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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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  • « Chapter Ten: The Greatness of the Love of Christ is Displayed in His Causing That Very Love to Arise in Our Hearts, That We Might Have Fellowship with Him in Love | Main | 2 Sermons on Hebrews 6 »

    "I'm not a Calvinist or an Arminian" <<< Have you ever heard this?

    I recently saw this comment online and responded to it

    Comment:
    I'm not a Calvinist (or an Arminian), but the local church I am a member of, and many of the churches we have fellowship with, stand separate from and opposed to the 'Jesus is your buddy gospel' of modern evangelicalism. I'm grateful that these Christians [Calvinists] are taking the same stand, but am underwhelmed and a bit disappointed that it is the tenets of Calvinism which are being propagated. Nevertheless, may God use this to turn the tide according to His timing, and may this pervasive lack of reverence towards the holy, sovereign triune God be washed away.

    Pro 9:10 - "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding."

    Response:
    Brother in Christ, Calvinism and Arminianism are usually just used as shorthand for Monergism & Synergism. Either you believe regeneration precedes faith or you do not? Either you affirm that Christ is sufficient to provide all you need for salvation (including a new heart to believe) or you affirm Christ is necessary but not sufficient i.e. provides only the opportunity but not the effectual grace. You either believe in the necessity of the effectual work of the Holy Spirit in salvation or you do not. If you ask yourself, "is faith also part of the gift of grace Christ purchases for his own" (John 6:63-65) OR "is faith the product of our unregenerated human nature?" The answer to these questions make it clear whether you believe salvation is by grace alone OR grace PLUS something you contribute. This is the essence of what people mean when they compare these two understandings of the Bible. You are either a monergist or synergist: Christ Alone or Christ PLUS. There is no third option.

    Click Here for more resources on this topic.

    Posted by John on March 29, 2010 03:13 PM

    Comments

    Thanks for the great explanation. My problem is..I was brought up in the synergistic world but was a monergist without knowing it. But my speech, all too often, reflects my synergistic culture, even though I believe in monergism. Heck, I didn't even know what monergism was until about a year ago. But I've always believed in salvation by grace alone. It's the sanctification part where my roots show up. Argghh...Lord, spare me from my speech.

    This is excellent John - so helpful to clarify the issue so succinctly.

    Thank you for the concise, effective explanation.

    "Christ Alone or Christ PLUS" that really is the issue. Great Post!

    "Christ Alone or Christ PLUS" that really is the issue. Great Post!

    Don't taze me, bro! This line (Christ alone or Christ plus) is properly used to evanglize Catholics, not to try to mis-label 4-point Calvinists as Arminians. Between Gospel-believing brothers, you are setting up a false construct.

    If according to Eph 2:8-9 salvation is received by faith in Christ (and it is), and this faith in Christ itself is the gift of God (and it is), and this gift (faith in Christ) is the result of the effectual work of the Holy Spirit (and it is), then it (faith) is not a "work". Exactly what the text says.

    This is not Christ plus works. This is Christ's sacrifice plus the Holy Spirit effectually working in my heart to believe. It is ALL a result of His choice and His grace. Both The penal substitutionary atonement death part, and the believing part. God gets the credit for both. I am the grateful recipient of both the sacrifice and the faith by which the benefit of said sacrifice is imputed. My exercising faith in Christ is a result of election and grace, not works.

    So, if in His divine benevolance Christ dies for the sins of each and every one ("the world"), yet chooses to regenerate only some, what is that to you, o man? In so doing He shuts the mouths of every one of us - we are even the more-so "without excuse". I do not negate the sovereignty of God by declaring I must believe in Christ to be saved. He does it all! He gets the credit. If He chooses to die for the sins of every man, whether "every man" believes in Christ or not - that is His perogative, and His grace to we whom He elects is glorified all the more! So kindly don't call 4-point Calvinists "synergists". Thank you.

