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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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  • « A Concise Exegetical Defense of "Particular Redemption" in the Gospel of John | Main | "You Always Resist the Holy Spirit" »

    Universal Redemption Must be Denied by Jonathan Edwards

    Universal redemption must be denied in the very sense of Calvinists themselves, whether predestination is acknowledged or no, if we acknowledge that Christ knows all things. For if Christ certainly knows all things to come, he certainly knew, when he died, that there were such and such men that would never be the better for his death. And therefore, it was impossible that he should die with an intent to make them (particular persons) happy. For it is a right-down contradiction [to say that] he died with an intent to make them happy, when at the same time he knew they would not be happy-Predestination or no predestination, it is all one for that. This is all that Calvinists mean when they say that Christ did not die for all, that he did not die intending and designing that such and such particular persons should be the better for it; and that is evident to a demonstration. Now Arminians, when [they] say that Christ died for all, cannot mean, with any sense, that he died for all any otherwise than to give all an opportunity to be saved; and that, Calvinists themselves never denied. He did die for all in this sense; ’tis past all contradiction.

    -Jonathan Edwards [1722], The “Miscellanies”: (Entry Nos. a–z, aa–zz, 1–500) (WJE Online Vol. 13) , Ed. Harry S. Stout, page 1 74

    Posted by John on November 29, 2012 06:08 PM

    Comments

    I have been following your blog for sometime now and truly believe that reformed theology is biblical. I am struggling to be saved. I have found my heart to be hard to Christ and the gospel and have grown up in the church. I have no way or will to turn from my unbelief and feel I am set in it. Most of the time I tremble with fear about it. I have been like this for over 20 years and fear I will just get worse and worse. Please pray for me.

    I will pray for you now Lori,

    LORD JESUS, IT IS BY YOUR POWER AND AUTHORITY THAT TRANSFORMS US MAKING OUR LOWLY BODY TO BE LIKE YOUR GLORIOUS BODY!

    Php 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
    Php 3:21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

    HEAVENLY FATHER, IT IS BY DOMINION AUTHORITY THAT CALLS EACH OF US TO YOUR ETERNAL GLORY IN CHRIST. YOU WILL REFORM, CONFIRM, STRENGTHEN AND ESTABLISH US IN THE TRUTH!

    1Pe 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
    1Pe 5:11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.


    BLESS LORI NOW. FILL HER WITH WISDOM AND REVELATION BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT REFRESHING HER HEART AND MIND BY YOUR MERCY AND GRACE THAT YOU WITHOUT ANY MERIT ON HER PART OR BECAUSE OF ANY GOODNESS IN HER FREELY BESTOW ON YOUR CHILDREN!

    AMEN

    Thank u. I guess it's not struggling to be saved I am wildil rejecting the gospel and it scares me but I won't believe. When I read my bible there is nothing but wrath and my heart gets so hard. I do think I have grieved the spirit so much that I am reprobate now. I cannot seem to get to Christ or if I even truly want to. If I did truly want him would I already have peace? I know if u want to enter the kingdom u have to give up all for Christ. My self righteousness is what holds me prisoner. It scares me so. And I fear I will be like this to the end. It would take so long to write u all that has been going on inside all these years.

    This is how it is all the time with me. I know I have not trusted Christ and that it will send me to hell but when I pray and ask The Lord to help me in this unbelief my heart races and there is such hesitation to put my faith in him. I won't trust that Christ paid it all for me. It's misery.

    I pray for Lori Lord, and many who may be struggling as she describes. Lord, You are mighty to save, nothing is too hard for You. Draw her to Jesus, teach her heart to know Him as Her saviour and her God...strengthen all of us in Your truth and grace. In Jesus name I pray.

    I'm struggling to understand the end of Edwards' statement: "Now Arminians, when [they] say that Christ died for all, cannot mean, with any sense, that he died for all any otherwise than to give all an opportunity to be saved; and that, Calvinists themselves never denied. He did die for all in this sense; ’tis past all contradiction."

