photo credit:  abcdz2000  via  photopin   cc There is a true story told of an Indian missionary. The young man was in India during a gr...

Do You Qualify for Salvation?

photo credit: abcdz2000 via photopin cc

There is a true story told of an Indian missionary. The young man was in India during a great festival in which all of the Hindus travel to the river Ganges to wash themselves for the forgiveness of sins. Thousands of Hindus traveled for miles to wash themselves in this river. The story goes that this missionary was crossing a bridge over the river when he saw a woman weeping uncontrollably. He approached her to see what was wrong.

She told him that her husband was unable to work. They had no money to provide for the family. She told him that her sins were so many that no one knew about. She was burdened with guilt and shame. She needed forgiveness and blessings. In order to receive the blessing and forgiveness of the goddess Ganges, she said, “I have given her the most valuable offering I could give her. My six month old baby boy. I just threw him into the river.” The missionary proceeded to explain the gospel to her. To tell her that she didn’t have to kill her son. God had sent his son in order to save mankind. When he was done the woman looked at him. “Why didn’t you come a half hour sooner?” She asked. “I didn’t have to kill my son.” And with that she took of running and weeping. She’s not the only one you know. There are thousands. Millions are crying out “why?” Longing and searching for an answer to the void in their heart. Looking for forgiveness and salvation. Their religion tells them that salvation can only be gained by working hard to earn Gods favor. Their religion tells them that they have to climb, struggle, work, sweat, bleed, and suffer in order to enter the Kingdom. But the Bible says something else. In Ephesians 2:8-9 it 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.” The Bible teaches that it’s not what we do that saves us, but what God has done. It’s not about what we do; it’s about what He did.

The book of Ephesians which I just quoted reveals Gods mysterious purpose for what we call “church.” Paul, the author of the book, paints a picture of a secret weapon that God had planned from the beginning of time in order to defeat evil. That secret weapon in the church. Why church? I mean. Isn’t church boring? Irrelevant? Hasn’t the church caused more evil than good in history? How could this be Gods secret weapon to defeat evil? That answer is found in Ephesians 1:22-23. Here Paul says, “And God placed all things under his [Jesus] feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” According to this verse, Christ is the head of the church which is his body. However, there is something powerful here. The Greek word for church is “ekklesia” which means congregation or assembly. According to the Bible “church” is not a building, it’s a community of people. So Gods secret weapon to defeat evil is people. But what kind of people? Ephesians 2:1-2 answers that question. It says, “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.” Did you catch it? Gods secret weapon from the beginning of time was people. But not good people. Bad people! People who were rebellious, wicked, and selfish. People who were slaves to sin. Gods mystery of the church is that He was going to get these “evil people” and use them to defeat evil. But how? In order for God to do this He would have to get these people to be on His side. He would have to rescue them from the power of sin. But how?


You know, there are three popular versions of salvation. The most common is that you are saved by works. This means you have to be good and if you are good enough you are allowed into heaven. The second is that you are saved as a free gift apart from works. This means that you don’t have to do anything in order to be saved. You just have to receive the gift. The third is that you are saved by grace, but in order to stay saved you have to work. For many years I fell into the third version of salvation. However, this version is simply a baptized version of salvation by works. Even though I was saved by grace I always felt I hadn’t done enough to stay saved and that I had to do more. I had to be a vegetarian or else I would lose my salvation. I had to keep the Sabbath perfectly and be nice to people and do everything right or else I would lose the free gift of salvation. And I was miserable. But according to Paul, it’s the second version that’s the right one. We are saved by grace through faith. Period. Look at it here in Ephesians. It says, “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.” Guys, it’s not about what we do; it’s about what He did. We can’t do anything to be saved. We can’t do anything to stay saved. It’s all a gift of God. And the crazy thing is that God gives this gift to evil people, not to good people. Grace is for the sinner not the saint. Look at verse five. It says, “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” It is when we were dead in sin that Jesus offered us salvation. Works cannot save us. It has to be a gift. This is the only way. You can’t be vegetarian enough, or know enough Bible verses, or behave well enough for God to accept you. The gift of salvation is not offered to you when you are good. It’s offered to you when you are evil. It’s not about what you do; it’s about what He did. The church is a community of people who were slaves to sin and have been rescued from that slavery. It is not a building. It is not a club. It is not a group of perfect people. It is a community of people who were once dead in sin and they received the free gift of salvation and are now alive in Christ. They did not receive the gift because they were good. They received it because they were evil. Why? “So that no one can boast.” It’s not about what we do; it’s about what He did.


So what about works? When I was a soldier I met a guy named Kennel. He smoked, drank, slept with different women all the time and got kicked out for doing drugs. However, according to Kennel he was saved because four years before he had prayed a prayer at a youth rally. Is this what it means to be saved? If works have nothing to do with our salvation then why be good? Look at verse 10 with me. Paul says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” The Greek word for workmanship is “poiema” which literally means, “a work.” We are Gods work. When you give your life to Jesus He begins to do a work within you. He begins to change you and transform you. I like to think of it this way. When Paul used the word “ poiema” it simply meant a work. But over time it became the root of our English word poem. A poet is someone who makes a poem. However, the poet works on the poem until it is exactly what He wants it to be. This is what God does with us. He works in us until He makes us what He wants us to be. He doesn’t leave us broken like He found us. He works in us and through us and for us and turns us into a beautiful poem. Good works are the evidence that God is at work within us. But even those good works are His works, never our own. It’s not about what we do; it’s about what He did.


