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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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  • « 40 Arabic Words | Main | The paradox of sin's captivity »

    Saved by Grace Alone or Saved by Grace Plus Free Will?

    You cannot consistently assert that we are saved by "grace alone" and then in the same breath declare that the natural man has a free will to come to Christ (John 6:65). Man needs salvation precisely because his will is in bondage to sin. And that which is in bondage is not free. For the need for grace does away with free will altogether. Its not Christ plus our good will that saves us but Christ alone who grants us everything we need for salvation, including a new heart to believe.

    Visitor: What is salvation?

    Response: The short answer is salvation is deliverance from God's wrath and salvation from sin....Saved from the just consequences of our rebellion against God, it was accomplished when God took those consequences upon Himself when Jesus was nailed to the cross.The wrath of God abides on all men apart from the grace of Jesus Christ, who alone lived the life we should have lived and died the death we justly deserve.

    Visitor: Okay, what is free will?

    Response: Free will is something that exists only in people's imagination. Fallen man does not have a free will. He is NOT able NOT to sin. All people except Jesus Christ have broken God's law and have sinned. Therefore none can save themselves or lift a finger toward their own salvation. God must intervene if man is to have any hope at all. And He has done it in the Person of Jesus Christ.

    Visitor: How does a person know if they are saved then?

    Response: By grace you look to Christ's Righteousness and not your own. The Scriptures indicate that we are saved if the Word of God has come in divine power into our soul such that our self-complacency is shattered and our self-righteousness is renounced. Second, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our woeful, guilty, and lost condition. Third, God reveals to us the sufficiency of Jesus Christ alone to meet our desperate case and by a divinely given faith causes us to lay hold of and rest upon Him as our only hope. Fourth, when the Spirit changes our heart He gives us a love for God, a love for His word and an appetite for spiritual things; a longing for holiness; a seeking after conformity to Christ. This does not mean that you are sinless, but that you desire to obey Christ and feel anguish when you disobey Him. (A.W. Pink)

    Visitor: What if I've felt this my whole life?

    Response: Then it is likely that the Holy Spirit opened your heart to the gospel at an early age.

    Quotes:

    "...he who in his soul believes that man does of his own free-will turn to God, cannot have been taught of God, for that is one of the first principles taught us when God begins with us, that we have neither will nor power, but that he gives both; that he is "Alpha and Omega" in the salvation of men. - C. H. Spurgeon (Free Will, a Slave)

    "In vain people busy themselves with finding any good of man's own in his will. For any mixture of the power of free will that men strive to mingle with God's grace is nothing but a corruption of grace. It is just as if one were to dilute wine with muddy, bitter water. But even if there is something good in the will, it comes from the pure prompting of the Spirit." -John Calvin, Institutes


    Posted by John on March 19, 2012 12:36 PM

    Comments

    Fantastic stuff! I dont believe people truly graps the depths of what it means to truly be "saved by grace" and grace alone.

    Keep up the great work!

    http://resurgingreformation.blogspot.com/

    This exchange was helpful and brought even keen clarity to these words from Job:

    Job 40:6 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
    Job 40:7 "Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.
    Job 40:8 Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?
    Job 40:9 Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his?
    Job 40:10 "Adorn yourself with majesty and dignity; clothe yourself with glory and splendor.
    Job 40:11 Pour out the overflowings of your anger, and look on everyone who is proud and abase him.
    Job 40:12 Look on everyone who is proud and bring him low and tread down the wicked where they stand.
    Job 40:13 Hide them all in the dust together; bind their faces in the world below.
    Job 40:14 Then will I also acknowledge to you that your own right hand can save you.

    I am truly grateful the Holy Spirit has shattered all my hope in me or any man!

    Now I realize, daily, that my own right hand, no matter how right I am, can save me!

    For, the above exchange has the sweet savor of honey dripping from the honeycomb falling under the shadow of these wings of the Word!

    Psa 11:7 For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

    Ooops!

    I mean, "cannot" save me:

    "Now I realize, daily, that my own right hand, no matter how right I am, cannot save me!

    Thanks! Very timely, since my adult class is going through Romans right now. We're in chapter 9, that great chapter that defeats all "free willers" and yet I have a gentleman who keeps insisting that man must have some part, some voice in this. Thankfully, he's alone in is dissension and I'm seeking to be winsome toward him. This is very helpful.

    This is the gospel.

    If Adam, and the rest of creation were made good, how can it be that Adam sinned except out of his own free will? Same goes for Lucifer. Grace is not irresistible.

