Freewill vs Predestination

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by Silas, Dec 21, 2006.

  1. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Lord, I choose.

    Bless my choice.

    Amen.
     
  2. Silas

    Silas Well-Known Member

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    Your smarter and stronger that most men Q. Way to go - glory to you!
     
  3. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    ...you don't know the half of it...
     
  4. Dondi

    Dondi Well-Known Member

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    Read Romans 9 please and let the Holy Spirit work. God chooses from the same lump of humanity, some equally wicked men who would never have come to Him, to display His Mercy and left other equally wicked men to do what they want, namely not repent and come to Christ, and then punishes them in the end for not coming. He didnt make them not come (He wants them to come), but He will punish them for not coming. You must see that though God is Sovereign, man still has a responsibilty. He is responsible for His sin. The sinner who is saved, is saved purely on God's grace and nothing else, lest he should think he could boast. Its sort of like this: Suppose you and I were guilty of murder and while in prison, the warden comes to me and says "Silas, the governor has chosen to be merciful on you, you are free to go!" Who do I have to thank for my freedom? No one but the govenor, thats who. Who do you have to blame? No one but you, thats who. Its the samething with saved and unsaved people!

    Romans 9-11 is about God's sovereignty in regards to the nation of Israel, it does not speak of individual soveriegnty. I have more to speak of these chapters, but it will take some space.

    Assuming that man cannot come to God without God drawing them, if God wanted these "wicked men" men to come, then why didn't God draw them as well.

    Right! Man's will before the fall were both able to choose up (good) and down (bad). Because their wills we not in bondage to sin, their choice were motivated by their love for God and their willingness to do good (that was their nature). Now you asked the question..."why did they chose to sin agaist God?" To be honest, I dont know. I wonder why myself. They had everything and anything they could want. But I cannot blame them, because I'm sure I would have done the samething myself. What we do know from scripture is that they did sin (only once) and it caused God to be so angry that He cast them out of the garden and pronoucned a death sentence on ALL men who were born through our fore-parants. This shows me that sin is way worst then we can even image. Thats why I say, if only we can get just a glimpse of it - just a peek of how ugly and how nasty and how disgusting and how putrafying, it is, we'd groan in agony and praise God for His wrath upon it. If sin were a physical entity, it would be worst than Satan himself.

    I know why they sinned in their perfect state. Because they were in a sorta neutral state before God, without sin. But like I said, they had two choices. They could either have listened to God and choose God (The Tree of life) or listen to the Serpent's temptation and choose Sin (The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil).

    Had they chose the Tree of Life (that is the Life of God, His Spirit), then they would have lived forever. (They were told they could eat from any tree in the Garden, but it is obvious that they didn't eat of the Tree of Life because of Genesis 3:22: "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:")

    Therefore they were banned from the Garden, lest they live forever in a sinful state.

    They had freewill in this neutral state. The choice Adam and Eve made was not based on the power of sin, for they did not know sin yet. But rather their choice was whether to follow God's way or their way. They were drawn by temptation, not by the power of sin. Sin is just the end result of temptation. but the temptation is not the sin itself.

    Had they chosen the Tree of Life first, that temptation wouldn't have the effect on them, for then they would have the Spirit of God to protect them. The Spirit of God is the factor that will keep us from sin when we come into the Kingdom of God. (But we as Christians, we are still tempted here because we are still in corrupt bodies).

    "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." - I Corinthians 10:13

    Temptations are the same for every man. The reason we fall to the temptation is because we chose to. But now that Tree of Life is available in Jesus Christ if we so chose it.
     
  5. Silas

    Silas Well-Known Member

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    Dondi,

    I dont think you read what I said. I affairmed that Adam and Eve were not bound by sin, but instead were able to choose both good and bad. Their choice to do good were rooted in their nature as being perfect. This was man's nature pior to the fall. After the fall, however, is where I said man's nature (his will, mind, and heart) became evil and enslaved to sin, which is his new nature. Here I'll use some scripture to support my argument:

    "To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled " (Titus 1:15).

    "Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart" (Eph. 4:17-18).

    Note that our minds and consciences are defiled, our thinking is futile, our understanding is darkened, and we are full of ignorance. That is the state of the unsaved mind. Our thinking is sinful. We think things we should not think. Our feelings are also sinful. We feel things we ought not to feel. Here are some other scriptures to consider:

    "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man." (Mat. 15:19-20)

    "
    The human mind is more deceitful than anything else. It is incurably bad. Who can understand it?" (Jer. 17:9)

    Note again, these are only a few scriptures to show the state of the natural man after the fall. He isnt pefect; he isnt even good. His heart is wicked, his mind is more deceitful than anything else, his conscience is darked, his will is in bondage to his sinful desiers, etc., etc. Because of one sin, EVERYONE after Adam and Eve was born wicked and depraved. That may not be your estimation of man, but it is what God declars of us. Now as for Romans 9. You say it is only speaking of Israel. Well, thats both true and false, let me explain this way. Who is Israel? According to the scriptures and even in Romans 9, Israel is God's people made up of redeemed sinners from both Jews and Gentiles and counted in the promised son, Isaac. Read Romans 1-9 again. Paul is speaking about His greif that he wishes that his people, Israel - that is "natural Israel" - would be saved.

