Christian Religion Web Site - Christianity, the Bible and the Truth

  Home

  Forums

  Introduction

  My Testimony

  Heaven

  Become A Christian

  True Worship

  Apostasy

  Obeying The Gospel

  Baptized Into Christ

  Holy Spirit Baptism

  Water Baptism

  What About The Thief

  Faith Only

  Sinners Prayer

  Denominationalism

  The Great Commission

  Works of God

  Church History

  Celebrating Christmas

  Interpretation

  The Baptist Church

  A Baptist Sermon

  Calvinism vs. the Bible

  Immorality/Immodesty

 

CALVINISM VS. THE BIBLE

October 2004

 
I attended a Presbyterian Church for over 10 years.  This was the first Church we were actively involved with.   A friend of mine who is in preaching school, Jason Hilburn, furnished an outline of Scripture for me to study which refutes the Presbyterian doctrine of Calvinism.  You may be familiar with the five points of Calvinism and/or the Westminster Confession of Faith.  I briefly studied the passages but did not understand most of what I read, or was unsure of the meaning.  I decided to have a member of the Presbyterian Church review the outline and advise me what he thought.  I will refer to him as Mr. Calvin.  I told him that it was furnished to me for study and that it appeared the Presbyterian doctrine might have some problems.  Basically we swapped a few e-mails and several weeks later he provided me with a lengthy response.  During this time of waiting on him to respond, I had the opportunity to do some in depth study of my own.  I studied like I have never studied before.  After I received his response, I started responding back, as I was responding I was also studying more and more.  Below is the discussion between us.  So that you can understand who wrote what below…

 
The initial outline is in this font, dark blue.  There was very little commentary.  Jason simply gave me the book, chapter, and verse, and suggested I study it.

 
Mr. Calvin’s response is in this type font, black.  He added the passages for the outline himself and then made a comment in most cases.  You will have to read past the passages to see his comments.  He also added more scripture on several occasions, in an attempt to support his belief’s.

 
My response is in this type font.  All the passages I quote are from my e-sword Bible software…example…

Psa 118:8  It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

  
Now we begin…

I know I have thanked you a couple of times already but I want to thank you again for taking the time to look over and respond to the outline that was provided.  As I mentioned previously in my immediate e-mail reply to your response to the outline, I have been studying day and night to try and better understand what God’s way is, and what it will take for me to glorify Him.  I have quickly learned there is no way for me to know it all in a matter of days or even a few weeks, but I have definitely been on a mission to know God’s way.  I briefly studied the Scripture outline before I presented it to you and I have studied it in depth since then, not to even begin to mention the other Scripture that I have studied in depth.  I have reviewed and studied your responses with eagerness and with a desire to hopefully better understand the Scriptures.  My days and nights have been quite occupied in studying Scripture and writing responses to your comments.  I have not stopped since I received it back from you.  Every time that I thought I was ready to send you my response, I had studied more Scripture and wanted to go back and write more.  I know I could go on and on and on… but I think I have said plenty for now.  I will say that I have some serious doubts concerning your opinion of most of the Scripture that you discussed.  I am not going to say that my understanding is perfect, yet I know that I have raised some good questions and made some valid points in response to what you have written.  On a few Scriptures that I had trouble with I did inquire to a few others to seek their thoughts on those, just like I have done so with you.  I have also read some commentary, although as I stated previously to you, it is hard to find two commentaries that totally agree as they are subjective for the most part.  For the majority though, I stuck with referencing my Interlinear Bible and e-sword program with several translations.  I have also reviewed the Westminster Confession of Faith and a few lectureships, and even studied some secular history material tobetter understand denominational history and the meaning of the word “baptism” during the early church days. 

 

Although I may be quite blunt with a sarcastic tone occasionally, please understand it is not my intentions to create a hostile relationship with you.  I truly hope you believe this.  My comments and questions will be inserted after various sections and will be in this light brown color.  Bold emphasis and underlining is by me on several passages that I have copied and pasted from my e-sword program.  I hope that we can continue to discuss these points and come to a mutual understanding.  I trust you will read this in its entirety.  It may be wise to do so then comment afterwards if you so desire.  By the way… you might want to turn off your spelling and grammar check while reading to avoid the numerous underlined errors… if you find this distracting.  I did my best on grammar and spellchecked but much of the Scripture has words not in the dictionary and grammar errors itself, especially the King James Version passages. 

 

You are obviously biased towards the Presbyterian doctrine which is reasoned by the fact you have studied this doctrine for many years.  I suppose this is to be expected… just as Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal, etc., are biased towards their own man-made, unauthorized, and uninspired doctrines.  I prefer not to be bias towards any doctrine other than what has been written, authorized, and inspired by God… the doctrine which was delivered by Jesus, His apostles, and through God’s Word.  I pray that we will both have an open mind (heart) and put doctrines of men aside and focus solely on the Scriptures.  I pray that the following passages will be applied to both of us as we continue this discussion…

 

Eph 1:17  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

Eph 1:18  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

Eph 1:19  And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

 

The center of God’s Word:

Psa 118:8  It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

 

 

Hopefully we can keep these verses in prayer and at heart.

 

 

God is no respecter of persons

          I Pet. 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: KJV

          1PE 1:17 ¶ If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; NASB-u

          This verse seems to indicate that God judges each person without regard to their station or position in life, that He views each person on the same basis whether they are Jews, Gentiles, males, females, Old Testament, New Testament, etc.  Each person is judged on whether they are righteous before God based on His standard of perfection.  The same principle is mentioned in GAL 2:6 “But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality) -- well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me.” And also 1TI 5:21 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.  ROM 10:11-13 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed."  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved."  God does not judge on the basis of who we are, but rather on the basis of who we are depending on to save us.  If we depend on our own works or the works of another person, we are held to the standard of perfection and will necessarily fall short.  The only way anyone can be saved is by depending on Christ for salvation, the only One who lived a perfectly sinful life, the only One who measured up to the standard of perfection.  Notice that it says that they will be saved if they “call on the name of the Lord” and “believe in Him,” without reference to baptism.

 

The point of God not being a respecter of persons in connection with 1 Peter 1:17 and similarly in Galatians 2:6, is to point out that God does not show partiality and has not already chosen us as individuals to be saved.  God knows who will be saved but allows us to choose our own path.  He indeed already knows the choice we will make, but He does not miraculously cause us to make that choice nor does He compel us to make a choice.  I believe God searches our hearts and minds and He test us and gives to us according to our own ways…

Jer 17:10  I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

 

If we seek Him, He will let us find Him…

1Ch 28:9  And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

 

It would not make much sense if He had already elected us individually that we would need to seek Him.  God also tells Solomon to serve Him with a “willing mind.”  This tells us that we must be “willing” to serve God and this would require effort on our part.

 

You wrote, "He views each person on the same basis whether they are Jews, Gentiles, males, females, Old Testament, New Testament, etc." and quoted Romans 10:11, "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed."  If He views each person on the same basis then why would He choose one over the other?  Considering “whoever believes”… would that not include everyone that believes?  It does not say “whoever I choose to force to believe”.  You will need a “license” to change those words.  If God compels us to believe then He basically believes for us and we really are not doing anything.  Why would He do that and what Scripture says that He does?  He does not do this and no Scripture says He does… in fact the Scriptures say the opposite.  Now… you say there is no “reference to baptism” in Romans 10:11-13… neither is there any  reference to God already having chose individuals who will believe.  If we consider the context of Romans chapter 10 we learn that there actually is a reference to baptism connected to those verses which is more than you can say for God choosing us or forcing us to believe.  Let’s read the connection for baptism…

Rom 10:16  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

 

Paul references the need for preachers but the bottom line is they have not all obeyed the gospel.  Consider…

2Th 1:8  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

 

1Pe 1:22  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

 

1Pe 4:17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

 

The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we learn how to obey the death, burial, and resurrection (baptism), in Romans chapter 6…

Rom 6:3  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Rom 6:4  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Rom 6:5  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

 

Of course I know towards the end you reference this as obedience after we are saved.  I will discuss this later in much greater detail.

 

I would gather from your comments above that you believe that whoever believes and calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.  Wouldn’t this require us to do something… of course it would.  Later on you will say that we can not contribute anything other than the “need”, or “sin”.  Yet here it appears you believe we must at least believe and call on the name of the Lord.  Either way… I believe that we must believe and call on the name of the Lord.  However, I do not believe that this is all it takes to be saved, and it is apparent we do not have the same understanding of what believing and calling on the name of the Lord mean.  Let’s go back to Romans 10:9-10 again…

Rom 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Rom 10:10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 

 

No doubt here that confessing with our mouth that Jesus is Lord would be included for salvation as well.  This confession is referenced by Jesus in Matthew 10, by Paul in his 2nd letter to Timothy, and in 1 John we also read that we must confess the Son and what that confession is…

Mat 10:32  Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

 

2Ti 2:19  Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

 

1Jo 2:23  Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.

 

1Jo 4:15  Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

 

I believe a good example of confession is when the eunuch confessed in Acts 8:37…

Act 8:35  Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

Act 8:36  And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

Act 8:37  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Act 8:38  And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

Act 8:39  And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

 

The eunuch believed and confessed.  I also see that for some reason the eunuch appeared to be more concerned with water baptism than anything else.  Of course Phillip explained that there would be nothing stopping him as long as he believed as we must believe before we can be baptized.  Obviously the eunuch had been taught by someone that he must have a repentant heart (as I will discuss next) and that confession must be made as well because he clearly confesses.  Now think about your doctrine’s theory of the Holy Spirit having a miraculous direct influence on us thereby forcing us to be saved.  Why would the Holy Spirit miraculously force the Eunuch to think about water and baptism?  From your assumptions I would gather that believing and calling on the name of the Lord is what the Holy Spirit compels us to do… not think about baptism.  But then again, we would be doing something and we can not do anything according to your doctrine.  Would Phillip, who we know was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, not have taught the Eunuch that baptism was not necessary?  Your doctrine would have the Holy Spirit being inconsistent.  I can see how most that follow your doctrine would say that it is hard to fully understand.

 

Going back to Romans 10:9-13, something else was left out as well… this would be “repentance”.  So do you believe that someone can be saved without repenting?  We are commanded to repent… and unless we repent we will “perish”, as we can clearly read in the Scriptures…

Luk 13:3, 5  I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

 

Mar 1:15  And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

 

Act 17:30  And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

 

I know you will say that God forces us repent.  Although Jesus clearly tells us to do something and God commands everyone everywhere to repent, you still think He compels us to repent?  Hmmm… that is very interesting although it is a false doctrine.  I will discuss this later.  Continuing on… let’s look at Romans 10:10 again… “believeth unto righteousness” and “confession is made unto salvation”.  We see that both phrases include the word “unto”.  It is apparent that “unto” means “resulting in”, and this is a very important word throughout the Scriptures… here is the NASB translation…

Rom 10:9  that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

Rom 10:10  for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

 

It is clear that believing with the heart and confessing with the mouth results in salvation.  To be absolutely sure on the word “unto”, I looked to Strong’s and Thayer’s…

eis

A primary preposition; to or into (indicating the point reached or entered), of place, time, or (figuratively) purpose (result, towards, for, etc.)

 

So we can conclude that “calling on the name of the Lord” would include believing and confessing… but is that all it includes?  Nope!  Not according to Scripture.  Let’s look at that Scripture… Looking at verse 13 we agree that it says, “For1063 whosoever3956, 3739, 302 shall call upon1941 the3588 name3686 of the Lord2962 shall be saved.4982, and as you claim, “without reference to baptism”.  Note that “call upon” has a Strong’s definition reference #1941 in verse 13.  With this verse in mind let’s look at a couple of examples of what calling on the name of the Lord is.  Peter referenced this right before he preached the first gospel message on the day of Pentecost…

Act 2:21  And2532 it shall come to pass,2071 that whosoever3956, 3739, 302 shall call on1941 the3588 name3686 of the Lord2962 shall be saved.4982

 

On that same day, right after he preached this first gospel message, the people who had just crucified Jesus ask Peter what they must do.  Peter instructed these people how they were to call on the name of the Lord…

Act 2:37  Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Act 2:38  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

 

Well, there certainly is a reference to baptism with Peter’s explanation of calling on the name of the Lord.  Peter did not tell them specifically to call on the name of the Lord, or to pray to receive Christ, or to simply believe.  He did not even mention confessing here.  Now let’s look at the how Paul was saved.  I am sure you are familiar with the story that starts back in Acts 9 and Paul recaps it in chapter 22… and it concludes with his salvation…

Act 22:6  And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.

Act 22:7  And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

Act 22:8  And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.

Act 22:9  And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.

Act 22:10  And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.

Act 22:11  And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.

Act 22:12  And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,

Act 22:13  Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him.

Act 22:14  And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.

Act 22:15  For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.

Act 22:16  And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

 

Act 22:16  'Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.'

 

Paul asked the question here, “What shall I do, Lord?”  The Lord told him to go to Damascus and he would be told what he needed to do.  There was obviously something he had to do.  He did not tell Paul to pray to Him, or confess Him, or even believe on Him, nor did He tell Paul to call on His name.  However, I believe it is obvious that Paul believed (had faith) or he would not have done what the Lord commanded him to do, just like Noah or Abraham would not have obeyed what God commanded them to do if they had not believed.  Still we do not read (previously or in this recap) that he must believe, confess, or repent; we can only assume he obviously did because we have already read Scripture that clearly states we must believe, confess, and repent, to be saved.  One point to be made here is that every example or instruction we read pertaining to salvation in the Scriptures may not include every necessary element.  Clearly, even though Paul believed, he was not yet saved because his sins had not been forgiven nor had he completely called on the name of the Lord, as you have indicated we would need to do.  Ananias asked Paul, “Now why do you delay?” and told him what he needed to do… “Get up and be baptized, wash away your sins, calling on the His name.”  Therefore we learn that washing away our sins by baptism is part of calling on the name of the Lord.  To further prove the point...

Act 22:16  And2532 now3568 why5101 tarriest3195 thou? arise,450 and be baptized,907 and2532 wash away628 thy4675 sins,266 calling on1941 the3588 name3686 of the3588 Lord.2962

 

The phrase “calling on” in Acts 2:38 and 22:16 has the same Strong’s reference #1941 as Romans 10:13.  All have the same definition, yet reference different responses.  And again, we see that baptism is referenced.

 

From these passages it is clear that calling on the name of the Lord would include hearing, believing, repenting, confessing, and even washing away our sins by baptism.  The language, “calling on the name of the Lord” wherever used, implies coming to the Lord and calling on Him in His appointed way.  I think we can conclude that we are not saved by “grace only” but by our work of calling on the Lord.  With your own words you have pretty much tossed out the possibility of your so-called “election” theory too.  Unless of course you were simply trying to point out that baptism is not necessary and did not mean to prove that “irresistible grace” and  “unconditional election” are false doctrines. 

 

I want to go back to the point I made about every example or instruction of salvation we read of in the Scriptures not including every element required of us to be saved.  We should recognize a basic understanding of scriptural interpretation… just because one particular verse or passage does not address a particular element (i.e., baptism), does not negate those passages that do address those elements.  Consider these verses…

Phi 2:12  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

 

Act 2:40  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

 

Would it be fair to conclude from these passages that I can save myself or that my works save me?  Think about it… “grace” is not mentioned in either of these two verses.  I would not assume that these verses teach us that we can simply save ourselves or that they teach salvation by meritorious works simply because neither mention grace.  We must consider all of the Scripture that relates to salvation in order to learn God’s plan of salvation… including these.  We can not simply throw out a verse just because it does not address a particular subject or element of salvation.  If we use the tactic of quoting a verse and saying that it does not mention baptism, therefore it is not necessary, we violate the nature of Scripture and God’s revelation to all mankind.  I will be discussing much more on works from time to time, but let’s clear it up right now… no matter what you think I believe, I do not believe I can earn my way into heaven by my own merit.

 

You should also understand that in Romans 10:9-10, Paul is explaining why Israel had failed to be justified by faith.  This passage identifies those specific elements of “the faith” that were preventing Israel from responding with faith.  Israel did not accept or depend on Jesus and refused to believe and confess Him.  Since salvation is available to all who will call upon the Lord, to all who will trust in Him, even the Israelites would be saved if they would overcome these obstacles and respond to Jesus with their heart and their lips.  Consider where Paul got this passage from…

Deu 30:11  For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.

Deu 30:12  It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?

Deu 30:13  Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?

Deu 30:14  But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

 

Paul knew Israel would recognize what he was preaching to them by using these passages.  He wanted them to understand the necessity that the righteousness that comes through “the faith” requires them to believe the gospel in their hearts and confess Jesus with their lips.  They had failed to respond to the gospel in faith.  Paul’s purpose here was not to teach all the necessary elements of obeying the gospel but rather to point out specifically what their particular hang up was.

 

 

            1PE 1:22-25 ¶ Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.  For, "All flesh is like grass, And all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, And the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord endures forever." And this is the word which was preached to you.

          I’m not sure how this relates to the subject of God is no respecter of persons.  Bear in mind what is said between these two selections, i.e.,

          1PE 1:18-21 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.  For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.  {my emphasis)

 

There are a couple of points here.  In order to purify our souls we must obey the truth: “you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls”.  The Word of God is what was preached to them and “through” it, which is the “seed”, they obeyed the truth and were born again.  If they had not obeyed the truth, would they have purified their souls?  We can learn from this Scripture how they purified their souls and also how the Word of God was delivered to them.  I agree that we are bought with the blood of Christ and that believing (faith) is essential for salvation.  I will discuss this in more detail later.  Consider these next three passages…

1Jo 3:1  Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

1Jo 3:2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

1Jo 3:3  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

 

1Pe 1:22  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

1Pe 1:23  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

 

Rom 8:24  For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

Rom 8:25  But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

 

Now consider the relationship between salvation, self-purification, and hope, which we see in these passages.  Imagine the theology we could “develop” based on treating Romans 8:24 in the same manner as “saved by faith (alone)” and “saved by grace (alone)”.  The Scriptures reveal the way in which we purify ourselves in obedience to the truth, yet it is God who purifies us by His grace.

 

 

            EPH 6:9And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.  This seems to say the same thing as the previous verse.

 

Eph 6:5  Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ;

Eph 6:6  not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.

Eph 6:7  With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men,

Eph 6:8  knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.

Eph 6:9  And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.

 

In context this Scripture shows us that there is mutual good will and mutual service between God and men.  God is going to treat us all the same, according to what we do while here on earth.

 

            ACT 10:34Opening his mouth, Peter said: ¶ "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.”  Remember the context of this statement.  Peter had been called to the home of a Gentile, Cornelius, and to go was considered a sin by Jews.  A Jew could not enter the home of a Gentile (which is why the representatives of the Sanhedrin met Pontius Pilate outside on the “pavement” to accuse Jesus rather than going inside.)  When he arrived and proclaimed the gospel the assembled Gentiles not only believed, but they began speaking in tongues.  Peter immediately recognized this as a sign that the Holy Spirit had baptized and filled these people since he had seen and experienced the same thing on Pentecost.  In essence he is saying in this verse that now he understands that God saves not only Jews, but Gentiles also.  This verse is similar to two other passages, ROM 2:9-11 There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For there is no partiality with God.” And ROM 3:21-24 ¶ But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;” and COL 3:11 a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

 

I am familiar with the story or Cornelius and his family and the fact they were Gentiles, not Jews.  I recall the story of how Peter saw the vision of the unclean animals and the voice spoke to him.  This was to point out that Peter would be sent to preach to the Gentiles, and that God was not partial to the Jews only, and he should indeed preach to the Gentiles.  I will be discussing this again in much greater detail when you bring it up the second time.  I believe here and in the verses in Ephesians, Romans, and in Colossians above and below, all point out how God does not show partiality, that anyone can be saved.  If he does not show partiality then why would He have already chosen us as individuals to be saved?  Ultimately, these verses would not agree with your doctrine in several ways, of which I will discuss as I continue.

 

Let’s take a closer look at Romans 2 that you mentioned and add verse 8 (that you seem to have conveniently omitted) to verses 9-11…

Rom 2:8  But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

Rom 2:9  Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

Rom 2:10  But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

Rom 2:11  For there is no respect of persons with God.

 

Those that “do not obey the truth” will receive God’s wrath.  However “to every man that worketh good”, he will receive “glory, honour, and peace”.  Does God make us “not obey the truth” even if we want to or is it that if we are not of the so-called “elect” then we will not want to obey the truth?  Why would we receive “glory, honour, and peace” for doing something God forces us to do?  I know… it does not make much sense does it.  It is in our obedience that we glorify God and honor the sacrifice of Christ, thus we enjoy peace with God.

 

You also quoted Romans 3:21-24 above...

Rom 3:21  But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

Rom 3:22  even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;

Rom 3:23  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Rom 3:24  being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

 

This clearly says we receive “grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:”.  Now how do we get “in Christ Jesus”?  I believe we can find the answer to this question easily with the following Scripture…

Rom 6:3  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Rom 6:4  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Rom 6:5  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

 

1Co 12:13  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

 

Gal 3:27  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

 

Col 2:12  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

 

This Scripture leaves us with no doubt that we are baptized into Christ.  Of course, as I stated earlier, I know later you will say that Paul is simply talking about obedience after we are saved in Romans chapter 6.  It already does not look so good for your assumption, but I will discuss that in detail when I get to that point and a little before then.  As a side note on Romans 3:22… the Manuscripts actually say “faith of Jesus Christ” not “faith in Jesus Christ”.  There is an important difference which I will discuss later as well… and I suspect you already agree with me.

 

            COL 3:25 For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.”  The same standard applies to every person, i.e., perfection.

 

If God has predestined us as individuals then it would appear to me that He has shown partiality.  If we are rewarded in heaven or receive the consequences for the things we have done here on earth, yet God has forced us to do all these things, (as Mr. Presbyterian preahcer suggested that because of God’s sovereignty He causes all things to happen), how is it that it matters what we do?  We can just sit back and relax, waiting until He makes us do something?  It sounds like to me you are suggesting we are mere robots or puppets.  Either way, your doctrine is saying that it is God’s choice to make us do what we do… we have no control over it.  God sure has wasted a lot of inspiration on the Scriptures if your doctrine is true. 

 

Consider that love is active, not passive, and it must be displayed in order to be realized.  The love of God is so profound that He had to create us with the absolute free will to choose to love Him in return.  Consider the following passages and the necessity of mankind acting freely to “complete” or “perfect” the love of God by returning that love in loving obedience to Him…

Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 

Joh 14:15  If ye love me, keep my commandments.

 

Joh 14:23  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

 

1Jo 2:3  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

1Jo 2:4  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

1Jo 2:5  But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

 

 

            JAM 2:2-9  “For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, "You sit here in a good place," and you say to the poor man, "You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool," have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?  Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?  But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court?  Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?  If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well.  But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”

          The sin rebuked in this passage is the sin of treating one believer as if her were better than another, something that is reiterated in a different application in 1PE 3:7 “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”  The same principle is found in 1TI 5:21 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.”  I believe that this indicates that we are to recognize that God wants us to recognize that every person who is saved has been saved on the basis of the righteousness of Christ, not on the basis of personal effort.  As a result we should not treat any believer as a second class citizen of the kingdom. 

It is also instructive to note the next verse in James:

JAM 2:10 “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.”   If we are talking about salvation requiring some sort of work or merit on our part, this verse says that the standard is perfect obedience.  Keeping some or even most of the commandments is not enough.  If I have violated one commandment, then I am just as guilty as if I had violated all of them.

 

Just as God does not want us to judge others with evil motives, He does not judge us with evil motives… whether saved or not.  I do not see that any of this Scripture would indicate that there is no personal effort on our part to be saved.  I do not believe that we can earn our way into heaven and I discussed this briefly earlier but will discuss it in more detail later.  Ultimately I believe you are confusing works of God (works of faith) which are part of obeying the gospel and is not mentioned in James 2:10, with works of the Law, which is referenced in James 2:10.  The principle is in regard to the Law of Moses, not the “perfect law of liberty”…

Jam 2:12  So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.

 

Jam 1:21  Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

Jam 1:22  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Jam 1:23  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

Jam 1:24  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

Jam 1:25  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

 

The “engrafted word” is “able to save” our souls… and will do so for those who “hear” and “do”.  Why would James tell us to “do” and then render the “doing’ irrelevant and ultimately condemning?  James is not teaching that if we are baptized and then subsequently sin, as we all do, then we are condemned by our failure to keep all the commandments flawlessly.  What you are saying is that if we are not baptized then we are not trying to keep the Law and therefore we will be “in grace”.  You are distorting the Scriptures in an attempt to claim they teach against something that we are not even addressing.  After we are saved we try not to sin but we will definitely sin periodically.  We both understand that John deals with this in the following verses…

1Jo 1:6  If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

1Jo 1:7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

1Jo 1:8  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1Jo 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1Jo 1:10  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

 

 

If grace only, then what about:

          ACT 11:18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, "Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life."  I am confused about this reference as it relates the topic, because it says that God grants repentance.  We don’t generate it ourselves.  That is the central point of Grace.  These Jewish believers realized that God had extended the gospel to those who did not know and had made no effort to keep the law that God Himself had given to Moses for Israel.”  This is very similar to Peter’s realization when he was visiting Cornelius in Acts 10:34 above.

 

Act 11:18  When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

 

Luke was recording Peter’s defense to the Jewish Christians about why it was okay for Cornelius and his family, who were Gentiles, to be saved.  Peter and the Jews did not believe the Gentiles could be saved even if they repented because they believed salvation was for the Jews only, a select few, just like those who believe in your doctrine suggest.  God convinced Peter and the Jews that the Gentiles could indeed also receive salvation, just like anyone else has an opportunity to do so.  God just hasn’t convinced people following your doctrine of this yet.  Sad indeed.  God gave His only begotten Son for “every man” and the “whole world”…

Heb 2:9  But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

 

1Jo 2:1  My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

1Jo 2:2  And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

 

Peter explaining that God had also granted repentance to the Gentiles was Peter’s realization that God had fulfilled His promise to Abraham to bless all people through Abraham’s descendant (Jesus).  The point would include that not only is repentance and salvation for the Jews and not just for the so-called individual elect,  or a limited number, and not unconditionally, but for everyone who “does the will of the father” and “obeys the gospel”, as I will discuss shortly.  I do not suggest that salvation is not according to God’s grace, but, like “faith” or even “baptism”, we can not insert the word “only” or “alone” after it.  Repentance is required for grace to abound in me or you, or anyone else, and we could not repent unless we believe in God or His promises.  Consider also the fact that the Jews said, …”Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.”  Focusing on the “repentance unto life” and “also to the Gentiles”, we learn that from this point in history, the gospel would be preached to all people and forgiveness granted to those who obey the gospel.  We must repent (obey) but it is no good unless it is recognized by God (grace).

