Paul writes in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
“For in it (the gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed ‘from faith to faith’.” This verse is important because it identifies the purpose of the power of the gospel as it is both experienced and then lived out in the life of the new born believer. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to EVERYONE who believes. Believing in the provisions and the promises of God brings salvation to the lost sinner. The gospel of Christ IS the power of God unto salvation. These words are themselves life to those who hear them and believe. (Proverbs 4:22, John 5:63)
In verses 18 and following, Paul focuses his attention on God’s wrath on unrighteousness.
Paul writes, “18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. Notice something very interesting. Paul says that the unrighteous “suppress the truth” because “what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.” This presents some very serious problems for the total depravity/inability position and regeneration solution to man’s plight as a sinner in need of conversion. First of all, suppressing the truth is a conscious choice made on man’s part and one that is made in light of the truth that has been made manifest to them by God Himself. This would serve to support the statement in Genesis 3:22 where God said, “man has become like us ‘knowing good and evil’.” Total depravity and inability maintains that man has no ability in himself or on his own to “know good” nor to choose good because all good things come from God and apart from His grace being bestowed on the unregenerate, he can only know and choose evil. In Romans 1:18 Paul says man “suppresses the truth that has been made known to him by God Himself.”
In regeneration, God gives man a new heart and a new nature that allows him to know the truth and to respond to that truth in repentance and believing faith. This response to the newly regenerated being is irresistible and in fact the only response that he can make. He cannot choose to do otherwise. A serious problem with this concept is highlighted in Romans 1:19. God has made Himself known to men. That is crystal clear in this passage.
One could argue that this is the result of his being created in the image of God. Nowhere in the Bible is it ever said that God stopped making man in His own image. The Bible does say that man now has a sinful nature that is the direct result of Adam’s sin in the garden but nothing is ever said that man is no longer made in the image of God. If man does indeed have this created nature and an acquired secondary sinful nature, then it is certainly possible that God has made Himself known through this created nature that every person has and man’s acquired or secondary nature “suppresses that truth in unrighteousness.” In either case, this passage certainly casts doubt on the total depravity/inability and regeneration process as presented in Reformed Theology.
Continuing, “20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Paul writes and interesting statement here: “His invisible attributes are ‘clearly seen’.” That which is invisible is everything but clearly seen. However, with God all things are possible and He has Himself made Himself known to sinful man. That is what the text clearly says.
Once again, this passage is especially problematic for the Calvinistic position on irresistible grace because Paul clearly says the person who has been enlightened by God Himself and understands those things, is without excuse. These men know God but do not glorify Him as God nor are they thankful and they have become “futile in their thoughts.” Notice his statement in verse 22, “Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.” Paul says, “they BECOME futile in their thoughts and they BECAME fools.” Their spiritual condition is the result of the ramifications of the choices they have made concerning the claims of Christ revealed to them in the gospel. There are consequences to the choices men make! They are not fools BECAUSE of the limitations on their choices; they become fools because of their choices.
Look at verse 23; “they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.” These are the choices these unrighteous men made. Look at verse 24; “24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” THEREFORE, because of what has already taken place, “God gave them up to uncleanliness.” If they were totally depraved as Calvinism contends, there would be no need for God to “give them up” because the Calvinist truth is God had no plan or provision for the salvation of the non-elect in the first place. This is extremely troubling.
Verses 26 and 27 say, “26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.” Again God would not be giving up the guy who had no chance of redemption. The text clearly says that these individuals “received in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.” Clearly these individuals are going to face consequences for their choices.
Finally Paul writes in Verse 28: “28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.” Once again there is no need for God to give the unregenerate in the Calvinist scheme over to a debased or depraved mind. If he is already spiritually dead, blind and deaf this passage makes no sense. Understand something, according to verse 32 these men “know the judgment of God” but reject Him all the same and are deserving of death.
The truth is man is responsible in his response to the gospel. He is responsible for what He does with God’s special revelation of Who He is and what it is that He wants to do in a person’s heart as God reaches out to the lost through the power of His Word and the reconciling, convicting work of the Holy Spirit in the unrepentant heart. To continue to refuse the offer of grace to be saved carries with it serious consequences as laid out in these few verses in Romans 1.
Thanks Dr H. You bring out some of the flaws in the Calvinistic system that led to my demise as a Calvinist. It is impossible to reconcile the typical Reformed definition of “born dead in trespasses and sins” with the spiritual capacity that Paul describes, here in Romans 1-2. The Reformed hyperbole is illustrated in Mark Driscoll’s sermon series Religion Saves + 9 Other Myths. Mark professes, loudly, to be a Calvinist. In his sermon on predestination, he made the following typical statement on depravity while defending the Calvinistic view:
“Dead people don’t make any decisions.”
Calvinists marginalize the common grace of God in order to accommodate their inference that we need to be supernaturally born again before we can repent and believe the Truth. Scripture teaches that we are each born in sin but we also start life with the ability to believe. This is why Jesus used the faith of children as examples for adults. (Note: He did not use the obedience of children as examples and my 4 grandkids are living proof why!)
“In regeneration, God gives man a new heart and a new nature that allows him to know the truth and to respond to that truth in repentance and believing faith. This response to the newly regenerated being is irresistible and in fact the only response that he can make. He cannot choose to do otherwise.” This sound like a summary of the Calvinist position, yet you do not cite it as such. Did you leave out a qualifying phrase?
This statement is a summary of the calvinist position.
Hello brother Bob. FYI I am in Haiti right now visiting the kids. And I stand up now to say, “Hi. My name is Les and I’m a Calvinist.”
And brothers last night our pastor partner here in Haiti had the first night of three nights of revival preaching. One of the other pastors on our trip is also a Calvinist. He preached to about 400 Haitians at the crusade and delivered a fantastic, biblical sermon calling on the men and women in his hearing to repent and believe in Jesus. The pastor concluded with an invitation of his own (in Creole) in addition to my Calvinist brother’s invitation. I don’t yet know if or how many people God was pleased to save.
My point: At the end of the day you and I, Calvinist or not, preach and call men to repent and believe in the same way. We agree that if man is going to be saved, it is God who will save him, not man himself.
BTW, Saturday morning we are meeting at the church and then going to the ocean where we several pastors will assist the local pastor as near 50 people will be baptized (yes Bob, by immersion) because they have professed their faith in Jesus. Amen and SDG!
