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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

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    Regeneration, Justification, Sanctification

    Here is a question from a visitor out of our mailbag with my response following....

    Hey John, I have read a lot of your website and I appreciate the tremendous effort you have put into something that you feel very strongly about. I have carefully examined Calvinism for several years now, and find it to be thoroughly unbiblical. I find Calvinist exegesis to be very strained and artificial. I have only found more of the same at your website. I do, however, want to make sure that I properly understand any Calvinist doctrine before criticizing it. So my question has to do with regeneration, justification, and sanctification. If these terms are defined in the way that theologians usually define them, then I think Calvinism has a serious difficulty to overcome. I have not seen any articles posted on your website that address this issue. So what am I talking about?

    What is regeneration? It seems to me that regeneration in the Calvinists scheme refers to being freed from sin so that one can respond to the gospel message. It is the work of irresistible grace. It is being born again (given spiritual life). Calvinists also believe that we are justified by faith, but that regeneration precedes faith and justification. What I do not understand is how one can be given spiritual life, be “born again”, and not yet be justified. Are we then saved before we are justified? If we are already given new life (which is what regeneration means), then why the further need for faith or anything else? If Christ’s atoning satisfaction for our sins is not placed on our account until we are justified through faith, then how can one be regenerated before they are forgiven? How can one be given new life while they are still under the wrath of God? If sin is the cause of our spiritual death, how can we be freed from sins deadly influence before we have been forgiven?

    What about sanctification? Is regeneration the beginning of God’s sanctifying work (most Calvinist authors that I have read would say it is), then again, how can one begin to be sanctified (made holy) before they are forgiven? I have yet to read a Calvinist deal with this problem. Perhaps you can help me understand.

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    Hi __________

    Thanks for your email. That is a fair question It appears you are thinking of these things in terms of a temporal order, while the Scripture does not really warrant such thinking. You must remember, regeneration (the new birth) is also a redemptive benefit of our union with Jesus Christ. All spiritual blessings have Jesus Christ as their fountain.

    Salvation does not merely narrow in on justification but must be seen multi-perspectivally. The work of the Holy Spirit is a necessity if one is to be saved. If a person only heard the gospel but the Holy Spirit did not first open his eyes, unplug his deaf ear and turn his heart of stone to a heart of flesh, then no one would ever come to faith in Christ. Correct? Left to ourselves without the Spirit's help, man is utterly impotent and does not understand spiritual things and, in fact is hostile toward them (John 3:19, 1 Cor 2:14). So if you admit ANY work of the Holy Spirit prior to salvation, then you also acknowledge that justification is not the only work going on in salvation. There is much more. The Spirit is working in a person's heart both before and after faith. 1 Thess 1: 4, 5 teaches this ..."For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you NOT ONLY IN WORD, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction." The question is, then, whether you agree this work prior to faith is regeneration, which you seem to reject. But if salvation is not wholly of God, then why do you pray for the salvatiton of unbelievers? What can God do for them?

    Now, back to the emphasis of your question ...

    We believe the Bible teaches that regeneration is like unto a new creation. Consider, God creates the world and it exists. There was no time that elapsed between the creation and its actual existence. God spoke and creation came into existence at his command. It did not hesitate. When Lazarus was raised form the dead, there was no time that elapsed between when Jesus called him out and he was raised and breathing. The raising was Jesus' work, the breathing his, but due to Jesus' gracious gift of life. Or when a pool ball strikes another one, WHICH BALL STRIKES THE OTHER FIRST? Neither. They strike each other at the same time, but only ONE of these, due to motion, was the cause of the other. So likewise, the order of regeneration preceeding faith is CAUSAL, not temporal. Faith presupposes the existence of spiritual life. Otheriwse, you should ask yourself, why does one person believe the gospel and not the other? Did one have more spiritual insight than the other by nature? This again would leave room for boasting.

    And frankly there is nothing strained about the belief that regeneration is the work of God alone. There is nowhere where the new birth is spoken of in the imperative as if it were a command. Take John 6:63-65 for example. It says it is the spirit who gives life and the flesh counts for nothing... no one can come to me [believe in Jesus] unless God grants it, and in the same chapter talking about the same topic, Jesus said all that the Father give to Him WILL COME TO HIM [believe in Him]. Look carefully, the "giving" of the father to Jesus precedes the coming (faith). So taken together these passages teach that no one can believe in Jesus unless God grants it and ALL that God grants to Jesus will believe. This is a universal positive and a universal negative, not leaving any room for any position of ineffectual grace. Jesus does not leave us room for this. After Peter acknowledged him to be the Son of God, Jesus, making sure that Peter did not glory in his own faith, said, flesh and blood did not reveal this to you but my Father who is in heaven. In John 6:44 he repeats the same concept - not only does he say that "no one can come unless God draws him" but in the same verse says that those same people God draws will be raised up on the last day. In other words, the same persons the Father draws will be raised up in the last day.

    While you may not like what you see here, you can hardly call this strained exegesis. It would actually be strained to see it any other way. ASK YOURSELF, according to John 6:37, HOW MANY OF THOSE THAT THE FATHER GIVES THE SON ALSO BELIEVE ON HIM??

    Answer: ALL ("ALL that the Father gives to me will come to me") Any synergistic rendering of this verse is unfaithful to the text.

    I do not believe we are reading into it ... but taking the Lord at his plain words. Even if you don't like our conclusion, you must admit that it is easy to see how we can understand it this way from the text.

    We affirm that faith is not produced (or does not come from) our unregenerated human nature. It is strained to conclude from the Bible that those still dead in sin can believe without regeneration. It is like saying a blind man can see before being healed. But once healed, he hears. No time interval is required. In fact, Ephesians 2:5 says that WHILE WE WERE STILL DEAD IN SIN, HE QUICKENED US" In other words, when we were still natural men, without the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit came to give us new life. That new life (union with Christ) was the cause of all other blessings.

    "Faith" likewise is natural to our new nature, just like breathing. The preacher cast forth the seed of the gospel but only as the Holy Spirit germinates it in our hearts will be see the beauty, truth and excellency of the gospel. Apart from new eyes that God grants us, no one will see its beauty.

