- Please note all Bible references and discussion are taken from the KJV other than those quoted by the author in his book
- Reminder: Scripture interprets itself and does not contradict itself. The scriptures listed below supporting the refutation of the author’s points are not meant to “trump” his scriptures, but to clarify and confirm the correct interpretation
- These notes are in no way exhaustive but focus on major points for discussion in the book
- Lastly, this is not a defense of “Calvinism” or “Extreme Calvinism” but a defense of the Bible, God’s word
The author sets a premise for God’s complete sovereignty in Chapter One. His sub-points include: God is Before All Things, God Created All Things, God Upholds All Things, God is Above All Things, God Knows All Things, God Can Do All Things, God Accomplishes All Things, God Rules Over All Things, God is in Control of All Things (he includes sections on Earthly Kings, Human Events, Good Angels, Evil Angels, Satan and Even Human Decisions). The author states on page 17: “Perhaps the most difficult thing to understand is that God is in sovereign control of everything we choose, even our salvation”. And on page 18 he goes on to say: “God’s sovereignty over human decisions includes both those for Him and against Him.” “Whatever else may be said, God’s sovereignty over the human will includes His initiating, pursuing, persuading, and saving grace without which no one would ever will to be saved. For ‘there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God’ (Rom. 3:11). ‘We love Him’ only because ‘He first loved us’ (1 Jn. 4:19 NKJV). Indeed, no one comes to the Father unless he is drawn by God (John 6:44). Up to this point, there is no disagreement with the author. He then sets the stage for the remainder of the book to discuss how God can be sovereign and still provide for us to have free will. Many of the author’s points are valid; however, as he proceeds to put forth his case, many more of the author’s arguments, interpretations and validations of supporting scriptures come from a faulty perspective. Please read the remainder of the document for further discussion and refutation of these issues.
Chapter Two: “Why Blame Me”. It is the discussion of God’s sovereignty vs. human responsibility. The author claims the Calvinist position must be rejected because it is contradictory in that some Calvinists believe since God is sovereign and all things are determined, therefore, no human responsibility is required. Perhaps some people believe this, but it is an incorrect view. You are encouraged to read a document attached to the end of these notes entitled the Doctrine of Responsibility for an excellent discussion of this topic.
Chapter Three: “Viewing the Alternatives”. Page 50: The author uses the following scenario as an example of extreme Calvinism: “Suppose a farmer discovers three boys drowning in his pond where he had placed signs clearly forbidding swimming. Further, noting their blatant disobedience he says to himself, ‘They have violated the warning and have broken the law, and they have brought these deserved consequences on themselves.’ Thus far he is manifesting his sense of justice. But if the farmer proceeds to say, ‘I will make no attempt to rescue them,’ we would immediately perceive that something is lacking in his love. And suppose by some inexplicable whim he should declare: ‘Even though the boys are drowning as a consequence of their own disobedience, nonetheless, out of the goodness of my heart I will save one of them and let the other two drown.’ In such a case we would surely consider his love to be partial and imperfect”. “Certainly this is not the picture of the God of the Bible…..”. This analogy has several problems. If this analogy were biblical, first, the warning sign would forbid the swimming “under penalty of death.” (Gen 2:17 – “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”; Rom 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death”) Which leads to the next and underlying issue: the author’s underlying premise is incorrect here, in that, the unsaved are not drowning, they are already drowned (ie. dead). Eph 2:1 says, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;”. This verse shows that the boys in this analogy are already dead, and deservedly so, as they rebelled against the command of the farmer. Now, in the administration of justice, these boys paid the price and justice is served. Since in this example the farmer represents God, is God, in maintaining His character, required to do anything further with these dead rebels? The Bible does not indicate this to be so. However, God did want to show forth His attributes of mercy and compassion amidst this justice. And so then, is God once again required to show forth His mercy and compassion on everyone equally, when none deserve it? The Bible does not indicate this to be so either, and actually indicates the opposite: Rom 9:15 – “For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” So then, going back to Eph 2:1, God must give new life to those He saves; and, as Rom 9:15 indicates, in this He is sovereign. The author’s example shows a misunderstanding about the love of God, which will be discussed in further detail later in this document.
Pages 58-59: The author denies that spiritual death has brought man to the place where he has no desire or inclination toward God. “First of all, spiritual ‘death’ in the Bible is a strong expression meaning that fallen beings are totally separated from God, not completely obliterated by Him.” First, as Col 2:13 states, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;”, being dead means precisely that, and the author’s reasoning that dead just means separation from God (although separation did happen at the fall) simply doesn’t follow, and he is really creating that thought out of nothing. Dead doesn’t mean obliterated, at least in the sense that he seems to imply, it means inability or dead desire toward God. Let’s look at the following verses: John 8:34 – “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” ; Rom 6:16 – “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”; Matt 6:24 – “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”; Eph 2:2 – “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:” Sinners must serve their master, which is sin, and cannot serve God. Further, Rom 3:10-12 says “10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” No one seeks after God; no one does good. These verses clearly show the inability of anyone coming to Christ. Also, 1 Cor 2:11 says, “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”
Further from the author: “Second, even though they are spiritually ‘dead’, the unsaved persons can perceive the truth of God.” While men can understand spiritual concepts, the Spirit of God must be there first before a man can truly and savingly know (see, hear and heed spiritually) the things of God. John 3:5-6 – “5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
Continuing: “Third, ‘dead’ is only one of the many figures of speech used to describe the fallen state.” While that is true, it does not take away from the passages that do describe being dead as dead.
Let’s look at Ps 58:3: “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” Did these infants learn this behavior? No, their natural inclination, out of their own will, is to do evil. This evidences the condition of the heart. Where in the Bible does it state man has a natural inclination to good, godliness or righteousness (and actually the above verses state the exact opposite)?
Christ paints a picture of salvation in raising Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus had no ability to come to Christ until new life was given to him. If you doubt Christ was using this as an example of salvation, right in the middle of the Lazarus story, (John 11:25) “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:”
See Total Depravity Verses for more Scriptures regarding the state of man. Dead really does mean dead.
Page 59: 4th paragraph: The author is attempting to dilute the doctrine of total depravity. He references Colossians 2:12-13 to prove his point regarding a person being able to reach out and accept the lifeline (salvation) even though he cannot make it to safety on his own. Please see the attached list of Total Depravity Verses and do a self study before you agree with the author. The author states, “Paul speaks of those ‘dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature’ being able to believe. For he said, you have been ‘raised with him through your faith in the power of God’.” The KJV of these verses doesn’t say “your faith”. It says vs 12 “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead”. vs 13: “And you being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened [made alive] together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses. The Bible version used by the author here (NIV) brings the reader to a completely different and false conclusion when compared to the text of the more accurate KJV. Disregarding the Bible version issue, other verses state that faith is a gift from God; so a person’s saving faith is not of themselves anyway. Further, these verses indicate that we are spiritually dead and therefore unable to reach out and accept salvation without the quickening by God: God alone can do this. Therefore, if someone has saving faith, God had chosen to bring life spiritually to that person (the quickening). And since only some and not every person ever have saving faith, there is therefore only a certain set of people to whom God gives new life: these are the elect, as described in Scripture.
Page 60: Response to Romans 9:16: The author argues that man’s “will” is still the deciding factor for salvation. While the will is involved in the faith believed, the will’s decisions are a product of the heart condition, and the problem is that no one can or would “will” to have faith in God unless the inclination to do so has been given previously (ie. regeneration/quickening). Everyone is in bondage either to sin or to Christ (John 8:34 – “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” ; Rom 6:16 – “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”; Matt 6:24 – “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”), and the only freedom a slave has is to his master: the unregenerated to Satan and their sin; the regenerated to Christ. Therefore, a “free act” of a person that is God-ward must mean that they are in bondage to Christ already.
Further, at the end of the 3rd paragraph the author says Romans 9:22 indicates we can reject God’s mercy. The verses before and after that verse help to clarify that mercy is God’s and His alone. vs. 21: “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor? vs 22: “What if God, willing to to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction”. Throughout the Bible God shows longsuffering and restraint on both the righteous and unrighteous; however, this verse does not indicate that one can reject God’s mercy. Go on to Verse 23 which needs to be included in the interpretation of vs. 22, “And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory”. The word “afore” refers to before the foundation of the world, meaning He had prepared unto His glory those on whom He would have mercy before the foundation of the world (before anyone could make a “choice”). Eph. 1:4 states “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love….”
The author also lists 2 Peter 3:9 as evidence we can reject God’s mercy. He uses this verse many times throughout the book so it is important to properly dissect this verse in order to continue with it on a proper premise. The author’s version of the verse on page 238 states, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but (he wants) everyone to come to repentance.” Who is the “you” to whom Peter is speaking? At the beginning of 2 Peter in verse 1:1 it states: “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ”. The KJV of this verse provides for a completely different understanding. It states: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”. This book is written to the Gentile believers. Peter says God is longsuffering to “us-ward”, meaning believers, not the entire world. God is not willing that any of His children perish. Per the author’s interpretation, the last part of that sentence indicates that all, the entire world, would be saved (can anyone thwart God’s will?) and it is obvious that is not the case.
Lastly, the author uses Acts 7:51 as another proof we can reject God’s mercy. (Acts 7:51: “Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.”) The author is taking this verse out of context. In this instance, Stephen was speaking to a wicked unregenerate people who stoned him as soon as he finished his message. All human nature is to resist God and be at war with Him. As a part of God’s long-suffering toward the unregenerate, the Holy Spirit does work to reveal God to them. Many are brought to an understanding of God who in the end are not truly saved (Matt 7:22-23 – “22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”). However, as per the eternal decree/will of the Father, which cannot be thwarted, the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit is effectual on those to whom it is worked.
Page 69: The author uses Romans 8:28 to agree that election is unconditional on God’s part, but is conditional on the part of the elect. The book uses the following translation (NIV): “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. First of all, we need to clarify the translation of that verse. The KJV reads “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”. This brings the reader to a different conclusion. To whom is Paul referring when he says “the called”? It is the elect God has called, or appointed, to Himself according to His own purpose. The author says the elect will freely choose to believe. That statement is correct; however, not in the way the author intends. The believer will freely choose to believe only after God has quickened (made alive) the spirit of the person. Every person is born dead in sin and with an evil, deceitful fleshly nature which is at war with God. Nobody has any inclination to choose Him. (see verse set document on Total Depravity)
In the response to Romans 8:28, the author references 1 Peter 1:2 proclaiming that the elect “have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father”, meaning He knows which people will choose Him but it is their free decision to choose Him. The word “foreknowledge” in that verse also means “foreordained” (the Greek word “Prognosis” #4268), meaning that, yes, God does foreknow all things, including the elect, and in this verse, means He also foreordained who would be elect. This Greek word is also found in Acts 2:23: “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands, have crucified and slain…” (On a side note, this verse and Rev 13:8, which says “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” show that Jesus’ death was foreordained by God, as well, and not simply a reaction to the fall of Adam. It is all God’s plan.) Also, if election is based on God knowing someone would choose Him, why would God choose/elect that person from the foundation of the world when He knew they would choose Him anyway? That doesn’t make sense. Further, if God looked ahead in time to see if people would choose Him or not, all He would see is a bunch of dead, lifeless people not choosing anything spiritually. Therefore, it is His election and subsequent work in people that caused them to choose Him (Ps 65:4 – “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.”; Ez 36:26-27 – “26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”. God’s foreknowledge can be looked at more closely in terms of what God declares as “knowing” someone. Knowing someone in the Bible can be beyond just cognizance of him – it also means to know them intimately and personally, as in Luke 1:34 – “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” God foreknew intimately and personally those whom He would elect, and the others He never knew, which knowing is obviously then not mere cognizance: Matt 7:23 – “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Page 69-70: The author uses the following scenario to disprove his perception of the extreme Calvinist view. “Suppose a young man (whom we will call Jim) is contemplating marriage, and knows two young ladies (whom we will call Joan and Betty), either of whom would make a good wife for him. As a Christian, he has three basic choices: (1) to propose to neither of them; (2) to propose to Joan; or (3) to propose to Betty. Bear in mind that the young man is under no compulsion. There is nothing outside his own will that places demands on him to choose any one of the three options (or any other one). Suppose further that the young man happens to know that if he proposes to Joan she will say yes and if he proposes to Betty she will say no. Suppose then, in accordance with this foreknowledge of how she will freely respond, that Jim chooses to propose to Joan. Suppose even that he knows she would be reluctant at first but with persistent and loving persuasion she would eventually -freely-accept his offer. The decision on his part was entirely free, un-coerced, and not based on anything outside himself. But it was also a decision that was with full knowledge of the response and which respected the free choice of the person to whom he decided to propose. This is analogous to what the moderate Calvinists believe about God’s unconditional election. In contrast, let’s hold the same illustration up against extreme Calvinists’ belief. They would say that if Jim foreknew that both women would refuse his proposal for marriage unless coerced against their will to do so, he would not have to show his love to either of them. Instead he could, for instance, decide to force Betty to marry him against her will. Would we not say that ‘forced love’ is a contradiction in terms? And since Jim represents God in the illustration, would not this make God into someone who forces Himself on others in violation of their integrity? It seems to me that this is precisely what the extreme Calvinist are affirming”. This analogy, even in the “extreme Calvinist” example, is simply not the picture the Bible paints. This would work if both Joan and Betty were dead and Jim wanted to marry them. First, he would have to give one life; then he could marry her. The Bible says that nobody chooses God with the nature with which they are born. (see Total Depravity Verses); it is only after God has changed their heart and given them a new nature (they are a new creature). Only then will they freely choose God, because God has already done the work in them. They had no say in that matter (regeneration), but it is not “against their will” as the author states: God does not force people to come to Him against their will; he changes their heart, and they come to Him willfully after. In addition, we always need to remember that God is God and can do whatever He wants. According to who He is and how He has chosen to set things up, all deserve to be sent to hell and none deserve to be saved; but in His mercy He has chosen to save some to show His attributes of justice, judgment, grace, mercy, love, etc. to the heavenly realms and to us, His creation. All things are done according to His purpose and His pleasure (Isaiah 46:10: “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”) There is no denying this is a hard truth for the carnal mind to understand and accept. In fact, only those who God has given understanding of these things will agree that the Bible teaches this; however, we must accept truth no matter how hard it is for our carnal, fleshly mind.
Page 73: Matthew 11:27 KJV “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him”. The author asks the question of whether one has to be willing to receive this revelation before he will come to know God personally. Let’s examine this for a minute. The Greek word “reveal” used in this verse is “Apokalupto” (#601) meaning to remove a veil or covering exposing to open view what was before hidden, and specifically in this verse, supernatural revelation. How then could a person who is veiled spiritually have a choice to “know” God unless God wanted the person to “know” Him (by revealing Him)? Remember the verse in Matthew 7:23 “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Only those to whom God has revealed Himself will go to heaven, and God does not reveal Himself unless the person is elect. The author is eager to point out the context of this verse with verses 28-29 (Chapter 11): “Come unto me , all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” We need also to include verse 25-26 in the context: “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.” Jesus is saying God reveals things to whom He wants to reveal things. The will of the person is not a variable. In verse 28 Jesus is giving a general call to all of his listeners to come unto Him to find rest for their souls. However, as stated before, nobody is going to come to Him unless the Father has revealed their need of Him in the first place. We are either bond servants of Satan or God. When God reveals things to us and changes our heart, we are a new creature, and our old depraved choices towards sin begin to change towards those things of God.
Page 74: The author states “In summary, the error of extreme Calvinism regarding “unconditional election” is the failure to adhere to an election that is unconditional from the standpoint of the Giver (God), but has one condition for the receiver – faith. This, in turn, is based on the mistaken notion that faith is a gift only to the elect, who have no choice in receiving it.” What the author misses here, besides that faith is indeed a gift, is that a condition of salvation is a saving faith held by the person, but Scripture nowhere indicates it is a condition of election. Election was an act of God before the foundation of the world, unconditional to anything outside of Himself and according to His good pleasure.
Page 77/78: Matthew 1:21 response. “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” The author claims that Christ could have died for not just believers but unbelievers. If you truly study what was accomplished by Jesus on the cross, you cannot come to the conclusion that Christ died for all people. Following the author’s line of reasoning, if the debt for the sin of every single person in the world was paid in full on the cross, then why do some people have to go to hell and pay the price again for what Christ already did? He took God’s wrath on behalf of those He saved. God would be inconsistent with His Word and character of justice if He made some people pay the price again for their sins, or have Christ pay for the sins of those who were going to have to pay for them anyway. The price was paid and effective for eternity and outside of time, which includes past, present and future. So if all people were justified in Christ and declared righteous by His death on the cross, it would stand to reason that all people should be in heaven. There is no dispute with the author that Christ’s blood was not sufficient for all people, but it was only efficient for those He came to save. You may say, “Christ did die for everyone, but only those who ‘accept’ God’s offer, will be saved and go to heaven”. Again, everyone is born with a sin nature having no true spiritual interest whatsoever in things of God, so how can anyone truly understand their need of repentance and desire to be saved unless God changes their sin nature first? It is a vicious cycle that cannot be stopped unless a person accepts that God foreordained who would choose Him from before the foundation of the world, as the Bible states.
