Are There Sins God Cannot Forgive?

Here is an article I posted at Transformed Theology.

According to the tenets of Calvinism, Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of all who would believe. He did not die for the sins of the unregenerate who would not believe. Since the Bible states that God is omniscient, He must know all things. One must conclude that God knew when He created the world who would and who would not ultimately be saved. Given the certainty of this statement, the question concerning the forgiveness of sin is this: is it God who determines whose sins will be forgiven or is God’s forgiveness determined by free choices made by sinful men? God’s sovereignty limits that discussion to the former. God is sovereign in all things including salvation and so He and He alone determines who is and is not saved and as a result, only those whose sins will be forgiven are placed on the cross and those sins and those alone are atoned for and those are the only sins God can forgive.

Some will try to say that Jesus died for the sins of all men everywhere but that the benefits of the atonement are only available for those for whom God intended them to be effectual. John Hendryx, founder of Monergism.com says that this is completely inconsistent with the tenets of Calvinism and to “to reject limited atonement is to reject total depravity and unconditional election. The four-point Calvinists, therefore, do not really believe in election, but rather, that the natural man still has the moral ability to turn to God on his own without regenerating grace (as if faith was somehow a contribution on our part). Therefore, it is impossible to be a four-point Calvinist and remain consistent.”

Notice another comment from Hendryx: “The value of Christ’s atonement is obviously enough to save 10,000 times 10,000 so the question is not its sufficiency but, rather, God’s intent. The following passage explicitly shows that Jesus understands the Father’s intent:

“This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”
John 6:39

Jesus shows His intent here is to save all that the Father has given Him, those He has set his affection on from eternity, and no others.” (http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/four-point.html)

Where does John 6:39 make any substantive statement concerning God;s intent where the Atonement is concerned or the specificity of Jesus dying for the sins of a select few? It does not! Jesus is simply saying that He will raise up those the Father has given Him on the last day. What is clear is the meaning of verse 40: “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Jesus said in verse 35: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” It can certainly be argued that those the Father has given to the Son are those who believe.

The question is, is it God who caused them to believe or is it the Light that Jesus has brought in to a dark world that convicts men and leads them to repent and believe? Is it the gospel that is proclaimed to a sinful world that the Holy Spirit uses to bring people to their knees in repentance and faith that results in their conversion? Is it the numerous number of testimonies of countless millions who have surrendered their hearts to the Lord and continue to live faithful lives so that allow people to see Jesus at work in their hearts and lives that the Holy Spirit uses to bring people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ so that in believing in Him people might be saved and will never hunger or thirst again!

Hear the conclusion to this matter. Simply put, according to the tenets of Calvinism, there are sins that God cannot forgive. Calvinism contends only the sins of the elect were atoned for on the cross. The Bible says, “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” (Heb 9:22 NKJV) If the sin of the unregenerate were not placed on the cross, God cannot forgive that sin. It is not that He will not do so; scripturally speaking, He cannot do so.

Looks like the Calvinist may have a problem with its concept of the sovereignty of God after all.

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About sbcissues

Interested in bringing the issues facing The Southern Baptist Convention to light.
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10 Responses to Are There Sins God Cannot Forgive?

  1. My name is John G. & I am new to this site. I have been a Christian for over 50 years & a SBC Member for 38 years. I agree with your aritcle all the way. My present SBC Church in
    Rialto Ca. is fully Traditionalistic. No particle of Calvinism or TULIP is allowed to be taught
    in our Church under any circumstance. Your words bring out the truth of the Scriptures.
    Keep up the truth.
    God bless all,
    John G.

  2. Bill says:

    Dr. Bob each time I read your posts I am armed just a little better to defend the truth of whosoever will

  3. Bob Wheeler says:

    It is a little hard for me to see how you could get from “God does not choose to save everyone” to “God cannot save everyone.” I think that nearly all Calvinists would agree that the death of Christ is sufficient to atone for the sins of the entire world. That being the case, there is nothing in the nature of the case that would have prevented God from electing the entire world, had He so desired. And if God is truly sovereign, there is nothing to prevent Him from doing whatever He wants to do!

    • sbcissues says:

      Bob W,

      You wrote, “I think that all Calvinists would agree that the death of Christ is sufficient to atone for the sins of the entire world.” You are probably correct in that is what MOST Calvinists believe. However, Calvinism, which arguably can be much different from what Calvinists believe… says Jesus died for the elect; those God has chosen before the foundation of the world to save…. and so His death paid the penalty of sin for THOSE INDIVIDUALS and those individuals alone.