 

            2CO 7:10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.”  Once again the sorrow that leads to salvation is according to the will of God, not the will of man. 

 

The NASB version adds “the will of” (which is really a thought of mere man and not inspired of God) and their placement of the phrase might lead us to a misunderstanding of this verse, especially if we only consider the one verse out of context and read only that one translation.  I do not see it quite the same as you do, although similarly, there is a difference.  If we study the Manuscripts on this passage it will make much more sense to us.  I prefer the KJV which in my opinion more accurately reflects the Manuscripts with this verse, although not perfectly…

2Co 7:8  For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.

2Co 7:9  Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.

2Co 7:10  For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

 

In these verses we see two kinds of sorrow, godly sorrow and worldly sorrow.  Godly sorrow is realizing we have sinned against God; we love God and are sorry for our sins.  This type of sorrow will cause us to repent.  God is not causing us to repent; our sorrow according to God is causing us to repent.  God did not make the Corinthians repent; the epistle that Paul wrote caused them to grieve, as we learn in verse 8, however it did not force them to grieve.  Paul states that he almost regrets sending the letter but even if he did regret it, he is rejoicing because it grieved them to repentance (after all it is the inspired Word of God which is able to “save our souls”). In the Manuscripts “grieved according to God” is what is literally translated in verses 8 and 9, and “according to God grief” is literally translated in verse 10.  Godly sorrow is what we should have and it “worketh” or accomplishes repentance that leads to salvation.  Worldly sorrow is uh-oh, I wish I had not got in trouble, or I wish I had not done that, or too bad I got caught.  This kind of sorrow will not cause us to repent but rather regret.  In verse 9 it is clear that Paul is saying “you sorrowed in keeping with God’s will.”  God wants everyone to have godly sorrow; this is His will as we can see in 2 Peter…

2Pe 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

 

So, when we repent, we are doing what God’s will is… what He so desires… what He wants us to do… we are repenting according to the will of God, or because of sorrow according to God, and not because He makes us.  It would not make sense that God would want “all” men to repent and then compel only a select group to repent, in light of what the Scriptures tell us.  The truth is that if I choose to repent I will then be doing the will of God, or a work of God.  This is part of doing the will of God and obeying the gospel.  Think about what you are saying Mr. Calvin, in consideration of the above verses.  If God wants “all” men to repent, which He clearly does according to 2 Peter 3:9 (I do not see how you could understand it any differently), and He does not give us a choice (as your doctrine suggest) then He is going to cause “all” men to repent.  We know this cannot be so because very clearly we know that the majority will not be saved, but rather only a “few”, as you will mention later and I will discuss later as well.  I think your partiality to your doctrine and the NASB translation is influencing your misunderstanding of this Scripture. 

 

See ROM 9:14-18 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!  For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.  For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth."  So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”

 

Before I discuss Romans… consider these two verses…

Mat 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

 

Heb 5:9  And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

 

vs. this verse…

2Th 1:8  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

 

Does God contradict Himself when He says He will have mercy on those that do His will and obey Him in the first two verses and then He says He will have vengeance on those who do not obey Him in the latter verse?  He will have mercy on those that do His will and obey Him, but if someone questions His judgment on this (as Paul is raising the possible objection), then He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy.  Furthermore, I do not believe we can simply pick up at Romans 9:14 and use a couple of verses to support and proclaim “irresistible grace” and “unconditional election”.  We should consider these verses within the context of several other passages of Romans as well as other passages in the Bible.  Let’s consider the 2 verses prior to the ones you quoted…

Rom 9:12  It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

Rom 9:13  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

 

We know these are two nations He is referencing not individual babies… Jacob’s descendants who obeyed God, and Esau’s descendants, (the Edomites), who left God.  We learn about them from Genesis…

Gen 25:23  And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

 

Even though God knew how each nation would be and what each nation would do, He did not make them be the way they were.  God said He loved Jacob and hated Esau, but when did He say it?  It was not until after the Edomites had shown that they were disobedient and some 1400 years later that God stated He hated Esau.  We find God’s statement concerning this in Malachi…

Mal 1:1  The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.

Mal 1:2  I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,

Mal 1:3  And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.

 

Esau lived his life profane and a fornicator and this along with the Edomites rebellion towards God is why He loved them less…

Heb 12:16  Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.

 

The same word “hate” is found in Luke that is found in Romans 9…

Luk 14:26  If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

 

Is Jesus teaching that a true disciple of Christ will hate his parents?  Of course not!  The definition for the Greek word “hated” means “esteem less” or “love less”.  A true disciple will love Jesus above his parents or above his family, or any material possession.  In the same way, God loved Jacob more than Esau and blessed the world with Jesus through Jacob instead of Esau, in spite of Esau’s birthright.  God did this because of His omniscience.  His foreknowledge allowed Him to see the life of Jacob and Esau, thus He chose to use Jacob because of “things to come”…

Heb 11:20  By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.

 

God further chose to reveal a portion of what He foreknew to Rebekah when He foretold of the two nations in her womb (Genesis 25:23 above).  Esau’s life followed the path that God had foreseen and Esau despised his birthright (Hebrews 12:16 above).  Then the Edomites followed the path that God had foreseen.  God’s “election” of Jacob was not pre-determined destiny, but rather points to Paul’s statement that factors other than fleshly descent had always been God’s way of determining who would be the descendants of Abraham.  God’s election was a factor that entered into the determination as a consequence of other factors, which He foreknew.  If Esau had been chosen instead of Jacob, the generations of people would not have lasted until the Messiah was delivered at the fullness of time, and God foreknew this.  That is why God spoke of the “nations” and “manner of people” in Rebekah’s womb.  The providence of our all-knowing God intervened in the affairs of men, not in determining the destinies of these two men, but rather which of the two would be patriarch of the “children of Abraham”.  So, in Romans 9:14, Paul turns to God’s righteousness (justice) in dealing with mankind.  This is the major focus of the entire letter to the Romans.  Your doctrine of “unconditional election” and “irresistible grace” actually argue against God’s justice and righteousness.  They leave no room for justification by faith, which Paul clearly asserts…

Rom 5:1  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

 

God’s justice and mercy are shown in that He displays His mercy upon those who come to Him in simple, trusting, obedient faith.  In the same way, He withholds mercy from the profane people of the earth.  God’s statement to Moses (Exodus 33:19) quoted by Paul in Romans 9 asserts the truth that there is just and rational foundation for everything God does.  This does not teach that God is unpredictable in extending mercy and grace.  God knows the heart, and His “election” is based on what is within us, as we can learn from the following…

Gen 18:19  For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

 

Joh 12:47  And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

Joh 12:48  He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Joh 12:49  For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

Joh 12:50  And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.

 

Heb 4:11  Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

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

Heb 4:13  Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

Heb 4:14  Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

 

This applies to the “elect in Christ” just as it did to Abraham and Jacob.  Today, God saves those who hear His Word and do as He says.  It is still grace, but it is justice in love, as well as God allows whosoever will come, to receive His free gift.  Romans 9:16 teaches us that Jews are not entitled to salvation just because they were born Jews, just as we are not saved because we “will it” or because meritorious work (“he that runs”) forces God to save us.  We are saved because God is just, merciful, gracious, honorable, trustworthy, and He will do as He has promised.  I plan to explain this in a little different way later.  God said what He did to Moses because Moses asked to see His glory.  God let him see it but it was not because He was obligated by the request, but rather He chose to do so.  Moses glimpse of glory was not by merit, but by grace.  Now… concerning Pharaoh…

Rom 9:17  For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

Rom 9:18  Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

 

Notice first of all that God did not raise up Pharaoh to destroy him, He raised him up to show His power through him.  Exactly how this was done was up to the free will of Pharaoh.  It could have been by submission to God or by rebellion to God… either way, God’s power and glory was going to be displayed all over the world through Pharaoh.  As far as Pharaoh’s heart, God hardened it by commanding him to do things that he did not want to do, thus Pharaoh actually hardened his own heart to begin with..  Jesus says that the same thing happens to us when we realize that God commands us to do something through His word and we lack a desire to do them.  We harden our hearts against Him.  We can see this in Luke 8…

Luk 8:11  Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

Luk 8:12  Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

Luk 8:13  They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

Luk 8:14  And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

Luk 8:15  But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

 

God could have snapped His fingers and forced Pharaoh to surrender, but He didn’t.  With the very first plague God could have continued it indefinitely and Pharaoh would have had to surrender, but God only made it last seven days because He did not want to force His will on Pharaoh.  God wanted Pharaoh to release the Israelites on his own free will.  Pharaoh ruled the land and a bunch of people (couple million?) and stood to lose a lot if he gave in easily.  I just watched the movie “The Ten Commandments” on a re-mastered DVD… pretty cool on a 97” screen.  I haven’t seen that movie since I was a kid.  Anyway… Pharaoh obviously had a lot of pride and covetousness, and God foreknew this, but was still willing to give him a chance.  God knew it would not work though, and He also knew that it would harden his heart even more.  This is why God said He would harden his heart.  In other words… God said “I will harden his heart” because He knew that what He was doing was going to force Pharaoh’s heart to harden… not that God intentionally hardened it (not to start with anyway - He did later).  Every time Moses came to Pharaoh it would harden Pharaoh’s heart more.  God gave Pharaoh plenty of chances to do this on his own and he rejected God.  God saw that Pharaoh was spiritually blind and he was going to be a tough cookie and not give up on his own.  This is when God began to actually harden Pharaoh’s heart intentionally.  In the same way if we continue to harden our hearts ourselves, God will eventually harden them for us even more.  There is no doubt that Pharaoh was an evil and cruel man and God used him to show His power, regardless of what choices Pharaoh made… and God did not take his free will away from him.  God has used rulers and governments to carry out His will (Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus the Great, Alexander the Great, etc.), but that does not mean that he has ever predestined anyone to hell.  While God might let evil people rule, He is still sovereign over the rulers of the world.  We learn this from Daniel…

Dan 4:17  This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

 

I do not see how Romans 9:14-18 could be saying that God has elected some to be saved and some to be condemned in light of the mere fact that it would cause contradiction in Hebrews 5:9 and 2 Thessalonians 1:8, which are very clear as to what they say as we will learn next.

 

There is another story in the OT that I recently read that shows how God gives us a choice and makes a promise based on obedience.  When this obedience is not met then God will keep another promise He made.  Consider Solomon’s sins and the consequences…

1Ki 11:9  And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,

1Ki 11:10  And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded.

1Ki 11:11  Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.

1Ki 11:12  Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.

 

Then consider the promise to Jeroboam…

1Ki 11:31  And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee:

1Ki 11:32  (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:)

1Ki 11:33  Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.

 1Ki 11:34  Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant is sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes:

1Ki 11:35  But I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.

1Ki 11:36  And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light always before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.

1Ki 11:37  And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.

1Ki 11:38  And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.

 

There are several points to be made here.  Solomon would have his kingdom taken from him because he chose not to obey God and chose not to keep His commandments.  God chose David because David kept His commandments.  Jeroboam was the beneficiary of Solomon’s disobedience and was given ten tribes and the opportunity to reign as long as he so desired, BUT, God put conditions on His promise.  God said, “And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee”.  Jeroboam would have to keep God’s commandments as David did.  God was willing to give Israel to Jeroboam… he stood to be very wealthy in the Lord.  Jeroboam eventually became king and ruled as God promised but he chose to keep his people from going up to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem to make sacrifices…

1Ki 12:27  If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.

1Ki 12:28  Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

1Ki 12:29  And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.

1Ki 12:30  And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.

1Ki 12:31  And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.

 

Jeroboam chose to make idols and have his people worship them in fear that they would follow Rehoboam and end up killing him.  Jeroboam continued in his sinful ways until eventually the Lord used him and his people to keep a promise he made to Solomon…

1Ki 13:34  And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.

 

God gave Jeroboam a choice… Jeroboam could have “saved himself” and his people if he would have only kept God’s commandments, but he made bad choices and suffered the consequences, just like Solomon. 

 

 

            HEB 5:9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,” Once again, our dependence must be on Christ and His work on the cross, not on what we can do.  He is the source of salvation.

 

In between “He” and “the”, which you highlighted, are the words “to all those who obey Him”.  Six very important words.  He is the source of eternal salvation to “all those who obey Him”.  We can not take away any words from the Scripture without corrupting the Scriptures.  It clearly says that “He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation”.  This would clearly indicate to me that if we do not obey Him then He does not become the source of eternal salvation.

 

Consider the following verses again…

2Th 1:7  And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

2Th 1:8  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

2Th 1:9  Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

 

As mentioned earlier, clearly we see what will happen to those “that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:”.  Considering you brought up Romans 2 earlier… did you see all those verses in Romans that talk about obedience?  These do not indicate obedience after we are saved but rather before we are saved or resulting in salvation... 

Rom 1:5  By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

 

Rom 2:8  But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

 

Rom 6:3  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Rom 6:4  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Rom 6:5  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

 

Rom 6:16  Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Rom 6:17  But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

Rom 6:18  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

 

Rom 10:16  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

 

Rom 16:25  Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

Rom 16:26  But now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

 

 

            1PE 1:22-23  Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.”  What did you have to do with your birth?  Did you make it happen?  Did you decide it was time to be born?  Did you even want to be born?  Most babies don’t seem to even like the idea.  But once the process starts, they want to go ahead and finish, and they adjust to their new situation nicely if not immediately.  More on this later.

 

Your questions have no basis… it is not whether we choose to be “born”…obviously no one chooses to be born Mr. Calvin.  The question would be… whether we choose to be “born again”.  All people are “born” but few are “born again”.  Let’s take this Scripture a little further since you clearly do not understand its meaning…

1Pe 1:22  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

1Pe 1:23  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

As mentioned earlier, because of “obedience to the truth” believers have “purified” their “souls”.  Something is required to purify our souls and that is “obedience to the truth”.  The “seed” is the “Word of God” and the “Word of God” is “imperishable”.  This is how we are “born again”, through the imperishable Word of God we learn how to be obedient to the truth and purify our souls (receive forgiveness).  Paul, like Peter, helps us understand that the gospel, through the Word of God, leads us to salvation by our obedience to the faith…

Rom 1:5  By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

 

Rom 16:25  Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

Rom 16:26  But now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

 

Peter is showing us basically the same thing… he actually shows us the moment that we purify our souls later in his epistle…

1Pe 3:21  The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

 

Later I will explain how Jesus says we must be “born again” by being “born of water” (baptized).

 

            MAT 7:21"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”  What is “the will of My Father?”  Is this going back to the notion of salvation by works?  Or is it something different?

 

This verse clearly says, “but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”  This could mean anything other than what it says and you offer no scriptural explanation here, although you touch on it later.  No… I do not believe it is salvation by works of ourselves or our own righteousness, or works of the Law, or works we can boast about, these kinds of works do not have any merit with God.  This I understand very clearly, but there are works of faith… works of God.  Works of God are the will of the Father that is referenced here and they are what we must obey, referenced back in Hebrews 5:9.  Consider John 6:28-29 when the unbelieving crowd was seeking Jesus and found Him…

Joh 6:27  Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

Joh 6:28  Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

Joh 6:29  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

 

Clearly “faith” is a “work of God”.  Now… are you going to argue with Jesus again?  Jesus clearly and indisputably tells us not to “labour” for that which will perish but to “labour” for “eternal life” and He further states that “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”  This is why any works that God commands which results in salvation would not and could not be a works of ourselves, works of righteousness, or works of the Law, but rather a works of God.  The first and foremost requirement or “work of God” is that we must have “faith”.  We have to believe, we have to do this ourselves, it is a work of God that He requires and commands us to do.

 

Consider what comes after Matthew 7:21…

Mat 7:22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Mat 7:23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Mat 7:24  Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

Mat 7:25  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

Mat 7:26  And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

Mat 7:27  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Mat 7:28  And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:

Mat 7:29  For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

 

Jesus says “Many” will say to Him Lord, Lord but He will tell them that he “never knew” them.  This tells me many people will believe they are saved but truly are not.  Jesus goes on to say, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man,” (wonder who that wise man is), and later He says, “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man,”.   This Scripture is part of His “doctrine” that He “taught them” (“the people were astonished at his doctrine”).  Jesus very clearly tells us again that we must “doeth” and what will happen if we do not “doeth”.  There is something we have to do.  The reason He will tell them that He never knew them is because they did not “doeth” the will of the father.  Now go back and consider Hebrews 5:9 again.  Consider the warnings to follow the doctrine that was originally taught… this is it… the doctrine of Christ… we must “do the will of the father”.  Your doctrine clearly does not equal the doctrine that Christ taught because you do not believe we have to do the will of the father… you believe it means something else… what, I do not know… I can not imagine why you would want to ignore this Scripture or try to explain it away to simply make it fit your own man-made doctrine.

 

            2PE 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

 

I have discussed this already, but again, I simply see this verse meaning that God is patient and does not want anyone to perish but wants everyone to come to repentance.  It simply means what it says and we can not take it to mean anything differently.  I understand this would not agree with your doctrine in several ways but God did not inspire your doctrine.  Luther, Calvin, and Knox wrote your doctrine and they were not inspired by God nor authorized to write new doctrine.  However sincere they may have been, they did it for their own selfish desires.  This verse would also support 2 Corinthians 7:10 which I discussed previously.  Not to mention that if God wishes for no one to perish “but for all to come to repentance.” how could this mean that God causes us to repent as you stated earlier?  To support your doctrine it would have to say “not wishing for some to perish but for His elect to come to repentance”.  Unfortunately for you… you can not take a “license” to change the words without corrupting the Scriptures.  Consider the following Scripture in light of 2 Peter 3:9…

Rev 2:21  And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

 

 

            1PE 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”  Does this mean that we are judged based on our own works rather than on the work of Christ?  What about Jesus’ promise in JOH 5:24  "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”  (Note also that there is no mention of the necessity of works, but only hearing and believing.)  Take a close look at the context.

 

I have already explained this previously but let’s take it a little further.  1 Peter 4:17 would only go to further the proof that those that do not obey the gospel of God will receive the vengeance of God mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9.  Mr. Calvin, what do these verses mean if they do not mean what they actually say?  You have offered no explanation for any of the verses that state we must do the will of the father and obey the gospel.  You have simply quoted one other verse that would appear to have to contradict three other verses.  We both know that Scripture does not contradict itself.  Furthermore, does John 5:24 mention “calling on the name of the Lord” that you mentioned in the beginning of your response?  No, it does not.  Here are your words: “Notice that it says that they will be saved if they “call on the name of the Lord” and “believe in Him,” without reference to baptism.”  I pointed out that you left out that we must also confess as it stated in Romans 10:9 and I presented Scripture that clearly tells us we must also repent.  So maybe I am confused again as to what you believe because initially you indicate “believing” and “calling on the name of the Lord”… now you indicate “hearing” and “believing”… but you also indicate that we contribute nothing but “need” (sin).  Exactly what is it that you believe?  I understood you really do not believe we have to do anything ourselves, that God basically does it all for us, or winds us up like robots and lets us go because we are going to do whatever He wishes anyway.  I repeat… just because every commandment of salvation is not mentioned in every instruction of salvation, (as in John 5:24 and back in Romans 10:9-13, Luke 13:3,5, Acts 17:30, Acts 22:16, and I will mention more later), does not mean that it is not necessary.  It cannot because there is too much Scripture that would contradict itself if it did.  You have just proved this point with your very own words.  I have already provided Scripture that clearly shows that believing (faith) is a work of God.  Who is it that has to hear?  Who is it that has to believe? Who is it that has to have faith?  Who is it that has to repent?  Who is it that has to confess?  WE DO!  Clearly we must do a work of God.  I do not see how that could be any clearer from the Scriptures I have quoted.  Surely you can only agree with this.  We also have to be baptized and it is the most passive work of God that we have to do because someone has to actually baptize us… we obviously cannot baptize ourselves… but it is still something we have to do and I will cover this briefly next and in great detail later on.

 

Consider the following when Jesus was speaking to the eleven…

Mar 16:15  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mar 16:16  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

 

This Scripture parallels the great commission in Matthew 28:19.  The actual Greek Manuscripts for verse 16 read:  “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, and he that disbelieves shall be condemned.”  Jesus himself clearly stated who would be saved… “He that believes and is baptized”.  Whoever disbelieves is obviously not going to be baptized… which reasons without having to be said.  However, there is no mention of repentance, confession, or calling on the name of the Lord, but we know these works of God are also commanded.  Let’s continue on with the great commission…

Mat 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Mat 28:20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

 

In the great commission Jesus is commanding the apostles to do something.  He is commanding them to “teach all nations, baptizing them”.  Again this parallels Mark 16:15-16 and Jesus spoke the words.  Are we to call Jesus a liar or say that He really did not mean what He said?  Are we to somehow twist this Scripture around to try and make it mean something other than what it actually says?  I surely do not want to be the one to answer either one of those questions with a “yes” or even a “maybe” or even a “let me show you what Jesus really meant to say”.  I have no reason to doubt the very words of Jesus himself.  Now, do I think believing and being baptized is all that is commanded of us to be saved?  No… I believe we are commanded to obey the gospel and do the will of the father by hearing, believing, repenting, confessing, and being baptized for the forgiveness of sins, just as the Scriptures clearly instruct us to do.  Consider too that Jesus’ mission on earth was to seek and to save that which was lost…

Luk 19:10  For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

 

In His final instructions to His apostles on earth, why would He have them go out in the world doing things that have nothing to do with saving the lost?  Think about it… it takes time to baptize people; if baptism was not necessary for salvation, the apostles were wasting their time doing things and teaching others to do things that had nothing to do with salvation.  They could spent this precious time covering other parts of the world preaching the gospel to people, having them merely believe, and then moving on quickly to somewhere else.  NOT TO MENTION… why would He bother to give instructions if we are already pre-selected for salvation?   Jesus instructed the apostles to baptize because baptism is part of obeying the gospel and it “doth also now save us” as we learn in 1 Peter 3:20-21.    

 

 

  1PE 4:12 ¶ Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.  If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.  For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?  And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?  Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”  The judgment for “the household of God” is for our testing (proof).  One way to test a precious metal for impurities is to heat it.  When you do, any impurities present in the metal will separate and rise to the surface.  If no impurities appear when the heat is turned up, the metal is proven under testing to be pure.  Look at what God allowed to happen to Job in Job 1&2.  He allowed Satan to test him to prove that he was the most righteous man on earth.  Note also that Job offered sacrifices in faith (before Moses) knowing that he was depending on God’s grace.

 

1 Peter 4:12-19… The first part of this is simply explaining that Christians will be persecuted and we should expect such and should endure it and will eventually be glorified if we do endure it.  We can see this again in Romans 8…

Rom 8:17  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

 

The latter part (specifically 1 Peter 4:17 and the context), I discussed previously and stand firm in my understanding.  I  will discuss faith later.

 

A child growing up under such teaching lives in fear….  The grace of God becomes a horror rather than a help.  This is a very broad statement, and not necessarily true.  There is another view of this situation.  If salvation is a gift from God, then it is a blessing that I cannot lose.  God gave it to me, and no one can take it away from me.  On the other hand, if salvation is something that I must earn through my obedience, then when I fail (as all of us do from time to time) then I must earn it again.  However, if the standard is perfection as we have seen then I cannot earn it back again since I have already failed.  Indeed, I cannot earn it to begin with since I have already sinned and fallen short by the time I realize that I need it.  Salvation by grace when properly understood is not a source of fear, but a source of confidence, comfort and freedom.

 

You said, “If salvation is a gift from God, then it is a blessing that I cannot lose.”  What Scripture says this?  Yes, salvation is a gift of God, but where in the Bible does it say that man can not reject a gift from God?  Do you have to receive a gift?  Of course you don’t.  Was not the garden of Eden a beautiful, practically perfect environment for Adam and Eve?  It was a gift from God, yet Adam and Eve sinned and God took that gift away from them.  Was not the promised land of Canaan a gift from God?

Num 13:2  Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.

 

When the children of God kept being disobedient, God allowed foreign rulers to come in and take the land from his children and haul them off into captivity.  When we willingly leave God, we reject His gift to us.  While it is true no man can snatch us out of the hand of God, we can reject the gift ourselves by our continued disobedience or turning away from God.

 

If I had no way of knowing that I was saved or not (chosen by God or not) then I would be worried to death Mr. Calvin.  It would be like a horror story.  If it is by God’s own choice and I have no say so in it then how can I be for certain that He chose me?  I could simply say it is not my fault I am not saved, it is God’s fault.  I am not responsible for my going to hell, God is… He has shown partiality towards me.  It is apparent that “grace only” is a false doctrine and “grace only” is exactly what Satan wants us to believe.  Now… your misstatement of a believer’s obedience unto salvation and the forgiveness of subsequent sins is salient.  I do not “earn” salvation through obedience.  Likewise, when I sin (as a Christian), according to 1 John 1:7-9, I still must obey the will of God in order to avail myself of the continual cleansing power of the blood of Jesus.  I am not “re-earning” anything.  The “standard” of perfection that you mention is not in Scripture.  Nowhere does God call on me to be sinless and perfect.  “Perfection” for me as a Christian is “completeness” and “blamelessness” in Christ, not without sin in myself.  Our confidence, comfort, and freedom, does not come from “unconditional election” and “irresistible grace”, but instead, it comes from trusting in our faithful God who longs to forgive and extend His grace to those who seek Him and walk in His ways.  Consider the parallel on the relationship between grace, mercy, and obedience in the OT and NT…

Isa 30:18  And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.

Isa 30:19  For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.

Isa 30:20  And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:

Isa 30:21  And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

 

1Jo 1:7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

1Jo 1:8  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1Jo 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

 

 “Calvin’s teachings blame God for everything and leave man unable to contribute one whit to his salvation.”  This is an interesting statement, and it brings to mind the sacrificial system of the Old Testament.  When a person sinned he was to bring an animal to the door of the tabernacle, offer it to the priest, have the priest kill it and burn the body on the altar.  We know from Hebrews that the priest is a picture of Christ, the Great High Priest.  The door is a picture of Christ as the way into God’s sheepfold according to John 10.  The animal to be sacrificed is a picture of Christ, the Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world.  The only thing that is not a picture of Christ is the sinner.  The only thing we contribute to our salvation is the need, our sin.