In the footnote at the bottom of page 77, the author uses the verse 1 John 2:2 as more evidence Christ died for the whole world. “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world”. Let’s break that down. First of all, what does the word propitiation mean? It means Christ’s sacrifice is/was complete and God’s wrath has been satisfied. So if He died for all people, God’s wrath for all people was satisfied and those who have gone to hell are there unjustly and are paying the price again. The second part of that verse “and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” is taken out of context by the author. If you put yourself back to the time when John wrote this letter, please keep in mind he was writing it to the Gentile Christians in Asia Minor. The fact that Jesus’ death applied to not only Jews, but Gentiles was a huge deal to the Jews and the Gentiles. To paraphrase John, he was saying that Jesus paid the penalty for God’s wrath, not only for us new Gentile Christians in Asia Minor but for all Jew and Gentile believers in the world. So this verse cannot mean the whole world or else God is an unjust God because He is making some people pay for what Jesus already accomplished on the cross by sending them to hell.
One of the many types and shadows of a specific set of people being atoned for in the Old Testament is illustrated by the Levitical high priest (the representation of Christ) who, on the day of atonement, went into the Holy of Holies representing not all mankind living back then but only the twelve tribes of Israel. So when they made the sacrifices to God (a foreshadowing of Christ’s sacrifice for us), only the twelve tribes were covered under the sacrifice. What about all the other peoples living at that time? Millions of people were slaughtered by the hands of the Israeli armies at God’s command, including women and children. Those were people just like you and me. Why didn’t God cover them under the priests’ sacrifices too? It is because Israel was a chosen people, and if you were not born into one of the tribes (a type of being reborn into the family of God), you were under God’s wrath (John 3:18 – “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”. These people didn’t “choose” into which people they wanted to be born either. If they were born into one of the twelve tribes, they were covered by the priest’s sacrifice; but if they were born into one of the heathen tribes, they were under God’s wrath and were often slaughtered, yet without any opportunity, nor inclination, to seek God’s forgiveness.
At the top of page 78, the author says the New Testament “plainly” states that God does love all and that Christ died for all. For further clarification to the verses that claim this, please see additional discussion later in this document.
Page 80: The author references verses like John 3:16, Romans 5:6 and 2 Cor. 5:19 to prove that Christ died for more than the elect.
John 3:16 does not state that God loves every person in the world. It only states God loved the world. A person can say he loves California but that doesn’t mean he loves every single person in California. This verse also means God did love the world, His creation, His elect and what He was doing in the world, displaying His attributes to the principalities and heavenly realms. But you cannot come to the conclusion that “God so loved the world” means every single person because of other verses in the Bible that show otherwise (more on this later in the document).
Romans 5:6 is taken out of context by the author. By itself it states “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly”. This chapter refers to the results of justification, being justified through Christ. We need to remember that much of the New Testament was not written specifically to unbelievers; and, in this instance, was being written to the Church in Rome. Look to the beginning of Romans in verse 1:7to see to whom Paul was writing: “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints…” Keeping this in mind, let’s look at the surrounding verses of Romans 5:6 (Verses 5-11) “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement”. The author focuses on the word ungodly in verse 6; however, if you look at the context you know Paul is speaking only to believers and we know that none are godly, including the elect, to whom he is speaking. The verse does not prove that Jesus died for more than the elect, especially considering what was accomplished on the cross, referencing the key words in this passage “being now justified by his blood”, “we were reconciled to God”, “we have now received the atonement”. These are words of action and completion and can only apply to those who are saved, not just “putting it out there for someone to take if they like.”
2 Cor. 5:19: “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation”. The author again is taking this verse out of context to prove his point. At the beginning of the book Paul clarifies to whom he is writing. 2 Cor. 1:1 “…unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia”. Also, keeping in mind what was accomplished on the cross, ask yourself honestly – if Christ reconciled the world unto himself, wouldn’t everyone be saved and go to heaven? Let’s look at the surrounding verses 17-19: “Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation”.
John 5:21: The author states this verse – “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them [to make alive]; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will”. The author highlights this verse as another used by “Calvinists” to prove election. His response immediately dismisses this verse by saying other verses in the Bible contradict the meaning of this verse in the election context. He uses John 3:16, 1 John 2:2 and 2 Peter 2:1 as conflicting verses. If read in context, John 5:21 maintains complete harmony with these other verses. Regarding John 3:16, please refer back to the discussion on the meaning of “world” above, as well as the “World” Discussion at the end of this document. Also, please read John 3:17-21 to get the larger context of this verse which further clarifies the context of the word “world”. Regarding 1 John 2:2, please see the defense of this verse above. Regarding 2 Peter 2:1, please see a detailed response later in this document. The author uses a 2nd objection to this verse (John 5:21) by saying it does not reference salvation but to the physical resurrection of the dead. This should not be the conclusion when reading the larger context of this verse. (John 5:24: “Verily, Verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life”. John 11:25: “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die….” At a minimum, it could mean both spiritual and physical quickening, but one cannot come only to the conclusion of the author objectively.
John 17:9: “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” The author states this verse is talking about the disciples, which is not disputed. His subsequent points are not really provable that Christ died for the non-elect so there will be no lengthy discussion for the purpose of these notes. However, please note verse 20 which states “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” This entire passage talks about Christ praying for his disciples and how the world will hate them because of the gospel message (see verse 14). So the message of this passage is that Christ is praying for his disciples as they go out into the world, and acknowledging that the world (non-elect) will hate them. He also states in verse 20 that he prays for the elect (those who will believe). So the author’s refutation of this verse does not stand in the context of the entire passage.
Page 84 – Romans 9:11-13: “(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth); It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau I hated.” The author states the Bible is not referencing Jacob and Esau individually here, but referring to two nations, peoples. The author needs to substantiate his conclusion. The Bible appears to be referring to both Jacob and Esau as individuals as well as representatives of two nations. Even if it is talking about the corporate election of the “chosen” nation of Israel here, not all physical Israel is spiritual Israel. Romans 9:6-8: “Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed by called. That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” The elect are spiritual Israel: Gal 3:16 – “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.”; Gal 3:29 – “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
Page 85. The author says God’s declaration of His hate for one (Esau) and love for the other (Jacob) was being said long after they lived. So he is saying God reacted to the evil things the Edomites did to the Israelites. This would make God a reactionary God, which is contrary to the Bible. In addition,the surrounding verses do nothing but point to election.
Page 87: 1 Peter 3:18 response: (“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit”.) The author states that substitution need not be automatic (as in Christ’s substitution payment for the sins of the elect). He states a penalty can be paid without it automatically taking effect. He accepts the substitutionary atonement but rejects limited atonement believing that Christ’s payment for the sins of all mankind did not automatically save them; it simply made them savable. It did not automatically apply the saving grace of God into a person’s life. It simply satisfied (propitiated) God on their behalf (1 John 2:2), awaiting their faith to receive God’s unconditional gift of salvation, which was made possible by Christ’s atonement. Eph. 1:4 states “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love….” The author can’t have it both ways. (Please refer back to the discussion on total depravity, the definition of the word propitiation and what Christ actually accomplished on the cross.) If the author’s statements here were true and Christ died for the sins of all, waiting for their faith to ultimately save them, then absolutely nobody would be saved. Our sin nature is at war with God until He changes our heart and draws us to himself, and gives us the gifts of faith and repentance. Propitiation means “satisfied”, that God’s wrath was satisfied by Christ’s death on the cross. It was paid in full. So, if some people for whom Christ paid the price didn’t come to a saving knowledge of God and ended up going to hell because they didn’t exercise their faith to receive salvation, then even though Jesus paid the price, they would be paying the price for God’s wrath as well which would be unjust. Further, if Jesus paid the penalty and endured the sins of those who end up also paying for them in hell, how just is it of God to lay those sins on Jesus when paying for them accomplishes nothing?
The Bible discusses how those saved were mystically in Christ at His death, burial and resurrection: Gal 2:20 – “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”; Rom 6:4 – “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (baptism being a representation of us being in Him mystically); Rom 6:8 – “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:”; John 6:56 – “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” Those atoned for were mystically in Christ at the time of His death, burial and resurrection, and continue in Him. If that applied to everyone, everyone would have been atoned for and would therefore be going to heaven, which we know is not the case.
Finally, please see the Particular Atonement Verses section.
Page 88: “The Extreme Calvinists’ God is Not Really All-Loving”: This is not true. Love is only one of God’s attributes. He also exercises His justice, wrath, mercy, grace, etc all the time. All deserve to go to hell because of the Fall. (Genesis 2:17: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” ) The fact that God saves any is a great mercy and grace. God shows benevolent love to everyone just by the fact that He allows the sun to shine on the righteous and unrighteous. He provides food and clothing to both, etc. Footnote 17 states “Extreme Calvinists admit that God’s holiness demands that He be just toward all persons. Hence, by the same logic they should hold that His love demands that He be loving toward all men.”On the same token, what about the countless men, women and children in the old testament that God ordered to be slaughtered? It is the same God, and this same God exercises all of His attributes as He sees fit. There are three (3) categories of people in the Bible: 1) the unnamed heathen, 2) the professing believers (see Matthew 7:21, 2 Tim. 3:5), and 3) the true believers (elect). How does that prove God loves all the same?
Let’s look at the following verses: Ps 78:67-68 – “67 Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim: 68 But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved.”; Prov 8:17 – “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.”; Jer 31:2-3 – “2 Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest. 3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”; John 14:21 – “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”; Heb 12:6 – “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”; Rev 3:19 – “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” These clearly show that there is special love God has for certain people.
To sum up, He chooses to glorify Himself however He will. It’s not about us; it’s about God glorifying Himself. Dan 4:35 – “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”;Isaiah 46:10 – “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” The way He is able to show mercy is to contrast it with wrath and judgment glorifying Himself to the heavenly realms. A person thinks too highly of himself if he believes God owes him anything. Both justice and mercy (or love) are attributes of an unchangeable and infinite God. However, it is up to Him how He distributes them.
Page 94 – Luke 14:23 – “And the lord said unto his servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled”. The author is correct about God not forcing people against their will. God first changes their heart from stone (at war with God) to flesh. (see Ezek. 36:26, 27 – “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”) It is only after God changes the heart of a person that he starts to desire God and will naturally choose based on his new, godly nature. His nature and desires have changed.
Page 95 — John 6:44 – “No man can come to me, except the Father draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day”. The author states that extreme Calvinists identify the word “draw” as that of “dragging” or an irresistible drawing by God. He acknowledges several verses where this Greek word does mean to drag. He also adds a few more verses where the meaning is to draw someone lovingly to Him. The author states in this section: “Finally, their being drawn by God was conditioned on their faith. The context of their being “drawn” (John 6:37 ‘All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will no wise cast out’) was ‘he who believes’ (6:35 ‘And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.) or ‘everyone who believes in Him’….” Those who believe are enabled by God to come to Him. Jesus adds, ‘This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him’ (John 6:65). A little later He says, “’If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own’” (John 7:17). From this it is evident that their understanding of Jesus’ teaching and being drawn to the Father was accomplished through their own free choice”. First, this conclusion simply does not follow from these verses. There is nothing that indicates the drawing of the people being conditioned upon their belief. In addition, John 6:44 says no man can, or has the ability, to come unless the Father draw him. It’s the same as saying every man cannot come unless the Father draw him. Next, with his conclusion that people do have the power and ability to come to God on their own, the author is dismissing the other verses in the Bible that address our depravity and our inability to come to God on our own. Just because the above referenced verses state “he that believeth” or “if anyone chooses” does not mean that God has not first done the drawing and changing of their heart, enabling them to be alive spiritually and giving them the hunger for Him. Again, nobody naturally chooses God (please see verse sets for more detail on Total Depravity). Before anyone willingly chooses Him, he has been born of the spirit (to be made alive from the dead and sinful nature) by God’s doing, not ours. Then, and only then, we will be drawn to Him and start choosing Him. The author is putting the cart before the horse saying that people choose to come to the Father on their own.
Please look back to page 17 in the book. Is the author not contradicting himself? He is saying God is sovereign over salvation. “Perhaps the most difficult thing to understand is that God is in sovereign control of everything we choose, even our salvation.” And here (as well as other points in the book) it appears he is saying God is not sovereign. We are in agreement about our free will choices. What we don’t agree about is that God sovereignly changes our nature so we will then choose differently, and the faith required to make those choices comes from God as well. Hebrews 12:2 – “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…”
Page 96 – James 1:18 response: “Of his own will begat [to bring forth, to raise-up, regenerate] he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” The author states he agrees God is the source of salvation but faith is the means to salvation, which is true. But first let’s look at what this verse is saying. To paraphrase, it says “Of God’s own will, He raised us up, or regenerated us (gave us spiritual life from death) with the word of truth. So, He opens our spiritual eyes and ears to see our condition, granting us faith in Christ. The author still maintains that we author the faith that saves us. Again, please see Hebrews 12:2: “Looking unto Jesus the author (originator) and finisher (to achieve the goal, completer) of our faith.
Page 98 – Paragraph 1: The last sentence in the first paragraph states “In short, it is God’s ultimate and sovereign will that we have free will to resist His will that all be saved”. Besides the false presuppositions behind and lack of biblical evidence to back up that statement, it appears the author still puts too much emphasis on the creation and not the creator. See: Jude 1:4 – “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation…”; John 3:18 – He that believeth on him is not condemned but he that believeth not is condemned already….”; 2 Timothy 1:9 – “Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began”. Throughout the gospels, Jesus spoke of the Pharisees’ and people’s eyes being purposely blinded. See John 12:39-40: “Therefore they could not believe, because that Isaiah said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should not heal them.” See also Matthew 13:10-14: “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” If God does not change His mind, and everything was decided before the foundation of the world, how could the author’s statement be true?
Page 99 – top paragraph: The author states “Moderate Calvinists like myself are willing to affirm that God can be as persuasive as He desires to be, short of coercion. In theological terms, this means God can use irresistible grace on the willing. But this kind of divine persuasion will be like that of a courtship. God will woo and court so persuasively that those willing to respond will be overwhelmed by His love.” First of all, the author needs to provide biblical support of his statement here. Where does the Bible discuss wooing and courting by God? It is also curious that the author doesn’t address Paul’s conversion in his book. If one reads Acts 9 objectively, they will probably not agree that Paul was “woo’d” or “courted” by God. Acts 9:15: “But the Lord said unto him [Ananias], Go thy way: for he [Paul] is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.” It doesn’t appear Paul had much choice in that matter. It also does not stand to reason that Paul would willingly volunteer for all of the persecution God ordained for him without God first changing his heart. That is just one example of God’s sovereign intervention in someone’s life in terms of their salvation. How about John the Baptist: Luke 1:15 – “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.” — no wooing there (and here is a primary example of God filling someone with His Holy Spirit without their conscious will being involved). When Jesus chose His disciples, did he woo and court them first? Mark 1:16-18: “Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. And when he had gone a little farther thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.” God had prepared the hearts of the disciples to drop everything and follow Jesus. Look also at the lives of Pharaoh (to destruction), Abraham, etc. The author’s statement is not supported if you study the Bible in context. God does not “woo” or “court” in order to persuade or “win over”.
Page 99 – Last Paragraph: The author indicates that a person needs to provide their “informed consent” to God to be saved. God does not need our consent for anything. God does everything according to His own good pleasure. We have nothing to do with His election. It is only because of God’s grace that any are saved. The author’s perspective is ignorant at a minimum, and an argument could be made that it borders on blasphemy. Psalm 33:11-12 – “The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.”; Isaiah 46:10 – “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure”; Daniel 4:35 – “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”
Page 113 – This is in a new section of the book titled “Avoiding Extreme Arminianism”. Bottom paragraph: “When riding our bikes into the wind, we say ‘the wind is against us.’ And when we turn around and ride in the other direction, we say ‘the wind is for us.’ In actual fact, the wind did not change; we did. Likewise, when a sinner repents, God does not change; the sinner does. For God’s justice demands that He has an unchanging hatred toward evil, and His love demands that He have an unchanging mercy toward those who forsake their sin. So when the sinner repents, he simply moves from the action of God that flows from His unchanging attribute of justice to that which flows from His unchanging attribute of love. God does not change.” First, once again the author’s analogy is flawed, in that, dead people don’t ride bikes; and secondly, out of God’s love for some He has mercy on them: it is this sovereign act that changes their direction, not them changing their own.
Further, this argument seems to contradict what the author states on page 179. God’s love is shown and brought forth as He sees fit according to His will, good pleasure and purpose. It does not mean God doesn’t love some and hate others, or have special love for His elect. The fact that people are allowed to breathe, etc. and exist shows God’s love – general love, as discussed previously. Further, the sinner won’t repent unless God gives him the desire to do so. Also, in the 5th sentence above, the author states “For God’s justice demands that He has an unchanging hatred toward evil, and His love demands that He have an unchanging mercy toward those who forsake their sin.” The author indicates in this sentence that God loves everyone and only hates evil, not those who “are” evil. The Bible clearly states that God does not love everyone: Psalm 5:5 – “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity”.
Page 117 – Paragraph 3: If “God is in sovereign control of everything we choose, even our own salvation…” Why does the author go to such lengths in the book to argue that we still have anything to do with it (ie. the source of our faith)? If only one small thing was not under the control of God, would He still be sovereign??
