Archive for June, 2016
If faith is a gift given man by God, then human responsibility is negated. If faith is a gift of God and not man’s free will, man no longer bears responsibility for believing. This makes God responsible for man’s lost state.
Consider, many are lost. If they can only be saved as a result of God giving them faith and they remain lost that means God does not give faith to everyone. Thus, God is solely responsible for the eternal destiny of humans. Man has no accountability.
The act of Christ on the cross enables man to believe, but it is the responsibility of man to believe.
Christ is the object of faith. Man is the subjective one expressing faith. The merit is in the object —- Christ.
The convicting work of the Holy Spirit is to draw persons to Christ and wait for their free will response in faith. The moment the person believes the gift of eternal life is imparted.
According to Ephesians 2:8 it is not faith that is the gift of God, but salvation.
Consider some verses used by advocates of the idea faith cannot be expressed unless God gives the gift of faith rather than it being expressed of the person’s own free will.
John 6: 44,45 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him….”
Though this passage does not refer to faith, some interpret “draw” to mean “to compel against their will.” The passage says nothing about faith as a gift from God.
The Greek word translated “draw” can mean to coerce, but it also means to attract. In his writings John never uses the Greek word translated “draw” to mean compel. John wrote (12:32) that Christ’s resurrection will draw (attract) everyone to Him, even unbelievers. Clearly “draw” here does not mean God will compel everyone in the world to believe in Jesus.
Acts 3:16, “And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man who you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in this presence of you all.”
Some interpret this faith which comes through Him as a gift of God. In the first part of the verse faith is the means by which the healing took place, “in the name” emphasizes God as the object of that faith, not the giver of it.
Receptivity on man’s part, which is faith, is a condition of all spiritual activity. Faith on behalf of the man enabled Jesus to heal him. Such faith is made possible through “His name,” the “Name” being Jesus.
The faith of the man resulted in the healing through Jesus, that is, by the instrumentality of Jesus.
II Peter 1:1 “To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ….”
First, it should be noted Jesus is called “God and Savior.” His deity is revealed.
The “like precious faith” is a reference to the body of belief they hold in common. That is what we often call doctrine, core beliefs. It is not a reference to saving faith, but to the code of belief by which God’s people are to live. The word “faith” is often used in the New Testament as a summary body of Christian teachings.
Romans 8: 28 – 30 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called 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, these He also glorified.”
These verses are a summary of God’s dealing with mankind in love. Verse 28 does not relate to all persons, only to those “who love God. For them God is busy in all thing to bring the good out of them for those loving Him.
Verse 29 deals with this purpose. It is an expansion of “His purpose” in the lives of “those who love Him.”
There are five finite verbs in this passage: foreknew, predestined, called, justified, and glorified.
“Foreknew” means to know something in advance. Knowing a thing in advance does not mean to make it happen. A person might see two cars on a collision course before they hit, but that does not mean to make it happen.
Even though God knows in advance who will be saved it does not mean He make it happen.
“Predestined” translates the Greek word horiz with the prefix pro. Horizo is a surveyors term for setting a boundary. Pro means before hand. Thus, in advance God set a boundary of salvation which was Christ. All who are “in Christ” have been predetermined to share His destiny. Simply stated, faith in Christ is the standard for salvation.
In Ephesians 1 in eleven verses “in Christ” appears 10 times. The well defined boundary is Christ. “All” are “called” to come into this boundary. Their response is authored by their own free will.
Predestination does not mean, as many have been mislead to believe, that God arbitrarily predetermines the fate of every person. Such a misconception negates every exhortation to preach the gospel and cancels all calls for evangelism and missions.
The Bible does not present election and predestination in conflict with man’s free will. Election means God chose a plan by which man might be saved. That plan predestined every person who by their own free will trusted “in Christ” for salvation would share His destiny.
Being in Christ goes far beyond regeneration and calls for conformation. That is, believers are to grow in becoming more like Christ daily. Being “in Christ” we are to be “conformed to the image of His Son,” that is Jesus Christ.
Note the progression. God having marked off the boundary, it being “in Christ.” Those within that boundary have responded positively to His call. They are indeed the “called according to His purpose.” These are “justified” and destined to be “glorified.”
