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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Elect in Christ

We “hear” when God reveals the spoken word of truth in our heart. This is the implanting of the word that is accomplished through “the foolishness of preaching” by the power of His Spirit and it’s in this I find that men have no choice at all. I consider every aspect of this as being God’s grace by which we are saved and I honestly believe it is truly irresistible. When God determines that a man will hear the truth, he will hear it. If a man must be altered in any way in order to receive God’s grace then that man can rightly glory in his new and special ability. It is a gift from God to glorify the man and he is created a new creature, apart from Christ and apart from faith. If on the other hand God’s grace is imparted to a man, just as he is, lost and undone without any hope at all, then let all praise and glory be to God the Savior! That man is a creature thoroughly bound in sin and has no new or special ability at all but in His infinite love God has mercifully revealed the truth to Him!

God has determined that all who will believe the truth of the Gospel be no longer condemned but receive instead the gift of eternal life. This belief is nothing less than the creation of our faith through which God’s grace is imparted to us and it is incumbent, not imputed, on us to believe. God has authored our faith by revealing His word in which lies the power of salvation for all who believe. Those who believe are born of the Spirit by the conception of His grace through our faith. This is the spirit birth and it is then that we become a new creature, created in Christ Jesus. All those who would find the word foolishness and refuse to obey the Gospel command to believe must remain condemned with no hope at all and the word will be a testimony against them. This clearly leaves man alone responsible for unbelief but God alone the author of all salvation. A man cannot glory in his faith as it is incumbent on all men to believe but if he believes not then one day he must face the shame of his disobedience and he is without excuse.

I think it a sad thing for a man to glory in election as though it was appointed to him. It was appointed in Christ before the foundation of the world and apart from the body of Christ there are none elect. Were we always part of His body? Can we claim we were always in Him? Can you say you had faith from birth or before? Are you saved by grace through foreordination or through faith? If the scripture reveals any other way to be found in Christ apart from faith in Him then please show me. If the scripture clearly shows that the man who believes in Christ Jesus has everlasting life, and you believe in Jesus Christ, then rejoice with me in His salvation, not only of us, but also of all those who have and will believe the Gospel message that He has appointed we should carry to the world!

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73 Comments:

Blogger RF2R2 said...

kc,

I appreciate your clear language on this - it has really helped me to understand your position on election.

For the first part of your post I found myself agreeing with you ecstatically, and, having read the rest, I'm still excited to see how much we do hold in common. However, might I suggest that your principle argument against a more determined election is in error. You indicate that for belief to be individually determined, as opposed to the the preaching of the word being individually determined, means that someone has been, in effect, saved from conception; which would obviously be contrary to scripture which clearly indicates that all men are sinners alike in composition before recieving grace and believing in Christ. No determinist/5-point calvinist believes in a superior quality of the soul before the moment of grace/belief and this is not in conflict with our view that grace is irresistible to the point full belief.

I submit that to be 'saved by grace, through faith,' is meant to convey the idea that faith is the vehicle of grace and not an act per se on the part of the christian.

Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body [1] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But [2] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

In verses 1-3 Paul characterizes all believers as having once been sinful, unsaved people. And in this you and I both agree as well; elect or otherwise, all started out fallen and unsaved. In verse 4-9 Paul goes on to describe the means by which we have been saved, saying nothing to the process. Verses 4-9 deal only with discounting any notion that grace came to us through any work in supposed fulfilment of the law. Truly, I can't even make a scriptural argument, as many determinists do, that works here includes the 'act' of volitionally believing (though I can make that argument logically, but this is beside the point and best left to another discussion).

Despite this, however, verse 10 does shed some light on our discussion. We can quibble over the meaning of 'created in Christ', whether this phrase lends more to my argument or yours, but without a degree or some such understanding of greek (and I wonder if even that would shed any light) I doubt there can be any ground gained there. Luckily, I find the next bit revealing, however. We have been created in Christ for the purpose of 'good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them'. Whatever other dissagreements we have in this passage, we ought to at least agree that the notion that one can be elect to the point of their belief being determined and yet start out a sinner in completely plausible scripturally.

3/01/2007 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger RF2R2 said...

I retract this statement,

(though I can make that argument logically, but this is beside the point and best left to another discussion)

having been thouroughly skewered on my own logic.

That is all.

3/01/2007 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

Hi KC,
yes, I would agree, you are clear on where you stand on this... but I would have to say I disagree with a good portion of it... I thought about trying to tackle some of it... but, I think it's been predetermined at this point that I feel the mountain of KC's theology is just too much for me to handle. :)
Blessings

3/01/2007 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

I think far too many people take contradictory scripture and, rather than making them fit together (like you have done here), defend one side and insist the other side does not say what it seems to.

Theology uses scripture to prove itself. Theology has been most effective to me when I use scripture to disprove it.

3/01/2007 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Gordon Cloud said...

Homerun!

3/01/2007 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

OK KC, I can't let all this pass... too many just agreeing with you...

You wrote:
"If a man must be altered in any way in order to receive God’s grace then that man can rightly glory in his new and special ability."

First off, man has to be altered because man is spiritually dead, i.e. ye must be born again. Secondly, how is it that man would glory in his new and special ability given that the new ability, the ability to actually believe in Christ, is not from himself, but given to him from the Creator, i.e. the Holy Spirit which has enlightened our minds (Ephesians 1:18)

Remember Ephesians 2:4ff, we were dead... God MADE us alive. We didn't become alive because of our faith, we had faith because He made us alive, otherwise, we remained dead in our trespasses.

The gift is both God's grace and faith and the ability to hear, see Ehpesians 1:18 again.

OK, that's a start...

3/01/2007 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

I guess what gets me is that if God chooses a group of select individuals who can believe, how is that any different than His covenant with Israel? Was Jesus just a way to say to Israel, "Hey I gave you guys a great opportunity here and you blew it. Jesus is going to bring in some new guys to replace you as my chosen people." ??

Why preach repentance in the times before Christ? Why does Christ speak so much about believing His testimony and coming to Him for eternal life? Is scripture just to rub it in the face of the non-elect that they are all going to hell?

To believe you are elite means you believe there is something more special about you than the other guys. And of course if you have the ability to believe and I do not, then you are elite - there is something more special about you than me.

The Spirit in me cannot let it settle there.

3/01/2007 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Brandon, I remember what a blessing I received from our very first discussion and I look forward now to each one with anticipation. I truly appreciate your time and effort in this.

