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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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  • « A Retraction and Apology | Main | Live Where the People Are »

    My Commands Are Not Too Hard For You

    Synergists often cite Deut 30:11-14 to show that man can turn to God of his own natural capacities.

    "For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' 13Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' 14But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

    But as is the case in most error, they have not carefully read the passage for context. A few verses earlier the Lord says that our hearts first need to be circumcised by God's own hand for us to love him, which is what makes obedience possible. (Deut 30:6)

    "And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live."
    Posted by John on June 18, 2011 10:42 AM

    Comments

    I believe the Apostle Peter had your point in mind when it is recorded him saying this:

    Act 3:26 God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness."

    ...


    Act 5:29 But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men.
    Act 5:30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree.
    Act 5:31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
    Act 5:32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him."

    One need only focus on what God is doing in those verses. He is turning them and giving them repentance and what follows that? God then gives them the forgiveness for their sins.

    Here is my opinion now regarding those verses and this idea you are addressing today in this article.

    Those verses help explain this verse from Deuteronomy 29:

    Deu 29:14 It is not with you alone that I am making this sworn covenant,...".

    At that time it was God and a few outsiders, those not born within the twelve tribes to whom God through Moses assigned these laws, who understood that Grace is for everyone God calls and elects. During the time when the Law was in effect, an outsider could join their self and their family to this Legal scheme, the laws given through Moses. All they had to do was to renounce their "worldly" life; their males had to be circumcised and they had to pick up the Laws of God and follow them, too, along with the children of God under the law scheme to be accepted.

    Now, of course, now that the requirement of the law has come and raised up to the Right Hand of Our Heavenly Father, anyone appointed to Eternal Life will believe when they, too, hear the preached Word of the Gospel of the Kingdom!

    Col 1:5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,
    Col 1:6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing--as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,
    Col 1:7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf
    Col 1:8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

    So John, do you now love the Lord with all your heart and soul? I wish I could say that I do, but in my sinful condition, even after regeneration, I don't believe that's within my power.

    John Stebbe

    You asked, "do I now love God will all my heart.."?

    Only by the grace of God. Anything good in me or that I may produce is due to the grace of God alone. When we die and get our rewards we will lay them at Jesus' feet, for he deserves all they glory for even the least bit of good will that springs from them... and thankfully God receives all my feeble works through Jesus Christ, and as his child in Christ, they are completely acceptable to Him. (Rom 12:1, 14:8, 15:16; Hebrews 11:4; Phil 4:18)

    We "...offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (1 Pet 2:5)

    Solus Christus
    John

    When reading and seeking to understand scripture, implications must be checked at all points.

    If the implication from the passages stated are that men can believe freely and obey freely then they must be checked against the crystal clear portions of scripture - things like John 6:44 & Romans 8:7-8.

    Luther, in Bondage of the Will, bent over backwards to untie the syllogisms and terrible implications Erasmus set forth in his Diatribe. Irrefutable exegesis on the part of Luther.

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