I agree wholeheartedly with DP in expressing great appreciation for you and our friendship as well as your work in Haiti… and elsewhere for that matter. This post and the others that I write about focus on calvinism not calvinists.
My point is that the tenets of calvinism itself are inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible. That is the point I am making with reference to the verses I highlight in Romans 1.
May God continue to bless all you do in Haiti.
“My point is that the tenets of calvinism itself are inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible.”
I totally resemble that remark Brother Bob! Following is my take on Calvinization of the SBC. I have a particular complaint with this group. I am not yet totally depraved enough to be unconditionally convinced by this theological argument. I find nothing irresistible about reformed doctrine and my time is limited to fuss with those who do. I am determined to persevere with the Southern Baptist identity I have always known. I trust that Sovereign God will weed things out in this SBC debate once our leadership come to their senses. In the meantime, I will exercise my free will to share the good news of Jesus and His unlimited atonement – the Christ who still saves any and all sinners who call on His name in faith and repentance. I will run this course as long as I am elected to teach and preach … for I have been predestined to walk worthy of that calling.
Southern Baptists are at a crucial fork in the road – I pray that the majority will take the right turn in the years ahead. Genuine evangelism and mission depend on it; lest our lampstand be removed. Thank you Brother Bob for your stand.
Oh, and you said…”The truth is man is responsible in his response to the gospel.”
Remember this. I believe man can do otherwise; calvinism maintains he cannot do otherwise. To me responsibility suggests the necessity of the former and not the latter.
Les, for what it’s worth coming from me, praise God for the work you guys are doing in Haiti. Indeed, there is much we agree on in the Gospel and it is good to hear the news of souls responding to Jesus. His Truth is marching on!
“Dear dying Lamb Thy precious blood will never lose its power
‘Til all the ransomed church of God be saved to sin no more!”
Well, DP! I never would have believed that you would quote a line from a hymn expressing Limited Atonement!
The part he quotes does not express limited atonement. Hope you have had a GREAT week!
Thanks DP and Bob.
FYI the writer if the hymn was a Calvinist. The words are surely of particular redemption.
Calvinists only believe that Romans 3, 4, 5, 7, and 9 are authentic, and that the rest is interpolation. Haven’t you ever read one of the commentaries that claims Romans 1-2 is an interpolation of a Jewish sermon? That’s what all Calvinist believe, although only a few PR-stupid scholars will openly admit to it or put it in writing. Everyone claims to follow every word of the Bible, but nobody really believes it all, and its impossible to do. If you believe in Romans 1-2, 6, 8, then you can’t believe 3,4,5,7,9, and vice versa, because they are not reconcilable. You’ve got to choose one set of chapters from Romans and stick with it.
I hate to break it to you but I do NOT agree with your statement “Everyone claims to follow every word of the Bible, but nobody really believes it all, and its impossible to do.”
I have no problem reconciling different passages in all the Bible… not just the ones you cite in Romans.
TSaint & Les, are you saying that I quoted a Calvinist? Oh no, I must be slipping!
Just kidding, I’m sure we all sing some great hymns that were written by both Calvinist and non Calvinist. There’s nothing in that hymn that teaches Jesus did not die for everyone. As I recall, it may have been the Reformed doctrine of reprobation that troubled the young (and often depressed) William Cowper, who wrote the words.
I wonder if we could agree on this: Both sides limit the atonement… but not in the same sense. Calvinism limits the atonement in its *intent* while the non Calvinist limits the atonement in its *application*.
An altogether unlimited atonement would be universalism, while the Calvinistic view gives us the dreadful monstrosity… that is irresistible reprobation. Both are unbiblical.
If I were a betting man (and sometimes I am), I would bet that the evangelistic sermons preached this week in Haiti included the inference that God loves every Haitian and Jesus died for every sinner who has ever lived. The goodness of God leads us to repentance.
db2, no I have never read one of the commentaries that claims Romans 1-2 is an interpolation of a Jewish sermon? Silly me, I thought all of Romans was inspired by God.
“An altogether unlimited atonement would be universalism, while the Calvinistic view gives us the dreadful monstrosity… that is irresistible reprobation. Both are unbiblical.”
“The doctrine of predestination to salvation is called the doctrine of election, and the doctrine of predestination to damnation is called the doctrine of reprobation.” Ligonier
“Thus, second, we say that election and reprobation are not “equally ultimate.” In election, God powerfully acts to change a person from a sinner to a saint. God does not act to change a saint into a sinner. Election is an act of God; reprobation is simply the reflex of that action, the fact that God has not elected everybody.” Ligonier
Is this how you are defining reprobation?
“If I were a betting man (and sometimes I am), I would bet that the evangelistic sermons preached this week in Haiti included the inference that God loves every Haitian and Jesus died for every sinner who has ever lived.”
You’d win one and lose one. That God loves all Haitians yes. Most Calvinists believe that God loves all mankind. “Jesus died for every sinner who has ever lived.” You’d lose that one. That was not preached.
“The goodness of God leads us to repentance.” Agree brother.
As a Calvinist, I would have agreed that unconditional election and reprobation were not involved in equal ultimacy. I preferred the more nuanced infra position that you describe. It still doesn’t solve the biblical injustice of imputing Adams guilt to his posterity, since sin is not imputed when there is no law. Sin is not imputed by arbitrary decree.
Now, I reject the Ligonier doctrine of irresistible reprobation altogether. I think the Gospel is a good faith promise to every sinner. A promise that is backed by a universal provision in the death of Christ for everyone.
Do you think any of the Haitians preached to were reprobate (like Esau) with no real hope in the Gospel? In your understanding, what could a reprobate Haitian do to prevent going to hell?
There is no injustice in God imputing sin and guilt by God, because the scriptures say it is so.
Verse 15: by the transgression of the one the many died
Verse 16: the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation
Verse 17: by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one
Verse 18: through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men
The period between Adam and Moses (the law) people still sinned and people still died. All died. Why? Because of the sin of the one. Death came to all because of the sin of one. Ultimately people died not because of their own sin. Their own sin was not charged to them as the reason they died. What Paul says was charged to them was Adam’s sin and because of they they died, including of course infants who could not have knowingly sinned. All were condemned.