Page 117 – 2nd to last paragraph: “He cannot be unloving or force free creatures to love Him”. First of all, and quite the contrary, God is very unloving toward the wicked (Ps 5:5 – “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.”; Ps 11:5 – “The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.”). Next, and again, we are either servants of Satan or servants of God and will choose accordingly what our heart desires. There is no “force”. Since we are born into sin and our nature is to choose things of Satan, God must change our nature if we have any hope of choosing Him. Isaiah 53:6 – “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”;Ezek. 11:19-21 – “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. But as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord God.” Did God force anyone in those passages, or did he change them so their desire would be to serve Him and have the ability to walk in His ways? One also needs to acknowledge God’s complete sovereignty in those verses to change the hearts of some and leave the hearts of others to their evil ways. If you look at almost every introduction to the epistles in the New Testament, the apostle refers to himself as “called”, a “servant”, to the “elect”: Romans 1:1 – “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called (appointed) to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God”; vs. 7: “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints”; 1 Cor. 1:1-2 – “Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, Unto the church (#1577 Ekklesia – the “called out” ones) of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints..”;2 Cor. 1:1: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God…”;1 Peter 1:1-2: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, Elect (chosen) according to the foreknowledge (#4268 also meaning foreordained) of God the Father…” It is apparent in the scriptures that each apostle dearly loved God with all his heart, willing to die for His sake. At what point did God force each one against his will? They were called, and God changed each’s heart and gave him a new nature and desire to willingly follow Him.
Page 120: This page is in a new section titled “ A Plea for Moderation”. On this page the author states under “U” (Unconditional Election) that there is one condition for the receiver of salvation – which is faith. In footnote 3 of this page, the author also states that the elect must believe in Christ to receive this gift of salvation. “This does not mean the sinner must perform some work in order to become one of the elect. God alone does that on the basis of grace alone (this is evident in the verses used to support God’s sovereignty in chapter 1). It means only that the elect must believe in Christ to receive this gift of salvation.” First, salvation requires faith; regeneration does not. Next, the author must answer where the receiver is getting his faith and belief. Isn’t the act of believing to receive salvation a “work”? Is a person better than someone else in having belief and faith when the person next to him may not have any? Even if a person is drawn to God and asks for faith to receive salvation and God’s gifts, where does that faith come from? The Bible tells us belief is a gift. See: John 6:29 – “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent”;Phil. 1:29 – “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” ; 2 Thess. 2:10-13 – “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.”
Page 121: Under “L” (Limited Atonement) “Even limited atonement is affirmed by moderate Calvinists in the sense that it is limited in its application. That is, although redemption was purchased for all and is available to all, nonetheless, it will only be applied to those whom God chose from all eternity – the elect.” Redemption was not purchased for all. If it was, everyone would be redeemed, which we know is not true. Jesus’ blood was sufficient to purchase redemption for all but it was only meant to be efficient to purchase redemption for the elect, or those going to hell would be having their sins paid for twice, as stated in an earlier discussion. And this would make God unjust. Also, please see the Particular Atonement Verses section.
Page 137: Chapter Eight – “What Difference Does It Make?” Many people do ask this question when they say “Why should I care when it is completely out of my hands one way or the other?”. The author is correct that “Calvinism” does not give a person the right to do whatever they want with no consequences. If anything, understanding the truth about salvation and God’s sovereignty should humble a person to the ground. If a person goes on about their life with a “once saved always saved” mentality, not thinking there are consequences to their actions, they are probably not saved in the first place.
Page 141 – middle paragraph: “….If their view (extreme Calvinists) is correct, then we need not get excited about missions for several reasons. First of all, God does not love the whole world in a redemptive sense, but only the elect. Second, Christ only died for the elect, not the world. Third, no one has the faith to believe unless God gives it to him. Fourth, God has willed to give faith only to a select few, “the frozen chosen”. Fifth, when God’s power works on the hearts of the unbelievers He wants to save, there is absolutely nothing they can do to refuse it. God’s power is irresistible (see Chapter 5). If all these were true – thank God they are not – it would be understandably hard to muster up much enthusiasm for missions or evangelism.” First, we do not know who are God’s elect. Secondly, the Bible says the Gospel is to be preached: Rom 10:14 – “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”. God does call some to be preachers/teachers, but: 1) The role of teacher is a very heavy responsibility, and there are many people who step out there without having been called by God. 2) One must be sure they are preaching the true gospel and doctrine’ and if they are not, they will be held accountable for leading people astray. 3) A person does not need to travel to a mission field in order for their life to be a witness. Every Christian should live their life in obedience to God’s word, ready to explain their beliefs when opportunities arise for, again, we as humans do not know who God has chosen to be saved. Our job is to be obedient and God will handle the rest. The Bible teaches every point the author refutes above but it should not discourage those who are called from going out into the mission field. However, a great majority of the missionaries and evangelical organizations in the world today are not preaching the true gospel.
Page 142 – middle paragraph: The author states: “Not only does extreme Calvinism erode the basis for evangelism, it also tends to destroy the perceived need for intercessory prayer. While prayer cannot change the nature of God (see chapter 1), it can be used by God to implement His will to change people and things. Joshua prayed, and the sun stood still (Josh. 10). Elijah prayed, and the heavens were shut up for three and a half years (1 Kings 17-18; James 5:17). Moses prayed, and God’s judgment on Israel was stayed (Num.14). While prayer is not a means to get our will done in heaven, it is a means by which God gets His will done on earth. Things do change because we pray, for a sovereign God has ordained to use prayer as a means to the end of accomplishing these things. But if we believe God will do these things even if we do not pray, then there is no need for prayer. What we believe about how God’s sovereignty relates to our free will does make a difference in how – and how much – we pray.” The author’s comments are correct, other than the last sentence. Prayer is for our benefit to keep us close to God and in a posture of humility and dependence on Him and not ourselves. He commanded us to pray continually: 1 Thess 5:17 – “Pray without ceasing.” In this paragraph the author is labeling “extreme Calvinists” “fatalists”, and it is true that one should not stop praying just because they believe God is sovereign.
Page 172: “The Extreme Calvinism of the Later Augustine”: Without going into great detail, the author lists some of Augustine’s later, “extreme” positions. There are a few not listed because it would require additional research to fully understand them: “We Killed Ourselves in the Fall But Can’t Bring Ourselves Back to Life”, “True Freedom Lost in the Fall”, “God Creates a New Heart in Us”, “God Makes Us Act by Efficaciously Exerting Power on Our Will”, “Faith is the Gift of God”, “Even Our Free Choice is a Gift of God”, “Double-Predestination”, “God Turns Evil Wills of Men as He Wills”, “God Does Not Have to Show Love to Anyone”, “God’s Grace is Irresistible”, “God Makes the Unwilling Willing”, “God’s Initial Grace Operative Without Our Free Will”, “God Creates a New Heart in Unbelievers”, Even the Free Action to Accept Salvation is Given by God”, “We Cannot Will Good Without God’s Grace”, “All Men in 1 Timothy 2:4-6 Means Only All Whom He Wills”, “Matthew 23:37 Doesn’t Mean God Wants All to be Saved”, “John 1:9 Doesn’t Mean God Enlightens Everyone”, “God Can Change Evil Wills Whenever He Wants”. These “extreme” later views of Augustine are supported by scripture and interpreted within scripture. Ample scripture has already been presented to support many of Augustine’s above-referenced points. In a passage on page 172, Augustine states man killed himself spiritually through Adam. God said “you shall surely die” so how could we then bring ourselves back to spiritual life of our own doing? Only the Giver of life can do that. It appears that some people claim the double-standard that we do have free choice, but God can also choose to change the will of man “sometimes”. There is no such thing as being “kind of” sovereign. The definition of sovereignty is: “Supreme in power; possessing supreme dominion; as a sovereign ruler of the universe”.
Page 179 – “The Painful Dilemma of Extreme Calvinism”: The author attempts to discredit the Calvinist view by stating the following perceived dilemma:“If an all-powerful God can save all, but He will not save all, then God is not all-loving. For a God who is all-loving would save all; if He could save all”. There appears to be a discrepancy in the author’s reasoning. Back on page 113 the author stated that God’s attributes do not change. “For God’s justice demands that He has an unchanging hatred toward evil, and His love demands that He has an unchanging mercy toward those who forsake their sin.” Which is it, justice or love for everyone? A God who is all-loving might save all if that were His only attribute and those were His purposes. It is God’s decision alone whom He will save, which does not change the fact that He is all-loving, among many other equal attributes. The author’s statement is ignorant and based on many a false premise. Let’s break this down. If God is all-powerful, He can do whatever He wants. He can choose to save some and not all if He desires. How do we know what mercy is if there is not also justice and judgment? He can be all things at all times and no attribute can be lower than another. However, it is up to Him when and how He displays His attributes. The fact that we’re not all in hell right now is a general mercy given to all people, but eternal mercy?Psalms 139:21-22 – “Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? And am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.” ; Proverbs 16:4 – “The Lord hath made all things for himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” ; John 12:39-40 – “Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.” That verse indicates that God chooses to blind some so they will never come to know Him. Doesn’t this show the extent as to how God displays His love?
Let’s look at what God did to His Son. According to today’s definition of love it appears most would think God acted in an evil and hateful manner towards His Son. God does show love and benevolence to all persons just by allowing them to enjoy the gift of life and creation. Matthew 5:45 – “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.” We need to remember that ALL are dead in sin and are deserving of hell; of ourselves, all are completely undone: Romans 3:10-12 – “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”; Romans 8:7-8 – “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” ; Jer. 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” God does not have to save any one of us; but in His love, according to His good pleasure, He sovereignly shows mercy on some.
Page 180 first paragraph: The author is quoting R.C. Sproul, whose comments are supported by scripture: …….”For Augustine the sinner is both free and in bondage at the same time, but not in the same sense. He is free to act according to his own desires, but his desires are only evil…….This corruption greatly affects the will, but it does not destroy it as a faculty of choosing.” In the second paragraph the author attempts to point out the failings of the first paragraph. “…Sproul’s explanation of freedom being reduced to desire does not work.. For one thing, it makes God responsible for the free choice of Lucifer and Adam to sin. Also, it is a clear case of double-speaking, for while it denies that God coerces free acts on the one hand, on the other hand it is forced to admit that God gives the desire to love him by regenerating them contrary to free choice. Finally, the idea that God regenerates only some, when He could regenerate all, destroys our belief in His omnibenevolence. Thus, Sproul violates his own charge that ‘any view of human will that destroys the biblical view of human responsibility is seriously defective.’ And ‘any view of the human will that destroys the biblical view of God’s character is even worse.’” Lucifer and Adam did have free will but God made them fallible – able to choose, which did not make God responsible for their choices. This does not nullify the responsibility of Adam, Satan or anyone for their choices. However, after the fall, our nature will always choose our own fleshly desires. The author is incorrect in his assertion that it is a case of double-speaking. As already mentioned in this document, God does not coerce, He changes hearts (breathes life into dead ones) so the desires and free will choices will be different. “Finally, the idea that God regenerates only some, when He could regenerate all, destroys our belief in His omnibenevolence”. This comment from the author is confusing. Earlier in the book he discusses his agreement with election, as well as the many aspects of God’s sovereignty, including that over salvation. Why does he now ask a question that discounts God’s sovereignty, as well as one of His attributes? In addition, omnibenevolence may not be what the author thinks. Please refer to the discussion on omnibenevolence.
Page 184 – Last paragraph response. The author states: “The answer lies in the fact that God knows -for sure- (infallibly) precisely how everyone will use his freedom. So, from the vantage point of His omniscience, the act is totally determined. Yet from the standpoint of our freedom it is not determined. God knows for sure what we will freely do. Both Augustine and Aquinas answered this way. This is not to deny that God uses persuasive means to convince us to choose in the way that He desires. It is only to deny that God ever uses coercive means to do so.” Eph. 1:4 states “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love….” It appears the author is “backing into” election here. But the Bible clearly states that the elect were chosen before the foundation of the world, foreordained, not just of the foreknowledge of God. The author will be given the benefit of the doubt that he agrees that God foreordained what our free choice would be. But the author must also accept that at some point God changed the sin nature of those He chose to be elect, thereby resulting in different free will desires and choices. You cannot have it both ways. Either God is sovereign or He is not. You cannot have free choice and then have God “sometimes” be persuasive or intervene. If God is not sovereign over one little thing, then He is not sovereign at all. Look at the examples of Paul, Abraham, Mary, Joseph and Jonah, to name a few. Did not God intervene or use coercion to accomplish His purpose? God has predetermined every single thing that has come to pass from the foundation of the world. Daniel 4:35 – “All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”; 1 Chron. 29:11 – “Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Thine; Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and Thou art exalted as Head above all.”; 2 Chron. 20:6 – “O Lord God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? And rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? And in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?”
Page 185: Response: The author states “There are no conditions for God’s giving of salvation; it is wholly of grace. But there is one (and only one) condition for receiving this gift – true saving faith.” …..”Why, then, does one person go to heaven and another not? Because God willed that all who receive His grace will be saved and that all who reject it will be lost. And since God knew infallibly just who this would be, both the elect and non-elect were determined from all eternity. And this determination was not based on anything in man, including their free choice. Rather, it was determined on God’s choice to save all who would accept His unconditional grace.” The author seems to contradict himself. To paraphrase, he’s saying man has nothing to do with his salvation, except everything to do with it; there are no conditions to be saved, but there is one condition. This does not make sense, and the argument is not Biblical. You can’t come in the back door of election and predestination, because it denies what those words mean and would make God not sovereign. Yes, faith is a vehicle for salvation, but it is also a gift from God. Hebrews 12:2 – “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith….”. Why is it that two people can have exactly the same upbringing and one has faith to be saved and the other doesn’t? If election is unconditional on God’s part but belief (faith) in the truth is conditional on man’s part, why is it that some people have faith and others don’t? Are the people who “choose” God better than others? Smarter than others? Are there things in their lives that God has allowed to either make it easier to accept Him or harder? Why are there millions of people who die having never heard the gospel message? Are some of them elect but went to hell because they never were given the opportunity to “choose” God? These are obviously untrue, but they must logically follow the conditional election viewpoint. Further, if the elect was based on who would accept God’s unconditional grace, then God is not sovereign and in control. This make Him out to be a reactionary God which the Bible clearly indicates He is not (see verse sets document). In addition, nobody would accept His unconditional grace because of our sin nature and our posture of opposition to God, unless He first changes our heart.
Page 190: Philippians 1:29: “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him….” The author states “This is taken to mean that faith is a gift to certain persons, namely, the ones who are elect”. He then goes on to respond by disagreeing about the meaning of the word “granted” means in the verse. “First, the point (of this verse) is simply that God has not only provided us with the opportunity to trust Him but also to suffer for Him. The word “granted” (Greek: echaristhe) means “grace” or “favor”. That is, both the opportunity to suffer for Him and to believe on Him are favors with which God has graced us. Further, Paul is not speaking here of initial faith that brings salvation but of the daily faith and daily suffering of someone who is already Christian. Finally, it is noteworthy that both the suffering and the believing are presented as things that we are to do. He says it is granted for “you” to do this. It was not something God did for them. Both were simply an opportunity God gave them to use “on the behalf of Christ” by their free choice.”
The following refutation of Geisler’s perspective on this verse is taken from a website resource by James Swan: http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2006/01/philippians-129-and-gift-of-faith-part_16.html
Geisler notes “several indications” that faith is not a gift according to Philippians 1:29. Let’s work through them slowly.
[Geisler] “First, the point is simply that God has not only provided us with the opportunity to trust Him but also to suffer for Him. The word “granted” (Greek: echaristhe) means “grace” or “favor.” That is, both the opportunity to suffer for Him and to believe on Him are favors with which God has graced us.”
Geisler is correct that the word can mean “grace” or “favor.” Dr. Geisler though has read in a word not explicit in the text: the word “opportunity.” To see Paul’s use of the word “opportunity, ”See Galatians 6:10: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” The Greek word is kairos, it is not echaristhe.
Contrary to Dr. Geisler, Paul’s point is not that “God provided us with the opportunity to trust Him” and “suffer for him.” The word “granted” does not imply a choice to embrace an opportunity or reject an opportunity. Rather, the believing on Christ is something given to man as a demonstration of the grace of God. While not an exact method of determining meaning of word in a verse, note Paul’s use of the word elsewhere. Attempt to read in the idea of a choice to embrace an opportunity or reject an opportunity in the following verses:
1 Corinthians 2:12
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name…”
“But, meanwhile, also prepare a guest room for me, for I trust that through your prayers I shall be granted to you.”
Of course, context determines meaning, so the above verses don’t really end the argument against Geisler. However, If Geisler could show somewhere in the New Testament the word echaristhe being used in the way he suggests, he would have at least a beginning basis to help substantiate his interpretation.
“Further, Paul is not speaking here of initial faith that brings salvation but of the daily faith and daily suffering of someone who is already Christian.”
Somehow, Geisler was able to distinguish between two types of faith. No better response is needed than that offered by James White: “…[U]nregenerate men can exercise saving faith that brings forgiveness of sins without receiving this faith as a gift from God, but the regenerate man for some reason is not as capable of producing daily faith! Are we to believe that the faith that accepts the promises of Christ unto salvation is somehow ‘easier’ than the faith the Christian needs for every day living? Surely not!” [James White, The Potter’s Freedom, (New York: Calvary Press Publishing, 2000), 320].
[Geisler] “Finally, it is noteworthy that both the suffering and the believing are presented as things that we are to do. He says it is granted for “you” to do this. It was not something God did for them. Both were simply an opportunity God gave them to use ‘on the behalf of Christ’ by their free choice.”
Paul earlier tells the Philippians, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it…” (1:6). While this is true, Calvinists do not deny that the faith given becomes our faith: God doesn’t believe for us, we are regenerated and are able to believe. No Calvinist believes that our suffering in this life is not our suffering. What A Reformed person believes is that both the beginning of our faith, and its end (sanctification) is the result of God’s work in our life (see Philippians 3:7-14). Suffering and persecution are not opportunities to choose one way or the other. They are external forces that come upon us. Generally, one does not seize the opportunity to suffer. Suffering seizes us.
