"...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)


  • Rev. John Samson
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    A Moral Cannot

    The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1Co 2.14)

    “Take notice that this is a moral ‘cannot,’ not a physical ‘cannot.’ When Paul says, ‘The natural person…is not able to understand them,’ he means that the heart is so resistant to receiving them that the mind justifies the rebellion of the heart by seeing them as foolish. This rebellion is so complete that the heart really cannot receive the things of the Spirit. This is real inability. But it is not a coerced inability. The unregenerate person cannot because he will not. His preferences for sin are so strong that he cannot choose good. It is a real and terrible bondage. But it is not an innocent bondage.” (John Piper, Finally Alive), p. 52

    Posted by John Samson on July 27, 2009 05:40 PM


    For me, this doctrine of inability is the backbone of reformed theology. The natural man is unable to to do anything that even remotely begins to bring himself to Christ. We mortals are fully dependent on God's mercy and grace in transforming our hearts so that we may believe. Praise God!

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