    Bruce, so called "four-point Calvinists" are deeply conflicted because they make the five points of Calvinism into an impersonal construct. All the other points of Calvinism are true BECAUSE of Christ, not because of some generic grace. For example, irresistible grace is a redemptive benefit given to the elect only because of the work of Christ. Therefore Christ dies in a way (a redemptive way, for the elect that he did not for the non-elect, to secure irresistible grace. This grace did not appear from nowhere but all spiritual blessings find their source in Christ. 4 point Calvinists therefore make these points into an abstraction and do not connect the fact that such grace comes from Christ. If you DO BELIEVE it comes from Christ then you already admit 5 point Calvinism is true and that it is Christocentric. What four-pointers have is a Christless irresistible grace. SO my question to you: Is irresistible grace from Christ or not?

    The reality is that four-pointers ALREADY believe in the fifth point without knowing it because none of them will admit that this grace can be had apart from Christ. We are just trying to show them this inconsistency - not that they are outside the faith or something ridiculous like that. only that they already believe it, but deny it with their theology. Again, does irresistible grace come from Christ or not? If it does then you already admit particular redemption is true.

    Thank you for your response, John. I will look again at what you mean by the term irresistible grace and get back to you on that. In the meantime, it appears there might be some disagreement in the usage of the terms "grace", "sacrifice", and "dies in a way". Did He "die differently" re the elect/non-elect, or is the difference the presence/absence of the irresistible work of the Holy Spirit? I don't see how the latter would necessarily demand the former. And I will stop my post on the Monergism article. This is where I meant to post.

    Sorry John, I know I said I would look at irrestible grace more before responding, but I just had this thought.

    Perhaps the 4-point/5-point difference is this:
    What is the source of our faith (I say "source" intentionally, not "content"):
    5-point: Christ's redemptive sacrifice on the Cross (which you seem to use the word grace for)
    4-point: the effectual work of the Holy Spirit (which I would also use the word grace for)

    So, when you say, "This grace did not appear from nowhere", I agree. You say it came from the special way Christ died for the elect that He did NOT die for the unelect. I guess you are saying Christ died two different ways. On the other hand, I say He died for everyone the same way, and the grace to believe comes from the sovereign choice of God and the effectual work of the Holy Spirit, through no merit or initiative of our own (also grace, and not impersonal or generic).

    Perhaps a separate point: It is not merely faith, and it is not merely Christ, it is faith in Christ. The two are distinct, but inseparable. Pisteuo is required, pisteuo is provided.

    What are your thoughts, brother?

    Bruce

    Bruce: blessings to you.

    irresistible grace simply means grace that is effectual. That God actually saves those he intends to save.

    Good questions to ask yourself are

    1) The irresistible work of the Holy Spirit is a redemptive benefit given only to the elect. Agreed? (Answer: yes)

    2) Is irresistible grace a result of the work of Christ applied to the elect by the Holy Spirit, OR is it some additional grace that God gives people apart from Christ?

    (Answer: We affirm that ALL redemptive benefits have their source in Jesus Christ, including effectual grace. To believe otherwise is to deny the work of the Trinity in our salvation. it is to make the persons of the Trinity be at odds with one another. Instead as Christians we must believe that the grace procured to renew the heart of the elect unto faith, is itself part of the work of Christ. Four-point Calvinists remove Christ from the equation and believe that irresistible grace is something the Spirit does APART FROM THE WORK OF CHRIST. Such a belief is unbiblical to say the very least. Either the doctrines of grace are Christocentric or they are an abstraction. The doctrines of grace make sense because Christ's particular redemption is at the top of the chiasm. There is NO GRACE APART FROM CHRIST.

    "Such a belief is unbiblical to say the very least. Either the doctrines of grace are Christocentric or they are an abstraction."

    I doubt that... sounds like doxological vs. christological, not christological vs. abstraction. And I gather this is not new ground...

    I will continue to study. Need to go back to irresistible grace, still. Thank you, John.

    btw, I came here because I am now attending an Acts 29 network church, and I am beginning to notice some differences in approach.