I would agree that the verses you reference cannot establish either position but are supportive to both as interpreted by both. I confess I am uncertain of your point concerning Vs. 10. Could you expound on your understanding here? I understand the “we” in this verse to be those in Christ as well as the good works, which were prepared before hand in Him. Again I see no foreordination of any good works apart from those in Christ.

I think there is a wealth of scripture that would help us to understand what it means to be in Christ and I hope we can pursue that in the very near future.

Pastor, I would dearly love to discuss this with you, but at your leisure. I am committed to what I don’t want here. First, to detract from your work in any way and second to cause Sister Beth to have to step in because we spend too much time at it! ;-)

You wrote;

“First off, man has to be altered because man is spiritually dead, i.e. ye must be born again.”

I understand the spirit birth to be consequential to faith and not prerequisite. (2nd Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15)

“Secondly, how is it that man would glory in his new and special ability given that the new ability, the ability to actually believe in Christ, is not from himself, but given to him from the Creator.”

As I stated in my article, “If a man must be altered in any way in order to receive God’s grace then that man can rightly glory in his new and special ability. It is a gift from God to glorify the man and he is created a new creature, apart from Christ and apart from faith.”

“i.e. the Holy Spirit which has enlightened our minds (Ephesians 1:18)”

I understand these Ephesians to have already believed (Vs. 13). The truth concerning Christ is revealed in the heart of the unbeliever but the understanding and instruction of God and His divine purpose and way is reserved for those who are in Christ.

“Remember Ephesians 2:4ff, we were dead... God MADE us alive. We didn't become alive because of our faith, we had faith because He made us alive, otherwise, we remained dead in our trespasses.”

Again I find the scripture reveals we cannot have any life apart from Christ. Even this reference states we are “quickened with Christ” (Vs. 2:5).

“The gift is both God's grace and faith and the ability to hear, see Ephesians 1:18 again.”

I find the gift of God is eternal life, and that again, only through Christ (Romans 6:23, Romans 5:15-18).

I look forward to discussing this but I do not expect we will agree. I only hope we will grow in our love and respect for God and for one another.

Missy, we have an identical approach to Systematic Theology.

It STINKS! (Just kiddin! ;-))

Rather than presuppose that any given system would be correct we presuppose that none are and seek to expose their flaws by the word. What’s left standing in the aftermath becomes plausible and the scrutiny starts afresh. ;-)

Preacher, thanks but I’m still huffin and puffin to make it around the bases! I know my brothers here will do thier best to tag me out! ;-)

3/01/2007 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger dorsey said...

It's good that election is left to God, because I wouldn't vote for any of you. : )

3/01/2007 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

I represent that remark! ;-)

3/01/2007 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger RF2R2 said...

kc,

As I said, verses 4-9 are concerned with, "the means by which we have been saved, saying nothing to the process." These verses are often used to support a determined view of individual salvation, but I don't think any ground can be gained by harping on it. I do believe Paul is equating our spiritual state before conversion to death to the point of us being totally and utterly depraved and incapable of believing in Jesus, even if the word were preached to us by Christ Himself!, without some intervention by the Holy Spirit to transform our souls before (or, I think, simultaeneously with our) believing. I have my argument and I think it is strong, but I don't think it speaks to the objection you have brought forth in this post; namely, that an individual being destined for salvation is in contradiction to him/her being a depraved sinner prior to the temporal coordinates at which they were transformed/believed in Jesus Christ.

Thus, I draw your attention to verse 10. Here, whatever you believe, "created in Christ Jesus for good works," means, you must submit to the logic that the 'good works' were prepared 'beforehand'. If, as I suspect you believe, to be 'created in Christ Jesus' is a euphemism for 'saved', then those good works are still specifically, "prepared beforehand [by God]," with the intent that we, those created in Christ, having been redeemed and saved and made new in a moment of regeneration/belief, should walk in them. Thus, even if I can't prove to you that god has predestined my individual transformation/belief, I'm confident you see the logic in asserting that at least the good works I perform now that I am saved were marked out and destined for me to walk in them from eternity. Which is almost the same thing though perhaps less explicitly stated.

3/02/2007 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger RF2R2 said...

dorsey,

If you join the double-predestination camp you could also elect us for the less desirable destination ;)

3/02/2007 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Brandon, I understand your point now and that was very well stated I might add.

We are very close in our understanding concerning the preceding verses (4,9).
You wrote, “I do believe Paul is equating our spiritual state before conversion to death” and to this I would agree. What troubles me is this, “to the point of us being totally and utterly depraved and incapable of believing in Jesus”. The implication in this is that belief is somehow a supernatural ability when nowhere do the scriptures indicate this to be so, to the contrary, the ability to believe a thing or to believe not is inherent in all men as was illustrated in my previous post. This leaves the UE adherent with the necessity of having to either extend spiritual death to include other natural abilities, such as hearing and believing or having to alter the meaning of belief whenever the object of belief is the Gospel. Neither of these tenants is logical or scriptural. I say there is nothing special in a man at all when God saves him and that it is not belief that is divine but rather the revelation of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. The man need simply believe what is revealed in his heart.

You wrote,

“Thus, I draw your attention to verse 10. Here, whatever you believe, "created in Christ Jesus for good works," means, you must submit to the logic that the 'good works' were prepared 'beforehand'.”

This I do and much more also. God has ordained many things and nothing will prevent Him or change His determinations.

“If, as I suspect you believe, to be 'created in Christ Jesus' is a euphemism for 'saved',”

I do not consider that a euphemism. It is the positional state of the redeemed.

“then those good works are still specifically, "prepared beforehand [by God]," with the intent that we, those created in Christ, having been redeemed and saved and made new in a moment of regeneration/belief, should walk in them”

I agree but I start to squirm when I read the word “regeneration”. ;-)

“Thus, even if I can't prove to you that god has predestined my individual transformation/belief, I'm confident you see the logic in asserting that at least the good works I perform now that I am saved were marked out and destined for me to walk in them from eternity. Which is almost the same thing though perhaps less explicitly stated.”

Here is where I find this doctrine to be totally egocentric. The presumption is that the good works were prepared specifically for “you” but the “you” here is not the Brandon born of the flesh but the new creature, which prior to the spirit birth never existed and only exist now in Christ! Apart from Christ and without the spirit birth there would be no good works for “you”! The works are about God in Christ, not you! ;-)

3/02/2007 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Dorse, don't listen! It's a trap! No one can join! :P

3/02/2007 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

Very rarely do I come across a topic that so consumes me to the point of suffering...

3/02/2007 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Missy, I think the greatest grief comes when we try to answer two questions as if they were one.

“Why are some men saved and some not?” is actually two questions with two answers.