If one continues to read past Philippians 1:29, Paul informs his readers “…it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (2:13). In his own life, Paul notes that his persecution was for the sacrifice and service of the faith of the Philippians (2:17-18). Paul saw the things happening to him were for the greater glory of God.  [end]
Page 191: 1 Cor. 4:7 “What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” The author indicates that Paul is referring to 1 Cor. 12:4-11 (spiritual gifts). There is absolutely no indication Paul is indeed referring to 1 Cor. 12:4-11. It appears to be referring to the condition of man if you look at the entire chapter. In verse 1, it refers to the mysteries of God, which is the gospel message, not just His gifts. The author states in his response: “It should be noted first that the apostle makes no application of this verse to the faith that receives God’s gift of salvation. Rather, he is referring to gifts given to believers (cf. 1 Cor. 12:4-11), which should be exercised in humility. There is no thought here of giving faith to unbelievers so that they can be saved. In addition, even if faith for unbelievers had been envisioned here, there is no affirmation that God gives it only to some. What is more, even if faith were a gift, it is something we must “receive” or reject. It is not something forced on us. Finally, the uniform presentation of Scripture is that faith is something unbelievers are to exercise to receive salvation (e.g. John 3:16, 18, 36; Acts 16:31), and not something they must wait upon God to give them.” Again, we cannot choose to receive if God has not already changed our sin nature to have even a remote desire to choose something good over evil. It goes back to our depraved condition. Unless given the desire to do so, people don’t “wait” upon God to give them faith because their sin nature is at war with God. Mark 4:11-12 – “And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand: lest at any time they should be converted and their sins should be forgiven them”;Col. 2:12-14 – “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.
Page 192: Acts 5:31: “God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel”. In the response the author states “First of all, the contention is that according to these verses repentance is a gift in the same sense that forgiveness is a gift, since they are tied together. If this is so, then all Israel must have been saved, since both were given “to Israel.” But only a remnant of Israel will be saved (Rom. 9:27), not all. The same clarification is true of Acts 11:18, which says “’God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.’” This clearly does not mean that all Gentiles will be saved but that all have the opportunity to be saved. Likewise, it means that all have the God-given opportunity to repent (cf. 2 Peter 3:9). Second , the opportunity to repent is a gift of God. He graciously allows us the opportunity to turn from our sins, but we must do the repenting. God is not going to repent for us. Repentance is an act of our will supported and encouraged by His grace. Further, if repentance is a gift, then it is a gift in the same sense that forgiveness is a gift. But forgiveness was obtained by Jesus on the Cross for “everyone who believes” (Acts 13:38-39), not just for the elect (see chapters 4 and 5). Hence, by the same logic all men must have been given saving faith – a conclusion emphatically rejected by extreme Calvinists.”
First, the author says these verses are about the opportunity of repentance being given. This verse mentions nothing about opportunity: it is plain and clear that repentance itself is given; opportunity is not mentioned nor implied.
Next, in his first point, the author acknowledges himself that only a remnant of Israel would be saved so it is not logical to assume Peter was talking about all of physical Israel in this verse. The author tries to twist the “extreme Calvinist” logic of this verse to prove the absurdity that all of Israel must have been saved. As only a remnant of physical Israel was saved and able to enter into the promised land, it is the same for all of the people of the world. Physical Israel was a type and shadow of spiritual Israel (the elect). Only spiritual Israel will enter into heaven (the promised land). The author is correct that all have the opportunity to repent; however, only those who God has regenerated (made alive) will be led to the act of repentance. Their sin nature has been changed to desire to repent. Yes, repentance is an act of our will, but we do not will to repent unless our sin nature has been changed. As discussed earlier in this document, we are at enmity with God until He changes our nature. The author references 2 Peter 3:9 as backup that God wishes “all”, as in every person, to come to repentance. As discussed elsewhere in this document, this is not a correct interpretation of this verse. The author continues to interpret the word “all” as all inclusive in many of these verses when, if studied in context, this is not the case.
Page 192-193: John 6:44-45 Response: “No one can come unto me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God’. Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me”. The author states: “It should be observed that it does not say here that faith is a gift of God. It merely says that they were “taught” by God. The method of obtaining faith is not mentioned. The Bible says elsewhere that ‘faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God’ (Rom. 10:17). Faith grows in the heart of the one who ‘receives’ it (the Word) with joy’ (Matt. 13:20).”
It appears the author’s point with his narrative above is that, even if God draws you and teaches you, it is still up to you to accept or reject Him because faith is not a gift. First of all, the last part of verse 44 does not say “and I might raise him up on the last day if he decides on his own faith to receive me after the Father has drawn him”. It says “and I will raise him up on the last day (if God draws him).” The question must be posed to the author again asking, if faith is not a gift, where does it come from? Are some people better, smarter than others?, etc. The verse states that “Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from Him comes to me”. You have to deal with the first part of the verse before you can even go on to the next part. One will not be taught by God unless He has drawn them. Otherwise, they will not be interested in faith, repentance or forgiveness. Their sin nature is at war with God. Secondly, see the Romans 10:17 discussion below. Thirdly, the author references Matthew 13:20 as backup for a person who “receives” God’s word with joy. Let’s look at this verse in context (vs. 20-21) “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon [immediately] with joy receiveth it. (vs 21) Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth [follow, remaineth] for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” This person who originally received the word with joy was not truly saved and relied initially on their flesh for their faith but ultimately fell away. So the author’s use of this verse is not valid for this discussion.
Page 193: Acts 16:14 Response: “One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message” The author states that: moderate Calvinists do not deny that God “moves upon” hearts of unbelievers to persuade and prompt them to exercise faith in Christ. They only deny that God does this coercively by irresistible grace and that He only does it on some persons (the elect). Please refer back to the earlier argument that we are either servants of sin or servants of God. We will always freely choose how our nature dictates. God did open Lydia’s heart against her natural will because she previously had no interest in the things of God. She would not believe unless it had been given to her: John 8:47 – “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God”;John 10:26 – “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.”;Matt. 13:11-15 – “He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Page 193: Romans 10:17: “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ”. The KJV states “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word (Rhema) of God.” The author states “Here it would appear that faith is produced in a person by the Word of God; the Word of God is prior to faith, not the reverse.” The Greek word, “Rhema” (#4487) used in this verse can mean a spoken command, and if that is the case, the verse would read “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the spoken command of God.” God opens up and makes alive by His command the spiritual ears of those He wants to hear. But even if it is the spoken word of the Gospel, those preachings are only a means to faith; Christ is still the author and finisher of it (Hebrews 12:2 – “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”). Either way, it is agreed that the faith comes after our spiritual ears have been opened, but it is not created by us within us. God has changed our hearts and the gift of faith follows that change.
Page 196: “Saving Faith is Something All Can Exercise”. The author states “Nowhere does the Bible teach that saving faith is a special gift of God only to a select few. Further, everywhere the Bible assumes that anyone who wills to be saved can exercise saving faith. Every passage where the Scriptures call upon unbelievers to believe or repent to be saved implies this truth. A few familiar passages will suffice to make the point. He goes on to list the following scriptures: Luke 13:3, John 3:16, 3:18, 6:29, 11:40 and 12:36. These scriptures do not prove his point. In fact, the author’s interpretation of many of these scriptures have already been refuted previously in this document. See again Matthew 13. A person is not even aware that he needs to repent unless God has already regenerated him and put a new nature in him. He then hears the gospel and responds with the faith God has given him to respond. Col. 2:12 – “Buried with him in baptism, wherein you are also risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” Otherwise, man is at enmity with God and would never consider repenting. It is a global offering of salvation and command to repentance, but only those to whom it has been given to believe and repent will respond.
Page 197 last sentence of first section: The author states: “Finally, the Bible describes faith as “ours” and not God’s. It speaks of “your” faith (Luke 7:50), “his” faith (Romans 4:5) and “their” faith (Matthew 9:2), but never of “God’s” faith”. The author’s point is null in that it is the same as “your” salvation, “your” repentance, of which Christ is the Author and Giver. They are gifts, so they are yours after the giving.
Page 200: Biblical Support for Unlimited Atonement: The plain meaning of John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” The Greek word for “takes away” is “airo” (#142) meaning to expiate, remove, put away. If the Lamb takes away the sins of the world, the world meaning every single person as the author suggests, then every person should be saved; and Jesus has failed miserably because some go to hell. Remember, the context is that only the Jews to that point were the people with whom God dealt throughout the Old Testament in atoning for their sins. Jesus’ work on the cross would make it possible to include Gentiles, as well. So the world means the world of Jew AND Gentile believers.
Page 202: 1 John 2:2: “And He is the propitiation for our sins [meaning He satisfied God’s wrath on our behalf so we wouldn’t have to in hell] and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” That means if Christ paid the price of God’s wrath for the whole world, then some people have to pay twice – those who are going to hell. Does that make any sense? The author states, “This (verse) seems so evident that were it not for the skewed claim of extreme Calvinists, no comment would be needed. The unsupported claim of extreme Calvinists is that “world” here refers to “Christian world”, namely, to the elect. The later St. Augustine (see appendix 3) said John here ‘means of the world, all the faithful scattered throughout the whole earth.’ This is such an obvious case of eisegesis (reading into the text) that it does not deserve an extensive treatment. One needs only to make a study of the generic use of the word world (cf. John 1:10-11, 3:19). In fact, John defines his use of the term “world” only a few verses later. In the same chapter, he claims Christ’s death is a satisfaction for the sins of the “whole world”. He says, ‘Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world’ (2:15-16). This is clearly a description of the whole fallen, sinful world that includes the non-elect—for whom Christ died (v. 2). Later he adds, ‘We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). By no stretch of the imagination does this refer only to the elect (if indeed to them at all)!” The author is not properly defining the various uses of the word “world” in his argument because he has not researched the Bible for proper interpretation within itself. Please see the “World” Discussion at the end of this document for a detailed explanation of the different meanings of the word “world” in the Bible.
Page 203, 2 Peter 2:1 “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction”. The author states: “Peter speaks of Christ purchasing the redemption of even those who are apostate. Since Calvinists believe those who are saved will never lose their salvation, and since this passage speaks clearly of lost persons, then when it affirms Christ “bought” these lost souls, it means the atonement is not limited to the elect. In Peter’s own words, ‘But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them – bringing swift destruction on themselves’ (2 Peter 2:1). The terms used to describe these people leave little doubt that they are lost souls. They are called ‘false prophets’, ‘false teachers’, those denying the Lord’ (v.1), who are themselves ‘destructive’ (v. 2 NKJV), and bringing ‘judgment’ (v.3). What is more, they are compared to fallen and unredeemable angels who were cast ‘into hell’ (v.4), the ‘wicked’ a ‘dog’ (v. 22), and ‘slaves of corruption’ (v. 19 NKJV) – none of which are descriptions of the elect in Scripture. What is more, for them ‘ is reserved the blackness of darkness forever’ (v. 17). It is these apostate, reprobate, non-elects that Christ ‘bought’ with His own precious blood (cf. 1 Peter 1:19). The word for “Lord” here is “despotes”, which refers to God the Father, and not Jesus, which is “kurios” when the word Lord is used with Christ. An example is Jude 1:4 “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord (despotes”) God, and our Lord (kurios) Jesus Christ”. So the Lord in 2 Peter 2:1 is not Jesus; the Father has bought them temporarily, as Moses referred to rebellious people as being bought in Deut. 32:6. Also, those bought by Jesus would not be speaking damnable heresies. So the author does not succeed in proving his argument here.
Page 207: “God Desires All To Be Saved” 2 Peter 3:9: The author’s version states “God is love, and as such [He is] not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance”. The more accurate KJV states “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Let’s also be sure to include verse 15 later in that chapter, “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation…….” The authortakes 2 Peter 3:9 out of context by only saying God is not willing that any should perish but wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. He leaves out that God is “longsuffering to us-ward (meaning the elect; further described in vs 15 as those who receive “salvation”, which must be the elect) not willing that any of us (the elect) should perish, but that all (the elect) should come to repentance. It’s a completely different meaning than the manner in which the author is stating it.
Page 209: God Offered Salvation to More Than the Elect: Matthew 20:16: “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called but few chosen”. The last line of that first section the author states “Now, it would be both deceptive and absurd for God to command all to repent when He had not provided salvation for all.” First, one needs to define what “providing for salvation” means. Is it that the offer is there (which it is), or that God must do a saving work on everyone if He can (which He need not)? It is neither deceptive nor absurd for God to command all to repent even though He will only work a saving work in some. As every person is held responsible by God for their actions, and God cannot be blamed for being unjust, for not saving them, as no one deserves it, and nothing can put a mandate on what God must do other than His sovereign Self. Further, the author’s conclusion is not consistent with the content of the verse. The word “chosen” in that verse is the Greek word “eklektos” meaning “select” or “elect”. The salvation is offered, but only applied to the elect: as mentioned earlier in this document, the blood that Jesus shed was sufficient for all, but only efficient for those who God chose to save from the foundation of the world. (Eph. 1:4: “According as he hath chosen [Greek word “eklegomai” meaning “select”, “chosen out”] us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”). God does put out a general call for all to repent, but only those who He has ordained from the foundation of the world to repent will. The word “chosen” in this verse indicates some are not chosen, as well. God has many attributes: while the elect manifest grace from His wrath, those whom He does not regenerate will refuse to repent and go to hell, thus manifesting His justice. God’s ways are higher than our ways and it is not ours to question, which the author appears to be doing. Isaiah 55:9 – “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Also, there is a distinction between God’s declared will and His decreed will. His declared is that which is made known to us, His Word, the Bible. These are the commands to which every person is responsible, and where God brings forth His general call to everyone to repent. This will can be resisted and thwarted. There is though His decreed will, which is His hidden will. This is the will which cannot be thwarted and cannot be stayed. The elect and their process of salvation fall under this will.
Page 210: God Desires All To Be Saved: 1 Timothy 2:3-4: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth”. The author states: “From the time of the later Augustine this text has been manhandled by extreme Calvinists. Spurgeon summarized their attempts to avoid the obvious. He said here is how ‘our older Calvinistic friends deal with this text. ‘All men’, say they – ‘ that is, some men’: as if the Holy Ghost could not have said ‘some men’ if he had meant some men. ‘All men’, say they; that is, ‘some of all sorts of men’; as if the Lord could not have said ‘All sorts of men’ if he had meant that. The Holy Ghost by the apostle has written ‘all men,’ and unquestionably he means all men.” …………”Of course, the problem is that this is what the text should say if limited atonement were true, but it does not.” One must consider the work of the atonement and ask why God would have Jesus spill His precious blood on a gamble. This makes God out to look wishy-washy and “hopeful”. Everything was completed on the cross. If God knew who would “choose” Him, why would Jesus unjustly pay the penalty for those God knew would not “choose” Him? The author asks why the Bible didn’t say “some” men. The word “all” can in context not mean every single item/person (If a person is in an abandoned town and says, “Where are all of the people?”, they are referring only to those people who used to be in the town, not every single person on the planet.) Here when the word “all” is used it means all elect men, without distinction, which is revealed if one steps back and looks at this verse within the context of the entire Bible. As documented in the Bible, God’s decreed will cannot be thwarted, and there are many other verses in the Bible declaring that God does ordain some men to destruction. Romans 9:22 – “What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.”The word “fitted” means prepared. Why would God prepare someone for destruction if He also willed for him to be saved? Jude 1:4 – “For there are certain men crept in unawares, that were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” According to the author’s interpretation of these 1 Timothy verses, there are many other verses that will now need to be thrown out of the Bible in order for the integrity of its context to remain. These verses can only mean that God “will” have all types of men from all races and tribes be saved, not every single man.
Page 211: Hebrews 2:9: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man”. The author states: “Christ died for everyone, not just the elect. This is the plain meaning of the text.” “….since the result of the death (and resurrection) of Christ destroys death and defeats the devil (v. 14), it must have reference to all of Adam’s race. Otherwise, Christ was not victorious in reversing what the devil did. In short, His victory would not have been complete.” Again, it appears the author does not fully understand what was actually accomplished on the cross. If Christ died for everyone, then everyone should be in heaven. John 19:30 – “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished [complete, the debt is paid in full] and he bowed his head and gave up the ghost.”;Romans 9:15-16 – “For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.” Some have been ordained to heaven and some to hell. It is all of God, and nothing of man. 2 Thess. 2:13-14 – “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen [to choose, to take for oneself] you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.”; 1 Corinthians 6:20 – “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s”. Paulstates we have been “bought”, meaning purchased. It is not necessary logically that for Christ to have defeated the devil that all men are free from his bondage. Those bought are slaves to God and not to Satan anymore. We have been purchased, redeemed, the transaction is complete. Christ tasted death as the common experience of man – not paid for the sins of every man. The verse is a qualification and does not imply atonement for every man; otherwise, everyone would be in heaven. Please see attached verse sets for additional backup.
Page 215: Double Predestination: Please see the following scriptures:
1 Peter 2:7-8: “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient; the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed”.
Jude 4: “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ”.
Revelation 17:8: “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is”.
Page 221: Article V Response: The author lists 1 Timothy 2:3-4 (For this is good and acceptable in the sight of god our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”) and 2 Peter 3:9 (The Lord is not slack concerning his promise; as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”.) The author states: “…..it would be wrong – and contrary to Scripture (1 Tim. 2:3-4, 2 Peter 3:9) – to imply that God does not truly desire to save all men (see Chapters 4-6). To imply this suggests that God is not all-loving. Also, it would be fallacious to assume that the “obstinate” will always respond to “gracious softening” that is less than coercive. The only guarantee that all the unwilling will respond is to ungraciously force some against their wills. For most extreme Calvinists, regeneration apart from (or prior to) faith is such an act.” The author’s reasoning is faulty and the verses mentioned above have already been discussed in earlier arguments. If God willed all men to be saved – it would happen.
