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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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  • Rev. John Samson
  • Rev. David Thommen (URC)
  • John Hendryx
  • Marco Gonzalez

    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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  • « Quotes on Election | Main | No Joel, No! »

    The Unconditional Love of God

    God's love is unconditional for those He intends to adopt as His children. He does not make us meet a condition (faith) before He will love us, as the Arminian affirms. Rather, He meets the condition for us in Christ by doing for us what we are unable to do for ourselves, that is, giving us everything we need for salvation, including a new heart to believe. (Ezek 36:26).
    - John Hendryx

    Posted by John on October 25, 2011 02:12 PM

    Comments

    WOW!
    MIND BLOWING!

    yep, perspicacious!

    to my facebook status!!!

    John,
    You said, “God's love is unconditional for those He intends to adopt as His children.”
    1. Can you support this statement from the scriptures, or is it a particular doctrinal position?

    2. How can you place God adopting men as sons before men were redeemed through Christ’s blood (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14), at a predetermined point of human history? Note carefully the detail given to us by Paul in Gal. 4:4, 5-- God sent forth His Son

    --“When the fullness of time was come” (a predetermined point of time in history)
    --“born of a woman, born under the Law” (Christ was not born of a woman before the foundation of the world)
    --“in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law” (redemption is through His blood, and He did not have a body of flesh with blood to shed before His incarnation)
    --“in order that we might receive the adoption as sons” (redemption is a prerequisite to adoption)

    Adoption was not possible prior to Jesus Christ being born of a woman, born under the Law, nor was adoption possible before there was redemption through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Men were slaves of sin, they had no right to become an adopted son of God. But once they could be set free from slavery and redeemed from the Law, then they could become an adopted son. Paul also reveals that men become an adopted son before the new birth!!! “Because you are sons (by adoption) God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts” (resulting in the new birth: Jesus Christ coming to live in our hearts to give us a new life source: eternal life) (Gal. 4:6). (I never could understand why some would claim that God would adopt a son that was already his by birth.)

    3. Does context matter when we interpret a verse, or a phrase from a verse? Exactly what in Ezekiel 36:26 (or its context) gives you the idea that God gives a new heart to enable belief? Ez. 36:26 and its context parallels Ez. 11:19 and its context. Both passages are making reference to an event being prophesied by Ezekiel. God is going to gather the Israelites from the lands to which they were scattered, and bring them to their own land. THEN God will sprinkle clean water on them… and give them a new heart, AND put A NEW SPIRIT WITHIN THEM.

    Even Wayne Grudem states that this passage in Ezekiel 36 is a prophecy of the coming work of God in regeneration.

    “This sovereign work of God (regeneration) was also predicted in the prophecy of Ezekiel. Through him GOD PROMISED A TIME IN THE FUTURE when he would give new spiritual life to his people. (And then he quotes Ez. 36:26, 27).” (Wayne Grudem, “Systematic Theology” pg. 699)

    Note the context states, “I will put a NEW Spirit WITHIN them”. Why even Jesus promised that He would ask the Father to send the Comforter…the Spirit of Truth who was abiding with them (in the body of Jesus Christ) and WOULD BE IN THEM. “I will not leave you as orphans, I WILL COME TO YOU” (John 14:16-18). As Paul proclaimed, “God sends forth the Spirit of His Son into men’s hearts” (Gal. 4:6). Everything points to the time that Jesus Christ would come to dwell in the hearts of men to save them!


    What in this verse convinced you that the traditional Reformed interpretation,
    “a new heart = belief”, can be substantiated by pulling a phrase out of its context?

    4. What happened to the Biblical God, “God is love” (1John 4:8). “God commends His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us… Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:8, 6). Was there any man who was not ungodly when Christ died? Was there any ungodly sinner for whom Christ didn’t die? Some have difficulty embracing this concept because they fail to see the “cross work” that Jesus the High Priest performs on each new believer as He baptizes men into the likeness of His death (Rom. 6:5), crucifying them that their body of sin might be destroyed (Rom. 6:6), to set them free from slavery to sin (Rom. 6:6, 17) and jurisdiction of the Law (Rom. 7:4, 6), so that they might be joined to Christ (Rom. 7:4). Each new believer is taken to the cross where Christ takes up our sin in His own Body on the tree so that we can die to sin (1Pet. 2:24). Men are conformed to His death (Phil. 3:10). The flesh with its passions and lusts is crucified (Gal. 5:24). THEN, like Paul, a new believer can claim, “I have been crucified with Christ… and Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:19, 20). Nobody is born with any benefits of the crucifixion, because they were not "in Christ" while Christ was hanging on the cross 2000 years ago. Men were baptized into the body of Christ (1Cor. 12:13) beginning on the Day of Pentecost( Acts 1:5). Jesus Christ could die for all men, but not every man will be saved. Only those who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved: saved by the baptism that Christ gives (Rom. 10:13; 1Pet. 3:21); saved when they are made alive with Jesus Christ, saved by regeneration (Eph. 2:5; Titus 3:5).