    "For it is impossible for those who were once illuminated, have tasted also the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 Have moreover tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 And are fallen away: to be renewed again to penance, crucifying again to themselves the Son of God, and making him a mockery. -Hebrews 6

    How can this be in light of your dogma, your only dogma, of irresistible grace? Totally unbiblical!

    Totally!

    @Bob

    Hi and thanks for your post. Your argument is not with me but with Jesus Christ. He taught openly that "no one can come to me unless God grants it" -John 6:65 and in the same passage he taught "all that the Father gives to me will come to me" (v. 37)

    So if Jesus teaches that no one can believe in him unless God grants it and all to whom he grants to the Son will believe then who are we to argue. Will you believe your tradition over Jesus' own words?

    Also since you believe that your Hebrews 6 passage teaches that a person can lose their eternal life you are teaching that Jesus Christ is not sufficient for our salvation, but rather YOU HAVE TO EITHER ATTAIN OR MAINTAIN your just standing before God. Are you roman Catholic? Are you saying to me that God accepts you only if you maintain your justification. Such a view is actually heretical and denies the gospel. It denies that what Jesus did was enough to save us. it teaches, like Roman Catholics, that we must do something in addition if God is to save us.

    You are taking Hebrews out of its context and reading the verse in isolation. The passage in Hebrews, you must remember, is written in a context which declares that Jesus Christ is better than the Sacrifice, better than the Temple, better than Moses, and better the Levitical Priesthood. The passage that warns the Hebrews against falling away is warning them against one thing: abandoning trust in Christ ALONE by going back to now worthless and obsolete things, such as trusting in the temple sacrifice and the Law in order to be justified. These are warnings for people who have heard the gospel and are partaking of the church and its sacraments and warning them against going back to the shadows and signs which merely pointed to Christ (who is the fulfillment of these signs). A severe warning against embracing the shadows rather than the substance, which is Christ. It is not saying that if you stumble and commit some particular sin in your Christian life that you have lost your salvation. On the contrary, those who think you can lose salvation because they sin are committing the very error these passages warn against because they are trusting in something other than Jesus Christ, like their own ability to keep or maintain their just standing before God with their works or perseverance. God alone "is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." (1 cor 1:28-31)

    Tragically, the very next text (which is crucial) is also often left off by those who claim regenerate Christians can fall away ... a text which qualifies the preceding text. The writer of Hebrews in verse 9 says, "Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things--things that belong to salvation." If the author of Hebrews is confident of better things of the persons he is speaking with, things that belong to salvation, then obviously falling away does not belong to it. This is a clear statement that the author was not describing saving faith of those who are in danger of falling away in the preceding passage, because the kind of response that falls away, he says, are not among the "things that belong to salvation." So whatever the things the author just described about falling away in Heb 6:4-8 are not the characteristics of true regenerate persons. People can be enlightened and taste and partake .... They may be externally a part of the church and receive external blessings, yet if they abandon trust in Christ for ritual or something else, there is no hope for their salvation. They were never regenerate to begin with for falling away does not accompany or belong to true salvation, according to the text.

    Dear John:

    Very good words; thank you. I especially liked the quote from Mr. Pink. Yet, I do have a couple of comments for all. I believe modern Christendom can be slightly carried away by a too strict interpretation of Calvinism. In particular, though I will agree that outside of redemption there is no free will; this does not of course mean there is no will whatsoever, or even, that there are not elements of freedom still existing in man's will. Ultimately, a man (or woman) must be cooperative in the redemption process by deciding for salvation; though this concordance itself, and I agree, is not a "work", for it is essentially passive.

    So therefore yes, we are wholly saved by Grace. Among all the works we have done, are doing, or even will do, there is nothing existent meritorious, in a soteriological sense. Yet I suggest we be cautious in drawing conclusions here. It does not follow from this that outside of Christ there are no good works at all - merely that these works are not at all worthy of salvation. In the Father's secret will, as Calvin speaks of it, we are chosen and saved based wholly upon Christ's Righteousness. However, and again, it does not follow, and this is the more subtle point, that there was no reason, in a moral sense, why the Lord so acted (in saving us), only that there was no sufficient reason.

    So then, if you would, two points. To reiterate: because there is no satisfactory reason within man why Almighty God appoints one to salvation, it does not follow that: (1) There are no good works outside of Grace; and, (2) That there existed no reason whatsoever, in reference to the good works, why the Lord so chose us; merely that this reason is insufficient to be deserving of eternal life.

