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His Master's Voice
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Written by: C. W. Booth

Friday, October 02, 2009

Plan Now to Make a Halloween Impact

There are a candy dish full of children who are about to visit your home this month. They will simply be begging to hear the gospel. This is your chance to make an impact on them for Christ.

Here ( http://thefaithfulword.org/redeeminghalloween.html ) is an article that provides a free printable tract (4 tracts per one sheet of printer paper) along with instructions and suggestions on how to use it. There is sufficient time to read the article, print the tract, and make copies to share with the children who will be coming to your house. It is a tiny investment on your part that could yield huge results in the heart of a child.

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16)

 

 

 

 

Friday, October 09, 2009

Sorry Harry Potter Fans, but Itís Not Magic: A Blog of Miracles, Science, and Magic

When God created the universe He did not use magic. He planned in advance the rules that would govern energy, atomic cohesion, biology, entropy, matter, physics, and quantum physics. Then Christ, who lived in the realm of spirit, created a corporeal reality--from the absoluteness of the infinite void that lacked energy, time, space, and matter. He willed into existence the energy and the particles of matter that now comprise the massive cosmos that surrounds our little planet. Then, applying the laws of physics and biology He manipulated the very molecules of His cosmos and He created life itself.

God did not use magic. He created physical laws, and the energy and matter that obey those laws. He manipulates this physical realm by ordering the energy and matter particles that He brought into existence.

When God performs miracles, He commands the very atomic and molecular elements to reorder themselves so that the result is compatible with His physical laws even though there were no physical means or abilities to have achieved that result. For example, water is hydrogen and oxygen. When Jesus changed water to wine, He had the knowledge and power to reorder every molecule to be reassembled into wine, the resulting substance of which obeys and is compatible with the physical laws of this universe even though there was no physical means to have instantly reordered the molecular structure of the water. That is a miracle.

Magic is an imitation of the miraculous. By magic I am not referring to the slight-of-hand misdirection-trickery of illusions by David Copperfield. I am referring to actions and results that cannot be accomplished by ordinary persons. Nor am I referring to the use of science and machinery by which one can convert coal to electricity. I am referring to only the use of will and knowledge. No human has the knowledge or the power to reorder matter or energy by mere use of their will.

Yet, the Bible speaks of Egyptian magicians having performed acts that mimicked genuine miracles. Today we hear about impossible things that happen when children play with Ouija boards. How can such things be if humans do not have the power of will or the knowledge to reorder molecules and energy?

Satan is the prince of the power of the air. This is a limited authority he has for a limited time to be sure. Yet, at his disposal are legions of angels (one third that followed him from heaven) called demons. Scripture is replete with comments about the angels of God and the demons of Satan being able to do what man cannot: reorder matter and energy.

When a human "magician" (not an illusionist doing slight-of-hand) appears to perform acts of true power, or a Ouija board answers a question on its own, the power is that of a demon taking action. Humans can do no such thing. There is no magic, only the operations of demons.

Some will argue that controlling or commanding a demon to get things done is magic. After all, what are spells and incantations except verbal petitions to demons to make something happen? Such persons who offer supplications to demons do not understand that men cannot control or command demons. The demons are controlling and manipulating them. Satan is the prince of the power of the air, not the other way around. Demons appear to "obey" the human so as to deceive them and bring them more and more under demonic influence and more and more into the chaotic thinking of evil. This leads the human to becoming open to being possessed, the slave of the demon, not its master.

No, there is no magic, only demons. Satan is prince (not king) of the power of the air of this planet. And Christ is the King over all He created. Pray to the Creator, the King of Kings, for a new heart, a living spirit, and for the forgiveness of sins, and He will save you, sending His Holy Spirit to live inside you as a guarantee of ultimate salvation and a protection against the powers of this world. Who needs magic when God offers you a personal miracle like that?

 

 

 

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Election, Predestination, Freewill, Choices, and Nonsense

C.S. Lewis once famously stated in his book, The Problem of Pain, that it was "nonsense" to assume that God chose who would be the elected saints and also those who would reject Him while He simultaneously held guilty those who turned away from Him. To Lewis God was incapable of choosing whom He would love and call to salvation while at the same time condemning to Hell those whom He chose not to give the gift of saving faith.