    As for your other comment. You said you reject the idea that regeneration precedes faith, even though Jesus teaches it (John 6:63-65 & 37)

    Do you then believe that faith in Christ is produced by natural people who are unregenerate? How can a persons without the Holy Spirit understand spiritual truth? 1 cor 2 would appear to completely deny the possibility. If faith precedes regeneration, as you claim, then why do some believe the gospel and not others? Are some naturally more wise? What makes them to differ in their response? Christ or something else?

    Bruce,

    Acts 29 churches are not settled on this question. Many five point Calvinists in their midst, but some four-pointers like Mark Driscoll.

    You said, "I doubt that... sounds like doxological vs. christological."

    okay then so what I want to hear you plainly acknowledge as a four-point Calvinist:

    That you believe that there are redemptive benefits we receive apart from the work of Christ. Is this what you are affirming?

    For as soon as you acknowledge that all benefits, such as irresistible grace, have their source in Christ then you already acknowledge that Christ died in a way for the elect (a redemptive way) that he did not for the non-elect. but if you deny Christ's involvement in this aspect of your salvation, then you deny the Persons of the Trinity work in harmony and affirm that aspects of your salvation do not find their source in Christ.

    Almost all errors in the church begin when Christ and his work is not seen as central. Here is a short essay I wrote on this topic:

    http://www.monergism.com/christocentric.html

    Huh? Where did I say I "reject the idea that regeneration precedes faith"??? Oh, perhaps we mean two different things by the word "regeneration"? It always goes back to definitions! I don't think I reject the idea that regeneration precedes faith... Did I imply that? Can you show me where? Perhaps I need to clarify.

    OK. What I believe is that all 3 Persons work in harmony, all point to Christ's penal substitutionary atonement death on the Cross, and all work in concert to achieve the salvation of the elect, for God's glory. Being a Triune God, their roles and work are complementary and over-lapping, but not identical. ALL OF THIS I would call a work of grace, not only that of one or the other. THIS is a balanced view of the Trinity and of salvation. Error comes when one Person is exalted to the exclusion of the others. The Father exalts the Son, the Son exalts the Father, the Spirit exalts the Son, etc. Yes, the Cross is the towering (I can't think of the right word here) means of provision for salvation, and yes, that salvation is effectuated through the cooperative work of all 3 Persons.

    And so, in the eternal counsel of the Triune God, the Father elects (grace), the Son propitiates (grace), and the Spirit regenerates (grace). None of this requires the unbiblical idea that Christ died only for the sins of the elect. God's will is not frustrated because Christ died for all but not all are saved. Rather, His grace and glory is all the more made manifest in that in His great love, He died for all, though all (apart from the gracious regenerating work of the Spirit in the elect) reject Him. This is for the purpose of demonstrating His love and His extravagance. It does not suggest weakness or ineffectiveness. On the contrary, in dying for the sins of all, Christ's death on the Cross accomplishes both of God's purposes for it: His glory is magnified, and His elect are saved.

    Brother, I find your logic faulty. Quoting R.C. Sproul in "The New Genesis: The Holy Spirit and Regeneration":

    "It is to the Holy Spirit of God that we are debtors for the grace of regeneration and faith. He is the Gift-giver, who while we were dead made us alive with Christ, to Christ, and in Christ. It is because of the Holy Spirit’s merciful act of quickening that we sing sola gratia and soli deo gloria — to the glory of God alone."

    Sounds like Sproul is saying it is the Holy Spirit who is the source/agent of regeneration in the elect. Of course, it is a false dichotomy to attribute all the redemptive benefits we receive to only one Person of the Trinity or the other. As an example, Christ is in us, the Spirit is in us, the Father is in us. If I may use your terminology, Sproul's point in his article is a)to reject synergism between God and man. It is not to b)reject the synergistic working of the Trinity in the work of regeneration. If you say yes to a) but no to b), then, if anything, he attributes the work of regeneration to the Holy Spirit, not to Christ. And so I ask you, John, do you, as a 5PC, deny the preponderance of Scripure which declares Christ died for all? If not, then (and I try to say this lovingly) it would appear only stubborn adherence to an "L" philosophy would require one to artificially bifurcate Christ's death on the Cross as redemptive for some (the elect) but not for others (the non-elect). Wow. That's a stretch. Far easier, and more consistent with Scripture, to say Christ died for all equally, fully, completely, and the Holy Spirit regenerates, or effectually calls, some (the elect) to saving faith. The deliniation is who the Spirit, according to the eternal counsel of the Triune God, graciously chooses to regenerate, not who for or how "effectively" Christ died. I encourage your reply.

