Freewill vs Predestination

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

  1. Silas

    Silas Well-Known Member

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    I know there are scriptures that insinuate that a person can lose their salvation. Within Christiandom, there are different views concerning Soteriology. Some believe you can lose it because you got it yourself and others feel that since you had nothing to do with it, you cannot lose it and that God will cause you to grow in Holiness whereby you will see Him. I could give you my views on the scriptures you posted, but I think I'll do that another time? For now, I just wanted to say thanks for the apology. Dont sweat it!
     
  2. Silas

    Silas Well-Known Member

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    Well, it should. God's wrath is not a joke. That said though, I preach Christ Crusified for sin and His Ressurrection to justify Sinners before God. I preach repentence and faith. Yes it entials God's Holiness and wrath, but that shouldnt be your motivation for coming to Christ. If it is, it surely wont last. Your love for sin is larger than your fear of God...oddly enough. Come to Jesus because He left Glory and died for sinners when He didnt even have to. He took God's wrath of sinners behalf that we may have eternal life with God.

    Come to Christ for those reasons!
     
  3. Cage

    Cage Spirit Guided

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    What if he is not one of God's elect? Could he come to Christ on his own?
     
  4. Dondi

    Dondi Well-Known Member

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    Silas, I have some comments on the verses you referenced:

    “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” – II Timothy 2:24-26

    It is, of course, important to realize the context of this verse. In this pastoral letter to Timothy, Paul is discussing the attitude of how to approach those that are unsaved and caught up in their sin. What I want to point out here is that the catalyst for repentance is the Word of God (teach, instructing those who oppose themselves). The repentance is not in their sins, but to the acknowledging of the Truth. It is a change of mind what someone believes. As the Word of God is preached, the Holy Spirit will stir the hearts of those who hear. God shines the light. It is the giving of hope. But it is the sinner who must recover themselves out of the snare of the devil. The sinner must decide to repent.

    “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.” – Acts 5:29-31

    Seems here Peter is saying that God exalted Jesus in order for Israel to have a chance to repent, that free access through the torn veil is avaliable. That salvation in Jesus is available. Once they decide to repent, they receive the forgiveness of sins. There is nothing here to suggest that repentance is a causative action by God, only that repentance is available to Israel.

    In fact, God did stir their hearts to the preaching of the Word in this case. They were cut to the heart. They knew the truth, yet did not obey it. Why, because they were caught up in their own religion. these were the chief priests, mind you, who laid hands on Peter to put him in jail for preaching in Jesus' name.


    “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? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” - Acts 11:16-18

    This is the same situation as Israel in the above verses, only this time it speaks of salvation for the Gentiles. Here Peter is relating what happened in regard to Cornelius, the first Gentile convert. Like Israel, salvation is made available to the Gentiles. Again, not a causative action by God, just a simple statement of availability.

    “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 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? 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.’ – Acts 2:36-38

    Again, the heart is pricked by the Word of God, but the command is still “Repent” to the sinner. It is only after one repents does God saved and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost that they may be born again. You will notice here that the Word of God pricked their hearts, but they had a different attitude than in the people in Acts 5, for they were a different audience. In verse 41 it says:

    "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."

    We are talking about the attitude of the heart. There were those who gladly received the Word, because Peter's preaching gave them hope. But I'm quite sure that there were more than three thousand souls that day.
     
  5. Silas

    Silas Well-Known Member

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    What does scripture say. Does natural man love God? I see a command to seek but none obeying it. What do you think?
     
  6. Silas

    Silas Well-Known Member

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    Dondi

    It is, of course, important to realize the context of this verse. In this pastoral letter to Timothy, Paul is discussing the attitude of how to approach those that are unsaved and caught up in their sin. What I want to point out here is that the catalyst for repentance is the Word of God (teach, instructing those who oppose themselves). The repentance is not in their sins, but to the acknowledging of the Truth. It is a change of mind what someone believes. As the Word of God is preached, the Holy Spirit will stir the hearts of those who hear. God shines the light. It is the giving of hope. But it is the sinner who must recover themselves out of the snare of the devil. The sinner must decide to repent.