D.A. Carson more correctly noted that God can do all the choosing (He chooses both those who go to Heaven and those who go to Hell) while holding responsible those humans whom He did not choose to come to belief in Christ. Carson, in his book How Long O Lord?, does not find this concept to be nonsense but concurrent biblical truths.

The Apostle Paul, of course, presents the doctrine of predestination / election ("a choosing in advance") in the terms understood by Carson. Paul notes that God chooses those humans He will honor with salvation and those who are destined for destruction in Hell (Romans 9:8-22). He did all this choosing "before the foundation of the world" was spoken into existence (Ephesians 1:4). Merely because Lewis could not personally do what God can do is not warrant to accuse God of being nonsensical.

But let us explore this idea of logic and apparent contradiction. Arminians are celebrated for following Lewis in accusing God of uttering nonsense in Romans 9. They say if God chooses those who will believe and those who will not believe then it is illogical to hold the unbelievers responsible for their unbelief for no one can resist the choosing of God; it is not the humanís fault so the person does not deserve Hell. Paul debunks this very accusation in Romans 9:13-21.

It seems to escape the Arminianís notice that their position has an extraordinary and overwhelming illogical presupposition underlying their own framework. They argue that before creation God desired all the world to become saved and therefore He chose no one to be saved or unsaved, but relied upon the freewill of each person to decide their own fate. Then, before the world was yet created, He looked into the future and saw which person would accept Him and which would reject Him, then He only "elected" those who would use their freewill to accept Him.

Such a scenario is impossibly illogical. Before the world was created, IF God could see into the future to know what persons would choose to believe in Him and what persons would not, and IF God desired everyone in the world to be saved, then WHY did He allow the unsaved to be created or even born?

Was God not powerful enough to change the future before it happened and demand that His desires be implemented? Was God not powerful enough to decree, "Johnny is not going to choose Christ, but since I want all people to be saved I will simply not have Johnny be born"? Was Johnny more powerful than God so as to thwart His good intentions?

Or maybe God is not all knowing and cannot really see into the future? Perhaps God did His best to foreknow what each person would do, but since the future is always in motion it is blurry and hard to read, so He most often got it wrong since most people go to Hell?

The notion that God is either lacking in power or lacking in knowledge (or foreknowledge) is heresy, illogical, and nonsense. Yet, this is the underlying assumption that must be made by all Arminians when they promote freewill. Lewis boasted that he believed God defers the use of His power to allow humanity to exercise his freewill. That comment is self-contradictory when Lewis also claims that God desires all people to be saved. If God desired all men to be saved, He would not have intentionally limited His power and thus condemned untold multitudes to Hell. Remember, there is no good reason why God allowed Hell-bound unbelievers to ever be born when He could easily have stopped each one from coming into existence while still allowing to be born all those who would choose to believe in Him.

Arminianism is logically flawed. Worse, it is biblically flawed. It makes God to be less than God in both knowledge and power. Given the choice between accepting the mystery of biblical election / predestination and the logical contradictions and heresies introduced by Arminianism, I must side with the Apostle Paul.

Just as it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. (Romans 9:13-16)

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[Note: The above essay was originally posted as a blog. As such, it was open to public commentary. Below are select comments from the public and by the author which are considered helpful in bringing comprehension to the topic or in advancing the dialogue.]

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Booth's reply to public comment 1 (comment from the public is not shown here):

Hello commenter. You are right of course, Lewis is not the most authoritative Arminian to cite on the subject. However, it is safe to say that more people have read that particular book he wrote and quoted his definition from it that predestination is "nonesense" than have ever actually read Arminius. Since he is the face that many today put on Arminianism, it seemed appropriate to start there.

Regarding whether Paul meant to apply the election (choosing) words to individuals or to nation groups, I feel he addressed that issue himself in the passage. Paul intentionally stated that while the twins were still in the womb, before they had done anything, God made his elections. The twins were not yet nations while they were in the womb. They were not-yet-born babies. It would be years before they became married, had children, and became the fathers of nations. Therefore, when God did the initial electing (choosing) He chose individuals first.