    Hi Bruce,

    You said, >>>>"Sounds like Sproul is saying it is the Holy Spirit who is the source/agent of regeneration in the elect. Of course, it is a false dichotomy to attribute all the redemptive benefits we receive to only one Person of the Trinity or the other."

    I am curious if you read anything I wrote to you? I made this very point earlier. The question from the beginning is WHY ARE YOU attributing all the redemptive benefits we receive to only one Person of the Trinity???? IN your case, the Holy Spirit. apart from the work of Christ.

    We wholeheartedly affirm that the Holy Spirit is the agent of regeneration. I applaud you for recognizing this AND AGREE ...But the Spirit is the agent of what or who? The Holy Spirit is applying the work and benefits of Christ. Are you saying that you can have the grace of regeneration APART from the work of Christ?

    I am still waiting for an answer to this brother Bruce.

    If Christ has any part in the work of regeneration then he dies in a way for the elect that he did not for the non elect, that is to procure regenerating grace which is applied by the Holy Spirit. He may have died for all people in some way, but only for the elect in this redemptive way. That is why is is called particular redemption.

    Again, are you saying that you can receive the grace of regeneration from the Holy Spirit APART from the work of Christ? I affirm, rather, that we receive this grace from the Holy Spirit, BECAUSE of the work of Christ.

    Is your regeneration Christless?


    {sighs} John, John...

    Christless? I assert no such thing. There is no salvation apart from the Son, or the Father, or the Spirit. Among other things, Christ is our substitute. The object of the trusting faith the Holy Spirit initiates, empowers, enables, and supplies to the elect is in fact this very Christ and His substitutionary work on the Cross. The two go hand-in-hand. No salvation without Christ. No salvation without the Spirit. I assert the co-equal work of the co-equal Trinity in salvation. This is biblical, and is no way an abstraction or "Christless". If you insist on calling this "Christless regeneration", that is a misrepresentation.

    Now I have a couple of questions for you. Above, you affirmed "that the Holy Spirit is the agent of regeneration". And I also applaud you for saying that. What do you say is the ultimate purpose of regeneration? Is its purpose to enable, to make possible, and to bring, without fail, a totally depraved sinner to saving faith in Jesus? How does this REQUIRE Jesus to die in two different ways, as you say? Lest you accuse me of misrepresentation, see your post on 4/3 5:21PM (is that my time zone, or yours?) And if Jesus did die in two different ways, which "Jesus" is the sinner supposed to place his trust in? Silly, I know, but you say Jesus died one way for the elect, and another way for the non-elect. Tell me, was the death really different? I sure hope you say "no". So, if not that, then what IS different?

    Your train of logic in the 5th paragraph on your last post seems to be:
    1) I believe in particular redemption
    2) Christ had some part in the work of regeneration
    3) Therefore, Christ must have died in a different way for the elect than He died for the un-elect.

    I'm sorry, John, that's putting the cart before the horse (I don't know those fancy debating terms. I'm just a 46 year-old accountant from a small town in the Mid-West.) It's not the death that's different. It's the God-initiating/producing regenerating faith in Jesus given to the elect that's different. Do you agree?

    One more question. In your 4/3 5:09PM post, you accused me of " reject(ing) the idea that regeneration precedes faith, even though Jesus teaches it (John 6:63-65 & 37)" I most certainly do not, I stated as such (4/3 5:22PM), and I asked you to kindly show me where you got that from. Will you please show me the dignity of backing up your accusation? If you are unwilling, then you are again misrepresenting me in a public forum. Ouch, bro. And your readers deserve better.