    Is Edwards saying that Calvinists believe Christ died "to give all an opportunity to be saved"?

    Brad,

    Thanks for your question. What I believe Edwards is saying is that the doctrine of particular redemption is the idea that Christ died for the elect in a way he did not die for the non-elect, that is, REDEMPTIVELY. It was never the redemptive intent of Christ to die for the non-elect. That is why we call it "particular REDEMPTION" And we would probably agree that the redemptive benefit received by the elect is the only intent that really ultimately matters.

    This does not mean however that there may be non-redemptive "benefits" for the non-elect. For example. As the church we do not know who God's elect are so we cast the seed of the gospel indiscriminately. "Jesus died for sinners and rose again. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved."

    This summons to believe in Jesus is given to all men. But OUGHT does not imply can. After the fall God's nature does not change, ours did. He does not lower his standards simply because we are fallen. He is holy so He still commands us to do things we are unable all the time.

    So Edwards is essentially saying that the fact and summons to believe in Christ's death and resurrection is held forth indiscriminately to all unbelievers. It may damn them if they do not believe but they are responsible for its content. This "opportunity" just serves to reveal their hardness of heart.

    John Calvin said something similar in his commentary on John 3:16

    Let us remember, on the other hand, that while life is promised universally to all who believe in Christ, still faith is not common to all. For Christ is made known and held out to the view of all, but the elect alone are they whose eyes God opens, that they may seek him by faith. Here, too, is displayed a wonderful effect of faith; for by it we receive Christ such as he is given to us by the Father -- that is, as having freed us from the condemnation of eternal death, and made us heirs of eternal life, because, by the sacrifice of his death, he has atoned for our sins, that nothing may prevent God from acknowledging us as his sons. Since, therefore, faith embraces Christ, with the efficacy of his death and the fruit of his resurrection, we need not wonder if by it we obtain likewise the life of Christ.

    Hope this clarifies
    John

    Brad,

    I read the Word of God alot. I cannot say just how many times I have read the Gospel of John. Recently over the last while I have been listening to the Word of God. Just yesterday as I was listening to these Words of Scripture from John 17 particular redemption came into focus in a way I hadn't seen it before. Maybe these words will be illuminated to you by the power of the Holy Spirit too as you read them?:

    Joh 17:6 "I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.
    Joh 17:7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you.
    Joh 17:8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.
    Joh 17:9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.
    Joh 17:10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.

    Of a few things I could comment about these verses I would highlight two.

    First in verse 6 the phrase "out this world" implies a greater amount of people than Jesus manifested the Father's name to.

    And then second, in verse 10, one needs to ask if it is their heart to in every way possible glorify God?

    That one point in verse 10 jumped out at me causing me to consider all the people I have talked to that don't seem to have any desire for Christ, the gospel message or a burning desire in their heart and soul to glorify God through Jesus Christ!

    Hi Michael,

    Could you point me to the person who runs this blog? I'm trying to contact them via email? Not sure if it's you...

    Thanks!

    Maria up the top and left list the contributors. Click on their name and you should be able to connect with them.

    I read Lori's posts to this blog and have found myself in the same terrifying and miserable position for the past 1.5 years.

    I am terrified that I resisted the Holy Spirit as the Spirit was trying to lead me to saving faith and now my heart has been hardened. I know that I need Jesus in my life but am terrified that I am beyond repentance.

    I was raised in a Christian home and professed to be a Christian. I had responded to an invitation at a church camp as a teenager and said the sinner's prayer. In obedience, I was baptized when I returned home from camp. I began to read my Bible, pray, participate in various ministries in church, and help others. I truly believed that I was a Christian and even my family and church family thought I was a growing Christian. It was not until events in 2012 that I realized that I did not truly have a personal relationship with Jesus.

    In late 2011, God began to quietly and occasionally prompt me that I was missing Jesus. At first, I dismissed these promptings as being from the devil because at the time I was involved with several other ladies from our church in a women's prison ministry where we shared the gospel weekly with the inmates.

    The promptings subsided and I continued to serve in ministries in our church and work and maintain our home for my faithful, Christian husband of eight years.