    You're right about context! Lets take a look at 2 Tim. 2:24-26 in context of what the whole chapt. says.You can start from verse 14. What is this particular scripture dealing with? What is the "truth" that is being duscussed? Why do they need the "truth" to escape from the devil's snare? Fianlly it is important to ask why metanoia (the word strictly used in reference and colorlation to saving faith, which incidentally is more than just a change of mind) reather than another word. I'll have to stop here. I gotta go work...I'll answer the rest later. You can think about my frist point though...Read the chapt. in context and answer the questions I ask. Please note, just because repentence is a command, doesnt mean that we can do it in and of ourselves. Note Jesus words: "No man can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw Him." Or, the Prophet Isa. words..."Can the Ethopian change his color or the Leapord his spots. Then how do you who are evil expect to do good." There must be a change - namely, the promise of the new covernant (Eze. 36:26-27). I aim to show that grace proceeds faith and only that, but that by grace we both believe and repent. I'll have to do that later. Bye!
     
  7. Silas

    Silas Well-Known Member

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    hey Dondi, I just posted and I cant see my responce. I'll be back later, take care!
     
  8. Cage

    Cage Spirit Guided

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    I see many obeying it, and I'm all but certain that anyone can come to Christ on their own. Following him is a different matter all together; I think God must do his work in you before you can fully appreciate what following Christ entails.

    Matthew 7:7-8

    7. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
     
  9. Dondi

    Dondi Well-Known Member

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    You can start from verse 14. What is this particular scripture dealing with?

    Verse 14 is saying that Timothy should teach people not to speak useless words, like gossiping, for they only serve to harm those who hear it. Not sure how this is related to your point.

    What is the "truth" that is being duscussed?

    Well these verses are dealing with error, as in those who say that the resurrection is past. We must rightly divide the word of truth, which is God's Word. Seems to be a seres of instructions about useless quarreling and such.

    Why do they need the "truth" to escape from the devil's snare?

    Truth gives hope. The Gospel is good news and an exhortation to come to Christ. "So faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." - Romans 10:17

    Fianlly it is important to ask why metanoia (the word strictly used in reference and colorlation to saving faith, which incidentally is more than just a change of mind) reather than another word.

    Well, first I have to disagree that tthe term is strictly related to saving faith. Romans 11:29 takes it in another context:

    "For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." - Romans 11:29

    As like II Cor 7:8-10:

    "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.

    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. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death."

    The Corinthians were reacting to a letter Paul wrote to them that made them sorrowful concerning certain behavior in the Corinthian church. The first letter Paul wrote spoke about certain sin in the church, specifically concerning a particular man who was having relations with his father's wife. In fact Paul's whole first letter to the Corinthians pointed to several serious errors going on in that church.

    In verse 10 of this passage, it is the same godly sorrow that worketh repentence to salvation that led the Corinthian chruch to repent of their deeds, and this is a body of believers. The godly sorrow in this church was a result of the word of Paul, but the godly sorrow that worketh repentance to salvation is the result of the Word of God.


    "No man can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw Him."

    Jesus also said,

    "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." - John 12:32

     
  10. Silas

    Silas Well-Known Member

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    Dondi,

    I thought about commenting on your understanding of the verses I mentioned, but I feel that will be to no avil. I can give my understanding and you can do likewise and we'll have come to no where. Instead, I'm going to try something different. My aim is to make a good enough case for man's depravity in order that you may see grace as it really is - namely, undeserved, unmerited, and amazing! In saying all of that, I want to affirm with you that repentance, along with faith, is a command by God that we must obey if we want to have eternal life. That said, is man able in and of himself to believe, or more specific to this particular converstion, repent? You say man can and does. I'd like you to pay close attention to my following explanation, because what I'm about to say is paramount to my argument. Because you see the Bible telling man to repent and believe upon the Savior, you assume that man can. The following is an illistration of what you believe:

    First Premise: God commands sinners to repent, believe, and come to Christ.
    Assumed Premise: God would not command what is unable.
    Conclusion: Therefore, sinners are able to repent, believe, and come to Christ.

    Again, I agree with the first premise. Yet again, we cannot assume because God commands us to repent that we actually can, or more specifically, will or even want to. First, let me show from scripture that God commands things that we in and of our own strength cannot do, in order to prove my point that God does command things we cannot do without His grace.