    As for sanctification ... regeneration is the fountain, sanctification is the river. No one is sanctified before they are forgiven. That is ridiculous. Remember, this is not a temporal order. It is God, outside of time, entering in to it to touch man by uniting him to Christ. All spiritual blessings have their source in our union with Christ. From God's perspective it is via regeneration, from our perspective, faith. But faith is the instantaneous response to God doing a work of grace in us, not the reverse, according to the plain teaching of Scripture.

    Furthermore, we are justified, because of Christ and His finished work. So the grace of Jesus Christ (from the cross) is "ultimate" while faith is only "penultimate". Faith gives glory to God because like all spritual blessings it is a gift. You cannot hold back and say "Lord I thank you for everything else, but faith is mine and I did it apart from You." No we must also thank God for our faith and even the humility to believe. Otherwise you could pray, "thank you Lord I am not like other men who do not have faith. When you granted grace to all, they did not make use of it, BUT I DID". See such boasting is natural to those, perhaps unconsciously, who do not believe faith is a gift. It is Jesus Christ that makes us to differ from others, not Christ plus our fallen will (John 1:13, Rom 9:16). He first raised us up, quickened us that we may have faith.

    Our two different views may be seen as follows: Imagine two parents and both of their children are playing in the yard. The child runs into the street when a car is coming. The first parent simply stays at the curb and calls out to the child hoping he will respond to his calls. The second parent sees the child run into traffic and, at the risk of his own life, runs out, scoops up the child to make CERTAIN that the child is safe. Which parent loves their child? Answer. The one who gets the job done. The first example is unlike any kind of love I have ever witnessed, except for exceptionally selfish people. Yet this is the kind of "love" you would have us think of God. Likewise if someone was drowing in your scheme, we would sit in the boat while our friend drowned and only help them if they first reaced out their hand to help themselves. But a true friend would dive in and make certain his friend did not drown. To you God has the capacity to save those he loves but doesn't unless they meet a condition. In it, he loves no one in particular except those who first love him back. It seems that such a love is conditional. Sorry, but this is not the Biblical God. God's love gets the job done. We are required to believe and obey but none of us would unless Christ did for us what we could not do for ourselves.

    Hope this helps understand better... I pray you ponder what I have written to you and draw your own conclusion before God about what I have pointed to in the Scripture.

    Solus Christus
    John Hendryx

    Posted by John on February 28, 2007 12:24 PM

    Comments

    That pool ball analogy is beatiful. Can I use it. My son is engaged to a girl within teh Nazarene church and this will be a very useful tool. Thanks for coming up with it.

    John

    again, this is rich and refreshing as I find the Presence of the Holy Ghost and Christ Himself enriching me as I read your response.

    I guess you might say I am blessed seeing I have been walking with the Lord many years and only recently have I come into the Calvin debates. I know I do not fully understand it.

    It is so confusing at times, even this man's inquiry here has that confusion in it.

    There are several portions of Scripture I would put out here, in my opinion, that captures the understanding you are putting forth here responding to the inquiry.

    One area of Scripture is the instance where we see the "three" come to Abraham, the Genesis 18 story; and the persuasiveness of the Lord when showing Abraham what is about to happen. It took several times before Abraham was fully persuaded.

    Paul addressed it here at the beginning of Abraham's journey with God when he was as yet Abram:

    Refering back to Genesis 15 Paul had written by Tertius this about Abram:

    Rom 4:20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,


    Another example given to us in my opinion is the story of Gideon:

    Jdg 6:11 Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites.
    Jdg 6:12 And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, "The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor."

    On the one hand we have this cowardous man Gideon, fearful, feeble and hiding as he labored. The Angel speaks a different "word picture" to him than the one he had of himself, CALLING HIM A MIGHTY MAN OF VALOR.

    As we read, the story unfolds and he too, like his Kinsman father Abram/Abraham, being also fully persuaded that God's Word was the issue, not his understanding of God's Word, he got it. And when he got it, he got it!

    And lastly the story of the Ethiopian and Philip. Though the Ethiopian was a man of intelligence, he too need assistance in understanding God's Word:

    Act 8:26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is a desert place.
    Act 8:27 And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship


    It makes no matter to God regarding our sanctification and regeneration. Each of us, in God's own time and manner have the same Grace applied to us until we get it. The time and manner is unique to each of us just.

    Like every snow flake is different when alone and apart from all other snow flakes, but when snow flakes fall, it is just unique flakes until joined together. Then, after being joined together with other snow flakes, it becomes snow.

    Wouldn't it be fair to say of Calvin that during his ministry, his end game was just like the snow flakes? The substance, even though it is absolutely and biologically snow, it alone is only one frail, feeble singular form, the form of a snow flake, as a solid form though, not a liquid or a gas. While each and every flake is different by itself, when joined together during the snow fall, it then becomes SNOW!

    Without dispute, I would say Calvin's end game, as much as I understand him, is the same as God's, the salvation of the soul, alone, individual, unique, an unformed substance then persuaded, it is formed to Christ. As you wonderfully develop it here, once the lone soul is now joined to Christ, salvation occurs and the soul joins together to form a part of the BODY OF CHRIST/SNOW!

    Lastly:

    Isa 1:18 "Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
    Isa 1:19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;
    Isa 1:20 but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

    thanks

    Just a couple of notes for our friend who wrote you:

    1. I've generally found that the ones equivocating over terms are those who ask about being "saved" before you are "saved" or "saved" before being "justified." Notice the equivocation. The objection uses the word "saved" to trade on two senses: regeneration and justification. It has to be disambiguated.

    a. Let’s reword this objection using biblical terminology. Regeneration precedes faith is logical, because it means you are regenerated before you are justified, since no man can believe without regeneration. The order is logical, not temporal (as we frequently have to remind folks).

    b. We understand that there is a sense in which one is saved, i.e., regenerated before one is “saved,” i.e. justified. However, the Arminian must agree that men are “saved,” i.e. justified, before they are “saved,” i.e. regenerated or glorified as well. Calvinists do not say “we are saved before we are saved or saved before we are justified.” We teach we are regenerated before we believe and are justified. We are not the ones guilty of equivocating on our terms.

    c. To be "saved" can mean any of the parts of salvation itself. So, to bandy it about imprecisely as so many do is problematic.

    That said, it should be noted that the language of regeneration itself is subject to change. We have to differentiate between dogmatic usage and exegetical usage. These often intersect, but, strictly speaking the texts we use for saying "regeneration before faith," are not texts that use the word "regeneration" in them. So, what we're discussing here is really dogmatic usage, that is the way terms have taken on a meaning in theology as a wider field, not the Bible alone. The question of course, isn't whether we should use terms that way; rather the right question is "Does their exegesis fit?"

