates, converts, convicts, and convinces these justified by the blood of Christ; gifting them with faith to believe, and granting them the spiritual capacity to repent and turn away from their sins and sinful natures. The Holy Spirit remains and abides within each saint, guaranteeing their ultimate salvation, and interceding on their behalf with the Mediator in Heaven; The Son at the right hand of the Father. . .providing them access to God.

    So you can see, the salvation first starts with the Father’s choosing and covenanting to save souls in the Son, the Son performing that covenant through His incarnation and volitional/substitutional death, and the Holy Spirit calling and quickening the beneficiaries (elect) of covenant to new life; a spiritual life lived by faith in God, and repentance from sins of the flesh. Salvation is the work product of the Triune God, accomplished without human requirements or participation.


    2. You have hinted that this is only a perceived correlation because actually Abraham’s belief came from his faith, which ultimately was given to him by God (ie. Abraham had nothing to do with his own belief ).



    Yes, that is my argument. Abraham exhibited faith in God when he believed the promise given to him directly by God, in Genesis 15:5:

    “Then He brought him outside and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you able to number them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’” Genesis 15:5

    This promise is what Abraham believed, because Abraham had already been gifted with faith from God, to trust in God’s words and promises. Through faith, Abraham was given spiritual understanding that these descendants would be spiritual offspring, because they would issue from the covenant promises of God and through the son, Isaac, promised by God. There is a later reiteration of promise made by God to Abraham, that reveals the basis for Abraham’s faith and belief in the covenant:

    “ . . .I will establish My covenant with him (Isaac) for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.” Genesis 17:9

    It was according to these covenant promises of a spiritual offspring, that Jesus taught that:

    “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” John 8:56

    I presented the case that Paul uses Genesis 15:6 as his example for the soteriology he is presenting.

    Indeed Paul did, and Paul revealed many more soteriological details in order that the bible student can fully appreciate the significance of Genesis 15:6. The most important detail being the work of the Holy Spirit in the conversion of sinners, which was the context of Galatians 3:5-9*, which I will address later in this post.

    Paul uses Abraham’s belief as his example during his discussion on salvation in Romans 4.

    Paul quotes Genesis 15:6, that says Abraham “believed,” in order to teach about FAITH. And Jesus Christ is the “author and finisher of faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)

    I have pointed out that “faith” and “belief” mean the same thing, and are from the same root word in Greek.

    The word “faith” is only used twice in the old testament. (Hebrew, “emuwn” which means “established, secure, steady.”

    The word “believe(ed)” is the more commonly used Hebrew word “aman” which means “assured or support” esp. in a parental or nursemaid sense.

    “Belief” is only one aspect and manifestation of faith. “Faith” is a divine attribute, gifted to sinners, to give them the capacity to love God, love God’s word, to believe God’s word to obey God’s word, to submit their will and lusts of the flesh to the sovereign will of God (repentance). “Faith” is the cause of worship and praise and thanksgiving. “Faith” provides patience, love of the brethren, and assurance of everlasting life. “Faith” exhibits itself in holiness and sanctification and manifests the fruits of the Holy Spirit. “Belief” is only one aspect of God-given “Faith.”

    I would contend that Abraham had a long-standing relationship with God (God had appeared to him many times preceding Genesis 15:6), and this history of obedience on the part of Abraham to the directives of God, manifested FAITH in his heart; provided by God.

    Abraham acknowledged that God was the source of his blessings, and faithful obedience, when after God substituted an animal offering in place of Abraham offering Isaac to God, Abraham worshiped God by taking the ram:

    “. . .and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, ‘THE-LORD-WILL-PROVIDE;’ as it is said to this day, ‘In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.’” Genesis 22:13b&14

    IOW’s Abraham did not credit himself for his faithful actions of obedience and willingness to sacrifice his promised son Isaac, but acknowledged God would work good from his obedience. This is the confession of the elect sons of God . . .God has provided all things necessary to work good, for those who love Him. God is to receive all honor, glory, and praise for any faith exhibited by His creatures. For such manifestations of FAITH in creatures, reflects the Creator who provides and keeps all His Covenant promises.

    Next, in your counter argument you present the following Scripture verses:

    [Luke 13:4-5] Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

    [Luke 15:10]Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

    [Mark 6:12] So they went out and preached that people should repent.

    [2 Corinthians 2:10] For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted


    These are all good verses teaching repentance, but they must be read and understood according to the entirety of Scripture on the subject:

    “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth.” II Timothy 2:25

    “Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:31

    “When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, ‘Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.’” Acts 11:18


    As I have explained a couple of times prior to this reply: “belief” and “repentance” are legal commands of God. Thus, the acts of believing and repenting fall under LAW. In the beginning, God commanded Adam to believe His words, and to turn away from the knowledge of evil. Adam was created under that LAW, and that LAW placed Adam accountable to God under a “covenant of works.” Adam was commanded to do these two good acts: believe and repent from what was forbidden. This was the covenant that Adam broke. (See Hosea 6:7)

    Scripture teaches us that all of mankind is like-wise guilty under God’s Law, for failure to keep the Law.

    “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20


    So, since “belief,” and “repentance” are commanded by God and made a matter of Law, no man can be justified by believing in God or repenting of sin. Why? Because no man, in his natural sinful state, is able or willing to believe in God and repent of sin.

    Thus, the grace of God that gifts sinners with faith is necessary. God gifts sinners with faith to believe in Christ’s righteousness, not their own. God “grants” sinners faith whereby they have the spiritual capacity and power (of the Holy Spirit) to turn away from the law of sin that remains in their members.

    God has established a new law; and that is the law of faith:

    “Now the righteousness of God, apart from the law, is revealed . . .even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ . . .being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness. . .where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. “ Romans 3:21 22, 24, 25, 27

    Faith established the Law, in that men are given the ability to rest in Christ’s righteousness and fulfillment of works under Law, and granted the capacity through the power of His Spirit to please God by faith. Repentance is the ability to reckon the flesh to be crucified and dead through the death of Christ on the cross. Faith is the ability to trust in the promises of everlasting life, by acknowledgement that one is “alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Please read Romans 6:1-14)

    I believe these three verses above show repentance as a requirement for salvation.