I knew a guy named Patrick. The first year that I knew him he tried to commit suicide two times. Another friend of mine and I tried to help him. You see, Patrick’s problem was that he was raised to believe that he had to pay penance for all of his sins and he always felt he hadn’t done enough. But for some reason no matter how much we talked about grace it just didn’t sink in for him. One day, after he had tried to commit suicide again, he was in the mental hospital and a chaplain went to see him. He explained the gospel to him. Paul accepted it. He got down on his knees and asked God to forgive him for his sins. At that moment he opened his eyes and the chaplain looked at him. “That’s it?” he asked. “That’s all you have to say?” Patrick said, “yes that it.” All of a sudden, and I’m not kidding, the chaplain grabbed Patrick by the shirt and started to punch him! He hit his chest and shook him back and forth and screamed “why don’t you just get it! Saved by grace! You don’t have to do anything to be saved! Jesus paid the price.” A wall fell. It was an invisible wall. It broke down like the walls of Jericho. And Patrick saw for the first time. He wept like he had never wept before. He laid all his burdens at the cross. And for the first time in his life, he was free. A few days later, I stood on the shore of a beach in Hawaii and watched as Patrick was baptized in the ocean. Patrick finally understood that salvation isn’t about what you do. It’s not about how good you are. Salvation is about receiving the gift of grace. It’s free. It’s not about what we do; it’s about what He did. Every other religion in the world tells you what to do. Christianity tells you what was done. It’s not about what we do; it’s about what He did. Period.

29 comments:

  1. Hi Marcos;
    A very good explanation of salvation, but you need to deal the last bit of works, as you have said "that Jesus offered us salvation".
    Salvation is NOT an OFFERING, it is a free gift, if it would be an offering then we would need works to obtain it.
    Paul

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    1. Hi Paul! Thanks for that clarification. What u say is what I had in mind so this is just an issue of semantics. However, I would clarify further that I am not a Calvinist so I do believe that salvation while a free gift must be received. It is in that sense that salvation is offered, not as something to be earned but as something to accept.

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  2. No Marcos, it is not an issue of semantics.

    The Lord Jesus does not OFFER the gift of salvation.
    Anything which is offered is NOT a gift.
    A gift is that which you already have in your possession.
    The first gift of life wasn't an offering from your father, and neither was the second gift of life eternal (of the Spirit) an offering from your heavenly Father.

    An offering you can reject by your will or take by your will, but you are not born again by the will of the flesh or the will of man.
    But a gift you cannot reject since it is already in your possession.
    Also, that gift is not for "all mankind", it is only for Gods children the elect who were in Christ before the foundation of the world.
    Kind regards
    Paul

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    1. Hi Paul!

      I appreciate your response. I wasn't quite sure exactly what you were getting at in the first comment but now I understand where you are coming from so yes, you are right, this is not a matter of semantics, it is a matter of theology. The theology you are espousing is the theology of Calvinism. As I said in my last comment I am not a Calvinist. I do not believe that God gives us salvation apart from our free will. So you can say that I fall more into the camp of Arminianism (though I am not fully Arminian). Since our theological foundations are different from one another then naturally we are going to come to different conclusions on what the Bible teaches regarding this topic. Though I don't like heated debates, I'm happy to dialogue about it if you'd like.

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  3. Thanks for your response Marcos.
    I'm not a Calvinist even though some may call me that. I'm a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Scriptures.
    If salvation (the new birth of the spirit / new life) has been given to us, then we surely have it without doing anything, the moment we do something for it, then it is by works and not by grace. Grace is the absence of works.
    Regards
    Paul

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  4. Hi Paul
    I ressonate with you in that some may call me Arminian even though I dont consider myself an Arminian. Like yourself, I too am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Scriptures and it is from the Scriptures and not a theologian, be it Martin Luther or any other, that I base my beliefs.

    Up to this point you have only stated your understanding of salvation in brief terms. Would you be willing to give me a more profound explanation? I would like to dialogue with you about it to see if your interpretation is what the Bible is truly teaching. It seems to me that we agree on every point except one. I believe that grace is a free gift that God offers mankind and we are free to accept it or reject it. You take the position that the very act of accepting it is an exercise of the human will and is therefore works. Is that correct?

    Looking forward to it
    Marcos

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  5. Yes that's right Marcos, every act of accepting is works and we both know that to be true.
    But the free gift of eternal life is by grace unmerited, it is not by the merit of choice, accepting or anything of us.

    I'll explain; because we were in Christ before the foundation of the world, therefore we were Gods children from the beginning, from Adam all have sinned and have died (spiritually), but at the appropriate time the Lord Jesus came and gave us a gift, a gift of a new life (born again).

    You see, while we were yet sinners Christ died for US, while we were dead in our sins and trespasses Jesus Christ made us alive in Him by His resurrection.
    Note, it is all the work of the Lord Jesus Christ and absolutely nothing of us.
    We couldn't have rejected this new life because it is just too wonderful to be alive (spiritually), it is just the same as our first life to be born of flesh, we couldn't reject that and neither would we.

    Here we can see that the new birth wasn't offered to us but it was given to us as a free gift and we were the recipient of that free gift which is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    An offering is not a gift, there is a big difference.
    In an offering we need to engage the will and then do the taking which amounts to work, but we are not born again by the will of the flesh or the will of man but only by the will of God and grace.
    Perhaps you might see that the Lord Jesus Christ is sovereign in all His ways and for that reason He is called an omnipotent savior who will loose not one of His beloved children who were in Christ before He created the world.
    If I'm not clear in certain points please feel free to ask, I try to keep my comments as short as possible and direct to the point.
    Kind regards
    Paul

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  6. Thanks for the explanation Paul. I understand your position more fully now. I also have to add, I appreciate the fact that you base your beliefs on the Bible and not on a theologian. I say that because there are many people who base their beliefs on men. The result of this is that they become patriotic about their beliefs and are unable to critically analyze them. So I am glad that you and I can go to Gods word and study it without the patriotic loyalty to some ancient teacher.