    - John G. Lewis

    @Bob

    Also to answer you question about Adam, you have missed the point. Adam was not in bondage to sin. Therefore his will was free from its bondage before the fall. He was able to sin and able not to sin. But AFTER the fall man is NOT able NOT to sin. The discussion about free will has to do with sin after the fall. So your argument is done away with.

    John 8:34+ Jesus says, "Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed..."

    Do you believe you have a free will to believe the gospel apart from God's grace, apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. The very need for grace does away with free will. For if man had free will, he would not need grace to believe. But his chooser is broken. He loves darkness and hates the light (john 3:19, 20) and cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor 2:14). UNLESS Jesus intervenes.

    Why did you believe the gospel and not your neighbor? Do you attribute your faith to your own wisdom, humility, good sense? why? Give glory to God. Salvation is of the Lord alone.

    @John G Lewis

    I was not making the argument that man outside of Christ does nothing good, but talking about the question that really matters in Scripture which is whether the fallen sinner has a free will to come to Jesus Christ. Since he is in bondage to sin it does not mean he can do no good of any kind, but he can do no redemptive good. He sins not by coercion but of necessity, due to a corruption of nature. nothing he does comes from a heart that loves God. So see below how I agree with you ...

    The meaning of total depravity is often misunderstood. It should first be pointed out what "total depravity" does not mean. The doctrine does not refer to man being as evil a creature as he can be. All fallen, unregenerate human beings are endowed with many of God's common graces. God has blessed all men with a conscience and the capacity to promote virtue and civil righteousness. It is abundantly clear that many beautiful aspects of the world we live in have been brought forth by those which are unredeemed by God's regenerative grace. God has gifted natural men and women with the skill to create beautiful music, make profound works of art, to invent intricate machines and do countless things that are productive, excellent and praiseworthy.

    John Calvin said,

    "Those men whom Scripture calls "natural men" were, indeed, sharp and penetrating in their investigation of inferior things. Let us, accordingly, learn by their example how many gifts the Lord left to human nature even after it was despoiled of its true good." (Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 274-275).

    It would be natural to ask, then, if man is totally depraved, how is it that he can bring forth so many good things? This question is indeed valid but misunderstands what is meant when we talk about man as being rendered depraved by the fall.

    So what is meant, then, by the total depravity and spiritual inability of the natural man? It means that man's many good works, even though in accord with God's commands, are not well pleasing to God when weighed against His ultimate criteria and standard of perfection. The love of God and His law is not the unbelievers' deepest animating motive and principle (nor is it his motive at all), so it does not earn him the right to redemptive blessings from a holy God. The Scripture clearly implies this when it states "...without faith it is impossible to please Him." (Hebrews 11:6a, NASB) and "whatever is not from faith is sin." (Romans 14:23) So if man "is restrained from performing more evil acts by motives that are not owing to his glad submission to God, then even his "virtue" is evil in the sight of God." His purpose for doing good works are not from a heart that loves God. But regeneration has enabled us, for the first time, to be pleasing to God on the basis of Christ's work and, from this, the work of the Holy Spirit in renewing our affections for God, giving us understanding of, and a delight in, spiritual things and turning our heart of stone to a heart of flesh.

    There are two types of people in the world Those with the Holy Spirit and those without. Those without cannot understand spiritual truth. They may do good to their neighbor, but they reject Christ, unless God intervenes with his grace. God not only justifies us when we come to faith but raises us from the death of sin by his quickening spirit to bring us to faith.

    John I also believe man makes voluntary choices (not coerced), this does not make his choices free, since of necessity due to a corruption of nature, he chooses to sin.


    John H.

    Dear John H:

    Thank you for you response. First, let me say that I have no argument with Jesus Christ.

    Second, thank you for you reference to John 6. This is a passage which I have spent some time contemplating and continue to do so. Any explicit response from me at this time will probably be more than is appropriate for a blog post but, as a theologian, you should give more thought to how God works in the economy.

    I do not deny the Christ sacrifice is enough to save us but, I do deny that God will save me without me. In other words, I can either accept Christ, or not. Do you mean to imply that God will force Himself upon us? Jesus did no such thing. He would not break a reed nor would he quench a flickering flame. He did not cry out. Did he not let people walk away in John?

    Why do you all keep telling me what I must believe? Either this or that? Maybe it is neither "this" or "that." Maybe something else all together.