    I believe repentance is a result of salvation; evidence of salvation; proof of being born-again from above through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.

    [Romans 3:22] even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;

    [John 3:16] For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

    [Mark 16:16] He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.


    Stating “belief” is a requirement for salvation, places “believing” under the covenant of works and the LAW.

    When “belief” comes as the result of the gift of faith, a new law is established. Not a law of works, but the law of justification by faith, alone:

    Romans 3:22 = A sinner saved by the grace of God, through faith, WILL believe in the righteousness of Christ, not his own righteousness.

    John 3:16 = All sinners saved by the grace of God, through faith, ARE the specific “they” who will NOT perish, but are promised everlasting life in the sent Son.

    Mark 16:16 = A sinner saved by the grace of God, through faith, WILL believe and be baptized, without fail. “They” are distinguished by all others NOT saved by the grace of God, through faith, who subsequently remain unbelieving and condemned.

    Of course, I believe that each of these verses describe the elect. It is “They” alone, who are saved by the grace of God to exhibit faith as described in these Scriptures.


    [Romans 10:13] For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.

    [Luke 14:26] If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.

    [Luke 14:33] So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.


    Again, you are establishing requirements and criteria, under the Law, for salvation instead of reading these Scriptural statements that actually describe the results and witness of true, saving faith given freely from God:

    Romans 10:13 = A sinner saved by the grace of God, through faith, is the sinner who WILL most certainly and surely, call upon the name of the Lord.

    Luke 14:26 = A sinner saved by the grace of God, through faith, is the disciple who rests in Christ for his life, and separates himself from the world and worldly relationships, to follow His Lord.

    Luke 14:33 = A sinner saved by the grace of God, through faith, is the Christian who has forsaken the world; no longer loving the things of the world.

    They are the verses we give unbelievers when we attempt to convert them (at least those groups that believe that witnessing to the lost is a good thing). So if you don’t agree that these are straightforwardly conditional, please point out where in one or two and we can dive into those passages.

    When you preach with such attitude, you are placing the burden of the requirements of the Law upon your audience, and asking the impossible of them. No natural man, dead in his sins, can choose, or wills to believe in Christ or repent of sin.

    I contend you are preaching a wrong gospel message.

    The true gospel message confronts sinners with their sin and spiritual inabilities, and explains the sole remedy to escape sin, death, and the devil, is through trusting in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and His victory over sin, death, and the devil. The good news is that Jesus Christ has done for sinners, what they could never do for themselves.

    By the grace of God, the elect chosen in Christ, and justified by the blood of Christ on the cross; having been given spiritual “ears to hear”, and will be quickened to faith to believe that God has worked their forgiveness and freely gives them of His Spirit to live new lives spiritually at rest in Jesus Christ. (Please read Hebrews 4:1-16)

    There are quite a few verses that speak of people who reject the election offered to them.

    I will go through the verses you contend teach this, but of course I disagree that election is a universal "offer." That would be an oxymoron. And of course, I disagree that election (or Godly Covenant and grace) is left subject to rejection.

    O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!” Luke 13:34

    Notice in this verse that Jesus’ heart bleeds for Israel


    Where do you read anything about Jesus’ heart bleeding? Where do you even read “Israel” into this passage?


    Jesus weeps


    Yes, just like Jesus wept over the death of his friend, Lazarus in John 11:35. When Luke records that Jesus wept over Jerusalem, who were the tears shed for? The wicked, religious rulers of Jerusalem, who attempted to prohibit the children from hearing Christ’s message of the kingdom . . .or did Jesus weep over the children themselves?

    over the salvation of the city as he does also in Luke 19:41.

    There is nothing mentioned about saving the city of Jerusalem. The subject is Christ message of the kingdom being obstructed (as prophets sent prior to Christ’s visitation had been eliminated and killed). The religious rulers who would crucify the Christ, thought to prevent God’s children from hearing truth and being gathered to God. Christ wept for His childrens’ sake. Christ spoke against the wickedness of the hearts of those who would surely kill him as they had all the former prophets that God had sent into their midst.


    Jesus wanted them to come to him, tried to reach them, but alas, they rejected Jesus’ desire for them.


    There is no mention of the children rejecting Christ. It was the religious rulers in Jerusalem who sought to obstruct His witness, and it was they who would eventually crucify Him. But . . .

    Nothing prevented Christ from saving and gathering in, whom He willed to save. God’s will cannot be thwarted, for Jesus promised the Father He would lose none of the children that the Father gave Him to save.

    This speaks to many of the topics of TULIP, but to Unconditional Election it teaches us that when people are not meeting the necessary conditions, God’s heart breaks.

    Unfortunately, you are using emotional language, and reaching conclusions, that Scripture does not use or teach. This passage describes the unbelief of the religious rulers in Jerusalem, who thought to silence the witness of the Savior’s visitation in their midst. They were guilty of killing prophets of God and they would be guilty of crucifying their own Messiah, in indifference to the salvation Jesus Christ promised to the true, spiritual children of God in their midst.

    [2 Peter 3:9] The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance

    Here we see that God offers salvation to all.


    Where do you see an “offer” of salvation to all? All, who? Who was Peter addressing?

    God doesn’t want any to perish, but each should come to repentance.

    Who is Peter addressing? The world at large?

    That every man does not come to repentance shows that they failed in the conditions God has set up for their salvation.

    If you really want to get to the bottom line of why not all men come to repentance, read Isaiah 6:9&10, Matthew 13:11-17, Luke 8:9&10, John 12:37-40, Acts 28:24-28, and Romans 11:5-10.

    But for a correct exegesis of this verse, one must heed the context and realize who Peter was encouraging . . .and that was a body of believers, who had “obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” II Peter 1:1

    Peter was talking to Abraham’s seed! Christians, who had already been regenerated and saved by the grace of God! Church members who had recently been plagued with false teachers trying to discourage their assembly with damaging doctrines. Namely, saying that the Lord had delayed His second coming, and those Christians who had physically died, might very well be lost, since Christ had not returned during their lifetimes.