    Then he goes on to say, "its not like God's promise to save Israel failed." Why? Because not all those who are descended from Israel are truly Israel, nor are all the children Abraham’s true descendants; rather “through Isaac will your descendants be counted.” This means it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God; rather, the children of promise are counted as descendants. This is God's election: He chose His people before they were and it is not based on any good in them, not based on foreseen faith, or any merit in them what so ever (Romans 9:11) As for your last question:

    "Assuming that man cannot come to God without God drawing them, if God wanted these "wicked men" men to come, then why didn't God draw them as well?"

    First we must see that it is not based on assumptions that man must be drawn first, before he can come to God. Jesus himself said so in John 6:44. As for why God doesnt draw all, it is because He isnt obligated to. He's not obligated to love us (this is why we sing of His grace - it is amazing!), but He is obligated to be Just and punish sinners. Therefore, since this whole "life" thing is about Him, He saves some guilty law breakers to display His mercy and leaves equally guilty law breakers to their sin that in the end, He may show that He is still Just. He is revealing Himself in totality from Love to Wrath and all the attributes in between, e.g., mercy, grace, kindness, etc.
     
  6. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    "To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled " (Titus 1:15).

    I don't see how this indicates that everyone is defiled and unbelieving. It says exactly what it says- to pure people, everything is pure (we see the goodness of God in everything, and seek purity in all). To the unbeliever, nothing in life is good (they do not see God in life) and their minds and consciences are thus defiled. I'm taking a literal read there. Your own take on it seems to be more of a stretch.

    "Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart" (Eph. 4:17-18).

    Again, not saying that everyone is in such a state. Also, you might want to look deeper into what this verse meant in the original Greek, which indicates free will. From the Amplified translation:

    "So this I say and solemnly testify in [the name of] the Lord [as in His presence], that you must no longer live as the heathen (the Gentiles) do in their perverseness [in the folly, vanity, and emptiness of their souls and the futility] of their minds. Their moral understanding is darkened and their reasoning is beclouded. [They are] alienated (estranged, self-banished) from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the ignorance (the want of knowledge and perception, the willful blindness) that is deep-seated in them, due to their hardness of heart [to the insensitiveness of their moral nature]."

    So far, I don't really need to come up with scripture to justify my view of free will. Your own scriptures are doing this for me fairly well.

    "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man." (Mat. 15:19-20)

    In context, not sure where you're going with this. They were talking about dietary requirements, and Jesus was saying that it's what's in our heart that's the issue. What goes in our mouths isn't as important as what could come out of our heart- that is what defiles us, and that's what we need to improve on if we are really following God's will. This says nothing about people being incurably evil (without election) or about predestination or free will. I think it's off topic, myself. None of us argue that humans don't sin.

    "The human mind is more deceitful than anything else. It is incurably bad. Who can understand it?" (Jer. 17:9)

    Again- the Amplified translation that better expounds on the Hebrew helps here. In most translations, it does not say "incurably bad" and that is a big difference. Also, not sure what translation you are using, but all four in front of me say "heart" not "human mind."

    "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" KJV

    "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?" NAS

    "The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]?" Amplified

    He isnt pefect; he isnt even good.

    But we must be capable of these things, for we are called to them by Christ. "You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48 Amplified

    His heart is wicked, his mind is more deceitful than anything else, his conscience is darked, his will is in bondage to his sinful desiers, etc., etc.

    But Jesus called us all to be otherwise, so it must be a possibility in the range of human choice and action. I read Jesus' words literally. So if Jesus calls us to be perfect (as above), who are we to say this is impossible? It must be possible if our Lord calls us to do it.

    Because of one sin, EVERYONE after Adam and Eve was born wicked and depraved.

    Can you prove that everyone that has ever been born was born wicked and depraved? (And yes, I know everyone is born with the capacity to sin, and we all do. That is not the same thing as being born utterly wicked and depraved.)

    As for why God doesnt draw all, it is because He isnt obligated to. He's not obligated to love us (this is why we sing of His grace - it is amazing!), but He is obligated to be Just and punish sinners. Therefore, since this whole "life" thing is about Him, He saves some guilty law breakers to display His mercy and leaves equally guilty law breakers to their sin that in the end, He may show that He is still Just. He is revealing Himself in totality from Love to Wrath and all the attributes in between, e.g., mercy, grace, kindness, etc.

    Is there a scriptural basis to assume that God must behave in certain ways in order to display His attributes? Is God somehow governed by something greater than God, that there are laws He Himself cannot break. (i.e., He is just and so He is obligated to punish some people, even if the scriptures clearly say His will is that all are saved?)

    Because I thought this was all about sticking to scripture.

    Also, I'd like to see more scriptural basis for predestination from the gospels? No offense, but not all Christians base their beliefs primarily on Paul's letters. Some, like myself, are based first on the words of our Lord and form our beliefs primarily on that. I like Paul, the letters have a lot of wisdom, but the Bible is a collection of works and I do not hold the letters of Paul before the words and recorded actions of Jesus. I'd like to know what Jesus said on the issue, since out of all the books of the Bible, I feel the direct words of God are most clearly preserved in the recordings of Christ.

    I'm out of time at this point, but I'll post more scriptures later... I leave with this- a promise from Jesus Himself to all of us:

    "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks; the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him! So in everything, do to othes what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 7:7-12

    I don't think it gets much clearer than that, or spoken by a more authoritative source.
     