    The language of regeneration itself has changed over the centuries. Sometimes it is difficult for folks trying to understand Reformed theology to grasp it, particularly those thinking of regeneration as occurring as a result of faith. In Reformed circles, we too often forget that we say regeneration precedes faith but that after he is converted is justified he is considered "regenerate," so we also agree that regeneration is after faith as well sometimes attaching it to definitive sanctification (an often overlooked topic), depending on the point of view. So, we're using the term in two senses, the context of the discussion will make it clear which one.

    I've written on this before see here:

    http://strangebaptistfire.com/2006/08/07/regeneration-and-the-flyswatter-part-two-the-language
    -of-regeneration/

    I'd also add that, in reference to definitive and progressive sanctification, the Bible itself trades on a single term, "sanctify" (and its forms), but dogmatic language will often parse them out into those two senses, a fact that is confusing when reading our theologians at times for folks who think of sanctification in purely progressive terms.

    John H.

    I, too, have studied Calvinism for some time. While the verses are clearly biblical, I believe the interpretation, and the end result, to be unbiblical. You stated “faith is the instantaneous response to God doing a work of grace in us, not the reverse, according to the plain teaching of Scripture.” This is not true. No where in the Holy Scriptures is this “plainly” taught. While I am familiar with the verses Calvinists often use to support this stance (John 1:13; John 3:3; 1 John 5:1), it took me several hours of study to finally “see” where you get it. But this interpretation was shown to me by man, and not by the Holy Spirit. I only believe what the Holy Spirit reveals to me. Calvinists often quote John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him”. You believe that someone must first posses “spiritual life” in order to come to or believe in Christ. Yet Jesus told his audience in John 5:40 “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”

    You ask “How many of those that the Father gives the Son also believe on him?” Your answer “ALL that the Father gives to me will come to me” is correct. But notice NOT all that the Father “draws” does he “give” to the Son. Jesus said “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me (John 12:32)”. Since “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30), God’s intent is to draw all men to himself. However, in Hebrews we are reminded “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:38-39). Since we know that all men are not saved, then most that are drawn by God do not come to faith in Christ.

    You said “See such boasting is natural to those, perhaps unconsciously, who do not believe faith is a gift.” Most commentaries suggest that “the gift of God” in Ephesians 2:8 is referring to salvation. While I can appreciate the analogy between faith and works, it is equally plausible for the analogy to be referring to grace and works. Regardless, believing (trust, faith) is not a work. That is just scriptural. Salvation/eternal life is the free gift of God that he so graciously offers. Faith is only the means by which it is received. Have you ever taken credit (or boasted) about a gift someone has given you? No true Christian, filled with the Spirit, would ever do so.

    And your illustration of the two parents, which I have read before, is slightly flawed. You show that one parent sits on the sidelines and yells for his child, while the “loving” parent goes and rescues the child. What you have failed to mention is the Calvinistic parent also “causes” the child to run out into the street in the first place. Calvinism has already solidified that God is the cause/author/instigator of everything, both good and evil, that happens (please see “Wrestling With Predestination and Election” from the September 2006 Archives on this blog). What kind of “loving” parent causes, and in some cases, forces, their kid out into heavy traffic? Also, due to God’s sovereignty, God causes both children to run out into the street. Then God causes one of the parents to rescue their child, but then causes the other parent not to rescue their child. So, according to Calvinism, neither parent can be praised or condemned for their actions or inactions, but that both were being obedient to the will of God.

    You ask a very good question of why some don’t believe. I think the answer, in part, is not that they can’t believe, but that they don’t know what to believe. Look at how many people go to worship the Lord each weekend, yet receive another gospel. I don’t want to get into denominational ideologies, but look how many, unknowingly, believe in a faith plus works salvation. Most are sincere seekers of the Lord, but have been blinded by the evil one and man himself. Jesus said in Matthew 23:13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” And this is still going on today, as you well know.

    Unfortunately, Calvinism has played a part in distorting the gospel. My understanding is that there was even a 200 plus year period where many Calvinists reframed from preaching the gospel due to a misinterpretation of the scriptures. I would be very cautious of following any theology that found it unnecessary to preach the gospel. And it still happens today. I have a friend who belongs to small church where he says the gospel hasn’t been preached in over 10 years. Not once! He said “you would think that on a Easter Sunday or Christmas day when there was standing room only that the preacher would have delivered the ‘good news’. But, he didn’t”. Just think. God filled the auditorium, but man refused to preach the gospel. That preacher is a 5 point Calvinist. This mindset is unique only to Calvinism. Why is that? You might say “well, this is hyper-Calvinism or extreme Calvinism”. The fact of the matter is that it is Calvinism in its purest form. It just happens to be a part of Calvinism that you might reject. And while a Calvinist might approach a non-believer and say “Christ died for sinners”, in his heart he is thinking “well, Christ died for some sinners anyway and the odds of you being one of them are slim at best. Statistically speaking, you are probably one of the reprobate. In that case, God doesn’t love you and Christ didn’t die for you. In fact, odds are you have been predestined to the lake of fire from eternity past and for no other reason but that it pleases God to do so.” If a Calvinist were to openly preach what he really believes in his heart, how many do you think would come to Christ? By saying “Christ died for sinners”, you are giving the non-believer the impression that Christ died for him. What if the non-believer asked “but did Christ die for ALL sinners?” or “but did Christ die for ME?” A Calvinist would be forced to answer “NO” or “I don’t know”. Now how does faith come from hearing THAT? How can THAT be considered “good news”? And yet you ask, “why do some believe and others don’t?”

    John, let me please add that I have full empathy for your position. I really do. It is not like someone found 3 or 5 verses and built a theology. Actually, there are gobs and gobs of verses to support it. For me, it is simply a question of how someone wants to view God. If you want to see a mean, hateful, ruthless, and merciless God, you can find verses from Genesis to Revelation to support it. However, if you want to see a kind, gentle, compassionate, and loving God, you can find verses to support that from the garden of Eden to the end times. The Holy Spirit has shown me that God is sovereign, yet abundant in mercy. A God of wrath, but infinite in love. The bottom line is that there are good, very good, evangelicals on both sides of this very difficult position.