Romans 12:3 “Through the grace given unto me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgement, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”
Paul, in dealing with certain problems in the church at Rome, appeals to his authority as an apostle. Apostleship was the “measure of faith” given him. This is an appeal for individuals not to be self-centered and overestimate their own merit. The term “faith” as used here is depicted as the means by which individuals lay hold on the promises of God. It is not used as a reference to the quantity of faith but the diversity of faith by which others are blessed. The passage is an appeal for persons to recognize the diversity of gifts amid the unity of faith.
In context this verse is not speaking of salvation, but faith in the sense of grasping the nature of one’s spiritual gift and having confidence to exercise it. Obviously faith is depicted here as a bestowed gift. It is not faith given for salvation, but faith given subsequently to salvation for service. The individual expresses personal faith of his or her own free will in order to be saved.
“…the measure of faith” that “God has dealt to each one” means that God equips each believer for a particular task and expects the individual to discover and fulfill his or her role. Once this is discovered the individual becomes content and does not aspire to be and do more than God desires. Neither will such a person settle for being less than God intends.
Those who advocate faith is a gift of God consider faith a form of works. In other words, a means of earning God’s favor. No person can by any means do that.
Faith is the abandonment of any personal attempt to perform any work to earn God’s favor. It is simply a willingness to accept the work done by Christ on the cross as the only sufficient means of salvation. Faith accepts what has already been accomplished for us by Christ.
Faith merely holds out its hand and allows God to put in it what He has provided. Faith does nothing more than receive the gift. The merit is in the giving, not the receiving.
Even John Calvin readily acknowledged this. He wrote, “His meaning is, not that faith is the gift of God, but that salvation is given to us by God, or, that we obtain it by the gift of God.”
(John Calvin, Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians, pp. 227-229).
In Ephesians 2:8 it is salvation that is the gift of God, not faith.
The key to unraveling this passage is the word “that,” as “and that not of yourselves.” It is a neuter demonstrative pronoun. At issue is does it refer to grace, faith , salvation or something else.
“That,” the pronoun, is neuter, but “grace” and “faith” are feminine nouns. Pronouns should agree with their antecedents in gender and number. That grammatical principle means “that” does not refer back to “grace” or “faith.”
Rather than “that” referring to a particular word it relates instead to a concept. That concept is found in Ephesians 2: 4-8a, especially verse 8a. The concept is salvation by grace through faith. It is salvation, not faith, that is the gift of God.
Some Christians believe people are spiritually incapable of believing unless God gives them saving faith and they become spiritually born again. This new life enables them to have faith.
This concept is based on the belief that as a physically dead person is unable to respond to physical stimuli so a spiritually dead person is incapable of responding to spiritual influence, be it human or divine.
This is based on understanding “dead” in passages such as Ephesians 2:1 means the person is without the capacity of response until given new life.
Other passages used to support this concept are: Job 5: 20; Psalm 30:3, 33:19; John 2:6; Luke 15:24, 32; Romans 5:12-21; I Cor. 15:21,22; Colossians 2:13; I John 3:14; Rev. 11:8; 3:1,2.
In reality not one of these passages teaches what proponents advocate. The words “dead” or “death” in each passage mean the person is physically dead or Spiritually separated from God.
There is not one text that teaches a lost person is incapable of responding to God’s loving drawing. There are passages that teach God draws and people are open to coming to Him.
“If any man thirst, let him come to Me” (John 7:37).
“…the Spirit and the bride say come…” (Rev. 22:17).
These and other verses defy the claim of persons like John MacArthur who claim a lost person is as incapable of responding to God as a “cadaver.”
But a few verses that call upon individuals to exercise personal faith of their own free will are: John 1:12,13; 3:16, 36; 5:24; 6:47; Ephesians 2: 8; Romans 3:21, 22, 25, 26, 28, and 4:3-6.
A starving homeless person may be invited to a banquet. The food is provided for him, but he alone can eat it for himself. Of his own free will he chooses to eat or not to eat. He must still decide for himself. Likewise unsaved persons are not like cadavers, they must choose to believe or not to believe.
God is more attentive to the spiritual interest of the lost than most Christians are aware. Cornelius, a lost Gentile, prayed, God heard his prayers, and answered them (Acts 10:30-35).