  7. Silas

    Silas Well-Known Member

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    path_of_one

    I don't see how this indicates that everyone is defiled and unbelieving. It says exactly what it says- to pure people, everything is pure (we see the goodness of God in everything, and seek purity in all). To the unbeliever, nothing in life is good (they do not see God in life) and their minds and consciences are thus defiled. I'm taking a literal read there. Your own take on it seems to be more of a stretch.

    I like the color cordination, nice choice of color! That said, I feel you missed my point in qouting Titus 1:15. I was not speaking of the pure; which is to say, those regenerated and made pure by Christ's atonment, but on the defiled, those who are not regenerated and therefore still "dead in sin." My point about the unregenerated is that nothing is pure and that both their minds and consciences are defiled, just as it said in Titus 1:15.


    Again, not saying that everyone is in such a state. Also, you might want to look deeper into what this verse meant in the original Greek, which indicates free will. From the Amplified translation:

    "So this I say and solemnly testify in [the name of] the Lord [as in His presence], that you must no longer live as the heathen (the Gentiles) do in their perverseness [in the folly, vanity, and emptiness of their souls and the futility] of their minds. Their moral understanding is darkened and their reasoning is beclouded. [They are] alienated (estranged, self-banished) from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the ignorance (the want of knowledge and perception, the willful blindness) that is deep-seated in them, due to their hardness of heart [to the insensitiveness of their moral nature]."

    So far, I don't really need to come up with scripture to justify my view of free will. Your own scriptures are doing this for me fairly well.

    LOL! Again, you missed the point. I'm NOT talking about freewill or responsiblity here, but on the natural unregenerated man. How did such a person live? I qouted
    Eph. 4:17-18. Read it again.

    In context, not sure where you're going with this. They were talking about dietary requirements, and Jesus was saying that it's what's in our heart that's the issue. What goes in our mouths isn't as important as what could come out of our heart- that is what defiles us, and that's what we need to improve on if we are really following God's will. This says nothing about people being incurably evil (without election) or about predestination or free will. I think it's off topic, myself. None of us argue that humans don't sin.

    I realized where you're making your mistake now. You assume that I'm speaking of election or free will or along those lines. The scriptures I qouted here are building my point about the depravity of the natural man. Jesus said that the heart of man is wicked and what comes out of it is what condemns man.
    Mat. 15:19-20. Again, the point is about man's nature and not free will. That will come.

    Again- the Amplified translation that better expounds on the Hebrew helps here. In most translations, it does not say "incurably bad" and that is a big difference. Also, not sure what translation you are using, but all four in front of me say "heart" not "human mind."

    "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" KJV

    "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?" NAS

    "The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]?" Amplified

    Same point again. Im speaking about man's depravity and using Jer. 19:9 to show the depravity of man's mind or heart, which is sometimes used inter-changeably in scripture.


    But we must be capable of these things, for we are called to them by Christ. "You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48 Amplified

    Here we go, this is a good topic. I didnt say man cant do good or be moral. I always affirm that! Jesus himself said "you being evil know how to give good." What I'm saying is that before God, our best deeds and morality at its zenith, are filty rags (Isa. 64:4) By the way, it is worth mentioning that you qoute a good scripture to prove man's depravity. God commands to us to be perfect. Can we? Has there ever been a perfect man (other than Jesus)? Not according to Jesus who said, "There is none good, no not one." Lastly, it should be stated (for the glory of God) that the only reason any of us do anything good, is because of God's common grace. Apart from God's grace all of us are the vilest of humans. This is what it means to be totally depraved. This is what sinners have to see, at least to a point (I'm not going to give the measure because scripture doesnt say), before they can be saved. They must see their sin as exceedingly sinful before they can cry out to the Savior's help. If we call upon Him He will graciously save us!


    But Jesus called us all to be otherwise, so it must be a possibility in the range of human choice and action. I read Jesus' words literally. So if Jesus calls us to be perfect (as above), who are we to say this is impossible? It must be possible if our Lord calls us to do it.

    I read Jesus' words literally as well. And I know the difference between what we can do and what we cant (from scripture of course). I know that God commands things knowing that we cannot do them to teach a point, e.g., "Pharaoh, let my people go," "love God with all of your mind, heart, soul," "Lazarus come forth," "Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect," etc, etc. Those are all instances where God commands knowing that we cannot in and of our ownselves do it.


    Can you prove that everyone that has ever been born was born wicked and depraved? (And yes, I know everyone is born with the capacity to sin, and we all do. That is not the same thing as being born utterly wicked and depraved.)

    Sure. Psa. 58:3, Psa. 51:5, Eph. 2:3, etc. We are not born with the "capacity" to sin, but are born sinners. In true, we are not sinners because we sin, but we sin because we are a sinners. It is our nature. I find it sad that the word "siner" has lost its saltiness. People are quick to admit that, but to admit that they are wicked before God because of their thoughts alone, it is another story.


    Is there a scriptural basis to assume that God must behave in certain ways in order to display His attributes?

    Sure. God does everything for His own glory, make people, save people, punish people, etc. etc. Thats pretty much the point of the Bible. You can do a google search for that, there are too many scriptures to mention concerning this fact.


    Is God somehow governed by something greater than God, that there are laws He Himself cannot break. (i.e., He is just and so He is obligated to punish some people, even if the scriptures clearly say His will is that all are saved?)
    Because I thought this was all about sticking to scripture.