    I do have one question that I would appreciate a response on. Is it possible for someone, anyone, to understand and fully embrace the 5 points of Calvinism and still end up in the lake of fire?

    Saved by the God who “is love”,
    wingedfooted1

    Hello friends,

    Since I wrote the initial e-mail to our friend Mr. Hendryx, I have a few very relevent comments. The first is the fact that you edited out the part where John tells me that he does not have time for dialogue and that I should not respond because he is swamped. Now, if I am not to respond, then how does John's response end up posted on your web-site the very next day. John had a lot to say, and surely you will agree that to post a one sided conversation for the whole world to see is less than fair, and quite possibly egotistical. I have since written a response to Mr. Hendryx thoroughly refuting his comments. Why did that not make your mailbag? Your handeling of this situation proves that you have no desire to be fair, and proves nothing but that you are good at editing mail in order to bolster the facade that Calvinism is irrefutible. Examine yourselves.

    Thanks,
    The silenced e-mailer

    wingedfooted

    Thanks for your post.
    You said, >>>>>"You stated faith is the instantaneous response to God doing a work of grace in us, not the reverse, according to the plain teaching of Scripture. This is not true. No where in the Holy Scriptures is this plainly taught.

    So are you then saying that a person has the moral ability to come to Christ, i.e. believe the gospel apart from the grace of Christ? Then, why dear sir do you pray for unbelievers? if God does nothing but stand aloof persuading, while leaving him in his unregenerate state, what hope does he have? Does the Holy Spirit do nothing?
    for us before we believe? This is an error that the church has long since condemned called Pelagianism - that a person can believe the gospel by his sheer natural
    willpower, apart from grace. If faith is not the response of God doing a work of grace in us, then it is the response of an unregenerate heart, and that, apart from Christ. If
    you acknolwedge the need of grace at all prior to faith, then your first assertion against our position is already rendered void.

    As for your comment on John, Notice that John 6:44 not only does it say that no one can come to me unless the Father draw him, but also that the same person will be
    raised up at the last day. "And I will raise him up at the last day" Who is this "him" Jesus is talking about? Those he draws. i.e. All those whom Christ draws to Himself will be raised up with Him in the last day, according to this text. And just in case you may have mistaken the meaning, Jesus repets the same idea in the next verse (45):

    "It is written in the Prophets, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me--"

    Notice, not some, but all that are taught by God will put their faith in Christ.

    Next, you quoted a seperate text found elsewhere where Jesus says But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." (John 12:32)

    This is a classic example of taking a verse out of context. It is critical that we always look at the immediate context of a verse to find out how the speaker is using it. It is not in the same context nor does it have the same meaning in JOhn 12. Is a different passage and has different ideas... The passage John 12 you refer to is about Greeks
    who wanted to see Jesus. Jesus changes his focus in that now he was not only was reaching Jews but said he would draw all men to himself (i.e. jews and Gentiles) The
    context here is not about faith as it is in John 6 but about Gentile inclusion in the body ... all men without exception but all men without distinction. It is about gentile inclusion. Context is important.

    On the other hand, all these passages (John 6:37.44.45.63,63) are all in the same context. A reading of the passage plainly shows that the context is "faith".

    Next I am not sure why you include this verse for it only hurts your position. Jesus, of course says, to people "you will not come to me to have life." Isn't that the condition of all men unless God intervenes? If someone owes a debt they cannot repay, their inability to repay does not alleviate them of responsibility. Likewise our moral inability to believe the gospel, apart from grace, does not alleviate us
    of the responsibility to do so.

    Further, John 6:65 says that no one can believe in Jesus unless God grants it. Grace does precede faith according to this passage, contrary to your assertion that there is no biblical evidence for this. Look carefully: The context of verse 65 is that "the spirit quickens, but the flesh counts for nothing." (vrs 63) But there are some of you who do not believe." (verse 64) and then it says that is WHY [Jesus] told them than no one could come unless God grants it. Belief and regeneration is the context here. The Spirit regenerates, the flesh cannot regenerate itself ... but
    there are some who do not believe and THIS IS WHY HE said no one can come unless God grants it. No one can believe unless God grants it and likewise ALL to whom God grants will come (john 6:37) A syllogism.

    Next you say >>>>>> While I can appreciate the analogy between faith and works, it is equally plausible for the analogy to be referring to grace and works. Regardless,
    believing (trust, faith) is not a work. That is just scriptural. Salvation/eternal life is the free gift of God that he so graciously offers. Faith is only the means by which it is received. Have you ever taken credit (or boasted) about a gift someone has given you? No true Christian, filled with the Spirit, would ever do so. We do not believe faith is a work, nor have we ever said it was. Faith looks away
    from self to Christ. However, those who believe that we can think right thoughts about Christ, apart from grace, without God opening our understanding have made faith into a work. If you believe our hearts' disposition is naturally inclined to God without any work of the Holy Spirit applying the work of Christ in our hearts, then you have misrepresented the gospel. IF faith itself is not a gift, then you are saying that it is not Christ that makes us to differ from others, but our will.

    This leaves pleanty of room for boasting.

    As for your question as to whether we have EVER taken credit for a gift given you.

    My friend, this is the whole problem of mankind. It is THE problem. We boast of everything God has given as a gift ALL THE TIME. Pride is the issue. We think we are gods' unto ourselves but God has given us everything we have, including our dispositions for good. We are only inclined to take credit ourselves for what God has given us.

    Are you claiming that God has given us everything as a gift, except our faith? That this is one thing we do not need to thank God for? That's funny because in 1 Thess and several other letters the apostle Paul thanks God for their faith. I Thess. 1:2-4, Paul states "We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God."(Also see Eph. 1:3-14, II Thess. 2:13-14, or II Tim. 1:8-11.)

    You said >>>>>>And your illustration of the two parents, which I have read before,

    is slightly flawed. You show that one parent sits on the sidelines and yells for his hild, while the loving parent goes and rescues the child. What you have failed to mention is the Calvinistic parent also causes the child to run out into the street in the first place.