    K. I'm up way too late. I've got to go to work in the morning!. Look forward to hearing from you next time, brother.

    Bruce:

    Thank you for your response.

    You said: "Christless? I assert no such thing. There is no salvation apart from the Son, or the Father, or the Spirit. Among other things, Christ is our substitute. The object of the trusting faith the Holy Spirit initiates, empowers, enables, and supplies to the elect is in fact this very Christ and His substitutionary work on the Cross."

    I asked you if the redemptive benefit of "regeneration" is Christless (meaning a work done apart from Christ) and now here you EMPHATICALLY say "NO". No turning back from here Bruce. Then you have ALREADY acknowledged that the intent and application of Christ's redemptive work is particular, for the elect, and not the non-elect, for this particular benefit of Christ's work - regeneration - is granted to the elect only, is it not? Didn't you already acknowledge that regeneration is granted to the elect only. Then it is true that Christ died in a way for the elect that he did not for the non-elect, that is, redemptively, to secure the redemptive benefit of regeneration (a blessing given to the elect alone)

    Also you said "Above, you affirmed "that the Holy Spirit is the agent of regeneration". And I also applaud you for saying that. What do you say is the ultimate purpose of regeneration? Is its purpose to enable, to make possible, and to bring, without fail, a totally depraved sinner to saving faith in Jesus? How does this REQUIRE Jesus to die in two different ways, as you say?"

    Answer: Because the Bible plainly teaches that All redemptive benefits given to the elect find their source in Jesus Christ (Eph 1:3, 4), and are applied to them by the Holy Spirit who brings us into union with Christ. This includes the redemptive blessing of regeneration. Paul said, "because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption," (1 Cor. 1:30). In other words, Christ's work redemption in us does not only do one thing, as you appear to be affirming. The life Jesus lived for us and the death He died for us includes ALL redemptive BLESSINGS, not one blessing but ALL blessings. The Father elects a people in Christ, the Son redeems them and the Holy Spirit applies the benefits of Christ's work to them by bringing them into union with Christ. The Trinity works together to bring about the same purpose.

    ALL the redemptive blessings we receive, including regeneration, find their source in the person and work of Jesus Christ and is applied to the elect by the Holy Spirit. Do you deny this?

    Secondly, if you affirm that regeneration precedes faith, then I must have misunderstood your meaning. Thanks for clarifying. My apologies.

    Thirdly, there is scant to no evidence in the Scriptures themselves for a general atonement. The Scriptures that are used by four-pointers are read in isolation outside of their original historical and exegetical context.

    For example, the main passage which four-pointers like to cite is 1 John 2:2 which says, "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world."

    But read in context this is not teaching what four-pointers want it to - that Christ died for all the sins of every person in the world. John is here saying to his original readers, rather, that Christ's propitiation is not only for the reader's sins only but for the sins of people from every nation. How do know this? by interpreting Scripture with Scripture. The same author John in the book of revelation 5:9 explains plainly what he means:

    "...for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation."

    It does not say that Christ ransomed every tribe and nation. No it says he ransomed people FROM every tribe and nation. OUT OF every tribe and language and people and nation. Not just Jews but Gentiles. Not just the readers but from all peoples.

    In other words, as the Scripture says, "The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (John 10:11) Not the goats. He tells the Pharisees that they "do not believe because [they] are not part of his flock." It also says Christ lays down his life for the church

    Hebrews 2:14-16 states plainly that his death was for the offspring of Abraham:

    "Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham."

    i.e. Jesus came to help the children of promise (the offspring of Abraham) through his life and death.

    Again, Jesus' High priestly prayer in John 17 is like the prayer of the high priest on the Day of Atonement where he carried in around his neck the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Just before his death, Jesus prays for those he came to save. He says:

    "I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours."

    In other words, before he atones for them, Jesus prays intentionally for the people that God gave him in the eternal covenant he made with him before time began. He is praying for them, NOT THE WORLD. Couldn't be more plain. Likewise Jesus uses the same language in John 6:63-65, 37 where he says that it is the Spirit who quickens (regenerates) the flesh counts for nothing. THAT IS WHY I TOLD YOU THAT NO ONE CAN COME TO ME UNLESS GOD GRANTS IT....ALL THAT THE FATHER GIVE TO ME WILL COME TO ME.