Cornelius heard Peter preach the gospel and of his won free will responded in faith and was saved (vss. 44-48).
In Philippi Paul and Silas witnessed to a group of women. It is said of one of them, Lydia, God “opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul (Acts 16:14).
The removal of the mental veil did not consequent in God giving her faith. It was the occasion for her of her on free will to express her faith in Christ.
Christ marveled over the “great faith” of the Roman soldier. Faith came from the centurion, not from God, was the cause of Christ marveling.
Jesus Christ spoke often of faith. It is essential for salvation and expedient for a consistent walk with Christ.
Does God arbitrarily save certain people who are spiritually dead and after they have been born again give them faith?
Ephesians 2:1 is used by some as a proof text for this concept: “You He made alive who were dead in trespasses.”
Or, do individuals of their own free will choose to trust Christ, that is, exercise faith, for salvation which God gives after the individual exercises personal faith?
Bottom line: does salvation come before or after faith is experienced?
The Reform view is a person must be regenerated before he can believe and have faith.
Conversely, most evangelicals believe a person of his own free will granted them by God freely trusts Christ as Savior and the immediate gift of God thereafter is regeneration.
Two concepts distilled are:
FAITH IS A GIFT OF GOD
Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”
Adherents of this view believe faith is a divinely imparted means of salvation. God chooses who to give it to.
FAITH IS NOT A GIFT OF GOD – SALVATION IS
Persons who hold this view believe being spiritually dead does not mean a person does not have the ability to respond when God draws him.
Being spiritually dead means a person is separated from God by sin, but can respond to the drawing of the Holy Spirit by his own free will. Faith is a pauper, without merit, responding to the gift offered by God.
The merit is in the giving, not the receiving. The recipient can do nothing to earn, merit, or deserve the gift.
The virgin birth is essential to salvation. Here is why. All of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The Scripture says, “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin” (Hebrews 9:22).
The virgin conception made possible the only adequate blood to be shed for sin. What the physical blood does in our bodies is illustrative of what the blood of Jesus Christ does for us spiritually.
The average person has 5 quarts of blood in their body which is circulated through the body every 23 seconds.
PLASMA is a clear liquid that carries the components of blood through the circulatory system. Blood consists of:
* ERYTHROCYTES, red blood cells, which number about 5,000,000 per cubic millimeter in every person. They carry energizing oxygen to feed the cells of the body. That in part is meant when the Scripture says: “Life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. 17: 14).
Spiritually our new life is found only in the life-giving blood of Jesus Christ.
* LEUKOCYTES, white blood cells, number 5,000 to 10,000 per cubic millimeter in every healthy person. They defend the body against disease and cleanse the blood. These white cells are in effect “soldiers” to defend the body against disease. They multiply in number when the body is under attack. For example, if there is a splinter in you they gather around it to try to force it out. Many “soldiers” are killed in the attack and become known as “pus.”
The same blood that feeds the cells cleanses them. Likewise, the Scripture says, “…the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin” (I John 1: 7).
The unique nature of Christ’s blood suited Him only to be able to cleanse us, that is, to get the foreign matter of sin out of our bodies. His blood is unique because of the virgin birth.
A baby’s blood is not derived from the mother. When an ovum becomes fertile THEN as a fetus is instantly formed blood is immediately formed in the fetus. All of the newly developing embryo’s blood is developed in the newly created fetus. Not one drop comes from the mother.
Therefore, the reason Christ’s unique blood alone is sufficient to cleanse us from all sin is that He was born of a virgin and His blood was of His nature, not that of His mother. His blood was the blood of God. No wonder Peter called it “precious,” David prophetically spoke of it as “incorruptible,” and Judas spoke of it as “innocent blood,” while John said it was the “overcoming” blood.
There was and is only one mediator between God and men and this was He dying on the cross. John said it well, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (I John 3: 8).
If He were not virgin born, there is no salvation. A mediator is one who is equal to both parties.
If Mary herself was born of a virgin, as some allege, she was divine and that One born of her would have been only divine. Thus, He would not be equal to us human beings.
If Jesus were not virgin-conceived, then He was only human and not equal to God.
