Friday, May 21, 2010

Predestination / Free Will (4a)

First: Total Depravity (Radical Corruption)
• Regeneration before faith
• Spiritual Life is Bestowed
• Christ is received
• Mankind is spiritually dead and under the dominion of sin. No one can of his own will come to Christ for salvation. No one has faith unless God graciously bestows the willingness and ability to believe.
• Total Depravity is not utter depravity. We could be more evil! Rather, it implies radical corruption; every part of us is corrupt, including our will. Nothing within us is left untouched by sin. Sin affects every part of mankind.
• How much light does it take to make a blind man see? A blind man must first be made to see in order for the question to matter.
• The objection: What about “seekers”?
The answer: There is no such person as an unbelieving seeker. So-called “seekers” are not looking for the True God. Sproul, Grace Unknown, pg 125, says: “The search for God does not end in conversion; it begins at conversion.”
• Cross Reference Romans 10:9 (“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord...”) with 1 Corinthians 12:3 (“No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit...”)
• Scripture:
“The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” (Genesis 6:5) Same idea after the flood in Genesis 8:21.
“The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.” (Deuteronomy 30:6)
“Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one!” (Job 14:4)
“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5)
“Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies.” (Psalm 58:3)
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23)
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
“By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from
thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” (Matthew 7:16-18)
“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” (Matthew 19:26)
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” (Matthew 23:37)
“Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:45)
“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.” (John 5:21)
“‘All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.… No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. …The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, ‘This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.’” (John 6:37,44,63-65)
“Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. ... Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. ... He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.’” (John 8:34,43,47)
“You did not choose me, but I chose you…” (John 15:16)
“When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.” (Acts 13:48)
“One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” (Acts 16:14)
“When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed.” (Acts 18:27)
“When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.” (Romans 6:20)
“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” (Romans 8:5-11)
“It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” (Romans 9:16)
“Everything that does not come from faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23)
“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)
“For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1 Corinthians 4:7)
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God…. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:4-6)
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:1-10)
“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him...” (Philippians 1:29)
“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature [or flesh], God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins” (Colossians 2:13)
“To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.” (Titus 1:15)
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)
• Additional Scripture (Genesis 8:21; Job 15:14-16; Ecclesiastes 7:20;9:3; Isaiah 53:6;64:6-7; Matthew 15:13; Mark 7:21-23; John 1:12-13;3:3-8,16,19-21,27;5:39-40;12:37-40;14:17; Romans 3:9-18;5:12-19;7:15-19;9:10-24; 1 Corinthians 3:6-7; 2 Corinthians 5:17-19; Philippians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5; 2 Timothy 2:25-26; Titus 3:3-7; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:3,20-21,23)
• Conclusion: God must make us willing and able to come to Him by regeneration, since we, in our sin natures, have neither the willingness nor the ability to come. God must change our natures and give us new hearts in order to make us willing and able.


Anonymous said...

I disagree with one part of your conclusion and that is the part where you say that man does not have the ability to come. In Acts 17:26-27, God holds man accountable to seek after Him, but sadly no one does as stated in Romans 3:11. Since no man uses his free will to truly seek God for salvation, then all men are condemned. God knew this before He created the world and that is why He predestined some men to believe by giving them grace and faith as a love gift to His Son Jesus Christ (John 6:37). It is true that no one can come to Jesus and believe unless God draws them (John 6:44), but that is because God gives that belief to come to Jesus as a gift. The only thing you can do on your own is to seek God for salvation of your sinful self since you cannot stop from sinning. It is humbling to admit your sin is bigger than you are and to ask God for help/salvation. It is the opposite of pride. If you would seek then God would give you the faith/belief to come to Jesus Christ as the means of His salvation. Since no one does seek with their free will, God makes some to seek and believe by giving them the gift of faith by His grace. Free will takes all to hell, but God’s predestination takes some of those hell bound people to heaven (His elect) as a gift. -JMJ

Chip Crush said...

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your comments. I think you are on the right track, realizing that an awareness of your sinful condition must precede "faith" or "belief in" / "coming to" Christ. But in John 6:44, which was noted, Jesus said, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him (the drawn one) up on the last day." This last part is crucial to understanding Jesus' words. All who are drawn will be raised. No one is drawn without also coming to salvation.

Jesus declares the inability of mankind to come. You said, "The only thing you can do on your own is to seek God for salvation," but this is not true. You noted the verse in your comments, Romans 3:11, which says that no one seeks God. The reason that no one seeks God is that no one can seek God. All are spiritually dead in sin, and dead people don't seek anything. Here's another illustration:

In John 3:3-6, Jesus said to Nicodemus, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again," and "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit."

The inability is obvious. In order to seek God (even in a form of exercising humility and repentance) we must be granted this grace of rebirth, unto the realization of our sin, as well as the humility and repentance from that sin, from God Himself (Acts 11:8). And not everyone is granted this grace (2 Timothy 2:25).

Paul says, "It is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). If you seek God on your own, as you claim to be able to do, then you can boast over those who did not seek God. You can say, "I'm worthy, and you're not, because I sought God and you didn't." But no one can boast before God. It is all of grace (John 1:16; Acts 11:23; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Titus 2:11).

I take no credit for realizing my sinful estate. God opened my eyes to that fact by His grace, and it led inescapably to my salvation - also by grace - through faith. I hope you can praise God for revealing to you your sinful condition, and you do not take His glory in that by claiming to have seen it on your own.