Engaging the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Regeneration

Invictus

There is one thing that I can’t get over, it’s been about 4 years since The LORD opened my eyes up to the truth of His sovereign grace, and that is the beauty and wonder of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Over the short while I have come to see, and ever increasingly understand, these truths God has brought me into many conversation with those who do not hold to sovereign grace.

I’ve been thinking on the doctrine that the non-Calvinist (yet non-Pelagian) holds to – prevenient grace. This is the notion that God gives grace to all men equally which they are able to improve on in order to be saved. This prevenient grace doesn’t save them, but somehow nullifies the effects of sin without giving any certain inclination to righteousness either. It, in essence, is thought to put the will in neutral so that it is absolutely free to choose good or evil. There are a multiplicity of issues with this view: 1.) it’s not taught in Scripture anywhere, 2.) it must divorce the actions and choices of man from the seat of action – the heart – which is completely against the clear teachings of Scripture, 3.) it cannot account for the difference between two people who hear the gospel and have two different responses, apart from claiming there was something within the individual that made the difference; 4.) It negates the work of Christ on the cross, bleeding it of all it’s power, making it nothing more than the work of a mortal as it was merely done to aid us in our getting ourselves out of hell. Thus prevenient grace still is a system of works, or merit based, salvation. It adds grace into the equation in an attempt to be more faithful to the Scripture than the pelagian system, yet still falls short of Scriptural. Rejecting God’s sovereign choice to save whichever condemned sinners He will, they wish to make the playing field completely equal. Thus they say that what God has done, He has done equally for every individual male/female, inevitably placing their destination in their own hands. They make man the master of his fate and the captain of his soul, ultimately denying God’s control over His creation, and effectively placing man at the position satan promised him he would hold – “you will be as gods”.

Let’s examine an instance of how this prevenient grace is said to work. Greg is lost in his sin, but one day “happens” to go to church (he was actually itch’n for a hitch’n and was hoping to find a good girl at the local baptist church; so he had a reason, but to others it appeared to be chance). While he is sitting there, scoping out the girls, the preacher is giving a clear presentation of the gospel. He hears it with his ears, he can’t help but hear it as the man is literally screaming, Jack Hyles style, from the top of his lungs. The invitation is given as they sing 32 stanzas of “Just as I am”. Now here is what those who espouse prevenient grace believe is going on inside the man:

As the gospel is being preached, the man is hearing it, and God is trying to convince the man that he needs Jesus and to place faith in The Christ. God doesn’t change the man, for the man has to ask God to do that first. Instead, God is thought to somehow nullify the fallen state that Adam’s sin has placed the man without giving him any desire for righteousness. This man is thought to be morally neutral. Having been given this grace that doesn’t really save the man, he is left with his salvation in his own hands. If he meets the condition to merit salvation, namely making the right choice at that moment, then God will grant him saving grace. If not, then the man will be placed back into his sin bound state from which he was momentarily freed.

How does this line up with Scripture? Jesus clearly taught that we must have a definite change in our constitution before we will believe. Jesus said, “unless a man is born again he cannot see the kingdom of heaven.” He also said, “men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil” and “out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” directly tying the actions we do as the result of the wickedness of our hearts. Christ clearly stated this relationship when He said, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.” Prevenient grace not only violates the clear teaching of Jesus by assuming that a man can make a choice for good without actually having had his heart changed to desire good over evil, but it also violates the law of non-contradiction as well. Those who ascribe to prevenient grace declare (by the very nature of it being necessary from the start) that a man cannot choose contrary to his desires; yet after the assumed prevenient grace is given, they say that man can choose contrary to his desires. They say that he has somehow been freed form his bondage to evil, yet not bound to righteousness. Thus being neutral, per what Scripture teaches, no decision would be made; yet they claim that he can now decide for a thing he has no like or dislike for. Trying to take away all influences upon the will of man so as to make it sovereign in itself they have negated effectiveness of the work of Christ. Prevenient grace essentially claims that the death of Christ didn’t save anyone, but merely made man savable if we provide our part with it. Per prevenient grace, Jesus’ death only accomplishes the task of placing us back in some sort of pre-Adamic state to where we can decide our own fate for ourselves. This makes the work of the Trinity ineffectual unless we work with it. For although, as they claim, Jesus has done the same work for every man, and the Holy Spirit has given prevenient grace to every man (or at least every man who hears the gospel), the only difference between the man in heaven and the man in hell is the man himself – the work that he has done.