However, being conceived of a virgin by the Holy Spirit of God He was the “one mediator between God and men.”
All human kind was being held captive by Satan. Christ’s virgin birth made it possible for Him to ransom us.
He had no old Adamic nature, also known as “an old sin nature,” or “inherent sin.” Therefore, when He died He cared for our old sin nature. Since infants have no personal sin and Christ, having no old sin nature died for our old sin nature, every infant is safe in Jesus and goes to heaven.
Christ died without any personal sin. Therefore, He died for our personal sin.
He resolved the sin issue. The issue now is what will you do with Jesus.
Mary also was a godly person and knew the laws of her day. She knew that as soon as adultery was known women were carried to the priest, condemned, and executed immediately. She knew if a priest knew she was pregnant the baby would be aborted and her along with it. A modest, virtuous young woman would have tried to hide her pregnancy. However, the first thing she did was visit her cousin Elizabeth and tell her. Who was the husband of Elizabeth? Zacharias, the officiating priest. Custom would have mandated Elizabeth telling Zacharias.
In Israel there were more than 20,000 priests. There were 24 courses of priests and each had approximately 800 priests. Zacharias was in course number eight. Notice, God’s timing. It was time for course number eight to serve. Now out of these 800 priests one would be chosen “by lot, ” that’s like drawing straws, to burn incense “in the Holy of Hollies” (Luke 1: 9). Zacharias was the one chosen. That was more than coincidental.
In the solitude of the Holy of Hollies an angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias and told him of the forthcoming birth of his own son, who was to become known as John the Baptist, as well as the birth of Jesus Christ. That convinced him Mary was telling the truth and restrained him from seeking her execution.
Such unashamed, open sharing with the family of the priest shows no guilt on Mary’s behalf. This bold visit indicates her awareness of the prophecy by Isaiah and that she was the one in whom it was being fulfilled.
Mary believed the angel messenger and even while knowing and accepting the consequence of the law of her day said, “Be it unto me according to the will of the Lord.”
Mary believed the Word of God. She had no guilt but did have her before the counsel, and they shall stone her with stones till she die; and thus shall be put out sin among the people.”
Joseph being a just man would have been compelled to do this if he had not believed Mary’s conception to have been a miracle of the Lord.
Mary believed the angel messenger and even while knowing and accepting the consequence of the law of her day said, “Be it unto me according to the will of the Lord.”
Mary believed the Word of God. She had no guilt but did have great joy. She sang, “My soul doth magnify the Lord …”
Consider Mary at Calvary. The essence of the collective mood was: “We have a law and by our law He ought to die, because being great joy. She sang, “My soul doth magnify the Lord …”
Consider Mary at Calvary. The essence of the collective mood was: “We have a law and by our law He ought to die, because being a man, He said He was the Son of God.”
What an ache there must have been in the heart of Mary. She stood there tortured by the accusation against her child, Jesus. She knew He was guilty as charged. He was the Son of God. If he were not and Mary were a decent mother, she would have spared Him the agony of the cross and confessed her charade and acknowledged the virgin birth to be a fraud. She was mute because she knew the charge was true. He was the Messiah.
Matthew 1: 18 & 20 notes a distinctive custom of that day. Mary and Joseph are described as being “betrothed” and also as husband and “wife.” That sounds confusing to us; but when their customs are understood, it is comprehendible.
Parents arranged marriages. A legal contract was signed. The period of betrothal lasted a year. During this time they were legally married but continued to live with their parents. They never saw one another except in the presence of a certified chaperon. Though the period was called “a time of engagement,” the couple was called husband and wife.
Since the contract was legal and binding, only one thing could break it — adultery. If the child conceived by Mary was not miraculously conceived, Mary was guilty of adultery and subject to the laws pertaining to it.
To understand Joseph notes in verse 19 he is said to be a “just man.” This is an expression meaning he wanted to please God in all he did. He was a righteous man of principles. If Mary were thought to be an adulteress by Joseph his righteousness would have compelled him to comply with the law of the day. This would have called upon him to have filed charges against Mary.