    God is Sovereign over everything!! He is Thrice Holy and swares by His holiness (Psa. 89:35). Therefore, since God cannot lie (Titus 1:2) and He swares by Himself (
    Heb. 6:13), He will not go against His nature by not doing everything for His own glory and His own good pleasure (Eph. 1:11). Everything God does is for His own glory and for His own good pleasure. With that explained and used for my "frame work" to build a point, all that's left to say is that because God is Good and because He will always do what is right (Gen. 18:25), He will not let the guilty go unpunished (Nahum 1:3). Is that enough scripture for you?

    Also, I'd like to see more scriptural basis for predestination from the gospels? No offense, but not all Christians base their beliefs primarily on Paul's letters. Some, like myself, are based first on the words of our Lord and form our beliefs primarily on that. I like Paul, the letters have a lot of wisdom, but the Bible is a collection of works and I do not hold the letters of Paul before the words and recorded actions of Jesus. I'd like to know what Jesus said on the issue, since out of all the books of the Bible, I feel the direct words of God are most clearly preserved in the recordings of Christ.

    Sure. But before I do that, I feel it important to mention that you should read 2Tim 3:16. Paul's words are just important as true as Jesus because they come form the same source. That said, I'll show you were Jesus taught election based on God's Sovereign choice, but not yet, OK? Wait until we clear up this stuff here...One thing at a time sis.

    I'm out of time at this point, but I'll post more scriptures later... I leave with this- a promise from Jesus Himself to all of us: I don't think it gets much clearer than that, or spoken by a more authoritative source.

    Good scripture! I affiarm it. ALL that ask will be answered, all that seek will find, whoever wills let them come, etc., etc. Those scriptures are not weapons against Calvinism, we affarim them all. We only say that the reason any sinner comes to God is because God draws them, and pradoxal as it may sound, he makes us willing against our unwillingness. You're all over the place in this post "path of one." Lets try to keep things in context, OK? If you need to, read my responce to Dondi again. I wrote that in defense for total depravity and it wasnt speaking of freewill or predestination. I see that you want to discuss this though and thats great. You wanna try answering my inital question? Catch you later!

    -- Silas
     
  8. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    My point about the unregenerated is that nothing is pure and that both their minds and consciences are defiled, just as it said in Titus 1:15.

    I don't think I argued with that. I just don't see what it has to do with your point. I never argued that people are not regenerated and made pure in Christ alone.

    I'm NOT talking about freewill or responsiblity here, but on the natural unregenerated man. How did such a person live?


    I think the wording is partially what trips us up in our conversation. I do not make distinctions between natural/unnatural/supernatural. Reality is what it is, including God, Christ, and what happens to humanity when they come to Christ. There is no natural/unnatural distinction to me. I think perhaps I just categorize the world less than you do. It's not a right/wrong issue, just differences in how our brains work. Where you see categories, I just see processes.


    The scriptures I qouted here are building my point about the depravity of the natural man.

    I never said humans aren't depraved. I just don't think they are entirely depraved, but rather that we also have God's indwelling from birth, in the form of our "light within"- the law written on our hearts.

    I didnt say man cant do good or be moral. I always affirm that! What I'm saying is that before God, our best deeds and morality at its zenith, are filty rags (Isa. 64:4)


    OK, and your point? I've never said we achieve salvation through our works. I've said that humanity's basic nature is to be alternately torn between what is "written on our hearts" (and thus to be God-centered and other-centered) and our desire to be self-centered, from which sin springs. I've never argued that God thinks our sins are OK because we do some good stuff too. I'm just saying, by definition, people cannot be entirely sinful if they are sometimes good.


    God commands to us to be perfect. Can we? Has there ever been a perfect man (other than Jesus)?

    I don't know. I've never met every person. I only say that if my Lord says we are commanded to be perfect, then it must be possible. My own interpretation here is more of a literal read than to assume that Jesus must have been beating around the bush and getting at our inability to be perfect by telling us to be so. He also told us that His followers would do greater deeds than His own, which is a pretty amazing promise and one that Christians tend to sweep under the rug.

    Why do we try to avoid these verses or explain them away by saying it means Jesus was saying we really can't do these things? Well, what is easier? Giving up trying and saying "We can't possibly do this, Jesus must really be telling us we can't" or saying "We haven't achieved this yet, but this is what we are commanded to strive and hope for"?

    Not according to Jesus who said, "There is none good, no not one."

    In the other thread, I already explained that in the original Greek, this verse did not mean "good" like the modern English translation. Jesus was saying "good" as in essentially good- good as its essence. All good comes from God; God is good at His very essence. No one else is good in that way, and all our goodness comes from God. Also, good is not perfect. Look at the Amplified translation to better understand the meaning in these verses. Neither term means what we think of in English, and they also are not synonyms.


    Lastly, it should be stated (for the glory of God) that the only reason any of us do anything good, is because of God's common grace.

    Of course. I don't argue that. I've never said that wasn't the case. As I've said before, God is essentially good, and all goodness in His Creation comes from Him. Where else would it come from?

    Apart from God's grace all of us are the vilest of humans.

    Humans are God's Creation. We were created in His image. We've never known what a human is like without God's grace. It's God's grace that allows life and the universe to function in the first place! So it's kind of non-sensical and pointless to me to try to imagine a universe in which God is absent, since having a universe is necessarily based on having God in it.:confused:

    They must see their sin as exceedingly sinful before they can cry out to the Savior's help. If we call upon Him He will graciously save us!

