Those things that ARE Revealed
While we wholeheartedly affirm that there are indeed many mysteries about God we were not meant to understand this side of eternity, and perhaps will never fully comprehend. But the Bible declares that those things that ARE revealed WERE MEANT for us and our children (Deut. 29:29). In other words, if Jesus talked about something and He put it in Scripture, He meant that we should hear it, talk about it, think about it, form our understanding with regard to it, preach about it, apply it, and obey it on THIS side of eternity. The refusal to want to take the time to learn more about Jesus in the Text is really so much of what is wrong with Christianity today. Certain evangelicals appear to have no interest in applying themselves to Scripture and would rather believe in a generic Jesus who we form in our own image.
I would much prefer to have a heated but irenic debate with a theological opponent than to hear someone say, "we should just love Jesus and forget about the rest", as if you could love a Jesus whom you don't really know. Which Jesus should we love?
Redemption Both Particular & Trinitarian
The work of redemption is both particular and it is Trinitarian. The Father elects a particular people for Himself (Eph 1: 4, 5); Christ dies for all those the Father has given Him (John 17:9, 19). and the Spirit applies the effectual work of Christ on the same (John 3:8; 6:63). However, those (amyraldians) who reject particular redemption introduce a conflict between the Divine Persons. The Triune God becomes disjoined from one other in their saving intent. In this case the Father elects particular individuals, but the Son, on the other hand, dies for all, and the Spirit again seals those the Father elected. Such theology would have us believe that the Son works in disharmony with the other two Members of the Trinity. But Christ is not the author of confusion but rather (the bible declares) came to save all those given to him by the Father (John 6:37,63,65; 17:9; 19, 24)
"Circumcise the foreskin of your heart"
Question: "Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn." Deut. 10:16 --> If God commands the Israelites to circumcise their own hearts in this verse and in Jer. 4:4, how can we reconcile these two verses with monergistic principles?
Answer: Good question.
Let me first answer with a question. God commands you love love Him with all your heart mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself. Can you do so apart from grace?
When Adam fell in the garden God did not change his holy standard for him or us. Although corrupted, God still commands all men everywhere to be holy, and he punishes men for not obeying his law perfectly. This demonstrates that our inability does not alleviate our responsibility - God commands holiness even though we are impotent to be holy. This is the whole point of the gospel where He extends grace in Jesus Christ - TO GRANT WHAT HE COMMANDS. And we see this very principle later in (the book you cite) Deuteronomy 30:6 where God declares: “Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live."
He grants in Deuteronomy 30:6 what he commanded in Deuteronomy 10:16.
Remember Romans 3:19, 20 teach us the purpose of the commands in the Bible >>> "through the law comes knowledge of sin"... In other words, the purpose of commands is not to show our ability but our inability. Carried over to Deut 10:16 this means the command to circumcise our own hearts is God's holy requirement for us, but can only be fulfilled by grace.
God commands us to circumcise our hearts because this is his holy requirement for us. And then in his mercy He grants the very thing he commands (Deut 30:6). Jesus came to do for us what we were unable to do for ourselves.
As for Jeremiah we see the same principle, The entire book of Jeremiah is about a prophet sent to people who, God tells him, will not listen. "So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you." (Jeremiah 7:27) So the command to circumcise their own hearts is going to people who God declares will reject his message.
Like Deuteronomy 30:6, there are also similar promises for regenerating grace in Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 24:7 I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.
Hope this helps
"You Always Resist the Holy Spirit"
One of the main arguments against the biblical doctrine of irresistible grace is an appeal to Acts 7:51 which declares “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you."
But it seems odd to me that the very text here cited by some to demonstrate that grace is resistible contains they very language that makes a decisive argument against their own position. Indeed it is true that these persons resist the Holy Spirit, but look closely... the Text declares that their heart and ears are "uncircumcised". In the Old Testament this is the main language used for regeneration (See Deut 29:4, 30:6 & Ezek 36:26) so being unregenerate, to resist every outward working of the Spirit, is simply acting in accordance with their nature.
People always resist the outward call of the gospel.. ALWAYS, untill God opens their eyes, ears and heart to the gospel. That is called circumcision of heart, the new birth or regeneration. The work of the Spirit is manifold, regeneration being only one aspect ... The Bible declares that He may convict the unregenerate of certain sin and do many things short of regenerating grace. Anything short of regeneration CAN be resisted.