    Peter began by revealing to the brethren, that he anticipated his own physical death would occur before the Lord’s return. See II Peter 1:13-15. He condemns the false teachers in their midst in Chapter Two, but gives the Christians encouragement and exhortations in II Peter 1:16-21. All of Chapter Three was Peter's exhortation to believers to remain steadfast and confident in the promises of Christ’s return, whether it would happen in their lifetimes or not.

    For: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some (false teachers) count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us . . .”

    What was the purpose of the “long-suffering?

    “Consider that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation . . .” II Peter 3:15a

    The Lord had not returned because He was patiently working salvation . . .not just for this present body of believers, but God would save multitudes more before His second visitation. (Which we know now, has lasted thousands of years in which Christ has been building His church.)

    But meanwhile, He is . . .”not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” The time spanning the first coming of Christ, which was the salvation of the church that Peter addressed, and the second coming of Christ, would be time spent granting all God’s elect repentance and salvation. Not one of God’s elect will be left out of God’s saving grace. Not one of them would perish in their sins, for the Holy Spirit of God will be given time to call all and regenerate all; sealing all with assurance of everlasting life.

    Those amongst the audience Peter addressed, were given assurance that even though he, they, or their family members and friends might physically die before the Lord’s return, their souls would not perish, but would surely receive the promises of the “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” II Peter 3:13

    So the verse II Peter 3:9 is addressed to the specific church in Peter’s day, and to the entire church body of Jesus Christ, which He has been calling and gathering to Himself through all these ages. Not one child of God will miss being saved, due to Christ returning too soon or too late. “For God is not willing that any (elect) should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” II Peter 3:9b

    [John 5:40] But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

    Clearly the offer for life Jesus presents as “on the table” as it were. The implication is that would they come to Christ, they would have enjoyed eternal life. Still yet they rejected the offer. They did not meet the criteria of salvation.

    Again, I see no “offer.” This verse reveals the total depravity of man. No man is able or willing to come to God for life, due to being held in bondage to sin, death, and the devil. If God did not intervene with His saving grace, no man could, by the power of the human will, choose or work his rescue from this enslavement. But I will not say more, for I agreed not to discuss the doctrine of Total Depravity.

    [Luke 7:30] But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.

    The baptism here, seems likely to be towards salvation in nature for them. This was the will of God for them, and yet they rejected it. They do not meet with the conditions for salvation.


    This verse is simply teaching that the Pharisees and lawyers did not heed the preaching of John the Baptist. Christians do not hesitate to proclaim the gospel and the “whole counsel of God openly” amongst the unbelievers of the world (see Acts 20:27), in full awareness that not all men will believe, according to the decrees of God.

    Exposure to the gospel preached does not save those God does not will to show mercy, but the hearing of the gospel still has purpose and meaning in their lives . . .the same gospel that blesses and saves the elect, is purposed to be the judgment of God against ungodly men. The gospel message is the word of God, wielded by the hand of the Holy Spirit, as a “two-edged sword.” (Eph. 6:17, Heb. 4:12)

    [1 Timothy 4:10] For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.

    God is the savior to all men, what this means to unconditional election is that those that “believe” benefit the most for this salvation, but those that do not, though he is their Savior too, do not reap any of the benefits of it.


    God is the Savior of all men who believe. Unbelievers have no part with the Savior. So God is not the Savior of unbelievers. Unbelievers reap no covenant benefits, because they are outside of Jesus Christ.

    After giving warning to Timothy not to listen to fables and genealogies favored by false legalists, Paul contrasts such unbelieving legalism, with these words of encouragement to Timothy:

    “The grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” I Timothy 1:14

    So after establishing distinction between unbelieving, unsaved, legalists with the faith and love given to himself and Timothy through the grace of the Lord, there is no possibility that Paul's words, a little further on in the same epistle, could teach Godly desire for universal salvation. If God had willed that all men be saved, there would be such thing as unbelieving, false, religious, legalists.

    Actually, the “all men” refers to men saved by grace out of all nationalities, races, conditions, circumstances of life, as the context of the letter of Paul to Timothy describes.

    I have a few more of these, but I'll let these soak with you first.

    Fine. Bring them on. It is good we are having a more balanced discussion between views.

    - - - - - - - - - - -

    *Now, I will address the Galatians 3:5-9 passage, according to your complaints:


    3. You provided Galatians 3:5-9 as your evidence that faith was given to Arbaham.


    Yes, that is what verse 7 speaks to:

    “Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.


    4. I have painstakingly had to waste time showing that Galatians 3:5-9 says nothing of the sort, but that you confused what was begin given (it wasn’t faith), and who it was being given to (it wasn’t given to Abraham). I say it was a waste of time, because you should have at least read the verse yourself before using it.

    What was given, or “supplied” to Abraham, but the Spirit of God? What did the Spirit provide, but FAITH imparted to Abraham, enabling Abraham to believe the promises of God?

    All the spiritual offspring of Abraham, are named “children of promise.” (Gal. 4:21-31) These “children of promise” are the sons of Abraham who have been enabled, through the Holy Spirit, to understand the things of God in order to believe the Covenant promises of God (“gospel”).

    IOW’s a sinner without the Holy Spirit of God, cannot comprehend (“see” or grasp) the truths of the gospel promises. Jesus taught one must first be born again by the Holy Spirit, before he can “see” the kingdom. (John 3:3) Otherwise, the natural man hears the gospel, but cannot “see” or understand the spiritual things of God, and responds to the gospel message with scoffing. (I Cor. 2:11-16)

    So, I conclude that Abraham had to first be born spiritually from above and regenerated by the Holy Spirit, before Abraham would have been able to exhibit faith and obedience to God. And Abraham exhibited such faith in God early on, when he was originally (and personally) called by God to leave his country and enter the promised land.

    I truly do not see how God would or could appear and interact with a sinner like Abraham ( or any of us, for that matter) without first working conversion to holy sanctification in that sinner. God cannot look upon our sins; He must see Christ in us, and that life of Christ is suppled by the Holy Spirit of God to the sinner, in order that he can be reconciled with God and have relationship with God.

    Regeneration necessarily proceeds the exhibition of faith. Faith cannot be conjured up in a sinner in order to obtain relationship with God, apart from Christ’s Spirit and Presence.

