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Friday, February 23, 2007

Why do you believe...?

With the heart man believes unto righteousness (Romans 10:10) and we know that what must be believed is the word of God. Why does the scripture impose this distinction on belief for righteousness? Is it an implication on the process required to come to the belief or could it be highlighting the origin of this particular belief?

Whether you understand a belief to be formed apart from the will or not, here we have a belief originating with the word of God being implanted in the heart (Matthew 13:19) and it cannot be comprehended through either consideration of any natural experience or through deduction but only by virtue of its origin. Does that necessarily alter the process required to form the belief?

Why do you believe that belief in the heart varies from any other belief apart from its origin?

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32 Comments:

Blogger Missy said...

KC, I do not understand the question - not such a big surprise! ??

2/23/2007 08:19:00 AM  
Anonymous luthsem said...

The Holy Spirit creates faith in our hearts and illuminates our minds to trust the Word. Faith comes from hearing the word of God. The Spirit and the Word are not separate from one another.

2/23/2007 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Missy, thanks for letting me know I’m being vague again. ;-)

I think most of us understand that those who believe in Jesus Christ are not condemned but have eternal life and that those who believe not are condemned already but there seems to be some controversy concerning belief when it comes to faith in Christ. Some say that men are not born with this ability to believe and I’m hoping they will make distinction here between the process of believing in Christ and the process of forming any other belief.

My contention is that God creates all men with the ability to believe, as they are able to form many beliefs, both true and untrue and that faith in Christ is not born out of any new ability given or created in a man but by simply using their own God-given ability to believe the testimony of the Holy Spirit concerning the implanted word of God.

Rich, thanks again for participating. I really appreciate it. I agree the Spirit and the word are one but my understanding is that faith is consequential to hearing (comprehending/believing) the word that the Holy Spirit reveals (illuminates) in our heart. Could I ask you your basis for believing it is a creation of the Holy Spirit?

2/23/2007 01:19:00 PM  
Anonymous luthsem said...

We believe when the Spirit illuminates the Word in our hearing. We recieve and trust in Christ.I believe the preached Word is sacramental and does not return void.
Unbelief though is the fault of our own sinful nature and not God's fault.

Romans 10:17 17 So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.

I referenced a blog that mentioned the work of the Spirit and the Word
http://frombelow.wordpress.com/2007/02/19/scripture-works-on-us/

2/23/2007 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

Thanks for the clarification, KC. Rich's answer helped me understand more as well.

I would have to do a little Bible study to know for sure what my belief is, but I can share the testimony of my belief in Christ. For reasons of "social status" I wanted to be a christian for a long time, but was lost at what that meant. The Bible made no sense to me. I am educated (major in college was literature). Must have read the entire Bible straight through three or four times between age 12 and 22. None of it seemed clear. I read study guides, and it became even more confusing. I gave up. I felt that knowing God was a futile goal.

5 years pass, marriage, three babies, and then I get the urge from somewhere deep within to KNOW God. Shortly thereafter (so quickly, in fact, it was a little creepy!) I am asked by a neighbor to join them for a Bible study they have in their home. I spent an incredible 4 weeks studying out scripture and the pages came alive. I could hardly sleep - dangerous for a mom of a 4-year-old, 18 month and 6 month-old!

Anyway, 3 to 4 hours of voracious reading and praying everyday and there was no holding me back.

It seems to me that I was meant to believe at the very moment I did, not before nor after. During my studies, I remember feeling an urgency, a heartfelt urging of the truth.

I was taught that one recieves the Holy Spirit at baptism, but I sure felt the spirit working in me long before. In fact, I cannot remember a time I did not desire to know the God of the Bible. And I was raised by an atheist and one embittered towards God, hmmm...

2/23/2007 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

Not a lick of that answers your question, huh? :-)

2/23/2007 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

There is no difference. You either believe something or you don't.

Next question?

2/23/2007 07:02:00 PM  
Anonymous luthsem said...

Fundy,

The issue is Justification by grace through faith in Christ alone. Is this faith a gift freely given or is it something we must believe by our own reason, will or strength? The Reformers say it is a pure gift.