    On any note, I have a few questions to ask to see if I understood exactly what you are explaining above. I'll number them for the sake of simplicity.

    1. If the saved have been elected for salvation from before the foundation of the world, does it follow that the lost were also elected at that time?
    2. If the answer to 1 is yes, then what criteria did God use to select who would be saved and who would be lost? Was it based on a random selection? Or was it based on something else?
    3. If this theology is correct, would it be safe to say that you yourself may be on the list of the lost and therefore will be lost regardless of the fact that you are a believer? Or is the fact that you are a believer evidence that you were on the saved list from the beginning?
    4. Did Jesus die for all men, or only for the sins of those on the saved list?
    5. What is the point of preaching the gospel if God has already selected those who will be saved and those who will be lost? In other words, if the lists of saved and lost are unchangeable then what is the purpose of preaching repentance and belief in Jesus?
    6. And finally, if we enter eternal life apart from our own choice, is it also true that those who enter the lake of fire are also there apart from their own choice? In other words, Did God create certain people whose only destiny is to suffer an eternal punishment for something they never had a choice in?

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  7. Marcos;
    Point 1.From the beginning the Lord Jesus Christ elected only His children for salvation as in eternal life and rejected Satan's children so that they will never see life, in fact they can never enter or see that life which is to be born again because the Lord has rejected them, I prefer the term ' rejection' rather than ' He elected them for destruction'. Their sins are not forgiven, they have to suffer for their own sins while the sins of the children of God are atoned for by the Lord Jesus on the cross.

    Point 2. is the most important question. The entire understanding of salvation and the plan of God for His creation depends on the understanding of that question.
    "What criteria did God use to select who would be saved and who would be lost?"
    Because the Lord Jesus Christ is a just God therefore He could not have a random election (U) like the Calvinists say or the Arminians who say that God elected them in Christ, and to get in Christ is by their will and choice etc.

    Election is based on the criteria whether they were in Christ (in God) before the foundation of the world and therefore are His children and His DNA of man, and the non elect were in their Father the devil with his DNA, the DNA of the beast (John 8:44).
    Through the entire Bible there is always a battle between Gods children and Satan's children, between the elect and the non elect to this very day.

    Perhaps you may ask, how did Satan's children and DNA come about? None of the theologians could see that because they search the Scripture and think that in them (the Scriptures) they get wisdom and understanding, but forgetting that the Scriptures speak of Jesus Christ and they are unwilling to come to Jesus and inquire of Him concerning the wisdom of God and His ways.
    The children of God and the children of the devil we find at the beginning in Genesis.
    To avoid misunderstandings, every time when I say 'God' I always mean the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
    God created Adam Gods son (Luke 3:38) with His DNA, the DNA of man perfect and in His likeness (Gen.1:27 + 5:1) (Jesus).
    God also created all the animals perfect after their kind with the DNA of the beasts (Gen.1:25). However, one of the beasts was different than all the other beasts of the field (Gen. 3:1), it was a male beast the serpent who could speak and was more crafty than all the other animals the Lord had created. He seduced the woman, the wife of Adam to sin, and then the Lord said to the woman (Gen.3:13) "What is this you have DONE?" and to the serpent the Lord said (Gen.3:14) "Because you have DONE this", (what did they DO?). The answer to that is in (Gen. 3:15) The Lord said to the serpent, "and I will put enmity between your children and her children".

    Here you can see that the serpent produced his children through the woman (Eve), and Adam also produced his children through Eve and for that reason Eve became the mother of all living (Gen.3:20), but that was not so with Adam, he is not the father of all living, he is the father of the elect, and the serpent (devil) is the father of the reprobates the none elect.
    Eves first son Cain was the son of the serpent or as the Scriptures said (1 John 3:12) that Cain was born of the evil one, in the likeness of his father the serpent with half of his DNA and the other half of Eves DNA of man, which is called 'the sin of Eve'.
    Adams son Abel was born righteously (Mat.23:35) and in Adams image, but because the serpents son was a murderer from beginning and killed Adams son Abel, therefore Adam wanted another son in his likeness, Seth (Gen.5:3) etc.
    Perhaps you can see the two lines, the line of the rejects (unrighteous) going through the genealogy of Cane and the line of the elect (righteous) going through the genealogy of Adam, Seth etc.

    So then the Lord Jesus came to lie down His life only for His children (John 10:11) and to gather only Gods children from abroad (John 11:51-52).

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  8. Point 3. No Marcos, I was not on the list of the lost. If I would be a son of the devil, then the Lord Jesus would not have caused me to be born again or would have put His Spirit into me.
    The lost are haters of God and lovers of pleasures and lovers of self, they are always in enmity against us who love the Lord Jesus Christ with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.
    Believing in "God" is no evidence of being children of God, since even the demons believe and tremble.
    So the evidence is the new birth (born again) for the believers themselves, and for the others, whether they love the Lord Jesus Christ and anyone who does not love the Lord Jesus Christ is not born of God.
    Point 4. Yes Jesus died only for those on the saved list.
    If Jesus would have died for everyone, then the sins for those in hell would also have been atoned for and they also would be considered sinless just the same as us the redeemed and that would be unthinkable.

    Point 5. We preach the gospel so that we cans see the sons of God to be reviled and we rejoice with all the angels of heaven for every sinner who repents.

    Point 6. Yes that's right Marcos, no one can enter into eternal life by their own choice, it is the choice of the Lord Jesus Christ alone. He alone knows who are truly His, and He will not lose one of His beloved children because He is a trustworthy and an omnipotent savior.
    No one would choose to enter the lake of fire, the lake of fire was prepared by the Lord Jesus for the devil and for his children.
    It is important to understand that the Lord Jesus has no pleasure when the wicked is perishing, they are punished and perish for their own sins, unlike the elect, for their sins Jesus Christ was punished on the cross of Calvary and by His stripes we are healed.
    The main difference is that the wicked will never see and enter into that new life, (the new birth) and life abundant, but they will go from bad to worse because they don't believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
    However if the non elect does what the Lord commanded, they too will be blessed and saved from certain punishment, sickness, misery, calamity and destruction, but eternal life is not for them.
    Paul

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  9. Hey Paul!