    Notice how Jesus connects the redemptive blessings of the Spirit to those who God has "given him"... the same ones he prays for in John 17 just before the crucifixion. Jesus came for a particular people, not everyone. Just before the atonement, Jesus prays for those the Father has given him, not the world.

    If Christ died for all the sins of all men then why are not all men forgiven? Is it because they don't believe? Is not unbelief also a sin for which Christ died as well? If not, then none have hope.

    "...the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matt 20:28)

    (Also read Isa 53:10-12)

    "When we see that the whole sum of our salvation, and every single part of it, are comprehended in Christ, we must beware of deriving even the minutes portion of it from any other quarter." - John Calvin

    Regeneration is not a work of the Holy Spirit in Himself, but is the work of the Spirit applying the redemptive work of Jesus Christ to us. As a Christian man, you cannot but acknowledge this.

    Bruce: (read above comment before this one)

    When I read back through the posts, I am not sure how four-point Calvinism came up to begin with because it was not even mentioned prior to your comment. But I am glad we have discussed it nonetheless. It was originally a discussion about Calvinism and Arminian - and how some people say they are neither - usually people who don't know much about the ideas involved (monergism & ssynergism) Arminians/Synergists believe that faith is the product of our unregenerated human nature.

    Faith is not a work (I agree), but people MAKE IT a work when they believe the natural man produced it APART from grace, that is, apart from the Holy Spirit working regeneration in us. Arminians, for one, do not believe faith is a gift. I understand you and I agree on this part. But since you brought up four-point Calvinism I am glad to discuss it, but it is a rabbit trail from this post.

    To answer your other question: When I say that Christ died for the elect in a way that he did not for the non-elect. You were bothered that I appear to be saying that Jesus dies two different ways.

    To clarify, if the non-elect have any benefits from the atonement, they are non-redemptive (non-saving) indirect benefits. And they are given for the sake of the elect. For example, the wrath of God is averted for a time on their sins, but averted for the sake of the elect. The gospel is preached to them so they are given the opportunity to believe while the elect are being ingathered. So they benefit indirectly from Christ's work. Therefore Christ's death indirectly benefits the non-elect for a very short period, but ultimately it will damn them for their sin and unbelief.

    The purpose of this statement ("died in a way for the elect that he did not for the non-elect") is to communicate to 4-pointers, such as yourself, that the intent and emphasis of the atonement is the REDEMPTIVE benefits such as regeneration which is given only to the elect (not the non-redemptive benefits) .... but that regeneration, as well as all saving graces, have their source in Jesus Christ and his work (which you appear to reject saying that the Holy Spirit gives regeneration apart from Christ). Instead, I can only conclude from what you have written as a four-pointer, that you affirm that the benefits of the doctrines of grace are given to the elect APART FROM THE WORK OF CHRIST. Your irresistible grace, your regeneration removes Christ from the equation because you believe it comes from a generic grace of the Spirit - removed completely from Christ's life and death.

    So if this is true, are you saying that regeneration could have been given to people in the world if Christ had never come? Don't you see that Christ sent the Holy Spirit to give witness to Himself and to apply the benefits of His work to His own. Do you reject regeneration is the Spirit applying the work of Christ to the elect? Is regeneration really only a work of the Spirit divorced from Christ's person and work?. There is no regeneration apart from Christ!

    We affirm that Jesus died for the sins of all who would believe the gospel. The command to believe is given to all men. Their inability to believe does not, however, alleviate them of the responsibility to believe. Like someone who owes a debt they cannot repay so all men will not believe the gospel apart from the Spirit's work of regeneration on those he came to save. This is because obeying the gospel is no easier than obeying the law without renewal of heart, which ONLY Christ can give through the Spirit.