Page 224: Article VI Response. The author states: “Regardless, since God is not irrational or unjust, He would never hold persons responsible for actions they could not have avoided. Further, their unbelief could not be “wholly” their fault if, as extreme Calvinists claim, it was because God “could have” but “did not” give them the irresistible desire to believe and the faith to believe. How could they justly be expected to repent or believe if neither is within their power to do so and God chose not to give them the power to do so?” The author, again, is viewing God from a human perspective. All men from Adam are already under God’s wrath and on their way to hell – judgment is already upon them: John 3:18 – “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” This shows people are being held responsible by God for not believing, and God is not required to save anyone. God’s ways are not our ways.
Matthew 13:11-15 – “He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”
Mark 4: 11-12 – “And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.”
Luke 8:9-10 – “And the disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.”
Romans 9:10-24 – “And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor? What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?”
Page 224 Article I Response: The author states: “For Adam had no evil nature, from which evil desires spring, before he fell.” Yes, but God made Adam fallible. Also, the Bible declares that Adam was foreordained to fall. Rev. 13:8 – “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”. This verse is saying that Jesus’ death and resurrection was planned before Adam was even created. This plan of salvation was planned then, which required a fall in order to come about. It is all God’s plan.
Page 225 Article II Response: The author states: “The problem only arises when extreme Calvinists carry depravity to the point of claiming that fallen human beings do not even have the capability of receiving God’s gracious and efficacious gift of salvation”. The author’s premise on this point is false. Everyone has the capability of receiving the gift of salvation. However, God imparts that to whom He will. Still, a person cannot understand their need for salvation until after God has regenerated them spiritually. They are dead in their sin nature and are unable to bring themselves back to life. God is the only one who can do that, and that is what man is not capable of doing. Please see verse sets on Total Depravity.
Page 225 Article III Response: The author states: “If this attitude is taken to imply that irresistible regeneration comes before our willingness to accept it, then it is contrary to scripture (see appendix 10), which affirms that faith is logically prior to being in regenerated or justified”. (Appendix 10 refers to pages 235-240 in the book. Please see the comments regarding those pages in the remainder of this document). It remains for the author to answer how anyone can truly desire to choose God by faith before he has been regenerated (given new spiritual life). Ezek. 36:26-27 – “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” God does the work, not us. Habakkuk 2:4 – “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith”. We are saved by the faith of Christ (as the Author of it) given to us, not of any faith of our own.Col. 2:12-14 – “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”
Page 226 – Article VIII: The author states: “A sincere promise to save all who believe implies that Christ died for all and that all are capable of believing this promise to be saved”. The author comes to a logically and scripturally false conclusion here. As stated previously in this argument, only those to whom it is given to believe will believe, and only those are for whom Christ atoned. Please see Matthew 13:11, 15, Mark 4:11-12, Luke 8:9-10, John 1:13 and John 12:39-40
Page 232 top paragraph: Romans 7:5-16: “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.” The author tries to make the point that we don’t always do our nature. He missed again the point of being either slaves to sin or to God. Also, his interpretation here comes from not making a distinction between the two natures that are in a regenerated person, and the Bible warns about the ongoing struggle between our old and new natures and sternly warns us to stay in the fight. Rom 8:13 – “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”; Col 1:10 – “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”;Phil. 2:12 – “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”; 2 Peter 1:10 – “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.”;2 Cor. 13:5 – “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates.”
Page 233: The author’s “Fifth” point: He states: “if God determines all acts, then He, not Satan, is responsible for the origin of sin. For if a free choice is doing what one desires, and if God gives the desire, then God must have given Lucifer the desire to rebel against Him (Rev. 12). But this is morally absurd, since it would be God working against Himself”. The author’s reasoning is flawed here. Adam and Lucifer had the ability to choose freely. After the fall, every person is a slave to sin unless God frees them. Also, we are all still responsible for the acts we perform caused by our nature. Please also see the discussions on responsibility below.
Page 234 Conclusion: The author states: “Jonathan Edwards’ view of free choice, which is at the heart of extreme Calvinism, is a form of determinism. It destroys true freedom, lays the credit (and blame) for free actions on another (God), and eliminates the grounds for rewards and moral responsibility. What is more, it makes God ultimately responsible for evil. Further, Edwards overlooks the only viable concept of free will, namely that it is the power of self-determination. That is, a free act, whatever persuasion is placed upon it, is the uncoerced ability to cause one’s own actions”. We are “free”, but only free to do that to which we are under bondage, either as slaves to sin or slaves to God. Please see the attached document on the Doctrine of Responsibility.
Page 237 Eph. 2:8-9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” The author states: “….The ‘it’ (touto) is neuter in form and cannot refer to ‘faith’ (pistis), which is feminine. The antecedent of ‘it is the gift of God’ must be the salvation by grace (v. 9). Commenting on this passage, A.T. Robertson noted, ‘Grace is God’s part, faith ours’. And that (it) (kaitouto) is neuter, not feminine tauto, and so refers not to pistis (faith) (feminine) or to charis (grace) (feminine also), but to the act of being saved by grace conditioned on faith on our part.” Dr. John Gill asked the following question from a Greek and Hebrew professor: “In this verse, to what does the word “that” refer to? Adam Clarke, Wesley & company say that it is neuter plural and “Faith” is feminine hence it cannot refer to faith, (Such an admission would destroy their theological system.) However “Grace” is also feminine as is “Salvation”.” His reply was: “Here you ask a wonderful theological/exegetical question to which I can only give an opinion, and not a definitive answer. The problem is that there is NO precise referent. Grace is feminine. Faith is feminine. And even Salvation (as a noun) is feminine. Yet it must be one of these three at least, and maybe more than one, or all three in conjunction. Since all three come from God and not from man, the latter might seem the more likely. However, it is a tautology to say salvation and grace are “not of yourselves,” and in that case it certainly looks more like the passage is really pointing out that man cannot even take credit for his own act of faith, but that faith was itself created by God and implanted in us that we might believe (i.e. the normal Calvinistic position). In which regard the whole theological issue of “regeneration preceding faith” comes into play. So, that is basically my opinion, though others obviously disagree strenuously, but from an exegetical standpoint, the other positions have to explain away the matter of the tautology.” How does one go about getting this “faith on our part”? Why do some people have faith and others don’t? Is someone else a better person because he had the faith to believe? If not, then the author must also be able to explain how that can be or he has not proved his argument. . Further, man is not the author of his faith; any faith he has is authored by Christ: Hebrews 12:2 – “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” See additional verses discussed in the several following page references from the author’s book:
Page 237 Bottom: “Verses That Demonstrate That Faith is Prior to Salvation”: The author states: “Contrary to the claims of extreme Calvinists, there are no verses properly understood that teach regeneration is prior to faith. Instead, it is the uniform pattern of Scripture to place faith logically prior to salvation as a condition for receiving it. For the sake of argument, even if “dead” only means separation, there is no hope for eternal life while separated; and so, unless God makes us “un-separated”, there is nothing we can do in ourselves to draw closer to Him in order to have the faith to acknowledge our condition and plead for forgiveness and salvation. Regeneration must come before faith and desire to change. It is agreed with the author that faith is required prior to salvation, salvation being the full manifestation of our life in Christ. The only problem is that there is absolutely nothing anyone can do to conjure up the faith to receive Christ. As said before, unless God regenerates (makes alive) our hearts spiritually, we have no interest whatsoever in truly coming to God and repenting of our sins. We are at enmity with God and try to get away from him rather than come to Him.
Page 238 – continuing with “Verses That Demonstrate That Faith Is Prior to Salvation”: The author uses several verses to support his argument.
2 Peter 3:9, the author’s Bible version states, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but [he wants] everyone to come to repentance.” The author’s misinterpretation of this verse has already been discussed elsewhere in this document.
John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The word “whosoever” in the verse means anyone who believes, but people only believe if God grants them to believe. Please see “World” Discussion.
Acts 16:31: “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house”. The author states this verse proves the order of belief coming before salvation. Belief does come before salvation. This verse does not talk about regeneration though. Luke is saying a person will ultimately receive eternal life if he has believed. The jailer had already been given the awareness of his condition and a desire to repent and believe, not the opposite. He would never have been interested if God had not drawn him and changed his heart already. Romans 8:7 – “Because the carnal mind is enmity [at war] against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God”.
Page 239 John 3:6-7: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again”. This is a great example of election. If a person has not been brought to life spiritually by God, then all we have is our flesh and no spiritual life whatsoever. Did we choose to be born physically? It is the same thing with being born spiritually. Repentance and belief are gifts that are given by God after regeneration. Why would he give spiritual life to someone He determined would be saved from the foundation of the world and then leave them without the graces to come to Him? It can’t be the other way around. We have to be made alive first. This verse doesn’t prove faith must come first.
Page 239 Titus 3:5-7: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life”. The author states: “Faith is logically prior to regeneration, just as it is prior to good works”. Faith is not logically prior to regeneration as the author states. How do you jump from spiritual death to spiritual life with faith of your own strength? We are at war with God in our flesh (Romans 8:6-8 – “For to be carnally minded is death but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” It is a “chicken or egg” situation. How can you do anything if you are dead spiritually and have no interest in God unless He first gives you spiritual life and you are born into the spiritual world and are given comprehension of spiritual things like belief, faith and repentance? You cannot. Interestingly, the author does not address Romans 6:6-8 in his book.
Page 242 – 2nd Paragraph “It Is Not Supported by the Church Fathers”: First, and again, the author’s reference to “irresistible grace on the unwilling” is not how the Bible describes irresistible grace: it is grace on the dead, or unable, not unwilling. Secondly, who the author refers to as the “church fathers” were several noted ones from the 2nd century and on. Even by that time, errors in doctrine had begun to enter into the church as noted by one of the foremost experts in the works of antiquity Dr. John Gill in his tract “A Dissertation concerning the Rise and Progress of Popery”. In it, he mentions many of the same “church fathers” the author mentions in his Appendix 1. It can be shown thusly that there were no universal opinions on all doctrines held by all of the “church fathers”; and therefore, although one can look to the church fathers for reference, in the end, the doctrines must be compared with Scripture as the ultimate reference.
3rd paragraph “It Is Not Supported By the Attribute of God’s Omnibenevolence”: The author states “An all-loving God loves all and wants all to come to salvation”. This is not a biblical truth but wishful thinking by the author. We need to remember that God’s ways are not our ways and there are many instances in the Bible that contradict the author’s statement. God is omnibenevolent to all men by allowing them to exist and enjoy God’s creation and not go straight to hell. Love is only one of God’s attributes. It is a special love God shows to His elect. The author uses the following verses to support his statement above:
1 John 4:16 “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him”. Amen! However, it does not prove that God loves all. God is also judgment and justice, among many other attributes. Also, the “us” referenced in this verse is the elect, not every person in the entire world. Psalm 5:5 – “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight, thou hatest all workers of iniquity”. (The author omits reference to that verse in his book, as well); Romans 9:3 – “As it is written; Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated”.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life”. First of all, this verse does not say that God so loved every person in the world. Please see John 3:16 above for additional discussion. God glorifies Himself on earth and to the heavenly realms by displaying all of His attributes, not just love. One also needs to ensure they are reading this verse in context; please also consider the following verses: John 3:17-18 – “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God”. As evidenced in the verses previously discussed, God does not love every person in the entire world.
Here are a few more verses that indicate God does not love everyone:
Proverbs 6:16-19 – “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”
Hosea 9:15 – “All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters.”
Psalm 11:5 – “The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.”
Malachi 1:3 – “And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.”
Psalm 26:1-5 – “Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide. Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth. I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.”
Leviticus 20:23 – “And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.”
Revelation 3:19 – “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”
John 13:1 – “Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.”
4th Paragraph “It Is Not Supported By Man’s God-given Free Will”: The author states: “Since love is always persuasive but never coercive, God cannot force any one to love Him – which is what irresistible love on the unwilling would be. God’s persuasive, but resistible love, goes hand in glove with human free choice. Free will is self-determination. It involves the ability to choose otherwise. One can either accept or reject God’s grace”. Yes, it is true that one can either accept or reject God’s grace. The dead, carnal nature will always choose to reject it; and the regenerated nature will always choose to accept it. The question is, at what point were they regenerated? The Bible says our carnal nature is at war against God. So why would we choose His grace if we hate Him, unless something in us changed? And nothing would change unless God changed our heart. We are either slaves to sin or slaves to God. Romans 8:5-8 – “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” At what point will the person suddenly decide he likes God and wants to have Him in his life unless God changes his heart? Also, if free will is self-determination, and we have free will to decide if we go to heaven, then it is our work of free will choice that is required for us to go to heaven; so, Christ’s death plus our work of self-determination brings salvation. This is works-based salvation and not grace alone.
Page 243 – Conclusion: The author states: “There are no conditions for giving grace, but there is one condition for receiving it – faith. Put in other terms, God’s justifying grace works cooperatively, not operatively. Faith is a precondition for receiving God’s gift of salvation. Faith is logically prior to regeneration, since we are saved “through faith” (Eph. 2:8-9) and “justified by faith” (Romans 5:1 NASB). As stated previously in this document, it is true that faith is a precondition for receiving God’s gift of salvation; however, again, the faith is nothing we muster in ourselves. God must first perform the act of spiritual regeneration in our hearts before we ever become aware of our condition and need to repent.
The author goes on to say: “A fitting conclusion to this brief study on man’s needed response by faith is to read the dynamic words of Revelation 22:17. Here, John the apostle clearly holds out God’s gracious invitation to all: ‘The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ and let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.’” Here, as in John 3:16, whosoever will come may drink. The condition is the willingness of the person, but only someone who has been quickened will desire this water, as this water is spiritual and requires the desire for spiritual things, which no man has (Rom 3:10-12 – “10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”) outside of the previous work of the Spirit (John 3:6 – “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”).
Page 246 top of page: The author states: “But they cannot have it both ways. For as a simple unchangeable being, all of His attributes are unchangeable. If He is just (and He is), then He must be unchangeably just at all times to all persons in all circumstances. And if He is loving (and He is), then He must be unchangeably loving to all persons at all times in all circumstances. To be other than this would be to act contrary to His unchangeable nature, which is impossible.” Rebuttal to these points have been covered already. Please refer back to Chapter One of this book where the author himself clearly lays out the characteristics of God. .He makes a solid argument with Biblical support that God is God who has planned everything from before the foundation of the world. He does not change and does all things for His own glory. If the author would have stopped at Chapter One there would be complete agreement between all parties he mentions in the book. However, he goes on to contradict the premise he lays out in Chapter One throughout the remainder of the book. In short, God is God. He does not change. He is just and consistent in everything. It is not for us to question. How is there a contradiction between God’s mercy, love, holiness and justice being unchanging? It is the author who cannot have it both ways.
Page 248-249: Here the author discusses Thomas Aquinas’ three basic arguments for God’s unchangeable nature (divine essentialism) as well as Biblical arguments. The last paragraph of page 249 states: “Now, if God is unchangeable in His nature, then His will is subject to His unchangeable nature. Thus, whatever God wills must be good in accordance with this nature. In fact, since God is simple His will is identical to His unchangeable nature. God cannot will contrary to His nature. He cannot lie. He cannot be unloving, nor unjust. In short, divine essentialism must be correct in contrast to extreme Calvinism.” This is not in contrast with what the author calls “extreme Calvinism.” If anything it proves it all the more highlighting God’s sovereignty and unchanging will. God is all loving but in accordance with His purposes. As with the picture of physical Israel, God showed benevolence to all mankind through His creation, provisions, etc. However, He singled out physical Israel with a special love. Also, God can be unloving: Ps 5:5 – “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.”
Additionally, from the author’s argument, it appears that man can do what God cannot: God “cannot will contrary to His nature”’; but, according to the author, man apparently can, in being able to will himself to have faith in God when his nature is at enmity with God (Rom 8:7 – “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”). And so, based on the author’s argument, man is more powerful than God. This obviously is simply not true.
Page 257 2nd Paragraph – Last Sentence: “…God knowingly determined and determinately knew and willed from all eternity everything that would come to pass.” If it is true that God “knowingly determined” and “willed from all eternity everything that would come to pass”, assuming the author’s definition of “determined” is that He truly determined everything, then it follows that God “knowingly determined” and “willed” who would and who would not have faith (since a person having faith or not would logically be included in “everything”). So then, what the author states earlier in the book about our faith to receive salvation being conditional upon our will is contrary to this statement.
There is no changing what God determined from the foundation of the world. And as shown, the faith we exercise to repent and ask for forgiveness is a gift from God.
These are by no means every thought on the content of this book, but the main points chosen to discuss for the purpose of this document. As evidenced in the content of this document, the author is not interpreting the Bible as a whole and is guilty of making false conclusions that are based on faulty human intellect. Thank you very much for taking the time and effort to read the thoughts and research put forth in this document.
May God lead us all into all truth.