    I never argued that either. Sin is sinful. Kinda that way by definition. We recognize that we need to be saved from our sin and self-centeredness, and that what is a tiny light within us (our conscience) points us to God. We ask Christ to save us from our self-centered and sinful behavior and to put us on the path to fanning that tiny light to a roaring bonfire. Thus, His grace is made manifest through us to others, and we become the light of the world through which His light shines.

    I read Jesus' words literally as well. And I know the difference between what we can do and what we cant (from scripture of course).

    I believe all things are possible in Christ. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

    I know that God commands things knowing that we cannot do them to teach a point, e.g., "Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect," etc, etc. Those are all instances where God commands knowing that we cannot in and of our ownselves do it.

    Of course we can't do it on our own. We can't do anything on our own. Even people who don't believe God exists are not really doing things on thier own. The very reason they can reason and choose to believe that God doesn't exist is because God's grace gave them life and a reasoning brain!

    Sure. Psa. 58:3, Psa. 51:5, Eph. 2:3, etc. We are not born with the "capacity" to sin, but are born sinners. It is our nature.

    "The ungodly are perverse and estranged from the womb..." Psa 58:3
    Interesting how this qualifies the people involved. It doesn't say "everyone," but rather "the ungodly." Seems to indicate God's omniscience/foreknowledge rather than the state of all humanity. Also, with all the Psalms... context is key. Eph 2:3 is a use of Psa 51:5, not a separate scripture.

    I've already established I also do not take all the scriptures, particularly the OT ones, as literally true, nor do I agree with all of them. And this is not just because I don't like certain scriptures, either. I've done a bit of work into trying to understand how the Jews understood scripture, and found that minimally, we're missing a lot as Christians by not having any commentaries and by generally not following the same way of using the scriptures as an ongoing message from God, rather than a one-time-figure-it-out-event.

    Furthermore, I generally do not use scripture to form doctrine. It is an ongoing means of connection between God and I, through which the Spirit speaks. Maybe to other people the Spirit speaks doctrine. How should I know? To me, the scriptures, through the Spirit, speak encouragement, proper thought and behavior, and develops a further love for God and all Creation. I believe the scriptures are vast enough to give everyone what they need in their relationship with God, but different people have different needs...

    People are quick to admit that, but to admit that they are wicked before God because of their thoughts alone, it is another story.

    I have no problem with this. I am acutely aware that it is often my thoughts that are the biggest problem. From thought springs action, so the logical thing is to try to become more pure in our thoughts. This is not impossible. We can control our thoughts. And over time, it gets easier, just like controlling your actions. It starts with asking God to make you contrite each time your thoughts are sinful, and then you begin to work on changing your thoughts. The more you think about God and good things, the less you have room in your brain to think about bad things. It gradually improves. I believe that with Christ's help, we can get to a state where our thoughts are pure.

    God does everything for His own glory, make people, save people, punish people, etc. etc.


    That statement does not answer the question I asked. I didn't ask why God does things. I asked how it is that God is somehow ruled by something greater than God, that God is obligated to do something. Who obligates God?


    God is Sovereign over everything!! He is Thrice Holy and swares by His holiness (Psa. 89:35). Therefore, since God cannot lie (Titus 1:2) and He swares by Himself (Heb. 6:13), He will not go against His nature by not doing everything for His own glory and His own good pleasure (Eph. 1:11).


    OK. I still ask how you determine where in scripture God doesn't go against Himself (i.e., He is just so He'll punish some people while saving others) versus where He does (i.e., He wills it that all people are saved, but doesn't do that). You talk about the two wills of God, but who are mere humans to know the difference?


    Everything God does is for His own glory and for His own good pleasure.


    Never said this is not true.


    He will not let the guilty go unpunished (Nahum 1:3).

    Hmm... according to this verse, God will not clear the guilty. But God did clear the guilty, through Christ. Surely to interpret "the guilty" as only those who are unrepentent, in a scripture written before the gospels, is not literal?So what is the point here? That God somehow decides to arbitrarily punish some of the guilty and not others? But wouldn't that go against this scripture anyway? "by no means clear the guilty" seems to indicate that God would not clear any of the guilty.


    But then we all believe He did.


    Paul's words are just important as true as Jesus because they come form the same source.


    I realize some Christians believe this. I disagree. Paul had a mystical experience in which he was suddenly saved, and I have no doubt that he experienced God's guidance and inspiration. But I would say that is a far cry from the words of God Himself coming out of Jesus' mouth. Secondly, we have to look at the difference in the purposes of the books of the canon. The Bible was not one book all written in the same manner. There are different types of literature in it. The epistles are letters written to specific churches, speaking to specific issues within those churches. The gospels are the recorded actions and words of Christ Himself, a universal message for all humanity. I think that alone explains why I look first to the gospels for guidance, but it is also what I have felt called to do by the Spirit.


    That said, I'll show you were Jesus taught election based on God's Sovereign choice, but not yet, OK?



    I await your response.


    We only say that the reason any sinner comes to God is because God draws them, and pradoxal as it may sound, he makes us willing against our unwillingness.


    OK. I find such distinctions pointless. Of course God draws them (and everyone). He wrote the law on our hearts; Creation itself praises Him and glorifies Him and is testimony to His handiwork. God is constantly trying to draw humanity to Himself.


    We are willing because of His immanence, because of Him within us, and for some of us, we choose to put this before our self-centeredness.