    Again, please clarify: Do you deny that regeneration is part of the redemptive work of Christ applied by the Holy Spirit to the elect? Is it a generic grace of the Holy Spirit divorced from the work of Christ.? This is the crucial question which I have yet to hear a clear answer from you.

    John and Bruce,

    I ask in all sincerity and without any sarcasm. Reading your exchange makes my head hurt. I try to understand but it reminds me of calculus - I understand the words individually but all together I am confused.

    My questions: how much of this does a person need to understand to become born again and what is the practical implication for the believer? Here is what happened to me: I had heard the message many times but on one particular day, when confronted with my own sinfulness, I responded to God's goodness and offer of forgiveness by crying out to Christ for salvation and was made a new creature in Christ.

    Now I love the things that I used to hate (God's Word, other believers, Church) and hate the things that I used to love (sin and sinful things).

    I don't know if my regeneration came first or not, I don't know if I could have resisted the Holy Spirit or not. But I am sure of this - I am His.

    Since conversion I have grown in holiness and in the knowledge of God's Word. I regularly share my faith with others in the hopes that they will experience the new life in Christ. In doing that, no one has ever asked me anything that resembles either point.

    I don't think I have the mental capacity to grasp the concepts you're discussing, let alone be able to make a decision about which one, if either, is correct. I guess I'll have to wait until I get to heaven. :)

    I appreciate the courteous spirit of your conversation. You both demonstrate your love for the Lord and concern for each other.

    Tim

    Actually if you cannot wade through all the discussion the concept is very simple and goes to the heart of Christianity. The question being debated above is this: Is salvation by Christ ALONE or not?

    You said, "I responded to God's goodness and offer of forgiveness by crying out to Christ for salvation and was made a new creature in Christ."

    But why did you respond? Did Christ grant you the faith needed to believe? Or did you come up with it on your own?

    Click here to read more
    http://www.reformationtheology.com/2010/04/monergism_christ_alone.php

    It seems to me that to say that the Father elected some and that Christ died for all is to say that Christ has died for some that the Father does not intend to save. This not only is illogical, but unBiblical. Jesus said that He came to do the will of the Father. If it is the Father's will that only some be saved, then Jesus dying for everyone would be contrary to the Father's will. Jesus said "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day." He said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep....My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”
    He said to some, "But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep..."

    Of His disciples He says, “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them."
    Of believers to follow, He says,“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me."

    Christ declares explicitly that He receives only those given to Him by the Father; that He came only for His sheep; that only His sheep are able to believe; that He prays only for those whom the Father has given Him; and that in all of this He is at one with the Father. This being the case, the idea that after having said these things, that He still atones in His death for everyone is simply contrary to His own stated purpose.

    Hi Jim,

    Excellent points!!!. Thanks for sharing.

    JWH

    Redemption by Jesus Christ is the new "Baseline" of life. (John 6:53) Those before it was universally established by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, were of the old "baseline", the old unredeemed state of Adam, the penalty for his transgression albeit, those of faith on the old "baseline", did not go to hell but to “Abraham’s bosom” when they died. Jesus set them free, remember? “Jesus set the captives free.” (Isa.61:1)

    Since Redemption, we are a new creation if we embrace Redemption as He has accomplished it, i.e., it is by faith believing the account of things that this can be “gifted” to us for us to establish ourselves upon this new "Baseline" which connotes an on going work exactly as Paul spoke of it. In other words, Jesus Christ gave mankind this "new Baseline" [of Himself] upon which we might choose to live. It is offered it to all per John 3:16,17 by taking upon Himself the sin[s] of the whole world. Now it is that, "many are called" to stand upon this "new Baseline" however, "few choose" to do so of those, after a profession of faith. These two people are not reprobate. A reprobate can not ever hear the call, they are without hope. These two groups of people either become regenerated and see the kingdom of God to enter it or become reformed rebels [tares]. God knows.

    Jesus did His part for which no other man could ever do, i.e., cancel out the penalty for Adam's transgression. Having done so, which restores man to his original state of ‘vulnerable innocence’, those who refuse to receive it, remain in the old fallen state unto perdition.

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