 

The only thing we contribute to our salvation is the need, our sin?  There is no way this statement will stand up under scriptural analysis Mr. Calvin.  This theology would have sinners floating around helplessly in need of God arbitrarily choosing to save some.  The need for salvation (forgiveness of sins) is universal among those who know right from wrong (those who are held accountable).  What we contribute to our salvation is ourselves, not our sin.  In obeying the gospel we must die to our self and sin… we must be buried and resurrected in the likeness of Christ (be baptized).  God accomplishes salvation, forgiveness, grace, and mercy, in those who offer themselves to Him through obedience in faith.  He does not want my “sin” contributed to Him.  According to your doctrine we can not even contribute our own faith.  Previously you seem to indicate we must believe and call on the name of the Lord.  You also indicate that faith alone saves us as well as grace alone saves us.  I am still not sure what you really believe.  Either way… if I have no choice in salvation, if I can not make a choice of whether I want to believe or not, then who is at fault?  You would have to say that it is God’s fault because you say that He has already made the choice for us.  You also seem to overlook the fact that in the OT we had no way to get into Christ… now we do… through baptism.  I will discuss all this in great detail later on.  For now though, you say, “We know from Hebrews that the priest is a picture of Christ, the Great High Priest.” and “The only thing that is not a picture of Christ is the sinner.”  Actually, Christians are priests, and Christ is the High Priest…

1Pe 2:5  Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

1Pe 2:6  Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

1Pe 2:7  Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

1Pe 2:8  And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

1Pe 2:9  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

 

The entire tabernacle and priesthood was a shadow of things to come…

Heb 8:4  For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:

Heb 8:5  Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

 

God has always had a pattern, and the pattern of the tabernacle is similar to the pattern in the New Testament.  In the OT, before one could enter the Holy Place (which was a shadow of the church), he had to wash in the layer, which represents baptism as necessary to enter the church…

1Co 12:13  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

 

However, before washed there had to be a sacrifice, today that sacrifice is Jesus. 

In the Holy Place there was the incense, (prayers of the saints)…

Rev 8:3  And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

 

There was the table of shewbread, (Lord’s Supper)…

1Co 10:17  For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

 

There was the golden candlestick (the Word of God which lights the way of the church)…

Psa 119:105  Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

 

2Pe 1:19  We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

 

The Most Holy Place represents heaven (where the presence of God is)…

1Ki 8:6  And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims.

 

The veil was ripped when Jesus died (the way into the Most Holy Place is now open)…

Heb 10:19  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

Heb 10:20  By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

Heb 10:21  And having an high priest over the house of God;

Heb 10:22  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

 

The Outer Court represents the world.  Surely you see the pattern here.  We must be baptized before we can enter into the church… which I will also discuss in great detail later.

 

          Calvinism rejects:

          That God loves all.  John 3:16 says that God loved the world….  HEB 2:9 But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.”  This verse says that Jesus tasted death for everyone.  Is that the same thing?  Either way, this is a hard thing for us to understand, particularly in light of the seemingly contradictory statement in MAL 1:2-3  "I have loved you," says the Lord. But you say, "How have You loved us?" "Was not Esau Jacob's brother?" declares the Lord. "Yet I have loved Jacob; but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation and appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness." And in ROM 9:10-13 And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, "The older will serve the younger." Just as it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."  How can God love the world and hate Esau (and apparently some others also)?  I don’t know, but we shouldn’t blame Calvin for what the Bible says.

 

I do not blame Calvin for what the Bible says... neither do I exalt Calvin over what the Bible says.  Calvin is factually irrelevant to what the Bible says.  The love of God compelled the sacrifice for all sin of all mankind…

1Jo 2:2  And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

 

If we love God in return we will obey Him…

1Jo 2:3  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

1Jo 2:4  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

1Jo 2:5  But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

 

We are not forcing God to do anything He does not will, we are accepting grace by loving obedience in faith…

1Jo 3:1  Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

1Jo 3:2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

1Jo 3:3  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

 

1Jo 4:9  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

1Jo 4:10  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

 

God did in fact love Esau but simply He loved Esau less.  As I explained earlier, the definition for the Greek work “hated” is “loved less”.  I explained Romans 9:10-13 and Malachi 1:2-3 above.  I do not see how that can be hard to understand.  There is clearly no contradiction in these verses although you say “seemingly” there is.  There has to be an explanation and understanding here Mr. Calvin because the Scriptures do not contradict themselves.  If you believe the Word of God to be infallible, and you find Scriptures that are “seemingly” contradictory, then either the Bible is in error or your interpretation is in error.  I know we both will conclude the latter is true, not the former.  We can know the truth Mr. Calvin… there cannot be a “seemingly” contradictory Scripture that we just can not understand.  Jesus and Paul both state the same truth about understanding and knowing the truth…

Joh 8:30  As he spake these words, many believed on him.

Joh 8:31  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

Joh 8:32  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

 

Eph 3:4  Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ.

 

 

He does not want anyone to perish

          Eze 33 - EZE 33:11  "Say to them, 'As I live!' declares the Lord God, 'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?'”  A judge does not take pleasure in sentencing someone to jail, but he knows that it needs to happen.  To say that someone dies and goes to hell when God didn’t want it to happen begs the question, why didn’t God prevent it?  We cannot look into the mind of God to that extent because of our own limitations.  How can we possibly understand the actions, motives and intentions of a Being with limitless knowledge, righteousness, insight and wisdom?

 

A judge would sentence a criminal to jail because he uses the standard (criminal code of Alabama) to judge the actions of the criminal.  A judge would not condemn that criminal; he would simply announce the condemnation that the criminal brought upon himself by his actions, based upon the evidence (or deeds).  A judge does not pick people off the street at random and condemn them to jail and then tell them he feels sorry about it.  Likewise, Jesus does not condemn us, but our failure to obey His word (His criminal code -- so to speak) condemns us as I explained earlier (John 12:47-50).  God has done all He can possibly do to save us, except remove our free will.  Now… you say you take no pleasure in sentencing someone to jail but you know it has to happen.  Here is the difference, in your doctrine you teach that “God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass.”  So you teach that God made the man who raped a 12 year old girl commit that horrible act and neither one of them had a choice in the matter.  Then you teach that God foreordained that this horrible rapist (who ultimately was controlled by God) must not only go to jail for the rest of his life, but also to eternal torment.  This was not for something that he chose to do but something God made him do.  Ouch!  This clearly sounds more like a doctrine from the devil to me.  I am curious to know too, where do the Scriptures say that God ordained “whatsoever comes to pass”?  In your comments you also asked why God did not prevent it… exactly, why did God not prevent it?  It is because He allows us to make our own choice.  This is not that complicated to figure out, as He clearly tells us in His word that we can know the truth.  The Scripture clearly teaches us that we are judged by the Word of God and our works.  Consider the following verses…

Joh 5:28  Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

Joh 5:29  And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

 

Notice “they have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.  Remember “unto” means “resulting in”.

 

Joh 12:48  He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

 

Rev 20:12  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

 

Notice “according to their works.”

 

You further asked: “How can we possibly understand the actions, motives and intentions of a Being with limitless knowledge, righteousness, insight and wisdom?”  The Word of God is a revelation of the mind of God.   We can, most certainly know the truth through what He has revealed to us in His word… but we must want to know it and we must seek it out.  God’s Word is the truth…

Pro 9:10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

 

Pro 28:5  Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.

 

Joh 8:31  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

Joh 8:32  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

 

Col 2:2  that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself,

 

1Ti 2:3  This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,

1Ti 2:4  who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

 

2Ti 2:7  Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

 

However… there are some that might not understand it… some will try to distort or contort the Scriptures to lead others away and as a consequence they will fall… as we learn in the following passages…

2Pe 3:14  Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

2Pe 3:15  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

2Pe 3:16  As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.

2Pe 3:17  Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

2Pe 3:18  But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

 

I do believe there are things that are a mystery and we will not understand about God but I believe those things are outside of His word.  He has given us all things relating to life and godliness so we can escape the corruption that is in this world…

2Pe 1:3  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

2Pe 1:4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

 

How can we escape?  Through the knowledge of Him… knowing Jesus is accomplished through obedience to Him… “we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments”…

1Jo 2:3  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

 

Notice also in 1 Peter 3:17 we learn Peter is again warning the beloved to not be led away and fall.

 

            2PE 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”  Notice the emphasis I added.  To whom did Peter write the epistle?  2PE 1:1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:”  He wrote it to believers.  Therefore, God does not want any believers (and I would contend, the elect) to perish.

 

So God is delaying the return of Christ until all Christians repent and cease to sin?  Mr. Calvin, once again your doctrine will not hold up to Scripture.  I suppose all of your so-called “elect” cease to sin before their death, and the remaining “elect” who are alive when Christ returns will be without sin.  I don’t think so… Scripture just will not support your misunderstanding of this passage.  I agree that the letter is written to Christians but Peter says, “not wanting any”, and does not add “of you” (the Christians he is writing to).  Is the letter only intended for Christians?  Was Paul going to address his letters specifically to unsaved sinners that he probably didn’t know?  You don’t believe that the Christians that did receive the letters were supposed to share them with the unsaved?  Surely you can see how ridiculous this is beginning to sound.  Does God want “any” Christians to lose their salvation?  Of course not!  Does God want “any” person to be lost?  Of course not!  God wants “all people everywhere” to repent before judgment…

Act 17:30  And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

Act 17:31  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

 

I discussed this earlier but let’s read this Scripture in context…

2Pe 3:3  Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

2Pe 3:4  And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

2Pe 3:5  For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

2Pe 3:6  Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

2Pe 3:7  But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

2Pe 3:8  But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

2Pe 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

2Pe 3:10  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

 

We can clearly see that there are some who will question whether Christ will come back.  Peter explains that the Lord is patient with us (man) and is giving us time to repent.  He is giving time for sinners to repent and when Christ does come it will be like a thief in the night.  Now think about what you are saying… as you contend, God would not be worried about the “elect” because they are saved and have nothing to worry about when Christ returns.  If you are the individually so-called chosen “elect” and believe in your own doctrine, then how could you possibly perish, and why would Peter even bring this up?  There would be no need for him to make any such comment intended towards your doctrine’s so-called “elect” or “toward you”.  It is clear that Peter is referring to the lost that do have something to worry about if they do not repent in the amount of time they have to do so.  God wants all men in the world to repent.  Are all men saved?  How can you really believe he is talking about believers only?  Peter obviously did not address the letter to specific sinners… but most of the letters written were addressed to saints and they include appropriate instructions for sinners as well.  I am still dazed that you might somehow believe that the letters the apostles wrote were intended instructions for strictly the saved.  If that is the case then only your doctrine’s so-called “elect” need to pick up the Bible and read it… but really do they need to even do that… it’s not going to matter because they are saved regardless of what they do.  I think I’m getting dizzy.  According to your doctrine, God makes “the elect” believe in Him and then makes “the elect” repent and obey Him.  I am dizzy.  If ‘believers” are “the elect” and God makes “the elect” obey Him, then why did many who believed (those being “the elect”) reject God?  See the following Scripture…

Joh 12:42  Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:

Joh 12:43  For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

 

These men believed because of the evidence before them but they had a choice to seek the praise of men or the praise of God.  They chose men over God.  Notice they “did not confess him”.  Consider also the following …

Heb 4:6  Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience,

Heb 4:7  He again fixes a certain day, "Today," saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, "TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS."

 

 

            ISA 45:22  "Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.”  REV 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”  There will be believers from every people group in heaven.

 

I agree.  God is also encouraging everyone from all over to turn to Him and be saved.  He is not encouraging only a select group.

 

 

            ACT 17:26-27 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;”  I didn’t get this one because it says that He determined that we would all seek for God.  I know of many people who seek for God in fame, finances, sex, drugs, etc., but never find Him.  Do these verses indicating a “universal invitation” mean that everyone will be saved?  I doubt that you believe that since it is clear from other verses that there will be some people who will not be saved but will be “thrown into the lake of fire.” Rev 20:15  To say that there is a universal invitation does not mean that all will be saved or that God does not choose those who will be saved.  Note what Jesus says at the end of the parable of the banquet.  MAT 22:14  "For many are called, but few are chosen."

 

I believe I can understand this Scripture if we look at it closer in context…

Act 17:22  Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.

Act 17:23  For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.

Act 17:24  God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

Act 17:25  Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

Act 17:26  And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

Act 17:27  That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

Act 17:28  For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

Act 17:29  Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.

Act 17:30  And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

Act 17:31  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

 

Paul is explaining to the men of Athens who this “UNKNOWN GOD” is in verses 24-25 and what God has done for everyone in verse 26.  They worshiped in ignorance, as noted in verse 23 and verse 30, this was a time of ignorance and God “winked at” or “overlooked” it. The “times before appointed” is referencing the day of judgment that is mentioned again in verse 31.  Paul explains “That they should seek the Lord” in verse 27.  In other words, men everywhere should seek the Lord, not that they will, but they should.  In verse 27 he continues, “if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:”.  I understand this to explain the ignorance.  It was a time when they did not realize who God was but they knew there had to be some sort of God because of His great creation.  This creation, which we can see, and God being omnipresent, is how He is so near to us…

Psa 19:1  The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

 

He was right there and they were too ignorant to realize it.  Paul goes on to explain that God has overlooked this ignorance but now commands men everywhere to repent (because He has now provided the propitiation for our sins in Christ Jesus) and on the day of judgment He will judge the world.  I referenced Acts 17:30 earlier.  You should see clearly that God wants everyone to seek Him and He commands everyone to repent.  Why would God command everyone to repent if He has already chosen the so-called elect?  This would not make sense.  This is what your doctrine does to us if we believe in it… it compels us to accept that there is just too much Scripture that we will not understand.  This is not what God’s plan is… He desires everyone to be saved and wants us to know the truth… He does not want us to be confused and without understanding.  The focal point here is that all men can seek God and find Him, however your doctrine teaches that God makes us believe in Him and obey Him. 

 

You stated, “I know of many people who seek for God in fame, finances, sex, drugs, etc., but never find Him.”  Mr. Calvin, these people who supposedly “seek God” in sex and drugs are not really seeking God, but rather they seek to fulfill their own selfish and sinful desires and motives.  Your statement has no scriptural support.  These people are merely doing what the people did during the time of judges (you should be familiar with this)…

Jdg 21:25  In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

 

Consider this Scripture in 1 John…

1Jo 2:15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1Jo 2:16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

 

Diligently seeking God requires that we lay aside our own understanding (sex, drugs, fame, fortune… along with Baalism, Paganism, Calvinism, Methodism, Mormonism, Confucianism, Bhuddism, Hinduism, Catholicism, New Ageism, etc., etc.), and replace it with trust in God for proper understanding…

Pro 3:1  My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:

Pro 3:2  For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.

Pro 3:3  Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:

Pro 3:4  So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

Pro 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Pro 3:6  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Pro 3:7  Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

 

Pro 8:1  Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?

Pro 8:2  She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.

Pro 8:3  She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.

Pro 8:4  Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.

Pro 8:5  O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.

Pro 8:6  Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.

Pro 8:7  For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

Pro 8:8  All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.

Pro 8:9  They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.

Pro 8:10  Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.

Pro 8:11  For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

 

Anyone can seek God, but calling it “seeking God” does not necessarily make it so.

 

You asked, “Do these verses indicating a “universal invitation” mean that everyone will be saved?”  I think you know by now that I do not believe this.  You do (obviously) admit that these verses in Acts indicate a “universal invitation” though.  If God will not allow some people the opportunity to be saved, that would eliminate a universal invitation and it would become an invitation for your so-called “elect” only.  Hmmm… a universal invitation with no possibility of a universal acceptance?  How sad, considering the preciousness of the free gift.  If God foreordained a certain individual to be lost, yet invites him to come to salvation, that can only be seen as cruelty and mockery on the part of God, and that is not a real universal invitation.  Furthermore it would contradict 1 Timothy 2…

1Ti 2:4  who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

 

Now are you going to tell me again how God really does not mean that He “desires all men to be saved”… and tell me how Paul was not really being inspired when he wrote that part of his letter?  Wrestle with it for a while until you figure out some other meaning.  It appears followers of your doctrine are well trained in this area of interpretation.

 

You referenced Matthew 22:14 at the end of your comments.  Let’s consider that parable…

Mat 22:1  And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,

Mat 22:2  The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,

Mat 22:3  And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.

Mat 22:4  Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.

Mat 22:5  But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:

Mat 22:6  And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.

Mat 22:7  But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

Mat 22:8  Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.

Mat 22:9  Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.

Mat 22:10  So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

Mat 22:11  And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:

Mat 22:12  And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

Mat 22:13  Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Mat 22:14  For many are called, but few are chosen.

 

This parable illustrates the purpose of the church (the saved) and the events surrounding its existence.  The king (God) sends His servants (prophets) to invite them (the Jews) to His son’s (Christ).  It was always Jesus’ intentions for the Israelites to be the first to inherit the kingdom and the Law was intended to bring them to an understanding of the gospel…

Gal 3:23  But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

Gal 3:24  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

 

Most of the invited (Jews) rejected the invitation (they rejected God’s plan of salvation through Christ) and mistreated and even killed some of the servants (prophets).  After about 40 years the king (God) got angry and finally sent his army (the Romans) to destroy them (Jews who rejected), and their city (Jerusalem), which brought an end to their nation…

Rom 10:21  But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

 

Since they (Jews) rejected the invitation, the king (God) then invited as many as could be found (the church is to search everywhere and offer the invitation to all), both bad and good (Jews and Gentiles)…

Rom 9:25  As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.

Rom 9:26  And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

 

Again… the king (God) is now inviting everyone to the wedding feast (into the kingdom)…

Mar 16:15  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

 

Rom 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

 

So a few came to the feast (became Christians or professed to be Christians).  The king (God) came in to see the guests (Day of Judgment) and one of them that was at the feast was not clothed properly with a wedding garment (he had not been properly clothed in Christ)…

Gal 3:27  For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

 

Rev 3:5  'He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

 

Rom 13:13  Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.

Rom 13:14  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

 

That guest was speechless (GULP!)… and thus he was cast out into darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (hell).  So we finally understand that many will be called (by the gospel), but few are chosen (because few obey the gospel).  This shows us that many of God’s first chosen people (the Jews), would not be saved.  It also shows that some who refuse to cloth themselves in Christ by baptism will not be saved, as well as those that do enter into the church (into Christ) and do not “overcome” the sin of the world by continuing to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” will be lose their salvation.  We also learn that the church is the means that God is using to seek and save the lost.  This parable is not good for your doctrine in several ways.  If this parable somehow supported your doctrine we would have a God of love who not only predestines most people to hell (few are chosen), but knowing this He still “dangles” the message of salvation in front of us (as we are “called” by the gospel), yet He condemns those when they respond to the gospel.  That would no doubt be inconsistent with His lovingkindness, righteousness, justice, mercy, and grace.

 

Now let me leap back and ahead and grab a few of your statements you made and bring them back together right here… here are four statements you made…

1.  “Do these verses indicating a “universal invitation” mean that everyone will be saved?”

 

2.  “To say that there is a universal invitation does not mean that all will be saved or that God does not choose those who will be saved. “

 

3.   “All others ignore or fail to take advantage of the invitation.”

 

4.  “We do have a choice, but are there any limitations or restrictions on that choice?”

 

Now you read your four statements and think about what you have written.  You admit twice that there is a universal invitation.  One time you say that it does not mean that God will not choose who will be saved.  Another time you admit that some made a choice by ignoring the invitation or failing to take advantage of the invitation.  Yet another time you completely admit we do have a choice and suggest with no limitations or restrictions.  Now according to your doctrine there can be no universal invitation.  Your doctrine says God does not allow everyone the opportunity to be saved because He has chosen certain individuals ahead of time.  Your doctrine says we do not have a choice and that no one can ignore or fail to take advantage of the invitation because we do not do the choosing.  You outright refute your doctrine with your own words.  I may get dizzy before this is over.  Maybe we should make this a no spin zone.

 

 

            The loss of eternal life

          Romans 14 – I’m sorry, but I read this chapter and failed to see where it says that a believer can lose eternal life.  However, I am familiar with a few other verses which seem to indicate the opposite.  ROM 8:38-39  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  JOH 10:26-29  "But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.  "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.  "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.”  Does God give eternal life and take it away again?  How does one lose their salvation?  By committing a sin?  If so, how does one ever gain salvation?  If it is not a gift from God, then it is unattainable since “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”  Rom. 3:23 and ROM 3:10-12 “as it is written, "There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one."”

 

Commenting on the last part here… with man it is impossible but with God it is possible.  Paul is teaching the nature of salvation, allowing insight to understand how all have sinned (Romans 3:23), yet some will be forgiven and inherit the free gift of God (Romans 6:23).  Between those verses Paul discusses obedient saving faith like Abraham had, justification by faith through Christ, and the obedient response resulting in salvation.  Interestingly, he mentions baptism as well.  Now let’s consider what verses in chapter 14 you missed…

Rom 14:14  I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

Rom 14:15  But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.

 

No doubt this one is a little difficult to understand.  The following is from a lectureship study on Romans 14 by Lester Kamp, he does a better job of explaining it than I can and it is understandable, reasonable, and in harmony with other Scripture...

 

"Grieved with thy meat" suggests that the convictions of others have not been respected, and as a result the weak have been influenced to sin.  The Law of love has not been applied.  Such individuals are not walking "charitably" -- that is, with any consideration for the convictions of others.  There is a more important issue than exercising one's freedom in matters which are not essential, which are not matters of faith.  That more important issue is the souls who could be lost because some have insisted on their liberty without regard for the effect that their exercise of freedom will have on those that are weak.  Paul therefore warns, "Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died."  When exercising our freedom in indifferent matters, we must always realize the value of the souls of others and be willing to forego the freedom rather than cause a soul to be lost.”

I do not think we could deny that “brother” in this verse is referencing a Christian, for whom Christ died.  I do not think we could deny that one of these brothers could become destroyed (lost and sent to hell).  Consider 14:20 as well, “destroy not the work of God” refers to one Christian binding something upon another causing that brother to lose faith with God.  We are being warned that we have power in the tongue to drive others away from God, thus fall from grace…

Rom 14:20  For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.

 

Now let’s discuss the other verses you mentioned above that you stated “seemed to indicate the opposite.”  In Romans 8, I believe we have to consider the entire context of that passage to understand what Paul is talking about in verses 38-39… let’s go all the way back to at least verse 28…

Rom 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Rom 8:29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Rom 8:30  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Rom 8:31  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Rom 8:32  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Rom 8:33  Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.

Rom 8:34  Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Rom 8:35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Rom 8:36  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Rom 8:37  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

Rom 8:38  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Rom 8:39  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Paul starts out by stating that good things will happen “to them that love God”.  Called according to His purpose means we are called by the gospel according to God’s plan of salvation…

2Th 2:14  Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Therefore those who are saved and love God are “the called”.  Those who love God and obey the gospel will be saved (the called) and God works all to their good.  He foreknew who would and will be “the called” because He looked into the future and knows who they would and will be.  He predestined “the called” (those who He knew would and will love Him) “to be conformed to the image of his Son”.  He did not predestine them to love Him, or some to heaven and some to hell, He predestined those who He foreknew would and will love him (that would the saved who make up “the church”).  In verse 30 Paul shows how God predestined those who He foreknew would and will love Him.  He called them as we note in 2 Thessalonians 2:14.  Those that accepted or accept the call are justified and finally glorified.  Remember what gets those called to the point of glorification though… they love God.  Then Paul starts with a series of questions.  If we love God, good things will happen to us, as Paul stated in verse 28, and God will be on our side, verse 31.  Paul states we can defeat those against us, that God did not spare Jesus, and we can have all things that we need.  God has justified us and we should not fear anyone.  Christ will intercede for us in times of uncertainty and we can endure life’s challenges through Christ who loves us.  We can conquer all these things through Christ.  Paul is “persuaded” (convinced) that God loves His people, “the church” or “the saved”.  God will never not love His people and Paul is more than convinced of this.  I agree that this Scripture shows us that God dearly loves those that are saved and love Him, and good things will happen to us as long as we love Him.  However, this Scripture does not teach us that we will remain saved or that we have eternal security nor that we are unconditionally elected… it teaches the opposite.  The two things missing in verses 38-39 are “you” and “God” and “you” can separate yourself from God.  God will not separate His love from us unless we choose to let Him do so and then it is not God who condemns us… it is ourselves…

Joh 12:47  And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

Joh 12:48  He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Joh 12:49  For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

Joh 12:50  And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.

 

Now if we go back and read Romans chapter 14, let’s consider that weaker brother that allows an unloving and judgmental brother to drive him away from God.  God did not drive him away, neither did death, life, angels, rulers, the present, the future, powers, height, depth, nor any other creature (including the unloving, judgmental brother).  “No one” is able to snatch them away, but they can walk away.  God does not give eternal life and then take it away, but a Christian can give it away…

2Pe 3:17  Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

2Pe 3:18  But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

 

If we “grow in grace, and in the knowledge”… we will be able to persevere even if an unloving and judgmental brother attempts to lead us “away”.  Notice though we are “being led away with the error of the wicked” but we “fall from” our “own steadfastness.”  Christian’s lose their own salvation by wandering from the truth.  Consider the OT figure, the children of Israel.  They passed through the Red Sea (water) into the wilderness (walked in newness of life)… but because of subsequent unbelief they did not enter God’s rest…

Heb 3:8  Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

Heb 3:9  When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.

Heb 3:10  Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

Heb 3:11  So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

Heb 3:12  Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

 

Were they saved from Egypt?  Yep.  Did they lose that salvation by a later rebellion? Yep.  The ten spies “led them away” by their false report, but each individual chose to believe the falsehood instead of the truth (Joshua and Caleb).  They did not grow in the wilderness, they tested God and rebelled (Massah and Meribah).