“Why are some men saved?” Because of God’s love and mercy.

“Why are some men lost?” Because of unbelief.

3/02/2007 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

KC, my grief comes from the realization that some Christians believe that God would ask of us what He would be unwilling to give Himself - mercy and love to all.

3/02/2007 07:10:00 PM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

This is a very good discussion taking place over here and kind of wonder if all my Tradionalist beliefs are worth hanging on too? I do believe the scriptures explain what is pleasing to God and I know what fork in the road to travel and if I fall by the wayside then Its my own fault? Blessings to all. Ron.

3/02/2007 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger jazzycat said...

I believe Timothy nailed the truth on this!

Missy,
Are you a universalist? Will everyone be saved?

3/02/2007 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Missy, this is my perception and it helps me to be more compassionate toward those who hold to an understanding that varies so greatly from my own.

When we attempt to know God through the scripture and we begin to see the depth of His holiness, if we fail to gain an equivalent perspective on the depth of His love it would be a very easy step to make from understanding His hatred of sin to believing He hates the sinner.

Likewise if after having realized His great love we fail to come to an understanding of His absolute holiness then we make ourselves easy prey to the belief that we need not fear God at all.

I am persuaded that in better understanding the scripture we gain a better understanding of the knowledge that was revealed in our heart by the Holy Spirit that we now hold by faith; that the fullness of God, all His love and His holiness, dwells in Jesus Christ. Who among us will lay claim to a full understanding of our Lord? ;-)

Bro. Ron I would hesitate to recommend you add or remove anything at all, however I would not hesitate to recommend you to your Pastor. I think he’s one of the best!
May God bless you brother. ;-)

Jazzy, it’s always a blessing to have your thoughts and I think even more so when we disagree. I hope you’ll always feel free to offer your critique of my understanding here.

I know Pastor Timothy can hold his own in this but I also know God has blessed him with a “full load” at present. I know you are very well versed in Reformed Theology as well so I would welcome your arguments in this brother. ;-)

3/03/2007 05:33:00 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

Jazzycat, I do not know what a universalist is, but if they believe everyone is saved I am not one.

I do, however believe that Jesus' sacrifice was for everyone so that those who love God may spend eternity with him and those who do not do not have to.

KC, thank you for your perspective. It helps immensely to focus in that way.

In the midst of my studies of this issue, I became increasingly distressed as more scripture about "the elect" came into view.

I thought of my family, and that if this was truth, how I could never have hope for them and how futile my prayers for them might have been through the years.

I became distressed that the Spirit I had tested may have been false.

Then I focused on Jesus' words. In His words are a preponderance of evidence that His sacrifice was for all the world, that the testimony of the Spirit compels us to the truth and because of this there is no action in believing that is our own. The action or works occur when we deny the Spirit.

side note: I also did a minor word study on the greek word translated as elect. At it's root, it would indicate a young man ready for marriage or virgin. I found that symbolism rather interesting, but inconclusive.

3/03/2007 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

On the day that I understand everything humanly possible about the methodology of God's wonderful salvation, I will fall so short of understanding it that words are insuffecient.

Therefore: Jesus saves...period.

3/03/2007 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger RF2R2 said...

Missy,

If I may, I think you misunderstand determinism/reformed theology.

...my grief comes from the realization that some Christians believe that God would ask of us what He would be unwilling to give Himself - mercy and love to all.

I don't think god ever tells us to give mercy and love to all. He tells me to love my enemies, to live in peace with all men, to protect and provide for the helpless, to be a man of good reputation above accusations, to love my fellow christian and live in harmony with him, and to show no favoritism in the proclamation of his gospel. I am a vessel unfit to carry his mercy and love to all people, but I can extend it to those he wills. And in the last days that mercy and love will either be cause for celebration amongst those who have been being saved or hot coals on the heads of those who remain enemies of god.

It sounds harsh coming from my lips to say that sinners are going to hell and they deserve it, but when it comes from the mouth of the Lord will you be so revolted? Behind every passage you quote to me emphasizing the love and mercy of god is a white elephant in the room: there will be people in hell and god knows it and sustains it. God is not a sadist out to inflict pain on the reprobate for sick pleasure, but if it is his pleasure to demonstrate his power in punishing unrighteousness, then who am I, a created man and forgiven sinner to boot, to question him? I grieve for the lost, particularly those closest to me, my family and friends, but I hold no delusions that I can know any of them are destined for the kingdom of righteousness. I remain faithful, as best I can, to give witness to the truth about god and the grace available in his son to any who will hear and respond. God alone can give them that response and that is what I pray for, this is what I plead for in my lack of understanding, a sovereign act of god to transform them.

Or else what should I ask of god, "Please, Lord, create a high probablity that this individual will recieve you willingly."? Isaiah 59:2 tells us that our sins have so removed us from the presence of god that he won't even hear our cries, how then will they call out to god lest he provoke us first by his own initiative? Ephesians 2:5 also calls their state dismal and hopeless but for the coming of the love and power of god into there souls first.

May I suggest that evangelism is for sheep not of our fold and not for goats amongst them? The word goes out and accomplishes its pupose whomever it reaches, but it can only call a sheep back to pasture. Have you ever been to a funeral presided over by a baptist preacher where the dead obviously died without Christ? It is very akward. The preacher will sometimes stumble through the eulogy unable to find the words to reconcile his constant bleatings of how god loves all and desires all to be saved with the cold fact that there is a dead man in the room who according to scripture is headed straight to fire that does not consume. His god was powerless to save this man, what could he possibly say to those who survived him?

I don't claim to completely understand the scriptures, and I am not so clever as to put words in the mouth of god. However, I love his word and I fix my mind on understanding the whole of it as one coherent revelation and any summation which expounds the love and mercy of god and forgets his power and wrath is incomplete in my estimation and lacks guts.

I am confident I did not choose god. I am certain it was he who came to me in my lowly state and rescued me in a moment of illumination. My salvation greatly paralles that of C. S. Lewis: when I left for a church youth rally with Mrs. Bagley I did not believe god existed or that I needed his forgiveness, and when we got there, I did. I didn't make any great descision to beleive. I just did where before I did not. To attempt to put any of the responsibilty for that transformation on me would seem to me to be a deep and lying blasphemy. I had no desire for god nor did I seek him, yet he chose me and made me new despite myself.