    1. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength." As much as we Christians would love to, the Bible says none have kept that law. In fact, Christians groan for the day when we'll be rid of this body of sin and therefore be able to love God as He ought to be loved.

    2. "Be Holy as your Father in Heaven is Holy." Without God willing and working in us to bring about good (Philippians 2:13), we can never keep this commandment.

    3. "Lazarus, arise!"
    This is pretty much obvious. Could Lazarus, beind dead, "hear" the Savior's call? Being dead, could he have also arose on his own? Incedentially, Lazarus is a great picture of a dead sinner who has been made alive by God.

    4. "Let my people go!"
    Could Paraoh obey this commandment, especially considering that God had already hardened his heart in order that he might not let God's people go?

    From those four, very basic emamples, it is seen that God does in fact command things that we cannot do, therefore this shows the conclusion based on the assumed premise, is wrong. Now, the question should be asked, "why can't man repent" in and of his own strenght, especially considering why he should and needs to? The answer has to do with man's nature as a sinner. What does it mean to be a sinner? Or more specifically, how bad off are we before God? Let scriptures tell it - I'll use the same ones I've been using:

    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).

    Please note that the natural man, that is to say, the "unregenerated sinner," has both their mind and conscience' defiled, their understanding is darkned, they have hardend hearts and nothing is pure to them. Because of all of this, they are alienated from God. This is a far cry from what we as people would claim of ourselves. In fact, most of us would yell with enthusiasm and emphatically shout "yes!" when asked if we are good people. God, however, says different as we will see:

    "Truly, Truly, I say unto you, anyone who commits sin, is a slave to sin" (John 8:34).

    "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned" (1Cor 2:14).

    "For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot" (Romans 8:7).

    Herein lies the question that leads to the crux of the issue, which incidentally, no one has answered as yet: How can a man who is already a slave to sin (John 8:34), who is in the flesh and cannot even understand the spiritual things of God - namely, to believe the gospel (1 Cor. 2:14), and who is hostile to God (since he loves darkness rather than light) and cannot submit to God's laws (Romans 8:7), choose within himself to keep the highest law - namely, to glorify God and please Him by repenting and following after Christ? Moreover, how can he do this amazing feat if he does not even seek after God (Romans 3:11)?

    Here we reach the heart of the issue - the problem with man. Man is enslaved to his sin and thus his free willed choices are therefore always consistant to his nature. Man hates God, therefore He does not seek to find God. God is not the one lost, but man is. Yet again, he doesn't seek, lest he find truth and have to conform to it. Why do you think we have religion? We try to appease our guilty conscience (the very thing that proves to us that we are guilty before God), with good works and vain acts of righteousness and piety in order that we may not have to conform to what God says is good. His ways are too high for us. God is too humble, we are too proud. God is too selfless, we are too selfish. God is too holy, we are too much in love with the pleasures of sin. And so because of this, none come to God. This is why Jesus says, "No man can come to me unless the Father who sent me first draw him." But, lest you think I'm eisigesing scripture, let me give some more examples. The following is a list of man's responsiblity to repent in juxtaposition to scriptures that proves man's inablity to come, believe, repent, be born agian, etc:

    1. "choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve" (Josh. 24:15) versus "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? (No!) Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil. (Jer. 13:23)

    2. "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Mt. 11:28) vs "How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." (Mt. 12:34)

    3. "If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God." (Jn. 7:17) vs "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree bear good fruit." (Mt. 7:18)

    4. "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink." (Jn. 7:37) vs "'Who then can be saved?' But Jesus looked at them and said to them, 'With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" (Mt. 19:25-26)

    5. "Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized" (Acts 2:38) vs "unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (Jn. 3:3)

    7. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31) vs "no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father." (Jn. 6:65)

    With this being said, we arive back to the topic at hand: Is repentence something man can do or is it a gift of God in order that man can be saved? I think it is now at least concieveable, that man does not seek after God and that man, left to himself, which is to say being apart from Christ, man is totally depraved inasmuch as he cannot bare good fruit on his own, nor does he have any good before God (Isa. 64:6, Romans 14:23). Apart from Christ, man is not just a sinner, as we have gotten so used to saying, but that he is most vile and wicked, before God. There is nothing good in him and nothing worth the infintely precious Jesus shedding his blood for him. Why then does God save us? Because He loves us (not becomes of worth in us, but because He has chosen to love us from forever), and for the praise of His glory and grace (48:8-11, Romans 9:23, etc.). Because no one seeks after God that they may find Him and because ALL are equally guily, not just for their own sins, but supernaturally thorugh Adam as well, God takes from the same lump of depraved mankind some to save to reveal His grace and mercy, and leaves others their willing unbelief and then judges them that His glory may be revealed in justice (Romans 9:21).