    You're all over the place in this post "path of one." Lets try to keep things in context, OK?


    Actually, I'll respond how I wish, thanks. I respond how I feel called to respond, and I do not think I'm bringing up things that are not in the context of the discussion.


    If I do go off-topic, rest assured that Q or Juan will handle that. That's what mods are for.:eek:


    And Merry Christmas, Silas. :D Tonight is my favorite service of all the year.
     
  9. Silas

    Silas Well-Known Member

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    path_of_one

    I don't think I argued with that. I just don't see what it has to do with your point. I never argued that people are not regenerated and made pure in Christ alone.

    My point is that man apart from Christ (unregenerated man) is not pure and his mind and conscience are defiled.


    I think the wording is partially what trips us up in our conversation. I do not make distinctions between natural/unnatural/supernatural. Reality is what it is, including God, Christ, and what happens to humanity when they come to Christ. There is no natural/unnatural distinction to me. I think perhaps I just categorize the world less than you do. It's not a right/wrong issue, just differences in how our brains work. Where you see categories, I just see processes.

    If you dont see the difference between the unregenerated sinner and the regenerated sinner, you've not yet been born again. A man who is alive in Christ, remembers well when he was dead in sins and who freed him.


    I never said humans aren't depraved. I just don't think they are entirely depraved, but rather that we also have God's indwelling from birth, in the form of our "light within"- the law written on our hearts.

    That's a contradiciton of God's delcaring of man, who says that pior to coming to Christ, we were enemies of God and Children of Wrath." But to those who recieved Christ, to them He [God] gave them power to be called the Children of God." We only recieve God's indwelling in us when we become regenerated or "Born Again." The laws written on our hearts, and the conscience that testifies that the Laws are written therein, are proof that man knows He is guilty before God and should come to Christ. "The law is a school master to lead sinners to Christ." The law does not save, it shows man he is guilty and needs a Savior.

    OK, and your point? I've never said we achieve salvation through our works. I've said that humanity's basic nature is to be alternately torn between what is "written on our hearts" (and thus to be God-centered and other-centered) and our desire to be self-centered, from which sin springs. I've never argued that God thinks our sins are OK because we do some good stuff too. I'm just saying, by definition, people cannot be entirely sinful if they are sometimes good.

    Pior to Christ we have zero good in God's eyes. We're nothing but sinful people who do nothing but sin. Read Romans 3 to see what God says of men.


    I don't know. I've never met every person. I only say that if my Lord says we are commanded to be perfect, then it must be possible. My own interpretation here is more of a literal read than to assume that Jesus must have been beating around the bush and getting at our inability to be perfect by telling us to be so. He also told us that His followers would do greater deeds than His own, which is a pretty amazing promise and one that Christians tend to sweep under the rug.

    This is why hermanutics is so important! A careful look into what Jesus meant when He said that "greater deeds than these you will do," is talking about the higest miricle, namely the one of giving the gospel and having God hating men become born again in Christ, whereby they begin to hate what they used to love and love what they used to hate. This miricle is greater than giving physcial to the blind, healing the sick, bringing dead men back to natural life, etc., etc. That out the way, the Bible teaches that we will never be perfect until we become glorifed and that happens when we are with Christ in Heaven. So then, why wouldnt you understand Jesus to be teaching man's inabilty to do anything apart from Him? Dont assume just because God commands something that we can do it without Him. Jesus said we can do Nothing without Him. How much do you suppose is nothing?

    Why do we try to avoid these verses or explain them away by saying it means Jesus was saying we really can't do these things? Well, what is easier? Giving up trying and saying "We can't possibly do this, Jesus must really be telling us we can't" or saying "We haven't achieved this yet, but this is what we are commanded to strive and hope for"?

    We dont avoid it at all, but we do look at it in context of all the other verses that teach we cannot do it in and of our own strength. Again, God commands things that He knows we cannot do for a reason.


    In the other thread, I already explained that in the original Greek, this verse did not mean "good" like the modern English translation. Jesus was saying "good" as in essentially good- good as its essence. All good comes from God; God is good at His very essence. No one else is good in that way, and all our goodness comes from God. Also, good is not perfect. Look at the Amplified translation to better understand the meaning in these verses. Neither term means what we think of in English, and they also are not synonyms.

    I agree with all you said there and thats why I affairm Jesus' words..."There is no one Good!" None of what we consider to be good is good in God's sight if we are not in Christ. If the best of humanity isnt in Jesus, His goodness is to no avil and is nothing more than excrement before God.


    Humans are God's Creation. We were created in His image. We've never known what a human is like without God's grace. It's God's grace that allows life and the universe to function in the first place! So it's kind of non-sensical and pointless to me to try to imagine a universe in which God is absent, since having a universe is necessarily based on having God in it.:confused:

    I think you may be misundering God's common grace for saving grace. Common grace consist of God being good to all creation, e.g., "it rains on both the good and bad and the sun shines on both, good and bad," etc. Saving grace consist of God giving someone the gifts of repentance and faith whereby they may be saved from His wrath.


    I never argued that either. Sin is sinful. Kinda that way by definition. We recognize that we need to be saved from our sin and self-centeredness, and that what is a tiny light within us (our conscience) points us to God. We ask Christ to save us from our self-centered and sinful behavior and to put us on the path to fanning that tiny light to a roaring bonfire. Thus, His grace is made manifest through us to others, and we become the light of the world through which His light shines.