I can appreciate your discomfort with the notion of a loving god does such seemingly unloving things, but we hope for better things and greater understanding. Let us not be quick to discount those ideas which make us uncomfortable but rather endeavor to make sense of the whole word of god. I'm glad you are thinking about these issues, and I hope you are diligent and willing to answer my questions as I attempt to answer yours. We both lack understanding, but as irons sharpens iron, so we might sharpen one another and come to a deeper understanding of god's love as we reason together.

3/03/2007 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger RF2R2 said...

joe said,
Therefore: Jesus saves...

No, I think Jesus SAVES. Everyone here except tim and jazzy thinks, like you, that 'Jesus saves'.

3/03/2007 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

Hi KC,
Good points, but...
You wrote...

I understand the spirit birth to be consequential to faith and not prerequisite. (2nd Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15)
Yet neither of those verses indicate that. They do admit to be a new creation, but becoming a new creation is a result of the spirit moving in us, not a result of our faith. If it is a result of our faith, then we have exercised a work, which I think you would agree is not the case. If we must excersice faith in order to become a new creation, then God is obligated to change us, thereby making grace no longer grace.

Again, you wrote:
“If a man must be altered in any way in order to receive God’s grace then that man can rightly glory in his new and special ability. It is a gift from God to glorify the man and he is created a new creature, apart from Christ and apart from faith.”

Again I disagree. The man is altered because he has received grace. The gift is faith and regenration, becoming a new creation. Also, the point of God doing so is not to glorify us, but so that His glory may be revealed. Will we be glorified in the end, yes, but that is not the point. His glory is.

All I have time for this morning. Blessings.

3/03/2007 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

BTW, can you join me at my site to continue the discussion. I can't keep up with all the other commentators but would like to continue with you if I may?
Blessings

3/03/2007 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Brandon, you wrote, “It sounds harsh coming from my lips to say that sinners are going to hell and they deserve it, but when it comes from the mouth of the Lord will you be so revolted?” Wayne has also questioned if Missy proposed Universalism. Brothers please consider whether this be a strawman argument. For the belief that God’s mercy is extended to all to be construed as Universalism would require a Determinist Philosophy which she clearly has not.

3/03/2007 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Pastor, I would be honored to continue with you but perhaps Email would be even better? I have enjoyed that type of exchange with Adam and others in the past and it proved a blessing to both I think. My hands may be tied for the moment but if you allow I will check in with you as soon as the dust settles here a bit. ;-)

3/03/2007 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

These are excellent arguments Pastor and I am really being blessed in the discussion.

You wrote,

“Yet neither of those verses indicate that. They do admit to be a new creation, but becoming a new creation is a result of the spirit moving in us, not a result of our faith”

With respect to 2nd Corinthians, “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature”, the implication being that the man not in Christ is not a new creature. The new creature is created in Christ, as previously discussed. Galatians 6:15 establishes the understanding that there is nothing to glory of in the flesh but the glory is in the creation of the new creature which Ephesians 2:10 establishes is by God, in Christ.

“If it is a result of our faith, then we have exercised a work, which I think you would agree is not the case. If we must excersice faith in order to become a new creation, then God is obligated to change us, thereby making grace no longer grace.”

I would not say it is a result of our faith but a work of God through our faith. I know it is popular to consider belief a work, but, as Brandon illustrated in his beautiful testimony, it is not a labor at all but the natural consequence of having been exposed to the truth. The real work is performed by the man who rejects this truth but some, I think sadly most do. I do not understand God to be obligated to anything or anyone other than to that which He obligates Himself. I am fully persuaded that God is obligated to His word and that His word is true. “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live”

“Again I disagree. The man is altered because he has received grace. The gift is faith and regenration, becoming a new creation. Also, the point of God doing so is not to glorify us, but so that His glory may be revealed. Will we be glorified in the end, yes, but that is not the point. His glory is.”

It is not the receipt of grace that alters the man nor is it faith. It is by His grace through our faith that God creates us a new creature in Christ. If either is lacking then there will be no spirit birth.

Though off topic I think for clarity that I should say, as I mentioned to Brandon, that I begin to squirm when I hear the word regenration. I think it an error to equate regeneration with the spirit birth. To regenerate is to renew again what once was but the creation of a new creature is not regeneration. I think the key to understanding regeneration lies in Christ’ statement to His desciples, “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.”

I will look forward to your reply as always and we can continue in Email if you like, but again only at your leisure (and with Sis. Beth’s blessing (grin)).

3/03/2007 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger pecheur said...

Amen.

Election is in Christ. He was the one "elected".

And again I say amen.

3/03/2007 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger RF2R2 said...

kc said,
[Brandon you have also] questioned if Missy proposed Universalism.

That is not what I was proposing at all. I was proposing that she holds two contradictory ideas to be true: on the one hand she believes god shows love and mercy to all humanity, yet on the other she likely believes (at least I hope she believes since it is undeniably scriptural) that god will place the unrighteous in a lake of fire fueled by his own wrath. It seems to me that you and her alike have some explaining to do in this regard. She may well find that universalism is more compatible with her assertion that god shows love and mercy to all, but she likely will see that such a position does not sit well with scripture.

So I'm not accusing her of being a universalist at all - at worst I'm accusing her of inconsistency.

3/03/2007 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

Brandon, thank you for addressing some of my comments in such a gentle manner. Maybe in my distress I am not clear, or in my ignorance of specific theology I am appearing naive. However my distress is not that God may do as he wills.

We are asked to show mercy and love to all. When asked to define whom a neighbor is, Jesus tells a story indicating that it can be anyone - even an enemy or someone we think unworthy as well as someone who is neighborly.

In Malachi we are told to love and show mercy, and in Zechariah 7:9-10, I read, "This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.'"

If this is true justice, would not God hold it to be true as well?

I am not proffering that God cannot show mercy or judgement on whom He wishes, rather that He could (and I believe He does) offer both judgement AND mercy to all. His judgement has already fallen on all of us as sinners, and the only way to stay under that judgement is to refuse Him - to reject the lifeline He has offered in Christ. This is pride that says, "No, thank you. I can handle it."

To consider that I have been predestined to salvation would mean that I have never lived under judgement, therefore Christ is not my salvation.

If the Bible says that Christ died for all, that God so loved the world how can it mean something other than what it means?

3/03/2007 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger RF2R2 said...

kc said,
I know it is popular to consider belief a work, but, as Brandon illustrated in his beautiful testimony, it is not a labor at all but the natural consequence of having been exposed to the truth.