 

The next Scripture you mentioned…

Joh 10:27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Joh 10:28  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

Joh 10:29  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

 

I will discuss “pluck” later, but for now consider that we must “follow” Him, not just once, but continually.  If we follow Him, He will give us eternal life.  Let’s look at John 8…

Joh 8:12  Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

 

Jesus said, “he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness,”.  What does it mean to “walk in darkness”?  It is to continually practice sin.  So if we are saved we are obviously following Christ and you say we can never lose our salvation.  If we fall into a habit of sin and continue in this sin, are we still following Christ?  Would you say that there are zero saved people that have fallen into a sinful pattern and  continued in that sin?  Consider the repented sin of 1 John with the willful sin in Hebrews…

1Jo 1:7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

1Jo 1:8  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1Jo 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

Heb 10:26  For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

 

Now back to John 10:29 to discus “pluck”… “and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”  The Greek word for “pluck” or “snatch” has a definition which means “to seize” or “carry off by force”.  This can only refer to anyone other than your own self.  There is that possibility that we could turn away from God ourselves.  If you lose something or give it away, are you plucking or snatching it from yourself?  Are you carrying it off by force?  Plucking or snatching requires force by someone other than yourself.  You or no other person could take my salvation away but I could fall away or walk away from God by my own choosing.  God can easily pluck our salvation away from us if we continue to be disobedient and turn away from Him.

 

In response to your questions in that segment, there is no doubt that salvation is a gift of God.  How do we obtain a gift?  We must receive it… or… we can refuse it… it is our choice… is it not?  You even admit later that we do have a choice.

 

Let’s consider several more verses…

Joh 6:70  Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

Joh 6:71  He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.

 

Act 1:17  "For he was counted among us and received his share in this ministry."

 

So what does your definition of “chosen” mean now?  Judas was “chosen” by Jesus.  Your definition of chosen in the context of “many are called but few are chosen” a couple of sections back, could not be right, could it?  Anyway, we see what happened later…

Joh 13:26  Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.

Joh 13:27  And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly

Satan did not have reign over Judas from the beginning… the devil did not enter into Judas until after he was chosen by Jesus, then what does Jesus say later…

Joh 15:2  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

 

Judas was cut off from Christ.  He was chosen by Christ, he was in Christ, but he was later severed from Christ.  We know he was lost and it was because of his transgressions…

Joh 17:12  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

 

Act 1:24  And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,

Act 1:25  That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.

 

We have a choice to receive the gift when we hear the Word of God (which is able to save our souls), but sometimes we simply can not grasp it or understand it, or for whatever reasons, we reject it.  Sometimes we hear it, believe it, and obey it for a short time and then discard it.  Consider the following Scripture…

Mat 13:19  When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

Mat 13:20  But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;

Mat 13:21  Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

Mat 13:22  He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

Mat 13:23  But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

 

1Co 15:1  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

1Co 15:2  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

 

Col 1:22  In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Col 1:23  If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

 

Heb 6:4  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

Heb 6:5  And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

Heb 6:6  If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

 

Heb 10:26  For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

Heb 10:27  But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

Heb 10:28  He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

Heb 10:29  Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

 

2Pe 2:1  But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

2Pe 2:2  And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

2Pe 2:3  And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

 

2Pe 2:20  For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

2Pe 2:21  For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

 

In these verses above and others previously mentioned, we learn there are some who choose not to accept the truth (God’s Word).  We also have people who do choose to accept the truth.  Some of these were chosen by Christ… attached to the vine… believed… received the gospel and stood firm in it… had been reconciled through Christ’s body… had been enlightened and tasted the heavenly gift… as well as had received the Holy Spirit… had been sanctified by the blood of the covenant… been bought by Jesus… and/or had escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior.  However, these people did not or will not persevere.  They have either lost, or will lose, their salvation.  Your doctrine would say that these people were never saved to begin with… that they were merely superficial Christians.  Your doctrine would say that the only way they could be true Christians is if they had persevered or do persevere to the end, or kept their faith or keep their faith, to the end.  Now I ask you Mr. Calvin… how do you know you are not a superficial Christian yourself?  How do you know you will or will not persevere or keep your faith until the end?  Your doctrine’s reasoning of perseverance of the saints would indicate to me that the only way we could ever know if we are truly saved is to actually persevere to the end… thus we could really never know if we are saved right now.  If I turn away from God as the numerous examples of Scripture above suggest, then your doctrine is going to tell me that I was really never saved to begin with.  Whew!  What assurance I have.  So tell me, how do you distinguish between a real Christian and a superficial one?  I do not think there is anyway you can because a superficial Christian bares all the resemblance of a true Christian.  According to your doctrine’s reasoning there is really no way you could know for sure if your own conversion was real until your end comes.  If I believe by God’s reasoning then I know I am saved.  Yes it is possible that I may harden my heart and turn away from God thereby giving up what I have, but at least I know it is mine to lose.  My perseverance will depend on God, no doubt, and I have assurance that He will give me the grace to persevere, but, I must receive it and remain faithful to His word.  In your situation you cannot really know if you are even among your so-called “elect”.  Your being a real Christian is contingent upon your perseverance to the end, which you will not know whether you have such faith until the very end because it could be superficial.  Mr. Calvin, your doctrine’s reasoning just would not give me much assurance because it would cause me to wonder if I ever had true faith to begin with.  This is the horror and worry I mentioned earlier.

 

            The Bible teaches that anyone can respond to God and that God desires all men to be saved.

            This statement was not supported by specific Scripture, so I was unable to examine its foundation.

 

Surely you are familiar with this Scripture… I will support the statement with Scripture for you…  here is the evidence…

1Ti 2:1  First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,

1Ti 2:2  for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

1Ti 2:3  This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,

1Ti 2:4  who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

1Ti 2:5  For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

1Ti 2:6  who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.

1Ti 2:7  For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

 

God “desires all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  Jesus Christ is the “ransom for all”.  So if God wants all men to be saved why wouldn’t he force everyone to be saved?  Your doctrine of sovereignty would have to say that God is contradicting Himself if He is all-powerful and He unchangeably ordained all events.  He wants all men to be saved, yet refuses to cause all men to be saved.  Mr. Calvin, the truth is that we have a choice, free will, and we choose our eternal destination.  Surely you do not think Paul is lying do you?  Here’s more support for the initial statement…

Mat 11:28  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Mat 11:29  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Mat 11:30  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

 

2Pe 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

 

Rev 22:17  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come.  And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

 

Mat 23:37  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

 

Notice in the last passage that even though God wanted Jerusalem to be saved, they chose not to be saved.  It was God’s desire for them to be saved, but they had the choice to reject what God desired and did.  If God is controlling every event without us having any choice, and God wanted them to be saved, how could this happen to Jerusalem?  Exactly, it would not make sense.  Again your doctrine fails the test of scriptural support.

 

 

            Total hereditary depravity

          EZE 18:20  "The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.”  I’m not sure about the point here, but looking at the other verses under this heading it looks like this is an effort to refute the doctrine of “total depravity.”  More later as I go through the other verses. 

 

This clearly shows sin is not inherited.  Your doctrine teaches that the son shall bear the iniquity of the father but Ezekiel teaches that the son does not bear the iniquity of the father.  I will believe the inspired Ezekiel over the uninspired John Calvin any day.  Let’s consider this entire chapter because there are several interesting points to be made here… 

Eze 18:1  Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

Eze 18:2  "What do you mean by using this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, 'The fathers eat the sour grapes, But the children's teeth are set on edge'?

Eze 18:3  "As I live," declares the Lord GOD, "you are surely not going to use this proverb in Israel anymore.

Eze 18:4  "Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die.

Eze 18:5  "But if a man is righteous and practices justice and righteousness,

Eze 18:6  and does not eat at the mountain shrines or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, or defile his neighbor's wife or approach a woman during her menstrual period--

Eze 18:7  if a man does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, does not commit robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with clothing,

Eze 18:8  if he does not lend money on interest or take increase, if he keeps his hand from iniquity and executes true justice between man and man,

Eze 18:9  if he walks in My statutes and My ordinances so as to deal faithfully--he is righteous and will surely live," declares the Lord GOD.

Eze 18:10  "Then he may have a violent son who sheds blood and who does any of these things to a brother

Eze 18:11  (though he himself did not do any of these things), that is, he even eats at the mountain shrines, and defiles his neighbor's wife,

Eze 18:12  oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore a pledge, but lifts up his eyes to the idols and commits abomination,

Eze 18:13  he lends money on interest and takes increase; will he live? He will not live! He has committed all these abominations, he will surely be put to death; his blood will be on his own head.

Eze 18:14  "Now behold, he has a son who has observed all his father's sins which he committed, and observing does not do likewise.

Eze 18:15  "He does not eat at the mountain shrines or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, or defile his neighbor's wife,

Eze 18:16  or oppress anyone, or retain a pledge, or commit robbery, but he gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with clothing,

Eze 18:17  he keeps his hand from the poor, does not take interest or increase, but executes My ordinances, and walks in My statutes; he will not die for his father's iniquity, he will surely live.

Eze 18:18  "As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother and did what was not good among his people, behold, he will die for his iniquity.

Eze 18:19  "Yet you say, 'Why should the son not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity?' When the son has practiced justice and righteousness and has observed all My statutes and done them, he shall surely live.

Eze 18:20  "The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.

Eze 18:21  "But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die.

Eze 18:22  "All his transgressions which he has committed will not be remembered against him; because of his righteousness which he has practiced, he will live.

Eze 18:23  "Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked," declares the Lord GOD, "rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?

Eze 18:24  "But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and does according to all the abominations that a wicked man does, will he live? All his righteous deeds which he has done will not be remembered for his treachery which he has committed and his sin which he has committed; for them he will die.

Eze 18:25  "Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not right.' Hear now, O house of Israel! Is My way not right? Is it not your ways that are not right?

Eze 18:26  "When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and dies because of it, for his iniquity which he has committed he will die.

Eze 18:27  "Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life.

Eze 18:28  "Because he considered and turned away from all his transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die.

Eze 18:29  "But the house of Israel says, 'The way of the Lord is not right.' Are My ways not right, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are not right?

Eze 18:30  "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct," declares the Lord GOD. "Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you.

Eze 18:31  "Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel?

Eze 18:32  "For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies," declares the Lord GOD. "Therefore, repent and live."

 

We see this chapter destroys total hereditary depravity and unconditional election.  I am not sure how it could be much clearer than this.

 

 

            EZE 28:15  "You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created Until unrighteousness was found in you.”  This is a lament against the king of Tyre, a city in the Middle East (Lebanon?) but is believed by some to be a veiled reference to Satan in view of some of the other statements in the passage. EZE 28:13-14  "You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created They were prepared.  "You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.”  The principle is that God rejects the proud, clearly stated in several other passages, especially in the Proverbs.  If I can save myself by my own works or even “contribute one whit to [my] salvation” wouldn’t I be proud of that?  ROM 4:4-5 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due.  But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,”

 

Eze 28:11  Again the word of the LORD came to me saying,

Eze 28:12  "Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

Eze 28:13  "You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created They were prepared.

Eze 28:14  "You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.

Eze 28:15  "You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created Until unrighteousness was found in you.

Eze 28:16  "By the abundance of your trade You were internally filled with violence, And you sinned; Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the stones of fire.

Eze 28:17  "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, That they may see you.

Eze 28:18  "By the multitude of your iniquities, In the unrighteousness of your trade You profaned your sanctuaries. Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; It has consumed you, And I have turned you to ashes on the earth In the eyes of all who see you.

Eze 28:19  "All who know you among the peoples Are appalled at you; You have become terrified And you will cease to be forever."'"

 

It is very clear that this Scripture is comparing the king of Tyre to Adam in Paradise.  The king of Tyre was created sinless, just like Adam was, but he sinned because of the abundance of his trade and therefore was found unrighteous.  Now… put yourself in Abraham’s shoes and look to heaven and exclaim… “Yes, God, you have chosen me and I believe, therefore I will not obey you and go to the place (Mt. Moriah) that you will show me and offer Isaac because I believe that you will save us anyway, and neither of us can contribute one whit.”  Is this the faith that is credited to Abraham as righteousness?  Abraham could not save himself by meritorious works, but he had to obey God in faith in order to receive the gift (Isaac being spared).  Abraham had already sacrificed Isaac to God (in his heart), and God credited this work of faith as righteousness.  Abraham had obedient faith.  You cannot take Paul’s discussion of this and interpret it apart from James’ discussion and the original account in Genesis.  Abraham believed God, not believed in God.  I believe God when He says I am dead in sin but can be saved by His grace through “the faith”, so I did what He commanded for salvation, and I want to continue do what He commanded so that I will not lose my salvation.  I believe God when He says that I must repent of my sins in order for Him to remember them no more, so I obey.  I believe God when He says that I must not be ashamed of Jesus, but confess Him before men, so I obey.  I believe God when He says that I must be immersed in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, for the forgiveness of sins, so I obeyed.  I believe God when He says I must remain faithful until death in order to receive the crown of life, so I will continue to obey.  That is not pride, it is my humble response because I desire to receive that which I cannot obtain on my own.  It is prideful when we dictate to God the terms upon which He will save us.

 

 

            MAT 18:3 and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”  MAT 19:14 But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."   I assume that the conclusion here is that children who have not reached a certain age (popularly the “age of accountability”) are sinless.  I have raised four children, and experience has given me far more support for the doctrine of total depravity than for the notion that children are sinless.  What about you?  More on this under II Sam. 12:23 below.

 

Mat 18:1  At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

Mat 18:2  And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

Mat 18:3  And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Mat 18:4  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

 

So in other words your experience with your children overrides God’s Word?  That is a pretty bold supposition.  You believe all children are born evil, depraved and lost.  Now tell me… where is there love, goodness, mercy, justice, righteousness, in a God who would allow a child to be born and die one day later to be condemned to hell for sin because He arbitrarily did not elect him?  There must be consistency in the attributes of God or else He cannot be righteous.  Actually the “age of accountability” is not considered popular because it is believed among the “few” that will find the way.  I am curious to know, how did you know the mind of your children when they were infants or very young?  Were they aware of right and wrong, choosing wrong and therefore acting in rebellion against God?  Maybe according to your extra sensory perception but not according to the Scriptures.  Children may not be born perfect but they are born innocent.  When we reach the age that we know right from wrong we must be “converted”… this parallels being “born again”.  Of course I cannot turn back time any more than I can re-enter my mother’s womb.  Both terms however, are figures for a new life in Christ… returning to pristine… justified.  Jesus told Nicodemus that we must be “born again” and here He tells us we must be “converted” or “born again”.  Indeed this Scripture shows us that children are not totally depraved… otherwise why would the kingdom of heaven belong to such as these?  Consider how Jesus sums up the discussion with the latter part of the verse… “ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Instead of questioning who will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, we had better be questioning whether we will get in at all.

 

 

            ECC 7:29  "Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices."  God did make man upright, sinless.  That would be Adam.

 

God made men (plural) upright which means “straight or right and innocent before God”.  Adam is only one man.  But “they” (again plural) sought out many devices (things to make us happier or things that are sinful).  Men are initially made right but at some point in time becoming sinful, however, not born sinful.  “Men” and “they” equals “mankind”… not Adam.  (OOPS!)

 

 

            2SA 12:23  "But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me."  David does not say how he knows this to be true, but perhaps he was aware of the principle behind 1CO 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.”  When you put these two verses together it seems that young children are saved or unsaved in some fashion based on the faith of their parent(s).  How can I square this with the need for faith in Christ?  I cannot say I fully understand this concept.  Perhaps God does not allow non-elect children of believers to die at an early age and the same for elect children of unbelievers.  Regardless, I am unwilling to take this one statement by David and use it to paper over a large number of verses which support the doctrine of total depravity.  I will try to give you some of those verses in a section below entitled BEFORE SALVATION.

 

You sure do seem to go to extreme philosophical lengths to avoid an obvious conclusion.  David knew his infant son was with God because his infant son had no sin to separate him from God.  Isaiah shows us that we arrive at a point where we know to refuse evil and choose good…

Isa 7:16  For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

Isa 7:17  The LORD shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon thy father's house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; even the king of Assyria.

 

What about these “little ones” and “your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil”?

Deu 1:39  Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.

 

Everyone that lives long enough will arrive at a point in age where they do know good from evil and at such time will choose evil (sin).  David knew these things from God’s Word and he relied on this in his statement.  There is no room for “perhaps” when understanding Scripture… especially Scripture that deals with our salvation.  There is truth and we can know the truth and we do know the truth in this Scripture.  Now let’s consider 1 Corinthians 7:14 in context and see if I can help you understand the false concept you have…

1Co 7:10  And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:

1Co 7:11  But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

1Co 7:12  But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

1Co 7:13  And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

1Co 7:14  For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

1Co 7:15  But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

1Co 7:16  For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

 

Paul is answering a possible thought of some that might suggest that because the husband or wife is unbelieving that it not sufficient enough reason for the believing one to leave the other.  To sanctify is to “set apart” or to “separate to a sacred use or relation” and I cannot see in anyway that this means internal sanctification or salvation, because it would contradict what Paul later says in verse 16.  Paul is using this term to explain that the believing husband or wife might have a sanctifying influence (by example) on the unbelieving other.  It is extremely clear that there is no way to know if the believing will save the unbelieving.  In reference to “else were your children unclean;” would indicate to me that if their marriage was not legitimate then the children would be unclean or illegitimate.  Consider the following Scripture…

Neh 13:22  And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy.

Neh 13:23  In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab:

Neh 13:24  And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people.

Neh 13:25  And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves.

 

Nehemiah commanded the Jewish men to separate from their wives because they were unclean.  Notice he also commanded them to sanctify the Sabbath day.  Consider what else Paul says…

1Ti 4:4  For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:

1Ti 4:5  For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

 

Even food is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer.  Now maybe you can understand why you did not understand your concept, since it was not a true concept to begin with.  So in light of your false concept, maybe you can put this statement by David on paper now.  Furthermore, you will not be able to square this with “faith in Christ” because what you really need is “the faith of Christ”. 

 

You did skip a few verses on the outline in this section on “total depravity”…

Jam 1:12  Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Jam 1:13  Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.

Jam 1:14  But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.

Jam 1:15  Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

 

I think this Scripture shows us a couple of things that would not agree with your doctrine.  Notice “for once he has been approved” in verse 12… if we are individually chosen before time then are we not already approved?  Next we notice clearly that we bring sin on ourselves rather than being born in sin.  It is when “lust” (better understood as the principle of a corrupt nature) is conceived, sin enters into us.

 

 

            If we inherit sins, then whose sins did Adam inherit?

            Now this sounds like a flippant question.  All you have to do is look at Genesis 3 to see that Adam created his own sin.  God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  They were without sin at that time.  They were under what has long been called the Covenant of Works.  The concept is simple.  God told them what they should not do.  As long as they obeyed, everything was OK.  When they disobeyed, they were marked for death.  Satan deceived Eve, tricked her into eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Nowhere does it say that Adam was deceived.  Rather, he made the conscious, knowing decision to sin.  This is later referred to in Romans 5 as sinning “in the likeness of Adam.”  Now, if there is a problem with the doctrine of original sin, you need to read Romans 5 carefully. 

 

Why is this question “flippant”… because it nails the point intended?  God is no respecter of persons Mr. Calvin, and Adam was just like all men are today.  Where does the term “covenant of works” appear in Genesis?  It may have been called this by men for a long time, but it was not called this by God in His word.  Adam and Eve were under the same circumstances as we are, the Word of God.  How did they know what to do and from what to abstain?  How did Cain and Abel know about sacrifices… by faith…

Heb 11:4  By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

 

And we know that faith comes by hearing God’s Word…

Rom 10:17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

 

God told them, just as He always has and always will.  You defeat your own argument by acknowledging that “sinning in the likeness of Adam” is deliberately choosing to sin.  By Adam’s free will, he gained knowledge of good and evil and the consequences come down to us.  What was the forbidden tree?  It was the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”.  Prior to a person’s knowledge of good and evil, there can be no sin. 

 

I have pulled out a few verses here:  ROM 5:12  Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned….

ROM 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. ROM 5:15  But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.

ROM 5:17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

ROM 5:18 ¶ So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.

ROM 5:19 For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

There is an interesting clue here about what is going one, and it introduces a doctrine known as federalism.  It is in Rom. 5:14  “Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come”  As you can see from the contrast between the sin/transgression of the one and the righteousness of the One, the fact that Adam was acting as our federal head when he sinned thereby visiting his sin on his offspring, so Jesus was acting as our federal head when He lived righteously, thereby giving His offspring an inheritance of righteousness before God.  In similar fashion children benefit from or suffer for (in an earthly sense) the righteousness or sins of their earthly fathers.  This Scriptural principle applies in all authority relationships, marriage, government, even employment (the modern day equivalent of master/slave.)  I might not like or even fully understand this doctrine of original sin, but the Bible says it pretty clearly.

 

Adam is the “firstborn of creation” and Christ is the “firstborn of re-creation”…

Col 1:18  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

 

Adam is the progenitor of the human race, Christ is the progenitor of the saved.  Adam brought sin and death, Christ brought forgiveness and eternal life.  Adam’s bride was taken from his side as he slept while Christ’s bride (the church) was figuratively taken from His side (from where His blood flowed) during His sleep in the tomb.  Satan deceived and seduced the bride of Adam, and Satan deceives and seduces the bride of Christ into apostasy.  Adam is unto death, Christ is unto life.  Thus Adam is a “type” of Christ.  The righteousness of God is revealed not in the fall of mankind into sin and death, but in the remedy God has provided in Christ.  We can not find this righteousness in original sin, inherited sin, or total depravity.  Paul is not teaching that we inherited sin but rather that sin and death came through Adam, just as God promised it would.  Paul is showing us that God is not unfair to allow sin and death through Adam when we factor in Christ.  Paul summarized this Scripture in Romans when he made the following statement to the Corinthians…

1Co 15:22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

 

So can you tell me now whose sins did Adam inherit, and the angels… and Jesus… and what about the Virgin Mary?  That’s right… no one’s… neither do we.  Yes, we sin “in the likeness of Adam” but he was not born of sin; he created his own sin and was made aware of sin by his conscious, so are we, “in the likeness of Adam”.  We are not born of sin but rather create our own sin and are made conscious of it by the Word of God.  I agree that because Adam sinned we also will sin, but only when we understand what sin is.  Death reigned because this was the consequence of Adam’s sin… and you should note clearly that “even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam” would indicate that there were some who had not sinned, thus they could not have been born in sin.  These people would suffer death but some had not sinned.  Children may  suffer physical death, whether they sin or not, just as we all will suffer physical death regardless, but those not responsible (infants, children not reaching the age of accountability, mentally incapable, etc.) will not suffer spiritual death.  Nowhere in the above Scripture does it say that we are born sinful.  The condemnation is death, not sin, to ALL Adam’s race.  In the same way as Adam condemned us to death, we have someone who can bring us to life, and that is Jesus Christ.  The atonement of Christ provides conditions for the forgiveness of ALL sins.  Furthermore… in verse 19 we can clearly see that “many” were made sinners… not all, but “many”, which would indicate that those that are able to sin will indeed sin.  We will sin once we are responsible enough to sin because of Adam’s sin and we will all physically die as a result of Adam’s sin, but we are righteous because of the obedience of Christ until we do sin, and then if we meet the conditions set forth by God to die to those sins we can receive forgiveness of those sin.  Now I am very curious, how can the Bible say this “pretty clearly”, yet you not “fully understand” it?  That is an oxymoron isn’t it?  Your comment reminds me of the beginning of an ole oxymoron saying I memorized when I was a kid that has stayed with me ever since… “I come before you and stand behind you to tell you a story I know nothing about.”  Obviously if you do not fully understand it then the Bible is not all that clear to you.  I think what might actually be the problem with your not liking or understanding the doctrine of original sin is because the Scriptures do not support it.  In order to use these verses you are using to support “total depravity”, you will have to be consistent and follow through, but you cannot do this for obvious reasons.  If we inherited “sin” from Adam, then by the same reasoning and interpretation method that you use, we inherit “sinlessness” from Christ.  I believe both of us will agree this cannot be true.

 

 

BEFORE SALVATION

ROM 5:6-10  For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”  Before we were saved we were “helpless,” “sinners,” and “enemies.”  We could not move from that point to children of God on our own initiative or effort because:

EPH 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,” and a dead person cannot help himself.

 

Surely you do not expect me to believe that “dead” in this verse means physically dead.  This is spiritual death which means being separated from God.  These verses do not support that we are born sinful.  I have already agreed that we will all sin at some point of responsibility, but I not any of the Scripture you have presented proves we are born sinful.  When we do become dead in our sin we can be made alive by dying to sin and the instructions are laid out for us in Romans chapter 6… where we learn all about dying to sin and being baptized to a new life in the likeness of Christ.  There is no doubt we are totally helpless in sin and we cannot accomplish salvation on our own merit or power.  We must have Christ.  Scripture that teaches us we are “dead” in sin (and again this obviously means spiritually dead), does not negate the overwhelming call of the Lord to obedience in faith.  By your same logic… your dead person would be incapable of “hearing”, incapable of formulating a thought, therefore incapable of “faith”.

 

Jesus did not want his followers to be totally depraved.  Little babies are pure and innocent… as discussed previously…

Mat 18:3  And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

 

How can we be born and immediately our mind does wicked works?  The following would not make sense…

Isa 7:14  Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isa 7:15  Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.

Isa 7:16  For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

 

Col 1:21  And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

 

God said that “the imagination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth”.  If a man’s heart becomes evil in youth, then it must be pure before youth… God did not say “evil from his birth”…

Gen 8:21  And the LORD smelled a sweet saviour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

 

I believe John Calvin relied too heavily on Augustine and other church fathers for his doctrine of total depravity than he did the Scriptures.  You have only given me verses that show we are sinners before we are saved, not when we are born.  I have given you verses that show we are not born sinful.  Hopefully you will agree that we are indeed NOT born sinful.  I believe you will have to call Jesus a liar to believe anything differently or claim that we can not understand the Scripture, as is a popular belief among many Calvinists followers.

 

 

Unconditional Election

          1PE 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.  These words are used by opponents of the doctrine of election to negate other Scripture and the obvious meaning of the words.  In order to see this it is important to see what other passages say about foreknowledge, or more particularly, knowledge.

 

God foreknew who the chosen would be, who would obey Jesus Christ (the gospel).  They were sanctified (set apart) by the Spirit (through God’s Word) because they obeyed the gospel.  This is not unconditional.  I have already discussed this “chosen” meaning that your doctrine claims.  I hope you are past this by now, but in case you are not I will reply to your comments unless I have already addressed them previously.