    In early 2012, the promptings returned and were more intense. I began to think that these might be from the Lord, but could not understand why God was telling me that I was not saved and that I needed Jesus. I would argue with God that I was already saved, otherwise, why would I be serving in these ministries that shared the gospel with others? Looking back, I do not understand why I was so resistant to God's promptings. He was lovingly trying to show me that I was wrong and had been basing my salvation on works instead of trusting fully in Jesus. I do think that I was mainly afraid to admit to myself and others, particularly those in our church, that I did not know Jesus like I professed that I did.

    There was a night in March 2012 when God seemed to speak to me and remind me of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. (where the rich man received all his pleasures in this life time and spent eternity in torment) and immediately the promptings departed. I have been terrified and in a depraved state since that night (it has been almost 1.5 years) It is as though my mind has become dull and not capable of functioning. (I keep asking myself if God gave me over to a reprobate mind because I would not listen and obey His call to salvation. Romans 1:28)). My thoughts are constantly filled with fear of death and Hell and I have no zest for life. (Is this the scripture in Hebrews 10:27 being fulfilled in my life?) I'm in despair & therefore am not eating much at all, my hygiene is in the toilet; I neglect brushing teeth & showers, & am not at all motivated to do housework or work of any kind; I have lost all zest for life. I feel like a living corpse. I quit my job in mid 2012 because I could not concentrate on my work and had very poor performance. I can not seem to get my mind to turn off, so I have to take sleeping pills to sleep. Although I sleep, it is never a restful or refreshing sleep. I awake to the same awful nightmare each morning; fear that I am condemned.

    I have shared with my family and church family about this, & they're all tired of hearing about this. I either have them tell me 1) that it is never too late (until you are dead) to be saved and that I just need to cry out to God to save me, or 2) if you are concerned you blasphemed the Holy Spirit then you haven't.

    I myself used to believe that you had until the time of death to choose to accept Jesus, but after my experience and the research I have done on falling away or blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, I believe that a person can be alive but have missed their opportunity for salvation. I do struggle with the second comment. I am truly concerned that I have blasphemed the Holy Spirit but it offers me little comfort to think that my concern means that I have not committed it. If I hadn't committed it, why do I feel so dead inside and rejected by God?

    I know that I need Jesus as my Savior. The problem is, I know that I can't manufacture belief & faith on my own, no matter how much I read the bible, pray, or go to church. God draws us to Himself and the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, righteousness, and judgement.

    I don't know what to do. Am I really damned or is this a trick from the devil to make me think I am damned and give up hope? If I choose to remain in this hopeless state and believe that I am damned, then maybe that is what the Devil wants and I may end up truly missing my opportunity for salvation because I have chosen to give up. If I am not damned and there is still an opportunity for salvation, why do I feel like God has given me up?

    We can all hope and pray that the Calvinists are basically wrong. Christ did die for the world. He tasted death for all men and that any who so choose may come for it is not God's will that any should perish but that all be saved,and we have it on good authority that God's will is always accomplished (see Calvinism). Calvinists that I read sound nothing like Paul, James or Peter in the Bible. They speak without hope,choice but rather darkness and condemnation. Jesus brought light into the world. People are condemned because they prefer darkness over the light. Stephanie, as one who has experienced some of your problems (actually I consider it a lack of faith in what Jesus said and listening to those who lead you to condemn yourself) God does love you for he loves the whole world and does not get pleasure in the destruction of anyone as he has said in scriptures. Don't trust in your feelings they are transitory and unreliable. Just believe that Jesus loves you and obey him. May God bless you and keep you in the name of Jesus.

    stephanie, i feel you a lot and your story really touched me. We all know that God works in different ways and i truly hope this is one of His many ways of bringing you closer to Him- through your hopelesness! Idk much about blaspheming the HS, but i lean more towards attributing His work to that of the devil, which unfortunately you confessed in your testimony. His mercies are bountiful my sister, please do not lose hope. It is all that we have in Him- HOPE.

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