    At this point I am going to have to ask what phrase in these verses (say Ephesians 1:3-4, for instance) leads you to think that they are either; denying election is conditional, or is positive toward the idea of unconditional election. I actually think (and I hope that I am wrong) that you already know that these passages don’t speak to whether election is conditional or not.

    Gladly . . .

    Verse 4: God chose us in Him (Jesus Christ)

    Nothing is said about God choosing us because He had foreknowledge we would "choose Christ."

    There are no conditions revealed regarding God’s choices. God's election was apart and prior to creation and the actions of His creatures.

    Later in the passage, several things are revealed in explanation of God’s election. They are:

    Verse 5: The good pleasure of His will
    Verse 6: To the praise of the glory of His grace
    Verse 7: According to the riches of His grace
    Verse 9: His will, according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself
    Verse 11: According to the counsel of His will
    Verse 12: To the praise of His glory

    Decree to elect has all to do with the Creator, and nothing to do with the creatures who benefit from Godly election. They participate in election, strictly by being known by God in The Elect of God (Isa. 42:1), and by being named beneficiaries of Godly Covenant; not as participating parties of any kind of "conditional" contract, at all.

    Nang
    Last edited by Nang; February 29th, 2008 at 10:52 AM.
    "The immutable God never learned anything and never changed his mind. He knew everything from eternity."

    " The difference between faith and saving faith are the propositions believed."
    Gordon H. Clark

    "If a man be lost, God must not have the blame for it; but if a man be saved, God must have the glory of it."
    Charles Spurgeon

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    Nang,

    I come tonight with a grieved heart. I have had sad news on a personal front. Still I will try my best to respond under the strain of my heart.

    When I Woke Up to the Truth

    For years I too was once, what I considered, a three point Calvinists. That is that I agreed with Total Depravity, Unconditional Election and Perseverance of the Saints. I was content with my beliefs, for they agreed with the typical Baptist church that I attended. But I was fortunate in even in that upbringing I was taught to put scripture first and primary in my theology. Holding to putting scriptures first, was to be my undoing as a Calvinist.

    I remember my study into Unconditional Election clearly. “There’s no verse that speaks of election as unconditional,” said one older “Free Will” Baptist at the time. I then determined to proceed to show him that there was. Not right away, but after some study I returned to him and gave my verses to prove Unconditional Election. I can’t say as the verses I used were the same you used or not Nang, but I’m sure one or two were probably the same. The gentleman pointed out, as I did, that those verses do not address whether or not election is conditional. It wasn’t that the verse was inconclusive; in fact it said nothing about whether or not election was made based on conditions or not.

    I determined to come back with a new passage, one that showed unconditional election – even if it was just a proof text that we could argue over what it means. I found out, as you did after my post #4, that I could find nothing. There is no verse that speaks of election as unconditional – none whatsoever.

    I took to studying the subject, and as I studied and prayed I began my pilgrimage towards the right of determinism that has really never reached a conclusion. I discovered that Unconditional Election was mainly based on tradition and its foundations were more speculative and philosophical in nature. There was no scripture to tell us God didn’t consider mankind when making His decisions. It was at best a speculative look at how God might have decided.

    At long last I determined somewhere along the way that to hold to Unconditional Election is to hold to a unbacked theological principle despite scriptural evidence to the contrary. It could be done, but it was a little like sticking my head in the sand and ignoring hundreds of passages screaming otherwise.

    Revenge of the Bit Player

    The Bible ascribes to the Devil a fearsome role. The Bible holds him as the chief adversary of God. He has spent time with God. He is dangerous.

    [1 Peter 5:8]Control yourselves and be careful! The devil, your enemy, goes around like a roaring lion looking for someone to eat.

    He even has the ability to affect whether or not someone is saved:

    [Luke 8:12] Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

    Of course Jesus was a little mistaken there, say my Calvinist friends. There was really no danger of those being saved anyway. The Devil wastes his time drawing men away from Christ for they were already chosen and therefore will be redeemed no matter what Satan does.

    As Loraine Boettner says in the book “Reformed Doctrine”:

    ”It is in the first place, God who decrees that the wicked shall suffer and Satan is merely permitted to lay the punishment upon them.”

    If this view is correct, then we should be thankful God has such a willing fall guy.

    Return of the Jedi

    Concerning Genesis 15:6

    You maintained that belief comes by faith. To this you offer no evidence, no proof, nothing but speculation. This is called supposition. I’ve noted this now for 4 times and yet still, like the little child, you seem to believe that merely saying it makes it so. Of course Abraham had faith, which is the same thing as belief, but there is no evidence that this was supplied by God (at least that you are forthcoming with).

    You then claimed that Genesis 15:6 does not teach “salvation”, but rather “imputed righteousness”. This is a fine example of how Calvinists stick their head in the sand against scripture so obvious. One has to be very determined to try to say that “He accounted it to him for righteousness” is not a statement of salvation. But then you have had a complete disregard for God’s word all along.

    Once again what you fail to back up with scripture, I will counter with Scripture:

    [Romans 3:28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

    There is no ambiguity. This is just five verses prior to Romans 4:2. And it is blatently apparent that we have not switched topics by the way Romans 4:1 begin “What shall we say”. To argue that “justified” means anything other than salvation is the direct result of a Calvinist who was disassembled two posts ago trying to cleave to the last gasp effort.

    Concerning Faith

    For your next section I have to quote you lest someone think I was making this up:
    The word “faith” is only used twice in the old testament. (Hebrew, “emuwn” which means “established, secure, steady.”

    The word “believe(ed)” is the more commonly used Hebrew word “aman” which means “assured or support” esp. in a parental or nursemaid sense.

    First of all, the word “emuwn” (in its derivatives) appears in excess of 50 times in the OT, not twice. There’s no way I could provide them all, but I will provide a sampling. (Ex 17:12; Deu 32:20; 1 Sam 26:23; 2 Kings 12:15; Prov 13:17; Prov 14:5; Prov 20:6; 1Chron 9:22; Isa 11:5; etc., etc., etc.). I have no idea where you determined there was only two, and I will resist guessing. As to the meaning, it is “faithfulness” and is a description of someone truthful or faithful, in that they can be relied upon. Now I’m not a Hebrew scholar, I know Greek somewhat, and next to nothing about Hebrew, but this is even something I knew.