 

          MAT 7:21-23 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.  "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'”  Clearly Jesus is not saying that God did not know who they were.  He was saying that God did not know them on a different level, a level that equates with the Old Testament concept of “yada,” a special intimate knowledge often used in terms of the marriage relationship where a husband “knows” his wife in the most intimate way.

 

I am not reading this verse in that Jesus is saying God does not know them… obviously God’s knows them.  I explained it previously but again, there is no unconditional election here.  Those who do the will of the father will enter the kingdom of heaven.  The will of the father is to obey the gospel… as explained previously with several passages.  To reiterate in the same way Jesus does in the later verses… they did not “doeththe will of the father, therefore they will not enter heaven.  There is something we have to do to enter the kingdom of heaven, therefore there are conditions we must meet.  It says it right there in the Scripture… you should consider accepting what it really says.  Consider again who will be lost…

2Th 1:8  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

2Th 1:9  Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

 

Clearly it is those that “know not God, and that obey not the gospel”.  Now why do they not know God…

1Jo 2:3  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

1Jo 2:4  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

 

How is this intimate relationship formed…

Joh 14:23  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

 

When I love Jesus enough to obey His word He and God will make Their “abode” with me.  Those who are condemned may know enough to call Jesus “Lord, Lord”, but they never entered the covenant relationship through loving obedience in faith.  You are going to have to contort, distort, and ignore Scripture, which is what you are doing with your doctrine, to rely upon this Scripture to teach unconditional election.  Let me ask you… who is the “wise builder”?  The one God predestined as the so-called “elect”?  Nope!  It is the one who hears and does what Jesus says.  The way is open, yet “strait”.  Jesus did not teach that the gate is narrow and God excludes most… but rather few choose to enter (“few there be that find it”).  We have to “find it” Mr. Calvin.

 

Similarly Jesus used the same concept of knowledge in an exchange with His critics in JOH 8:19 And so they were saying to Him, "Where is Your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither Me, nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also."”  He said that they did not know Him, even though they knew who He was, who His parents were, where He was from, what He was teaching, etc.  Nevertheless, they did not know Him in this special, intimate way that they would if they were saved.  God knew His people that way before the world was created, and we come to know Him in that way after we have been saved.  So to say that God foreknew His people before the world was created does not at all mean that He knew what they were going to choose and acquiesced in their choice.  More later.

 

Mr. Calvin… this passage does not say anywhere nor does it indicate anywhere that God does not foreknow what choice we will make.  I know you do not doubt His omniscience, so you must be saying that He knows what we will choose but simply does not have to consent or submit to our choice.  So you admit that we do have a choice… and you admit it again later.  Anyway… this passage has nothing to do with unconditional election… you are really wrestling with this Scripture.  Jesus is simply answering the scribes and Pharisees here.  Jesus said they did not know Him or God… He did not say He did not know them, and surely they were not casting out demons in His name, prophesying in His name, or performing miracles.  We cannot arrive at your conclusion from the context of this Scripture and it has nothing to do with Matthew 7:21.  We do learn something later though after Jesus continued with His teaching…

Joh 8:30  As he spake these words, many believed on him.

Joh 8:31  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

Joh 8:32  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

 

They believed but they had to do something to truly be His disciples… they had to “continue” in His word.  I also believe we can not make the point any clearer on how we know that we know Him…

1Jo 2:3  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

1Jo 2:4  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

1Jo 2:5  But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

 

Otherwise… I could not know God and He not know me (your doctrines “elect”).  This theology would directly contradict several verses, but mainly…

Joh 14:23  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

 

The standard for judgment is that I know God, which is eternal life…

2Th 1:8  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

 

Joh 17:3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

 

Consider the Greek word “meno”… which means “abide”, “remain”, dwell”, “continue”.  We see it in the noun form in “rooms”, “dwelling places”, “abiding places”, and poorly translated as “mansions”.  Now consider John 14:2 in various translations…

Joh 14:2  In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

 

Joh 14:2  In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

 

Joh 14:2  "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.

 

Now verse 23 again…

Joh 14:23  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

 

Jesus clearly said He and God will make Their “abode” with the one who “continue” to love Them and obey God’s Word.  Continue in this thought as you read the following passages…

Joh 15:4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

 

Joh 15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

 

Joh 15:6  If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

 

Joh 15:7  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

 

Joh 15:10  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

 

1Jo 2:6  He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

 

1Jo 2:14  I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

 

1Jo 2:17  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

 

1Jo 2:24  Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.

 

1Jo 2:27  But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

 

1Jo 3:6  Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

 

1Jo 3:24  And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

 

2Jo 1:9  Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

 

Also consider the combination verb “hupomeno” which means literally “to remain under” and is translated “perseverance”…

Rom 5:3  And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;

 

You see… the faithful Christian will remain (abide) in Christ and remain even under trial and tribulation… he will persevere.  Where is the trial if you can not possibly fail to remain under?  Consider all the above Scripture Mr. Calvin…it absolutely nails the lid shut on “once saved always saved” or should I say “perseverance of the saints” per your doctrine’s definition of the same.

   

 

            JOH 17:17 "Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.  I’m not sure how this verse advances the argument against election or shows that God only “chooses” us after He knows ahead of time that we will choose Him.  This verse indicates that Gods in the process of conforming believers to the likeness of Christ by the use of His word.

 

I am not sure where you get the idea that anyone has indicated that God only “chooses” us after He knows ahead of time that we will choose Him.  God is all-knowing, therefore, He must know what choices we will make in our life.  God plan of salvation is that those who “doeth” His will and obey the gospel will be saved.  He knows who will “doeth” His will because He is all-knowing.  Anyway, this passage is referring to the apostles… which He sent into the world to preach the gospel… and there is more to be learned here as well…

Joh 17:1  These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

Joh 17:2  As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

Joh 17:3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Joh 17:4  I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

Joh 17:5  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

Joh 17:6  I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

Joh 17:7  Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.

Joh 17:8  For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

Joh 17:9  I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

Joh 17:10  And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

Joh 17:11  And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

Joh 17:12  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

Joh 17:13  And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

Joh 17:14  I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Joh 17:15  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

Joh 17:16  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Joh 17:17  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Joh 17:18  As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

Joh 17:19  And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

 

God gave Jesus power or authority over “all flesh” (all mankind).  He therefore has the authority to give eternal life.  Jesus explains what eternal life is… “that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”  By the authority given to Him, Jesus chose the apostles and presented the truth (God’s Word) to them and they kept it… “and they have kept thy word”… as well as they “believed”.  Jesus kept hold of all of apostles that God granted Him, except of course, “the son of perdition” (Judas), who lost his salvation because of his sin.  He is asking God to set them apart through the truth.  In the same way, by the Word of God (the truth) we can be set apart, and it is not because He has already elected to set us apart, but because we believe (obey the gospel) and keep His word, this is how we “know” Him… we have kept His commandments. 

 

I think your interpretation method actually violates the “truth”.  Considering John 17:17… also consider…

Psa 119:160  Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

Psa 119:160  The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.

 

The “sum of Your word is truth” and consider also…

Act 20:27  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

 

Act 20:27  "For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.

 

You cannot be dismissive of complimentary and supplementary Scripture any more that you can accept “seemingly contradictory” Scripture. 

 

Follow me through this thread if you will… 

 

We are set apart by God’s Word...

Joh 17:17  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

 

…which we can know, and that “word” which is “truth”, can make us free…

Joh 8:32  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

 

Faith comes by hearing that “word”…

Rom 10:17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

 

…and we purify ourselves and are born again by obeying that “word”…

1Pe 1:22  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

1Pe 1:23  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

 

Mat 7:24  Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

 

If we love God and continue in His “word” we are indeed His…

Joh 8:31  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

 

If we love Jesus we will keep His “words” and He and God will make Their “abode” with us…

Joh 14:23  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

 

We can be certain that we know God by obedience to His “word”…

1Jo 2:3  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

 

…but we are liars and the “truth” is not in us if we claim to know Him without obedience to Him…

1Jo 2:4  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

 

We may do “religious things” and have an outward appearance of religion and speak “religious words”…

Mat 7:22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

 

…but if we do not do His will then He will not claim us…

Mat 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

 

Mat 7:23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

 

Mat 7:26  And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

 

…because we have denied Him by being ashamed of His “words”…

Luk 9:23  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Luk 9:24  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

Luk 9:25  For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?

Luk 9:26  For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.

 

When Christ returns, flaming fire of judgment will come upon all who do not know Him and who have not obeyed the gospel…

2Th 1:8  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

2Th 1:9  Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

 

Because of His foreknowledge and omniscience, God knew that the sacrifice of Jesus would not be in vain for the few who would be sanctified by the truth…

Eph 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Eph 1:4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Eph 1:5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Eph 1:6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Eph 1:7  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Eph 1:8  Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

Eph 1:9  Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

Eph 1:10  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

Eph 1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Eph 1:12  That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

Eph 1:13  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

 

1Pe 1:18  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

1Pe 1:19  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

1Pe 1:20  Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

1Pe 1:21  Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

1Pe 1:22  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

1Pe 1:23  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

 

Now you can wrestle with Scripture all day long but you will not find any Scripture that will contradict this “thread” if you properly take them into context and view them in light of ALL Scripture. 

 

 

            HEB 5:8-10 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.”  The idea advanced by this verse is that only those who obey Jesus by obeying all the things He has said are saved.  However, this reading causes the statement to be self-contradictory.  How is He the source of their salvation if it is their obedience which saves them?  The only reading which makes sense is that their obedience is believing in Him and trusting in Him for their salvation.  You can’t have it both ways.  Either salvation is through obedience or it is by grace.  Scripture is clear on this point as well.  Consider what it says in ROM 10:1-5 Brethren, my heart is desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness.”  The implication is clear and clearly stated in other Scripture already cited that one who seeks to be saved by his own works and fails is doomed by that practice.  This passage in Romans goes on to say in ROM 10:8-13 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart"-- that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him; for "Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved."  Belief is the key to salvation according to this verse.

 

I discussed these verses in the beginning of this discussion and I believe it is clear how I explained it.  I also explained how you missed on this point.  You are choosing to ignore that we must “confess”, which you seem to indicate earlier is necessary.  Then later you said all we have is the “need”.  Now you say we need to believe.  Are you really sure what we need to do Mr. Calvin?  We receive grace through obeying the gospel.  Part of obeying is faith… faith is from us… grace is from God.  Christ is the “author” (from Manuscripts) of salvation and the fact that we have to obey the gospel does not eliminate Him being the “author”.  Now, you say that the only way to read this verse is that “their obedience is believing in Him and trusting in Him for their salvation.”  I thought you said we could not have it both ways.  Believing is part of our obedience, you just stated so.  Does God save those who do not obey the gospel?

2Th 1:8  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

 

I think I might understand now why you state we can not fully understand some things.  It would have to be true that we could not understand a lot of Scripture if your doctrine was accurate.  No doubt we would have to ignore a lot of Scripture.

 

            HEB 10:19-22 Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”  This verse stops short of saying that baptism is necessary for salvation.  Many Christians hold to the doctrine of believer baptism or as Charles Stanley has stated it, that baptism is the first act of obedience for someone who has been saved.  That does not say that we are saved if we are baptized.

 

I would believe that this clearly indicates that our heart is cleansed by the blood of Christ and our body is sanctified by water baptism and is further supported by the following Scripture…

Heb 10:10  By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

 

Heb 10:22  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

 

We are set apart through the blood of Christ and our sins are forgiven by the washing of our bodies.  We must be washed (baptized) with water…

Act 22:16  And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

 

Tit 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

 

We believe and repent because of the preaching of the gospel.  The Holy Spirit works through the Word of God and renews us, but does not compel us to believe and repent.  Salvation is then promised after being baptized by water…

Rom 6:1  What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

Rom 6:2  God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Rom 6:3  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Rom 6:4  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Rom 6:5  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

 

We are baptized into death with Him by being immersed into water, then we are raised (emersed) into a newness of life by being raised up out of the water.  We are planted together in the likeness of his death and will also be in the likeness of His resurrection, both through water baptism.  I will discuss this in much greater detail later.  However, I would like for you to show me where in Scripture that baptism is the first act of obedience for someone who has been saved.  You cannot show me because it is not found anywhere in the Bible.  The ole saying that was created by man… “Baptism is an outward sign of an inward change.” (or something to that affect) is of human philosophy and unscriptural.  You cannot find it in the Bible.  You would have to wrestle with the Scriptures to get any Scripture to mean this.

 

 

            1CO 2:7 but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory;

 

The gospel of Christ was ordained by God before the beginning. 

 

            ACT 4:26-28 'The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against His Christ.' "For truly in this city there were gathered together against Thy holy servant Jesus, whom Thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Thy hand and Thy purpose predestined to occur.”

          These verses indicate that God had the purpose of delivering up Jesus for our sins before the world was created, a truth that is made clear in many other verses.  It is important to note that God predestined and He did whatever His hand and His purpose predestined.

 

I agree that He has a perfect plan and that plan included sending His only begotten Son for those that would accept and obey the gospel, which is offered to everyone.  His plan is for everyone that will be in Christ… to “the called” or the “church”.  To be in the body of Christ (the church) we must obey the gospel.  The church is predestined… not individuals.

 

            ROM 8:28-30 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

          The promise of Rom. 8:28 is for those who love God, (1JO 4:19 We love, because He first loved us.) those who are called according to His purpose.  Does this sound in any way that God is simply sitting back and reacting, leaving everything to His flawed creatures?  Does His eternal and supreme glory really depend on people like this?  GEN 6:5  Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

 

I explained Romans 8:28-39 in context previously… if you read it then you should be questioning your own comments here.  Consider what “His purpose” is and what happened when He saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth.  It should come together for you by now… if not, it definitely should as you keep reading.

 

 

            EPH 1:3-12  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fulness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.”  Now can you really read this passage and come away with the idea that it was really our idea to be saved and that God was just responding to our choice?  All of the actions mentioned in this passage are God’s.  When he writes about us it is in the passive voice – “we obtained an inheritance, having been predestined….”  Read it again.  It was His purpose, His will, His intention.  He blessed us, He chose us, He bestowed grace on us, He made it known to us, He predestined us, He works all things after His will.  The praise goes to Him.  The glory is His.”  If He was simply reacting to our choice, the Scripture would lie when it says that He chose us.  It would not then be His will, but ours.  It would Not be His will, His intention, His purpose, but ours.  Instead of saying what it actually says, it would have to say this, “He works all things after the counsel of OUR will.  But it doesn’t say that.  That reading is a misrepresentation and a distortion of what Scripture says.

 

Do you even realize what “the counsel of God’s will” is?  I don’t think you do… let’s consider this Scripture closely so we can understand what Paul is saying…

Eph 1:1  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

Eph 1:2  Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Eph 1:4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Eph 1:5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Eph 1:6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Eph 1:7  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Eph 1:8  Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

Eph 1:9  Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

Eph 1:10  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

Eph 1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Eph 1:12  to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.

 

Paul is clearly speaking to all those who are in the body of the church… who are “in Christ”.  Is not “us” the “church” which God has done all these things for?  In verse 4 we read that “he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world”.  The key words are “in him”… he has “chosen us in him”.  Clearly we have to be “in him” (in Christ) to be “chosen” and again I ask… how do get “in Christ”.  That’s right… ultimately through baptism.  In verses 5 we read He “predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself”.  Clearly He predestined “us” who are “chosen” and the “chosen” are “in Christ”.  This does not prove God chose some individuals and rejected others, but that before the world was created, before there was Jew or Gentile, God chose to have a people for Himself.  This is the whole church of Christ (the church belonging to Christ), a covenant of people confined to no one earthly race.  Notice also that we are “holy and without blame”… holiness is the proof that a church is a chosen church.  This whole line of argument is general instead of particular Mr. Calvin.  God foreordained a church which should be composed of those adopted as His children.  The act of predestination is because of God’s sovereign will.  The end is that His grace in adopting us as children may return to His praise and glory.  Notice in verse 11 Paul clarifies what we as Christians have, “we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him that worketh all things”.  What would God’s “purpose” be in verse 11?  Consider…

Rom 6:17  But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

 

God has designated that all who will conform to His plan of redeeming man of his sin, can have the spiritual blessings that come in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3).  Keep in mind here that Paul is speaking to Christians about the very nature of salvation.

 

The Scriptures teach us that before the foundation of the world, God purposed that a particular group would constitute the “saved” of His people.  Anyone that comes to Christ on His terms is “foreordained” before the foundation of the world because God placed salvation in this distinctive group.  God predestined or predetermined that in order to be saved you must be “in Christ”.  Those of us who are “in Christ” make up the body of Christ which is “the church”…

Eph 1:22  And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

Eph 1:23  Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

 

Christ is the Savior and head of the church…

Eph 5:23  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Eph 5:24  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Eph 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Eph 5:26  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Eph 5:27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

 

If God just arbitrarily chooses to save some that may be even more wicked than you or me, but he does not save me, how could that be showing the love of God?  With your doctrine the ones that God chooses to be saved will be saved regardless of what they want.  Scripture teaches us that in order to be saved we must come to Christ on our own free will.  Consider this very gracious invitation…

Mat 11:28  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Mat 11:29  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Mat 11:30  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

 

God does have an influence on us, but it is through His word, through the Scriptures, that He influences us.  He does not force us have faith in what we hear, He gives us the opportunity to have faith.  Some do not obey the gospel after hearing, but clearly faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God…

Rom 10:16  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

Rom 10:17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

 

We have a choice to listen to what the Scriptures tell us or we can ignore them… thus, we can reject God and His Spirit, if we choose to do so.  Consider also that Jesus said that His words will give us life…

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

 

James said the word is able to save our souls…

Jam 1:21  Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

 

My obedience to God and His commandments does not eliminate giving Him all the praise and glory… quite the contrary… by not obeying His commandments and His will we dishonor Him.  The Word of God says that your doctrine dishonors Him and takes away His praise and glory because it does not follow that form of doctrine that was delivered by Jesus and the apostles.  Your doctrine dishonors Him because it does not teach that we must do the will of God and obey the gospel.  Who is it that is not giving God the praise and glory He deserves?  I am following the Word of God… you are following John Calvin’s doctrine (or part of it anyway).

 

 

God wants all men to be saved

          2PE 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”  Notice that Peter says that God is patient toward you.  It is certainly a fair inference that He does not want any [of you] to perish, but for all [of you] to come to repentance.

 

I discussed this in detail above… your reasoning here would not make sense for your own doctrine.  You might scroll back up and read what I wrote again.  You probably remember though (why would Peter be worried about your so-called “elect” perishing???  Now that would be impossible, right?)… remember now???  We should not come to a conclusion on Scripture based on fairness… we come to a conclusion based on truth, and on faith, which involves evidence, and we should consider the harmony of the Scriptures as well.

 

            MAT 11:28-30  "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."”  This verse reports a wonderful promise, but it does not say that it is God’s desire, plan, purpose or will for all men to be saved.  What Jesus says in the verse before these is interesting.  MAT 11:27  "All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”  If all things had been handed over to Jesus by God, what about one of the most important things, salvation of the elect?

 

It is a gracious invitation to “all who are weary and heavy-laden” and it clearly shows the willingness of the Lord, you would have to agree… and we already know that God “desires all men to be saved”…

1Ti 2:3  This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,

1Ti 2:4  who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

1Ti 2:5  For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

1Ti 2:6  who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.

 

Scripture consistently represents that it is God’s divine will that all men should be saved but He will not save those that are ignorant to His conditions of salvation.  We must come to the knowledge of the truth by hearing, receiving, and obeying the gospel.  Clearly Jesus is the ransom for “all”.  There is no such thing as your so-called “elect”… not by your definition, so your question cannot be answered scripturally.  "All things" were handed over to Jesus…the gospel, salvation, judgment, the rule of heaven and earth… they are all under His feet.  I have shown other verses supporting this.  Those who “know” Christ by humble obedience learn to know God as well.  If we obey then Christ will reveal us to the Father.  What about those important things? 

 

 

            REV 22:17The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.  Same comment as the passage above.

 

Rev 22:17  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

 

I believe this is another gracious invitation… “whosoever will”.  We obviously have the free will to do so and it is offered to whoever will come, not whosoever God forces to come.

 

 

            1TI 2:3-4 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  One possible meaning of this verse is that God does not desire (or enjoy) the fact that some men are condemned, but it is necessary.  The judge does not enjoy sending people to jail, but that is just how it is.

 

I covered this pretty well previously and you left out verses 5-6… verse 6 is important.  Besides… the passage does not say what you want it say, although to support your doctrine it would almost have to say what you state… but the fact remains, it does not say what you state.  It says what it says.  God clearly wants us “to come to the knowledge of the truth” so let’s try not to have “possible” meanings, but instead, “true” meanings.  Now that I notice it… it’s ironic how the verse ends and your very first words are “One possible meaning of this verse…”   Now that’s amusing.

 

Another possible reading is that it means that God desires all [kinds of] men to be saved.  The reason I believe that is because otherwise it would contradict with other verses including 1PE 2:7-8 This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, "The stone which the builders rejected, This became the very corner stone," and, "A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense"; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.”

 

I am not sure what you are assuming here.  That some are chosen to be doomed maybe?  This is not what the Scripture says.  You are trying to get two different meanings and neither is right.  You also attempt to contradict that it actually says what it says with another passage that no where says anything evenly remotely close to the opposite.  Why not just accept what it says instead of trying to explain it away?  Clearly in 1 Peter 2:7-8, doom is the result of their disobedience to the word.  Clearly doom is God’s appointment to the disobedient.  Stumbling is their condition… when they reject Christ they stumble and God has made a place for those that disobey the gospel.  In a sense I suppose you could say that “some” are destined for damnation… those “some” being the ones who choose to disobey the gospel.  Furthermore, “[kinds of]” is simply not in the Manuscripts.  It clearly reads “all men”.  You cannot explain this one away… I have shown too many other supporting Scripture.  It is also clear what happens to those “that obey not the gospel”…

2Th 1:8  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

 

How is it that you have so many possible meanings for Scripture that is so blatantly clear?  I have quoted two different Scriptures so far that clearly show how God desires all men to be saved and wants all to come to Him and yet you have all these “possible” meanings other that what the Scripture actually says.  Now this is what we call distortion and miss-understanding.

 

 

            MAT 23:37  "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.”  Once again this does not say that God wants all men to be saved.  God does not only send His word to save, but also to harden.  ROM 9:17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth." So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”  In specific reference to the prophets, consider God’s charge to Isaiah in ISA 6:9-10 He said, "Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.'  "Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed."

 

I discussed Matthew 23:37 earlier as well as Romans 9:17.  In short, God still wanted Jerusalem to be saved but they rejected.  I think it is clear from my earlier Scripture that God desires all men to be saved, that Christ died for all men, that God so loved the world, and God wants all men to repent, etc., etc.  I do not know how you could otherwise explain this Scripture.  In Isaiah 6:9-10 God is simply telling him to go ahead and preach to the people even though he knew they would not accept the truth.  Sometimes the gospel will affect people in the way He describes here.

 

 

We have a choice

          JOS 24:15  "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

 

How much clearer can it be, “choose for yourselves today whom you will serve”.

 

            DEU 30:19  "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, We do have a choice, but are there any limitations or restrictions on that choice? 

 

GREAT!you finally fully acknowledge that we have a choice.  Now let’s consider this Scripture in context so you can learn the conditions that God gave them…

Deu 30:14  "But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.

Deu 30:15  "See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity;

Deu 30:16  in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it.

Deu 30:17  "But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them,

Deu 30:18  I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it.

Deu 30:19  "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,

Deu 30:20  by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them."

 

They are commanded “to love the LORD”, “walk in His ways”, and “to keep His commandments”, and are warned that if they “will not obey” that they “shall surely perish.”  He urges them to “choose life” by “obeying His voice”.  Here we have the evidence of choice and of conditions they must meet.  How much clearer could it be to understand this?  So to answer your question… YES!  They do indeed have limitations and restrictions.

 

Consider 2TI 2:24-26 The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”  Before we are saved, whose will are we really doing?  Are we really making the choices?  This verse seems to indicate otherwise (along with a number of others.)  And by the way, who delivers us from the snare of Satan?  Do we do it by our own choice? Or does God grant repentance as this verse says?

 

2Ti 2:24  And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

2Ti 2:25  In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

2Ti 2:26  And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

 

Now wait a minute… you just got through fully admitting that we do have a choice… now you are changing your mind again?  Paul is explaining that we should be patient and gentle towards those who might not believe while trying to instruct or teach them the truth.  He is saying perhaps God will allow them the privilege of repentance.  I believe God often grants repentance by providences that lead to repentance.  Maybe if I continue to teach or instruct someone that has a hard heart, they will eventually come around and accept the truth and repent (hint).  Here these people are in the hands of the devil and their only hope is that by the providence of God they might accept the truth and repent.  God’s Word and truth can cause them to repent, although it will not force them to.  Just like God granted the gentiles the privilege of repentance in Acts 11:18, He may “grant” (remember 2 Peter 3:9?) these people the opportunity to repent through the teaching of His word, instead of simply letting the devil keep them (which I surely hope does not happen).  I think the whole hang up here is you think that God grants repentance without any effort on our part.  The problem with this is that we have numerous verses that command us to repent and tell us that if we do not repent we will perish.  You would absolutely be getting into Scripture contradiction if this were true.  I have quoted most all of these to you.  Yes… God does grant or give us repentance but it because we choose to obey His command.  If He determines that our heart is truly repentant then He will grant us that repentance.  Think about it Mr. Calvin… it would not make sense here that these people would need to be instructed with meekness if there had to be no effort on our part.

 

 

            JOH 3:18  "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  Yes, those who reject salvation through faith in Christ have been judged already.  Without other Scripture this statement is circular.  If someone doesn’t believe, he is judged.  He is judged because he did not believe.  The only way out of this logical revolving door which is consistent with Scripture is to add God’s election.