    So then, God has mercy on whomever He wills. "Therefore, it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy (Rom. 9:16)." Salvation, after all, is of the Lord!" So how do we believe? God gives the gifts of faith and repentence to His elect. "Those called out from the Jews and the Gentiles" believe the gospel (1Cor. 1:24). When they hear the gospel, which by the way is the means that God uses to bring about the end in salvation, the elect/sheep hear Jesus' voice and they follow Him. Note Jesus' words: "My sheep hear my voice and they follow me." Believing does not make us sheep, but rather we believe because we "are" sheep. So why has God done it this way - namely, all by Himself? Its simple: That He alone may get the glory! "God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all (Rom. 11:32)." And He saves us all by grace alone, through His gift of Faith alone, and in Christ alone that He alone may get all the credit and we will have no grounds for boasting. And since it is all God's doing and grace alone, it is NOT of works - not of us doing anything, otherwise grace is no longer grace (Romans 11:6). God demands all of these things we cannot do so we will be compelled to call out for His mercy. God is a good God and He desiers to save. In Exodus 34:6, God gives the first discription of himself...
    "The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation."

    If anyone here isn't saved, I plead with you to call out to God and He will save you!! If you deseire to be saved, He will save you! "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not die, but have eternal life (John 3:16)." That much is sure! If you don't understand the inner workings, who cares? Work that out after you get saved. Don't think about who's elect or who isn't. We aren't called to find out if we are elect or not, we are called to believe upon Jesus. If you see a need for forgivess, don't wait! Now is the day of Salvation! You are made for God and if you live any other way, you are wasting your life! Please don't live a vain life only to end up in eternal torment, Repent and Trust the Savior!!
     
  11. Silas

    Silas Well-Known Member

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    Dondi

    I figured I'd respond to some of the comments in here since it has to do with my very long answer post. I feel it might help, OK?


    Truth gives hope. The Gospel is good news and an exhortation to come to Christ. "So faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." - Romans 10:17

    According to 1Cor. 1:23-24, only the ones "Called Out" from both Jew and Gentiles ever believe the gospel. The rest of humanity think it either foolish or a stumbling block.

    Well, first I have to disagree that tthe term is strictly related to saving faith. Romans 11:29 takes it in another context: "For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." - Romans 11:29

    That word repentence isnt "metanoia" but instead "ametameleetos." It acctually means "irrovocable."

    As like II Cor 7:8-10:

    "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.

    Again, not "metanoia" but instead the bad kind of repentence - namely the one that criminals have when they get caught: "metamellomai." Again, "Metanoia" is used in reference to saving faith. It is the kind repentence that is godly, the kind that says "God I'm sorry for my sins agianst you" and not "God Im sorry I get caught, which is metamellomai."


    "No man can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw Him."
    Jesus also said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." - John 12:32

    Amen! Question though: Are all men drawn? If not, did Jesus lie? The answers to both questions is no. But, as you said, we have to look at things in context.



     
  12. Dondi

    Dondi Well-Known Member

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    Sila,

    I do very much want to continue in our ongoing conversation. I've read your last posts, but I do not have time now to give a response. In fact, I probably will not get to it until Wednesday, as I have a very long weekend to exploit. ;)

    Happy New Year!

    Dondi
     
  13. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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  14. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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  15. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    Yup, know this cat. I am better at faces than names.

    Shaking hands with the devil... Film about the IRA. Good film. Good actor... Anyway, sorry for the interruption folks, we'll return back to our normal progamming now...
     