    This point you make does not refute the argument. Not only so, but the God you believe in, unless you are an Open Theist, cannot escape the same conclusion. If God, before he created the world already exhautively knew all things to take place, then nothing happened by chance and God was not taken by surprise. In fact, even in your scheme, the fall of man is within God's providence. For if He creaed the world already knowing exactly what would happen if He created it that way, then it was within His providence that it was so. For it could not be otherwise. The differences in our beliefs here is that you impute guilt to God for doing so, and this put you in a very precarious position. Many like yourself say that if God ordained all events then he is capricious and evil. Well God did ordain all that comes to pass, so you end up calling Him evil.

    The other historical misrepresentation you make of Calvinism are simply ridiculous. There is no 200 year period of history or even 50 year period where this has taken place. This is simply disinformation and a desperate attempt by those so bound to tradition that they will not look at Scripture. Reformed churches have the distinctive of being gospel-centered. Any church that is not, has nothing in common with historic Calvinism in any respect. Hypercalvinism has no more in common with Calvinism than with Arminianism. It simply has the name "calvinism" in it. If ever there was a falacious arguemnt this is it.

    You said,>>>>>> "I would be very cautious of following any theology that found it unnecessary to preach the gospel."

    I would not only be cautious if a church did not preach the gospel, I would reject it outright as being Christian and so would EVERY person involved in the Augustinian?Reformed tradition

    I am a missionary myself and spent ten years overseas church planting and know many Calvinist missionaries. Your history is not accurate and such sweeping and inaccurate statements should not even procede from someone who claims faith in Christ. It is a slanderous inaccuracy. Check the facts before publishing something so irresponisble.

    >>>>>Most are sincere seekers of the Lord, but have been blinded by the evil one and man himself.

    So does God reward them for being sincere? Show us anywhere in the Scripture where sincerity is what saves us. And show us anywhere where the unregenerate are described as sincere to begin with.

    Can their be sincerity without grace?

    Solus Christus
    John

    Brother Ben

    You need not resort to ad hominem and name calling. We are actually VERY busy. I try to get to as many things as I can, but I cannot answer all of the 100s of emails I get every week.

    Indeed the part of the response was edited which said I was swamped because here people can freely respond. When we have some time we will respond to your email. But your anger and provocations need to be tamed if you want to discuss in a civilized way.

    Most importantly, your rendering of John 6:65 where Jesus says, "no one can come to me unless God grants it..." is simply being dishonest with the text and the immediate context. You claimed that "come to me" does not mean believe in me, in this context. Well, you are wrong about that. Here is proof.

    Jesus says, "The Spirit quickens and the flesh counts for nothing. And some of you do not believe. That is why He said that no one can come to Him unless God grants it."

    The text itself proves the context is both regeneration and faith. The Spirit gives life. Some do not believe and that is why Jesus said no one can come to him unless God grants it.

    In other words, no one can believe unless God grants it. Your denial of this plain reading of Scripture seems it may serve your purposes but it is not honest.

    John,

    I did not even address John 6:65 in my response to you. I addressed John 6:37-44. Did you even carefully read what I said?Why don't you post my response without the comments on John 6, if they are so embarassing and ridiculous. Or perhaps you could go ahaead and post what I wrote and let your readers decide whether my exegesis is "beyond ridiculous" as you say. Or perhaps you could refer them to an article written by Steve Witzki at http://www.fwponline.cc/v23n1/johnsixPtl_witzki.html which is much more detailed. What are you afraid of John? If the exegesis is so silly then you can all have a good laugh at my expense. If you don't want to post that portion of the dialogue, at least be man enough to post the rest.

    Still Silenced,
    Ben

    John,

    I just noticed that have credited my post to someone named wingfooted1, and credited his post to me. Was this intended to confuse your readers, or just a mistake. Please fix this as soon as possible as it gives the impression that wingedfoot1 is me and that I am the one making his arguments.

    Thank you
    Ben

    By the way, where did you read any anger or provocations in what I said?

    Ben

    There is not an ounce of charity in your posts. Please temper your comments and do not ascribe evil motives to brothers when you do not know if this is true or not. No one switched names on purpose. Wingedfoot is a real person who posted and there is nothing changed in his post. And there is no place for such comments about others here, especially toward those who profess faith in Christ. You certainly would not speak this way to to our Lord. Then do not ascribe wickedness to your brothers. No need to take cheap shots friend.

    But if you acknowledge that 6:65 does mean "faith" in the context of regeneration, as you seem to now acknowledge, then there is nothing more to debate over. The point has been made. And note, the language Jesus uses in the same in 6:65 and 6:37 and 44. Each speaks of what the father has given the son. He is speaking of the same thing in each instance. He even makes this clear when He says, THAT IS WHY I TOLD YOU THAT NO ONE CAN COME TO THE FATHER UNLESS GOD GRANTS IT.

    Jesus says "that is why I told you" Well, when did he tell them? In the same conversation earlier ... it means He is on the same subject. 37, 44 are the only texts where he uses the same language and structure. Since you seem to acknolwegde that 6:65 does eman this then you should then yeild to the fact that God's grace is effectual.

    So you think then that "come to me" in verses 37 & 44 does not mean faith but in John 6:65 it does mean faith? Jesus speaks these things in the same breath. And refers back to them, ascribing them the same meaning. Put aside your presuppositions for a second and consider how unlikely your interpretation is in light of these clear facts.

    As for posting your comments. Why don't you post it yourself. It is an open blog. No one is stopping you. But please keep it to one point at a time if possible...

    Thanks,
    John

    Hey John,

    I am not about to take the time to debate something that you and I already debated in a private (or so I thought) correspondence. While your tone is very humble in these public posts, such humility was not evident when you responded to my initial response in our e-mail converstaion. Why don't you post that response and let your readers determine if there was any anger, etc. as you stopped just short of questioning my salvation. Anyway, I have already said what needs to be said, and if you don't want your bloggers to read it, then so be it. Our entire dialogue will be posted at another website in the future. I will let you know when it happens so that you can direct your readers to it. I won't bother you anymore John.

    God Bless

    Ben

    >>>>This thing has not been honestly dealt with from the beginning on your end John.

    This is your impression but I believe it does not reflect reality. The blog is open to post whatever you want, whenever you want. No one has even come close to questioning your salvation. I even called you "brother" in my last post. I was pointing out the inconsistencies in your theology, not that it was damnable. Having perfect theology is not a requiement of the gospel, or else grace would not be grace. Those who trust in Jesus alone for salvation show that God has done a work of grace in them, and you are certainly among them, even though I believe you do this inconsistently. The fact that you can see with your eyes does not mean you necessarily understand how the eye works, right?.