For clarity, Jacob was chosen to continue the promise of the covenant, while Esau was chosen to not continue the promise of the covenant. Does that mean that no one in Esau's blood line became a believer in God? This passage does not endorse or exclude that possibility. Does that mean that every one of Jacob's blood line became a believer? We can answer, "definately not!"

So if Jacob and Esau were used as illustrations of election by Paul, but their election had not been for salvation, then what is Paul saying? Arminians feel that this is evidence that no one is chosen to be saved or unsaved in advance. There is a problem with that interpretation. Paul applied the illustration and then noted that if God elected individuals (while they are still babies) into the covenant on the basis of His own choosing, then He also elects individuals into salvation (grace) also on the basis of His own choosing. Every blood line based nation begins with but one mother and one father. That is, they begin with individuals. The Gentile masses are not even a nation group. So Paul was illustrating that it is the individual who is elemental unit of election, whether to receive the promises of the covenant, or the obligations and honors of discipleship.

Thank you for writing.

Booth's reply to public comment 2 (comment from the public is not shown here):

Dear commenter, I enjoyed reading your comments. Sadly, I failed to grasp where your arguments answered the fundamental issue in freewill theology: how God can "want" all men to be saved but not intervene to ensure all men get saved. Since God knew before He created the earth who would be saved and who would not, why did He allow the unsaved to ever exist? In Arminian theology there are only two choices that I can see: 1) He could not stop the unsaved from being born (a lack of power), or 2) He did not want all men to be saved.

I guess I am at a loss to understand the distinction in your arguments. It seems like the same thing to say 1) that God knew before He created each person that the person would be eternally unsaved but then He created them anyway, as opposed to saying, 2) that God chose who would be saved and unsaved before He created them.

The Greek word for election/predestination means "to choose" in English. That would be God's choice, not ours. Grace depends not on the men who run or who think they are choosing, but on God who actually does the choosing.

All "natural" men choose sin, every time. They are slaves to it. They are owned by sin. That phrase is repeated numerous times throughout the book of Romans. Men are owned by sin and cannot choose anything but sin, UNTIL God calls them and grants them the gift of faith, which comes from God and not from within the man. If the unsaved man cannot choose anything but sin and rebellion (until God gives them the gift of faith) in what genuine sense does any man have freewill to choose? His only choice is sin, because he is owned by it. It is for that very reason that Lewis called the doctrine of "total depravity" an invention of the devil in his book, the Problem of Pain. Lewis knew that a man cannot have real freewill if he is owned by sin. Freewill, as a doctrine, only works if men are truly free of all ownership and are truly free agents to make up their own minds without pre-existing biases present.

When Adam sinned, all such ability to choose was stripped from man. Every thought of his heart was toward sin, for his heart became wicked and desperately sick. All we like unled sheep wandered away. Satan became our father. What kind of freewill is that? Only when a man is called by God and becomes saved does he get the freewill to choose. As Christians we are the only ones able to choose righteousness over sin. Sadly, we sometimes choose to sin, but Christ forgives us every time. Such is the freewill that is given to those who are now owned by Christ as His slaves and bondservants.

Thank you for writing.

Commenter 2 responded:

[Sadly, I failed to grasp where your arguments answered the fundamental issue in freewill theology: how God can "want" all men to be saved but not intervene to ensure all men get saved.]

Well, I'm sorry you're not able to comprehend that. It's very clear that the bible shows 2 aspects of God's will, one of them being that he allows things to go against his will as I showed with Adam. We see this all throughout scripture. Just another example of this is in Luke 13:34 - "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often WOULD I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and YE WOULD NOT."

Here again, it's clear that we see God's will, what he desired, and that his will was not done because of their freewill.

[Since God knew before He created the earth who would be saved and who would not, why did He allow the unsaved to ever exist?]

Why would PURPOSELY create billions of people that will suffer eternally in hell with absolutely NO CHANCE of ever repenting because God doesn't love them enough to choose to save them? The answer to your question is because God chose not to create us as robots with no freewill and are forced to love him.