    Sorry it has taken me so long to respond. My net was down for a while.

    I'm going to attempt to summarize what you have been sharing with me. Let me know if I get it right. Once again, I'll number these for the sake of simplicity.

    1. Grace is a free gift. As such it must be entirely unmerited. Even the act of "accepting" grace is a work, which nullifies the fact that grace is a free gift. Therefore, grace can neither be accepted nor rejected because it is a free gift apart from all human work, including the act of acceptance. Grace is a gift because it is already in our possession, not because we accepted it.
    2. Since grace is a free gift that can neither be accepted nor rejected then it follows that all will be saved by this free gift. However, this is impossible for the Bible says all will not be saved. A more thorough search of scripture will reveal that from before the foundation of the world God had an elect group of those who would be saved. The saved are Gods children. Those who are lost are lost because they are Satan's children. The saved and lost have been determined from before the foundation of the world and the lists are unchangeable.
    3. Since grace is a free gift that cannot be accepted or rejected and the saved and lost have been elected from before the foundation of the world then it follows that Christ's sacrifice was not intended to cover the sins of the lost but only of the elect.
    4. And finally, heaven will be populated by those whom God has elected for all eternity. Likewise, he'll will be populated by those whom God has rejected from the foundation of the world.

    Did I get it right?

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  10. correction on #4: he'll should be hell.

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  11. No brother, we have a big misunderstanding here in Point 1, 2, 3.

    Point 1. Grace is NOT a free gift.
    The free gift is salvation from death unto eternal life (born again), plainly a NEW LIFE.
    And that NEW LIFE has been given to us by the Lord Jesus by grace 'UNDESERVING'. So then grace is not in us, but the free gift of a new life is in us.
    We have received the free gift of life from the Lord Jesus Christ and the reason is 'UNDESERVING' which is grace.

    Point 2. It is that LIFE which we can NOT accept or reject. The dead cannot accept or reject because they are dead in sins and trespasses.
    Anyone who has received that LIFE has passed from death into LIFE, called salvation.
    Anyone who did NOT receive that LIFE remains in death.

    Yes, the saved and the lost have been determined from before the foundation of the world that all the elect will be saved unto LIFE and all the none elect will never see LIFE and that's unchangeable.

    Point 3. Yes, Christ's sacrifice was only for Gods children the elect. Christ's sacrifice doesn't COVER sins, it atoned for the sins of the world, (the elect). I don't like the word 'COVER', because whatever is covered can be uncovered.
    The blood of bulls and goats in the O.T. covered the sins of the Israelites, but the blood of Jesus Christ is much better than the blood of bulls and goats it removes or taketh away sins of the world, which means that there are no more sins and what is no more cannot be uncovered.
    Perhaps you might be able to see, if those in hell would have their sins forgiven, then there would be sinless people in hell, which is unthinkable. Therefore the Lord Jesus did NOT die for those in hell.

    Point 4. Basically OK! But it is more about life or death rather than heaven or hell.
    Kind regards
    Paul

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  12. Paul

    I can confidently say that this time the discrepancy was purely semantics. Thanks for the clarification! You are 100 percent correct when you say that it is salvation that is a free gift and it is free because of grace. That is what I had in mind when I wrote point number 1. So yes, I too believe that it is life that we have in us. As it is written, "He who has the Son has life..."

    Now that I understand your position I am able to confirm that the primary difference between our soteriology is based on our understanding of how salvation is received. I see it as conditional (the freedom to choose to accept or reject Gods gift of salvation) while you understand it to be unconditional (it is God who elects not man).

    I am not a closed minded individual. Neither do I think to own the market on truth, so if you can show me from scripture that your understanding is the correct one I will gladly submit to the truth. However, up to this point we have discussed many aspects of your Biblical understanding of salvation. For now, I don't wish to discuss the particulars such as sons of God and sons of Satan or the atonement being limited vs universal etc. What I am interested in understanding more fully is point 1. I will quote one of your previous statements on it, then pose a question and we can go from there.

    "The Lord Jesus does not OFFER the gift of salvation. Anything which is offered is NOT a gift. A gift is that which you already have in your possession.... An offering you can reject by your will or take by your will, but you are not born again by the will of the flesh or the will of man. But a gift you cannot reject since it is already in your possession" (from your 2nd post).

    So what I see here is that salvation is not an offering but a gift. An offering you can reject but not a gift. The issue here seems to be free will. So my only question today is:

    1. Can you show me where this principle is taught in scripture?

    Thanks!

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  13. Thanks Marcos for your clarification.

    (John 1:12-13) "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God."

    Here we can see that the Lord Jesus strongly rejects the claim that we can be born again by our free will.
    Many people want to be born again but cannot, in fact every devil would like to be born again but they cannot.

    This is how it works; we preach the gospel, by this I mean that we lift up the Lord Jesus Christ and He will draw all men to Himself just as Jesus said (John 5:25) "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live."

    When the spiritually dead will hear the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ,and the moment they hear, they are born again, then we know that those who hear Gods voice are the ones who have received the gift.
    Paul

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  14. Hi Paul,

    I'll try to be quick in my reply because I have to study for finals tomorrow (grrr).

    So according to this text being born of God and not of man means that God predestined those who are born again and those who are not. At least that is what I understood from your response. However, I don't see that in this text. Take for example the same text in its immediate context:

    "He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
    He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:10-13

    As I see it this passage affirms several things. The world that Jesus made didn't know Him. He came unto his own (if anyone was elect it would have been "his own") and yet the text says that his own did not receive him. But as many as did receive him to them he gave the power to become sons of God born of Gods will and not of blood, flesh, or mans will.