    Ben I believe I have shown to you beyond doubt that the entire passage is speaking of "faith". John 6:65, which clearly is in the context of faith refers back to 37, 44,and 45. They are also speaking of faith ... But people tend to believe what they want. But the passage is speaking of the same thing.

    Look at John 6:35- 37 ...Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. (synonyms) 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

    Even the context of 37 coming just before 44 is "belief" and nothing else. And you then you asset that John switches gears in verse 44 and is no longer speaking of faith????? Can you honestly make this assertion in light of the overwhelming contextual evidence which plainly shows otherwise?

    Likewise 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me--"

    Again there is no unfairness here. I posted the note on the blog and you are free to respond any time. But if you don't want to I understand. I do not believe you can or will prove that any of these passages mean something other that "faith" as you email claims. I do not post all these long emails on the blog ... but if you wish to post your interpretation you are welcome. No one will stop you. Keep it concise if possible ...

    I showed you the answer to you email only here on the blog. We did not debate it privately. So if you post in the future on some other site as you suggest, you should include these posts, which you have never answered.

    Shalom
    john

    John,

    First, I hope my postings, comments, and questions do not come across as hateful or mean spirited. If I have said or asked anything that implies that, I humbly ask for your forgiveness. I promise, it was not my intent. Unfortunately, communication in this format does not always reflect the true tone of the discussion. Honestly, I appreciate your answers to some difficult questions. Even if I do not agree with your position, which I do have empathy for, it still causes me to “search the scriptures” and that can only glorify our blessed Lord and Saviour.

    You ask “So does God reward them for being sincere?”

    The biblical response is “No”. All will be held responsible for accepting or rejecting the one true gospel, which alone can save the soul. That is why we must continue to preach “the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation” to every creature.

    You then ask, “And show us anywhere where the unregenerate are described as sincere to begin with.”

    I would consider Cornelius , the centurion, a sincere seeker of the Lord. We see in Acts 10:2 that he was described as “a devout man, and one that feared God.” However, it wasn’t until later in that same chapter, verse 36, that the “good news”, the peace by Jesus Christ, the incorruptible word of God, by which we are born again, was preached and received.

    Another example would be the “Jews, from every nation under heaven” in Acts 2:5. Again these men were described as “devout” and “God-fearing”. But, again, the gospel, the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, wasn’t preached until later in the same chapter.

    On a smaller scale would be Lydia from Thyatira. She was already a “worshiper of God” before responding to Paul’s message. I would think she was a sincere seeker of the Lord.

    The Apostle Paul, in Romans 10:2 described his fellow Israelites, his kinsmen in the flesh, as having a “zeal of God”, a spiritual fervor. Jesus even told them that they diligently “search the scriptures”, but they would not submit to God’s righteous. Still, Paul said in Romans 11:13-14 “I make much of my ministry, in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.”

    The Canaanite woman from Matthew 15:22, whose daughter was demon possessed, came sincerely seeking the Lord. She referred to him as “Lord, Son of David”, recognizing his Messianic title. Jesus referred to her as a gentile “dog”, but told her she had “great faith”. However, the author of the book, filled with the Spirit, doesn’t give any hint that this woman had been previously “born from above”.

    I know you believe that “regeneration precedes faith”, but when I look for actual, biblical examples to support it, I don’t find any. If Romans 4:3 read “For what saith the scripture? Abraham was regenerated by God, and it was given to him the ability to believe”, then I would jump on board immediately. Slam dunk. End of story. While you might not agree with me, surely you can appreciate my position.

    To suggest something happened “off the pages of scripture” or “behind the scenes” is very dangerous. Every time someone believed in Jesus in the gospel of John, it was either because of something Jesus did or said, or because of someone else’s testimony. Not once does the Apostle John make mention, or even hint, that these believers had first been regenerated or “born again”.

    Again, John, I appreciate your time and careful consideration. God bless.

    Seek Him Always,
    wingedfooted1

    Wingedfooted

    The Bible teaches that "No one can say, 'Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit." (1 Cor 12:3).

    Apparently you believe some people can.

    We believe regeneration precedes faith because the Bible teaches it (John6:63-65) in plain language. Jesus tells Nicodemus that the wind blows where it will so it is with everyone born of the Spirit. No one can see or enter the kingdom of God unless he is born again. NOWHERE in Scripture is being born again spoken of in the imperative, as if it were a command. It is something God does to us when we are still dead in sin. EPH 2:5 - While we were still dead in sin, God quickened us....

    Questions:

    1) Are you attempting to try to convince us that God saves people with a conditional love based on whether they respond of not? That this is one requirement that Jesus demand not fulfil for us? We thank God for all else except this one thing is our very own? So can you pray, "Lord I thank you for all I have, except my faith? This was mine, apart from grace, and others did not exercise it. This is what makes me to differ from them?"

    2) Are you affirming that you do not believe that Jews and Gentile converts to Judaism of the Old Testament were unregenerate. i.e. not saved by grace, but by their will alone?

    All of the persons you mentioned in your report were Jews or converts to Judaism. God had, as it says in Ezekiel, already turned their heart of stone to a heart of flesh, and when then fullness of the gospel came they embraced it. So this example will not do.

    You say you don't find any biblical examples of regeneration preceding faith, that is because all regenerate persons are saved. When God opens our spiritually blind eyes, we see and believe. It all happens in an instant. You don't see and understand before your eyes are opened, so you?. You do not believe when your heart is still stone. We do not soften our own heart and believe the humbling tems of the gospel. it is Jesus Christ that makes us to differ so we wil boast in the cross alone... not the cross plus some condition we meet.

    Blessings John,

    Regarding your first comment “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’, except by the Holy Spirit.”….. “Apparently you believe some people can”.

    Absolutely not. Saying “Jesus is Lord” is evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit, and this is only done after accepting the gospel. For a biblical example, look again at Cornelius, when do you think he could say “Jesus is Lord”? Before hearing and accepting the gospel or after? Yes, he was a devout man and one who feared God, but he had not as yet accepted Jesus as the Christ. It wasn’t until after he accepted Christ, did he receive the Holy Spirit. And it is only after receiving the Holy Spirit can someone say “Jesus is Lord”. This is also true of Lydia and all believers.