Are We Saved by Free Grace or Free Will?
There are many persons in the visible church who declare that we must meet a condition before God will extend His grace to us. But if there is a condition we must meet, then how can it still be considered grace? Grace is unmerited favor granted to sinners, not based on any condition the sinner must first meet, but based on God's unconditional love for those he came to save (Eph 1:4. 5). Indeed God does make us responsible to meet His condition(s), but thanks be to God, His love for His people is not based on meeting those condition(s). In fact the bible teaches us that His love is so great that God loved us while we were still sinners and showed this love to us by meeting the condition(s) for us in the Person of Jesus (Rom. 5:8). In Him God does for us what we are unable to do for ourselves ... living the life we should have lived and dying the death we justly deserved ... giving us everything we need for salvation, including a new heart to believe (Deut 29:4, 30:6; Ezek 36:26; John 6:63, 65, 37). Grace is not a reward for those who obey God's summons to believe, but the cause of our obedience to the summons (John 17:9, 12, 17, 20, 24).
A Contrast of Missionary Strategies
Both the Calvinst and the Arminian are eager to reach the lost with the gospel so they each send out missionaries to the lost and unreached people groups. Both indiscriminately preach the gospel to all people. But this is where the similarity ends. The Calvinist, and his or her sending local church, earnestly pray for the souls of real people, that God will save individual sinners - those the missionary is working with; that God would have favor on them. That he would germinate the seed which they are planting and bring these individuals to life.
The Arminian, and his church, on the other hand, do not pray for God to save individuals nor do they pray he would have favor on certain people over others. For as soon as he prays for someones salvation he is asking God to change their heart, in which case he is no longer an Arminian, but believes God can do something to the will of the person being prayed for... and since, according to them, God is obligated to grant the same favor to all people, he cannot consistently pray that God would have favor on certain individuals and not others. It all becomes very impersonal because the Arminian can only consistently pray for the mass Of humanity that God would do something He is already doing for them - giving them equal opportunity ... without any thought to the individual. Otherwise, they reason, God would be unfair. But does not Jesus himself say, "Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ (Matt 20:15)
Of course the hypercalvinist neither sends nor prays for he erroneously reasons that "When God decides to save the heathen, He will do it without any help."
THE CASE OF GOD THE FATHER AGAINST ______________________________ (fill in your own name)
PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: SATAN (THE ACCUSER OF THE BRETHREN)
DEFENSE ATTORNEY: THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
JUDGE PRESIDING: GOD THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE
IN ATTENDANCE: The angelic hosts (righteous and fallen)
“ it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” – Heb. 9:27
You now stand in the dock, faced with the charge of great and terrible acts of high treason against the Most High God.
Gabriel, the high ranking angel addresses the court saying, “All rise! The Righteous Judge is coming into His chamber!”
The Judge declares His court to now be in session and asks for all to be seated.
Without any delay, Satan stands up and addresses the court. He states that the record will show that you have broken all 10 of the Ten Commandments, on multiple occasions. He will prove your guilt on all counts for He has the indisputable video evidence as well as reliable witnesses to attest to the facts in this case.
After the case is made against you and there is a hush in the court. The prosecuting attorney has shown that you have indeed committed acts of high treason against God. It seems inevitable that you will be found guilty.
Satan then addresses the Judge and says, “A good God must be a good Judge. The facts are clear. You must find this one guilty. Your own record in Proverbs 17:15 states, ‘He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD.’ For you to acquit this one would mean that You are not righteous Yourself. You must find this one guilty as charged. I rest my case.”
The Judge then calls upon your defense attorney to address the court.
The Duty of Man is to Repent and Believe the Gospel
Imperatives (Commands) only demonstrate man's duty, not his ability. You might as well say that God's command to love him with all our heart is possible since God commands it... But the Bible teaches us something very different. Paul says after the fall the purpose of the commands is not to tell us our ability, but to to reveal our inability, our sin. "Through the law comes knowledge of sin. (Rom 3:19, 20)
Repent and believe the gospel is man's duty, his responsibility. He must believe in Jesus Christ to be justified. The weight of the command to believe must be impressed upon all men (Acts 17:30; 1 John 3:23). But again, the command to believe is no easier to do than the command to love God with all our heart. As Jesus himself declares, no one will believe APART FROM the grace of God in Jesus Christ, as we are united to Him by the Spirit (John 6:63, 65; 37).