Standing or falling on his own merit, the man is taught to say alongside William Earnest Henley:

“I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.”


The devil is in the details:

I was looking at some reviews of the “Iron Man 2” movie. The Christian based website I was on rightly attempted to give parents a resource for turning movie viewing time into an opportunity to teach the children. This is very biblical, and as a parent I must confess that I fail many times in turning every moment into a teaching moment. But not only is seizing that moment vital, but what you teach in that moment is vital. Here is their recommendation:

“A single man or woman can help change the world. Read about some who did with faith and God’s help…
Jesus Christ, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and David”

Now I’m not knocking the website and saying it is trash. I think the site has some helpful things to offer. I want to use this to point out something concerning synergism. Synergism is the idea of two parties working together to accomplish a goal. This isn’t the same as a carpenter using a hammer to drive a nail. In synergism, both parties are active and dependent upon the other. In the carpenter instance, the tool is passive and the carpenter could just have easily completed the job through some other chosen means – AKA nail gun.
This “God needs me” mentality is prevalent in society as it is what comes naturally to us. We tend to think of ourselves more highly than we out to think. Even among believers, this mentality oozes out. Let me show you the difference:
Synergism – “Joseph changed the world with God’s help.”
Monergism – “God used Joseph to change the world.”

It may seem subtle, but they say the devil is in the details.
Look again:

Synergism – “God voted for you, Satan voted against you, and it’s up to you to cast the deciding vote!”
Monergism – “But God…even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)”.

What are we teaching our children?


All of grace, or do we just say that? Part 3

I Thess. 1:1-5

“Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace.

2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, 3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.”

I Thess. 2:13

“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.”
Q: Does God choose based on forseen faith or does the choosing of God result in faith
A: vs 5. “We know that He has chosen you because…” and goes on to say that the gospel they heard came with power and conviction. That their reception of it bears witness that God has elected them.

Q: Who is responsible for our belief? If God only gives man the opportunity to believe, but doesn’t secure that faith then man is the responsible party to which gratitude should be given. True that God should be thanked to the opportunity, but man is the one who seized it. BUT –  If God secures the faith that He requires then God is to be praised for man’s belief.
A:  vs. 13 – Here Paul says that He thanks God for the fact that they received God’s Word as God’s Word. Paul thanks God for their faith.


All of grace, or do we just say that? Part 2

This is not meant to be a wordy post, but rather a simple Q&A styled post in attempts to encourage those who may be seeking what Scripture says on this topic. I have found that many times people tend to not really interact with the text, they simply read it and wait for something to jump out and slap ’em in the face.  I spoke with one man who has known The LORD for a little over 27 years and he admitted to reading The Scriptures this way for most of his Christian life. He said he would just read and not ask any questions, and now, as he studies to find what God says he finds it helpful to ask things as simple as “What is being said here?”.

May God be pleased to use this simple post for His glory!!

——

Romans 8:28-30

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,  for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
Q: Is everyone who ever lived called?
A: vs. 28 – NO. “To those who are called” tells us that there are those who are not called. There is a group that all things do not work together for their good.

Q: Why are some called and some not?
A” vs 28 – “According to His purpose” Nothing in the chosen, EVERYTHING in the Chooser.

Q: What is meant by “Foreknew”?
A:vs 29 – It does not say “what He foreknew” but “whom He foreknew” Nor does it say “those whom HE foreknew would believe” but just “whom He foreknew”; therefore God foreknows people in this verse, not their actions. Matt 7:22-23 tells us there are some God does not know. We are also told in the OT that God knew Israel and not the other nations. This foreknowing is a term of intimacy not one of merely being cognizant of a fact.