According to the Mishnah Joseph would have filed charges against her with the rabbinical court known as the Beth Din. Found guilty the law required the woman be brought to the Eastern Gate where a priest would remove her jewelry and tear off her clothes. An ugly black robe would be placed on the adulteress and tied with a rope. The purpose was “to disgrace her” and forewarn all other women of such humiliation awaiting any adulteress. This was done “…that all women may be taught not to do after your lewdness” (Sotah 1: 6).
Jewish law furthermore said, “If a virgin espoused to a man is found to be with child, he shall denounce her before the counsel, and they shall stone her with stones till she die; and thus shall be put out sin from among the people.”
Joseph being a just man would have been compelled to do this if he had not believed Mary’s conception to have been a miracle of the Lord.
As a just man, he knew Scripture. Doubtless the Lord called to his memory the words of the prophet Isaiah in the 7:14 of his writing: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
The one man in all of history who had the most at stake believed in the virgin birth. He believed not only Mary, but God’s Word. He knew that in Mary the prophecy had come true.
For a moment he wavered and considered a private divorce which would have been permissible. However, a visit from an angel convinced him. The angel said call the child’s name “Yeshua,” “Jesus,” which means “Jehovah saves.” This divine naming did much to convince Joseph of the virgin birth.
He knew the Christ child was no “mamser,” illegitimate, but was Messiah.
MATTHEW 1: 18 – 25
JESUS CHRIST came to earth to reveal and rescue. He came to rescue us from sin. He came to do this by revealing the love of God.
In Rome, Italy, one of the most interesting palaces is the Rospigliosi Palace. On the domed ceiling is the painting by Guido Reni entitled the “Aurora.” Looking up at the fresco one’s neck grows stiff and vision becomes blurred. To enable visitors to see and appreciate the painting a large mirror has been placed on the floor surrounded by a rail. Persons can look in the mirror and see the work clearly. Jesus Christ, is the mirror-image of God the Father. He came to earth to give us occasion to glimpse what God is like. For that to be achieved the virgin birth was essential.
JESUS CHRIST was born of a virgin.
“Oh, come on. You have got to be kidding. No way,” says the skeptic. Anybody who knows anything about nature knows that is impossible. “Absurd, inconceivable, impossible, unthinkable, and preposterous,” says the cynic. Anybody who knows ANYTHING about nature knows that is a ridiculous idea. Yes, but anybody who knows anything about nature’s God knows that with Him nothing is impossible.
He who made the laws of nature did not make them as a straight-jacket to restrain Himself but as guidelines for us.
Anybody knows anything about man knows he can’t fly. Nature’s laws of gravity and inertia keep him land-bound. Well they did until higher laws of nature called aerodynamics known only to a limited few were applied and now man flies into outer space at over 25,000 miles per hour.
Everybody knows there are certain laws of nature governing particular diseases. These diseases are fatal. Fatal, that is until a person of medicine comes along and applies a higher law of nature in the form of proper medication and the life is spared.
Anybody who knows anything about biogenetic or natural procuration knows a virgin can’t conceive. That’s right, at least until the God who created the laws of nature comes along and in a single instance amends them as He did with a virgin named Mary.
Some persons try to explain away the marginal possibility of a virgin conceiving by natural means. In the scientific community there is a word “parthenogenesis” which describes life emerging from unfertilized eggs. “Parthenos” means “virgin” and “geneses” refers to beginning. Hence, it means virgin beginning.
Tichomiroff in 1886, was the first scientist to try artificial parthenogeneses. He developed the eggs from eggs of unfertilized silkworms.
In 1900 Morgan and Mead started the eggs of sea urchins by manipulating the various salt solutions of the sea water.
Also in 1900 Loeb accomplished the same with chemical treatment of eggs.
Fish called Shad have been produced by activating the eggs with electric current.
Some frogs have been produced by puncturing the eggs with a fine needle.
Pincus, in 1940, produced rabbits, all females, through chemical and temperature effects on the ova.
All of these attempts to explain or explain away the virgin birth by biological logic are futile. Even if it were possible from a natural vantage point, it would still be impossible for Jesus to have been born as a consequence. The science of genetics has demonstrated that mammals have two “X” chromosomes in the female and one “X” in the male, but the male also has a “Y” chromosome. Thus, when an unfertilized egg cell were to duplicate itself in response to some artificial stimulation the result would always be female.