I don’t know who among any group of people, Haitians included, are reprobate. Only God knows that. I do know that among the Haitians this past week, as among any group of people gathered to hear the word of God, all listening can have eternal if they will but believe. Some did. Some will later. No doubt some never will because they refuse their only hope…Jesus. They are justly condemned because they WILL not believe. And if you say, “Why are they charged and condemned?” Paul already anticipated your objection to seeming unfairness in Romans 9:
“19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?”
God bless from Haiti.
Imputed guilt is a philosophical deduction not a Scriptural certainty. The texts you cite attribute sin and death to Adam’s sin; they do not necessarily support imputed guilt.
I do not believe it is possible to assert irresistible grace and unconditional election and limited atonement without also accepting reprobation. If God chooses to save some then His choice not to choose to save others is also applicable. It is illogical to simply say that God chooses to leave the unregenerate to his own devises when it is His sole choice that saves people from those same devises.
Now to your statement; No doubt some never will (be saved) because they refuse their only hope…Jesus.
How can a person “refuse something” he is not given? If effectual call is one’s only hope and that is the essence of calvinism then one cannot refuse something that is not refusable nor can he refuse something that is not even offered.
First Happy Birthday. I saw that on FB.
“Imputed guilt is a philosophical deduction not a Scriptural certainty. The texts you cite attribute sin and death to Adam’s sin; they do not necessarily support imputed guilt.”
No, not a philosophical deduction. We’ve given scriptural support many times. You guys often try to say that all we have is philosophical arguments. Not so brother.
“I do not believe it is possible to assert irresistible grace and unconditional election and limited atonement without also accepting reprobation.” Yes, of course.
“If God chooses to save some then His choice not to choose to save others is also applicable. It is illogical to simply say that God chooses to leave the unregenerate to his own devises when it is His sole choice that saves people from those same devises.”
Bob, do you believe God chooses NOT to save some? Simple yes or no will do.
“How can a person “refuse something” he is not given? If effectual call is one’s only hope and that is the essence of calvinism then one cannot refuse something that is not refusable nor can he refuse something that is not even offered.”
Bob, the gospel is offered. Further, Romans 1 tells us that all men have sufficient revelation to be held accountable even if not preacher ever comes to them. Agree?
You said, “An altogether unlimited atonement would be universalism, while the Calvinistic view gives us the dreadful monstrosity… that is irresistible reprobation.”
You say that “irresistible reprobation” is a “dreadful monstrosity.” Let me see. If reprobation is “simply the reflex of that action (election being an act of God), the fact that God has not elected everybody,” then you are calling that a “dreadful monstrosity?” You are calling the fact that God has not elected everybody a “dreadful monstrosity?”
In any case, I need to come up for a descriptor for the position of you guys. You hold to a universal atonement, correct? Jesus died for every human who ever has or ever will live, right? He atoned for their sins, including the sin of unbelief, right? And man has libertarian free will, right? God has revealed himself from the heavens and in the word and then sometimes in preaching to men and woos and convicts sinners. But man’s precious free will cannot be overpowered, right? That would be the ultimate slap on man by God. Gotta let man have the final choice. Man has to decide for himself if he will say yes or no to God’s convicting Spirit wooing and calling and convicting. “Man, YOU decide! I have done all for you that needs to be done. I’ve paid for all your sins, including the sin of unbelief should you choose to not believe. I’ve even paid for your sin of refusal to repent. It is all up to you, man.” Signed God
I’ll call your position the “Disastrous Man is in Control of His own Destiny” position. Or the “Blasphemous and Idolatrous Free Will ” position of universalism.
Just some thoughts brother.
Les: says:”There is no injustice in God imputing sin and guilt by God, because the scriptures say it is so.”
I think I know what you meant to say here but Scripture does not say (or necessarily infer) that God imputes the guilt of sin by arbitrary/universal decree.
The point I have been laboring is that Romans 4 and 5 are saying that sin is not imputed when there is no law. Therefore God has bound Himself to this (self evident) principle of justice. He imputes sin’s guilt when His law is deliberately broken. Non-Calvinists did not make this up. It is God’s own rule for imputing the guilt of sin. The texts you quote from Rom 5 are the clear consequences of Adam’s sin. I would agree that physical death and natural corruption are the consequences of God’s curse/judgment on the race, and are included in the term Original Sin… but no guilt.
Example: When a two year old takes a swing at his mother or a 4 year old takes a toy from a two year old and pushes her down, these are obviously sinful actions, which show that they are born in sin. Scripture is saying that the guilt of these sins is on Adam. The law of God is not in effect in their young lives… yet. When God imputes the guilt of their own sin to them they then become “dead in sin.” This is what happened to Adam the moment he sinned. He died. He was not a child. He understood the law and was capable of keeping the law. Similarly, as adult sinners, we see the invisible attributes of God in creation and have His law written on our conscience. (In addition, many get to hear the Gospel.) We can be contrite and trust the Truth without irresistible grace. If we choose to persist in suppressing the Truth… we perish. That would be a just judgement…by God’s own definition of justice.
Nobody deserves to perish in hell by arbitrary decree at birth. Not even me, Judas, or Esau.
Les said: “I do know that among the Haitians this past week, as among any group of people gathered to hear the word of God, all listening can have eternal if they will but believe.”
Uh oh. Here we go again. You didn’t like my choice of words last time. If you are saying that a reprobate Haitian (by Reformed definition) could have eternal life if he/she meets an impossible condition and Jesus did not “definitely atone” for his/her sin, then maybe we can just call it a “felicitous inconsistency”? I understand that you would not know who is reprobate; but in your system, if a reprobate Haitian ends up in hell you could not honestly say to him/her: “You didn’t have to be here. You could have been elect before the foundation of the world.” (?)
In the biblical system we could say: “You didn’t have to be here. You could have repented and Jesus died for your sins.”
Long again, sorry.
Short moment DP right now, but,
“I think I know what you meant to say here but Scripture does not say (or necessarily infer) that God imputes the guilt of sin by arbitrary/universal decree.”
I never said it was arbitrary. Everything God does has purposes. It is universal though.
DP, sorry for choppy responses. Waiting on a conf call to start any minute.
“The point I have been laboring is that Romans 4 and 5 are saying that sin is not imputed when there is no law.”