(Original notes compiled by Susan Sifford and then edited by David Sifford)
(These are on the page that follow:)
Doctrine of Responsibility
by Michael Bunker
“The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.” ( Psalm 9:16 )
I want to thank Shelley Moir for her work in transcribing this important sermon. May her work bless you as much as it has blessed me. This sermon was transcribed and edited from the live sermon delivered at Refugio fellowship in Lubbock, Texas in January of 2003 – MB
January 8, 2003 -When we preach the doctrines of grace, particularly predestination and election, the first question that pops into a lot of people’s head is, “If God ordains everything, if everything happens because of God’s solemn decree from the foundations of the world, how then can man be held responsible for his own actions? Is man responsible for his own sin? How can God rightly judge a sinner, and sentence him to eternity in Hell when God Himself foreordained and predestined from the foundation of the world that He was not going to extend grace and mercy to this particular person?”
So these are difficult challenges. Let me start off by saying this particularly about us as we begin to explain this. This is considered the hardest doctrine of the church. It is hard because even a lot of people who are reformed, people who have a right view of doctrine, these people have trouble with this doctrine. They have trouble explaining it. Basically we’ve gotten to a position, because most people aren’t willing to engage in it, that we’re willing to say as Christians, “I know for a fact that God is sovereign and I also know for a fact that people are responsible to God for what they do, and so I’m just willing to leave it at that.” Well, I’m okay with that if that’s where you are. However, what that will not do, is that will not convince anyone that you’re right or that your doctrines are sound when an unbeliever comes up to you and says, “Well if God is sovereign and He decrees everything, then how can I be held responsible for not believing?” And so we are going to try and go a shade deeper and look at how this so-called paradox of responsibility and sovereignty works together.
“For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee.” (Romans 11:21)
This verse and thousands of other verses in the New Testament and in the Old Testament clearly show that God will bring a level of justice and responsibility upon the heads of all people. He does hold people responsible.
When the Bible says, “take heed lest He spare not you”, this implies that there is a responsibility that God is going to demand of all people. So that is where we are going to start. It is often claimed that in order to believe that God is sovereign, and that He ordains through His eternal decrees all that comes to pass, we must necessarily also believe that man is not a morally responsible creature who will one day give an account before God for his life, his thoughts, and his actions. It seems like it’s an irreconcilable paradox that anybody could possibly hold to the doctrine of absolute Sovereignty of God and also hold that humans are responsible to God for their actions.
We do hold to the doctrine of human responsibility and we also deny the Arminian belief that man is able to act according the determination of his own so-called “free will.” We deny that there is such a thing as a “free will.” Arminians postulate it this way, “Doesn’t responsibility imply response-ability?” You’ll hear Arminians say this all the time. “If we are responsible then clearly we must be able to respond.” It seems like a natural implication. However, we’re going to show you that it’s absolutely not true, that God is totally righteous and just to hold you responsible even when you don’t have the ability to meet His decree nor are you able to respond.
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” (Acts 2:22-23)
This is a dissertation during Peter’s sermon and he’s discussing to the people of Jerusalem (the men of Israel particularly), who Jesus of Nazareth is and what they had been responsible for doing. Think about that for a minute. “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel of God.” Who are they talking about? It was Jesus Christ who was delivered unto His killers by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. Which means God decided what was going to happen; He decided who was going to do it and when it was going to happen before it ever happened. He not only knew it was going to happen, but by His “determinate counsel,” He decided it was going to happen. In Acts 4 we see a similar type of verse:
“The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against His Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be done.” (Acts 4:26-28)
The scriptures plainly teach that the fact…
a) that Jesus Christ was handed over to be killed,
b) who He was handed over to, and
c) what they were going to do to Him,
…was determined beforehand by God. The Father determined that it was going to happen. And yet the scripture tells us in Acts chapter 2, speaking to the nation of Israel, “you have done this, by wicked hands you have taken and slain Jesus Christ.” And so we see this so-called paradox in that the children of Israel are being told, “God determined that you would do this and you wicked people, you’ve gone and done it.” So we see the foundation laid for what is considered by some people to be an unanswerable paradox.
First, let me tell you that we are going to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that man is responsible and he will be held responsible by God. This side of the equation is absolutely true and it will be shown to be true in scripture. The doctrine of human responsibility is a critical element of the Gospel and it must never be watered down or caused to be so ambiguous that sinners are able to deny their responsibility before a holy and righteous judge. We are never, even though we believe in the doctrines of grace, even though we believe in the doctrines of God’s sovereignty, even though we believe in predestination and election, we are never to give ammo to a sinner to stand before a holy and righteous judge and say that they are not responsible. That’s why it is important to know how this works, because if you merely teach sinners about God’s sovereignty, then the sinner will stand before God on Judgment Day and say, “Well how can I be held responsible? You chose me for this.” I assure you, he’ll find out he is wrong.
We can see that the doctrine of human responsibility is a critical element of the gospel. God, who will certainly demand of sinners responsibility at the judgment, will also demand of you responsibility for how you handle the situation when you are discussing things with lost sinners.
Let’s look at the principle.
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren.” (James 1:12-16)
This group of verses clearly places the fountainhead of sin within the heart of man and not within the active will of God. Although God clearly has decreed all that will come to pass, and sin clearly is within the bounds of God’s decrees, the actual fountainhead of sin (as we’ll show later on) is within the heart of a man. God is not its author.
Let us look at the scriptures a little closer:
1) In verse 12 of this chapter of James, it says that the man who endures temptation is blessed. What does that mean? Does God reward you; does He bless you BECAUSE you endure temptation? That’s clearly not what this verse means; it’s not what it says. The fact that you endure temptation IS THE blessing. The blessing is that God has carried you through it.
2) Those who are tempted are tempted of the devil and not of God. When you’ve endured temptation, once you’ve gotten through it, you need to recognize that it was the devil that tempted you, not God.
3) Temptation is brought about by lust in the heart, the lust of the man. Lust conceives and brings forth sin. Sin, when it is finished, brings forth death. Also note that the following two verses, verses 17 and 18, say this,
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.”
The fact that James gives us this little dissertation, saying that sin comes from man and not from God, and that he finishes it with two statements of God’s sovereignty, is to show us (as it says in verse 12) that God is capable of bringing you through, of helping you, of withholding you from sinning.
If God brings you through a temptation without sinning, you must own that it is God that did it, because sin is the product of your own heart. Sin is clearly our responsibility, and although God is capable of stopping it, or preventing it, He is under no obligation to do so. God is not obligated to stop you from sinning although He is capable of doing it.
DOES GOD WITHHOLD SIN?
In most churches today, if you ever talked to people who call themselves Christians and ask them if God ever stops people from sinning, most of them would say, “Oh sure.” Ask the average believer out there, “Has God ever stopped you from sinning?” They’ll probably say yes. They are eager to give God the credit for their right behavior. Yet they in no way believe that this violates their will. (Have you ever thought about that for very long?) People are very defensive of their own will, but they don’t have a problem if God stops them from offending Him. An example of this can be found in Genesis chapter 20. This is the story of where Abraham is passing through the land and King Abimelech sees him, and Abraham tells his wife, Sarah, “If anybody asks you, tell him you’re my sister.”
“And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou are but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife. But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt Thou slay also a righteous nation? Said he not unto me, She is my sister? And she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this. And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.” (Genesis 20: 1-6)
We should note that when God brings the accusation against Abimelech, He knows everything that has come to pass. God is omniscient. He knows what happened, and yet He stills hold Abimelech guilty. He starts the accusation by saying, “You are a dead man because you have taken another man’s wife.” The fact that Abimelech has violated the law is not lessened by the fact that he was ignorant of doing it. Abimelech makes his defense (and rightfully so) that he had been lied to. But you will notice that God never lessens that particular charge. God doesn’t say “you’re not guilty of it then.” He just says, “Okay, this clearly you did in the integrity of your heart. Because you did this in the integrity of your heart, I kept you from sinning against me.” Now, here’s the other thing; God didn’t say “I kept you from sinning against Abraham”, He said “I kept you from sinning against ME.” So clearly (and there are numerous times we see this in scripture) God chooses when to withhold someone from sinning against Him.
Now this brings up a pretty dangerous question: If God is capable of withholding sin, and God’s intention (according to the Arminian) is that all people would be saved (because they claim that He didn’t want Adam to sin in the first place, right?), then why did not God stop Adam from sinning against Him? There would have been no need to save anyone, EVERYONE would be saved if God had stopped this ONE SIN. But we declare that God did not prevent Adam’s sin because it wasn’t His purpose. Arminians refuse to recognize that God has a purpose. He had a purpose in Adam’s sin. He has had a glorious purpose in every sin that has taken place since Adam. And although He is not the fountainhead of sin, and He is capable of withholding it, He is not obligated to do so at any time. So, if God had not withheld Abimelech from sinning against Him, Abimelech clearly would have taken Sarah, and that would have been a sin against God, even in Abimelech’s ignorance. Even in his own innocency, it would have been a sin against God, and God would have held him responsible. God declares it to be so. Abimelech’s innocency, his own ignorance, was not a defense against violating God’s law. Why is this important? Why am I emphasizing it so much? Because we’re going to look at an area that I don’t think has really ever been covered properly. Most of the theologians that I have ever read have missed the biggest message here…
God doesn’t care whether or not you think you have a loophole.
God clearly exerts power to withhold sin when it serves his purpose. In these cases, He sovereignly restricts a man’s freedom and He prevents man from doing what he clearly would have done on his own. And yet God does it for His own purposes. He doesn’t do it all the time. He’s allowed you to sin against Him, and He has also withheld you from sinning against Him. In your own lifetime God has withheld you from doing what was likely the desire of your heart. Search your heart to see if this is so. So much for human free-agency.
Let us look at the illustration in Numbers chapter 22. You will remember that in this story Balaam is pretty excited about receiving some money for cursing the children of Israel. Yet time and time and time again, Balaam is withheld from doing that which he wants to do. The desire of his heart, his free will choice, is to curse Israel, but God stops him from doing it. God will not have his “elect” nation cursed. Eventually, Balaam is traveling to do this very thing when his donkey stops and turns away a couple of times, no matter what way Balaam tries to go. We see this in the last part of the story, where it says to us in verses 21 to 33,
“And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. And the ass saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way. But the angel of the Lord stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being in this side and a wall on that side. And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall: and he smote her again. And the angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff. And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would thee there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? Was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay. Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? Behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me. And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive.”
So you see in this story that God not only withheld Balaam from committing this particular sin, but He did it for the purpose of not wanting the curse to fall upon the Israelites. And God even went to the extent of saving Balaam alive, so that the story would be here for us to read. Balaam was saved alive and yet he was withheld from sinning against God. So the principle is there, and we can see it throughout all of scripture. God can withhold sin, and yet He is not obligated to do so. The overriding rule is GOD’S SECRET WILL and HIS DIVINE PURPOSE.
THE FOUNTAINHEAD OF SIN
Inevitably, this leads to a discussion on the nature of sin. I think we need to examine where sin comes from and how it relates to the human will. First of all, we said that sin proceeds from the heart. People have a misunderstanding about scripture that we need to clear up. When we read HEART, we think of the organ in our chest that pumps blood. That was not what was meant in the mind of the biblical writers. The HEART of man, when you read it in scripture, is the mind. It’s where thoughts take place; it’s where decisions are made. When the scripture mentions both HEART and MIND, it is emphasizing that the whole mental/spiritual preference of the man is involved. Biblical writers used the two terms interchangeably.
The soul of man consists of three elements. There is the mind, the will, and emotions. Sin proceeds out of the mind of man and it is based upon man’s preferences. Man’s heart is naturally inclined towards sin. Arminians assert over and over again that they have a “free will” to decide to do what they want to do. What they don’t understand, is that once they will to do something, it has already been decided. The will is merely the outworking of the decision that was already been made in the heart. It’s not a free will; the will has never been free. Our will is enslaved to the decisions we make in our mind based on whether our mind is corrupt and controlled by the god of this world, by Satan, or whether or not we have a new mind, the mind of Christ and our mind is turned Godward. So the will is merely the outworking, or the result of the decisions made in the heart. So if someone tells you they have a free will. If someone does the silly thing where they say, “Listen, I can drop this (holding any object), or I can not drop it, proving I have a free will.” That is just silly because their propensity to do one action or another is already predetermined by the condition of the heart, what they prefer. Sinners prefer sin. They cannot do what is righteous. It’s impossible for them to do that which is righteous because they’re inclined towards sin and they’re enslaved to the god of this world. Their minds are enslaved, and their will is merely the outworking of their corrupted minds. So the will isn’t really even part of the problem that we are looking at. We get into arguments over the will when the will is really the outworking of the corrupted mind.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
Throughout the scriptures (the Psalms and Proverbs most particularly), the wisdom of God tells us that the issues of life proceed out of the heart. The scriptures tell us that the heart, which is the mind of man, is where the issues of life come from.
“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” (Mark 7:21-23)
Sins (actual sinful actions) FOLLOW evil thoughts and wicked notions in the MIND of men. When an Arminian is arguing that he has the freedom of the will, and we read that all of these wicked things exist in his natural mind (this is the proclivity of his mind), how is it possible for him to will other than that which is the natural preference of his wicked heart? It’s impossible. In order for him to will anything else he would have to have righteousness in his heart in order to will that which is righteous. He would have to have a new mind. Why do you think it says in the scripture that part of the regeneration is receiving a new mind (the Mind of Christ)?
It is impossible for the old mind to will that which is good.
So we’ve been arguing all this time about the will, when the will is not really the center of the equation, clearly the mind is. Out of the mind come the issues of life.
“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” (Matthew 15:8)
This people have a wicked and fallen heart that is far from God. They cannot be inclined to choose and to will that which is foreign to their very nature. It is the heart and not the “free will” that governs a man. Why do men sin? They sin because they are sinners and because they prefer sin. In order to live a righteous life you would have to prefer righteousness. How is that possible without the activation of God? How could you prefer that which is Godly without God first putting that preference into your mind, into your heart? A sinful heart results in sinful preferences.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
Arminianism, at its very root, denies the deceitfulness and the wickedness of the human heart. They believe that the unregenerate heart can be inclined towards God, and can believe in God, and can do righteous things when the scripture clearly teaches that the unregenerate heart can only do wickedness because that is its natural preference. So, once again, the will of man has never been free. The will of man has been in bondage to sin until that moment where it becomes regenerated, and after that, it is in bondage to the mind of Christ. The will acts according to the nature and preference of the heart. It wills that which the heart prefers. The will is subject to the motives that are exercised upon it by the mind, by the heart. God never forces the sinner to sin because He doesn’t have to. But neither is the sinner free to will not to sin. In order to will not to sin, the sinner would have to be predisposed to righteousness, and how could he be? His heart is desperately wicked.
God is holy and righteous in holding man responsible.
“I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:10)
God declares here that He tries the heart and He gives every man according to the fruit (the product) of that man’s heart. Man will be held responsible for his actions.
“For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:11-12)
Now that is true of both the regenerate and the unregenerate. Every one of us will give an account of ourselves to God. We will be IMPELLED to do so. Our “free will” shall not bear on the matter.
“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:4)
The Bible teaches that there are these people, who were before of old (before they were even born) ordained to this condemnation. And this is the condemnation, that they are going to turn the grace of God into lasciviousness and by doing so, deny the only Lord God. But the scripture asserts that they were ordained before they were ever born unto this condemnation. They were ORDAINED for such.
“Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.” (Jude 1:8)
Their condemnation is that they are going to be these wolves (ungodly men turning grace into lasciviousness), also these same men, these filthy dreamers, they defile the flesh, despising dominion and they speak evil of dignities. That makes me think of every Arminian I have ever spoken to, who says, “I would never serve such an evil God, one who would violate my free will. Such a God would be a MONSTER!” But God says, WOE UNTO THEM!
“Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, whey they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots. Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” (Jude 1:11-15)
So you have these men who were before of old ordained to this condemnation. They were created for this purpose, and out of their own filthy hearts they have been lascivious, they’ve followed the flesh, they’ve spoken evil of dignities, and because of this God declares that He will execute judgment upon them.
WAR CHANGES EVERYTHING
So how does this work? It is clear in all of scripture that God will hold man responsible for all of his deeds, his actions and even his thoughts, even those that were ordained for him. God sits as a righteous and just judge over all of creation. But what standard does He use to judge? One important fact that most refuse to consider, something that doesn’t get discussed very often, is that the Bible declares that mankind is at war with God. Man is not just in rebellion, but he is in active warfare against the God of the universe. The god of this world (Satan) is in warfare against the God of all creation. This point is not discussed too much because if we conclude that mankind is at warfare with God, then all men who will be saved must come to know that they are subject to God’s surrender terms.
In the movie Braveheart, William Wallace wanted to start a battle, so he rides out there to the middle of the battlefield and the nobles ask, “Where are you going?” and he says, “I’m going to peck a foit! (pick a fight)” Wallace rides out there and the king’s men ride out to deliver the surrender terms of the king – basically saying, “this is what it would take for us not to kill you today”. But Wallace interrupts them and says, “Let me tell you OUR conditions: First of all you must turn your army around and start marching back to England, stopping along the way at every town to apologize for hundreds of years of rape and murder. And then, after you’re done with that, you can stick your head between your own legs and kiss your own arse.”
What was he doing? What was the point? Wallace wanted a battle. He was not going to let them make peace. He was raising the bar so high just to let them know that warfare was the only answer. There is going to be a war, there’s going to be a battle today. In the same way, God makes decrees upon humans that it is clearly obvious that they cannot keep, and when we don’t consider the fact that we are at war with God we may miss the whole point. The whole point being that if we’re at war with God and God is giving the peace conditions, He can give whatever surrender conditions He wants to. It is not necessary that God give peace conditions that you can meet, and clearly He doesn’t. Does God require of people those things that they cannot perform? Absolutely! Throughout all of scripture He does. The reason that He can do that is because we’re at war with Him.