Belief is not a work in the Ephesians 2 sense unless it preceeds metaphysical interference by god. My belief at salvation proceeded out of a act of god to illuminate my soul. I was not aware of it, no, but it was happening nonetheless. I left Fairfield in a car with a woman sharing bits of the gospel truth with me. As I heard that testimony god's word accomplished its purpose in me by transforming and regenerating my soul. At that point I confessed, inwardly, that god existed and I needed forgiveness, that is, I believed. That belief followed the grace of god and thus began with god's initiative and not mine. You say the grace of god comes to us as the preached word, that we then make a descision to either believe it or not, and that, should we choose to believe, we are made new. That is a work in the spirit of Ephesians 2 - something you were able to do, apart from the power of god, in which you may boast.

3/03/2007 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Brandon, thanks for your explanation and I understand now your concern. As I stated previously, this would only be inconsistent if determinism is true. The grace of God is made manifest in Jesus Christ, the savior of the world who, because of His love, He offered that all might be saved. This is consistent with His desire that all would be saved and come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. A man need only believe this to receive the gift of eternal life. Sadly most do not and perish. His mercy is offered to all who will believe, but is rejected by most. To say this is inconsistent would require that it is God that believes in us and this requires that you accept Hard Determinism as true.

3/03/2007 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger RF2R2 said...

kc said,
The implication in this is that belief is somehow a supernatural ability... the ability to believe a thing or to believe not is inherent in all men...

I do not propose that belief is supernatural, rather that belief in the truth about god and Jesus Christ must follow a supernatural act by god in us. Sure, a lost man can choose to belief this or that about Santa Clause, or a court case, or a politician, but the cognitive process of choosing what things to believe is affected by the nature of our souls.

I believe a lost man is incapable of believing the truth about god because his nature prevents it. Once god has transformed his nature the process by which he chooses what to believe is not altered nor supernatural - think of it as a soda machine. If I put a dollar in a Pepsi machine and hit a button, then all the inner working of that machine click into place and roll out a tasty Pepsi product for my consumption. On the other hand, if that Pepsi machine is replaced by a Coca-Cola machine, then, even though the inner workings of the machine are identical, it is going to spit a coke at me instead. Likewise, God changes me from a Pepsi machine into a Coke machine, and the belief I spit out changes accordingly based on the new nature within me. It isn't supernatural for me to believe in god, but it is supernatural for me to become a new creation.

3/03/2007 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Brandon, could you explain this statement please, “Belief is not a work in the Ephesians 2 sense unless it preceeds metaphysical interference by god.”?

You said, “At that point I confessed, inwardly, that god existed and I needed forgiveness, that is, I believed”. Could you give me your perception of a confession?

3/03/2007 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Brandon, would you offer the scripture that led you to believe this, "I believe a lost man is incapable of believing the truth about god because his nature prevents it." I would say he is capable, but has not been exposed to it and if exposed, then lost because he rejected it.

3/03/2007 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

"I think it a sad thing for a man to glory in election as though it was appointed to him."

I thoroughly agree with you my brother!

What I also think is sad are certain doctrines conceived in Geneva that take glory from the Son of God and Him crucified and give it mans wisdom.

By this I mean; if mans faith is the gift of God then Christ suffering, the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world is the lesser of the gifts of God....think about it. This wisdom from Geneva has truly taken away the glory of the Son in whom God is well pleased and put on something else if you will.

3/03/2007 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger RF2R2 said...

kris said,
What I also think is sad are certain doctrines conceived in Geneva that take glory from the Son of God and Him crucified and give it mans wisdom.

By this I mean; if mans faith is the gift of God then Christ suffering, the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world is the lesser of the gifts of God....think about it. This wisdom from Geneva has truly taken away the glory of the Son in whom God is well pleased and put on something else if you will.


I'm not tracking you at all on this one...

3/03/2007 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Kitty Cheng said...

Kc, can you please explain to me what you mean by "God’s grace is imparted to us and it is incumbent, not imputed." How do you define 'impart', 'incumbent', and 'impute' respectively brother? I am a little confused here ;)

May God bless you all elects. I have been blessed reading KC's post and everyone's comments. But my brain is a bit itchy, if you know what i mean hehe...

3/03/2007 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Brandon, you said this and it goes straight to my heart (you always do that!).

“I grieve for the lost, particularly those closest to me, my family and friends, but I hold no delusions that I can know any of them are destined for the kingdom of righteousness. I remain faithful, as best I can, to give witness to the truth about god and the grace available in his son to any who will hear and respond. God alone can give them that response and that is what I pray for, this is what I plead for in my lack of understanding, a sovereign act of god to transform them.”

This statement, while highlighting our differences, makes it clear to me why we are brothers.

Kitty, thanks for asking. In clearer language, God’s grace is given to us, not forced on us, when He reveals in our heart the truth concerning Jesus. If we believe, or agree with God in this, then God saves us through our faith. As used here, imparted means given, incumbent means it is our duty or responsibility and imputed means it is done without consent or forced on us.

3/03/2007 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Brandon,
First my Geneva reference is of course a jab at John Calvin's teachings.

That being said, the conclusions that logically(at least logically to me) come out of some of the doctrines taught as the tulip are where my thoughts are coming from in my comment. Maybe its just the what some call the hyper-calvin crowd are where most of my thoughts come from.

Anyway, what I was trying to get across is that the Son of God suffered and made propitiation for our sins is the gift of God to all who would believe. If faith were the gift then we have to give glory to God for the faith given to us before we give glory to the object of our faith, the Lord Jesus.

If "regeneration" has to happen before man is able to believe or have faith and a man truly believes this is the case then the the glory of Christ and what He has done is secondary to Gods act of "regenerating" him first.

I know I am hard to understand alot of the time, I'm not a good communicator with written words.

Let me put it another way; If regeneration has to occur first so that a person has a new nature in order to see the glory of Christ then wouldn't the act of regeneration actually be the greater or first glory and Christ Himself the lesser or second glory?

To me it seems some of these doctrines of men specifically Calvin or hyper-calvin have hi-jacked the glory of God in Christ and given it ever so subtle to a secondary place God never intended His Son's glory to be.

Can anyone see what I am trying to get at here? If you can then please explain it with words better than I can ever do.

3/03/2007 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

Kris, I get it. I posted my similar view above, but comment was so close to another's that I think it was overlooked!

KC, thanks for watching my back, bro! (I always wanted to say that, hehehe!)

3/03/2007 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Kris, I think you do a better job at conveying ideas than I do. Thanks for all your thoughts brother.

Missy, to be honest I think we all know you can hold your own in these discussions but you can count on my support always. ;-)

I also know Brandon would never intentionally say anything demeaning or untrue to try and win an argument. He is 100% sheep. He just likes to dress up like a wolf sometimes. (hehe)

3/03/2007 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger jazzycat said...