2/23/2007 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Missy, you may not have addressed this particular question but you answered many of mine. ;-)

Thank you for sharing your wonderful testimony and I know this is where we all begin to relate to the scripture. I think the fact that from the very beginning we really don’t understand how what happened to us occurred gives further testimony to the fact that we don’t save ourselves. I hope we can discuss baptism some time in the near future.

Matthew, before we move on to the next question I’d like to try to get at the “why” one would either believe or not. ;-)

I find this understanding to be the fulcrum upon which a person will form their view on various doctrines relating to election and, consequently, his or her attitude toward the Gospel.

Rich, once more I’m truly grateful for your willingness to discuss this issue. I have not yet been given the opportunity to discuss this with either any Calvinist or Arminian reformers and it’s my understanding on this that leaves me thinking I fall right in between both.

I sympathize with the Calvinist in that I am persuaded that our salvation is fully of God but it seems to me that they have inadvertently glorified the creature. If a man is endowed with a special power or ability not given to other men then the man will glory in his special power or ability. Sadly, it seems to me that many do. If on the other hand the ability to believe the truth is inherent in all men then no man who believes can glory in his knowledge of the truth but rather in God who revealed it to him by His grace. This leaves only shame and condemnation for those who believe not and they are solely responsible for their sin as God is not willing that any should perish but desires that all men would come to a knowledge of the truth.

2/24/2007 03:45:00 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

KC, after reading over your response here, applying some general scripture knowledge and my personal testimony, my belief is that God chooses the time and place to reveal and then asks, "Whatcha gonna do now?"

This is the only belief I can discern that includes both my personal experience and the seemingly contradictory scriptures regarding a requirement to believe and God's election.

PS - and I do think this is an important question, not necessarily to have complete agreement, but to ponder the Spirit's action in my life and give Him all the glory!

2/24/2007 06:33:00 AM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

KC as I have mentioned in other posts that I was raised in a tradional church and accepted JESUS in my heart when I was 14 yrs old ? John 1:1 says "In the begining was the word,and the word was with God, and the word was God." John 3:1st-3rd verse where Nicodemus was questioning Jesus about his salvation because He did not understand and in verse 3 when Jesus answered and said unto him,Verily,Verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again,he cannot see the Kingdom of God! This was the begining of many years of teaching that I was a part of and learned about the Word of God! " This is why I believe what I believe and any man made version is not acceptable to me ? Blessings to you and wishing everybody a Blessed Sunday ? Ron.

2/24/2007 09:04:00 AM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

KC, This is a url to visit that explains "Why I Believe" it explains it more better than I can? http://wandascountryhome.com/follow/ Blessings Ron. Ps , I hope you will be able to just click on url rather than type it in browser ?

2/24/2007 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Mrs Zeke said...

OK all I am confused is the question simply does one believe that if they are believers they are righteous because the Scripture says to be righteous one must believe?
Or something else I have missed ?

Let me know I might have a thought to share...I may not though cause I'm slow sometimes :)

Be loved you are so deal with it

2/24/2007 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Missy, we are very, very close, in our understanding and perhaps even in complete agreement excluding terminology. I’m thinking the question is, “Do you believe this?” God, by His grace, has done all that is necessary in order that a man could believe and there is nothing for a man “to do”, indeed the only thing he could do that would prevent his salvation at this point is to “believe not” what God has accomplished in Christ alone.

Ron and Lady Z, thank you so much for your patience and effort in this. I made a mess in the way I phrased this question. I’ll try to approach it from a different perspective.

If we say God must give man a new ability or a new heart or must alter his being in any way in order for him to believe in Christ then salvation is not a thing God provides for us but rather a thing He enables us “to do”. This would imply that the creature must be glorified in some way in order to “attain” salvation. If we say that God endows all men equally and the only difference between those who are saved and those who are not is the knowledge of Jesus Christ by the word and the Spirit then only God is glorified. Why would you then continue to believe that a man must be made a new creature before he believes in Jesus Christ? I think the scripture is clear on this. Man is created a new creature only in Christ (Ephesians 2:10, 2nd Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15)and only believers are in Christ.

2/25/2007 07:51:00 AM  
Anonymous luthsem said...

KC.

I'm not Calvinist or an Arminian. Lutherans have a different understanding of predestination or election than both camps.
Here's a great explanation of the four views of Election. I fall into the Third or Lutheran View:
http://qaz1.bannerland.org/kelly/?p=295

2/25/2007 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger sofyst said...