Q: What is our predestination based on?
A: vs 29 God’s foreknowledge (or His choosing to love us before hand)

Q:Does God call everyone?
A: vs 30  – NO. Only those He predestined.

Q: Does God justify every one he calls?
A: vs 30 – YES “Those whom He called He justified” God doesn’t loose one so it is with every step in this verse.

Q: How does this verse prove “Irresistible Grace”?
A: All He calls He justifies. Yet we are told earlier in Romans that we are justified by faith (chapter 5) We are told that all He calls He justifies. His calling creates the needed faith.

Q: How do we know He didn’t call based on foreseen faith?
A: (See “What is it to Foreknow”) also allow Scripture to guide our logic. Scripture tells us we are saved not by anything we do or any merit in us. If God chose us based on something in us then we are saved by our works and His “choosing” us is just a façade to make it appear that we are saved because of Him when it is really something within ourselves that makes us savable.

Ephesians 1

1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:

2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us  for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love  toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”
Q:What has God done?
A: vs 3 – Blessed the saints (set apart ones) in Christ

Q: Why?
A: vs 4 – as He chose us (why we are set apart), before the foundation of the world (when He determined it), that we should be holy and blameless before Him (what He chose sinners to be), He predestined us to adoption (we were not His sons, but He chose to make us His sons)

Q: Why did He choose as He did?
A: vs 5 “According to the purpose of His will”

Q: What is His purpose?
A: vs 6 “the praise of His glorious grace”

Q: According to what do we have redemption through His blood and forgiveness of sins?
A: vs 7 the riches of His grace (not our faith) Also note, it’s not offered, but obtained by His grace. We have it.

Q: How is it that we have obtained an inheritance?
A:vs 11 – Because of our being predestined to it

Q: According to what?
A: vs 11 – according to His purpose

Q: Can something happen that God doesn’t will?
A: vs 11 – NO. He works all things according to the counsel of His will. Not just the outcome of things (it doesn’t say He works all things out for the big picture He was shooting for. It says He works all things according to the counsel of His will.) If He doesn’t want it to happen then it doesn’t happen.

Q: Why does Paul thank God for the faith and love of the saints?
A: vs 19 – It is the greatness of God’s power that is at work in those who are believing. The same power that raised Christ from the dead. This power is at work in the group that are believing, not in the unbelieving. Their belief is the result of the power, not the permission of it to work.


All of Grace, or do we just say that?

I have dear loved ones who say that God must graciously call us, but we are the final determiners on whether God saves us or not. These same people wish to say that they are saved by God’s grace, but it’s not Grace alone that sets them apart from the unbeliever, it is their response to this grace that sets them apart.

It seems, from speaking with these people, that the Scriptures very clearly teach that the hinge of salvation is our free-will decision they just can’t exegetically show where, or that there isn’t enough Scriptural support for the doctrine that men are saved totally by the grace of God and that our faith is even a result of His grace so that we can not boast at all.

I have taken this challenge  to go to Scripture and demonstrate that the idea that God calls but we must decide whether His call accomplishes it’s intended purpose or not is a philosophical addition by man; and that Scripture is abundantly clear that men are saved {from start to finish} by the gracious work of God and God alone.

Let’s begin with I Corinthians 1:18-30

“18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, [2] not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being [3] might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him [4] you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”  ”

Things to note:

1.  vs 18The cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.  We are all perishing as we are born wicked and God-hating. (Romans 3) So  how is it that the cross changes from foolishness to wisdom?

2.  vs 21. It pleases God to save those who believe. How is it that some believe and others don’t? Is God pleased to save those who, of their own free-will, meet His condition of faith? Or is God pleased to save a group of men and that group manifests itself as believers?

3. vs 22. Again Paul tells us that Christ is unbelievable to both Jews and Gentiles ,so no man will believe in Him. so why do some men believe?

Answers found in the text to the questions begged by the text.