    So now we are up to three languages that you seem to struggle with.


    Concerning Mount Morriah

    Once again this is a sort of last ditch effort to string something together off an already crumbling position. Abraham called the Mount “The Lord Provides” because God did provide there. To try to say that Abraham meant that God was providing his faith, is clearly reaching (if I will be permitted such a massive understatement).

    Concerning Repentance

    Here you said: “I believe repentance is a result of salvation; evidence of salvation; proof of being born-again from above through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.”

    Actually, the verses you quoted to back this up were about the unrepentant. Notice just one where you, once again, failed to deeply dive into the passage:

    [Acts 5:29-32] But 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 you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

    To argue that this shows God gives repentance is to not care about exegesis one twit. For the problem with that view is that God ends up cutting off Israel. They do not follow him. What Peter says is that the reason Jesus died was to give repentance to Israel and the forgiveness of sins. It doesn’t mean hanging on the cross put repentance in their hearts --- it didn’t. They were mostly unrepentant. What Jesus did was create the condition that would make repentance possible.

    Concerning Total Depravity

    Nang, here’s where the mustard hits the hot dog. You said here, “Why? Because no man, in his natural sinful state, is able or willing to believe in God and repent of sin.”

    To disect your argument …. Your main argument now (since your verses have already failed you) for Unconditional Election is that one must first accept Total Depravity. You have no scriptural evidence (we’ve already shown this). All you have is a philosophical holding to yet another misguided doctrine to back Unconditional Election. It is not, and never was meant, to stand scripturally on it’s own two feet (it doesn’t even have one foot scripturally), but rather it is a flow of the flawed view that man cannot belief on his own.

    Notice how in slipping ground on Unconditional Election, you have had to try to prop it up with Total Depravity. If I were to look at it (which does have better proof text - though even those are demonstrative misguided) and show how no passage really teaches it, you would prop it up with Irresitable Grace (something you've already used two posts ago to try to prop up Unconditional Election). This is the sort of moving target I was hoping to avoid, and that you said before hand you would stay away from.

    Concerning Belief

    You stated, “Stating ‘belief’ is a requirement for salvation, places ‘believing’ under the covenant of works and the LAW.”

    No it does not. Once again … no passages can be found or quoted that say belief is a work. There are those that deny belief is a work (Romans 4:2; James 2:18-20), but none that support your position. So once again, what you offer as supposition without any scriptural backing, I have refuted with scripture.

    Concerning Missions

    You stated, “When you preach with such attitude, you are placing the burden of the requirements of the Law upon your audience, and asking the impossible of them. No natural man, dead in his sins, can choose, or wills to believe in Christ or repent of sin.”

    Nang, I have given the Roman Road of Salvation. You are like those that criticized Spurgeon for teaching to the masses to convert. Surgeon said well of you:

    “Hyper-Calvinism not only causes personal lop-sidedness, but what is more serious, it prevents a full preaching of the gospel”
    Apparently he had you pegged.

    Concerning Jesus’s Weeping
    You said, “There is no mention of the children rejecting Christ. It was the religious rulers in Jerusalem who sought to obstruct His witness, and it was they who would eventually crucify Him.”

    This doesn’t change the power of this passage:

    [Luke 13:34] O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!

    The message that Jesus wanted to, but was prevented from gathering Jerusalem under his wings is obvious here. You say that the religious leaders kept him from it. Yes, they were part of the problem. But even if we ignore that they were not the only problem, that would still leave the verse that Jesus wanted to, but was prevented by man. There is really no way around it.

    And of course it was more than “religious leaders” that were not willing. Jesus also chastised the crowds, three entire cities, and the generation of people at large. In fact, to one city, Jesus predicted that Sodom (the city destroyed for their sin) would have repented had they only seen what that city had seen.

    [Matthew 11:23-24] If the miracles I did in you had happened in Sodom, its people would have stopped sinning, and it would still be a city today.

    What’s the big deal if repentance comes from God anyway? Just give it to this city. Why rail against what your determined? Of course this is yet another verse that dismantles the Calvinist position for those willing to be honest about it.

    Concerning An Offer To All

    You said, “Where do you see an “offer” of salvation to all? All, who? Who was Peter addressing?”

    [2 Peter 3:9] The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance

    Your argument boils down to that Peter is talking to a body of believers. And thus you maintain that it is impossible to speak to someone about someone else. Just like I suppose you and I aren’t speaking about Abraham, I guess, since I address each post with your name. Of course Peter’s statement is clear as it is clear to me that you are struggling against it.

    Concerning Galatians 3:5-9

    Trying to save face on this embarrassment you write, “What was given, or “supplied” to Abraham, but the Spirit of God?”

    Actually that was supplied to the readers of the passage, not Abraham. And you originally said that it was “faith” being supplied to Abraham. I’ll post it again since you’ve determined to disgrace God’s Word in order to try to save your own pride.

    [Galatians 3:5-9] Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

    And in case you want to continue to be dishonest about how you treated God's word, here is what you said right after you quoted this verse:

    This Scripture clearly says the cause of Abraham’s belief was “supplied” to him by the miraculous working of the Spirit.
    To make matters worse, in this latest debacle, your conclusion of this verse is: “IOW’s a sinner without the Holy Spirit of God, cannot comprehend (“see” or grasp) the truths of the gospel promises.”


    Only you could come up with a conclusion not found anywhere within the passage, to defend an argument that you previously made that was no where in the passage.

    Once again, I suggest that you need to show where in the passage it says Abraham was given faith, or apologize for being flippant with God’s Word.

    Concerning Unconditional Election

    I asked for what phrase in Ephesians 1:3-4 says that the election of God was unconditional. You said “Verse 4: God chose us in Him (Jesus Christ)” That’s election. I’ve already agreed that there is election. How do you see that it is unconditional … here is how…..

    You said, “Nothing is said about God choosing us because He had foreknowledge we would "choose Christ."

    I agree. I said as much already. This verse doesn’t say election was conditional or unconditional. You can’t make this kind of an argument from silence. I'm not making this up, this is a logical principle.