“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (Romans 5:10)
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…” ( Romans 5:1)
So there was a time when all of mankind was at war with God and God gave His conditions and the conditions were His Holy commandments. Everything that God has commanded was His conditions for peace. Some people (very few), based on God’s gift of grace, recognized that they could not meet the conditions and threw themselves on that Sovereign for mercy. But the majority saw the commandments and said, “Oh, I can do that.” So they went about trying to do it. Their folly is evident in the false gospel being promoted today.
God has shown that we were bitter enemies with Him. We despised His governorship and rebelled against His easy yoke. We raised armies against Him and lifted up our own “free will” as superior to His. So the scripture says this unto us:
“As it is written, there is none righteous, no not one; there is none that understandeth; there is none that seeketh after God; they are all gone out of the way; they are together become unprofitable; there is non that doeth good, no not one; the throat is an open sepluchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asp is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace have they not known; there is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18)
So, now I have put you into the proper place. You (the sinner) are riding out into the battlefield, at war with the God of the universe. And God has sent His representative to meet you in the middle of the battlefield. Before God sent His representative out, here was your conditions: You must admit that there is nothing good in you, you have nothing to offer Him and there is nothing He will ever accept from you other than absolute surrender. Let’s make this more interesting… Let’s say that you have an advisor who advises you before you ride out to the battlefield, and your advisor is an Arminian, and he tells you, “Listen, we’re doing all right. Don’t fold. We’ve got a huge army. There are things we can do. We can do good things. We might be able to please Him. Maybe we can give Him some lands or some titles. Maybe the sovereign God of the universe could use some stuff. Heck, you’ve been pretty good, maybe we could do some more good works that would please Him. Or maybe, if we can stall long enough, maybe we can raise up a big enough army that we can actually prevail in the battle.
Do you want this man to be your advisor before you ride out to the battlefield to discuss peace with the Sovereign God of the universe? Or do you want someone to tell you the truth? Here is the truth about you: “You have no army, you have no weapons, you have nothing that God would possibly care about. You have not one thing to offer Him other than the fact that you are not righteous, you do not seek after God, you have gone out of the way, your throat is an open sepluchre, your feet have been quick to shed blood, the poison coming out of your mouth is like that of an asp. So here’s MY advice. What you better do, is you better show up out there on the battlefield and tell Him you have no ability. You can never meet His terms. You deserve to be destroyed. And then you better throw yourself on His mercy, because that’s the only hope you have.”
That is the difference between the two gospels that are preached today. Arminianism tells the sinner that he has power, he has ability. They say “responsibility means response ABILITY”. They say that if God is holding you responsible then He must have given you the ability to respond. But we have shown that that’s not true. He has no obligation to make you be able to respond. He merely rode out and said here are the terms of your surrender.
So God, as the one and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords is totally just in commanding all rebels, all sinners everywhere to cease their rebellion, bow their knee, repent and obey His commands. The fact that they are unable to do so spiritually is immaterial to God. His righteousness demands that He require it of you.
You are capable of keeping God’s commands physically. In other words, you are certainly capable of physically not murdering somebody. You have hands and eyes and a brain and you can go through the calculations in your head. You are capable of not committing murder. You are capable, in your physical being that is, of honoring your parents. You’re capable, in the physical realm, of not stealing. Yet because your will is directed by the darkness and the depravity of your own heart, you are not spiritually or morally able to keep God’s commandments. God merely commanded you to keep these commandments. He didn’t say He would enable you to do so.
What demand is unjust coming from a Righteous Judge towards those who are at war with Him contrary to His own law? Is there any command that God could make upon you and demand that you keep that would be considered unfair, when from His point of view, you have nothing to offer Him, you are at war against Him, and you have declared this war (enmity) against Him contrary to His own law through your federal head, Adam? If God were to say, “Starting tomorrow, the only people that get to go to heaven are people that can pole vault 18 feet on the first jump”, it would be completely just in God’s eyes to send everybody to hell that cannot pole vault 18 feet, or even 50 feet, or 100 feet. There is no demand that He can make upon you that would be unjust. The Sovereign King, when He makes demands upon a defeated foe, is not withheld by any means whatsoever when He makes demands upon a defeated enemy.
In order for a rebel to morally and spiritually obey God’s righteous commands, God would have to give the rebel a gift. In order for you to morally and spiritually do what God commanded you to do, God would have to give you a gift. So here is what is really going on. You are at war with God; you’ve declared war against Him. And God says here are my commands, keep those and I won’t kill you and send you to hell. But in order for you to do those things, because of the depravity of your own heart, God would have to give you a gift.
DO REBELS DESERVE GIFTS?
Now is it just for a rebel, who persists in war against God, to demand a gift of the king with whom he is at war? Think about that. Think about how insulting it is to the God of creation when wicked rebels, who are at war with Him, demand that He give them the gift of the ability to fulfill His commands. It is as if they were to say, “Well God, I accept your deal that I have to jump 18 feet to enter into the Kingdom, but in order for that to be fair, you have to give me the gift of the ability to be able to jump 18 feet.” He will say, “Depart from Me you worker of iniquity, I never knew you.” You do not make demands on God’s gifts. God would have to give the rebel the gift of repentance (repentance is a gift, Acts 5:31, 2 Tim. 2:25), in order for the rebel to be able to turn from his sin towards God, to see the folly of his wicked ways, and to spiritually depart from that behavior. But the rebel has no moral standing to demand this gift of repentance from God. Is God obligated to give a gift to a sinner who rebels against His throne? If the sinner is a reprobate and is ordained to destruction, this is secret knowledge that is unknown to the reprobate or anybody else for that matter. God has not commanded that the sinner must meet the knowledge of His own secret will. He has made the level that must be met by the sinner to be obedience to His declared will. God has said unto the sinner, “Keep my commandments. Repent and come unto My Son.” In other words, what the sinner has to do in order to approach the face of God is in God’s declared will, it’s plain in the scripture. It’s plain before anybody. The sinner is not going to say before the throne of God, “Well God, I couldn’t have repented because clearly I didn’t have the ability. I was reprobate from the foundation of the world.” God can say, “You didn’t know that. You had all the ability, just like anybody else, to open up the Bible, read it with your eyes, and see where it commands for all sinners everywhere to repent. That was written to you, you knew it was written to you, and you chose not to do it. The fact that you were reprobate from the foundation of the world was hidden from you. It didn’t add into your decision. You voluntarily chose not to obey, because disobedience was the preference of your heart, so you will be found guilty because you surely are.”
Here’s what will come up at that throne room. The revealed will of God is this:
1. God now commands all sinners, everywhere in the world to repent. Acts 17:30
2. Every sinner is commanded to believe the gospel. I John 3:23
3. Every sinner is commanded to search the scriptures. John 5:39
So if every sinner is commanded to search the scriptures and to believe the gospel and to repent, then their abilities, both morally and spiritually to do that is not what is material. They are going to be judged on their physical ability to do that. Did they have the ability to do those things? Yes. But they did not have the moral predilection to do it because they are depraved beings. In order for God to give them the will to do the right thing, He would have had to give them the mind of Christ. Which means God would be obligated to give unto a rebel a gift in order for him to be able to do that which He commanded, and we have shown that God is not obligated to do that. Remember, these people are at warfare with God. So, God has commanded, justly, that the rebel ceases his rebellion, and He has promised to show mercy on all, without exception, who repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
If God does not give repentance and belief of the Gospel unto the rebel, the rebel, due to the sin of his own heart, will stay unrepentant and unbelieving. The only way he will ever break through that circular loop in order to be inclined towards God, is if God chooses to give him the gifts of repentance and belief.
What would we say if a man were charged with committing murder, and the man were to reply to society, “But I can’t, I’m a murderer, it’s my nature. I cannot not murder, murder is what I do. I cannot stop.” We would rightly see this man condemned to death, in this state of Texas particularly, or at least we would see that he spends his lifetime in prison. If a man said to you, “I cannot stop murdering.” You would conclude that the best place for that person would be dead or in prison. We would certainly lock him away far from us or impose the death penalty upon him. A murderer who cannot stop murdering receives no mercy, nor does he have a right to any gifts of mercy that society may be able to bestow upon him. We would all, justly and rightly say, “Away with him.” If someone says I’m a thief and I can’t stop thieving, or I am robber and I can’t stop robbing, we say, “Away with them. They have no place amongst us, the redeemed.”
The fact that God has the ability to stop them from sinning does not obligate God to bestow gifts upon them. Their own corrupt nature, being products of Adam, has condemned them, just as each one of you once stood condemned. The fact that God chose, out of His own Sovereign will, and for His own purposes, to give His elect sheep a gift of repentance; the gift of belief of the gospel and the gift of obedience, so that their hearts would be turned towards Him; the fact that He took out their stony hearts and gave to them a heart made of flesh, so that they could be inclined towards Him and repent of their evil ways and cease their rebellion against the Sovereign God of the universe; these are evidences of God’s gift of grace, to which God is to rightly receive all the glory.
You see, from our side of the fence, we’re saying, “God deserves all the glory due to all of His works.” And from the Arminian side of the fence, they’re saying, “If God can stop us from sinning, then He’s honor bound to do it.” Very presumptuous, wouldn’t you say?
Now God has mercifully made an offer to all of mankind, and I say ALL as in, ALL WITHOUT EXCEPTION. Here’s that offer:
If you will cease your rebellion, bow your knee, humble yourself, repent and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, He will in no wise reject you and cast you out. All of those who come to Him based on this offer will be received. But this offer of clemency is in no way a promise to bestow gifts upon those who remain in their rebellion. God’s ability to crush the pride and to humble the sinner in no way obligates Him to do so. His ability to withhold you from sinning against Him, to give you a new heart, and to call you unto Himself, and to embrace you into the kingdom of heaven, is not an obligation on His part. He does so out of His own free mercy and grace to those He has chosen. God is not a debtor, no matter how Arminians desire to make Him one. God is never a debtor.
Let’s restate some important facts:
1. The sinner’s inability to obey is not physical. No sinner has his inability to obey as a physical part of his nature. He has the physical ability to not commit sin. Just as the murderer we met who has a murdering nature, and says that he cannot stop murdering, we know that physically he could not murder. He has hands and arms and eyes. He has all the same physical attributes as you and me. Physiologically we are the same. The sinner has the physical faculties to obey God, but he does not have the moral inclination, nor the spiritual ability to ever obey.
2. The sinner’s lack of ability does not create a lien against God’s gifts. God does not owe sinners anything. The fact that the sinner has a lack of ability does not create a debt on God’s account, whereby God must then bestow upon him a precious gift. The sinner’s lack of ability is a product of his own fallen nature.
3. We must realize that the sinner also voluntarily disobeys because He hates God and will not be ruled by Him. This is true of every sinner, even those who don’t know any better or who are very religious people. Religious people going to churches, who believe the false gospel, who refuse to hear truth, who refuse to check the scriptures to see what’s true, and refuse to see what their responsibility is before the throne of God, hate God and they show their eternal hatred against Him by their rejection of His Word and by their rejection of the truth that has been given unto them. They will not be ruled by God’s Holy Scriptures. By rejecting them, they voluntarily disobey God and are righteously and justly condemned for that. That is why most religious people, even those claiming the name of Christ, will never enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. They are rebels and they have bought a lie, a blasphemous lie, a gospel that is incapable, in and of itself, of bringing sinners into the Kingdom.
So, a righteous and just King does require of man what man is unable morally or spiritually to perform. Here are just seven of the Biblical standards for entering into the Kingdom. I want you to see how well you are doing:
1. “Be ye perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
2. “Swear not at all.” (Matthew 5:34)
3. “Love your enemies.” (Matthew 5:43)
4. “Sin not.” (1 Corinthians 15:34)
5. “Forgive men their trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14)
6. “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink, or yet for your body what ye shall put on.” (Matthew 6:25)
7. “Enter ye in the straight gate.” Matthew 7:13
These are just some of the standards that the Bible lists for entering into the Kingdom in the New Testament.
So, we ask again, “Does God require things of you that you are not capable of performing?” Do I need to go back through the list again? Just start with “Be ye perfect.” So clearly He does. The standard in the New Testament has not changed. You cannot meet the standard in the Old Testament, nor can you meet the standard in the New Testament. Grace is not only important, but it is the singular element by which a sinner becomes a new creation and enters into the Kingdom of heaven.
Listen to what God commanded of the arch-rebel, Pharaoh:
“Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: And Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land.” (Exodus 7:2)
The command of God given unto Pharaoh is that the children were to be set free. That’s the absolute command. So… Is this a command that Pharaoh is able to keep? Morally and spiritually he is not able, but physically he certainly is.
“And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.” (Exodus 7:3-4)
God says that “I am going to harden Pharaoh’s heart”, and He tells you the reason why, “that I may lay my hand upon Egypt.” God states that the reason that He is not going to let Pharaoh do what he might normally do, which is (out of fear) to obey the command of God, is because God desires to destroy the armies of Egypt.
“And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.” (Exodus 7:5)
“When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh and it shall become a serpent. And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the Lord had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.” (Exodus 7:9-11)
We remind you that this whole story is unfolding because the heart of Pharaoh has been hardened against the commandment of God. For what purpose? So that he could be destroyed along with the armies of Egypt.
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Pharoah shall not hearken unto you; that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt. And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharoah: and the Lord hardened Pharoah’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.” (Exodus 11:9-10)
God says to Moses that the reason that Pharaoh is not going to hearken unto him is so that God’s own wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt. Now clearly we have here an example of the fact that Pharaoh is not able to meet the command of God. Having been hardened, he does not have the moral or spiritual ability to obey. He is being held responsible, clearly, for the command of God, which is to “let my children go,” and yet the decree of God has gone out that he will not let the children go. This doesn’t sound fair to the carnal human mind, until we remember that Pharaoh is at warfare with God, he is an enemy of God, and he hates God.
So, will Pharaoh be rightly judged a wicked rebel on Judgment Day for refusing God’s command? Let’s look:
1. Did Pharaoh have the physical ability to let the children go? Did he have all the physical attributes of any other king? Yes. As we have said, he didn’t have the moral or the spiritual ability, but he did have the physical ability. So what part of Pharaoh was hardened? It was his heart that was hardened. His corrupt and stony Adamic heart was hardened against God’s command. It was NOT his “will” that was hardened, his heart was. Did Pharaoh have the ability to will to let the children go? Pharaoh had an unhindered ability to will it, however, as we have shown, the will is merely the product of the heart (mind). Since his corrupt heart was hardened, he was restrained to will that which his heart preferred. His wicked heart preferred not to let the children go.
2. Did Pharaoh have the “kingly” power to order the children released? Did he have the authority to do it? Certainly he did, as is proved and evidenced by their eventual release.
3. Did Pharaoh voluntarily refuse to let the children go?
“But when Pharoah saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.” (Exodus 8:15)
Pharaoh absolutely and voluntarily refused to let the children go. That doesn’t mean he had the ability, morally or spiritually, to do otherwise. The fact that Pharaoh VOLUNTARILY refused to let the children go is evidenced by the fact that he is going to confess a little further on. Is Pharaoh going to be held responsible by God for his sin? Clearly. Is God Sovereign? Absolutely. Read what God said to Pharaoh:
“And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee My power; and that My name may be declared throughout all the earth.” (Exodus 9:16)
God says that “For this purpose, for this cause I raised thee up, to harden your heart so that you won’t let my children go, so that my miracles and awesome power will be made known to Egypt. I raised you up Pharaoh so that I can destroy your armies and bring my armies out of Egypt.” That’s God’s stated purpose. Does Pharaoh then agree with God that he is guilty and responsible? We will see that he does:
“And Pharoah sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.” (Exodus 9:27)
“Then Pharoah called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you.” (Exodus 10:16)
THE CASE OF JUDAS
When the heart of Judas is hardened against Christ, the Bible says that Satan is allowed to enter into him (Luke 22:3). Jesus commands Judas, “that thou doest, do quickly”. After all of his sin and rebellion, and even after doing only what God ordained would be done, Judas, right before he hung himself, declared that he alone was guilty, saying “I have betrayed innocent blood.” He declared his own responsibility before God. We know that his own wicked heart, the fountainhead of his sin, caused him to will to do that which was his natural preference. Rebelling against and betraying God was Judas’ natural proclivity.
Now what is the end of all rebels? This is why this is important. Do not think that this is merely a theological exercise in order to prove that we are right. This is critically important to the gospel. Why? Because the King is returning to the vineyard, and He is going to hold some people responsible for how they have handled things while He was away:
“Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.” (Matthew 21:33-39)
You will notice that no Arminian defends the husbandmen and says, “Well, that isn’t really fair because when these workers slew the prophets and all the messengers, they couldn’t have done anything else. That was their nature; they were sinners; they were murderers; they were thieves and robbers.” Could God have stopped these wicked men from murdering His servants? Clearly. Scripture says He could have, but He didn’t. He wasn’t obligated to do so. The fact that He could have stopped it does not lessen their guilt for doing what was their natural proclivity to do, which was to kill the servants of God.
Next, God sent his own Son.