  16. Dondi

    Dondi Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, seattle, for this timely article. It is worthy to note, however, that the article was written without any regard to the notion of a Deity behind the scenes. Yet it is interesting in that even in scientific and philsophical terms, one can see the paradox between free will and determinism. I am reminded of what Forrest Gump juxtaposes at the end if the movie:

    "Jenny, I don't know if Momma was
    right or if, if it's Lieutenant Dan.
    I don't know if we each have a
    destiny, or if we're all just floating
    around accidental-like on a breeze,
    but I, I think maybe it's both."


    Source: The Internet Movie Script Database (IMSDb)

    In Acts 17, Paul, in his famous sermon on Mars Hill, says;

    "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;" - Acts 17:26

    Someone mentioned that God has two wills. I'm rather inclined to agree. I think God has a Deterministic Will and a Permissive Will, if I may use these terms. I will attempt explain hopefully without contradiction:

    In God's Deterministic Will, there is a course laid out in history that God will ensure will come to pass according the dictates of His Salvific Plan. We see, for example, how God led His people out of Egypt and into the promised Land, just as He said that He would do. And the bible holds future promises of a coming Kingdom to be ruled by Christ, as laid out in the Apocrophal literature. This is predetermined before the foundation of the World. It will come to pass, for we have the testamony of the OT and NT that past events fortold have come to pass.

    But within this Deterministic Will, their lies a boundary of free will, as it were. Man has some say in the course of events. This is God's Permissive Will, but it is governed by God's Determistic will. But if those decisions trespass on God's deterministic Will, then God will intervene. For example, while god did indeed lead His people out of Egypt, something happened to cause the first generation of Israelites not to inherit the Promised Land, namely disobedience and unbelief. Not even Moses was able to cross over Jordon. Was God's promise nullified? No, because while the first generation of Israelites were forbidden to enter the Promise Land, the second generation led by Joshua were able to cross over and defeat the enemies there. So you see here that the first generation overstepped the boundaries of God's Deterministic Will, but that God was able to accomplish it anyway under new management. (God has a way of establishing "new management" all throughout the OT.)

    I would say that a modern day example would be Hitler. While Hitler committed atrocious acts, particularly among the Jews, he was eventually stopped, because God would not allow him to become Dictator of the World. It wasn't God's desire to see 6 million Jews exterminated, but for whatever reason, God allowed these atrocities to happen. Evidently, it did not interfere with His Deterministic Will until Hitler went too far.

    If you will recall, Joseph consoled his brothers in Genesis 50:19-20, saying:

    "Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive."

    Certainly, it was not God's desire that Joseph's brothers bury him in a hole and sell him off in slavery, but yet He used that incident to make His plan come to pass, in order to save Joseph's family from famine. Do you think it was coincidence that a band of Ishmeelites happened by on their way to Egypt, and Joseph was sold into slavery?

    In the case of modern day Jews, a pecular thing happened after WWII. There was a massive migration to the land of Palistine and three years after the war, Israel became a nation again after some 2000 years. Never before in the human history has an ancient people returned to form a nation like that. This is a part of fulfillment of prophesy in Ezekiel 36. And it is even more remarkable when considering the Israel's survival in it's short modern history, especially among such hostile nations that surround it.

    And this is what I think of when I read Romans 9-11. Yes, God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, when it involves His Deterministic Will, not in individual salvation. This speaks concerning events involved on a national level. He hardened Pharoah's heart, to demonstrate his Glory even more to the Israelites and to make His Name great among nations. When He said He loved Jacob more than Esau, you must remember that these were the fathers of two nations, Israel and Edom. He had a purpose for each of these nations. On a personal level, I don't think He really hated Esau, for later in Genesis 33, Jacob and Esau were reconciled and Esau was blessed by Jacob. But it was in Jacob that God decided that the nation of Israel would form and become His people, through whom the Messiah would come. God had to choose one or the other, right, but He chose the weaker vessel to confound the strong.

    Am I making myself clear on this issue? God is in control, but there are boundaries of our habitation where our free will can be exercised.
     
  17. Silas

    Silas Well-Known Member

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    Dondi,

    Is the above in responce to me? If so, you didnt answer any of my questions. Also, I just wanted to ensure you that I do affairm the two wills in God and that while God is Sovereign, man still is responsible for actions. After all, he is not a robot.