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  15. By "his own" John is referring to the nation of Israel whom were Gods special chosen people. Yet these people that God chose rejected him. Was it Gods will that "his own" would reject him? If so, why did he plead with them to repent over and over again in the OT and even in the NT through Jesus and the apostles? It seems Gods "own" rejected him out of their own free will.

    Now the Jews had a belief that they were saved simply by being Jew. Many still believe that today. Since they had Abrahams blood and flesh they thought that meant they were saved. However, John shows here that simply being Jew does not qualify you for salvation. It is those who receive God who are saved. This is what John meant when he said that Gods children were born "not of blood, nor the will of the flesh, nor the will of man." He is simply saying that being Jew cannot automatically save you. Those who believe on Jesus are the ones who are saved, not those who think they are saved because they are Abrahams decendants. The words receive and believe are verbs that are modifying the phrase "as many" which refers to people. People who receive (an act) and believe (also an act) are saved. God does not force us to receive and believe. However he does give us the faith for "He gives to every man a measure of faith."

    In the end I cant say "I was saved because I excercized my amazing faith" because faith is a gift of God and cant be manufactured by human will but I am still free to chose whether or not I will use that faith. But this is not a work. When the Bible rejects salvation by works it never uses works to refer to the act of saying yes to God but to works as the act of gaining merit with God so that He says yes to us.

    Now I know that you will disagree with my comments above and refute what I have described :) However, I dont want our discussion to turn into a ping pong game with bible verses. The real issue here is that you and I are reading the same text with different glasses and so we interpret them differently. Unless I recognize that my glasses are the wrong ones then I wont be able to interpret the texts you quote in the same way and vice versa. So lets focus on the "glasses" so to speak. My glasses are the free will glasses while yours appear to be the non-free will glasses (sorry for the horrible name). This is why looking at the same text we come to such different conclusions. Rather than debate the text lets debate the glasses. I maintain that God allows us to choose whether or not to accept him. You maintain that God predestines us to chose or reject him. I will ask you a question about your glasses and you can ask me a question about mine. I fear if we dont approach it this way you and I will be debating Bible texts 50 years from now and have gotten nowhere. I certainly don't want that! Anyways, what do you think?

    Well, here is my question.
    - Is God capable of creating free moral agents that can choose Him for themselves? If so, then why didn't He? (assuming your understanding is the correct one)

    Wow! I said this was going to be a quick one and it was the longest one yet, lol.

    Off to study. Blessings Paul.

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  16. Well brother, we believe so much the same, but I think that we carefully have to check both of our glasses.
    I have avoided using too many Scriptures to keep it simple, the problem is not the Scriptures but the glasses we are wearing, they sometimes get muddled up.

    Receiving a gift.
    If I HAVE something and you take it, that's called stealing, yes, it is in your possession but you did not receive it, you took it.

    If I OFFER something, then I have not given it, it's not a gift, it is still in my possession, I only offered it, and then it's up to you to take it, which is (works) because you do something to get it, or you also can reject it.

    But if I come to you and place that which I have in your hands, and only then you have received that gift, because it's in your possession, you cannot reject it because you already have it. We are not talking about apples but LIFE eternal.
    In other words, If you are DEAD in one area, and I came to give you LIFE in that particular area you were dead, you firstly have received it as a free gift and you didn't do anything to have it, second you couldn't reject it because it is to good to have it.
    Scriptural statement, 'but as many as received that gift are my sons.
    See, If a person is saved on the merits on what he does, then he also is lost by what he does.
    If the Lord Jesus wants to save everyone, and He cannot do it, then He is an impotent saviour.
    Would you trust the Lord Jesus for your salvation, if He couldn't save your friend whom He loved??
    Marcos, I believe that every person has a will, but that will is not entirely free, it is subjected to their master.
    If Satan is their master, they will do his will, if the Lord Jesus is their master, they will do the Lords will, or like Jesus said, if sin is their master they will sin.
    I also believe that we have choice to do the will of the Lord or not and be disobedient.
    But we cannot choose to be born into a wealthy family, to be the son of a king, to have black hair or blond hair, to be male or female, to be handsome or ugly and there is much more we cannot choose.
    I hope that would remove some dirt from our glasses :-)
    Paul

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  17. I'm happy that you agree to avoid a game of Bible verse ping pong. My father often debates Jehovas Witnesses and that's exactly what they do and it never (emphasize never) gets anywhere. It just turns into a screaming match after a while and produces no good fruit. With so many millions living without Christ I refuse to waste my time on those kind of heated debates. I've been in a few myself in the past. Not worth it!

    So now we are focusing our attention on our glasses. Another way of putting it is we are focusing on our presuppositions. You and I approach the Bible with different presuppositions so we interpret it differently. It seems our root lays on our understanding of the nature of a gift. I will respond by pasting your comments above and then responding to them one by one.

    Receiving a gift.
    If I HAVE something and you take it, that's called stealing, yes, it is in your possession but you did not receive it, you took it.

    This is absolutely true. We have no disagreement here.

    If I OFFER something, then I have not given it, it's not a gift, it is still in my possession, I only offered it, and then it's up to you to take it, which is (works) because you do something to get it, or you also can reject it.

    Here is point number one we don't agree with. This statement has two main points.

    1. If you offer something its not a gift.
    2. The act of receiving the gift is works.

    These are the two concepts I cant wrap my head around. From my estimation they actually appear to be rather illogical. Try putting those same statements in different forms and they don't make sense. For example:

    A. If you offer something its not a gift.
    B. If you don't offer something its a gift.
    C. If its a gift then you don't offer it.
    D. If its not a gift then you offer it.