 

No one is born believing, thus we are judged from the beginning.  If we continue in disbelief and disobedience to the gospel then we will continue to be judged and condemned.  Yet, if we believe and obey the gospel, as other Scripture has clearly supported, we will not be condemned.  The revolving door is of human philosophy and un-Biblical.  Did Calvin come up with that one or did you?  We really do not need other Scripture to figure out what this passage says, however, there is clear and plainly understood Scripture that will support this Scripture just in case someone might have trouble understanding it…

Mar 16:16  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

 

 

            You said, “If an individual is predetermined to be saved before they believed, they are predestined to be saved and in a state of condemnation.”  If I understand what that means, my answer would be yes, that is true.  I would go even farther and say that they “are dead in [their] trespasses and sins.”  [Eph 2:1]  Their only hope is the hope of Lazarus, to have someone step in and make them alive again.  EPH 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),”

 

I discussed the dead man earlier when you asked how a dead man could help himself, but let’s take it a little further.  Again, your reasoning would appeal to human philosophy rather than what the Scriptures teach…

Isa 59:1  Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

Isa 59:2  But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

 

Sin causes us to be separated from God, thus causing spiritual death.  However we have a way to overcome this spiritual death by being made alive in Christ.  How are we made alive in Christ?...

Rom 6:16  Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Rom 6:17  But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

Rom 6:18  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

 

They “were the servants of sin”, dead in their sins, spiritually dead.  They could have been like you suggested and claimed “well we are dead and we can not do anything”… but instead they “obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine” and were “made free from sin” and “became servants of righteousness.”  They were made alive in Christ.  What form of doctrine did they obey?  We can see this in the earlier verses…

Rom 6:3  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Rom 6:4  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Rom 6:5  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

Rom 6:6  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

 

We are set free from the old life dominated by sin and given a new life in service to God.  We obey the death, burial, and resurrection by doing what is found in these verses… we obey the gospel.  We know what the gospel is and Paul clarifies it for us in the following verses…

1Co 15:1  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

1Co 15:2  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

1Co 15:3  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures;

1Co 15:4  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures:

 

It is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  Thus we obey the gospel when we are baptized into Christ and it is necessary to avoid God’s vengeance on us as I pointed out before…

2Th 1:8  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

 

In Romans 6:17, Paul said that God is to be thanked for them obeying that form of doctrine because it made them free of sin through the blood of Christ… which we read below…

Joh 1:29  The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

 

Now let’s go back to Ephesians chapter 2.  I think you somehow believe that I believe that we must work our way into heaven by our own merits... or that I believe salvation by works.  So, let’s see what I believe…

Eph 2:1  And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Eph 2:2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Eph 2:3  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Eph 2:4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Eph 2:5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Eph 2:6  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Eph 2:7  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Eph 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Eph 2:9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Eph 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

 

Paul is speaking to Christians here and is explaining the nature of salvation in Christ.  In this Scripture he is not teaching sinners how to be saved, nor is he teaching grace alone.  Grace alone teaches that we have no role in our salvation and this would clearly contradict John 3:16 which says that we must believe, and it would contradict Romans 10:9 which says we must believe and confess, and it would contradict Mark 16:16 when Jesus said that those who believe and are baptized will be saved.  It would contradict a lot of Scripture that I have already explained.  Not to mention not once in the Bible does it say we are saved by “grace alone”.  Grace alone would even cause verse 8 to contradict itself… are we saved by grace alone or faith?  However we could not say that we are saved by faith alone either because this would be basing salvation on our own merit.  We know that faith is from us and grace is from God.  When a gift is given to us we must receive it and open it up to enjoy it.  Salvation is God’s free gift that obviously cannot be earned by our own merit or meritorious works since the wages of sin is death.  Anyone old enough to know right from wrong has sinned.

 

By God’s grace we as sinners can be saved “through faith” or “through the faith”.  Yes, “the” actually comes before “faith” in verse 8 in the oldest Manuscripts.  Scriptural faith is the means by which God’s gift is received and opened by the sinner.  As we study the Scriptures we can determine what “saving faith” is.  The Scriptures fully explain the concepts of “by faith”, “in faith”, and “through faith”, to determine whether we are acting in accordance with God’s will.

 

God has chosen to offer the free gift of salvation (His grace) because of His mercy.  Mercy is not what we really deserve but rather justice is what we deserve.  Grace is getting what we do not deserve.  God loves everyone he created and does not want any of us to perish.  Christians are those who were dead in sin, but whom God has made alive in Christ.

 

As I stated above, Paul is teaching Christians the nature of salvation (by grace, through “the faith”).  He is not teaching the necessity of baptism nor is he dismissing baptism in God’s plan of salvation. It makes sense that he assumes baptism of these saints in Ephesus because these are people that Paul himself taught and baptized (or witnessed their baptism) as we know from Acts chapter 19.  Paul is teaching that God saved us by His amazing grace, “raised us together” in Christ (verse 6).  So what are we raised from?  Paul teaches us in Romans 6:1-18 (as referenced earlier) that we are raised in Christ as a union of grace and obedience in faith, including baptism, which results in the forgiveness of sins.  Similarly, Paul teaches in Colossians the nature of baptism as being “raised through the faith”…

Col 2:6  As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

Col 2:7  Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Col 2:8  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Col 2:9  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

Col 2:10  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Col 2:11  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

Col 2:12  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

 

This result is spiritual and we are born again as a new creature…

2Co 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

 

Thus we walk in a newness of life…

Rom 6:4  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

 

Eph 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

 

Baptism is not a meritorious work resulting in salvation, neither is repentance, nor faith.  I am not earning anything.  However faith is a work of God, just as these other conditions are and we must obey them…

Joh 6:29  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Repentance is a work of God that we must obey…

Luk 3:8  Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

 

It is the changing of my mind that bears fruit in my actions.  While it is not a meritorious work, it is necessary for salvation…

Luk 13:3  I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

 

As I mentioned earlier, Jesus clearly made a statement and condition concerning salvation…

Mar 16:16  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

 

Peter commands the people during the first message of the gospel to call on the name of the Lord…

Act 2:38  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

 

Peter confirms that baptism gives us a good conscience towards God…

1Pe 3:20  Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

1Pe 3:21  The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

 

It is the work of an obedient believer who desires God to wash away his sins…

Act 22:16  And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

 

Clearly Jesus taught us in the gospel of John that we must be born again which includes being born of water (water baptism) and having our spirit inwardly renewed by the Holy Spirit…

Joh 3:3  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Joh 3:4  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

Joh 3:5  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

 

Nicodemus did not understand what Jesus meant when He said “born again” but Nicodemus did understand Him when He said “born of water” because all of the people during those times understood that John the Baptizer was baptizing with water.  Clearly Jesus says we cannot enter the kingdom if we are not “born of water” (baptized by water) and “of the Spirit”, which will happen as a result of water baptism.  I will explain this in detail later on.

 

Is baptism a meritorious work, no it is not.  Am I earning forgiveness of sins, no I am not.  I am simply receiving the promised forgiveness of God’s grace through obedient faith…

Heb 5:9  And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

 

I believe what the Scriptures teach us. 

Man does have a choice…

Joh 5:39  Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Joh 5:40  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

 

 

Limited atonement

            I realize that this is a traditional reformed doctrine, but I am personally persuaded solely on the basis of Scripture that it is not true.  In fact I am persuaded that Christ died for the sins of all men.  In addition I believe that this view does no harm to the doctrine of election and the doctrine of salvation by grace alone.  As a result, I will not spend the time to review this doctrine.

 

I do not know that I would have realized this based on some of your earlier comments.  I do not see how you could have one part of your doctrine without the other, but none the less you say you do not believe it is true.  If I remember correctly, back when I first became a deacon at First Presbyterian, you gave me the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Longer and Shorter Catechisms and Jim gave me the Book of Church Order, or vice-versa.  I believe I was told by both of you that I needed to study this material, which I did.  When I was recently reviewing the Westminster Confession I remembered studying some of it back then too, and it supports limited atonement.  Now, maybe it has been since then that you changed your mind.  At least at this point we are in solid agreement concerning one area of your doctrine.  I have questions though… why would you support a congregation that preaches and teaches this false doctrine?  If nothing else you agree that this part of the doctrine is scripturally false, thus it renders the reformed doctrine false.  Would not those preachers in the Presbyterian Church that teach this be teaching false doctrine?  According to your own admission that it is false, they would have to be teaching false doctrine.  Therefore they would be false teachers.  This is one reason why I am finding it difficult to support a congregation that is divided, or a denomination.  When they start teaching doctrine that was written by men, uninspired men, doctrine that does not follow that form of doctrine which has been delivered to us through the Scriptures, they become false teachers and divide the one and only true church.

 

 

Irresistible grace

          ACT 7:51  "You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.”  Can a person actually resist the Holy Spirit?  If so, how can there be such a thing as “irresistible grace?” 

 

You are gonna have to several “licenses” to make this passage say the following… “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always trying to resist the Holy Spirit, but you cannot because your fathers could not resist it.”  No doubt you will have to do some major overhauling to the Manuscripts to get this verse to mean what you say.  On the other hand I can simply read the verse and see that it says that they resisted the Holy Spirit just like there fathers did.  They resisted the will of God… they would not obey God’s commands… they resisted God’s Word and what the apostles were teaching, particularly Stephen in this case.  Are we sure there is such a doctrine as “irresistible grace” and that is it is not merely a man-made doctrine that is not scriptural?  I personally do not see the Scripture to support it, thus I would agree that it is indeed merely man-made. 

 

I believe the answer to this conundrum lies in the fact that God invites many people to be saved, but He only effectually calls some.  The elect are the beneficiaries of irresistible grace.  All others ignore or fail to take advantage of the invitation.  I arrived at this conclusion through several passages including the parable of the wedding feast.  MAT 22:1-14 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying,  "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.  "And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come.  "Again he sent out other slaves saying, 'Tell those who have been invited, "Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast."'  "But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them.  "But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire.  "Then he said to his slaves, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 'Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.'  "Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests. "But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?' And the man was speechless.  "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.' "For many are called, but few are chosen."”  God only effectually calls those who are chosen by Him to be saved.  Others are invited, even if only through the general revelation of the creation (Rom. 1), but they are not saved.  Who does the man who appeared dressed in his own clothes rather than in wedding clothes?  Could that not be a picture of one who tries to stand before God dressed in his own works rather than in the “robes of righteousness” of the Lord Jesus?  You see what happened to him.

 

I discussed this earlier.  You might want to re-read how I explained it… I think I have understood this right… and this parable would definitely not be good support for your doctrine.  Not to mention your own words… “All others ignore or fail to take advantage of the invitation.”  You are admitting that everyone is invited and that we in fact have a choice.  If they ignored it or failed to take advantage of it, then they made a choice. 

 

 

Also there is the parable of the soils, and especially the explanation by Jesus in MAR 4:14-20  "The sower sows the word.  "These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them.  "In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.  "And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.  "And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold."”  Many people think they are saved and appear to be saved to others, but the proof of our salvation is that we bear fruit.  That means that the fact of our salvation is demonstrated through what we do.  It is easy to get confused and to think that our works after salvation save us, but they are simply the normal, natural by products of the salvation that has already occurred.  Consider JAM 2:18  But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."”

 

I explained above that I do not believe that we work out our salvation.  I do not believe that I have indicated in any of the Scripture that I have discussed that we have to do some sort of meritorious works and earn our salvation.  I believe some people will choose to obey the gospel and some will choose to not obey the gospel.  Some might harden their hearts because of the Word of God, as well as some will be saved and end up losing their salvation.  Sure, there will be those who think they are saved and really are not.  There will be those who think they are saved because they have done some sort of meritorious works, but they will be rejected.  Now I think this is another parable that would not be good to support your doctrine.  How could this Scripture support “irresistible grace”?  It appears better suited to refute it in my opinion.  Notice what is causing these people to be influenced initially… what is being sown?  It is the Word of God… the gospel.  You say that proof of our salvation is that we bear fruit and claim that this means our salvation is demonstrated through what we do.  I am assuming that you think if we are baptized that it would be considered demonstrating that we are saved.  I do not believe that is what Jesus is saying… let’s consider what He said again…

Mat 13:8  But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

 

Mar 4:8  And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.

 

Mar 4:20  And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred

 

Luk 8:8  And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

 

I think the only good deed or work after salvation that we can prove in this passage is winning other souls to Christ.  There are four different types of ground explained.  The good ground would be the person who hears the Word of God (the seed is planted in them) and they respond with obedience that results in their salvation.  The obedience is what makes them “good” ground.  In continued obedience they continue to grow.  As they mature they then bear fruit.  A fruit plant or tree cannot bear fruit until it is mature.  Once it matures it multiplies and bears more fruit.  Now consider what God made the fruit tree do…

Gen 1:12  And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

 

It yielded fruit of its own kind.  In the same way we yield fruit of our own kind.  In other words, we yield more Christians and some Christians will yield more Christians than others.  Consider God’s law of reproduction… the plant kingdom that has herb and fruit yielding seed of after its own kind, the fleshly kingdom with mankind yielding seed of its own kind, and the spiritual kingdom which started with the apostles at Pentecost and it must yield seed of its own kind as well.  Seed that is sewn must yield fruit of its own kind.  The seed (Word of God) was planted in the apostles and the apostles planted that seed in their day, and they plant it in us today by the Word of God, which they were inspired by God to write.  If we receive that seed (the Word of God) and obey it we will grow to mature and thus plant more seed into more good ground, thereby we bear fruit (more Christians).  Let’s look at a few supporting passages which show us that bearing fruit is winning souls for Christ…

Pro 11:30  The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

 

Joh 4:36  And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.

 

Rom 1:13  Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

 

Eze 34:27  And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them.

 

Earlier in the parable He is explaining how some will hear but because they do not understand it or give it very little attention they choose to ignore it and/or reject it.  Satan will do anything to trick and distract men from the being saved. He knows that when people are ignorant they are much easier to deceive. Therefore, he works meticulously to remove all knowledge of God and of His word from our minds before it can take root in us.  Obviously there is no irresistible grace in these people because they clearly resisted the opportunity to be saved.  Then there are those that hear the Word of God, accept it with joy, and actually obey the gospel.  They walk with the Lord for a short time and when temptation or persecution comes they fall away and lose their salvation.  As long as everything is easy and going good they hang right in there, but when problems start to arise, they can no longer hang. These may be faced with different kinds of problems which cause them to fall.  Their work schedule changes and it makes it difficult for them to attend worship services. Maybe they have family troubles that distract them from serving God. Maybe there is some kind of illness or sickness that they blame on God and walk away from Him. We must realize that Satan is out to get us and he will do everything in his power to lead us astray. We must hold on to our salvation regardless of our problems.  Again, we do not see irresistible grace.  Then there are those who receive the Word of God, obey the gospel, and make a real effort to live for Christ.  But, they get wrapped up in things of the world… covetousness and deceitfulness of riches. These people want to straddle the fence that lies between Christ and the world. They lack the full commitment that Jesus expects of those who follow Him. They become so captivated with the opportunities for wealth and material things that they lose sight of the only true possession that is worth anything… their soul.  They become unfruitful, indicating they may have been fruitful at one time.  They stand to lose their salvation as well unless they repent and turn from the ways of the world. Satan will not give up easily on these and he will pull out all of the stops when it comes to the person who is striving to live a godly life. The world is attractive, but it is only temporary…

1Jo 2:17  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

 

Then of course we have those that are considered the good ground that we discussed above.  These hear the Word of God, receive it, obey the gospel, and keep God’s commandments with patience and perseverance.  These are steadfast in their service to God and unwavering in their commitment.  They share the Word of God and bear more souls for Christ (the church).  Of course their life is not without temptations from Satan, as well as other problems, but they are able to overcome and not let affairs of this life discourage their efforts to enter to the kingdom of heaven.  They will definitely show their fruits of the Spirit, good deeds and works, but these types of fruits are not mentioned in this parable.

 

Let’s look at those fruits of the Spirit, good deeds and works and when they are mentioned, and even some in conjunction with winning souls…

Gal 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Gal 5:23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

 

Eph 5:8  For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

Eph 5:9  (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

Eph 5:10  Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

 

Here we see the fruit of the Spirit that is within us.  Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.  I think this would be easier to see in someone than how many people they had brought to Christ.  I believe this is how we know people by their fruits.  But I also believe we know them by their system of teaching, their doctrine.  Let’s consider that passage that tells me this…

Mat 7:13  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

Mat 7:14  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Mat 7:15  Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Mat 7:16  Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Mat 7:17  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

Mat 7:18  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Mat 7:19  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Mat 7:20  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

 

Mat 12:33  Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.

 

Jer 32:19  Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings:

 

Jer 21:14  But I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings, saith the LORD: and I will kindle a fire in the forest thereof, and it shall devour all things round about it.

 

Here we see that many will find the way to destruction and few will find the way of the Lord.  I have discussed that part previously.  But I believe Jesus tells why this is so and it is because of the false teachers who appear to many to be teaching the truth, while really they are not.  Their false doctrine and false system of faith will be evident and those they convince of their false system will be their bad fruit.  They will eventually be destroyed.  We will know people by what type of fruit they bear.  Not only in their deeds but by their system of faith.  God will give everyone according to our ways and according to the fruit of our doings.

 

Then we have the fruit of the vine…

Joh 15:1  I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

Joh 15:2  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

Joh 15:3  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

Joh 15:4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

Joh 15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Joh 15:6  If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

Joh 15:7  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

Joh 15:8  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

Joh 15:9  As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

Joh 15:10  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

Joh 15:11  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

 

Jesus is the vine and the saved are the branches in Him (“Every branch in me…”).  We are “in Christ” and in order to be “in Christ” we must be saved.  We are “clean” by the Word of God which is spoken to us.  Clearly every branch (Christian) that does not bear fruit will be taken away from the vine.  The branch cannot bear fruit unless it stays on the vine, so we should abide in Christ and He will abide in us and help us bring forth more fruit.  If” we keep His commandments we can continue to abide in Him.   

 

 

Now let’s consider James 2:18 that you mentioned, but let’s consider it in context…

Jam 2:17  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Jam 2:18  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

Jam 2:19  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Jam 2:20  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Jam 2:21  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

Jam 2:22  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

Jam 2:23  And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

Jam 2:24  Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

Jam 2:25  Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

Jam 2:26  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

 

Faith that does not bring us to obedience and sway our life is not much good to us.  Faith alone is not worth a hill of beans.  Faith and works go hand and hand.  If we live in obedience to Christ then we prove that we have the faith of Christ.  So you believe faith alone will save us?  The devils believe and the evil spirits believed and even confessed that Jesus was the Son of God, but it did not save them.  What is faith without works of God?  Does not works make faith perfect (verse 22)?  So what happens if our faith is not perfected?

Mat 8:29  And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

 

Abraham was justified by works before and after God credited him with righteousness…

Heb 11:8  By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

Heb 11:9  By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

 

I wonder what would have happened to Abraham if he had not obeyed God.  I believe God would have seen that he did not have faith, that he did not believe what God was promising him, and God would not have credited him with righteousness.  After he was credited with righteousness he then was tested by God again with the offering of his son, Isaac.  But had he not offered Isaac, what would have happened?  By works Abraham was made perfect.  Did Abraham earn his righteousness?  No, he did what God commanded of him… he did a work of God, not a work of his own. 

 

In James 2:24 we read the only time that “faith” and “only” are mentioned together in the Bible… verse 24… “by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”

 

Let’s consider the following Scripture…

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

Heb 11:2  For by it the elders obtained a good report.

Heb 11:3  Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

Heb 11:4  By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

Heb 11:5  By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

Heb 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Heb 11:7  By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Heb 11:8  By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

Heb 11:9  By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

Heb 11:10  For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Heb 11:11  Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

Heb 11:12  Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

Heb 11:13  These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

Heb 11:14  For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

Heb 11:15  And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

Heb 11:16  But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Heb 11:17  By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

Heb 11:18  Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:

Heb 11:19  Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

Heb 11:20  By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.

Heb 11:21  By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

Heb 11:22  By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

Heb 11:23  By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.

Heb 11:24  By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;

Heb 11:25  Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

Heb 11:26  Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

Heb 11:27  By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

Heb 11:28  Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

Heb 11:29  By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.

Heb 11:30  By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.

Heb 11:31  By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

Heb 11:32  And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

Heb 11:33  Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

Heb 11:34  Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

 

Had any of these people not obeyed God’s command would they have been saved?  If Noah had not built the ark as God commanded him to do… would he have been saved?  Noah had faith but he had to do something to be saved.  He had to build this huge boat out of a particular wood and in particular way… the way God commanded him to build it.  How much work did that involve?  It was work but not of his own merit, it was a work of God.  There were not doubt limits and restrictions (conditions) placed on Noah in order for he and his family to be saved.  Noah believed God and built the ark, thus he was saved while a multitude was condemned.  In Hebrews 11 we read of countless examples of how a work of God was required in order for someone to be saved.  As you say… we cannot work our way into heaven… I agree… not by our own works… but there is a different kind of work that we must do.  We must obey the gospel and do the works of God.  Are we not saved in the same way that the people of the OT were saved? 

 

While I am on the subject of Noah… how was Noah saved? 

1Pe 3:20  Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

 

Clearly Peter indicates that Noah was “saved by water.”  The Manuscripts read “saved through water.”  The water separated Noah from the sins of the world by covering up the sinful people and lifting the ark above sin.  Those eight souls were saved by water because they got in the boat.  Had they not got in the boat they would not have been saved… they had faith and believed God and thus they did what God commanded them to do to be saved.  Peter goes on to say more…

1Pe 3:21  The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

 

In the same way that the element of water was a part of saving Noah and his family, it also saves us through baptism.  The water separates us from sin as it is for the forgiveness of sin.  In a similar fashion as those eight souls getting in the ark to be saved, we must get in the church to be saved.  I know you later question that we must get in the church to be saved and I will explain it in more detail then.  To sum it up though… we are baptized into Christ and become a member of His body, the church.  It is so clear how the Scriptures tell us the truth.

 

 

            MAT 23:37  "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.  This verse was discussed above, and is explained in the same way as Acts 7:51.

          Nudged by the Holy Spirit?

            2TH 2:13  But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

          JOH 17:17  "Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

            2TI 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

          I must be missing something in these verses, because I don’t see exactly how they relate to irresistible grace except in the 2 Thess. verse which reiterates that “God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation.”  How can God effect the salvation of someone whom He has chosen from the beginning for salvation except by irresistible grace?

 

I think I explained all of this Scripture previously… but I will answer your question.  You left out part of the quote in 2 Thessalonians: “through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.”  This verse explains how God has chosen them to be saved.  He did not choose them individually.  God made the decision to choose from the beginning all those that would believe and accept the truth according to His plan.  He chose those that will be “in Christ”.  If we do not accept His plan of redemption then we will not be in Christ.  God sets us apart by His Spirit which works through His word (John 17:17) and His word instructs us in righteousness and allows us to be adequate (2 Timothy 3:16), if we will keep it in our hearts.  Think about this passage closely…

2Th 2:13  But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

2Th 2:14  Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Clearly, as I stated, we are saved by being set apart by the Spirit and belief in the truth.  How were we set apart by the Spirit?  Paul tells us that we were “called” by the gospel.  So the Spirit used the Word of God to set us apart, although it did not force us to be set apart.  Now what Jesus and Paul say makes more sense huh…

Joh 17:17  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

 

Rom 10:17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

 

But we also see evidence that we are not chosen individually in the beginning… how could we have possibly believed and heard the gospel in the beginning?  It is impossible.  The Thessalonians were preached the gospel and they believed (obeyed the gospel), therefore they are among those God has chosen to be saved according to His plan that He established in the beginning.  You can safely scratch irresistible grace with the understanding of all this Scripture I have explained.

 

 

What is the one sin which cannot be forgiven?  MAT 12:31-32 "Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.  "Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”  And the reason it cannot be forgiven is because the call of the Holy Spirit to repent and trust in Christ for salvation must be obeyed for salvation to occur.

 

Okay… I agree with this for the most part.  The Holy Spirit works through the Word of God, through the Scriptures.  Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.  The Word of God is the means of the Holy Spirit’s calling.  No doubt we are commanded to believe and repent or we will perish.  You are admitting that we must be obedient for salvation to occur.  You got it mostly right.  Sounds like you have changed your mind again though.  Let’s see, first it was believe, confess, and call on the name of the Lord.  Then it was we could do nothing.  Now we must believe and repent.  You are about to get them all included if you will just leave out the nothing part.  All that is left is somehow get you to have faith in baptism, and of course start teaching the truth.  The evidence is overwhelming but no one can have faith for you.  Now… the sin that will not be forgiven…

Mar 3:30  Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.

 

This was a sin against the Holy Spirit because Jesus did mighty works in the power of the Holy Spirit and the scribes attributed these works to Satan.  I think it would go without saying that anyone who has believed this since Christ’s death would not choose to believe and repent anyway.  They have hardened their hearts to a point that God would make them even harder.  If anyone attributes the Word of God to Satan then I would not suggest they would be one that we could never convince otherwise either.  It would be time to dust our feet off and go about our way to someone who will listen and have an open heart and open mind.

 

 

            Preaching is what pricks the heart - ACT 2:36  "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ -- this Jesus whom you crucified." ACT 2:27 Because You will not abandon my soul to Hades, Nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.”  Once again these verses do not say that preaching (rather than the Holy Spirit) “pricks” the heart.  Clearly, preaching (proclamation of the gospel, not necessarily pulpit preaching) is necessary.

 

If preaching is necessary then why could it not prick our hearts?  Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.  How are we going to hear without a preacher?  I think we both know that Scripture.  Now I would wonder why preaching would be necessary if we are already individually chosen.  Anyway… I think we left out a few verses here… this could have been my fault.  I may have added them during my second or third study (or even my fourth now)...