Kc, I'm so tired...

2/26/2007 01:54:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Rich, I failed to thank you for the first link but I appreciate them both. I think the 4 views referenced in the article might be used to classify the beliefs of a good many people but my experience has been that, with few exceptions, every individual has nuances to their view that would place them at odds with others who claim to hold the same doctrine. There are also many who, never having considered, would fight to the death to defend one of these views simply because of their alignment with a denomination that holds to that view. I know you are aware there are also many other views as well but we tend to dismiss them more easily as they most often “name, names”. ;-)

What frustrates me with all of these views is that they are all centered on man and require that the man who is saved either elevate himself, or be elevated above other men in God’s eyes when we know that God is no respecter of persons. These doctrines most often have little or nothing to do with the scripture concerning election and were only formed and exist to compliment a given soteriological position. The article you referenced alluded to this fact when mentioning that, historically, this has not been an issue of debate within the body of Christ. I am persuaded that the reason for this is that Systematic Theology, the mother of Denominationalism (had to throw that cut in, hehe), was never an issue in the past, outside of the Roman church and its offspring. Each of these doctrines, without exception, require the adherent to accept some paradox or great mystery as to why or how it is that one man would have eternal life and another not, when the scripture and the Gospel are blatantly clear on this.

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
(John 3:36)

To reconcile the various views on election with the scripture above it becomes necessary to either elevate a man’s faith or belief to a divine level or to elevate man’s will above God’s. We should rather glorify God for divinely revealing the truth in our heart. It is the object and origin of our faith that is divine, not faith itself and it is revealed in His time and at His choosing, not ours.

Adam, take a break and come stay with us until you’re rested. ;-)

2/26/2007 02:33:00 AM  
Anonymous luthsem said...

Yes you are right. You cannot reconcile these viewpoints and it is a mystery. Election is in Christ and why some believe and others don't is not known to us. We do know that a person believes because of God's grace alone.

2/26/2007 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Mrs Zeke said...

Oh boy I might understand!

God's desire is none perish in order for that to be the truth then every person has to have the same ability to accept salvation in Christ or not.

That would lend me to believe that we become new in Christ not new then accept Christ. If not it would mean that acceptance of Christ is not enough which is a awful thought at least in my shoes.

God is just and I don't see how any other way could be just.

Did I get it????
I should get a prize or something :P

Be loved

2/26/2007 11:07:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Rich, thanks again and I think we’ve found common ground though I would say that no man can believe apart from the Grace of God.
;-)

Lady Z, you ARE the prize! ;-)

I would say yes, you understand me. Scary, huh? (hehe)

2/27/2007 04:44:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Rich, I tried to post this on your site but it wouldn't take. Would you please critique this article http://justsoyouallknow.blogspot.com/2006/09/eternal-life.html ?

Thanks. ;-)

2/27/2007 05:28:00 AM  
Blogger Mrs Zeke said...

:) not scary.

Scripture to me is like a weave if you will. I am not the best student of it. But every word is like a piece within a loom and in my view when I am attempting to understand something of one strand I think it is wise to stand back and look at the whole weave.

Christ has to always be enough or we are in danger of becoming like Pharisees setting up all types of hoops to jump through some greater then others, and how could that be?

But is that a selfish way to look at it?
I wonder because anything else would make salvation out of my reach.

Love you

2/27/2007 09:26:00 AM  
Anonymous luthsem said...

KC,

I also believe that no man can believe apart from the grace of God. I don't know if you are misunderstanding me or what? I will read and critique that article.

Thanks

2/27/2007 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous luthsem said...

KC,

I've read your article and really have no big time objections to it. I believe that the gift of Christ is present in all believers now so eternal life is not only future but present as well.
I believe that this gift is dependent on God's promise and Word.
I would only say that unbelief or apostasy is not God's fault but our own fault. This does not negate the promises of God but shows the sinfulness of humanity.

2/27/2007 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Lady Z, well said. Christ has to be enough. I like the weave analogy too. I’m glad you mentioned selfishness because I hope to examine our motivation(s) for believing. I guess we’ve really been talking more here about “how” we believe rather than “why” we believe and that’s a whole other can of worms! ;-)

Rich, thanks for taking the time to read that article and especially for your thoughts.