    In other words, I do not deny what Jesus did is enough, nor do I rely on my own merits. You just think I do. In the same breath, the fact that Jesus' sacrifice is enough in no way impunes my free will to accept or deny it. Why should it?

    Finally, you assert that: "People can be enlightened and taste and partake .... (Is this not grace?) And... "They were never "regenerate" to begin with" using your words? Nonsense, according to your own dogma.

    Bob:

    Thank you for your response. Let me ask you, then, if all men are given an equal or similar grace to believe in Christ, why do some ultimately believe the gospel and not others? I am not asking WHAT they did, but WHY they did it? What reason caused you to believe and not your neighbor?

    Tell me in your own words so I do not misrepresent you or put words in your mouth. There are plenty of places in the Scripture where Jesus tells us why some believe. Lets hear yours.

    From your response above, (tell me if I am wrong) it seems you believe that God's love is conditional. That he will only love us if we first meet his condition (faith). But even in every day life, we know love is not like this. If a parent sees their rebellious child run into the street into oncoming traffic, they don't wait on the curb and merely call out to the child to use his will to save himself, or else the parent will refuse help him. No, that is not love. a parent who loves their child would run out into the street at the risk of his own life, scoop up his child, to MAKE CERTAIN their child was safe, regardless of their will at the time... because PARENTS always know better than children what is good for them. As a child I would be grateful afterwards that my parent disregarded what I wanted at the moment and helped me anyway. If this is how we understand parental love at a basic level in everyday life, how much more God? He saves us in spite of ourselves. This is not force, it is love and mercy. If he did nothing we would be struck by the car so to speak. On the contrary, the love which says I will only help you if you first meet my condition (or else throw you into hell) is not unconditional love. True love gets the job done and makes certain their loved ones are safe. Of course we do something, we believe and we obey, but we must attribute it all to God's grace in Jesus Christ. it seems that you only PARTLY attribute the glory to Christ and PARTLY to your own wisdom and good sense.

    So again, I ask you, why do some ultimately believe the gospel and not others?

    Dear John H.:

    No doubt, if I answered "free will" you would have a heart attack.

    What is faith? A person has faith when he says, "I am not worthy." It is in the Bible.

    I do not deny that God loves us first.

    If a parent, to use your example, risks his life for his child, then as the Bible says, "there is no greater love." This means that, since you seek a specific answer from me, the love (charity, a theological virtue) overcomes the humans natural instinct of survival at all costs. "Love" is greater than the human will. Yes. Just as "Hope" is greater than the imagination, and "Faith" perfects the understanding. Love is the greatest because it not only overcomes the natural human instinct to survive, but unites us to God, who is "Love."
    These virtues of faith, hope, and love, which are infinite are properly ordered to a God who is infinite. If we, as creatures order them to something finite, then we sin.

    God's love conditional? How can God create except by love? The fact that God loves His creatures in no way negates their free will to love him back. Creatures are made in God's image and likeness. Just as God has free will, so does creation.

    Did I answer your question?

    Bob

    Using your "Free will" only tells me WHAT you did (used your free will). Not WHY you did it (why did you use your free will?). The question is why did you use your free will to believe and not your neighbor? What makes you to differ from him? Jesus or something else?

    You say a person has faith when he says, "I am not worthy". So are you saying that you believe because you were more humble than your neighbor?

    Just as "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' apart form the Holy Spirit?" so likewise there is not one person who is naturally willing to submit to the humbling terms of the gospel. "I am not worthy" is not something the proud natural man is willing to admit, unless God changes his heart. He cannot rise above his own resources and do something outside of his native character.

    So with rather cryptic language I am getting the drift that your answer is to say "because I humbled myself and was more humble than my neighbor, who did not believe" but This is to point to yourself and boast in your own character rather than Jesus Christ alone for your salvation. Grace is not a reward for faith but the cause of it.

    you teach that 'salvation depends on human will', but the Bible teaches that (and I quote) 'it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy." (Rom 9:16)

    You teach 'no one knows the Father except those who choose the Son.' But the Bible teaches that (and I quote) 'no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him' (Matt 11:27)

    you teach that 'you are not Christ's sheep because you do not believe', but Jesus teaches that (and I quote) 'you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.' (John 10:26)

    You teach that 'the reason you are not of God is because you are unwilling to hear God's words.' Jesus, on the other hand, taught, (and I quote) 'The reason why you do not hear is that you are not of God." (John 8:47)

    No one denies that man has a responsibility to love God and to believe in God. These are God's commands. But what we "ought" to do does not imply that we have the moral ability to do so. The Bible nowhere teaches free will. It is a concept that you have imported from your tradition. Where in the bible is there free will?