Act 2:36  Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Act 2:37  Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Act 2:38  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Act 2:39  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Act 2:40  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

Act 2:41  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Act 2:42  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

 

There are several true points to be made with this Scripture, as previously noted.  We know that Peter was preaching the gospel and “they were pricked in their heart” (Manuscripts).  They asked a very important question here, “what shall we do?”  There was something they had to do to be saved.  Clear as daylight to me.  Peter told them what they had to do, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins”.  Then… what would happen if they obeyed the gospel… “and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”  It is extremely clear that they would not be saved until they repented and were baptized.  Furthermore, they did not receive the Holy Spirit until AFTER they did what they were COMMANDED to do by the apostle Peter, who was teaching and commanding what Jesus taught the apostles.  Their salvation was not “unconditional”.  Here we see again that famous Greek word, “eis”, which means “for” or “resulting in”, and it is between the words “baptized” and “the remission of sins”.  So what pricked their hearts?  The Holy Spirit works through the Word of God and Peter was preaching the Word of God.  The Holy Spirit is what pricked their heart, but not directly by some magical mystical work… it was through the preaching of the Word of God, and they were not forced to believe.  No doubt they believed but they did not receive the Holy Spirit until after they obeyed the gospel.  Again… clear as daylight to me… how about you?  Have you got a couple of different meanings for all this Scripture too?  Now go back to Acts 39… Peter explains that the promise is to everyone who is called by the gospel, as this is how the Lord calls us.  We can verify this in verse 40 when Peter says “Save yourselves”… this verifies for us again that we must do something ourselves.  Those who believed “were baptized” and they “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine”.  I contend that we should do the same… continue steadfastly in the doctrine that Peter taught which includes baptism for the forgiveness of sins as well as the doctrine that Christ taught…

Mat 7:24  Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

Mat 7:25  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

Mat 7:26  And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

Mat 7:27  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Mat 7:28  And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:

 

 

ROM 10:14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?”  But the Holy Spirit is indispensable and the power behind the proclamation.

 

Are you arguing with Paul?  The Holy Spirit works through the Word of God which is preached.  No doubt that the apostles had the power of the Holy Spirit working in them, but we no longer have apostles, we have God’s Word.  No doubt it is necessary and no doubt it is indispensable.  While the Holy Spirit inspired the apostles to write the New Testament, the Holy Spirit does force preachers to preach and does not force sinners to hear the Word of God.  It is all done by man’s free will.

 

JOH 16:13  "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”  The Holy Spirit reveals the truth to us.

 

That is correct but you did not finish the sentence… The Holy Spirit reveals the truth to us through the Word of God.  Even though this statement is true today (in the way I explained it above), I have to elaborate on this passage because Jesus is speaking directly to the apostles in this particular instance. Jesus is explaining to the apostles that He will no longer be around in human form to personally teach them because He will soon be departing from them.  However, He explains that they will have the Holy Spirit to guide them.  The power of the Holy Spirit would be poured out on them so that they would be able to continue in His teachings until the New Testament could be written.  Consider these parallel passages in Luke and Acts…

Luk 24:49  And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

 

Act 1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

 

We also know that this was the promise of the Father spoken to the Jews by John the Baptizer and spoken to the apostles by Jesus in these parallel passages...

Mat 3:11  I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

 

Act 1:4  And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

Act 1:5  For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

 

Furthermore, I do not know of any Scripture that supports us today being miraculously filled with the Holy Spirit like the apostles were and like Cornelius and his family was.  These were the only two occasions that I am aware of.  We do have the Holy Spirit that works in us through the Word of God though, and it reveals the truth to us.  Then we have to have faith in the evidence in order to obey what it says.  This has to be the only way the Holy Spirit can work in us, through His word or otherwise Paul’s argument for the all-sufficiency of the Scriptures in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 would be false.  Consider also what James said…

Jam 1:21  Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

 

So, if Paul’s claim in 2 Timothy is true and James statement is true, then we know that the Word of God is all we need to be saved.  Therefore it stands to reason that the Spirit works through the Word of God.  Again… consider that Jesus also said His words would give us life…

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

 

As I am reviewing back through what I have written I have decided to insert a snippet from my webpage here.  I encourage you to read my website as there are some very good points made there.  During the snippet you will notice that I refer to passages “above” or “earlier” but I am obviously referring to what is on the page and not in this discussion with you.  Here is just a very small snippet from the “WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?” page…

 

There is no other way to get "in Christ"... in "the church", except through baptism. Now look at 1 Corinthians 12:13 above once again... notice it says "...we are all baptized into one body..." and also look again at Ephesians 4:4-6 above and notice it says "There is one body..." and that same passage also says "...one Lord, one faith, one baptism...". We can only be baptized into "one body" and there can only be "one baptism". The reason I point this out so clearly is that some people are mislead into believing that we are baptized by the Holy Spirit, which is absolutely false. There is simply no Scripture that anyone can show you that will support we are baptized by the Holy Spirit. It is clearly a false doctrine. Consider all the above passages concerning baptism and see how you can possibly say that we are baptized with the Holy Spirit. Remember "The like figure..." in 1 Peter 3:21 above (look back at that passage)... the "like figure" is "water", not the Holy Spirit... and that "like figure" which is "water"... is referenced when Peter said "baptism doth also now save us". Scroll back up to what Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:1-5... Jesus said "born of water". Consider again what Ananais was instructed to tell Paul to do... "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." There is simply no way to get around the fact there is only "one baptism" and that baptism is by "water".

 

Let us consider this Holy Spirit baptism a little further so we can nail the lid shut on this false doctrine. Remember the Great Commission that I referenced in the very early part of this page... Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:15-16. You may want to scroll back up to the beginning and read those passages again. Jesus specifically told the apostles to do something. Jesus told them to go out into all the world and preach the gospel and to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Jesus also said those who believe and are baptized will be saved. Now if baptism was baptism of the Holy Spirit, why would Jesus tell the apostles to baptize people? Why would Jesus say that those who believe and are baptized would be saved? Jesus would have had to say, "those who believe will be baptized by the Holy Spirit"... but He did not say that... He said what He said. The "only" time we learn of baptism of the Holy Spirit is when the power of the Holy Spirit was poured out on the apostles.  There was one other similar experience with Cornelius and his family which I will discuss later. Luke records that the apostles were promised the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Acts chapter 1 (and it was only promised to the apostles)...

 

Acts 1:1-5 The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, "Which," He said, "you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

 

Notice what Jesus tells the apostles about the Holy Spirit... He calls it the "Spirit of truth"...

John 16:13 "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

 

Jesus is about to be leaving the apostles and He is explaining to them that they will no longer have His personal teaching directly from Him in His human form. However, they will have the Holy Spirit to guide them. They would all be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit so that they could continue His teachings until such time as the New Testament could be documented. Consider the parallel passages referenced below that are recorded in Luke and in John...

 

Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

 

John 14:16-17 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

John 14:25-26 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

 

John 15:26-27 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

 

Notice in the above passages how Jesus not only calls the Holy Spirit "...the Spirit of truth..." but He also calls the Holy Spirit "...the promise of the Father..." and "...Comforter..." Now pay close attention to the fact that Jesus said "These things have I spoken unto you, being present with you." and "...because ye have been with me from the beginning." This clearly cannot be directed to us today because Jesus did not speak to us directly as He was not "present" with us... He was "present" with the apostles, and we have not been with Him from the beginning as the apostles were. Also pay close attention to what else Jesus said... "...whom the world cannot receive..." There is no doubt that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was promised only to the apostles. The apostles were baptized with the Holy Spirit so they could have the words of Jesus to teach with, and so they could do miraculous signs just as Jesus did. This was to cause people to believe what they were saying was the truth. I encourage you to read the entire book of Acts to learn more about how the Holy Spirit worked through the apostles.

 

This only a snippet and I have not finished the entire site on God’s Way as of yet, but a good bit is almost complete.  I still have to do a little touch up work on the grammar.  It includes some of what I have written to you and there is much more that we have not talked about as well. 

 

Here is the URL… http://www.snapbug.ws/GodsWay.htm

 

 

ACT 11:15-16  "And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning.  "And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'”  The Holy Spirit came upon these Gentiles so that they believed the gospel that was being preached to them.

 

Let’s consider the actual story…

Act 10:34  Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

Act 10:35  But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

Act 10:36  The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)

Act 10:37  That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;

Act 10:38  How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

Act 10:39  And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:

Act 10:40  Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;

Act 10:41  Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.

Act 10:42  And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.

Act 10:43  To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Act 10:44  While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

Act 10:45  And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Act 10:46  For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,

Act 10:47  Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

Act 10:48  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

 

In verse 44 we know that before Peter was completely finished the Holy Spirit fell on them.  My question would be what did they know before the Holy Spirit fell on them?  How do you actually know that they did not believe based on what Peter had already said?  There is more evidence that they believed before the Holy Spirit fell on them than after.  In verse 36 Peter explains that the “word which God sent” was being “preached” and in verse 37 he says “That word, I say, ye know”.  Peter finished the actual gospel message in verse 40 and continued on in verse 41 explaining how certain ones witnessed Jesus after He had risen.  He continued in verse 42 explaining how the apostles were commanded to preach to everyone and he keeps on talking in verse 43.  Now, how can you prove that Cornelius and his family did not believe immediately after Peter was finished with the gospel portion?  There is more evidence that they believed before than after.  As Peter was preaching God knew Cornelius and the Gentiles would believe or did believe… after all, consider how Cornelius had been praying and the memorial went up before God.  There is also no doubt God knew that the Jews were going to object to the Gentiles being saved.  He obviously used this particular opportunity to show Peter and the Jews that they could indeed be saved.  There is simply not enough evidence to suggest that we are baptized by the Holy Spirit based upon this Scripture.  Now let’s consider a verse you left out above…

Act 11:17  Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

 

Let’s also go to the Manuscripts on this one to see exactly what it says… “It then the like gift gave to them God as also to us, having believed on the Lord Jesus Christ…”  Now we actually have evidence that they received the like gift “having believed”.  Who is Luke referencing here?  Was it “them”, “us”, or both?  I believe Cornelius and the Gentiles believed and then received the “like gift”.  Here is more evidence…

Act 15:7  And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

Act 15:8  And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

Act 15:9  And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

 

The Gentiles believed how?  Peter says it was “by my mouth” that they should “hear the word of the gospel, and believe.”  As I stated above, God knew the Gentiles would believe or did believe… here we read, “God, which knoweth the hearts” gave them the Holy Ghost.  Then we read further and learn that their hearts were purified “by faith.”  Very clearly it was not the Holy Spirit that directly caused them to believe nor did the gospel preached force them to believe.  It was the Holy Spirit working through Peter and as a result of their believing and faith, the Holy Spirit was then poured out on them and they received the like gift.  This method of receiving the Holy Spirit only occurred two times, at Pentecost with the apostles and in this instance with the Gentiles.  Both times it was followed by miraculous gifts of some sort.  However the gifts of Cornelius and his family could not have been the same as the apostles because Cornelius would then have to be able to claim to be an apostle.  While there is a difference in the actual gifts here, these two instances were extraordinary and special.  Tell me this… when did you and I receive miraculous gifts?  I know I have not, and if you have then I am sure it would be well known and you would probably be worshipping down at the Pentecostal or Holiness Church.  The apostles were baptized with the Holy Spirit so they could have the power of the Spirit to guide and lead them with the truth.  This happened as a promise that was never even made to Cornelius and his family, nor was it made to us.  It happened to the apostles so they could know the absolute truth and do the miraculous signs to convince people to believe and obey the gospel.  It fell upon Cornelius and his family in a similar manner after they believed, and in order to give them miraculous gifts to show Peter and the Jewish Christians that the Gentiles were to be accepted and saved as well as the Jews.  You know the story here and it was not to cause the Gentiles to believe… it was to cause the Jews to believe, and not to believe in the gospel but to believe that the Gentiles could be saved.  There were other instances when people received some sort of miraculous gift when hands were laid on them to receive the Holy Spirit, but it was not via baptism, it was by the laying on of hands.  I cannot even prove that the instance with Cornelius was actually baptism of the Holy Spirit because clearly it was only promised to the apostles and not for the world (unsaved sinners).  We also know there is only “one baptism”.  I believe that they received the Holy Spirit, but the method of receiving it was only similar, not exact, thus not necessarily baptism of the Holy Spirit.

 

Let’s consider Acts 19 to see when some others received the Holy Spirit…

Act 19:1  And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

Act 19:2  He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

Act 19:3  And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.

Act 19:4  Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

Act 19:5  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Act 19:6  And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

Act 19:7  And all the men were about twelve.

 

These Ephesians had not so much as ever heard of the Holy Ghost when they believed.  We are told why… because they were baptized by John’s baptism of repentance.  The baptism of repentance was accepted up and until Christ was crucified, buried, and resurrected.  They were obviously baptized by some of John’s disciples or possibly by Apollos before he was instructed in proper obedience to the Lord…

Act 18:24  And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus.

Act 18:25  This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.

Act 18:26  And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.

 

On the day of Pentecost, Peter gave the first instructions on the new baptism which is for the forgiveness of sins.  When these Ephesians heard of the proper baptism they were then re-baptized for the forgiveness of sins.  This is evidence that we are not baptized by the Holy Spirit when we simply believe.  What I believe is that after they were baptized properly they would then be able to receive the Holy Spirit to reside in them as in the manner that Christ and God make their abode in us when we love Them and obey Their commandments…

Joh 14:23  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

 

Now for Christ to be in us we must be in Him.  All this harmonizes together when we realize we are baptized into Christ.  At that time we become in Him and because we love Him and have obeyed His commandments for salvation, He is then in us…

Act 5:32  And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

 

I believe in this way the Holy Spirit is in us… and then influences us through the Word of God.  When we are saved, Jesus is in us, God is in us, and the Holy Spirit is in us, they are One in the same.  We do learn that Paul laid his hands upon the twelve Ephesians and the Holy Ghost came upon them, but this was so they could have some of the gifts, as we see, tongues and prophecy.  The Holy Spirit actually already dwelled in them because they were saved when they were re-baptized.  We can read through all of Acts and learn this was common for the apostles to lay hands on some to receive these gifts and these gifts varied from person to person…

1Co 12:9  To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

1Co 12:10  To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

 

Do not get too excited when Paul states “faith by the same Spirit” here… this is faith to do miraculous powers, not faith to obey the gospel.

 

You mentioned to me on the phone when we first started discussing all of this, that when we believe is when we are baptized with the Holy Spirit.  I wrote it down when you told me this.  I am not sure why I really never understood this when I was attending the Presbyterian Church.  Anyway, several of the passages above would contradict what you suggested to me.  It is very clear that the twelve men in Ephesus had already believed, but they had not received the Holy Spirit because they had not been baptized properly for the remission of sins, as Paul had instructed on the day of Pentecost.  They were never baptized by the Holy Spirit.  It is also very clear that we do not receive the Holy Ghost until we obey God.  The only proof in Scripture that we have of someone actually receiving the Holy Spirit before water baptism, is in the incident with Cornelius, which again was special and extraordinary… and God had a specific purpose for it.  And then we cannot unequivocally say that this was not simply gifts of the Holy Spirit and not the Holy Spirit which dwells in us.  Peter did order them to be baptized with water, so it is possible that they received the Holy Spirit to dwell in them when they were baptized.   In my snippet from my webpage above I mention that Paul clearly teaches us that there is only “one baptism”.  The Scriptures are absolutely overwhelming that this “one baptismis by water.  In the incident with Cornelius, Peter asks can anyone forbid them water to be baptized.  He later states in his first letter that baptism does also now save us and references water as the element in his particular statement.  Jesus said we must be born again by being born of water and the Spirit.  The references to water baptism are numerous and again there can only be “one baptism”…

Eph 4:5  One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

 

Understand that I do not claim that the Holy Spirit does not abide in us or that we do not receive the Holy Spirit, because we know that Jesus Christ, God, and the Holy Spirit, are One.  We also know that the “Word was God” and that God manifests His will through His word.  God’s Word is what influences on us the opportunity to be saved, and by our obedience to His word we are saved and the Holy Spirit is given to us.  So the Holy Spirit would indirectly influence us by God’s Word… again, as stated earlier, not miraculously.  Think about it, without His word we would not know what to do to be saved.  We have to have faith in it so therefore we would have to have it in our heart and mind and believe in the evidence.  This begins the renewal process in which we are renewed by the Holy Spirit.  Once we obey His word… obey the gospel… by being water baptized, we are then renewed by the Holy Spirit…

Tit 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

 

We further learn from Paul that being baptized is not a work of ourselves (works of righteousness) but a work of God’s mercy, because Paul goes on to tell us the means by which God saved us… the “washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”  The “washing of regeneration” is water baptism.  Water baptism is when the renewing of the Holy Spirit is completed, and the Holy Spirit begins to dwell in us because we are “in Christ”.  The Holy Spirit will continue to remain in us and us in Him, provided we continue to love Him and keep His commandments.  If we resist or reject the Holy Spirit by failing to obey the Word of God, such as failing to be water baptized, then the Holy Spirit will not abide in us, because God’s Word has no place in our hearts and minds.  We know that if we are saved and abide in Him, that He will abide in us… Jesus and God will make their abode in us. So the Holy Spirit, through His word, dwells in us after we are saved because we have God’s Word in our heart and mind through our faith.  Nowhere can we find evidence that the Holy Spirit enters us by baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Furthermore, it cannot be possible because we know there is only “one baptism” and that is by water.  This is the evidence I find and it appears this is how it works or otherwise Scripture would contradict itself.

 

I mentioned John 3:5 earlier, but I want to clarify what I believe concerning the Holy Spirit …

Joh 3:5  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

 

I know I reference water as being the element for baptism and it is in fact the physical element.  There are obviously two elements to being “born again” through water baptism that Jesus mentions in this passage, but they interact in two different ways.  We are physically baptized with water thereby being born of water.  Once we have completely obeyed the gospel (death, burial, resurrection) by being born of water, we then receive the Holy Spirit to dwell in us thereby being born of the Spirit.  What has happened is we have perfected our faith, the evidence that is implanted in our hearts and minds by the Word of God, thus we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.

 

Follow with me on a few passages…

 

First we have the prophecy of Jesus that we will be born of water and of the Spirit through water baptism…

Joh 3:5  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

 

Then we have the doctrine of being born of water and of the Spirit through water baptism from Peter…

Act 2:38  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

 

Then we have commentary on being born of water and of the Spirit through water baptism from Paul…

Eph 1:13  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

 

Gal 4:6  And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

 

Notice the progression in each passage.  Repenting, and being born of water and the Spirit, allows us to enter the kingdom (it saves us).  Being baptized gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit (we receive the Holy Spirit).  Because we had faith (trusted) that which we heard (the gospel) after we believed (believing encompasses repentance, confessing and baptism as we note from the first two passages), we were sealed with the Holy Spirit (born of the Spirit).  Because we are saved (sons), God has given us the Spirit of His Son (the Holy Spirit) to abide in our hearts.

 

Let’s consider some more verses on preaching and irresistible grace…

Rom 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

 

Does the gospel (and the preaching of the gospel) have anything to do with someone receiving the grace of God?  This verse clearly says that “the gospel of Christ” is the “power of God unto salvation” and it is “to everyone that believeth”.  Remember “unto” means “for” or “resulting in”.  How do we hear the gospel?  We hear it from the Word of God and it could easily be from a preacher.  Again… faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.  How can we hear without a preacher?  It is also for everyone who believes, which believing we know includes obeying the gospel as proven above with numerous Scripture.  So if the gospel results in salvation then how can baptism of the Holy Spirit result in salvation?  Does the Holy Spirit sprinkle the gospel on our head?  The only way the Holy Spirit can deliver the gospel to us is through the Word of God.  We are either going to have to read it or it has to be preached to us.

 

In every conversion example we read of in Acts, the convert responded to the preaching of the gospel.  God used the Holy Spirit, through the apostles, to deliver the truth to everyone… 

Act 2:4  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

 

Col 4:3  Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

Col 4:4  That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

 

It is clear that “them” and “us” are the apostles.  Today we no longer have those apostles walking around so the Holy Spirit is revealed through the Word of God… the Holy Scriptures…

Eph 6:17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Eph 6:18  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Eph 6:19  And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

Eph 6:20  For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

 

Rom 10:17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

 

Rom 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

2Ti 3:16  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2Ti 3:17  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

 

Here again we have proof that the Holy Spirit influences us today when we use the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.  If the Holy Spirit works and influences us directly then this would cause the Word of God to be insufficient for the equipping of the saints.  Every work of the Holy Spirit in conviction, conversion, and sanctification is attributed to the Word of God… otherwise the Word of God is a dead letter.  However, I do not question the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit and His ability to accomplish any work in accordance with His nature.  The Scriptures are fully capable of and sufficient to fulfill His plan and a direct operation of the Holy Spirit is not needed.  God has revealed to us that His word is to serve the function of convicting, converting, and sanctifying the soul.

 

Perseverance of the Saints (Can a Christian fall?)

          REV 22:18-19  I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.”  I’m not sure that I understand this verse as it relates to whether a person can lose their salvation.  I notice that the Masoretic text renders it: “May God take away his part….”  I also note that it does not say that this has happened, that is, that anyone has “taken away from the words of the book of this prophecy.”  In fact if we assume that this book, the Revelation, has been preserved complete for us to this day, doesn’t that mean that it hasn’t happened?

 

Why would we be warned of it if it could not happen?  The Textus Receptus says “aphaireo” which translated is “shall take away”.  Also consider the following Scripture…

Rev 3:5  He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

 

Furthermore… you are assuming it has never happened by assuming that we have the book preserved complete for us today.  I can not say that it has not happened because of what I read in the Manuscripts compared to what I read in all these various translations.  This would not condemn us necessarily unless someone took out words that directly influenced our decisions and choices but it would certainly condemn those that made the changes to suit their own doctrines and beliefs.  I will just leave it at this… I am glad that at this point in my life I have studied the Manuscripts and compared them to several of the translations, especially with the Scriptures concerning salvation.  I am also glad to know there are at least some preachers out there that are actually teaching the truth, the literal Word of God and not some denominational man-made doctrine contrary to Scripture… otherwise everyone would be misled.  Again… I think this is a good example of why Jesus said only a few will find the way.  Only a few will figure out that what is being taught them through the denominations is false.

 

            GAL 5:4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”  This verse doesn’t say that those people He is addressing were of the elect.  Many may have “fallen from grace” in the sense that they have heard the gospel and have even seemed to respond favorably, but do not persevere.  It does not mean that they were elected to salvation.  See the comments regarding the parable of the soils above.

 

How can we fall from grace if we do not have grace?  That would be like saying I fell down but I was never standing up.  I do not believe you have the understanding right on the parable of the soils… recall my comments as well.  We also learn the initial reasoning for Paul’s statement here to the Galatians if we consider it in context…

Gal 5:1  Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Gal 5:2  Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

Gal 5:3  For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

Gal 5:4  Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

 

Christ made them free, they were saved,  and there is no doubt about it.  It says it right here in the passage,  and Paul is encouraging them to not try and go back to the Law of Moses again… as they had been under the heathen bondage once and if they tried to go back to the Jewish Law they would be under another bondage.  He is telling them that any of them that have went back to try to be justified by the Law, that Christ has become of no effect to them, they have fallen from grace.  It is extremely clear.

 

 

            1CO 9:27 but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.”  Once again this doesn’t say that it has happened.  This verse seems to me to demonstrate that Paul takes very seriously his responsibility to the gospel and to the Lord Jesus to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” (Col. 1:10)  The same writer, moved by the same Spirit wrote PHI 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

 

Although it is apparent that Paul’s disqualification did not happen, he warned of it, thus indicating that it indeed could happen.  As long as we continue on the right track God will continue to work in us to make us closer to being like Christ.  In Philippians 1:6, Paul is confident of God’s work in the Philippian brothers to help deliver the gospel and his confidence is based on past experiences.  God will bring this work to an end… He will bring the gospel to all of the lands and the work will abide and His work will be perfected.  This in no way suggest that they could not lose their salvation, although there was no reason for them to lose it as long as they continued in obedience and worked out their salvation as we learn of later in Philippians…

Phi 2:12  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

 

This Scripture is further supported in Acts…

Act 2:40  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

 

 

            2PE 2:20-22 For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, "A dog returns to its own vomit," and, "A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire."  I believe that this verse refers to those who appear to have been saved, but who have not truly been saved, and therefore return to obvious and open sin.  I believe that the Lord Jesus refers to some of these people in this passage:  MAT 7:22-23 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'

 

2Pe 2:20  For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

 

It is a fairly good conclusion that “they have escaped the pollutions (defilements/corruptions) of the world” would indicate they were converted.  Notice “they are again entangled therein” which would also indicate they were once untangled.  I have discussed Matthew 7:21-23 several times already.  I do not believe those that Jesus is referring to in Matthew 7:22-23 ever escaped the defilements of the world.  They just simply thought they were saved but failed to do the will of the father mentioned in verse 21, which you left out of your comments.  The purpose of Jesus’ comments in verses 22-23 was because of what He said in verse 21.  You cannot take verses 22-23 out of context to fit your doctrine.  You should keep it in context all the way through verse 29.  Then you will see further evidence as to why they did not do the will of the Father.  They listened to false teachers for one thing.  Also those who “heareth” the words of Jesus and do not “doeth them” are not doing the “will of the Father” so that they can “enter the kingdom of heaven”.  You are distorting the meaning and taking it out of context.  That is a no-no.

 

            1TI 1:19-20 keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.  Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered over to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme.”  This verse doesn’t say that these two lost their salvation, but it is elucidated by another similar verse:  1CO 5:5 I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”  The point was not the loss of his salvation, but rather the preservation of it.

 

In 1 Timothy 1:19-20, I believe that being “delivered” to Satan would indicate that they were “surrendered” or “given up”… which would further indicate to me that they were no longer saved.  As far as 1 Corinthians 5:5, I do not believe this verse is meant to support 1 Timothy 1:19-20 in the way that you suggest… especially if we consider it in context…

1Co 5:1  It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.

1Co 5:2  And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

1Co 5:3  For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,

1Co 5:4  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

1Co 5:5  To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

1Co 5:6  Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

1Co 5:7  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

1Co 5:8  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

1Co 5:9  I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:

1Co 5:10  Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

1Co 5:11  But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

1Co 5:12  For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?

1Co 5:13  But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

 

I believe that Paul is teaching that those in the church (in Christ) who are doing evil things should be disciplined and we should not allow them to continue to worship with the congregation and furthermore we should not associate with them on a personal level.  He is explaining to let them go on with their sinful ways (letting Satan have them) and if we do not associate with them, maybe they will understand that we are trying to show them their wrong and perhaps they will repent.  I believe that if they continue on in their sinful ways forever, they would lose their salvation, by rejecting God and by rejecting His Spirit through His word, which commands them that they must repent and ask for forgiveness.  Yes, we want to preserve our brothers salvation if possible, but there is no guarantee… they must choose on their own will to repent.

 

 

            HEB 6:4-6 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame.”  I view this verse in the same light as 2 Pet. 2:20-22.