    Later,

    Silas
     
  18. Dondi

    Dondi Well-Known Member

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    What are you doing here, Silas? How can you guarantee anyone here that they will be saved by calling out to God in light of everything you've just said? Isn't calling out to God, i.e. "Have mercy on me a sinner" the first step, that is repentance? Who are you asking to initiate that repentance?

    And I would like to know what scripture references you can provide that specifically states that faith and repentance are gifts.
     
  19. Silas

    Silas Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I get caught up in what I'm doing and go into "witnessing mode." I wasnt doing that for you but for non Christians who would read. As for your questions, I can guarantee that anyone here who believes in Jesus in their hearts and confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord, will be saved because the Bible says so. The mere fact that anyone of us calls us for mercy and says things like "Have mercy on me a sinner" shows that God has done an Ezk. 36:26-27 on us. This is the super natural born again experience that God does that makes us believe and trust in Christ. Until this occures, we cannot even "see" the kingdom of God, Jesus said. As for other scriptures concering faith and repentence being gifts. Saving Faith is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-9); otherwise we could boast in the "good work" of faith.

    Note, verse 10 goes on to say that we're "created in Christ Jesus unto good works ..." God alone is the Creator. Incidentally, not everyone has saving faith (2thes 3:2). As for repentance, Acts 11:18 is a good scripture to note as well as understanding the book of Hebrews. The writer of Hebrews says of those who have experienced a work of the Spirit and then fall away, "It is impossible ... to renew them again unto repentance." Why impossible? Because God gives repentance. So repentance is a gift of God's grace. Jesus said in John 6:44, "No one CAN [is able to] come to me except the Father draw him, and I will raise him up at the last day" (meaning that those whom the Father draws to Christ will attain to the resurrection of the just). All of Salvation is of the Lord and it does not depend on who wills or runs, but God who shows mercy.
     
  20. Dondi

    Dondi Well-Known Member

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    It's not faith that is the gift here in Ephesians 2:8-9, but it is grace that is the gift from God. It activated by our faith. Only after we receive God's grace, in the process of being born again, then we are created unto "good works".

    It is instructive to know what the term "grace" means.

    "...But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:" - Romans 5:20

    Grace is the juxtaposition of God's Judgment and God's Mercy. The Law brings forth death in us, for we cannot keep it. Therefore, the judgement of the Law is upon us. But God is also merciful, because He is love. How does one reconcile the two? For if we were to be rightly judged, then we are condemned. But God cannot arbitarily have mercy unless there is a basis, otherwise His judgement is baseless and unfair. So there stands the dilemma. Through Christ, however, and His righteousness, God is able to bring these two together. God laid our judgment upon Christ, who was sinless, and laid our sins upon Him, therefore He can have mercy upon us. And that is what grace is.

    This grace of God's gift. God made the first move. But that grace cannot be enacted until we place our faith in Christ. Having faith in Christ is a volition of our will.



    Yes, but that is not God's fault. Faith starts with believing, then acting on that belief, that is putting your trust in God through Christ.



    First of all, Acts 11:18 speaks of the availability for the Gentiles to repent, brought about when Christ tore down the division between Jew and Greek, so that all amy be one. This verse is simply saying that salvation is no longer exclusively for the Jews. And it doesn't say that repentence is a gift. Repentance is a command.

    Second, Hebrews 6 speaks of those who already had repented and had faith in God (vs 1), but forsook it. They fell away. Fell away from what? everything verses 1 and 2 describes. It is the forsaking Jesus all over again. This letter to the Hebrews is describing Jews who believed in Christ, but now, like the chief priests, "crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." (vs 6)

    It is the type of thing that happened to Hymenaeus and Alexander:

    "Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
    Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme." - I Timothy 1:19-20




    And how does God draw them. Look at the following verse:

    "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." - John 6:45

    "So faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" - Romans 10:17

    Jesus said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." - John 12:32

    When the Gospel is preached, men will be drawn to Christ.

    "But they have not all obeyed the gospel..." - Romans 10:16

    Why have they not obeyed? Because they did not hear with faith.

    "But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world." - Romans 10:18

    But,

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

    It is the Word that gives life.

    "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
    But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
    And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father." - John 6:63-65

    And salvation is dependent on those who hear and obey the Word. The Word is the drawing power of God.
     

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