    And yet, this is supposed to be your proof text for Unconditional Election but you can’t even show it. The best you can do is an argument from silence, which you try to build on.

    You said, “There are no conditions revealed regarding God’s choices.”

    Notice what you’ve done? You’ve picked a proof text that does not touch on wheter something is conditional or not, and then said, “See here! No mention of a condition.” Right, but in every place that mentions salvation in the Bible there is mention of conditions for salvation. But alas, you have a circular argument for that …. They can meet those conditions because they were first elected unconditionally (a point you can’t prove in scriptures). So the foundation of your argument is something absent from the Bible – completely and utterly.

    Welcome to a world were it is okay to be flippant when discussing God’s word. Welcome to a world where we put out passages we don’t even read and call that evidence.

    No thanks.

    Sadly, I've been there and it's a dead end.

    God Bless.
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  19. #13
    Silver Member Nang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ApologeticJedi View Post
    [COLOR="DarkGreen"][FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Nang,

    I come tonight with a grieved heart. I have had sad news on a personal front. Still I will try my best to respond under the strain of my heart.

    I appreciate your response, despite personal sorrow.

    We are also caught up in a family tragedy at the moment. Our SIL's sister (age 49) is in imminent danger of death, suffering from Pneumonia/Septic Shock/Kidney and Heart failures, and existing solely on life support at UCSF Hospital at the moment. She is unsaved, and we are in fear for her life and eternal fate.

    So life's problems do negatively interpose upon our attempts to witness to faith in the Lord, without courtesy or sympathy.

    At this point, I can only state that the doctrine of "Unconditional Election" is based upon the truth that God is Sovereign.

    To deny "Unconditional Election" is to deny that God is Sovereign over all His creation, creatures, and the future world to come.

    God alone determines the eternal fate of all men. Satan cannot deter God saving Who He will.



    Concerning Genesis 15:6

    You maintained that belief comes by faith. To this you offer no evidence, no proof, nothing but speculation.
    I have done nothing but offer Scripture throughout our entire interaction.

    If Scripture is not your "proof" your problem does not relate to me, but relates to your opinion and apparent lack of respect of God's Word.

    Of course Abraham had faith, which is the same thing as belief, but there is no evidence that this was supplied by God (at least that you are forthcoming with).
    If you deny that faith is a result of the gift of grace, then YOU are the one who is responsible to prove from Scripture how sinners, dead in their sins and trespasses, manage to conjure up faith to believe in God, apart from being born again from above by the grace of God, alone.

    First of all, the word “emuwn” (in its derivatives) appears in excess of 50 times in the OT, not twice. There’s no way I could provide them all, but I will provide a sampling. (Ex 17:12; Deu 32:20; 1 Sam 26:23; 2 Kings 12:15; Prov 13:17; Prov 14:5; Prov 20:6; 1Chron 9:22; Isa 11:5; etc., etc., etc.). I have no idea where you determined there was only two, and I will resist guessing. As to the meaning, it is “faithfulness” and is a description of someone truthful or faithful, in that they can be relied upon.
    Your point? All these Scriptures describe is "steadiness." Not faith in God that saves.

    Abraham called the Mount “The Lord Provides” because God did provide there. To try to say that Abraham meant that God was providing his faith, is clearly reaching (if I will be permitted such a massive understatement).
    So let me get this straight . . . are you denying that faith is not provided by God, but faith is solely the product of sinners?

    What Scripture can you give to support that (Pelagian) view?


    What’s the big deal if repentance comes from God anyway?
    Oh, just the matter of whether a person recognizes the sovereignty of God, or not.

    Concerning Galatians 3:5-9

    Trying to save face on this embarrassment you write, “What was given, or “supplied” to Abraham, but the Spirit of God?”

    Actually that was supplied to the readers of the passage, not Abraham. And you originally said that it was “faith” being supplied to Abraham. I’ll post it again since you’ve determined to disgrace God’s Word in order to try to save your own pride.

    This exchange is degrading and becoming ridiculous.

    Faith comes from God via the Holy Spirit of God. It happened that way in Abraham's life, as it happens in the life of all the spiritual seed of Abraham.


    Once again, I suggest that you need to show where in the passage it says Abraham was given faith, or apologize for being flippant with God’s Word.
    Once again, I must ask you, if your faith is not a gift of God, but emanates from yourself (obviously contrary to the teachings of Eph. 2:9 which says faith "it not of yourselves"), how did you conjure up faith in God, when still accursed by God, at enmity with God, and dead in your sins? How did you manage to have faith, that not even your forefather, Adam, exhibited? How did you manage to have faith, before being filled with the Holy Spirit of Christ, who is the author and finisher of faith?

    How did you do achieve such saving goodness, while still dead in your sins?

    Where are the Scriptures that support your Pelagian views?


    Concerning Unconditional Election

    I asked for what phrase in Ephesians 1:3-4 says that the election of God was unconditional.
    So you deny my answer.

    What is your answer that election is conditional? Conditional upon what?

    Nang
    "The immutable God never learned anything and never changed his mind. He knew everything from eternity."

    " The difference between faith and saving faith are the propositions believed."
    Gordon H. Clark

    "If a man be lost, God must not have the blame for it; but if a man be saved, God must have the glory of it."
    Charles Spurgeon

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  21. #14
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    Nang,

    Thank you for understanding. This last post of your was short, so I’ll try to return the favor.

    For His Sovereignty

    You said, “To deny "Unconditional Election" is to deny that God is Sovereign over all His creation, creatures, and the future world to come.

    That God is Sovereign has nothing to do with Unconditional Election. "Sovereign" means only that no one tells God what He must do. God could make election conditional (as he has) and still be sovereign.

    I believe we often see a misunderstanding of the word "sovereign”. Sovereign means only that nothing else can determine your paths for you. Nations that claim sovereignty are not excluded from working together and setting conditions (hostile or friendly) towards one another.

    Even a sovereign king has the power to delegate authority should he choose. And God did create “powers”. God did create “authorities”. And God did create “principalities”. And the reason they are called that is likely because they were given by God; power, authority, and principality.