[In Arminian theology there are only two choices that I can see: 1) He could not stop the unsaved from being born (a lack of power), or 2) He did not want all men to be saved.]

Again, you're speaking from ignorance which forces you to draw false conclusions. It's neither of those as I have already shown.

[The Greek word for election/predestination means "to choose" in English. That would be God's choice, not ours. Grace depends not on the men who run or who think they are choosing, but on God who actually does the choosing.]

You're right except you conveniently leave out God's foreknowledge. God shows us this in I Peter 1:2 - "Elect, ACCORDING TO the FOREKNOWLEDGE of God the Father." The bible says that Israel is God's elect, Isaiah 45:4. If Israel is God's elect and it was GOD'S WILL to choose them, then how is it that not every Jew and Israelite that was ever born is saved and going to heaven? Very easy, because God allows them freewill to go against his will and to freely choose.

And yes, it was God's grace for Jesus to die for our sins. We didn't choose that, God did. As I said earlier, I'm not fully Arminian.

I believe that God must FIRST draw us to himself, and then he allows us to either receive the free gift of salvation, or reject it.

[When Adam sinned, all such ability to choose was stripped from man.]

When Adam sinned, he had not yet sinned and was not in total depravity.

Booth again replied to Commenter 2:

Dear commenter, I think I am beginning to get an idea of what your viewpoint is.

I originally wrote: "Sadly, I failed to grasp where your arguments answered the fundamental issue in freewill theology: how God can "want" all men to be saved but not intervene to ensure all men get saved." Then, commenter, you wrote:

"Well, I'm sorry you're not able to comprehend that. It's very clear that the bible shows 2 aspects of God's will, one of them being that he allows things to go against his will as I showed with Adam. We see this all throughout scripture. Just another example of this is in Luke 13:34 - 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often WOULD I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and YE WOULD NOT.'ď

In effect, you are stating that what God wants He cannot obtain because He chooses to give man what man wants instead.

Therefore, if that is true, God's wants are less important than are man's wants. Man is in control. What man wants is what actually gets done. Moreover, God considers it more important to give men their want for sin and Hell than to impose His own wants for holiness. The result of that thinking is that most of the things that God "intends," "plans," and "purposes" are thwarted and overturned by man's evil wants since most men choose Hell.

I cannot accept that theology. It is simply not compatible with Scripture.

I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:2)

The LORD protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, But He thwarts the way of the wicked. (Psalms 146:9)

The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these. (Isaiah 45:7)

Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That both good and ill go forth? (Lamentations 3:38)

For He says to Moses, "I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION." So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. (Romans 9:15-16)

Commenter 2 again replied:

[In effect, you are stating that what God wants He cannot obtain because He chooses to give man what man wants instead.]

Not in every circumstance. There ARE times when God sovereignly chooses to intervene and do what he wants regardless of man's will.

[Therefore, if that is true, God's wants are less important than man's wants. Man is in control.]

No. Sorry but you're again making a false conclusion. God is the one who made the sovereign choice to allow us to choose. Yes, there are circumstances in what is called God's PERMISSABLE will, in which he allows us to go against his will. You yourself even stated this where you said - "All "natural" men choose sin, every time." God's permissable will allows us to choose to disobey God's will of HIS DESIRING that we do NOT SIN but obey him.

I believe we are depraved but not totally depraved. If we were totally depraved then we would all be serial murderers and child molesters. But even in our fallen depraved state, we are able to choose what we do or don't do. Even in our fallen state of depravity, we are able to do some good things. We are able to love our parents or children, or help somebody out that is in need.

Now don't mistake what I'm saying. When it comes to salvation, anything good we do falls way short of God's glory and righteousness and are but filthy rags in the context of salvation. But that doesn't mean we can't love or do good things.

[I cannot accept that theology. It is simply not compatible with Scripture.]

That's right, YOU can't . It doesn't go with YOUR interpretation of scripture. I've shown biblically where you are wrong. So, we're just not going to agree with what scripture says on this.