      Soooooo given that tenet, there are sins (those of the unregenerate) that God not only WILL NOT forgive… He CANNOT forgive because according to His Own Law… without the shedding of blood there can be no remission for sin. (Heb. 9:22)

      So… I am challenging your concluding statement from a consistent calvinist position… “And if God is truly sovereign, there is nothing to prevent Him from doing whatever He wants to do!”

      He cannot do something that is inconsistent with His character and Law… If CALVINISM IS TRUE… THEN THERE ARE SINS THAT GOD CANNOT FORGIVE BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT ATONED FOR AT CALVARY.

      That is my point. I obviously do not believe that to be the case and that is one reason I am not even a 1 point Calvinist.

      ><>”

      • Bob Wheeler says:

        But what if God had decided to elect everyone? That would not change the fact that Christ died at a specific time and place in history, and that His death was of infinite value and worth.
        You may be aware that historically there was a debate among Calvinists over the “order of the decrees.” The more extreme position (Supralapsarianism) held that God began by decreeing election first, then the fall, and then redemption, thus making the death of Christ merely an ends to fulfill the decree of election. The more moderate (and probably more common) position (Infralapsarian) holds that God first permitted the fall, then decided whom to elect. Thus election is a matter of extending mercy to sinners who are already guilty. Another position — Amyraldianism (4- point Calvinism) holds that that the decree to elect comes after the decree to provide the atonement, so that the atonement is theoretically universal in scope, but only the elect respond to the offer.
        I think that the important things to emphasize are these: 1) the death of Christ is of infinite value and worth, and is sufficient to cover the sins of the entire human race; 2) the offer of salvation is extended to all mankind, and all are invited to come and believe; 3) the death of Christ was a genuine substitution and a genuine payment of a debt, implying that in the narrowest sense Christ specifically in the place of the elect. 4) the death of Christ has the effect of actually atoning and actually redeeming. It does more than just simply make an offer theoretically possible.
        You do believe in a vicarious, substitutionary atonement, don’t you?

      • Max says:

        “He cannot do something that is inconsistent with His character and Law… If CALVINISM IS TRUE… THEN THERE ARE SINS THAT GOD CANNOT FORGIVE BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT ATONED FOR AT CALVARY.”

        Dr. Hadley, I continue to be amazed at the gyrations the reformed mind must go through to support its theology. God, indeed, cannot do something that is inconsistent with His character, the heart of which is love. There are things which a sovereign God cannot do: He cannot fail, lie, sin, change, deny Himself or be forced to fit into a neat systematic box crafted by mere men! http://www.thebereancall.org/content/what-sovereign-god-cannot-do

  4. Erik says:

    I stumbled on your website when I was looking for info on other reformed SBC pastors. I respect your opinion, even if I disagree with it.

    The biggest issue I have with your blog is the inordinate amount of time you spend bashing Calvinists instead of devoting your time to preaching the Gospel. I read your red flags article, and everyone of those guys has something in common, evangelism. Maybe if believers decided to share the Gospel more and argue doctrine less we would see many more people come to know Christ.

  5. sbcissues says:

    Erik,

    You wrote, “The biggest issue I have with your blog is the inordinate amount of time you spend bashing Calvinists instead of devoting your time to preaching the Gospel.”

    The problem I have with comments like yours is that there is not a shred of substance to your criticism. I think there are 53 articles that I have written in 13 or 14 months… I pastor a church and am chaplain for Emergency Services at Daytona International Speedway. Our church has a feeding ministry that feeds 200 people or so EVERY week… and we are in the process of setting up a Christian Legal Center for families that cannot afford legal representation primarily in family matters.

    So, while I do take some time to write articles about what I believe is a major problem in the SBC, your opinion is what it is but every day people come to SBC Issues the same way you did and they can read my position and the comments from folks like you… and make up their own minds as to the relevance of what I have written. I get regular comments from folks who appreciate what I have written.

    One final comment; I am not “bashing calvinists”; I am critical of calvinism and the influence calvinism now has in the entities of the SBC, which is the reason I maintain there is a revival of sorts of calvinism in the SBC.

    ><>”

    • Erik says:

      I applaud your ministry efforts, I also visited your church site. I guess I’m just confused as to why advertising being non-reformed non-Calvinist is so important.

      • sbcissues says:

        That statement describes our theological position. Are you critical of churches that are self identified as Reformed?

        Since this is a growing issue in the SBC, I thought it would only be fair to let people know where I stood. When ANYONE comes to our church’s web site, I think it is a responsible move on our part to let people know where we stand on the salvific work of Christ. If they are not aware of the issues then it is of no significance. If they are, then seems to me it would be helpful for individuals BEFORE choosing a church to attend.

        So why would that be “confusing” to you?

        ><>”

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