1. vs. 24  Concerning why some Jews and Gentiles find Christ the wisdom of God while the rest of the world sees Him as foolish – “but to those who are called…” It is the calling of God that differs between believing Jews and Gentiles and the unbelieving Jews and Gentiles.

2. To the question of why do men believe (even though we have seen it is the call of God that makes men differ in their response) we are told again by Paul in verse 30 “Because of Him [that is God] you are in Christ”. It is by faith that we are in Christ, and Paul here tells us that even that is to be attributed to God.

3.  As to why Christ is seen as wisdom to some and not to others, Paul gives us the same answer as before. See verse 26. We are told to consider the calling they have by God. How that God has chosen and it is in this that makes the difference.

All this brief overview begs a question: Why is this so important? Why does it matter whether we think We are saved by God’s grace alone or by a cooperation on our part with God’s grace?

A: vs. 31 “Let the one who boasts, boast in The LORD”.


Faith:

I grew up in church, and I thank God for that. Due to this fact, I heard phrases such as “But for the grace of God there goes (insert name of speaker).” “I’m saved by the grace of God.” “I’d like to thank The LORD for saving me.” Etc. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these phrases – they are all 100% biblical. And these statements resound in the heart of a true child of God with an undeniable “YES!”. But I have discovered that there was an unstated assumption in the mind of those who said those things. I developed the same assumption along with them. What was meant was this: “Had I not taken hold of the grace of God there goes Daniel.” Or “I’m saved by availing myself to the grace of God.” Or “I’d like to thank The LORD for saving me when I availed myself to His offer.”  The difference is vast. It is the difference between salvation being ALL OF GOD, or salvation being part of man and part of God. In case you have missed it, let me state the assumption for you a bit more clearly: “I am saved because I chose, of my own free-will, to believe the gospel. Because I performed the act of faith, God gives me eternal life in return. I met God’s requirements and He graciously granted me eternal life. Faith is what I bring to the table, forgiveness is what He brings.” This is called “synergism”, meaning the individual and God work together in the salvation of the individual. Now, the question is this – is this the teaching of Scripture? If so, then we should embrace this unashamedly, if not then we should reject this stance.

Where does faith come from? What does God tell us is the reason men believe the gospel? Is it self-generated, or given to them? Does every man have it and it is up to him to exercise it in the right object to gain salvation? Many would answer these questions in the affirmative, but before for we align ourselves for or against it, let’s see what Scripture says about it.

We are told in I John 5:1 “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” The same phraseology is used in I John 2:29 “everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.” No Christian would say that John is teaching in the later verse that righteous works make us born again, but rather his point is to show that righteous works are a result of being born again. So it is in chapter 5. But not only is this evident by the context, the original language also points to this. The word “believes” is literally “is believing” it is in the present. The verb “is born” is a perfect imperative showing an action that has been completed in the past that has effects (believing) in the present. It is literally translated “has been born”. Here John shows us that faith is the cause of being born of God, rather than something that lies dormant within us awaiting our activiation.

John 3:3, 5-7 “Jesus answered him, Truly, Truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” “Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born again.” Here we have Christ addressing the issue of how one enters the kingdom. He says there is a prerequisite to entering in, or even seeing it – that of being born again. The statement at the end of verse seven “You must be born again” is not a command telling Nicodemus something he must do, but rather something that must be done to him if he is to enter in. He did not just tell him “all you have to do is believe”. Christ took him to the root. Nicodemus needed to be re-born. He poses a question to him in verse 12 “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” Christ struck at the heart of Nicodemus’ problem. He could not believe unless given a new nature.

John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws. And I will raise him up on the last day.” Christ reiterates in the same chapter, verse 64, “But there are some of you who do not believe,… this is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted him by the Father.” Here we have Christ, after inviting men to come to Him, stating that no one can come/believe unless given that ability by the Father. So we have Christ stating again that faith, or belief, is not something we can contribute to our salvation. Christ states this truth again in John 10:25-26 “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock.” He explicitly states again that belief in Him is not what makes us one of His, but rather being one of His is the cause of our faith.