Improper Use of the Imperatives in Scripture
Many modern teachers and pastors improperly use the imperatives (commands) in Scripture to try to demonstrate that man has free will, because, they reason, it would be unjust of God to call us to do something we are unable to do ... but the Bible teaches something very different... God's holy law remains intact and does not change after the fall. God is still holy and demands perfection to Adam's fallen posterity. After the fall, corruption set in and humanity is "not able not to sin"... He affections and will are enslaved. So Paul now teaches that the purpose of the divine legislation (His commands) is to reveal our sin or inability (Rom 3:19, 20) not to reveal our ability. Why does He do this? Because it demonstrates to man his moral bankruptcy and impotence in the face of God's holiness which leads man to despair of himself, and it is there that God extends his mercy. So "Let Him who boasts, boast in the Lord." (1 Cor. 1:31) it is Christ alone who can set us free (Gal 5:1; Rom 6:18).
Talking to Mormon Missionaries
This is actual recorded video footage of my friend, Pastor Jeff Durbin speaking with two Mormon missionaries yesterday. Jeff spotted these missionaries riding their bikes across the street while he was with the head of ‘The Red Door’ abortion ministry (Jamie) outside of an abortion clinic in Tempe, Arizona. Jeff called out to the missionaries and they rode their bikes up.
The video footage includes the discussion that took place. This is an excellent resource to share with Mormons and Christians alike.
Kirsten Powers: A Testimony to Irresistible Grace
God is able to make His grace irresistible, even to those who beforehand were not in any way interested. I encourage you to read the testimony of Kirsten Powers here. - JS
How Systematic Theology Can Energize and Enrich Your Preaching
Dr. J. I. Packer’s lecture on this theme:
Meeting the Condition for Salvation
There is a condition we must meet for salvation. But, thank God for his great mercy, Jesus meets the condition FOR US. Part of his glorious work on our behalf is to give us everything we need for our salvation, including his Holy Spirit to believe. Indeed, we do the believing, but it is the Spirit quickens, who opens our eyes and heart that we might do so.(1)
"The Spirit gives life [quickens], the flesh counts for nothing...No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me grants it."(John 6:63,65)
"All that the Father gives to me will come to me." (John 6:37)
Both statements from the same discussion in John 6 and leave no room for the view that we can come to faith in Jesus on our own or even by cooperation... we come only if we are granted it .. and ALL to whom it is granted will come to faith in Jesus, my Bible declares.
(1) Note: In a similar way God gives us physical eyes, but we do the seeing. What is impossible for man (making himself new eyes) is possible with God.
Our Poisoned Culture of Libel and Defamation
I have not historically spent much time, if any, obsessing on the various sexual liberation agendas in our culture. But it has come to my attention that perhaps the most troubled people in our current society are those who accuse Christians of hate speech and homophobia for simply wanting to share the gospel with them. Such groundless declarations of hate betray the speakers themselves as a people driven by irrational prejudice. In doing so they are creating a poisoned cultural, educational and political atmosphere which they teach others to hate Christians for something they don't even believe, nor has it crossed our mind .... since no true Christian believes he/she morally better and many of us have committed much worse sins. We are here to proclaim freedom to those enslaved, ourselves included. It is mercy alone which saved us, and certainly not any good in us.
It is one thing to say that you don't believe Christianity to be true but quite another to declare that it must come from hate. Sadly I do believe a large number of people promoting these cultural myths know this, but truth seems to go out the window for people when they have a political agenda. However, when such an agenda involves smearing others with non-existent motives, then this is a form of defamation and is ITSELF perhaps the worst form of hate there is. Perhaps THIS is the source of our very hostile, divided culture. If there are so-called Christians, who are hateful, and no doubt there are, surprising as it may sound to some, a more conservative view of theology is the answer to dealing with such ignorance and bigotry. Jesus who delivers ALL OF US from some form(s) of bondage, calls us to proclaim liberty to captives whoever they may be, homosexual or otherwise. So know this....It would only be hate if we REFUSED to share the gospel with one of these subsets of people.
Of course none of this comes as any surprise given our Lord's statements on the certainty of irrational hatred toward Christians, but I wanted to make a note of it.