    Whoa! I like that, very nicely said!!


    Of course we can't do it on our own. We can't do anything on our own. Even people who don't believe God exists are not really doing things on thier own. The very reason they can reason and choose to believe that God doesn't exist is because God's grace gave them life and a reasoning brain!

    Amazing!! Sometimes you suprise me by what you say, like here. I agree with all you said here!!


    "The ungodly are perverse and estranged from the womb..." Psa 58:3
    Interesting how this qualifies the people involved. It doesn't say "everyone," but rather "the ungodly." Seems to indicate God's omniscience/foreknowledge rather than the state of all humanity. Also, with all the Psalms... context is key. Eph 2:3 is a use of Psa 51:5, not a separate scripture.

    Good point! I should have quilified my statement with all are born in sin (Romans 5:22). So since all men are born in sin, then my point about Psa. 58:3 is correct. Man's nature is sin...He sins because that is who he is. All of natural man who is born in sin are ungodly.
     
  10. Silas

    Silas Well-Known Member

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    Continue...

    I've already established I also do not take all the scriptures, particularly the OT ones, as literally true, nor do I agree with all of them. And this is not just because I don't like certain scriptures, either. I've done a bit of work into trying to understand how the Jews understood scripture, and found that minimally, we're missing a lot as Christians by not having any commentaries and by generally not following the same way of using the scriptures as an ongoing message from God, rather than a one-time-figure-it-out-event.

    See what I mean. I was right with you up until here. This sucks! OK, so I cant argue from the comfortable possition of not holding all scriptures to be true cause I actually believe the Bible - all of it - is the word of God. I believe in a Sovereign God who makes sure that His will is never thwarted and that He's big enough to get His words to us exactly the way He intended.


    That statement does not answer the question I asked. I didn't ask why God does things. I asked how it is that God is somehow ruled by something greater than God, that God is obligated to do something. Who obligates God?


    I'm gonna use my old answer for this: "God is Sovereign over everything!! He is Thrice Holy and swares by His holiness (Psa. 89:35). Therefore, since God cannot lie (Titus 1:2) and He swares by Himself (Heb. 6:13), He will not go against His nature by not doing everything for His own glory and His own good pleasure (Eph. 1:11)." God isnt obliagated to no one but Himself and He does everything for His own good pleasure.

    OK. I still ask how you determine where in scripture God doesn't go against Himself (i.e., He is just so He'll punish some people while saving others) versus where He does (i.e., He wills it that all people are saved, but doesn't do that). You talk about the two wills of God, but who are mere humans to know the difference?

    We know nothing but that which God allows us to know. That said, this is a great question that I'd like to answer another time. In fact, you can email me and we'll talk about it there.


    Hmm... according to this verse, God will not clear the guilty. But God did clear the guilty, through Christ. Surely to interpret "the guilty" as only those who are unrepentent, in a scripture written before the gospels, is not literal? So what is the point here? That God somehow decides to arbitrarily punish some of the guilty and not others? But wouldn't that go against this scripture anyway? "by no means clear the guilty" seems to indicate that God would not clear any of the guilty.

    Umm. I think you answered your own question - "God clears the guilty through Christ." He is our scapegoat. This is dicussed in Romans 3 something...I think? All those who repent and trust in Jesus is cleared because Jesus paid their price and all that those that dont repent and trust in Jesus will pay their sins themselves. This is another good question, by the way!


    I realize some Christians believe this. I disagree. Paul had a mystical experience in which he was suddenly saved, and I have no doubt that he experienced God's guidance and inspiration. But I would say that is a far cry from the words of God Himself coming out of Jesus' mouth. Secondly, we have to look at the difference in the purposes of the books of the canon. The Bible was not one book all written in the same manner. There are different types of literature in it. The epistles are letters written to specific churches, speaking to specific issues within those churches. The gospels are the recorded actions and words of Christ Himself, a universal message for all humanity. I think that alone explains why I look first to the gospels for guidance, but it is also what I have felt called to do by the Spirit.

    I could and would go into textural cristism to show that the cannonized Bible we have is the book God foreordain we have if you email me. For here, I'll just say that "ALL scripture are God-breathed (2Tim 3:16)" and that Paul wrote exactly what God wanted him to write.


    OK. I find such distinctions pointless. Of course God draws them (and everyone). He wrote the law on our hearts; Creation itself praises Him and glorifies Him and is testimony to His handiwork. God is constantly trying to draw humanity to Himself.

    If God draws everyone, Jesus wouldnt have said that He gives life to whom He wills and that the gospel is hidden so that people may see and not precieve or hear and not understand, lest they should repent and be saved.

    Actually, I'll respond how I wish, thanks. I respond how I feel called to respond, and I do not think I'm bringing up things that are not in the context of the discussion.

    In that case, I might have to ingore you because I want to keep things neat. I'm sure you'll understand.

    If I do go off-topic, rest assured that Q or Juan will handle that. That's what mods are for.:eek:

    I'm not afarid of you going off topic so much as I'm afarid you'll take things out of context. I know its kind of tough to speak this say (written words), but I'm trying to do my best, u know?


    And Merry Christmas, Silas. :D Tonight is my favorite service of all the year.

    And Merry Christmas to you and yours too!

    - Silas
     
  11. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Silas,

    I hope you understand, but I do not email people from this forum. I have plenty of people with whom to discuss religion one-on-one. The whole purpose of this forum is an interfaith dialogue that is mutually beneficial for everyone, and in which everyone participates and learns.