So why did anyone die between Adam and Moses?
To return to the subject of the original blog post, frankly I don’t think that most Calvinists would disagree with what Dr. Hadley said, except for his characterization of Calvinism itself. i think there has been a lot of confusion here about what total depravity means. What the Synod of Dort said was this: Because of the Fall man became “involved in blindness of mind, horrible darkness, vanity, and perverseness of judgement; became wicked, rebellious, and obdurate in heart and will, and impure in his affections” (3rd & 4th Heads of Doctrine, Article 1). But then they went on to say “There remain, however, in man since the fall, the glimmerings of natural light, whereby he retains some knowledge of God, of natural things, and of the difference between good and evil, and show some regard for virtue and for good outward behavior.” (Article 4). But then it goes on to say “But so far is this light of nature from being sufficient to bring him to a saving knowledge of God and to true conversion that he is incapable of using it aright even in things natural and civil. Nay further, this light, such as it is, man in various ways renders wholly polluted, and hinders in unrighteousness, by doing which he becomes inexcusable before God” (Ibid.).
isn’t this exactly what the text before us says? “They suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” And isn’t this exactly what we see going on in the world today?
With reference to your comment, “I don’t think that most Calvinists would disagree with what Dr. Hadley said, except for his characterization of Calvinism itself. i think there has been a lot of confusion here about what total depravity means.”
Please tell me where in the following statement I :mischaracterized calvinism: “Total depravity and inability maintains that man has no ability in himself or on his own to “know good” nor to choose good because all good things come from God and apart from His grace being bestowed on the unregenerate, he can only know and choose evil.”
I do not believe I mischaracterized ANYTHING. Total Depravity and inability maintain that man is spiritually dead; he has a dead heart, deaf ears and blinded eyes and cannot respond to God in a non-sinful response. He MUST be regenerated or made alive so that he can THEN and only then repent and believe, which by the way he cannot choose to do otherwise. Quote what you want to from the Synod of Dort or anywhere else but what I have written is accurate given the brevity of the statement.
The point is, in Romans 1:18 Paul says man “suppresses the truth that has been made known to him by God Himself.” That is what the text says! My question is this: if the Word says God made this truth known to sinful man did He or did He not do so? If He did then how can calvinism maintain man cannot respond to this that God has made known to him? I believe the Scriptures here clearly teach otherwise. You cannot say that this is regeneration because that creates additional problems because this revelation is clearly not affirmatively responded too or God would not be giving these individuals over to a debased or reprobate minds.
“24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, ”
“26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”
Finally, “28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased (reprobate) mind, to do those things which are not fitting.”
The point here is not a discussion of mischaracterization of TD/I but the FACT that Romans 1 does not support such a position for why would God give the unregnerate over to anything if they are already spiritually dead and He had no plan in the first place to save them; they were already dead headed for hell so this passage makes no sense in a calvinistic setting.
Because this is true, one would have to conclude the philosophic position of total depravity and inability cannot be true given the clear text in Romans 1.
No Calvinist that I know of would deny that God has given all men a general revelation of Himself in nature and a conscience to know the difference between right and wrong. The problem is that given their wicked, depraved nature they “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” They don’t “see” the truth about God because frankly, they don’t WANT to. There are plenty of smart, intelligent people who are capable of accomplishing great things in government, business, education and the military, but when it comes to their own eternal well-being they are as blind as bats. The reason: their hearts are hard and they are in a state of rebellion against God. This is why the gospel is “foolishness” to them. And as long as they remain spiritually blind they are incapable of responding to the Gospel. The Holy Spirit must open their eyes, convict them of their sin, and show them the provision that God has made in the Gospel, and renew their hearts.
When Paul says that God “gave them up” what he means is that when society deliberately turns away from God, God withdraws His common grace so that society descends into anarchy. Tragically this is exactly what we see being played out before our very eyes in our society today.
I understand what you are saying… but you are avoiding the main point of my argument.
If the unregenerate is as you say totally depraved then why would Paul say that God gives these individuals over to their uncleanliness, their vile passions and then over to a reprobate mind?
If they are as calvinism contends.. dead and headed for hell with no hope of salvation… how can God give them over to a reprobate mind?
Does not jive with calvinist contention as I see it.
I think it comes down to a difference between inward attitude and outward behavior. When we say that someone is “totally depraved” or “spiritual dead” we don’t mean that he’s necessarily a vicious psychopath. What we mean is that his sin nature has affected every part of his being — his intellect, emotions and will. His heart and mind are in rebellion against God, and he loves the wrong things, and it distorts his view of reality.
The question then becomes, how does this affect his outward behavior? And the answer is, it affects different individuals in different ways. Some people outwardly can be quite respectable — smart, intelligent people, hardworking, upstanding members of their communities. They may be faithful to their spouses, and even motivated by a sense of idealism. But they do it out of the wrong motives, and will often concoct a false religion to fill the empty void in their lives and make themselves feel righteous. But none of it has any moral value in the sight of God, because it is all done in rebellion against Him.
What Paul is describing in Romans 1 is the process of social disintegration. When they sin against the knowledge that they already have and refuse to acknowledge God, God “gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts” and to “vile passions.” The lust was always there, in the heart, but it was restrained, partly by social pressure. When God “gives them up” the restraints are removed, and they are abandoned to the lusts that were always there all along, but never fully expressed. Society begins doing dumb, stupid things like giving marriage licenses to people to practice sexual perversions, and the inevitable effect is to destabilize society. This process is vividly described in Romans 1, and is being acted out in our society today.
To return to the condition of the inward heart, in some cases it is more difficult for the respectable member of society to repent and believe because he is inwardly self-righteous and outwardly successful. Whereas the drunkard, the prostitute and the drug addict can hardly deny their sinful condition.
Everyone understands that TD/TI does not mean that men are as bad as they could be… I get that. Our outward actions are the result of our ruling nature. So to say that Romans 1 and the statement “god gives them over to their uncleanliness and vile passions, and then a reprobate mind… is really an inconsistent argument… because the nature that rules is already as corrupt as it can be and needs to be regenerated to have any hope at all.
So it is not as you suggest that God allows the unregenerated person who is dead spiritually… to do things physically; his nature is already shot and his actions will follow accordingly. The unregenerate cannot have any more depraved nature.