    Out of all of these statements only not one of them is logical. Rearranging "if" statements in this way helps you to see if it is logical or not. Take for example my presupposition.

    1. If you offer something then its a gift.
    2. If you don't offer something then its not a gift.
    3. If its a gift then you offer it.
    4. If its not a gift then you don't offer it.

    All of these statements are perfectly logical. They make sense. Not only do they make sense but this is how gifting works in the real world. Say a father buys his 2 year old son a gift for this Christmas. The son did nothing to earn the gift. He couldn't even if he wanted to because hes only 2! On Christmas morning the dad picks up a wrapped present and hands it to his son. Excited, the little guy opens it to discover a GI Joe action figure (remember those?). Now what did the boy do to earn that gift? Nothing. His dad is the one that worked. His dad is the one that paid. All the kid did was soil his diapers and wake mom and dad up at three in the morning all year and yet they love him so they bought him a gift. He doesn't deserve it but its his. Just because he had to reach out and take it doesn't mean he worked for it which brings me to my second contention which I will reply to later on (going Christmas Shopping!).

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  18. PS. When speaking of gifts I am taking for granted that both you and I understand the phrase "offering something" as "offering something for free." Thus my syllogism would look more like, "If you offer something freely then its a gift." Just though I would clarify :)

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  19. OK, I'm back.

    2. The act of receiving the gift is works.

    Although I responded to this one above I will try and explain a little more why I cant wrap my head around this concept. Number one, I receive gifts all the time. Someone hands it to me and I reach out and grab it thereby accepting the offer. By reaching out and grabbing the gift I am not earning it at all. I am simply saying, yes I will accept your free gift. Number 2, if I refuse to reach out and accept the gift that is offered I am simply saying I don't want it even though I recognize its free. So I don't see how accepting a gift in any way equates to earning it.

    Your next statement is:

    But if I come to you and place that which I have in your hands, and only then you have received that gift, because it's in your possession, you cannot reject it because you already have it.

    There are three reasons why this doesn't make rational sense to me either.

    1. By placing the gift in my hand without my consent you are not simply giving me a gift but forcing me to have the gift. Suppose you buy flowers for a woman that you like. You take them to her and without asking you put the flowers in her hands and tell her she has no choice in the matter. You have just forced. By force I mean you have imposed your will on a conscious agent without consideration to their own desires. The act of a powerful agent forcing his/her will upon another is clearly seen in acts such as rape, murder, abuse, and extortion. If God forces us, without any consideration to our desires, to be saved then He is not a loving God but a coercive one because love by its very definition cannot be forced.

    2. Even if you did manage to place a gift in someones hand without their consent that person is still capable of rejecting it. Say for example, the woman who you gave the flowers to throws them back at you and tells you to get out of her face. Thus, placing a gift in someones hand does not guarantee that it's theirs. It is only when a person freely and joyfully accepts the gift that it can truly be considered their own because such a person will not throw the gift back at you. Therefore, you can reject something that is already in your possession.

    3. If God does not impose His will on us then the statement contains a self-contradiction: "...if I come to you and place that which I have in your hands, and only then you have received that gift." The word receive is a verb. As such it implies action. However, it is not only a verb - it is an active verb meaning that it implies a conscious action on the part of the recipient. However, you cannot force someone to accept a gift. You either force them to receive it (impose your will on them) or they receive it by an act of the will (conscious action).

    4. Even if you did manage to give me the gift apart from my will and I kept it it still does not guarantee it is mine. What if I chose not to use the gift? For example, you give me a 500 dollar check but I never cash it.

    Your next statement says:

    In other words, If you are DEAD in one area, and I came to give you LIFE in that particular area you were dead, you firstly have received it as a free gift and you didn't do anything to have it...

    1. Again, how did I receive it? Did you coerce me? Or did I exercise my will?
    2. If you coerced me, what if I liked being dead (in sin)?
    3. If you didn't coerce me then I received it out of my own free will.

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  20. You then say:

    ...second you couldn't reject it because it is to good to have it.

    What I see here is the concept of "irresistible grace." While I wont debate the doctrine of irresistible grace I will say that it does not fit with the system you propose. For one, what is the point of grace being irresistible if God already has a group of elect? Secondly, the doctrine of irresistible grace is actually diminished by the concept of the elect because grace is only irresistible to the elect thus making God incapable of saving the reprobates. This is not irresistible grace at all. At best it is a limited form of irresistible grace. Therefore, this system makes Jesus incapable of saving anyone outside of the elect.

    You continue:

    See, If a person is saved on the merits on what he does, then he also is lost by what he does.

    I fully agree that salvation by works is a false doctrine. However, the Bible never once refers to the simple act of saying yes to Jesus as works. The idea behind works is that I can get God to say "yes" to me. The idea of grace is that God already said "yes" to me. Thus all that awaits is that I say "yes" to Him. Saying yes to God and working to get God to say yes to me are two totally different things. The later is works while the former is not.

    If the Lord Jesus wants to save everyone, and He cannot do it, then He is an impotent saviour. Would you trust the Lord Jesus for your salvation, if He couldn't save your friend whom He loved??

    My answer to the above question is no, I would not trust Him. However, this is precisely what your system teaches. My "glasses" allow me to believe that Christ can save anyone no matter how sinful, lost, or degraded while yours teach that Jesus can only save the elect.

    Then you say:

    Marcos, I believe that every person has a will, but that will is not entirely free, it is subjected to their master.
    If Satan is their master, they will do his will, if the Lord Jesus is their master, they will do the Lords will, or like Jesus said, if sin is their master they will sin. I also believe that we have choice to do the will of the Lord or not and be disobedient.

    Fully agreed!