I think we may differ slightly in our understanding of the consequence of apostasy. I would consider the consequence a potential loss of everything but eternal life itself (1st Corinthians 3:15, 2nd Timothy 2:13, John 6:51, 1st Peter 1:23). We certainly agree on the responsibility in this. God has provided all that we need to remain faithful and any failure to do so is on our part, not His.

I was hesitant to agree we are saved “because” of God’s grace. I think we are saved by His Grace because of His love. I hope that explains why I restated it.

2/27/2007 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

I think believing with the heart means that the truth is sunken into you. It is not something you are indifferent about, but it means something to you ... when it is in your heart!

It's got ya!

How's that?

2/27/2007 10:46:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Rose, I think that's great! Now how, would you say, it got sunk in there? ;-)

I view belief as agreement in the veracity of a given proposition. In this case I would say the propositon is the testimony of God's Spirit concerning Jesus that He "sunk" in our heart. When we agree to the veracity of His testimony we have believed in out heart.

2/28/2007 06:40:00 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

I would have to say we are born without the ability to believe. We are given the responsibility to believe, but not the ability to believe, therefore, we only believe when God moves in us to make it possible.

http://fleshisasgrass.blogspot.com/2007/02/new-sermon-cure-for-modern-ills.html

He is the One who has the choice, we do not... but I bet you knew I would say that now didn't you? :)

OK, the neighborhood Calvinist is now leaving the building again...

Really, just wanted to come by and thank you for the html. I need the help. Blessings... BTW, it was foredained before the foundations of the world that you would help this Calvinist! :)

2/28/2007 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Pastor, you might say I had a certain foreknowledge (grin) but then the neighborhood just wouldn’t be the same without you.

”BTW, it was foredained before the foundations of the world that you would help this Calvinist! :)

I admit you have me there. Can’t help but love ya brother! ;-)

2/28/2007 02:05:00 PM  
Anonymous luthsem/rich said...

KC,

Well God's grace is because of God's love for us so I will agree with that.

2/28/2007 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

I agree with your comments KC, of course thats not a suprise :)


KC said:
"It is the object and origin of our faith that is divine, not faith itself and it is revealed in His time and at His choosing, not ours."

I like, I like!

John 5:24
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has eternal life."

This verse seems to explain itself does it not?

But notice the words; he who HEARS my word, AND believes Him who sent me has eternal life

Do we take this to mean that a person who hears also has to believe in order to have eternal life or by default of not taking any action at all(disbelief) once he hears is judged already

Is Jesus saying that man is responsible once he hears "my word" to also believe in order to have eternal life?

Just in case there is some doubt as to what the "my word" is that someone has to "hear" in order to believe the Him who sent Jesus for eternal life lets look at what Jesus told Martha in John 11:25,27

25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,
26and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"
27She said to Him, "Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world."

Here is Jesus's "my word" to Martha and Jesus asking Martha if she "believed" "my word".

Why would Jesus ask Martha if she believed what He just said if God is the one who creates belief in Martha before she can believe and be saved?

Does the Son of God not know if she does and is asking her so that He will know? I don't think so. John 6:64 "But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe,....
No, Jesus is asking Martha if she believes this, for Martha's sake not His.

The traditional election folks use John 6:44 and 65 to back up their doctrine of unconditional election. Well if anyone really reads John 6 he will notice that Jesus says that no one can come to Him unless it is granted by the Father. But never does it say that God is the one who causes a person to believe in Jesus. It only says that no one can come to Jesus unless God grants them.

Why can't the answer be that those who hear AND believes are the ones that God grants to come to Jesus? In other words the moment a person actually believes what he has heard is the moment God regenerates them to come to Jesus.

If this debate never comes to an end in this age, at the very least a person can be assured that if they believe in Jesus for everlasting life they have been elected of God and no one can snatch them out of His hands.

Sorry for being so long winded (:

2/28/2007 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Rich, that’s a good point. Thanks again for the dialog and I hope I can look forward to more in the future. ;-)

Kris, you well know your “long wind” is nothing short of a breath of fresh air for me. ;-)

I decided to comment on your thoughts in my next post.

3/01/2007 04:12:00 AM  

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