Since total depravity and inability are philosophical deductions, one MUST consider the text because that is not a philosophical position; it is black ink on white paper. The total depraved nature does not need to be given up to uncleanliness, vile passions and a reprobate mind.
Now to your last statement. You say, “it is more difficult for the respectable member of society to repent and believe because he is inwardly self-righteous and outwardly successful. Whereas the drunkard, the prostitute and the drug addict can hardly deny their sinful condition.”
That is an interesting statement from a calvinist indeed. A person’s social status has nothing to do with his depraved condition. This has nothing to do with God’s ability to save them if they are the elect; His calling is effectual and will save those He calls to life no matter what their lot in life might be and if He does not issue that effectual call there is no hope for them at all.
I believe your statement does have some credence thus Jesus’ statement “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mt. 19:24) This statement is also a problematic statement for the tenets of calvinism but that is another conversation for another day.
It might be a little clearer if we look at what Paul says about the Jews in Chapter 2. Outwardly they certainly did not appear to be as bad as the pagan Gentiles. He says that they “rest on the law, and make your boast in God, and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness . . .” (Rom. 2:17-19). Surely they are not “totally depraved,” are they? But look at what else Paul says about them: But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring yp for yourself wrath in the day of wrath . . . ” (v. 5). In other words, they were not inwardly what they appeared to be outwardly. Their apparent righteousness was really hypocrisy. Why? Because in reality they were sinners just like the rest of us. It is the heart that counts before God, not the outward appearance.
So too with the Gentiles Paul describes in Rom. 1:18-32. They may not have had as much revelation as the Jews, but they did have some. And in their wickedness they suppressed the truth that they have. Why? Because they also were sinners by nature, and could not bring themselves to acknowledge the one true God. And so, as a judicial punishment, God gave them up to a hedonistic lifestyle and to homosexuality. Is every sinner a homosexual? No. Does that make him less depraved in the sight of God? No. Because given human nature we are all capable of committing the worst sins. And if the only reason we do not is because of pride, self-righteousness, or fear of punishment, that hardly makes us more righteous in the sight of God.
So when God “gives them up,” that doesn’t make them more spiritually “dead” than they were before — it simply makes them truer to their real nature, which was always present.
The phrase “gave up” is most expressive. God simply turned them loose to do their hearts’ desire. It wasn’t that their fundamental nature somehow got worse, — it was just that it came to control their actions more completely.
I do not disagree with the thrust of most of what you have said here. The outward expressions lived out are indicators of their inward natures. To give them over to a reprobate mind… or vile passions can be seen as outward only; however it would seem to do more to negate the concept of total depravity than support it.
Once again, the concept of TD says man cannot not sin. Now it is true that does not mean he sins to the greatest degree, but this revelation must deal with the inner man or you have the problem of saying that it is God who determines the degree of depravity that is expressed in one’s life. If God gives one over to a reprobate mind, then there are only one of two interpretations. One, He as you suggest gives them over to a debased lifestyle that is already prevalent in his depraved nature or He gives them over to a reprobate nature that is the result of a refusal to respond to His initiatives in revelation and reconciliation to restore right standing.
I believe the discourse points to the latter as opposed to the former. The results would be the same; an outward perversion in the life of the reprobate. Just seems to me a change in the outward behavior is the result of a changed inner nature more away from God which would not be possible IF total depravity and inability were true.
Thanks for your input! Appreciate the dialogue.
Bob and/or others,
Regarding man’s will, can you show from scripture that:
a) it would be wrong for God to violate man’s will?
b) God would not or does not violate man’s will?
Those are objections that you guys raise not arguments I make.
My position is that God reveals Himself to men and that revelation demands a response. He seeks to reconcile that lost man unto Himself and that also requires a response from men. As men respond in the wrong way, He can give them up to their vile passions and over to a reprobate mind.
God CAN do anything He wants to do including violating someone’s will if that is what He chooses to do. I do not believe He does that on a consistent basis as in regenerating the lost person so that he may THEN believe and that is the ONLY choice he has.
Well Bob do you agree then that it is ok for God to violate man’s will?
And do you agree that God does in fact do so in scripture?
It is ok for God to do ANYTHING He chooses to do and I would agree that there are places in Scripture where God has said “this WILL happen” (I personally do not like the phrase “violates man’s will” I think that is an exaggerated to illustrate a point) but the face that He has done so does not mean that HE necessarily does so where conversion is concerned.
Bob, the fact that you agree that God can violate (or if you prefer “override) man’s will and you agree that there are examples in scripture where he has done so AND the fact that you cannot show definitively in scripture where scripture teaches that God does NOT override man’s will regarding salvation I believe proves my point.
There is scriptural evidence that God can and in fact does do whatever he wants and desires to do. There is scriptural evidence that God does in fact override man’s will. There is no evidence to prove that God has, as you and others say, limited his “overriding” actions regarding man’s salvation. There is also ample evidence in scripture that man is unwilling to seek the things of God *on his own* while in his fallen state.
Thus, the preponderance of scriptural evidence is that God must, and in fact does, override man’s natural will if man is to be saved.
I am afraid your logic is horribly flawed… God CAN override someone’s will and He has done so… and since there is no Scriptural evidence that He limits His power to do so… does not lead to the conclusion that God MUST override someone’s will for them to be saved.
Just because He can and He has does not mean He MUST. The very fact that the Scriptures do not say He limits His power TO DO SO is as I see it perfect proof that HE does not or else He would say He does. After all, we know He does some things because He said He did.
I think even you know that particular line of reason is pitifully poor.
Also you assert the statement as fact that Esau inherited Adams sin and guilt and deserved hell… we ALL know that this is a philosophical conclusion that you guys keep tossing out there are factual but there is no Scriptural justification for that position; it is a conclusion poorly proffered. Without it calvinism falls like a house of cards.
I’m afraid your critique of my logic is horribly flawed. Seems that I’ve actually nailed it and there’s really not suitable reply. In fact, your reasoning in your reply don’t really make sense. You sound as if you agree with me.
As to “we ALL know that this is a philosophical conclusion that you guys keep tossing out there are factual but there is no Scriptural justification for that position…” Well you guys keep saying that as if it’s so. We have in fact have ample scriptural justification. You guys just don’t like our scriptures so you call it philosophical. Nice attempt. But no will do brother.