Jesus Christ’s conception was miraculous.
I believe it because of who believed it at the time.
By NORMAN L. GEISLER
(These are notes I made listening to Dr. Geisler. I have augmented them slightly.)
There were two lines in heaven, one marked PREDESTINED and the other FREE WILL.
A man got in the one marked PREDESTINATION and was why are you here. He said I got here because I chose to be here. They told him he belonged in the other line.
When he got to the head of the FREE WILL line they asked why he was there and he said they told me I was predestined to be there.
The acrostic regarding the five points of Calvinism are called T-U-L-I-P. The modern day doctrine was started in the Netherlands where tulips grow freely. The points are:
PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS
I. TOTAL DEPRAVITY
Calvinists believe man is so totally depraved he no longer has the capacity to comprehend God’s grace. As a result man can’t believe and be saved. Therefore, they believe God has to regenerate them, that is save them and give them a new nature, with which they can believe. Regeneration means to give a dead person life. For them regeneration precedes faith.
How is “dead” to be understood? It either means separation or annihilation. Calvinists interpret it to mean annihilation. Correctly understood it means separation. Adam and Eve are examples. Genesis 3:3 God said that in the day they would eat of the tree in the midst of the garden they would “surely die.” They did not die physically, but they were separated from God, dead to the truth. The image of God was still in them. It was effaced, but not erased.
Unsaved people, that is those who have not been regenerated can know the truth. Romans 1: 19 says they can see and understand the things of God. I Corinthians 1: 14 notes they can perceive the truth of God and still not believe the truth.
Ephesians 2: 1 is their basis for this belief. “You He has made alive who were dead in trespasses.” The death spoken of was spiritual not physical. Ephesians 2: 8 says, “For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God.” In this text faith comes before salvation. Romans 5:1 confirms this. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with Go through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
II. UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION
Calvinists believe election is unconditional on God’s part. There is no condition for Him giving it. There is no condition for receiving it. It is given by grace. They believe you don’t have to believe to receive. God gives salvation regardless of what a person believes. After receiving His regeneration then the person believes. Extreme Calvinists believe God chooses who will believe. In reality God chooses them because He foreknows who will believe. I Peter 1: 2 “…elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father….” Romans 8: 29 “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son….” To foreknow does not mean to make to happen.
Suppose a person is sitting on a mountain side from which he can see running along another mountain a roadway. From his vantage point he can see just around a curve in the road a bridge out. He can see a car speeding down the road. He knows that traveling at that speed the car will go off the bridge. He foreknows it, but he does not make it happen. The fact God foreknows something does not mean He makes it happen.
Texts often referred to are: Ephesians 1: 3,5 “Blessed be the Lord God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ…. having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ.”
“Predestination” means predetermined destiny. The Greek word translated predestination is “proorizo.” It was a surveyors term which meant to mark out a boundary. For example years ago surveyors marked out a boundary and decided all within that territory would be called Georgia and/or Georgians. Spiritually before the dawn of creation God marked off a boundary and predetermined all within that boundary would be saved. The boundary is defined in Ephesians 1 as being “in Him” (vs. 4, 7,10) and “in Christ” (vs. 10). “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the sons of God” (John 1:12).
We believe and they we receive. Salvation does not come out of our will, but it comes through our will. To God be the glory. If a person gives another $1,000 the giver gets the credit. We receive salvation, but it is given us. We, the receiver, the beggar, God is the giver deserving all the glory.
III. LIMITED ATONEMENT
Calvinists believe Christ did not die for all men, He died only for the elect. That is in conflict with many Scriptures.
“God so loved the world….” John 3:16 “Christ died for the ungodly” Romans 5:6 That includes everyone for “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 “…One died for all…” II Cor. 5:14 Calvinists interpret “all” and the “world” to mean all the elect of the world only. All, all means is “all,” the whole world, everybody. “…God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” I Timothy 2: 3,4 It does not say “some.” Hebrews 2: 9 “…that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for “everyone.” “The Lord is not slack concerning His promises, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” II Peter 3:9
John 1:29 “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.! “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” I John 2:2 Calvinists interpret this to mean the Christian world. I John 2: 16 defines the world as something more that the Christian world: “For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father, but is of the world.” I John 4:8 “God is love.” is nature being love, He must love all people. He is pictured a being all loving. Therefore, God does not love just the elect.