["I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:2)]

Again, you're seeing and interpreting scriptures like this in your own narrow mindedness. Yes, none of God's purposes can be thwarted. His purpose and sovereign will which is very clear in scripture, is that he allows us to choose. And when he also chooses, he does what he wants regardless of our will. God chose for Jesus to die for our sins. That was going to happen no matter what man's will was.

Here is a great analogy to understand God's will and man's freewill. Consider the game of chess with a Grandmaster, representing God, playing against a novice, representing us. God, the Grandmaster allows us, the novice, to freely make any moves we choose to make. But in the end, the Grandmaster will always win the game, no matter what moves the novice chooses to make. So it is with God. He is able to allow us to freely make choices while still accomplishing his own will and purposes.

Booth responded to commenter 2:

Dear commenter, you wrote, "Not in every circumstance. There ARE times when God sovereignly chooses to intervene and do what he wants regardless of man's will."

God's purposeful intervention is an abridgement of "freewill." It is no longer "free" will, it is directed, controlled, and manipulated will, but no longer free in any meaningful sense.

Similarly, man's utter inability to do "anything good [toward salvation]... falls way short of God's glory and righteousness and are but filthy rags in the context of salvation" means he has NO "free" will to affect salvation. Since, as you say, all our choices are filthy rags with regard to salvation, where is the "free" choice? All the choices have been predetermined to be filthy and insufficient, thus sinful. No "freedom" exists within the natural (unsaved) man's free will. His will is always biased and bent to choose evil. Pre-biased will is not free will. Bent will is not free will. Sin-sick will is not free will.

"Free" will is an illusion and a mythology that man has created to explain away God's election of both the saved and the unsaved, which is why you cannot find the concept "free will" spelled out in the Bible. It makes man feel better to think God would never use His will to choose to send a person to Hell. It also makes a man feel better to think he was wise and bright enough to choose to get saved and that God did not "force" him (Lewis calls this event the sinner pulling himself by his own bootstraps with much labor).

Yet, God did force us. We were unsaved and rebellious, then God called us, imposed on us the gift of faith (which is irrevocable), caused us to be regenerated in heart and mind, and infused within us a living spirit, then sealed us with the Holy Spirit. Praise God I had no genuine choice in the matter, for my sin-sick heart and my dead spirit would have chosen Hell every time--IF I truly had "free" will.

Commenter 2 responded:

[God's purposeful intervention is an abridgement of "freewill."]

I agree but as I've pointed out, scripture shows that this is not in every circumstance. God clearly allows freewill AND there are times where he chooses to do things regardless of man's freewill.

[Similarly, man's utter inability to do "anything good [toward salvation]... falls way short of God's glory and righteousness and are but filthy rags in the context of salvation" means he has NO "free" will to affect salvation.]

Yes and no. Yes because God must FIRST draw us and then he allows us to either RECEIVE the free gift of salvation or reject it. John 5:40 - "And ye WILL not come to me THAT ye MIGHT HAVE life." They are choosing to reject the free gift of life.

[All the choices have been predetermined to be filthy and insufficient, thus sinful.]

That is completely wrong and would completely contradict scripture as I showed with Adam. All our choices are pre-known by God but not pre-determined. This kind of heresy leads to all kinds of blasphemy such as it's God's will every time a little child is molested because he predestined it to happen. That is utter nonsense!

[No "freedom" exists within the natural (unsaved) man's free will. His will is always biased and bent to choose evil.]

This again is wrong. An unsaved person has the freewill to love their parents and children and to not commit murder or molest children.

["Free" will is an illusion and a mythology that man has created to explain away God's election of both the saved and the unsaved, which is why you cannot find the concept "free will" spelled out in the Bible.]

lol - You can't be serious. You must not have read all of the bible. It's all throughout the bible. I could give so many examples but here's just a few, and there are many more. Rev. 22:17, Hebrews 3:7-8, II Thess. 2:10, John 3:16, Deut. 30:19-20, Jer.18:7-10, & Lev. 23:38 which could not be free if it's predestined. You just have your Calvinist blinders on and ignore scriptures like these or try to come up with some crazy eisegesis.