Could God have protected Jesus and prevented Him from going to the cross? Clearly He could have. But we know that Jesus had to fulfill all of those prophecies. And the prophecies of his crucifixion were reflective of the ordination of God from the foundation of the world. In fact, the redemptive act of Jesus Christ dying on the cross and being resurrected was built into the creative act. Before Adam was created, the redemption was built into God’s creative act. It was inexorably part of it. It had to be. Before Adam sinned, God took Eve from his side – a picture of the church spilling from the side of a crucified Christ. So the fact that these wicked men were going to kill his son and that he was going to return one day to hold them responsible raises the Biblical question:
“When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?” (Matthew 21:40)
God will righteously punish them for their sin, because they have taken this Jesus and with wicked hands they have slain Him. They will be held responsible. Knowing this, we must rest solidly, not only on the Sovereignty of God, but we must, even more solidly now, commit unto the Gospel that we preach the responsibility of the creature before the creator – something that we probably all, at some level, have rejected, or have not done as well as we should have.
Let’s go back to Exodus now, and go back and visit Pharaoh. The children of Israel have been let go, and Pharaoh wakes up and says to himself, “wait a minute, what did I do?” God has another job for Pharaoh.
“And I will harden Pharoah’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharoah and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. And they did so.” (Exodus 14:4)
Circle in your bible where it says, “I will be honoured upon Pharoah and upon all his host.”
When the question comes up, and believe me it is a difficult one, because I am not saying this is easy. When someone asks, “Why does God choose, before the foundations of the world, to reprobate some so that some are ordained to condemnation and damnation?” We can say:
“Because God says that He will be honored on them. He will show His power by using the corrupt agents of sin and of Satan, who were created for such a purpose. He will be honored in their purpose and their destruction. They were made for the purpose of being destroyed, but they were also made for the purpose of making God’s children perfect, so that when they enter into the Kingdom, they will be what God created them to be. Those people who were ordained to damnation were created so God would be honored and so that the principalities and powers in the heavenly realms would know God’s full glory, but through who? Through the church (Ephesians 3:10):
“And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand…” (Exodus 14:8)
“And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.” (Exodus 14:17-18)
Notice how God repeats that in the destruction of Egypt, in the destruction of the chariots and the horses, He alone will get honor.
“And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharoah that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.” (Exodus 14:28)
He destroyed all of them, every one of them.
THE MYSTERY OF THE SONG OF MOSES
In Exodus chapter 15, verses 1-18, Moses sings a song of this entire story for us. This song that is being sung here is also a prophecy. Look at what he says in verse 17 about the redeemed, about the people who were purchased:
“Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.”
Remember the words “the mountain of thine inheritance” and turn to Hebrews 11:29. The writer to the Hebrews is speaking of the same story:
“By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians attempting to do were drowned.” (Hebrews 11:29)
Now look at verse 39, speaking of the Hall of the faithful, the Apostle says:
“And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise. God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39-40)
What was the promise spoken of in this verse in Hebrews? Let’s look back at Exodus 15:17:
“Thou shalt bring them in and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance.”
We know that the Israelites who came through the sea did not all make it to the mountain. The Apostle says, “they received not the promise. God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” The promise in Exodus 15:17 was going to be made of God’s Sovereign protection, that was the theme of Moses’ song. That was what he was talking about. God’s Sovereignty, verse 17 “Thou shalt bring them in,” (speaking of the purchased price), and shall “plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance.” The promise was made of God’s Sovereignty, and His protection, and His deliverance.
Hebrews 12:18 says this, but as we read it, please remember “the mountain of thine inheritance” because there are two mountains in view in this section of the letter to the Hebrews, Mt. Sinai and Mt. Zion:
“For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: (For they could not endure that which was commanded, and if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: and so terrible was the sight that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:18-24)
The promise was made in the Song of Moses that an elect people, in the future, were going to be brought in to “the mountain of the inheritance.” The people who Moses was singing to went to Mount Sinai, which was not the mountain of inheritance. It says it right here to the professing Hebrew believers in Rome, “you are not come to the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire.” Speaking of the redeemed, the Apostle said you didn’t go to Mount Sinai. That wasn’t the mountain of inheritance. Verse 22, “But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven.”
These children of Israel watched God destroy all of the Egyptians in the sea. And when they watched God sovereignly act, they sang a song that declared that God was just in doing it, that these Egyptians were the enemies of God, and that they were totally responsible for their own sin. These same Israelites who sang this song perished in the desert for their own sins. God, having not delivered them, nor having brought them to Mount Zion, but having brought them to Mount Sinai instead. And yet, the Apostle Paul says to you, as you sit here today, God has brought you, the True believer, to Mount Zion. This is the promise, this is the inheritance. He’s brought you the promise that was made way back then, when Moses sang the song. He’s brought you in. God is certainly sovereign, but you are responsible, as the believers will confess when they get to heaven. We read about it in the book of the Revelation:
“And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.” (Revelation 15:2-4)
So where, particularly, does the sinners responsibility lie?
1. The sinner must declare before God his inability to meet God’s just demands. The problem with Arminianism is that it does not teach people that they are unable to meet God’s demands. And since it does not teach them that, they go out onto the battlefield to make peace with God while still making demands upon God. The only proper position to approach a Holy and Just God is to declare before God the sinner’s inability to meet God’s just demands. Note that the Arminian gospel denies moral and spiritual inability, so the sinner is left in a very perilous position before a mighty God, hoping and gambling on his own strength, trying to negotiate with God. As a sinner, there are two ways I can appear before God. I can recognize my inability, my corrupted heart, my fallen will and my need for mercy, or I can deny all those things. One of these ways is the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and the other is the Arminian gospel, which is a false gospel, it’s blasphemous. The Arminian who believes that God paid the price, but he must “co-sign” the check, will likely perish in his blasphemy – having denied the root and fruit of salvation.
2. The sinner must plead before God’s throne for wisdom, a new heart, mercy, grace, strength, repentance, belief, and forgiveness of his sins. The sinner must recognize that God is not bound by any oath to give these gifts to any man. And if the sinner does not receive favor he must know that he will certainly perish.
If I were to advise you sinners, who are (very soon) to approach the God of heaven, the God of all creation, and you confess that He has given the rules by which He would accept your surrender, I would advise that you approach Him from these two positions. First of all, your inability to do anything He commands, and secondly, your need for mercy and grace. Even at the point where sinners seek repentance, you must know that God is not obligated to give it to you, because we read where Esau sought repentance carefully, for many years but found no place for it (Hebrews 12:17). Esau was not elect.
The Gospel, in the scriptures, is often likened to a crop sown in the field. In 1st Corinthians chapter 3, Paul says that he planted and Apollos watered, but it was God that gave the increase. Now here is a mistake that one can make. You can think that Paul planting and Apollos watering led naturally and logically to God giving the increase. But that’s not what the scripture teaches. The fact that Paul planted and Apollos watered has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that there was even a crop. There is no promise of a crop. Just ask any farmer who ever plants a seed. There is no promise that he is going to have a crop. No promise whatsoever. If there is a crop, it is because God sovereignly chose to give the increase. The total entirety of the crop is credited to God’s mercy and grace. The fact that you’ve planted the gospel in a friend and someone else maybe came along and watered it, and that person eventually is regenerated, you can be assured that your planting of the gospel, and another’s watering of the gospel, had nothing to do with God eventually choosing and giving repentance to that person. God allowed you to participate in that work for YOU, because the very next verse in 1st Corinthians says that the laborers will receive the rewards of their work. God will hold us responsible.
Do not ever make the mistake of connecting the fact that there’s a crop standing in the field with the fact that it was once planted and watered. That is the carnal mind. Why? Because if you had been there five minutes after Adam was created and you had looked across the beautiful garden, you would have seen mature trees with fully grown fruit hanging on them. God is totally capable of producing a fruitful crop without ever having planted or having watered. The fact that a crop is sown and is watered has nothing to do with the eventual crop in God’s eyes, in the spiritual world.
We are told by God that only good trees produce good fruit. So, if you have a bad tree and you faithfully water it, it will never produce good fruit. It will either not produce fruit at all, or it will produce bad fruit. Now, if the tree bringeth not forth good fruit, evidence is available that the tree is a bad tree. Note that good fruit does not make the tree good. Good fruit is merely evidence that the tree is good. The fruit does not make the tree. The tree was good, that’s why it put forth good fruit. God promises to lay the axe at the root of every tree that does not bring forth good fruit. It will be hewn down for the purpose of casting it into the fire. If you don’t know, these parables are all about man’s responsibility and God’s Sovereignty. God has declared in 1st Corinthians that He is totally sovereign over producing fruit or crops. TOTALLY sovereign over it, and yet He goes to that tree that does not produce good fruit and He chops it down and throws it into the fire, even after He has declared that He alone is sovereign over the production of fruit on any tree.
Can a railing accusation be brought against the husbandman for properly disposing of bad trees? In other words, if a husbandman does what a husbandman does, and chops down bad trees and throws them into the fire, is that a bad husbandman? Of course not, it is the trees that were bad. Would anybody possibly show up in your orchard and say, “You know, it’s not really fair for you to chop this tree down because this tree didn’t have the ability to produce good fruit, it was ordained to be a bad tree.” No, if you were a good husbandman, you would just chop it down and throw it into the fire, it doesn’t matter whether it was ordained to produce bad fruit or not, it’s clearly a bad tree. Chop it down and throw it into the fire.
This Doctrine of Responsibility is plain. Note this in Luke chapter 6 verse 43 about yourself, “Every good tree brings forth good fruit.” This doctrine of responsibility is plain and consistent throughout every bit of scripture and should be declared to every assembly of the saints. That it is not declared bears witness against this perverse generation in which we live.
As God’s emissaries we should be inclined and prepared to deliver proper surrender terms to all of God’s enemies, to all sinners. When you deliver the gospel, you are not trying to bring somebody into a private club of which you are a member, but you are an emissary from the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. You are delivering surrender terms to an enemy who is in rebellion against God. That should be the attitude that we have in delivering the gospel. So when a railing accusation is brought against God, saying this is not fair, the question Paul would say is, “Who are you to reply against the creator?” Are you, the pot, going to say against the creator, why have you made me thus? You are in rebellion against God. He has delivered His terms, and you will live by them or you will perish. As a bad tree, you will be hewn down and cast into the fire.” As His emissaries, this is the message we should be delivering. The Papist/Arminian false gospel is a sugar coated lie. It is designed to blaspheme God and it snares sinners with the false hope that at any moment, of their own free will, even with a corrupted heart, they may merely turn towards God and be accepted of Him. This is not true. Only those who the Father draws will ever come unto Him, will ever truly repent, will ever turn towards Him with their whole heart and be brought into the Kingdom. God’s surrender terms must be delivered unto sinners in order that they may stand totally responsible before God and recognize their hazardous state and their ultimate peril, perchance that through the foolishness of your preaching God might save this lost sinner and bring him into the Kingdom.
Although God clearly says that He alone is sovereign over the fruit, He has still provided means and ways of faith by which people can come into the Kingdom. One of those “means of Grace” is by the hearing and the reading of scripture, which is why every sinner is commanded to search these scriptures to see if these things be so. Second of all, God has offered the means of teaching, preaching and evangelism, and the delivering of God’s surrender terms, to call sinners unto Himself.
Make no mistake, Arminianism is blasphemy. We will continue to show it to be so, so long as the Lord wills for us to do that.
I am your servant in Christ Jesus,
References to “world” or Greek “kosmos”(#2889). It is used in many different ways:
– Acts 17:24 – “24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;” (all the universe)
– John 13:1 – “1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” (the earth)
– John 12:31 – “31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” (the world system that’s not of God)
– Rom 3:19 – “19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” (whole human race)
– John 15:18 – “18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” (humanity minus believers)
– Rom 11:12 – “12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?” (Gentiles in contrast to the Jews)
– John 1:29 – “29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (believers (if He took away the sins of every single person, every single person would be saved)
– John 6:33 – “33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” (believers (if life [spiritual, eternal life] is given to every single person, then every single person would be saved)
– 1 Cor 4:9 – “9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.” (who are the world in this one, and who are men?)
2 Cor 5:19 – “19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” (who’s trespasses are not imputed to them? It’s believers, so again, here, the world is the world of the believers)
Rev 13:8 – “8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
Rev 17:8 – “8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”
Does “world” mean all the world?
Someone says that world means all the world. So here is what we can discern of THEM:
– Matt 18:7 – “7 Woe unto the world because of offences!”
Since they are of the world, WOE unto them!
– Luke 16:8 – “8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.”
In this verse, the children of THIS WORLD are distinct from the children of light. So we can discern that they are a child of THIS WORLD.
– John 7:7 – “7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.“
Here we see where they (who is of this WORLD) hate Jesus.
– John 8:23 – “23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.”
They are from BENEATH, since they are of this world.
– John 12:31 – “31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.”
Here we find that Satan is their prince.
– John 14:17 – “17 [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
This is a great one. They (who is of this world) cannot receive Christ. But WE know him!
– John 14:19 – “19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.“
Alas, they cannot see him. But we can!
– John 15:18 – “18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you.”
Why do they hate us? Because they admit that they are in the world!
– John 15:19 – “19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
God tells us that we are NOT of the world! I thought world means world?
– John 16:20 – “20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.”
They rejoice at Christ’s crucifixion, but we lament. But our sorrow will be turned to JOY!
– John 17:6 – “6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.”
Here Jesus has manifested himself to those who God gave him OUT of the world. Too bad for them!
– Rev 13:3 – “3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.”
And here is the worst part, all the world wonders after the beast! And worships the beast! Too bad for them again!
And Jesus says he does not even pray for them.
– John 17:9 – “9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.”
(excerpted from Michael Bunker)
Total Depravity Verses
– Genesis 2:16-17 – “16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
– Genesis 6:5 – “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
– Genesis 8:21 – “And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.”
– Psalm 51:5 – “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
– Psalm 58:3 – “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.”
– Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
– 2 Chronicles 6:36 – “If they sin against thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near;”
– Job 14:4 – “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.”
– Job 15:14-16 – “14 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? 15 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. 16 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?”
– Psalm 22:29 – “All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.”
– Psalm 130:3 – “If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?”
– Psalm 143:2 – “And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.”
– Proverbs 20:9 – “Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?”
– Ecclesiastes 7:20 – “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.”
– Ecclesiastes 7:29 – “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.”
– Ecclesiastes 9:3 – “This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.”
– Isaiah 53:6 – “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
– Isaiah 64:6 – But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
– Jeremiah 13:23 – “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”
– Matthew 7:16-18 – “16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”
– Matthew 12:33 – “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.”
– Mark 7:21-23 – “21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
– John 3:5-6 – “5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
– John 3:19 – “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
– John 6:44 – “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
– John 6:65 – “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 8:34 – “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.”
– John 8:44 – “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
– Romans 3:9-12 – “9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
– Romans 5:12 – “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
– Romans 6:20 – “For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.”
– Romans 8:7-8 – “7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
– Romans 11:35-36 – “35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”
– 1 Corinthians 2:14 – “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.?
– 1 Corinthians 4:7 – “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”
– 2 Corinthians 3:5 – “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;”
– Ephesians 2:1-3 – “1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
– Ephesians 4:17-19 – “17This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”
– Ephesians 5:8 – “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:”
– Colossians 2:13 – “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;”
– 2 Timothy 2:25-26 – “25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”
– 2 Timothy 3:7-8 – “7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.”
– Titus 1:12-13 – “12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, the Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. 13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;”
– Titus 1:15-16 – “15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. 16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”
– Titus 3:3 – “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.”
– James 2:10-11 – ” 10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.”
– James 3:2,6,8 – “2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. 8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”
– James 3:12 – “Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.”
– 1 John 1:8, 10 – “8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
– 1 John 3:10 – “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”
– 1 John 5:19 – “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.”
Particular Atonement Verses
– Is 53:8-12 – “8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Jesus was stricken for HIS people, vs 8; His seed in vs 10 are a specific set of people; Jesus justified and bared the sin of MANY, vs 11 & 12)
– Luke 19:10 – “10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (so, either Christ seeks for every person to save them and fails at that, because not every person is saved; or He is not seeking every person and is fully successful with those whom He does seek)
– John 1:29 – “29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (if Jesus TOOK AWAY the sins of everyone, then everyone would go to heaven)
– John 6:33 – “33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” (to whom does God give life? Everyone? Then everyone would have life and would go to heaven, and we know that not everyone does to heaven, so not everyone is given life, which means “world” here is not every single person)
– John 6:37-39 – “37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” (specific set of people — those given Christ)
– John 10:11 – “11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (for His SHEEP)
– John 10:26-28 – “26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (His SHEEP hear His voice and are given eternal life, not everyone)
– John 11:51-52 – “51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.” (died for a specific group of people – that nation, and those He’s going to gather scattered abroad)
– John 17:2 – “2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” (life given to THOSE whom the Father had given Christ, not everyone)
– 1 Cor 2:7 – “7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:” (God ordained Christ crucified before the world began; the gospel message was intended for a specific set of people (“unto OUR glory”) – those to whom He would give understanding of the gospel (see vs 9-13)
– 2 Cor 5:19 – “19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” (if He reconciled every single person, every single person would go to heaven)
– Matt 26:27-28 – “27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (shed for MANY)
– Mark 14:23-24 – “23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.
24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.” (again, for many)
– Rom 5:8 – “8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (to whom is Paul talking? The Roman Christians — Christ died for Christians)
– Eph 5:2 – “2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.” (given Himself for US, His sheep)
– Eph 5:25 – “25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” (gave Himself for His Church)
– 1 Thess 5: 9-10 – “9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” (we were APPOINTED to salvation, as other are APPOINTED to wrath; Christ died for US, the appointed)
– Heb 9:28 – “28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (bore the sins of MANY)
– Heb 13:20 – “20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,” (if the blood applied to everyone, then Christ is the shepherd of everyone; some go to hell, so Christ fails as shepherd, which cannot be. So, Christ is the shepherd of only His sheep, the blood applying only to them)