    To me it is a sad mischaracterization of God to say that He doesn’t love everyone, even His enemies. The position that God doesn’t love every single man, woman and child can only be held by ignoring or taking out phrases from the Word of God. (But perhaps that balances out "adding new meaning" to other phrases in the Scriptures.)

    To Melani. Good points to consider. Responding to point 2 and in order to get a feel for where you are coming from; Do you believe that Jesus Christ is eternally God?

    "God's love is unconditional for those He intends to adopt as His children. He does not make us meet a condition (faith) before He will love us, as the Arminian affirms. Rather, He meets the condition for us in Christ by doing for us what we are unable to do for ourselves, that is, giving us everything we need for salvation, including a new heart to believe. (Ezek 36:26)."
    - John Hendryx

    That is brilliant Mr Hendryx and that brilliance comes from God alone.

    agape

    Aseity

    soli Deo Gloria

    ...And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever...

    Mr. Hendryx,
    my understanding is that all is a gift of God's grace, including our faith. Do you agree with that? I don't think I really bring anything to the table, but rather God provides everything. I have a question involving sanctification. I hope I don't veer off too far from the topic so that you won't reply.
    I understand sanctification to be a life-long process of growing, to be more Christ-like. My experience is one of ebbs and flows - sometimes I feel like I'm growing, sometimes I feel static (like I've been "put on the shelf"0, and sometimes it seems I'm going backwards. Is this normal in Christian life? I feel most connected to God when I'm doing something (for God, I guess). When I am feeling this way, I temper it with the knowledge that I know I can't work my way into salvation.
    I apologize for the meandering nature of this little note. But my concern is real. Is my feeling of discouragement something that Christians experience on a regular basis? I am a member of a church that is a mish-mash; kind of Reformed but with a heavy veneer of charasmatism.
    I've called myself a charasmatic Calvinist, but I am starting to suspect that I'm feeling the effects of a conflict between works and grace in my life. If you or anyone reading this can shed some light on any of this mess, I would be deeply appreciative.
    Right now I just hold on to Christ crucified, and trying to follow Him and not worrying about my standing. I just remember that I am His.
    Thank you.

    Melani

    It appears to me that you are deeply confused about God and the bible. Your comments are scattered and nonsensical.

    You asked: "How can you place God adopting men as sons before men were redeemed through Christ’s blood (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14)"

    No one here ever made this claim or even hinted at it, so your question, and therefore your basis for your entire post is a non sequitur and meaningless at best.

    As in your many previous posts, you continue to paint these distorted, non-existent caricatures of what we believe since it appears to be the only way you can defeat them in your imagination. If you create a ridiculous enough strawman it is easy to attack as a target.

    We affirm that God loved a particular people in Christ BEFORE sending Christ to save and adopt them. The Scripture declares this in no uncertain terms:

    Eph 1:4, 5 "In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will..."

    Not according to our faith but "according to the purpose of his will."

    We were not adopted until God worked grace in our hearts to believe. But he adopted us because he first loved us. We are God’s children not through nature but through grace. The gift of sonship to God becomes ours not through being born, but through being born again. I would encourage you therefore, to cease mischaracterizing the views of your theological opponents.

    From your many posts it is clear that you affirm that God's love is conditional. How? If we do not meet God's condition He will throw us into eternal hell. In other words, you affirm that God's love for us is conditioned upon our faith. If WE do not believe, God will not love us. But the Bible is clear that God loves us BEFORE we believe. Yes I affirm that God indeed give us conditions we must fulfill, but since we all woefully fail to meet them in ourselves, He sends Jesus to meet the conditions for us, to do for us what we are unable to do for ourselves.

    But you say that man must first meet a condition if God is to help him.

    But who loves like this? If your loved one ran out into the street into oncoming traffic would you first require him to do something before your would step off the curb to save him???? No if you love someone you risk your own life to save them and make sure they are safe regardless of their will at the time. If it is a young child, you know better then the child what is good for him. You do not await his will to see if he will obey you. So your position is the opposite of what most people understand as love. If in everyday life this is how we understand love then how much more God? Love gets the job done.

    The Bible teaches in plain language that God sets aside a people for himself and in love predestines them to salvation in Jesus Christ. Not if they first meet a condition. No, it says, rather, according to his sovereign good will. Jesus Christ makes certain his loved ones are saved...he heads out to find his missing sheep and brings them home. But the scripture declares that some do not believe because they are not his sheep (John 10:26)

    Salvation is by grace ALONE in Christ alone.... not based on some required hoops we must first jump through. John 6:63 & 65 teaches that even faith itself is caused by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit applying the work of Christ, not a product of our unregenerated human nature. If you think that a person can come to faith apart from grace then you are playing with pelagianism, outside the bounds of any definition of biblical Christianity.