"...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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  • « Primary and Secondary Doctrines | Main | Dr. James White - "Does Reformed Theology Matter?" »

    Why the Right Response?

    "I have never met an Arminian who would answer the question... “Oh, the reason I’m a believer is because I’m better than my neighbor.” They would be loath to say that. However, though they reject this implication, the logic of semi-Pelagianism requires this conclusion. If indeed in the final analysis the reason I’m a Christian and someone else is not is that I made the proper response to God’s offer of salvation while somebody else rejected it, then by resistless logic I have indeed made the good response, and my neighbor has made the bad response.

    What Reformed theology teaches is that it is true the believer makes the right response and the non-believer makes the wrong response. But the reason the believer makes the good response is because God in His sovereign election changes the disposition of the heart of the elect to effect a good response. I can take no credit for the response that I made for Christ. God not only initiated my salvation, He not only sowed the seed, but He made sure that that seed germinated in my heart by regenerating me by the power of the Holy Ghost. That regeneration is a necessary condition for the seed to take root and to flourish. That’s why at at the heart of Reformed theology the axiom resounds, namely, that regeneration precedes faith. It’s that formula, that order of salvation that all semi-Pelagians reject. They hold to the idea that in their fallen condition of spiritual death, they exercise faith, and then are born again. In their view, they respond to the gospel before the Spirit has changed the disposition of their soul to bring them to faith. When that happens, the glory of God is shared. No semi-Pelagian can ever say with authenticity: “To God alone be the glory.” For the semi-Pelagian, God may be gracious, but in addition to God’s grace, my work of response is absolutely essential. Here grace is not effectual, and such grace, in the final analysis, is not really saving grace. In fact, salvation is of the Lord from beginning to end. Yes, I must believe. Yes, I must respond. Yes, I must receive Christ. But for me to say “yes” to any of those things, my heart must first be changed by the sovereign, effectual power of God the Holy Spirit. Soli Deo gloria. " - R. C. Sproul, Grace Alone (article)

    Posted by John Samson on August 26, 2009 01:05 PM


    I heard something the other day, that I can say I had not thought about it that way before, that sheds light on the immediate issue here. The "Lutheran" Theologian said that the proclamation of the Gospel, "when" it is heard and received puts this identity on the hearer and receiver: "sinner"!

    As a Royal Priest, when I absolve someone of their sins, they are accepting that absolution establishes that identity of sinner upon them when being absolved!

    I do not think an Arminian would disagree with that. That does not seem to be the problem.

    Where I go with this sort of reasoning, which I do believe, is a gift from God, is this, sin produces death in me.

    That seems to be the issue, my own death precedes regeneration and His Faith that brings me into Life in Jesus Christ.

    Eph 2:17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.
    Eph 2:18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
    Eph 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
    Eph 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,
    Eph 2:21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.
    Eph 2:22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

    I still remain stedfast in that I do not know of any dead person every digging their own grave and burying themself consciously waiting for God to raise them from the dead to Life forevermore!

    Again, I ask, what did Lazarus do to prepare himself to come forth to resurrection and Life after being laid in that tomb?

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