    I understand. I will no longer respond, as I refuse to respond how others want me to respond. I can only respond how it makes sense to me.

    I think nothing much is happening at this point. You are repeating yourself, and I've reached the limit of the discussion if it is not in the realm of mutual clarification and understanding.

    I've also kind of had it with the subtle persecution I'm receiving for my faith. I'm pretty used to it so it's not like it is unexpected or hurtful, but it isn't really beneficial to me or to you, so it's a bit pointless to continue the conversation when that is the invariable result.


    I do hope you have a Merry Christmas, and I send you, as I do everyone, love and peace.

    Kim/Path
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2006
  12. Dondi

    Dondi Well-Known Member

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    Let me ask you something, Silas.

    Do true born-again Christians still sin? And if so, what is it that makes them different in their sin than those who aren't born-again?
     
  13. BlaznFattyz

    BlaznFattyz Well-Known Member

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    i wanna answer, but i'll someone else. .
     
  14. Silas

    Silas Well-Known Member

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    Christians still sin but they do not sin live in it or sin habitually. If they do, they reveal themselves to have never been saved, and more specifically, they prove to be children of the devil. The book of 1 John speaks about this issue alot. The difference between a Christian who stumbles into sin and the unregenerated sinner is that, the Chrisitan's sins (Past, Present, and Future) have been atoned for, whereas the unbelievers sin have not. The Christian may find forgiveness when He/She confess their sins before God and He is faithful to restore them and forgive them.
     
  15. Dondi

    Dondi Well-Known Member

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    So, Silas, how does one know for sure that they are really saved?
     
  16. Silas

    Silas Well-Known Member

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    By "testing themselves to see if you are really in the faith." Again, the book of 1 John is written for that very purpose. Read it and judge yourself by what is written therein.
     
  17. Dondi

    Dondi Well-Known Member

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    Can Christians be sinless?
     
  18. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Are they still mortal? Hell yeah they are subject to sin. And I'll tell you what, they pay a dearer price BECAUSE THEY KNOW BETTER. But what they have that non believers do not have is grace.

    Case in point. I was sitting on a ferry from Manhattan to Governors Island in NewYork one night. There were a group of sailors joking and cussing, and there was a young man standing with them who I knew was a "born-again" Christian. In any event the subject of a young woman on the island came up, who happened to be a little heavy set (but what a radiant face and demeanor). In any event, sailors, being stupid enough to think with their little head instead of the big one, were relentless in their private ridicule of this woman, and there stood the born-again laughing right along with them, while I watched for 20 minutes. I knew, he liked her. I'd watched the way he interacted with her for over a year. But there he was laughing at the jokes with a bunch of young dumb ass kids, being rude to a woman behind her back.

    Sooooooo, I waited until they walked off the brow, but stayed the born-again with my hand on his shoulder.

    "So, you are a Christian, born-Again?", I asked.

    "Yes I am" he smiled.

    "Yet you enjoyed the company of those sailors while they trashed ***** because she isn't a Barbie doll figure?..."

    Here is where it get's really good, you see he turned beet red, then got hot and furious in his eyes, and he was fighthing like hell to keep from expressing what he really felt...rage, outwardly. (plus I outranked him, even though we were not in uniform, he knew who I was).

    I didn't stop there. "You know, if I were someone looking at becoming a Christian, and knowing you were one and I just got done watching you (then I put my face inches from his and whispered)...no way in hell would I become one."

    Then I walked away.

    It doesn't stop there. Two months later, on the same ferry a group of sailors and our friend were standing together. The girl's name came up (again) deja vu, only I couldn't be seen, but I listened.

    That born again stopped the conversation cold dead with these words, "I'm inlove with that girl, I think she is beautiful and I'm going to marry her, I'd appreciate if ya'll would be quiet about her."

    One sailor snorted, and the born-again cold cocked him (that is when I stepped in to all's surprise).

    Well the decked sailor pressed charges and the born-again stood before the captian, and was about to lose a stripe (I was there because I was witness). Base captain (commanding officer) asked the born again if he had anything to say before he passed judgement.

    Born again simply said, "I'm sorry I hit him, but I told him to stop talking about *****. He didn't listen and I'm going to marry her (can't get much higher than telling the base captain your marriage intentions).

    Captian dropped all charges...sailor bringing charges shook born again's hand and said he was sorry. Born again looked at me and lowered his eyes...but I did get an invitation to the wedding (got transferred before it took place).

    What was the born-again's sin? And what was the grace that absolved him of that sin?

    That is for ya'll to figure out. ;)

    v/r

    Joshua
     
  19. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    No it isn't. The Book of John is good news to people who haven't heard the good news. In fact Silas, the four Gospels' sole purpose is to present glad tidings to those who know nothing about the savior.

    I have no idea where you get this "testing personal faith" from. How the hell can a non believer test a faith they do not have? What you think the Bible is your own personal "Staples Easy" button? It is a new revelation for non believers and a reminder for believers, nothing more or less.

    We test ourselves, within ourselves, not through the Good News of Christ via the Gospels.

    Sorry sir, but you are starting to sound goofy, and awfully familiar...
     
  20. pattimax

    pattimax Somewhat returning

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    I am wondering...

    Transgression (knowing better, but taking the low road) + Confession (being better, and taking the high road) =
    Redemption (Grace)
     

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