    I am often amazed at how we throw this “sovereignty” word around as if it has taken on a new meaning. As someone once said, sometimes we act as if only God can get into a car accident.


    Concerning Satan
    You said, “God alone determines the eternal fate of all men. Satan cannot deter God saving Who He will.

    Didn’t Jesus give the exegesis on this parable? Isn’t it Jesus who said that if Satan were not taking away the seeds, they would have been eaten and the person saved?


    Where do Little Faiths Come From?
    You said, “I have done nothing but offer Scripture throughout our entire interaction.

    On some concepts you have at least offered evidence, but for the concept of belief coming by faith, and given by God, you have offered none.



    You also said, “Once again, I must ask you, if your faith is not a gift of God, but emanates from yourself (obviously contrary to the teachings of Eph. 2:9 which says faith "it not of yourselves")

    Epheisians 2:9 says it is “not of works”. And we both agree that faith is not a work.



    You also said, “If you deny that faith is a result of the gift of grace, then YOU are the one who is responsible to prove from Scripture how sinners, dead in their sins and trespasses, manage to conjure up faith to believe in God, apart from being born again from above by the grace of God, alone.

    Putting it another way, you asked, “how did you conjure up faith in God, when still accursed by God, at enmity with God, and dead in your sins?"

    Faith is conjurered by hearing, in particular, by hearing the word of God preached (Romans 10:17). That is why it is the “feet” of those that preach the gospel that are beautiful.

    But isn’t it still your responsibility to prove that faith is thrust upon someone. It is not the default starting point. To prove that someone can do one good act is not difficult. Unbelievers do good acts all the time. My point is that belief is just another good act. However you keep your belief from being falsifiable by arguing that when they do believe, they cease to become unbelievers, and you change your tune that “See, they were given the faith to do this.” Unfalisifiable claims are usually not worth entertaining.

    To attempt to look at the foundation of this Teflon argument, Id like to see your evidence for:

    A. That while other good acts are possible, why belief is not one of the acts.
    B. That faith is ever given.

    Unless you can prove these, your argument seems more like shifting sand.

    As for your comment that all the passages of “faith” in the OT (using "emuwn") do not refer to saving faith, I agree. This idea that faith and belief are different is absent from both testaments. That is the point. We invent doctrines based on slight semantics from two words that mean the same thing. It is like the group that distinguishes between “Holy Spirit” and “Holy Ghost”. It pretends that the Bible is a systematic theology book, and it is not. It doesn’t work that way. It has sayings, figures of speech, and slight phrases, particularly in introductions and benedictions that were not meant to build a doctrine solely on.

    The best place to understand the truth of God is in the fundamental stories of the Bible. The Bible is mostly a story book. Over 70% of it is narrative. The strongest examples for doctrine are in stories. Even when Jesus walked the earth, everything we know about him is in stories. And when Jesus taught others, he mostly (according to the John) told them stories.

    I do agree with your statement that we should look beyond narratives, but I discount your advice that we shouldn’t trust stories … it is how God has chosen to communicate with us.

    Here’s a strawman argument on faith you gave that I’ll quote.


    Quote Originally Posted by Nang View Post
    So let me get this straight . . . are you denying that faith is not provided by God, but faith is solely the product of sinners?
    First of all, before you shift topics, what I said was that Abraham called the mountain “The Place where the Lord Provides” because God provided the sheep. I am saying that it is extreme reaching to try to use that phrase to prove that God provided Abraham faith. I think you realize this is a weak point, which is why you’ve tried to turn this around.

    Secondly, have you not already asked me this question just two posts ago and I answered then as I do now, that I believe in synergism, and I am not saying “solely” from man. Do you remember that it is you that believes in monergism and thus that man has nothing to do with his own belief? Do you remember that I believe in synergism?

    On Repentance
    About the importance of repentance coming from God you said, "Oh, just the matter of whether a person recognizes the sovereignty of God, or not."

    Well for Capernaum, Jesus shouldn’t have gotten so upset. If he really wanted them to believe he should have just given them the repentance.

    And again, sovereignty of God has nothing to do with it. God should be powerful enough to choose on His own accord whether He wants to have a conditional salvation or an unconditional salvation. Can you possibly imagine God being too impotent to have made the choice to have conditional election and not be able to remain sovereign because of it?


    Concerning Whether Election is Conditional

    You stated, “So you deny my answer.

    As best as I can tell you answered that God choose the Ephesians. That’s called election. I don’t deny election. I asked where it says that the election is conditional or not.


    You asked, “What is your answer that election is conditional? Conditional upon what?

    Okay.

    It is mostly conditional on whatever criteria God chooses to use. For Arbaham, “he believed, and He accounted it as righteousness to him.” For us today, we must believe in Jesus. Or you could say we must repent from our ways. Or you could say we must make Jesus the Lord of our life. These are all the right answers. This is, not coincidentally, what almost every great missionary has taught.

    God Bless
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  22. #15
    Silver Member Nang's Avatar
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    Greetings again ApologeticJedi,

    In your last post, you said you acknowledge “election,” and then gave this answer as to how Godly election is supposedly conditional:

    It is mostly conditional on whatever criteria God chooses to use.

    As I said in an earlier post, this would create contradiction.

    Something brought about by Godly election, cannot be conditional, because election is God sovereignly choosing apart and autonomous from who or whatever will be named “Elect.”

    For example, the nation of Israel was “elect of God,” but the Israelites had nothing to do with their formation or development or deliverance, as a race. Not any more than any child born from physical parents who elected to have a child, has a say in their birth.


    For Arbaham, “he believed, and He accounted it as righteousness to him.” For us today, we must believe in Jesus. Or you could say we must repent from our ways. Or you could say we must make Jesus the Lord of our life. These are all the right answers. This is, not coincidentally, what almost every great missionary has taught.

    What you are doing here, is setting conditions for salvation. You are claiming that to be saved, the sinner must meet Godly requirements in order to receive God’s favor and grace. However, this denies the very definition of grace. As soon as you add requirements, criteria, or conditions to grace . . .you are right back under Law, and grace is lost.

    Godly election unto grace is unconditional.

    Grace is unconditional.