    You believe that Cornelius was quickened or born again before he could believe the gospel. In the example of Cornelius, what verse do you show to support this? Peter tells us that we are “born again….by the word of God… and this is the word which by the gospel is preached” (1 Peter 1:23-25). Peter did not start to preach the gospel until Acts 10:36-43. However, at the beginning of that same chapter we are told that Cornelius was already “a devout man, and one that feared God”. He even “gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.” So, when was Cornelius “born from above”? When did he have the Holy Spirit? Before believing the gospel or after? The scriptures leave no doubt which one is true. Paul asked the 12 disciples in Acts 19:2 “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?”

    Also, your quote from Ezekiel 36:26-28 reads “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. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

    First, I believe this is speaking specifically about those Israelites in the last days. I am not sure this would apply to all Israelites at any time. Regardless, he says “and I will put my spirit within you”. Again, when does someone receive the Holy Spirit? Only after belief. So I believe these verses refer to believing Israelites in the end times.

    You also ask “Are you affirming that you do not believe that Jews and Gentile converts to Judaism of the Old Testament were not saved by grace, but by their will alone?”

    I don’t believe I said anything to suggest such a thing. All men, from Adam to the end times, will be saved by Grace and not by works. All the redeemed are saved by Grace, this includes Cornelius, Lydia, and the other examples provided above.

    Again, thanks much for the time and feedback. It’s appreciated.

    In Him,
    wingedfooted1

    Wingedfooted:

    First of all, persons must yeild to Jesus as Lord at the time of conversion: Here is Biblical proof

    Romans 10:9 "because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

    Here Paul is saying that if you confess Jesus as Lord you will be saved and elsewhere, as I pointed out, he says "no one can say "jesus is Lord" apart from the Holy Spirit. So it say the person who says this WILL BE SAVED. IN other words, they were not converted yet and the Holy Spirit was still necessary for them to say this. So I think you need to re-think your answer.

    You said >>>>Yes, he was a devout man and one who feared God, but he had not as yet accepted Jesus as the Christ. It wasn’t until after he accepted Christ, did he receive the Holy Spirit. And it is only after receiving the Holy Spirit can someone say “Jesus is Lord”. This is also true of Lydia and all believers.

    If he feared God then God had already reveled himself to him though the Hebrew Scriptures. (some biblical examples below) He was faithful to what God had already revealed to him, and it is a Pelagian error to believe that he did this apart from the Holy Spirit. See, Arminians are Christians, because they, at least, see the necessity of prevenient grace prior to salvation, however inconsistent they may be. But those who reject outright the necessity of grace prior to salvation are in danger of committing a heresy that is condemned by many church counsels.

    Further, if the believer needs grace to help him obey, how much more the unbeliever?

    I would argue that you are making a category mistake by confusing regeneration with the sealing and receiving of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit justifies us by uniting us to Jesus Christ, and he also regenerates us. Regeneration and justification while intimately conected, are scripturally very distinct concepts.

    You use the example of Lydia often, I noticed, but you will see that even as a believer in Old Testament revelation she needed to be further illumined, not by word only, but by grace. Read the passage- carefully God still "opened her heart, to take heed to what was being said by Paul" The work of God opening her heart preceeded her acknowledging Christ. God had to do a work of grace in her heart if it was to see Christ's beauty and excellency. The text is plain that God "opening of her heart" is what enabled faith to take place at all If you acknowledge this, then you acknowledge, with me, that the Holy Spirit works in people, not only after salvation, but also before. And this by necessity. If you do then this part of the argument is over. yes?

    Here is an Old Testament example of the same thing: God sometimes reveals behind the scenes how He enabled particular Jews to obey his Word when they were called to repent: In 2 Chronicles chapter 30 when couriers with a message of repentance passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, they laughed them to scorn and mocked them when they were called to repent, "Nevertheless some men of Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the LORD." (2 Chronicles 30:11-12) The text says some resisted the call to repentance, but all those tribes which the hand of God gave a heart to obey the Word, repented.

    It appears that you are also claiming the Old Testament belivers did not exerience regeneration, as if Christ's cross is ineffectual for them, and only effectual for us. The Old Testament believers were enlightened by God to obey to the degree that revealtion was available. Sure the fullness of the Christian revealtion was not there yet, but the Old Testement types all pointed to Him and it says in Gal 3 that The gospel was preached to Abraham beforehand. So yes, the evidence is more than abundant through the entirely of the Old Testament that God has to open their eyes if they are to see. You see to be confused about Old Testament revealtion.

    The preaching of the word in the Old Testament and the New are both accompanied by grace for the hearers. A farmer can plan a crop but unless God blesses it, it will not bear fruit. In the same way, we MUST preach the word of God if people are to hear and believe, but it will have no effect unless the Holy Spirit "germinates" the seed of the gospel in men's heart. To this end In 1 Thess 1, 4, 5 it says:

    "For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.

    This means the word is indeed necessary, but we can preach untill we are blue in the face and poeple will not come to Jesus, UNLESS the Holy Spirit opens their heart to the gospel. Word and Spirit work together. Word alone is not enough .. not because there is anyting wrong with the word, but because our hearts are hardened against God.

    Take note of the transition between the Old and New Testaments. It wasn't that the Hoy Spirit was not active prior to Pentecost. It was more of a matter of degree. See what Jesus says to the apostles

    "...even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you." - John 14:17

    Please notice that this is prior to Jesus says to the apostles "receive the Holy Spirit" There was a very real sense that the Holy Spirit was "with" believers prior to the resurrection, according to Jesus here. The Holy Spirit was necessary to illumine their hearts and minds to receive the truth. But the shadow of the cross falls back in time over God's people, not only forward.

    Otherwise, would you argue that OT believers are saved apart from Jesus Christ? Like us, they have no hope save in Jesus Christ alone to save them.

    Solus Christus
    John

    Hi John,

    Thanks again for taking the time to address my questions. I know you have much more to do than to chat with this sinner.

    You said in regards to Romans 10:9 “Here Paul is saying that if you confess Jesus as Lord you will be saved and elsewhere, as I pointed out, he says "no one can say "Jesus is Lord" apart from the Holy Spirit. So it says the person who says this WILL BE SAVED. In other words, they were not converted yet and the Holy Spirit was still necessary for them to say this. So I think you need to re-think your answer.”