Here’s what we all know: There is also ample evidence in scripture that man is unwilling to seek the things of God *on his own* while in his fallen state.
Lets take this one statement at a time…
A= God CAN override man’s will
B= God HAS (in a few non-salvific instances) overridden man’s will
C= The Bible does not say God CANNOT override man’s will
D= God MUST override man’s will in salvation
I am sorry; that is NOT a logical argument.
We do ALL say that man in his fallen state “own his own” will not come to God. Just like we ALL say ALL who repent and believe WILL be saved. However, there is a BIG difference in how BOTH are accomplished. You KNOW that not all subscribe to total depravity and inability. You KNOW that the Bible is ambiguous on that issue OR we would not be having this conversation.
Calvinism stands or falls on the tenet of TD/TI and I do not believe the Scriptures confirm that CONCLUSION… is that better than philosophical position? I did not use that phrase in a demeaning manner but it is what it is; TD/TI IS a philosophical position based on an interpretation of some texts…
That is MY point.
I’m sorry you’re having difficulty seeing the flawed view you have about man’s will.
“Lets take this one statement at a time…
A= God CAN override man’s will
B= God HAS (in a few non-salvific instances) overridden man’s will
C= The Bible does not say God CANNOT override man’s will
D= God MUST override man’s will in salvation
I am sorry; that is NOT a logical argument.Lets take this one statement at a time…”
First, let me correct you a bit. You added to what I said. You wrote, “B= God HAS (in a few non-salvific instances) overridden man’s will.” You added “in a few non-salvific instances.” In fact God does it in scripture in salvific instances. See Job 1 for example.
D, God MUST override man’s will in salvation is not based on a progression in the logical argument. D is based on man’s natural born God hating condition and man’s unwillingness to repent and believe on his own.
The point of the logical progression is to prove that “free willers” have no basis to claim that God must of necessity honor and allow man a fully, libertarian free will choice to be saved. Not only do scriptures disprove this, logic does as well.
You know, “God is a gentleman and would never force his will on man.” Obliterated!
“Man MUST have libertarian free will choice to be saved if love toward God is to be true love.” Obliterated!
I could go on but don’t see the need.
This will probably be my last comment in this thread… first of all… You say…
I’m sorry you’re having difficulty seeing the flawed view you have about man’s will.
I do not believe my position is as flawed as yours… so we will leave it at that. We can both be wrong but we cannot BOTH be right.
Curious… what in Job 1 indicates that God forced His will on anyone dealing with their salvation or conversion?
Again you wrote… D, God MUST override man’s will in salvation is not based on a progression in the logical argument. D is based on man’s natural born God hating condition and man’s unwillingness to repent and believe on his own.
If D is not based on a logical progression of A, B and C… then why did you present those postulates as if they did have something to do with the conclusion you originally offered? This may come as a great surprise to you but that was the point of my statement in the first place… so you have actually confirmed my point.
Now to your final statement… The point of the logical progression is to prove that “free willers” have no basis to claim that God must of necessity honor and allow man a fully, libertarian free will choice to be saved. Not only do scriptures disprove this, logic does as well.
You know, “God is a gentleman and would never force his will on man.” Obliterated!
“Man MUST have libertarian free will choice to be saved if love toward God is to be true love.” Obliterated!
Les… I do not argue those points. I never have. You are introducing errant arguments to strengthen your point… which is immaterial in this discussion; in fact this whole thread on “violating man’s free will” has NOTHING to do with the original post… but something you introduced into the discussion… I did respond to it… it is a fallacious argument as far as I am concerned.
Bob you wrote the A B C D progression. I didn’t. I earlier wrote:
“There is also ample evidence in scripture that man is unwilling to seek the things of God *on his own* while in his fallen state.”
So I made my case including mans natural condition in my logical progression.
Les, I can only speak for myself on the somewhat philosophical issue of how the mind chooses, but I have never maintained that God could not violate man’s will. I find that altogether untenable. I am sure there have been those who say that God never violates mans’ will but I have never been one of them (before, during, or after my time as a Calvinist). That would put me in charge of God and I know you don’t want that!
Now God is sovereign and He can change my mind anytime He wants… BUT (and I hope we agree) God would be responsible for any choice that He might cause me to make. Thus, since God is holy, He would never cause me to make a sinful choice. If He were to irresistibly cause me to make a good choice, (which I have little doubt has happened on numerous occasions. Bless His name), He will entirely get the credit for that particular right choice. But I don’t think we could rightly call that choice “mine”. It was really God’s. I don’t think God irresistibly causes my ongoing decision to repent. He sovereignly delegated to me the power of contrary choice, as He does in many decisions I make every day. The Calvinistic view obliterates the meaning of repentance…[metanoyah?]…. a turning or changing of the mind. Throughout Scripture repentance is shown to be a self-imposed turning.
Back to the previous question: In your understanding, what law did Esau, himself, actually violate/fall short of to deserve hell before he was born? Did God foresee something in his life that prompted the decision to find him guilty and pass him by for salvation?
FYI: if you guys are interested, I was asked to briefly tell about my journey to Calvinism and back on the SBC Today site. One of my PCA pastor friends has already told me that the essay was “utterly unbiblical and ignorant”. Ouch! “Honey,where are my big boy pants”?
Happy that we agree on something. Questions as we progress:
“BUT (and I hope we agree) God would be responsible for any choice that He might cause me to make.”
Did God **make** Pharaoh refuse to let Israel go when in fact God hardened his heart?
Did God **make** Judas betray Jesus?
“The Calvinistic view obliterates the meaning of repentance…[metanoyah?]…. a turning or changing of the mind. Throughout Scripture repentance is shown to be a self-imposed turning.”
How so? Repentance is entirely on our own??
“In your understanding, what law did Esau, himself, actually violate/fall short of to deserve hell before he was born? Did God foresee something in his life that prompted the decision to find him guilty and pass him by for salvation?”
Since Esau was a descendant of Adam, he inherited Adam’s sin and guilt and thus deserved hell. Not a foreseeing.
DP, or should it be DS?
I read your journey, if I found the correct one. Nicely written. Unbiblical yes, but well written. I’d comment there but then Fuhrer, I mean moderator, banned me long ago.