    Conditions to gain favor or merit with God exist only under the Law. Man created under the Law, as we all were, is required to meet all the conditions of that Law, and the least failure to obey each and every jot and tittle of that Law, results in failure to keep any of the Law. If not all conditions are met, the disobedience and failure of the flesh to function righteously is demonstrated and sin is imputed to the law-breaker.

    You cannot speak of Godly grace containing “criteria” or conditions, without denying grace altogether. Because grace, being grace according to election, is freely given from God. And the basis for grace being freely given, is the incarnate Christ’s fulfillment of all conditions demanded under the Law of God.

    Jesus Christ perfectly obeyed all the Law, meeting all the Law’s requirements and conditions, even unto death, in order that His elect children might freely be given grace.

    So when you say that sinners must believe in Jesus Christ, you are setting a lawful condition, and you have denied salvation by grace. You are preaching salvation comes from obeying conditions (Law), which is just another version of works-righteousness, which constitutes the error of semi-Pelagianism. I don’t care how many missionaries around the world preach a false gospel like this . . .it is wrong and unbiblical.

    Sinners cannot be saved by performing “deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:20)

    Salvation comes by the grace of God, alone. (Eph. 2:8) Grace that has no strings attached; grace that promises the children of God “REST.”

    Many Israelites failed to enter the rest of God provided by His grace during the O.T. They were convinced that if they adhered to their religious practices, they would be saved under the Law, because they were God’s elect people. But God cast them away for their unfaithfulness and failures under the Law; saving only a small remnant of Jews by grace, freely given . . .gathering them into His true rest:

    “And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

    Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.

    For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said, ‘So I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest,’ although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all His works’; and again in this place: ‘They shall not enter My rest.’

    Since therefore it remains that some enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, ‘Today,’ after such a long time, as it has been said, ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.’ For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day.

    There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

    Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

    Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we, yet without sin.

    Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 3:17 – 4:16


    Conclusion:

    “. . Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.” Romans 9:31&32

    “I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. . .” Isaiah 65:1

    “In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.” Isaiah 29:18 (cp Romans 10:17)


    That God is Sovereign has nothing to do with Unconditional Election. "Sovereign" means only that no one tells God what He must do. God could make election conditional (as he has) and still be sovereign.

    This is a most amazing and distressing statement on your part. It is no wonder we are having trouble coming to theological agreement, when you hold such a poor view of your Sovereign Creator!

    You speak of the Creator, your Maker, who with His word, brought forth all the heavens, earth, angels, and living creatures. This is a far greater authority, than someone who cannot be told what to do!

    “But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.” Psalm 115:3

    “For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens; honor and majesty are before Him; strength and gladness are in His place.” I Chronicles 16:26&27

    “ Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.” Isaiah 40:15


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

    “He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills, He hardens.” Romans 9:18

    “Who gave Him charge over the earth? Or who appointed Him over the whole world? If He should set His heart on it, if He should gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust.” Job 34:13-15


    “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.” John 5:21

    “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” James 1:18

    “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” I Peter 1:3-5


    “. . Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven . . For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” Matthew 6:10, 13b

    God did create “powers”. God did create “authorities”. And God did create “principalities”. And the reason they are called that is likely because they were given by God; power, authority, and principality.

    “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

    “. . For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Exodus 9:16

    I am often amazed at how we throw this “sovereignty” word around as if it has taken on a new meaning.

    Indeed, I witness how the OVT’ers have changed the meaning and impact of Godly sovereignty as revealed in the Holy Scriptures; giving it new and lesser significance.

    Which denigration of the sovereign Person and rule of Almighty God, I fear you have likewise demonstrated with your own words in your post.

    for the concept of belief coming by faith, and given by God, you have offered none.

    I have presented you with Holy Scripture that teaches faith comes by the grace of God. You deny the Scriptures and ignore my efforts.

    But isn’t it still your responsibility to prove that faith is thrust upon someone.

    If you do not hear the teachings of God regarding faith, or fail to see His revelations of Himself, how can I be held responsible for your unbelief? And faith is not “thrust” upon sinners; faith is gifted to sinners so that they might receive the grace and promises of God while still on this earth:

    “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” II Cor. 3:6&7

    Id like to see your evidence for:

    A. That while other good acts are possible, why belief is not one of the acts.
    B. That faith is ever given.

    Unless you can prove these, your argument seems more like shifting sand.


    “Belief” can issue from demons, so unless “belief” comes from a soul regenerated and indwelt with the Holy Spirit of God, that exhibits an attitude of faith and rest in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, profession of "belief" is just another “filthy rag” of humanism. (Isaiah 64:6)

    Holy Scripture teaches faith comes from the grace of God; freely given; “obtained” by sinners unto salvation. (e.g. Eph. 2:8&9, II Peter 1:2, I Cor. 2:12, etc)

    But I am repeating what I have already presented in earlier posts for your consideration, but you have consistently denied the truths of God’s Word. I refuse to repeat myself further.

    Your entire belief system is negative and based upon denials. You deny the Holy Scriptures. You deny sound doctrines. Your deny God's grace alone saves. You deny my witness. You deny the power of the Holy Spirit, the sovereignty of God the Father, and refuse to enter the rest provided by Jesus Christ, the Son.

    You defy the faith of the fathers, the history of the Christian church, and God’s authority over men as well as my efforts.

    Sound theology cannot be founded upon denials and defiance. That constitutes nothing but unbelief. And you have not contributed argument of any substance that would make me think you have positive or faithful reasons for your beliefs, at all.

    So I reject your challenges that I must prove myself to you. Only God can prove that election, grace, promises, and faith are unconditional, heavenly gifts. Only God can rescue you from functioning according to Law, religious requirements, and obligations to find righteousness.

    Only God can convict you of unbelief and convince you to trust in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, alone.

    Do you remember that I believe in synergism?

    Yes, but you have yet to explain how it can work, or why it is even necessary, in the face of the everlasting Covenant of Grace.

    Nang
    "The immutable God never learned anything and never changed his mind. He knew everything from eternity."

    " The difference between faith and saving faith are the propositions believed."
    Gordon H. Clark

    "If a man be lost, God must not have the blame for it; but if a man be saved, God must have the glory of it."
    Charles Spurgeon

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