    Followed by:

    But we cannot choose to be born into a wealthy family, to be the son of a king, to have black hair or blond hair, to be male or female, to be handsome or ugly and there is much more we cannot choose.

    Of course we cant, because we don't exist yet. Thus, our will is non-existent.

    Clarification: Allow me to clarify one thing Paul. While I believe we can accept or reject Jesus out of our own free will I do not believe that we can come to Jesus whenever we choose to. The natural man doesn't desire the things of God. Thus, we can only come when the Holy Spirit is calling us and tugging at our heart (conviction). However, in that moment we are free to choose whether to respond to His invitation or reject it.

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  21. Yes Marcos, we have different presuppositions!
    I used to believe and see it exactly as you do, therefore I fully understand your thought processes and all the relating Scriptural verses to it. It was the Lord Jesus who gave me a gift of glasses which are much better than the Calvinists glasses:-)

    This is how I judge doctrines.
    Any doctrine in which the Lord Jesus Christ is NOT sovereign is NOT true.
    Any doctrine in which the Lord Jesus Christ is sovereign is true.
    This rule is trustworthy and true and always 100% reliable.
    Perhaps that might help you to judge any doctrine whether yours, mine or any one else's.

    "Offering".
    Point 1. I totally agree.
    Point 2. No brother! The act of taking something is 'works', and it is not 'receiving'.
    If I have given you a gift then it is in your possession. If it is not in your possession, then it is not a gift and you did not receive it, it is as simple as that.
    Point A. I agree.
    Point B. is incorrect; If I DON'T offer something, then it's not a gift, it is NOTHING!
    Point C. is correct, I do not offer something which is already in your possession.
    Point D. basically OK. But again, I do not OFFER anything! I am a giver of a GIFT and not an offerer which amounts to a promise.

    In your next points 1.2. 3. 4. you are making the same mistake which derails the understanding of the doctrine.
    You think that God made an OFFERING and that offering is supposed to be a gift.
    No Marcos, Absolutely Not! The Lord Jesus did NOT 'OFFER' anything but rather He came to give 'GIFTS' to men, which is a new life (born again).

    I know that this error is preached in all denominations, but that is not found in the Bible.
    If you try to amalgamate an offering and a gift you will end up in a confusion (e logic at best).
    I call this salvation-offering doctrine a 'SMORGASBOARD SALVATION' where Jesus has done it all and now it's up to you, or where Jesus laid eternal life on a table so that everyone who likes can go and help themselves, that is not spiritual and not Scriptural. For this reason church-denominations are dead and the presence of the Lord Jesus is not among them.

    Please use the doctrine testing rule.
    If the Lord Jesus offered salvation, then Jesus is not sovereign in salvation, because salvation then depends on man, Jesus would like to save them but the sinners wouldn't let Him do so, the sinners will is more powerful than Gods will.

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  22. OK, I like to say it again; An offering is NOT a gift.
    An offering is only an offering or perhaps a promise, and yes it might be free, but it is still a promise.
    Something which is not in your possession is not a gift, it might be an offering or a promise, or you might CALL it a gift, but it is not a gift, because you haven't got it and nobody gave it, a gift must be in your possession before you can claim to have received a gift.
    If you have 'TAKEN' (works) something, then it's not a gift because it has NOT been given, you have taken it..

    But the Lord Jesus came to give, to put into you a new life (born again) as a free gift, while you were yet dead and unable to do anything like accept, reject, reach out or take it. So the Lord Jesus, like a despot forced or imposed even against the will of your flesh that new life into you.
    Just the same as your natural life in the flesh, your father didn't asked or coerce you, and neither did the Lord Jesus asked you whether you would like to be born again, He, out of His only true free will caused you to be born again, 'born again not by the will of the flesh nor the will of the natural man, but by the will of God'.

    Yes you can reject something that is already in your possession like flowers, a ring or any other goods, but you cannot reject eternal life, if you could? then it would not be eternal.

    Using your 500 dollar cheque analogy;
    For example, If I deposit in your bank account 'one eternal million dollars', then you are an eternal millionaire!
    It makes no difference whether you accept it or not, whether you believe it or not, whether you like it or not, whether you use it or not, whether you are wise or silly, the fact is that you are an eternal millionaire because you have received (past tense) 'one eternal million dollars'.
    The fact is that I didn't ask, or coerce, or offer, or promise you anything, I simply gave you a free gift of 'one eternal million dollars' and I have not given that to everyone in the whole world, but only to a 'limited' number of people according to my choice.

    'Irresistible grace'.
    As you know that I'm not a Calvinist, I see that the gift of ETERNAL LIFE is that which NO ONE can resist, and because GRACE has not been given, therefore there is no grace to resist. So the Calvinists should rather say 'Irresistible eternal life', I would agree to that.

    The Lord Jesus did not come into this word to save the reprobates, but to save the elect, His children from their sins and give to them eternal life. He leaves the ninety nine and gets the one who's gone astray so that all of the elect be saved, 100% success has the sovereign Lord in salvation.
    If the Lord Jesus wanted to save ALL reprobates and He could not do it, then He would not be a sovereign (despot) and have a 100% success rate.

    Works explained;
    Anything which is motivated by the will of the flesh is works or that which you do for gaining something, is also works.
    Earning, believing, trusting, accepting, taking, reaching out, etc. even saying 'yes' to God. I assume, when you say 'yes' to God you mean that you give God the permission to save you? If you think that, then you place yourself above the Lord and tell Him what He is allowed to do.