[Praise God I had no genuine choice in the matter]

You absolutely did have a choice. You just refuse to accept it. Praise God you made the choice to receive salvation!

Booth responded to commenter 2:

Dear commenter, you wrote, "Yes and no. Yes because God must FIRST draw us and then he allows us to either RECEIVE the free gift of salvation or reject it. John 5:40 - "And ye WILL not come to me THAT ye MIGHT HAVE life." They are choosing to reject the free gift of life."

By saying this, do you mean that if God actually gives you the gift of faith ("For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that [faith is] not [from] yourselves, it is the gift of God"--Ephesians 2:8) you can, while possessing the gift of faith, say to God, "no thanks, I think I will stop having faith now"?

"for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable" (Romans 11:29)

Commenter 2 replied:

God gives us the gift of faith but doesn't force us to use it. We see this all the time. Do you always use the gift of faith that God has given you or are there times when you don't use it and have doubts and fears? Again, God gives you freewill to use it or not use it. In Mark 11:22, Jesus says to his disciples - "Have faith in God." Jesus was giving them the freewill to use their faith. He didn't predestine them to use it.

Booth responded to commenter 2:

Dear commenter, you wrote, "God gives us the gift of faith but doesn't force us to use it. We see this all the time. Do you always use the gift of faith that God has given you or are there times when you don't use it and have doubts and fears? Again, God gives you freewill to use it or not use it. In Mark 11:22, Jesus says to his disciples - "Have faith in God." Jesus was giving them the freewill to use their faith. He didn't predestine them to use it."

Let me be far more precise with my last question, "By saying this, do you mean that if God actually gives you the gift of saving faith ("For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that [faith is] not [from] yourselves, it is the gift of God"--Ephesians 2:8) you can, while possessing the gift of saving faith, say to God, "no thanks, I think I will stop having faith now"?

"for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable" (Romans 11:29)

Commenter 2 replied:

["By saying this, do you mean that if God actually gives you the gift of saving faith ("For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that [faith is] not [from] yourselves, it is the gift of God"--Ephesians 2:8)]

If you study the Greek in that passage, the gender of the Greek words show that 'it is the gift of God' is referring to salvation and God's grace, not faith. The gift of God is salvation.

[while possessing the gift of saving faith, say to God, "no thanks, I think I will stop having faith now"?]

Yes, I've shown you that God does not force us to use our faith. God allows us, as I have shown you with many scriptures, to either receive the gift of salvation, or reject it. You don't believe we are capable of resisting the Holy Spirit or that God allows us to freely make that choice? Once again as I keep showing you, scripture says otherwise. In Acts 7:51, God says - 'Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always RESIST THE HOLY GHOST.'

["for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable" (Romans 11:29)]

That's right but it doesn't mean that God forces us to always use those gifts. In fact Jesus speaks of those that don't use their gifts, but bury them. And Jesus also said in Matt. 7:22, where he rebukes those that had gifts of prophesying and casting out devils, and tells them that they weren't saved.

Booth responded to commenter 2:

Greetings again commenter.

Regarding your assertion that the gift in Ephesians 2:8 is the gift of salvation and not the gift of saving faith, I will defer to John MacArthur: "Some have objected to this interpretation, saying that faith (pistis) is feminine, while that (touto) is neuter. That poses no problem, however, as long as it is understood that that does not refer precisely to the noun faith but to the act of believing. Further, this interpretation makes the best sense of the text, since if that refers to by grace you have been saved through faith (that is, to the whole statement), the adding of and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God would be redundant, because grace is defined as an unearned act of God. If salvation is of grace, it has to be an undeserved gift of God. Faith is presented as a gift from God in 2 Peter 1;1, Philippians 1:29, and Acts 3:16."

From your comment, that one can have been given saving faith as a gift from God and then later reject salvation by faith, how often can one person do this? How often can or does an individual person get saving faith from God?

Commenter 2 replied:

That's John's opinion. Others disagree with him.

[From your comment, that one can have been given saving faith as a gift from God and then later reject salvation by faith, how often can one person do this? How often can or does an individual person get saving faith from God?]