Kris,
On the other hand if a sinner can come to faith in Christ apart from regeneration or being made alive (Eph. 2:5), then why does he need to be regenerated. That would be like taking the medicine after one had been cured.

Another point is to distinguish the difference between the external call (John 3:16, etc.) and the effectual call (John 6:44). The external call is a sincere call to everyone, but that does not mean anyone can respond unless God applies the effectual call of the Holy Spirit.

K.C.,
I have come to admire your gentle spirit and kindness toward those that differ from you. The core truth is that salvation comes by faith in Christ alone and we agree on that.

3/03/2007 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Wayne thanks so much for the kind words. I consider my attitude the result of a sixth sense we all have, but are often unaware of. To rephrase a famous line from the movie of the same name; “I see people. They don’t know they’re people but they are. They think they’re ideas and philosophies but they’re not. They’re people and I see them”. (hehe)

I don’t think we could find any closer agreement than what you offered, “The core truth
is that salvation comes by faith in Christ alone”. Amen brother!


So now that you feel at home, roll up your sleeves and dig in! (hehe)

Kris is also blessed with a full load but I know he’ll respond when he see’s your comment. With respect to your first question, I understand that the spirit life is only possible in Christ and that the scriptural meaning of regeneration is more in line with the original meaning of the word than the definition imposed on it by Systematic Theology; keep in mind the “re” preposition. I know this will be a debate in itself and I intend to offer my full understanding on this soon but basically, The washing of the word by the Spirit does not result in a change to our being, rather it cleanses us of all our prejudice and presupposition so that we can see the truth just as children do; “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein”. This is the work of the Spirit on the man, but not in the man. The Holy Spirit does not indwell the flesh man who is corrupt being born of the will of the flesh. He only indwells the Spirit man who is created a new creature in Christ.

Concerning the second question I think it important to understand that the word and the Spirit are one and inseparable. The Spirit always accompanies the word and so the “external call” is “heard” in our heart by the power of the Spirit.

We then would contend whether A) The call to salvation goes out to all men and B) whether the response to that call is always positive (IG) but I’ll hold my arguments on those for the moment. ;-)

I really hope you’ll feel free to debate here with us in His love and I look forward to your contributions to the discussions.

3/04/2007 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

Jazzycat said:
"The external call is a sincere call to everyone, but that does not mean anyone can respond unless God applies the effectual call of the Holy Spirit."

Jazzycat, I appreciate where you are coming from in this systematic theology that many adhere to, I really do. I just can't buy it myself, I'm sorry. Like KC, I do not consider those who do hold to this form of teaching no less a brother though.

Jazzycat said:
"The external call is a sincere call to everyone, but that does not mean anyone can respond unless God applies the effectual call of the Holy Spirit."

I just can't wrap my head around this statement. How can one say logically that a call is truly sincere and then go on to say it does not mean anyone can respond? Help!

3/04/2007 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Missy, thank you for understanding what I was trying to say. I had read your other comment yesterday, I agree and understand what you are saying also. I just didn't take the time to say so. I should have, I was just wrapped up into trying to write down in words what my mind and heart was feeling about the glory of Christ.

KC, I also appreciate your kindness and gentle spirit in relating to everyone. I envy that.

3/04/2007 01:28:00 PM  
Anonymous luthsem/rich said...

Karl Barth has an interesting take on Election:
http://faith-theology.blogspot.com/2005/12/karl-barths-doctrine-of-election.html

3/04/2007 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger jazzycat said...

K.C.,
Thanks.

Kris,
That is a good point and I'm not sure I fully understand it other than to say that man is responsilble and that the doctrine does not mean that God turns anyone away as I have heard some say. If you come to faith, you are saved and are responding to God's intervention (John 6:37).

The doctrine of election, irresistible grace, and eternal security stand or fall on the doctrine of total inability. Regardless what you call it, if man is unable in and of himself to respond in saving faith to Christ apart from God doing a work that is 100% successful, then the doctrine is true.

John 6:37, Rom. 8:29-30 and others reveal that grace is 100% successful. The following verses speak to man's total inability.... John 6:44, John 6:65, John 3:3-5, 1 Cor 2:14 & 4:7, Rom. 3:9-12, Rom 8:7-8, Eph 2:5.

These verses point to an inability to access salvation apart from an intervention from God. This intervention is the grace applied by the Holy Spirit that changes a person so that he willingly comes to Christ in faith.

God has mercy on whom he will have mercy. All are not saved in either system and I see no merit in accusing God of unfairness for choosing whom he will. After all he certainly could have saved everyone if he desired to. HE DIDN'T.
Wayne

3/04/2007 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Kris, thanks. ;-)

Wayne I’d like to address your understanding on these verses in the hope someone might address my objections to the conclusion that they somehow relate UE.

You stated, “The doctrine of election, irresistible grace, and eternal security stand or fall on the doctrine of total inability. Regardless what you call it, if man is unable in and of himself to respond in saving faith to Christ apart from God doing a work that is 100% successful, then the doctrine is true.” While I agree that UE is dependent on total inability wouldn’t it be true to say that UE falls or stands on the philosophy of Hard Determinism? I understand eternal security to be dependent only on the certainty of God’s word.

It seems that in John 6:37 you equate coming to Christ with the call to salvation instead of salvation itself. It would also seem you imply that God individually chooses (chose) those whom He gives (gave) to Christ. I think vs. 40 identifies those whom God chooses to give to Christ (saves) as being those who first see Christ (Grace, the word revealed in our heart) and believe (faith). I understand these verses to teach that salvation is not temporal. Romans 8:29-30 reveal God’s plan for the redeemed. While I agree that grace is 100% successful it seems that you would equate grace with salvation in these verses instead of the means by which we are saved.

From the remaining verses you offered you concluded, “These verses point to an inability to access salvation apart from an intervention from God. This intervention is the grace applied by the Holy Spirit that changes a person so that he willingly comes to Christ in faith.” I would say that these verses point to an inability to know God apart from salvation. He has promised to save us when we willing believe what the Holy Spirit reveals in our heart concerning Jesus Christ. If you see where these verses might contradict my understanding I would very much appreciate your arguments.

In closing you state, “God has mercy on whom he will have mercy. All are not saved in either system and I see no merit in accusing God of unfairness for choosing whom he will. After all he certainly could have saved everyone if he desired to. HE DIDN'T.” I would agree with these statements but I don’t understand where they would apply to this article or any of the comments.