 

I probably studied this passage more than any of the others.  I know I spent more time on it.  I read every commentary I could find but I think everyone had some different meaning and they all ended up causing contradiction in the Scriptures.  I am not fond of commentary.  I finally studied a lectureship on it and found the evidence I needed to understand it.  The lectureship provided the supporting Scripture for my study and I was able to put it all together.  I read lectureships on a couple of passages and they do not elaborate very much with commentary, but instead, point out a lot of supporting reference Scripture for study.  Similarly to other passages, in order to understand this passage completely, we must go back and look at the preceding passages, even back into the previous chapters, which I will reference as I explain this passage of Scripture.  Let’s start with the preceding passages…

Heb 6:1  Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

Heb 6:2  Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

Heb 6:3  And this will we do, if God permit.

 

To begin with, verse 1 starts out with “Therefore”, so this is referring back to a conclusion in the previous Scripture before chapter 6.  If we look at Hebrews chapter 2 and 5 we see what this was…

Heb 2:10  For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

 

Heb 5:9  And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Heb 5:10  Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

 

Jesus was qualified to be a high priest; He was made perfect, and the author of eternal salvation.  Next…

 

Heb 5:11  Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.

Heb 5:12  For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

 

We learn these Hebrew Christians were “dull of hearing”… they were not understanding the Scriptures very well.  They needed someone to go back and teach them the “first principles of the oracles of God’ so they could see that Jesus was now qualified to be their Savior and High Priest.  These people were trying to go back to the old Jewish system and did not understand it to begin with or at best they were trying to use a little of both the Jewish and Christian systems.  You might want to read Hebrews again unless you remember it well.  We should understand that “the first principles of the oracles of God” in 5:12 are the same as “the principles of the doctrine of Christ” in 6:1 as they both point back to the OT.  In 6:1 we read “Therefore leaving” which means they needed to “leave behind” the doctrines of the first principles of Christ or they needed to leave behind the instruction concerning Christ that was in the beginning so that they could move on to “perfection”.  We learn what “perfection” was, and was not, from the following Scripture…

Heb 7:11  If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

 

Heb 7:19  For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

 

Heb 9:9  Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;

 

Heb 10:1  For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

 

Heb 10:14  For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

 

Heb 12:2  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

Christ was the “perfection” and this is what the writer of this book is more concerned with than anything else.  As stated above, these Christians were at best straddling the fence between the old Jewish system and the new Christian system.  They could not seem to let go of the old system completely.  They are encouraged to completely get rid of the old system and start following the new system.  This obviously would not seem to make sense in light of what the latter half of 6:1 and the first part of 6:2 says… “not laying again the foundation of”, and then there are six different elements listed.  All of these elements at first appear to be related to the Christian system but are in fact referring to Judaism.  This being the case, now getting rid of the old system makes more sense.  While some of these elements are still appropriate to Christians, in this Scripture the writer is not relating them to the Christian system.  There is quite a bit of Scripture that deals with how these six elements are related to Judaism but I will simply make a comment about each one and maybe provide a few passages for each one.  If you would like me to furnish all of the Scripture later, I will… but I will warn you… I referenced a file cabinet full of Scripture studying these elements.  Okay… maybe that is a slight exaggeration.

 

The “repentance from dead works” would not be referring to Christian repentance because Christian repentance is more appropriately labeled as simply “repentance” as in Luke…

Luk 24:47  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

 

We also know from James that dead works in the New Testament times reference disobedience to God’s will and commandments, not repentance from dead works.  Now consider Hebrews 9:12 and 10:2…

Heb 9:14  How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

 

Heb 10:2  For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

 

The blood of Christ is “perfect”, He was the propitiation for our sins, but during the Levitical ceremonies the cleansing from animal blood was not “perfect” as this washing left behind “dead works” or “consciousness of sins”. 

 

The “faith toward God” refers to OT Jews as they believed in God.  The Jews after Christ’s death believed in God, but they did not completely believe in Christ… while the Gentiles struggled and most of them were ignorant of our one true God.  These Christians were being encouraged not to simply “believe in God” in the same way their OT fathers did, but to believe in Christ as well.  They needed to understand that Christ was now the “perfection” and that they could not just simply have faith in God alone… verified by what Jesus said…

Joh 14:1  Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

 

 

The “doctrine of baptisms” is referring to the Jewish cleansing rites which included Levitical rituals or ceremonial washings.  The Greek word for baptisms (plural) is “baptismon” a form of “baptismos” which is defined as “washings”.  All Christian baptisms are referred to by the Greek word “baptisma” or “baptizo”.  I am sure you are familiar with these Greek words.  In the Manuscripts verse 2 actually has the word “washings” instead of “baptisms”.  The definition for “baptismos”…

baptismos

Thayer Definition:

1) a washing, purification effected by means of water

1a) of washing prescribed by the Mosaic law (Heb_9:10) which seems to mean an exposition of the difference between the washings prescribed by the Mosaic law and Christian baptism

 

The word “baptismos” is used only to refer to “washings” in this sense, as we can learn from the following Scripture…

Mar 7:4  And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.

 

Mar 7:8  For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

 

Heb 9:10  Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

 

We can also differentiate from ceremonial washings and water baptism that saves, in the following verse…

1Pe 3:20  Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

1Pe 3:21  The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

 

The “putting away of the filth of the flesh” refers to Jewish ceremonial washings which was only a purification of the flesh.  Whereas water “baptism” that “doth also now save us” is referring to “the answer of a good conscience toward God”… water baptism is our new way of purifying our souls in obedience to the truth (remember 1 Peter 1:22).

 

By the way… on a side note… “washing” is always by “immersion”… “of sunken vessels”.  If we study the Greek word for “tables” in Mark 7:4, we learn that in the Greek days, cloth roll up beds were considered tables and were immersed for cleaning.  So to say that tables cannot be immersed, which is suggested by the Confession, claiming baptism or washing would not always mean immersion, is not accurate.  Baptism is immersion… not sprinkling.  If we study secular history that covered approximately 500 years in the early first century, we learn that the word “baptizo” was used to describe ships that sank at sea.  It never had a meaning of sprinkling.  The apostles would have been perplexed had someone suggested sprinkling for baptism in their day.  This change in the method was first brought about by the Roman Catholic Church and has been carried forward as traditions of men.  The change was never authorized by God, but some men do not seem to care what God desires.  Furthermore there are a few literal translations (ESB and ISB) that use the word “immerse” instead of “baptize”.  The Confession’s verses to support sprinkling are misapplied horrendously.  I am literally shocked that you ever bought into this.  I can understand someone like me stumbling into the false teaching, but you?

 

The “laying on of hands” refers again to Levitical rituals when those offering sacrifices laid hands on their animals.  We see many examples of this in the following Scripture…

Lev 1:4  And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.

 

Lev 3:2  And he shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering, and kill it at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron's sons the priests shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about.

 

Lev 4:4  And he shall bring the bullock unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD; and shall lay his hand upon the bullock's head, and kill the bullock before the LORD.

 

Lev 4:15  And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before the LORD: and the bullock shall be killed before the LORD.

 

Lev 4:24  And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD: it is a sin offering.

 

Laying on of hands was also part of the consecration of the priests…

 

Exo 29:10  And thou shalt cause a bullock to be brought before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock.

 

Lev 8:14  And he brought the bullock for the sin offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bullock for the sin offering.

 

It was even a ritual on the annual Day of Atonement which followed the sacrifice that was made for all of God’s people and involved the laying on of hands with all Jews…

Lev 16:15  Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat:

Lev 16:16  And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.

Lev 16:17  And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.

Lev 16:18  And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the LORD, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about.

Lev 16:19  And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.

Lev 16:20  And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat:

Lev 16:21  And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness:

 

These offerings are alluded to in Hebrews 5:3 but we learn in 7:27 that Christ only had to offer himself…

 

Heb 5:3  And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.

 

Heb 7:27  Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. 

 

The “resurrection of the dead” was also revealed in the OT and was nothing new to these people…

 

Job 19:25  For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

Job 19:26  And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:

Job 19:27  Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

 

Isa 26:19  Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

 

Dan 12:2  And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

 

It was a common belief of the Jews in the NT as well…

 

Act 24:14  But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

Act 24:15  And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

 

Act 26:6  And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers:

Act 26:7  Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.

Act 26:8  Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?

 

Jesus quoted Exodus concerning the resurrection of the dead…

 

Luk 20:37  Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.

Luk 20:38  For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.

Luk 20:39  Then certain of the scribes answering said, Master, thou hast well said.

Luk 20:40  And after that they durst not ask him any question at all.

 

Finally, “eternal judgment” was again another doctrine that was well known in the OT days…

 

Jud 1:14  And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

Jud 1:15  To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

 

Ecc 11:9  Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.

 

Isa 26:21  For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.

 

It is not necessarily any one of these elements that the writer of the Hebrews letter is trying to get them to eliminate but rather these elements are central to Judaism and the OT system.  The writer is trying to convince them that there is no perfection in the Levitical priesthood.  The entire letter of Hebrews is focusing on turning these Jewish Christians away from their old system and to completely follow the “perfect” Christian system.

 

Understanding those first few verses of Hebrews 6 allows us to better understand verses 4-6…

Heb 6:4  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

Heb 6:5  And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

Heb 6:6  If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

 

Your understanding of this Scripture is that these were not true Christians to begin with, they were superficial Christians.  The five elements that I just discussed and the initial state of repentance mentioned in verse 6 could only be referring to true Christians… the Hebrew Christians… and in fact would prove that we could indeed fall from a full state of grace.  We should note that the word “If” that begins verse 6 is not in any Manuscripts.  While it is scripturally evident that some Christians can fall to a point of no return, verse 4 is not referring to this point with the word “impossible”.  This passage of Scripture was written to the Hebrew Christians warning them not to fall away as some had already done.  As I have shown, they were in danger of going back to the OT Levitical system with its high priesthoods and sacrifices, and this letter was written to try to prevent them from doing so.  The writer wanted to show them the superiority of Christ and Christianity over Judaism.  The point of the word “impossible” is to warn them that if they do happen to fall back into Judaism then it would not be possible (or it would be impossible) for them to be spiritually renewed through that old system.  We learn of this similar warning later on in Hebrews…

Heb 10:26  For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

Heb 10:27  But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

Heb 10:28  He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

Heb 10:29  Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Heb 10:30  For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

Heb 10:31  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

 

Ultimately, this Scripture is not about falling away in general, but rather falling back into Judaism, although it does prove one can lose their salvation.  The old system was limited and has been taken away… it cannot bring perfection like the New Covenant is able to do.  Therefore, it is “impossible” for the Old Covenant to “renew them again unto repentance” because under the old system “there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins”.  It is not impossible for those that fall away to be brought back to Christianity, but it is impossible for Judaism to save them.  We may not be in danger ourselves of falling back into Judaism but we can certainly fall in to a continual state of sin or be led astray by false teachers and false doctrines causing us to be lost in the end.  We can prevent this by remaining faithful to God’s Word, which can build us up and help us discern between good and evil…

Joh 8:51  "Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death."

 

Act 20:32  And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

 

Heb 5:14  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

 

On a side note… the encouragement in Acts 20:32 comes after a warning that Judaism teachers will try to mislead and teach the Gentile Christians that they must follow the old system.

 

            2PE 1:10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;” To me this verse simply exhorts us to uphold the responsibility to prove our salvation, to demonstrate to the watchers in heaven and on earth as Job was called to do, to remain steadfast in our devotion to God.

 

2Pe 1:4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

2Pe 1:5  And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

2Pe 1:6  And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

2Pe 1:7  And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

2Pe 1:8  For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2Pe 1:9  But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

2Pe 1:10  Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

2Pe 1:11  For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

 

The big little word here is “if”… “if ye do these things” or “for as long as you practice these things”.  So what if you or I or any other Christian do not do these things?  Will we still never fall?  Oh, I forgot, your doctrine would say that if we do not do these things we were never standing up to begin with.  But then we were “purged” from our old sins, so that would not make sense in this case.  It is interesting how “purged” is defined…

katharismos

a washing off, that is, (ceremonially) ablution, cleansing, + purge, purification, (-fying).

 

Very interesting indeed!

 

It is also interesting to see so many other verses that have that big little word “if”…

Act 8:22  "Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.

 

In this verse the word “if” is definitely in the Manuscripts, and this sin is so grievous that Peter doubts whether it can be forgiven even with repentance and prayer.  More “if” passages… and a “might” one too…

Heb 3:6  But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.

 

Heb 10:36  For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

Heb 10:37  For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

Heb 10:38  Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

 

1Jo 2:3  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

 

There are plenty more… if you have a Bible software program you can do a search and read all of them.

 

            2JO 1:8 Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.”  Is a full reward that which God intends for us as opposed to a partial reward which is something left after we have deprived ourselves of some of it through our sin and our lack of faith?  I do not believe that this relates to our salvation, but to the glory or reward, the honor, we receive in heaven which we enjoy by having done the good works which God created for us to walk in.  Eph. 2:10

 

2Jo 1:8  Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

2Jo 1:9  Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

2Jo 1:10  If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

 

The key here is that we must be careful not to lose what we have accomplished (salvation), due to transgressions, and failing to abide in the doctrine of Christ.  If we have learned this doctrine of Christ and have wrought salvation, then we must not allow someone who is preaching a different doctrine other than what Christ taught, persuade us to follow that false doctrine.  If we did follow that false doctrine we would lose what we accomplished.  Now what exactly is a “lack of faith”?  If we lack faith after we are saved then surely we have fallen.  Faith is a must, if we lose faith, we lose all.

 

 

            JUD 1:21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.”  Would you take this as a directive to live in fear lest we lose our salvation at any moment?  Do you really think that the God who sent His Son to live and die for us wants us to live like that?  What do you think of I John 5:13?  “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.”  Why would He want us to know it if it could change on a moments notice?  Does it really only matter what we do last before we die?  What kind of a promise-keeping God would set up such a system?  Besides, did He not do this?  (PSA 139:16)  “Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Thy book they were all written, The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.”  Even the number of our days was determined by God before we were ever even created.

 

Now look, I cannot help that you interpret a bad translation to mean what you ask.  The answer to your questions are “no”.  Let’s consider the passage in context…

Jud 1:20  But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

Jud 1:21  Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Jud 1:22  And of some have compassion, making a difference:

Jud 1:23  And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

 

In context and from the Manuscripts, I understand this to mean that we should continue to grow in the faith by loving and praying to God.  Jude has just warned of false teachers.  Some may be trouble by these false teachers.  To those who we know that are troubled, doubting, or having problems with sin, we should wait for God’s mercy to work in them.  We should be compassionate to them so that we will make a difference in them.  With some (including the false teachers) we should snatch them away from their sins by stern preaching and vigorous effort.  We should mercifully point out their sin and pull them out of the fire while at the same time detesting their sins.  We should try to help keep Christian brothers and sisters from falling from grace, as well as attempt to convert the false teachers.  Now I wonder what would make you think that our salvation could change on a moments notice.  I do not believe that would happen very often, if ever, I have really not given it much thought (on a moment’s notice that is).  As stated in my last comments, I believe it would be after a sinful pattern has developed and I think we would know if we chose to walk away and deny God.  It would be fairly evident in our life.  Again, I just do not believe losing our salvation is a common thing to happen.  What I do not want to do is live my life not knowing whether I am saved until I just happen to persevere to the last day… waiting at judgment for God to tell me whether or not I was one of the pre-selected individually elected.  I believe I explained this earlier.  I do not believe that just because I commit a sin or sins, and happen to die before I can ask God for forgiveness, that somehow this sin is going to cause me to lose my salvation.  God knows our hearts and He is a just and righteous God.  Now if I choose to completely walk away from God, after knowing that I have done what He has commanded me to do (obey the gospel),  then I could lose my salvation.  If I choose to fall into a disgraceful pattern of sin and remain in it, and God sees that I am not going to repent of it, I will lose my salvation.  I fully believe God knows our heart completely and knows what our intentions are.  The one that loses his salvation is blatantly denying God.  I do not believe it is a matter of a sin here or there or even a temporary setback into a sinful pattern.  We are not perfect within ourselves and we simply cannot live a sinless life… I completely understand this.  Probably my biggest fear would be false teachings which are warned of so often in the Scriptures… more particularly the false teachings of those who have divided the one true church with false doctrines of men and traditions of men.  Those are easy to get swallowed up in and I think most people never get saved to begin with because of these false doctrines.  The Bible warns us over and over and over of the fact there will be false teachers, yet many refuse to believe it.  Let’s consider some of this Scripture…

Gal 1:6  I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

Gal 1:7  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

Gal 1:8  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

Gal 1:9  As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Gal 1:10  For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

 

1Ti 4:1  Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

1Ti 4:2  Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

 

Jer 14:14  Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.

 

Mat 7:15  Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

 

Mat 24:11  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

 

Mat 24:24  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

 

2Co 11:3  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

 

2Co 11:12  But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.

2Co 11:13  For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

2Co 11:14  And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

 

2Pe 2:1  But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

 

1Jo 4:1  Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

 

2Ti 4:1  I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:

2Ti 4:2  preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

2Ti 4:3  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,

2Ti 4:4  and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

 

Heb 13:9  Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.

 

Paul commends the Corinthians because they held true to the traditions that were delivered to them…

1Co 11:2  Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

 

Now, what do I think of 1 John 5:13… let’s see…

1Jo 5:1  Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

1Jo 5:2  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

1Jo 5:3  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

1Jo 5:4  For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

1Jo 5:5  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

1Jo 5:6  This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

1Jo 5:7  For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

1Jo 5:8  And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

1Jo 5:9  If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

1Jo 5:10  He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

1Jo 5:11  And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

1Jo 5:12  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

1Jo 5:13  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

 

Whoever chooses to believe (obey the gospel) will become a child of God.  Supported also by…

Rom 1:5  By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

 

You should note that in Romans 1:5 we see the reason we receive grace…”for obedience to the faith”.  I do not see how you could argue, based on this one passage alone, that we do not have to obey to receive grace.

 

We must love God’s children, our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We know we have this love if we love God and obey His commandments.

Joh 14:23  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

 

Very interestingly, after confirming that we, the saved, have overcome the world in verse 5, we read in verse 6 that we came by water and blood, just like Jesus did…

Joh 1:31  And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

 

John came to baptize so that Christ would be complete.  Christ was manifested and anointed when baptized by John the Baptizer in the Jordan River.  We also read in verse 6 that the Spirit bears witness because the Spirit is the truth (the Word of God).  So we have three witnesses on earth, the baptism of Jesus, the shed of His blood on the cross, and the Spirit, which is God’s testimony written on record in the Scriptures.  While God’s witness is naturally greater, we also have the witness of men when they are saved.  To sum it all up, it appears that we know we are saved if we have obeyed the gospel and placed ourselves in Christ.  He has written these things (from verse 1 to verse 12) so that we can know.  All of these verses show us how we know.  This passage supports what John wrote in chapter 2…

1Jo 2:3  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

1Jo 2:4  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

1Jo 2:5  But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

 

I wonder what I think about Psalms 139:16 as well…

Psa 139:16  Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

 

Let me help you clear an obvious misunderstanding you have of this passage.  Before we were even formed in the womb, God knew the numbers of our days.  Let’s keep in mind here that “my members” was added by men of the protestant reformation and is not in the Lexicon concordance…

“Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all were written, in continuance were fashioned, when none of them.”

He also knew how our form (bodies) would be complete (moulded or fashioned) while in the womb.  Nowhere does this verse indicate that God actually chose the number of our days… He simply foreknew them because He is all-knowing.  Now if you would not take passages out of context you would understand their meaning much better.  You have really surprised me with how much you have done this throughout this discussion.  Either you are doing this or intentionally trying to deceive me, it has to be one or the other.  Read all of Psalms 139 and pay particular attention to how David starts the chapter and how it flows through verse 18…

Psa 139:1   O LORD, You have searched me and known me.

Psa 139:2  You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.

Psa 139:3  You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

Psa 139:4  Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.

Psa 139:5  You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.

Psa 139:6  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.

Psa 139:7  Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

Psa 139:8  If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.

Psa 139:9  If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,

Psa 139:10  Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.

Psa 139:11  If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,"

Psa 139:12  Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.

Psa 139:13  For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb.

Psa 139:14  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

Psa 139:15  My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

Psa 139:16  Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.

Psa 139:17  How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

Psa 139:18  If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.

 

Surely you can see that David is showing the omniscience and omnipresence of God.  This is how He knows the number of our days, because He is all-knowing… not because He has decided ahead of time how many they would be.

 

Let’s consider some more Scripture in Galatians that I was reading when studying Galatians 5:4…

Gal 5:13  For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

Gal 5:14  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Gal 5:15  But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

Gal 5:16  This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Gal 5:17  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Gal 5:18  But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Gal 5:19  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

Gal 5:20  Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

Gal 5:21  Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

In this Scripture Paul is clearly speaking to your doctrine’s so-called “elect” or the saved brothers.  He is advising them to walk in the Spirit so that they do not fulfill the lust of the flesh (verse 16).  In verse 21 he warns them that “they which do such things” as described in verses 19-21, “shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”  So, can your so-called “elect” do any of these things?  If they can’t then why did Paul waste his ink and write that they could?  If your elect do these things and continue in them, will they inherit the kingdom of God?  If they will inherit the kingdom of God… is Paul a liar?  No, Paul is not the liar here, your doctrine is.

 

Let’s also consider James 5…

Jam 5:19  Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;

Jam 5:20  Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

 

It is very evident that James is writing to Christians.  He warns them that if any of them err from the truth and become un-converted, and then someone converts them back from the error of his ways, they would be saving a soul from spiritual death.  We know we cannot convert someone back that has not been un-converted… you know, we must be standing in order to fall.

 

I believe clearly we can fall… unless we endure…

Mat 24:9  "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.

Mat 24:10  "At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.

Mat 24:11  "Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.

Mat 24:12  "Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold.

Mat 24:13  "But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.

Mat 24:14  "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

 

Note also that the gospel will be preached to the whole world… now why would that be necessary if God was not going to give everyone an opportunity?  Because He desires everyone to be saved..

 

Act 20:28  "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

Act 20:29  "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;

Act 20:30  and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

 

2Ti 2:5  Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.

 

The Scriptures clearly tell us that some will indeed fall away and what we must do to prevent it…

1Ti 4:1  Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

1Ti 4:2  Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

 

1Ti 4:16  Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

 

 

 

“They” Use:

            ROM 9:11-13 for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God's purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, "The older will serve the younger."  Just as it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."  Oops, it looks like your adviser has forgotten something.  The “they” who is using this to support the doctrine of election is none other than the apostle Paul, and that under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  These verses and their application was divinely inspired.  Are you questioning this application?

 

I was advised to study this Scripture and I did.  Paul, nor any of the other apostles ever mentioned the “doctrine of election”.  The “doctrine of election” is a man-made doctrine created by none other that John Calvin, who was uninspired and unauthorized to do such.  If it was inspired and authorized it would have been in the Scriptures and we would not need a man to create and write it again for us.  I elaborated on this Scripture previously and commented on it again a little later, but let’s look at it even a little closer.  I think you already agree with me on this 100%, as you state a little later.

 

Rom 9:11  (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

Rom 9:12  It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

Rom 9:13  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

 

In verse 11 when we read “election”, this is referring to the fact that God had to choose a family from which the Messiah would come.  The Messianic line could not come from both children.  The Messiah would come from the family of Jacob.  This does not imply that Jacob and his descendants were elected to go to heaven, and Esau and his descendants elected to go to hell.  God chose Jacob’s descendants to be the nation from which the Messiah would come.  Later God changed Jacob’s name to Israel and that name represented the nation.

 

Isa 41:8  But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.

 

This is also true for Abraham as well… God chose the Messiah to come through Abraham who was faithful.

 

Gen 13:16  And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.

 

These men were not “elected” to go to heaven… they were chosen for certain earthly tasks in the same way Paul was in Acts 9…

Act 9:15  But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

 

Noah was chosen to build the ark because he had shown himself to be obedient and faithful to God.  He and his household were saved because they chose to obey God and build and enter the ark.  As explained earlier… those who got on the ark were saved.  In the same way, we must get into the church (in Christ) to be saved.  Those who are in the church will be saved when destruction comes, just as those in the ark were saved when destruction came.  What must we do to get “in Christ” or in “the church”?  We must be baptized into Christ… which we will discuss in depth next.  This is all supported by what Peter says in 1 Peter 3:20-21, which I explained earlier and  you advised me on the phone would not be so easy to get around explaining that it did not mean we must be water baptized…

1Pe 3:20  Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

1Pe 3:21  The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

 

 

 

            1PE 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”. I suppose that the conclusion here is that God chose a group, an institution, rather than the individuals who make it up.  I gather this from the next statement. 

“The church is predestined for eternal life, not individuals. We must get into the church where salvation is.”  Now where did you read this in the Bible?  Are you going to tell me that everyone who is “in the church” is saved and going to heaven?  I guess then that all one must do is get on the [the “right”] church role, and their salvation is assured.  Surely you can look around you and make some easy and elementary observations and know that this cannot possibly be true, even if you don’t read anything else in the Bible.

 

Where in the Bible did you read “mankind is totally depraved”, “mankind is unconditionally elected”, “mankind is saved by irresistible grace”, “all saints will persevere and never lose salvation”?  I suppose this is a good time to elaborate on “the church” since it is clearly explained in the Scriptures.  I have been involved in a few churches since about 1987 (I am not counting the ones when I was a kid because I only went because mama made me go).  I have been involved with the Presbyterian Church (2 of them – Troy and Prattville) as you are aware, and the Baptist Church (3 of them), and since the time I was saved I have become a member of the church body of Christ or “the church” because I was baptized into Christ.  I was not put on some man’s “role” but rather joined into Christ’s body, His church… “the church”.  We learn that the saved are indeed added members of Christ’s body and become “in Christ”, and that Christ’s body is “the church”, in several verses…

Act 2:41  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

 

Act 2:47  Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

 

1Co 1:2  Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

 

1Co 6:15  Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.

 

1Co 12:12  For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

1Co 12:13  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

1Co 12:14  For the body is not one member, but many.

1Co 12:15  If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

1Co 12:16  And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

1Co 12:17  If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

1Co 12:18  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

 

1Co 12:27  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

 

Eph 5:29  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

Eph 5:30  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

Eph 5:31  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

Eph 5:32  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

 

Eph 1:21  Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

Eph 1:22  And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

Eph 1:23  Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

 

Clearly the church is His body and we are added to His body when we are saved.

 

Col 1:24  Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:

 

1Pe 5:13  The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.