God only gives it once. As for how often one can reject it? The bible doesn't give a specific number of times but does speak to this in various scriptures. The bible says that - "My Spirit shall not always strive with man." Here again, we see a striving between God and us. He allows us to choose and doesn't force us. Then in Acts God says to Peter, "It's hard for you to kick against the pricks." This shows us that there was a period of time that Paul was resisting the pricks of the Holy Spirit. And in Revelation, God says about Jezebel, "I gave her SPACE to repent." Again, a period of time that God gave her and was wanting her to repent, but she rejected God.

Booth responded:

Dear commenter, you stated that in your opinion everyone in the world is already given sufficient saving faith to get saved. You opined that only those who want to use that saving faith to get saved will do so, but "God does not force us to use our faith" to get saved.

That sounds uncomfortably similar to the world's view that the spark of goodness resides in all men and if they just apply a little energy and work to fan the spark (USE their internal saving faith) they can save themselves. I do not find this supported by Scripture.

To the question you were asked that solicited your opinion as to how many times a person who has been given saving faith can reject that gift of saving faith you wrote, "As for how often one can reject it? The bible doesn't give a specific number of times but does speak to this in various scriptures."

Actually, the Scriptures tell us that AFTER a person has received saving faith he can only reject such faith one time before being forever lost (assuming that such a rejection is even possible). Such a rejection of the gift of saving faith makes it impossible for a person to ever be renewed again to repentance.

For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. (Hebrews 6:4-6)

Blessings to you commenter.

Commenter 2 responded:

[That sounds uncomfortably similar to the world's view that the spark of goodness resides in all men and if they just apply a little energy and work to fan the spark (USE their internal saving faith) they can save themselves. I do not find this supported by Scripture.]

I don't support that either. You're drawing a false analogy. Just because you make the false analogy, doesn't make it true.

[Actually, the Scriptures tell us that AFTER a person has received saving faith he can only reject such faith one time before being forever lost (assuming that such a rejection is even possible). Such a rejection of the gift of saving faith makes it impossible for a person to ever be renewed again to repentance.]

You're confusing what I said. There's a difference between having the faith to be able to receive the free gift of salvation and choosing not to use it, and having the faith and choosing to receive the gift of salvation. I agree that once you use it to be saved, you cannot THEN reject it. I agree with Calvinists that you cannot lose your salvation. Romans 12:3 - "God hath dealt to EVERY MAN the measure of faith."(you forgot to hit reply on your last comment)

Booth replied:

Dear commenter, it is good that we agree that salvation is sealed into us permanently by God. It is sad that we disagree on this matter, that you say that every man is given saving faith by God.

The passage you partially quoted (Romans 12:3), when examined in context, is written explicitly to the Christians "among us" and refers to every man among us, not every man in the world.

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone AMONG YOU not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in ONE BODY and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. (Romans 12:3-5) and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for NOT ALL HAVE FAITH. (2 Thessalonians 3:2)

For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. (Hebrews 4:2)

Commenter 2 stated:

(you forgot to hit reply again)

[It is sad that we disagree on this matter, that you say that every man is given saving faith by God.]

That's because you're still confused. There's a distinction between having the ability to use the faith that God gives and receive salvation, and THEN actually using it and being saved.

[The passage you partially quoted (Romans 12:3), when examined in context, is written explicitly to the Christians "among us" and refers to every man among us, not every man in the world.]

Yes, I'll agree with that, but that doesn't change everything else I've shown in these thread of comments. There's a lot of things I said that you didn't respond to but that's ok, I'm not going to go back through all the comments and make a list of what you ignored.

And Jesus said in Matt. 16:24 - "If ANY MAN will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."

[and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for NOT ALL HAVE FAITH. (2 Thessalonians 3:2)]

Yes, I already brought this up earlier. Even though God gives faith, he doesn't force us to use it. I'm sure there have been times in certain circumstances when you didn't have faith.

[For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. (Hebrews 4:2)]

Yes, again, they heard the word and chose not to believe and have faith.


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