Thanks so much for your contribution. There would be little or no study here without it.
;-)

3/05/2007 02:41:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Rich that certainly is interesting. Are you settled in your view on this?

3/05/2007 02:53:00 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

When I read the Bible the first time as a believer, instead of seeing disconnected verses extolling advice on how to live my life, I saw a story; a story of God creating, loving and reaching out to His people.

I saw that because of my sinful nature, I was not holy enough to know God let alone choose to be with Him for eternity.

I saw that in His love for me, God became fully man and as that man, the only man holy enough to know and choose to be with God for eternity, He chose my Judgement instead. This is the freedom I see in Christ, this is the freedom I thought was being described - that rather than being destined for Hell, I now had a choice and if I don't give it away, no one can take it from me. The scriptures told me that I was a slave to sin and could stay so if I choose, but that I could willingly choose to be a slave to Christ. Either way, I must be a slave, but I could choose my master.

Did I get this wrong?

3/05/2007 07:41:00 AM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

Missy, May Gods blessings be with you , I think you are taking the right fork in the road? I appreciate your explanation in simple terms and I tend to think that some times all the educated writing is confusing to more people than is realized! I to get confused in some of the questions asked? I about wore out my outdated dictionary looking up the meaning of them big words ? But I do enjoy these discussions because they help give me a better understanding what is pleasing to God and the way He would have me conduct my life! Blessings to all . Ron.

3/05/2007 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Missy, my understanding is that eternal life is a gift from God to the body of Christ and that the only way into the body of Christ is through faith in Him. These are they that God gives to Christ and we have Christ' promise that He will not cast us out but will raise us up on the last day (John 6:39,40). I think the scripture teaches that once set at liberty from sin we are bound to righteousness (Romans 6:18) so the only choice is whether or not to submit and be a faithful servant or to rebel and be unfaithful to your Lord.

Bro. Ron I won't lie. I've had to learn a new word nearly every week for the past 2 years just to keep up what these brilliant young theologians keep talking about! ;-)

3/05/2007 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

KC said:
"In closing you state, “God has mercy on whom he will have mercy. All are not saved in either system and I see no merit in accusing God of unfairness for choosing whom he will. After all he certainly could have saved everyone if he desired to. HE DIDN'T.” I would agree with these statements but I don’t understand where they would apply to this article or any of the comments."

Thanks brother, I really appreciate your blessing of mediation.


Wayne,
I really do understand a persons passion for what he or she believes.

3/05/2007 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Kris, I thought about it and I think that if someone accepts Determinism as true then the things we say would logically lead to an accusation against God but I won’t put words in Wayne’s mouth. Rich has been helping to break me of that bad habit. ;-)

3/05/2007 10:06:00 AM  
Anonymous luthsem/rich said...

KC,
Kelly Commented on my blog what I believe is the main point:

The key phrase in your apt reply, frombelow, is “in Christ.” Salvation is first and foremost being chosen in Christ, not merely being in a specially-chosen club on the basis of an unspecified notion of sovereignty. Eternal life is being in Christ and Christ in you (John 15:1-7, 2 Cor. 13:5, Romans 8:1). Our security comes from being in Christ; our falling away would be *not* being in Christ. The Gospel is all about Christ. And so the Lutheran view of salvation and election is connected with Christology and sola gratia much more so than it is with a doctrine such as sovereignty.

-My Comment: I emphasize the word In Christ and also that Lutherans do not have the corner on all the truth because we are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone not whether we are Lutherans, Calvinists,Baptists, etc.

3/05/2007 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Rich, I would agree 100% Kelly's comment and I appreciate yours Brother. ;-)

3/05/2007 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger jazzycat said...

K.C.,
You said……..While I agree that UE is dependent on total inability wouldn’t it be true to say that UE falls or stands on the philosophy of Hard Determinism?
I am not sure I understand this question, but I think any doctrine stands on a proper interpretation of Scripture rather than philosophy.

You said…..It seems that in John 6:37 you equate coming to Christ with the call to salvation instead of salvation itself.
I think when you consider John 6:44, 65, & 37 together, you are talking about salvation and the fact that God has to intervene in those that come in a way that he does not intervene in those that do not come.

You said…..I think vs. 40 identifies those whom God chooses to give to Christ (saves) as being those who first see Christ (Grace, the word revealed in our heart) and believe (faith).
This is true but verse 40 is silent on whether man has the ability in an of himself. V. 40 neither confirms or denies total inability. To read ability into this verse is to read something that is not there.

You said….Romans 8:29-30 reveal God’s plan for the redeemed.While I agree that grace is 100% successful it seems that you would equate grace with salvation in these verses instead of the means by which we are saved.
Yes, I do equate grace with salvation (Eph. 2:8-9). That is a difference in our debate. I believe that God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit saves sinners totally and completely by providing everything that is required. Romans 8:29-30 speaks of all the stages of salvation and it reveals that God does everything that he requires. HE predestines those he foreknew (chose {Eph. 1:3-6}). HE calls those he predestines. HE justifies those HE calls and HE glorifies those HE justifies. Some argue that foreknew means he saw who would actually come to faith and predestined them. But, why would he need to predestine and call someone he already knew would come to faith. That would be like predestining the Colts to win the super bowl because that you saw that they were going to win.

As to inability, Romans 8:7-8 specifically states that man cannot submit and cannot please God. If man could come to faith in and of himself, then that would certainly please God and this verse would then be in error.

Thanks for hearing me out….
Wayne

3/05/2007 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

Wayne sent me back to Romans 8, and I read for awhile...

What do these verses (3&4) mean? Specifically, what does it mean to live according to the Spirit? I mean I try to live according to the Spirit - but I don't.

"For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit."

What do these verses (3&4) mean? Specifically, what does it mean to live according to the Spirit? I try to live according to the Spirit - but I don't think I could say I am controlled by it as referred to later in the text. I can say I most often feel controlled by my sinful nature. What is stated here in these verses seem very contradictory to what is stated earlier in Chap. 7, vs 14 and on.

He says that he lives according to the sinful nature, but that only those that do not live according to the sinful nature ("Us") will escape condemnation. ??

3/05/2007 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger pecheur said...

Dude,

This is the 62nd comment on this topic.

That's incredible.

I still think election is in Christ

3/05/2007 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Missy,
I see that the verses you used in Romans 8 come from the NIV.

IMO, the NIV takes more liberty in actually interpreting many passages instead of translating from the greek like it should.

I would suggest you read Romans from NASB or NKJV and see if these actual translations instead of translation mixed with interpretation is clearer. The word therefore in verse 1 of 8 is important to understand that 7 is part of the context and "in Christ" is important, but I know you already know that.