DP said… Throughout Scripture repentance is shown to be a self-imposed turning.”
You asked “How so? Repentance is entirely on our own??”
Do you see what you did? You took DP’s statement and reworded it so that it seemed that he is saying one thing when in fact he is indeed saying another. He did NOT say man repents on his own; he said repentance is shown to be a self imposed turning” or as I would have said “response” tp revelation and reconciliation.
Here is my question. Before regeneration a person CANNOT repent. After regeneration that person cannot not repent; in both instances one has NO CHOICE in the matter.
Can you name ANY other situation in an individual’s life where that is true? It is not true of sanctification which is a MAJOR part of the salvific process. Does not seem rational to me that God MUST be the One who begins the salvific process in regeneration or effectual calling and then leave the new born creature to his own rational capabilities in responding to the Holy Spirit… which by the way he must do to be saved but it is God who makes that possible in conversion but not effectual in sanctification.
Seems quite odd to me.
“You asked “How so? Repentance is entirely on our own??”
Do you see what you did? You took DP’s statement and reworded it so that it seemed that he is saying one thing when in fact he is indeed saying another.”
Not so brother. I asked a question based on what he said…”How so?” Then I asked a clarifying question which naturally arose from his statement…”DP said… Throughout Scripture repentance is shown to be a self-imposed turning.” This prompted a clarifying question, “Repentance is entirely on our own??”
The key is the phrase which even you said you would would have said it differently. The phrase “repentance (turning) is “self imposed.” Sounds like he’s saying repentance is entirely on our own. I just would like a clarification.
You: “Here is my question. Before regeneration a person CANNOT repent. After regeneration that person cannot not repent; in both instances one has NO CHOICE in the matter.”
Not only he CANNOT repent before regeneration on his own he DOESN’T WANT TO. He hates God. Why would man in his natural state repent when he hates the One he is called to repent to? After regeneration, he is now ABLE and WANTS TO REPENT. He has a new desire and a newly released will (released from bondage to sin) and he willingly and freely chooses to repent. But even that he cannot take credit for. It’s a gift.
“Can you name ANY other situation in an individual’s life where that is true?”
I just did. In soteriology.
“Does not seem rational to me that God MUST be the One who begins the salvific process in regeneration or effectual calling and then leave the new born creature to his own rational capabilities in responding to the Holy Spirit… ”
While the faith is rational in some sense, it is surely true that it makes no sense. Why would he choose you and me? Not rational it seems. Besides the scriptures describes so may things a mysterious. If you are looking for every part of God redeeming man and all that He does to all make perfect logical sense, you’ll be disappointed. His ways are higher…
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
As to whether or not irresistible grace violates man’s will, what the Westminster Confession actually says about effectual calling is this: God effectually calls the elect “enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and, by his almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.”
If God gives life to someone, does He violate their wills?
Les asks: “Did God **make** Pharaoh refuse to let Israel go when in fact God hardened his heart?
Did God **make** Judas betray Jesus?”
I would answer no to both. As per the previous post, to which we agreed, God would never make (irresistibly cause) someone to make a sinful decision. This would make God directly responsible for someone’s sin. In His foreknowledge, God *ordained* these events to occur and used their poor/sinful choices to bring about His perfect plan. The same would be true with the Sabeans and Chaldeans, with Job, and Josephs’s envious brothers. God withdraws His protection and allows the sinful choices to bring about the dirty deeds. They call it “concurrence”. I think we both agree that if God entirely withdrew His common/restraining grace and left us entirely to our flesh then things would get real ugly… real fast.
Les says: “Since Esau was a descendant of Adam, he inherited Adam’s sin and guilt and thus deserved hell. Not a foreseeing.”
I appreciate the straight answer but this is where the Reformed view is unbiblical and illogical. If sin is not imputed where there is no law then it is impossible for God to impute the guilt of sin by “natural generation.” The guilt of sin is not imputed by inheritance. We must individually break a known law. Esau wasn’t alive when you say God decreed him guilty of sin. Thus, he could not be held accountable for Adam’s transgression. This is not just an emotional issue about babies. It’s a rational issue about justice.
The Reformed view would obviously and absolutely have to be a “forseeing” since the alleged decision to hold Esau accountable for Adam’s sin would have been made before the foundation of the world, which was obviously before Adam was made and Esau was born. Remember also, we know from Romans 9 that the twins had not done any good or evil before they were born. Yet the Reformed view insists that Esau would have been born guilty of sin. It makes no sense. This is probably why Calvin steered away from the language of imputed guilt and J Edwards came up with a different theory that attempts to justify the injustice.
When we combine these contradictions on Original Sin, with the absence of a clear text on Calvinistic limited atonement and the “turn and live” order of salvation in Ezekiel, we see the Calvinistic ship taking on water and beginning to sink. This is why I bailed out and am willing to face the wrath and ridicule of some of my old Calvinistic brethren.
“Les asks: “Did God **make** Pharaoh refuse to let Israel go when in fact God hardened his heart?
Did God **make** Judas betray Jesus?”
I would answer no to both. As per the previous post, to which we agreed, God would never make (irresistibly cause) someone to make a sinful decision.”
You should have stopped right there. You’ve swerved onto the Reformed and thus biblical position… Compatibilism. From Theopedia:
“Compatibilism, sometimes called soft determinism, is a theological term that deals with the topics of free will and predestination. It seeks to show that God’s exhaustive sovereignty is compatible with human freedom, or in other words, it claims that determinism and free will are compatible.” It goes on to say, “Compatibilism, in contrast to Libertarian free will, teaches that people are free, but defines freedom differently. Compatibilism claims that every person chooses according to his or her greatest desire. In other words, people will always choose what they want– and what they want is determined by (and consistent with) their moral nature. Man freely makes choices, but those choices are determined by the condition of his heart and mind (i.e. his moral nature).”
So, take Judas. Judas accomplished exactly what God determined before Judas was ever born. In fact before any humans were ever born. God determined that the events of the betrayal would go down exactly as they did. And they did. And as you agree, God didn’t have to force Judas to be a betrayer. And as I hope we agree, God didn’t peek down the corridors of time to **see** what Judas was going to do and **then** decide THAT would be His plan. God wasn’t all white knuckled **hoping** Judas came through. Fact is, Judas couldn’t do otherwise yet as you agree it was all on Judas. God didn’t make him betray.