    God commands you to love him with all your heart mind soul and strength and your neighbor as yourself? Do you? Just use your free will? You can't. You fail to live up to these commands perfectly every day. Paul states that the commands of God are for the purpose of revealing sin (Rom 3:19, 20) not to show our ability. Do not mix imperatives (commands) with indicatives (what God does for us).

    If you borrowed $10 million to start a new company and then rather squandered it in a week of wild living in Vegas, your inability to repay the bank does not alleviate you of the responsibility to do so. Likewise we squandered the blessing God gave us and we fell. Our fallen condition (without the Holy Spirit) we owe a debt we cannot repay. Our inability to repay the debt does not make God lower his standard for us. We still are responsible for it. But in Jesus Christ God does FOR US what we are unable to do for ourselves - he not only justifies us when we come to faith but raises us up with his quickening Spirit in order the bring us to faith.. Those dead in sin (Eph 2:1) are those who are natural, without the Spirit and they do not seek God. "There is no one who seeks God" according to Romans quoting the OT. We cannot attribute our repenting and believing to our own wisdom, humility, sound judgment or good sense, but only to Christ alone.

    The reason we believe is because Christ opened our eyes and turned our heart of stone to a heart of flesh (Ezek 36:26). Give ALL GLORY to Jesus even for your faith. Otherwise you could pray to God "thank you for all you give me EXCEPT the faith which springs from my own humble heart. I came up with it on my own and when you gave grace to all men I MADE US OF YOUR GRACE WHEN OTHERS DID NOT." This is no prayer... it is a boast and one that you yourself appear to believe. You attribute your faith to your own humility and not to Jesus Christ. No?

    You wish to know why I used my free will? Because God gave me the grace to do just that! I could have declined.

    "I am not worthy." These words are taken from the Bible. What will you say when you meet God? "I am worthy?" Pride. God hates that. I give no credit to myself when I say, "I am not worthy." That is a contradiction! The Centurion did not mean that! I, just state the matter of fact. PERIOD. It involves not pride or questions or assertions as you content, simply a matter of fact.

    You wish to assert to no one can say, "Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit?" Does not also Jesus say that those who cry, "Lord, Lord" will be condemned with the words, "I do not know you."

    Look, I DON'T TEACH. Let's get that straight right off the bat. I just say what I know. Not my job to teach. It is YOUR job to teach, and you will be judged more strictly. Make sure then, that you got it right.

    About this "boasting"...as you see it, Paul, did a lot of it.

    I do not understand fully what you mean by your quote of Matthew 11. Focus more on the "economy." I don't think you know what this means, and I mean no insult.

    Where in the Bible is there free will, you ask? ALL OVER!

    As for your comments on, "the Greatest Commandment"...

    Simply, ... if I surrender myself to God in Love, overcoming my natural instinct of self-preservation...am I not "saved." Is this not what Jesus did? Of course, it is. You wish to tell me that I can't do this?

    The tension of the way things are and the way things ought to be is the lot of this life. Got a problem with that?

    John, God will not save you by your intellect, but by your will.

    John H:

    Just a thought....

    Jesus prayed, "If it is possible let this cup pass from me. But, not my will be done, but yours!" Here is free will and it is in the Bible.

    Dear John Hendryx:

    Thank you for your very full, and informative reply. Much appreciated!

    Look forward to more postings; I enjoy this site for Reformation Theology very much! Thank you for all your contributions.

    - Regards,
    John G. Lewis

    Great job John!

    Praise God He drew me to Himself as I would never have desired to come to Him on my own.

    @John H.

    I don't believe the question is why you exercised free will but rather why you exercised it to choose Christ.

    Bob,

    God did not save you or me or anyone else by our will or intellect but by his free grace and mercy in Jesus Christ. There is nothing overly intellectual about this. Salvation is by GRACE ALONE in CHRIST ALONE. That is the simple gospel.

    God says of salvation,

    "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” Rom 9:16 (also see John 1:13)

    Therefore, you are kicking against the goads since you cannot just sweep the Bible aside and put your views in its place, To teach free will to come to Christ, when so many passages like the above passage contradict your view, is to hold on desperately to the idea that you at least can do something on your own for your salvation. It is the last bastion of pride creeping in.

    You said, "You wish to know why I used my free will? Because God gave me the grace to do just that! I could have declined."