Luke tells us in Acts 18:27 “When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed.” Here we get a glimpse of how we believe in Christ – through grace. Had it not been for grace they would not have believed. He also tells us in Acts 16:14 “… The LORD opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.” God has sovereignly opened Lydia’s heart to cause her to heed what Paul said concerning Christ.

Paul tells us in Philippians 1:29 “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” Faith is a gift that is given to men on behalf of the work Christ accomplished through His life, death, and resurrection. Again we are told, almost as in passing, that faith is a gift from God.

Paul tells us on another instance (Romans 6:17) that he attributes the sinners obedience of the gospel to God when he says, “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,” This is an unmistakable attributing the saving faith of men wholly to God. Paul did not say, “I thank God that he freed you from sin AFTER you obeyed the gospel” but rather he thanks God that slaves of sin have obeyed from the heart the gospel. Paul blames God for their faith.

Peter tells us in II Peter 1:1 that faith is given to us when he writes “to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Paul tells us plainly in II Thess. 3:2 “…not all have faith.” Paul doesn’t say “not all men have exercised their faith” he said they don’t have it. This aligns with the words of Christ in John 6 when He said, “no man can come unless it is granted him”.

I Corinthians 2:14 says “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.” Here we see the echo of Christ’s words to Nicodemus, “You must be born again.” Paul says the natural man doesn’t believe the things of the Spirit of God, he sees them as foolish and is incapable of understanding them. He will not believe them, as it goes against his very nature. He must be born of the Spirit if he is to ever understand the things of the Spirit.

In I Corinthians 12:3. Paul says there is something he wants the Corinthians believers to understand and that is “… no one can say ‘ Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit.” We know that men can say things they don’t mean, as that happens daily, but Paul is not speaking about someones inability to just meaninglessly utter the phrase “Jesus is Lord”. Paul is speaking of one confessing that with their mouth from a heart-belief. The same utterance he speaks of in Romans 10:14 “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed?…” Heart belief must precede verbal utterance if it is to be meant, and no one can have this deep rooted conviction of truth apart from the Holy Spirit.

One more I would like to share with you which will lead me into another question that must be asked – I Corinthians 1:30-31 “And because of Him you are in Christ… so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the LORD.” Again we have Paul placing 100% of the reason a person is in Christ on God. None is shared by the savee, but all by the Savior!

There are more passages, but I do believe this will suffice to show that Scripture plainly teaches. we have heard from the apostle John, Peter, and Paul that faith is a gift from God. Even more, we have seen this very truth taught from the lips of our LORD Jesus Christ.

Lets pick back up with the verse we left off at: I Corinthians 1:30-31 “And because of Him you are in Christ… so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the LORD.” How does the philosophy that faith is something I bring to the table, or atleast a force that lies dormant within me until I decide to arouse it Godward, how does this line up with what Scripture says about God saving men in such a way that all boasting is excluded? That is one of the results of grace – it shuts the mouth of the one receiving it to even the smallest amount of boasting. Paul, in our current verse, explicitly states that the one who is in Christ is in Christ wholly because of God’s doing, nothing of himself. He goes on to emphasis that it is this way so that no one can boast save in The LORD alone.

Paul teaches elsewhere in Romans 9 that the mercy of God is shown to men, not based off of any quality found in themselves. verses 15-16 ” ‘I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.’ So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” Paul seems to be redundant here in saying God will do what God will do according to what God will do; and it’s not according to what man may do but wholly upon what God will do. this is to emphasis a point that God is sovereign in his dispensing of mercy, not promiscuous to any who will of their own choose to meet a condition. Now I do not intend to get into election at this point, although I know this passage deals with that as well. I simply reference it here to show that God so works salvation so as to exclude any way for man to boast in it. God is jealous and He says He will not give His glory to another – Isaiah 42:8. (We also see in Isaiah 48:12 that God acts for His Own Name’s sake, not for the sake of men. God’s glory is something precious to Him and He does all He does in light of that.)