I could try to explain what I understand Paul to be saying and how I apply it, but I don't really know how to put in written word well enough to help with the limited amount of time I have today. I will try later when I have more time though.

Wayne,
I am not trying to debate to win something here. So with that in mind:

you said:
"As to inability, Romans 8:7-8 specifically states that man cannot submit and cannot please God. If man could come to faith in and of himself, then that would certainly please God and this verse would then be in error."

7 does not specifically state that 'man' cannot submit. It states that the 'mind' set on the flesh is hostile toward God because "it" does subject itself to the law of God. There is a big difference in saying a "mind set" on the flesh is hostile and "does" not submit and saying a "man" is inable and cannot submit. The mind "set" is something we "brethren" decide to set our minds on, either the flesh or the Spirit. see verses 12,13.

Verse 8 states that those "in the flesh" cannot please God. I don't see where it says that those "in the flesh" are incapable of believing the witness of the Spirit or have the inability to believe. 'In the flesh' is the state of a person who is not 'in Christ' and therefore does not have Christ righeousness credited to the person.

Paul in chapter 7 and 8 is telling Christians they don't have the ability to "live" the christian life by the flesh, we can only live this life by the Spirit. Paul is not addressing 'regeneration' here.(i agree with KC about this word, i am only using it for communication)

My whole point in pointing this out is; how do we take out verses of a letter explaining to Christians how to have peace in our war against the flesh and use these verses to start a doctrine of inability or any other doctrine? I think Pauls whole point here is to help the brethren understand what is going with them after the Spirit is in them and their in Christ. 1 Peter 2:11 calls this a war against a "Christian's" soul.

long winded again :)

3/05/2007 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

cprrection: last paragraph, I did not put in an unbeliever after inability. It should read:

....to start a doctrine of inability of an unbeliever.....

3/05/2007 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

KC said:
"Kris, I thought about it and I think that if someone accepts Determinism as true then the things we say would logically lead to an accusation against God..."

I totally agree, KC. Thats why I understand Wayne's passion if he accepts determinism. I hope we all understand everyones passion for our beliefs. This truly is the only way to have peaceful conversations to learn from each other.:)

3/05/2007 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Wayne thanks again for your response.

I agree that doctrine should be based on scripture but there are numerous factors that affect how we interpret scripture. Theological Determinism presupposes that all events in the world were pre-ordained by God and so all scripture would be interpreted with that in view. If a person accepts that God has established our boundaries and we are free agents within those bounds then the same scripture you offered would be interpreted with that view in mind and could be used to argue the opposite. For the TULIP to be correct it is necessary that Determinism be true and that was being argued long before Calvin and Edwards. ;-)

I agree that the verses in John prove neither ability nor inability and only establish a basis for the doctrine of eternal security.

With regard to the verses in Romans and Ephesians, I think you can see now what I meant concerning Determinism. Foreknowledge is translated as “God choosing” because He foreordained these things. The argument becomes circular and no progress can be can be made until Determinism is proved true or false. Any understanding of foreknowledge that provided for man to choose is dismissed without question because of the presupposition that Determinism is true.

I won’t tax you further on inability since Kris is currently addressing that issue with you.

Thanks once more for continuing in this!

Missy, have you found any relief yet? ;-)

Pech it gets difficult to read, doesn’t it? Maybe I need to start a new thread. ;-)

Kris, I have come to like the NASB as well. Wise words on passion brother. This is our God and our Lord and I know we all have our all invested in this.

3/05/2007 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

"Missy, have you found any relief yet?"

Yes, KC, in the form of time and prayer! The discussion is often going over my head, but the gentleness between everyone here is comforting. I am now feeling that although this subject is very interesting and important, it is not as important as I initially thought that have it all worked out. Thanks!

3/05/2007 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger jazzycat said...

Missy,
I think you are right as to importance. As I mentioned to K.C., salvation depends in faith in Christ alone and this is not being debated here as we all agree.

As to Romans 8:3&4, I am doing a verse by verse photo devotional on Romans 8 at my blog. I would invite you to look at verses 3 & 4 at Jazzycat for my thoughts.

Kris and K.C.,
I have been really busy today, but I will try to get back tomorrow on determinism and God's ordaining events. I sure don't understand how all that works very well, but I will try to reconcile it with Tulip. I became a Christian late in life, so a lot of why I believe as I do is based on what I experienced in coming to faith in Christ. Believe me, I have meditated on whether or not I was changed by the Holy Spirit prior to coming to faith.

It has been a blessing to discuss this with all of you.
Wayne

3/05/2007 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

I have to tell, while I was studying out some of this, my 6-year-old asked me what I was doing. I told him I was reading about living according to the spirit and living according to the flesh.

As expected, he said, "Huh??"

I said, "Do you want to choose what to do by God or by the Devil?

He said, "No, I want to choose what to do by Eenie-Meenie-Minie-Mo."

So do I, Tyler, so do I!

3/06/2007 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Nunzia said...

This was so well written and so moving. I am so glad I found time to stop by here today. I need to do so more often.

God's Grace.

3/06/2007 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Missy, I’m thankful for your relief and your attitude. It may help to know that the grace of God surpasses all understanding so when we think we’ve got it all figured out is when we're really deceiving ourselves. We’re all commanded to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

I wish we could all be as transparent as Tyler! ;-)

Wayne, I know we all relate to our own experiences and I think it a great blessing to be able to share in our understanding as well. I find we have much more in common when relating our own experiences than we do when we relate our understanding of it. ;-)

I understand being busy too well and I’m truly thankful for the time and effort you’ve given here. I pray you will always be blessed in the discussion as you have blessed us in being here. ;-)

Nan, thanks so much. I consider that a compliment indeed, coming from you sister and I thank God for it. Please update when you’re able and know you all remain very much on our hearts and in our prayers.

3/06/2007 05:08:00 PM  
Anonymous rose~ said...

This was a great post! I could not have said it better!
I especially appreciate this:
I think it a sad thing for a man to glory in election as though it was appointed to him. It was appointed in Christ before the foundation of the world and apart from the body of Christ there are none elect. Were we always part of His body? Can we claim we were always in Him? Can you say you had faith from birth or before? Are you saved by grace through foreordination or through faith?

Right on, KC!

I cannot log in to google for days. I can't post. Is this just happening to me? It keeps saying "page not found" whenever I try to go to the google log in screen.

3/08/2007 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Rose, thanks Sis! I'll Email on the log-in thingy. ;-)

3/08/2007 04:52:00 PM  

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