Imagine a farmer has a large pond around which there is a fence with such signs as: “No Trespassing,” “Stay out,” “Danger, Keep Out.” One day he drives by on his tractor and saw three boys in the pond in danger of drowning. Three responses are possible. H e might say, “I warned them. They are getting what they deserve.” Is this a loving person? He could have lassoed one and call out, “You in the blue shirt, I am throwing you a rope I going to save you.” The other two he willingly leaves to drown. Is this a loving person? He could throw all three a rope. One accept and the other two decide they can do it themselves. Each of the two determine on their own free will if he will grasp it and be saved.
IV. IRRESISTIBLE GRACE
Calvinists believe God is all powerful and can save anybody, even against their will. However, He chooses to use His power to save only those He chooses to save. If the choice is God’s and He is all loving He must love everyone. In Matthew 23: 37 Jesus is depicted as saying of Jerusalem “I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” Love will not force them to love Him against their will. Forced love isn’t love. God works persuasively, but not forcefully. Either a person says, “Thy, will be done O God” or God says, “Thy will be done.” He will not force anyone against their will.
The grace of God can be resisted. Acts 7: 51 describes persons who resist God’s grace as “stiff-necked” saying, “You always resist the Holy Spirit.” Romans 9 poses several questions. It notes God loved Jacob and hated Esau. God did not hate Esau in the sense of cursing him or deliberately being hostile to him personally without cause. Esau was a blessed man (Gen. 39: 9 & 36: 1 – 42).
In his letter to the church in Rome (9: 13) Paul quoted a passage from Malachi (1: 2, 3).
In these texts the word “hate” is used hyperbolically, that is in an exaggerated sense, as it is in other Bible passages. It is used in a relative sense such as when Jesus said we are to “hate” our father and mother. In using it in a relative sense, He was saying compared to the love for God our love for our parents is as though it were hate. This does not discourage love for parents, but it encourages stronger love for God.
“Hate” as used in the case of Jacob and Esau is not used in a positive sense, but in a relative sense to simply express a strong preference for the conduct of Jacob. It was a result of moral resentment. God has a strong distaste and disgust for sin. Therefore, He disapproved of the sin of Esau. If God had acted otherwise He would have been acting contrary to His very own holy nature.
Based on Romans 9: 10-13 some have concluded God loved Esau and hated Jacob before their births. Not so. It is logical that God should have responded negatively to Jacob as a result on his sins. God did not, and does not, arbitrarily, capriciously, temperamentally, or impulsively make any judgment contrary to traits of His character, some of which are: love, grace, knowledge, and mercy.
God’s perspective is different from ours. He knows things we can never know. In His foreknowledge He knew what the mind set of the two would be. He did not make them chose as they did, but He knew what they would choose. God’s “hate” toward Esau did not cause Esau’s conduct, Esau’s conduct caused God’s aversion to him because of his own willful mind and heart set of“hate” God preceded God’s”hate” for Him and was the consequence of Esau’s free willed hate not the cause of his “hate.” Esau hated God and the kind of hate he had is a sin. God has a form of hate that is righteous indignation which causes Him to “hate” sin. Esau having hated God it was inevitable that God must hate him because of the unrepentant sin in his life or be untrue to His holy and just nature.
God, in His foreknowledge, knew before their births Jacob would love Him and Esau “hate” Him. He did not dictate that Jacob would love Him and Esau hate Him, but He knew each would respond as they did. The fact He foreknew does not mean He made them act as they did. The term “hated” is a relative term meaning, “loved less.” It is the term used to in Genesis 29: 30, 31 to describe Jacob as loving Rachel, but he loved Leah less. Why did God love Jacob more and Esau less? Because He foreknew Esau’s evil deeds. The same sun that melts wax hardens clay. He loved them both.
V. PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS
For the Calvinist the only way a person knows they are saved is to die. If you are one of the elect you will hold out. “I know whom I have believed and that He is able to keep that which I have committed….” II Tim. 1:2
GOD IS LOVE, GOD LOVES ALL, CHRIST DIED FOR ALL