So my brother, you’re a Compatibilist. Embrace it and praise God that He is sovereign over all things.
As to Esau, I think we’ll never agree. So we’ve said enough there. You did say, “I appreciate the straight answer but this is where the Reformed view is unbiblical and illogical.”
Funny, I was thinking of your views, “…but this is where the non-Reformed view is unbiblical and illogical.”
And you said, “When we combine these contradictions on Original Sin, with the absence of a clear text on Calvinistic limited atonement and the “turn and live” order of salvation in Ezekiel, we see the Calvinistic ship taking on water and beginning to sink. This is why I bailed out and am willing to face the wrath and ridicule of some of my old Calvinistic brethren.”
Also funny that I was thinking of your views,
“When we combine your contradictions on Original Sin, with the denial on the clear texts on Calvinistic limited atonement (I’ll leave out the “turn and live” order of salvation in Ezekiel since Reformed folks believe that order), we see the non-Calvinistic ship already sunk a long time ago. This is why I bailed out on the unbiblical and God reducing non Calvinistic view and am willing to face the wrath and ridicule of some of my old non-Calvinistic brethren.”
Many blessings my brother.
Les, Theopedia? Compatibilism? Libertarian Free will? Soft determinism? I think you are trying to get farther away from the fatal contradiction between the imputation of Adam’s guilt in the Reformed system and the fact that Scripture clearly teaches that God does not impute sin apart from the law. I will admit this, the further we get from the biblical revelation, in speculating about God’s omniscience and the nature of the human will… the further we get from what God must have intended when He inspired the Scriptures.
If “people will always choose what they want– and what they want is determined by (and consistent with) their moral nature” then how did Adam choose to sin without any previous corruption in his heart?
Why would the Jews need a blinding spirit of stupor from God to assure that they would put Jesus on the cross? That suggests a capacity to believe in the unbeliever.
If God did not look down the corridors of time and see Adam’s fall, and the lives of Jacob and Esau, then how could He have allegedly decreed that Jacob would be saved and Esau would be left to the punishment he allegedly deserved? Are you denying that God can look down the corridors of time and know the future? Without fixing it? Can’t see why God would be white knuckling anything that He could foresee will come to pass, via our choices, but I’m no expert on God’s foreknowledge. I’m waiting to see on the issue of God’s foreknowledge.
As to your last comments, they weren’t very original. Maybe too many Sam Adam’s?
Anyway, have a good Lords day. I’m sure we agree that the name of Jesus is above every name and worthy of our heartfelt praise. Thank God for the Apostles creed! It keeps us from devouring one another!
“Les, Theopedia? Compatibilism? Libertarian Free will? Soft determinism? I think you are trying to get farther away from the fatal contradiction between the imputation of Adam’s guilt in the Reformed system and the fact that Scripture clearly teaches that God does not impute sin apart from the law.”
Those words? Just theological terms used by countless theologians and ministers through the years brother. No attempt to move away from the clear scriptural teaching of the imputation of Adam’s sin on his posterity. Why would I want to do that? Besides, if your view is so “clear,” why have so many theologians through the centuries missed what seems so clear to you? Hmmm.
“If “people will always choose what they want– and what they want is determined by (and consistent with) their moral nature” then how did Adam choose to sin without any previous corruption in his heart?”
It’s called pre-fall and post-fall. But you knew that. We are in a very different condition than what Adam was created in.
“Why would the Jews need a blinding spirit of stupor from God to assure that they would put Jesus on the cross? That suggests a capacity to believe in the unbeliever.”
You assume that there was a “need” for it. I could ask, why does God tell us to pray and ask and he already said he gives us everything we have? But you knew that too.
“If God did not look down the corridors of time and see Adam’s fall, and the lives of Jacob and Esau, then how could He have allegedly decreed that Jacob would be saved and Esau would be left to the punishment he allegedly deserved? Are you denying that God can look down the corridors of time and know the future? ”
How could he have decreed w/o looking down the corridor of time? You’re seriously not asking that are you? God is God. He can decree without “having” to look ahead. If he had to decree, the meaning of decree would be of no use. “Are you denying that God can look down the corridors of time and know the future?” Of course not. I’m denying that he *needed* to.
You have a blessed Lord’s day brother.
CALLED AND CHOSEN BY STEVE FINNELL
Matthew 22:14 For many are called , but few are chosen.”
Definition of called: Invited or summoned.
Definition of chosen: Those who are eligible or suited for election. Elected and chosen are synonymous.
WHO ARE THE CALLED?
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Every person who has heard the gospel has been called. The call is not limited to a select few who have been predestined for salvation.
WHO ARE THE CHOSEN (THE ELECTED)?
The chosen are the ones who are obedient to the call of the gospel.
The chosen are those who have 1. Faith: John 3:16
The chosen are those who 2. Repent: Acts 3:19 (Repent means to make the commitment to turn from sin and turn toward God).
The chosen are those who 3. Confess: Roman 10:9-10
The chosen are those who are 4. Baptized in water: Acts 2:38
The chosen are not those who were supposedly, unconditionally selected for salvation. The chosen have to be suited for election.
THE CALLED WHO ARE NOT CHOSEN.
Matthew 22:2-3 “the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. 3 And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come.
Many have had the gospel preached to them, but of their own free-will have rejected the call. If men reject the gift of eternal life by rejecting Jesus as Lord and Savior; then they have been called, but not chosen.
Matthew 22:11-14 “But when the king came to look over the dinner quests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, 12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?” 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called but few are chosen.”
This wedding quest was disinvited. He was called but not chosen ; because he was not suitable to be chosen. Improper clothing was a big deal.
Galatalians 3:27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
DO YOU HAVE THE PROPER WEDDING CLOTHES TO ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
When you stand before the KING OF KINGS are you going to be speechless when He asks; where are your wedding clothes? WHAT WILL YOU SAY WHEN HE ASKS YOU WHY YOU REJECTED IMMERSION IN WATER FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF YOUR SINS. WHAT WILL YOUR ANSWER BE, WHEN JESUS ASKS YOU WHY YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD WITH BEING CLOTHED IN CHRIST?
MANY ARE CALLED BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN!
YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http//:steve-finnell.blogspot.com