    This is a contradiction. If man needs grace to believe, then by definition, he has no free will to believe. The need for grace shows he can do nothing of himself or his own will to come to Jesus. God must intervene if there is any hope.

    Also, you answer is incomplete. Consider....If BOTH you and your neighbor received grace, why did you say "I am not worthy" and turn to Christ in faith and not your neighbor? What made you to differ? You cannot say grace made you to differ because you both had grace. So it was something else. In other words your theology demands that you attribute your faith to your own wisdom, humility, sound judgment and good sense... which your neighbor did not have.

    MORE importantly than this is that your view goes against the Bible on almost every page. I could demonstrate example after example of the fact that it is by the grace of God we are what we are. God is not rewarding some people because they had more insight and natural humility than their neighbor.

    May the Lord open your heart to understand that salvation is ALL of Christ, not partly Christ and partly you. Even the very humility to say "I am not worthy" is a gift of grace..

    thank you for posting such an inspiring message.

    get daily devotional at http://rhapsody-of-realities.blogspot.com

    John H.:

    I notice that you did not respond to my statement from the Bible of Jesus' prayer in reference to His own will.

    I too, could give you many other examples from the Bible of free will...the Fall of the Angels, Adam and Eve, Joshua's invitation to choose, the fall of David and Solomon (although the Lord "revealed Himself twice!" - How does the Lord reveal himself without grace?) etc...etc...It is you who are "sweeping the Bible aside." - Not me. Can you explain any of this according to your Dogma?

    It is not my intent to attack you personally, so don't take it that way. But you always, always, ignore what you can't answer; read into things which are not there; and launch into some kind of counterattack using straw man arguments! It is obvious to the readers.

    Want an example???...from your last post maybe?...

    "Also, your answer is incomplete. Consider....If BOTH you and your neighbor received grace, why did you say "I am not worthy" and turn to Christ in faith and not your neighbor? What made you to differ? You cannot say grace made you to differ because you both had grace. So it was something else. In other words your theology demands that you attribute your faith to your own wisdom, humility, sound judgment and good sense... which your neighbor did not have."

    My response:

    According to YOUR own theology, this is not possible, so your question FAILS! Your theology is not "if BOTH received grace"...YOUR theology is one did and one did not since, grace is "irresistible."

    So YOUR question is INCOMPLETE. So what then is the difference if both have been given grace and one accepts and one declines? - I am asking YOU your own question! No doubt a contradiction for you.

    If "even the very humility to say "I am not worthy" is a gift of grace"...then, grace both precedes and follows the action of my own free will.

    The whole problem I have with your theology comes down to the fact that it reduces human beings to mere robots.

    PAX

    Robert

    ⨌⨀_⨀⨌

    ---question on the free will of man and the grace of God.

    Germanus: Where then is there room for free will, and how is it ascribed to our efforts that we are worthy of praise, if God both begins and ends everything in us which concerns our salvation?

    Great post! Here is a site I really enjoy and an little peace from it that helped me to understand "free will".

    Ephesians 2:1 describes the process. We who are “dead in our trespasses and sins” have been “made alive” through Christ. A dead man cannot make himself alive because he lacks the necessary power to do so. Lazarus lay in his tomb four days unable to do a thing to resurrect himself. Christ came along and commanded him to come to life (John 11). So it is with us. We are spiritually dead, unable to rise. But “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He calls us out of our spiritual graves and gives us a completely new nature, one undefiled by sin as the old nature was (2 Corinthians 5:17). God saw the desperate and helpless state of our souls, and in His great love and mercy, He sovereignly chose to send His Son to the cross to redeem us. By His grace we are saved through the gift of faith which He gives us so that we can believe in Jesus. His grace is a free gift, our faith is a free gift, and our salvation is a free gift given to those whom God has chosen “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). Why did He chose to do it this way? Because it was “according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Ephesians 1:5-6). It’s important to understand that the plan of salvation is designed to glorify God, not man. Our response is to praise Him for the “glory of His grace.” If we chose our own salvation, who would get the glory? We would, and God has made it clear that He will not give the glory due to Him to anyone else (Isaiah 48:11).


    Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/is-God-sovereign.html#ixzz2UTyOZJHm

    oops *piece.... not peace

    I'm confused. If sin can be overcome in us only by our being joined with Christ, how can we ever make the initial movement of faith? Don't we already need the grace this movement would imply, and without which it would be impossible? This seems like the old conundrum of "you need the experience to get the job, but you need the job to get the experience."

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