A verse that could have also been listed in the previous heading is I Corinthians 4:7 “For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” Here we see how faith being a gift (as already established previously) excludes boasting. We can’t boast in something that was granted to us. Just as i can’t boast in my physical sight, or ability to breath as I received these things from my Creator, so I can’t boast in my faith, for He gave me that as well.

Allow me to close with Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved though faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” the “it” is neuter in the original language. The nouns (grace and faith) are feminine. In greek, pronouns agree with the nouns they refer to in gender. Thus rather than referring exclusively to “faith” or exclusively to “grace” (which would be redundant as grace, by definition, is a gift) it seems to refer to the entire salvation. Paul states emphatically that it is  not a result of works so that no one may boast. If salvation is the result of you and God working together, then you do have a share in some of the credit. But salvation is not this way. God has so designed salvation so that none of it is our own doing, not even the faith, so we are excluded from any boasting.

This is nowhere near exhaustive, as volumes have been written on what I have attempted to summarize, but let me conclude by answering a question you may possibly be entertaining. “So what’s the big deal? Why all the hype about whether I believe of my own or of God?” In the words of the reformers “Soli Deo Gloria!” (Glory to God alone!). This is it. Christ prayed in John 17, before going to the cross, that the Father would glorify Him for the purpose that He would glorify the Father. The glory of God is paramount. We are told in Romans 9:23 as well as in Ephesians 2:7 (just to name two places) that we are saved for His glory. When God opens our hearts to this truth, our salvation becomes all the more precious, we worship God more accurately, and we exclaim along with Jonah, and the host of Old and New Testament saints: “Salvation is of The LORD!”.

Soli Deo Gloria!!!!




Two Views of Regeneration

http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/twoviews.html 

 

A good article posted on Monergism.com


Synergism : God + Me = Mission Accomplished. Is that Biblical?!

“Let us consider the following analogy to illustrate synergism. Developers purchase some undeveloped land to create a new housing subdivision. They hire contractors to build houses on the land. The contractors hire electricians to wire each house for electricity. The power company is hired to bring electric power to the subdivision and hook each house up to the power. The houses are sold and occupied. If one drove through the subdivision at 11:30 p.m., and noticed that the lights were on in some houses but not others, who would they consider responsible for that fact? Since every house was equally wired with power and occupied by a person capable of turning on a switch, the only reason the lights would be on in some houses but not others is that in some cases the occupants turned them on. The occupants are the responsible parties.

We could imagine many other analogies for synergism, but they all lead to the same conclusion. Whether it’s called the “prevenient inspiration of the Holy Spirit” as it is in Trent, or something else, synergists claim that God has already made it possible for every person to be saved. God has done his part, like the power company that wired the houses. Turning on the switch is up to the individual. The person with the lit house may say, “Thank God for the power,” but they were ones who decided to turn it on. If it is on for them while their neighbors sit in the dark, the difference is only attributable to human actions, not to anything the power company did.

Likewise, the synergist must admit that the reason he or she is saved and someone else is not is found only in themselves, not in God. Why? Because in their system, (a cooperative effort between God and man), God ALWAYS continually does His part. Some synergists claim that fairness requires that God MUST do everything He can to save everyone. Since they assume this as an a priori belief, they will not accept any Biblical evidence to the contrary. But a logical corollary to their belief is that if God is indeed always doing everything He can to save everyone, and yet some are saved and some are not, then the reason some are saved has to be found in them, not God.

Synergists may say that salvation is 99 percent from God and 1 percent from man, but the 1 percent part that is man’s doing determines who is saved and who is not 100 percent of the time. Back to the analogy—God wires the entire human race to the Holy Spirit power source and humans either turn on the spiritual light through a free will choice, or they do not. That is the essence of a synergistic system of salvation.” (quoted from Bob Dewaay’s article “Recovering Reformation Theology“)

 

This is a telling illustration of exactly how most are taught to believe. 

Brother/Sister in Christ, why did the light shine in your heart?

II Corinthians 4:3-6

light


Potent Stuff!


“Another Gospel”

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. ” (Gal 1:6-10)

http://www.the-highway.com/angospel_Cheeseman.html