    Now I ask you to consider the very next verse, Romans 10:10…

    “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

    I believe this is the true sequence of the event, while almost, if not, simultaneous. But the order is essential. I can’t see how or why a non-believer, someone unconverted, would say “Jesus is Lord” as you suggest. It seems to me that without accepting Jesus in your heart first, that is, by faith, the words “Jesus is Lord” would be meaningless. Sincere confession only comes after true belief, not the other way around.

    Then you said “If he feared God then God had already reveled himself to him through the Hebrew Scriptures. He was faithful to what God had already revealed to him, and it is a Pelagian error to believe that he did this apart from the Holy Spirit.”

    To be completely honest, I don’t even know what “Pelagian” error is. I try very hard to stay within God’s Holy Word. Paul said “let God be true, but every man a liar”. In response to your comment, it would be impossible for Cornelius to come to the knowledge of the Lord without the Holy Spirit, because the scriptures themselves are breathed by the Spirit. But this doesn’t mean or prove that Cornelius had already been regenerated or born from above. Again, Luke made no mention of this at all. Many times the authors of scriptures were given spiritual insight to things not mentioned, but Luke doesn’t provide a hint that Cornelius had previously been “born from above”. Even the Apostle Peter, who you would think if he believed that someone had to experience the “new birth” before they could believe, would have made some comment to his audience, but he didn’t.

    In the event of Lydia it says “whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.” Clearly this says that God was telling Lydia to “heed” or “pay attention to” what Paul was saying. But to take this to mean that God caused her to believe is not warranted. There is nothing here that says God caused her to respond one way or the other. I see scripture to support that the Holy Spirit is present when the word of God is preached (for example Cornelius), but I don’t see evidence that man is regenerated before believing the gospel.

    Galatians 3:26 says “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Can someone be a child of God before faith in Jesus Christ? The Apostle Paul says “no”. Am I correct in saying that you believe that Cornelius, and all others, were regenerated, or born again, prior to coming to faith in Christ? If I am correct, you are saying that for Cornelius and Lydia to be “God fearing” people, they had to be regenerated first. So they were both “born of the Spirit” long before coming to faith in Christ. Are you saying that someone can be “born again” and yet still not be a child of God? I find that hard to believe. I believe, from the text of scripture, and the examples given, that when someone is born again, they are born into the family of God, thus becoming a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). All of this….the “new birth”, the “new creation”, being “a child of God”, happens after someone puts their faith in our glorious Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

    I do agree with you completely that those of the OT were saved by looking to the cross. And you are right again in that while they couldn’t fully grasped the death, burial, and resurrection, they did believe God when he said he would provide a redeemer. Your analogy of the shadow of the cross going forward and backwards is good too. I have always thought of it as a stone being tossed in the water. The “ripple effect” goes in all directions.

    John, a really do appreciate the exchange. Nothing glorifies the Father like opening the scriptures and spending time with him. What a blessing!

    Come, Lord Jesus
    wingedfooted1

    By the grace of God I am saved. I have been regenerated by His grace and have come to faith by His grace. I have been justified by His grace and am being sanctified by His grace. He is at work in my life apart from anything I have done or accepted.
    The spiritual pride from these commentaries is overwhelming. I hope an unbeliever doesn't discover these blogs. If Mary Magdalene were here she would be ashamed of you. Her theology was as the grass under her feet. The Pharisees could have eaten her lunch theologically but her heart for Jesus demands our attention. I will take her theology over a bunch of intellectual chattering heads any day. In the end salvation will depend on God's mercy.

    WATER BAPTISM-IMMERSION, SPRINKLING OR POURING?

    What is the meaning of water baptism? Is it immersion in water? Is it being sprinkled with water? Is it having water poured on a person? Is it all three?

    The Greek word baptizo was not translated into English, in most translations. Baptizo was transliterated into English as baptize. The definition of transliterate is; to change letters, words, etc. into corresponding characters of another alphabet or language.

    I am going to quote from a translation that translates the Greek word baptizo into English. THE BETTER VERSION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT BY CHESTER ESTES (TBVOTNT)

    Matthew 3:16 And when Jesus was immersed, he went up from the water, and, behold, immediately the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and resting upon him.

    There is no translation that reads-Jesus was sprinkled or poured.

    Acts 8:38 Then he commanded the chariot to stand still; and they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he immersed him.

    There is no translation that reads-he sprinkled or poured him.

    Acts 2:38 The Peter said unto them, Let each of you repent and be immersed, in the name of Jesus Christ, in order to the remission of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    There is nor translation that reads-repent and be sprinkled or poured.

    Acts 10:47 Can any one forbid water, that these should not be immersed, who received the Holy Spirit , even as we did.

    There is no translation that reads-that these should not be sprinkled or poured.

    Galatians 3:27 For as many of you have been immersed into Christ, have put on Christ.

    There is no translation that reads-have been sprinkled or poured into Christ.

    Romans 6:4 We were, therefore, buried with him by immersioninto that death; that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, thus we also should walk in newness of life.

    There is no translation that reads- buried with him by sprinkling or pouring.

    Colossians 2:12 Having been buried with him by immersion, by which also you were raised up with him, through the belief of the strong working of God, who raised him from the dead.

    There is no translation that reads-buried with him by sprinkling or pouring.

    1 Peter 3:20-21.....to safety by water. 21 The like figure, in which immersion does, also, now save us (not a putting away of the filth of the flesh, but seeking of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ;

    There is no translation that reads- to safety by water. The like figure which is sprinkling or pouring.

    Acts 14:4 Paul then said to them, John immersed with the immersion of repentance, saying to the people that they should should believe on him who would come after him, that is, Jesus.

    There is no translation that reads-John sprinkled or poured with the sprinkling or pouring of repentance.

    Matthew 28:19 Go you, therefore, making disciples of all nations, immersing them into the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit;

    There is no translation that reads-sprinkling or pouring them into the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

    Mark 16:16 He who has believed, and has been immersed, will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

    There is no translation that reads-and has been sprinkled or poured, will be saved.

    BAPTIZE MEANS IMMERSION AS TRANSLITERATED FROM THE GREEK WORD BAPTIZO.

    BAPTIZO TRANSLATED FROM THE GREEK MEANS IMMERSION.

    (All Scripture from: THE BETTER VERSION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT BY CHESTER ESTES)

    ( If you have some interest in THE BETTER VERSION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT BY CHESTER ESTES-DO A GOOGLE SEARCH)

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