    You said;
    "My glasses allow me to believe that Christ can save anyone no matter how sinful or lost or degraded".
    Tell me brother, if you believe that He can save anyone, then why doesn't He?
    Also, the purpose of glasses are there to make you SEE and not to allow you to believe:-)

    You also said, "Thus, our will is non-existent".
    That's exactly true! We were spiritually dead and the will of our spirit was non-existent, therefore it was impossible for us to be 'willing' to be born again of the Spirit of God, and the Scriptures said that we were also not born by the will of the flesh or the will of the natural man, but only by the will of God, and to make a choice there needs to be a will.
    Have a happy new year.
    Paul

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  23. Hi Paul,

    It’s funny how our responses are starting to get longer and longer. Pretty soon it will take five minutes to scroll to the bottom of this page! But I am enjoying this discussion and I thank you for taking the time to share something that means so much to you. In my response below I am going to attempt to clarify some misunderstandings between us. First let me share with you how I judge doctrines.

    Any doctrine that contradicts the Bible is false.
    Any doctrine which undermines John’s statement, “God is love” is false.
    Any doctrine which undermines righteousness by faith is false.
    Any doctrine which undermines the sovereignty of God is false.
    Any doctrine which undermines the justice of God is false.

    Now notice that both you and I have a judge of doctrine that is identical:

    Any doctrine which undermines the sovereignty of God is false.

    By this I mean precisely what you said about Jesus’ sovereignty, only it’s worded differently. So allow me to focus on God’s sovereignty. I believe, as the Bible teaches, that God is supreme and sovereign above everything. There is nothing above Him. However, this does not automatically mean that God imposes His will so that everything that happens is His will. Allow me to explain what I mean by that.

    Universalists have one main argument: the power of the cross. For a Universalist, what happened at the cross is so powerful that it is beyond human understanding (which I agree with). From there, however, they argue that what happened at the cross was so powerful that it will save every single person whether they believe in Jesus or hate Him. To deny this is to deny the “true” power of the cross. In other words, if I say that not everyone will be saved, a Universalist will accuse me of diminishing the power of the cross. Thus for them, all will be saved. Anything less places the sinfulness of man “above” the power of the cross.

    As wonderful as this sounds it’s simply not true and the Bible attests to it over and over. However, Universalists assume that the power of the cross is so vast that it will save every single person ever regardless of their choice (Armenian) or regardless of Gods choice (Calvinist/reform). This is, for lack of a better phrase, an overstatement of redemption. The Calvinist view of Gods sovereignty, much like reformed theology and the view you are espousing, are likewise overstating the sovereignty of God. Now allow me to clarify: You cannot truly overstate Gods sovereignty just like you cannot truly overstate the power of the cross. What I am saying is that both of these views take a biblical doctrine and misunderstand it. In the midst of misunderstanding the doctrine they overstate it. Thus, sovereignty and the power of the cross understood properly cannot be overstated, but misunderstood they can easily be overstated. Another common misunderstood and consequently overstated doctrine is the Catholic doctrine of the Virgin Mary. There is also the doctrine that overstates Gods love by teaching that God is so loving He never punishes anyone not even the wicked. A doctrine that overstates the justice of God is what you and I would consider legalism. God is so just that he cannot possibly forgive freely without some kind of human merit. This is precisely why Islam rejects Christianity. Their view of Gods justice is so overstated that they can’t bring themselves to accept that Jesus could pay the debt we owed. Then there are those who believe in “absolute perfection.” According to them God has more power to make you a saint than Satan has to make you a sinner, thus we can be absolutely perfect and sinless to the point that we no longer need Christ’s blood. What an overstatement! It almost hurts to write it.

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  24. Therefore, I suggest that your view of Gods sovereignty is misunderstood and thus overstated to such an extreme that it makes God responsible for everything because nothing can happen unless He wills it. Not only does this make God responsible for the entry of sin, suffering, and death but it necessitates a cruel God who chose who to save and who to burn. Those whom go to Hell for all eternity are not there because they rejected God but because God rejected them and now is punishing them eternally, not necessarily because they sinned but because He willed that they would. Such a view is a misunderstanding and consequently a dramatic overstatement of Gods sovereignty.

    Now you say:

    If the Lord Jesus offered salvation, then Jesus is not sovereign in salvation, because salvation then depends on man, Jesus would like to save them but the sinners wouldn't let Him do so, the sinners will is more powerful than Gods will.

    This argument is a lot like the power of sin is greater than the power of the cross logic of the Universalist. Again, this is a misunderstanding of Gods sovereignty that results in an overstatement of that sovereignty. God’s sovereignty is in no way diminished by free will. When we take Gods sovereignty to such an extent we end up with a robotic universe in which everything happens exactly how God wanted it to happen. However, scripture does not support this view. In Hosea 8:4 God, speaking of Israel says, “They set up kings but not by me.” Again speaking of Israel through Jeremiah (19:5) he says, “they have also built the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or speak, nor did it come into My mind.” And again in 32:5 he says, “And they built the high places of Baal which are in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I did not command them, nor did it come into My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.” In Isaiah 7:9 God tells Israel, “Unless your faith is firm I cannot make you stand firm.” Then there is Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve...” and Deuteronomy 30:19 “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life...” In Matthew 6:10 Jesus says, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” According to Jesus, Gods will is being done in heaven and we are to pray that it be done here, thus implying that it’s not being done here. Then there’s Matthew 23:37 where Jesus says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” According to this text it was Gods will that Jerusalem (The people of Israel/Judah) would come to Him but they weren’t willing to come. In other words, their will to not come overruled Gods will that they do come. Again, Luke says in 7:30 “But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.” Jesus speaking to the Pharisees in John 5:39-40 said to them, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” There are many more but I suppose I have made my point. The Bible never teaches that Gods sovereignty nullifies our free will. All of these texts show things happening that God didn’t want to happen and they show Gods will being overruled by mans will. Are we then to conclude that He is not sovereign? Of course not. Even though God is sovereign He is also love and love in order to be genuine must be freely given and freely received. As such, God does not force love for if He did it would cease to be love. Therefore, He pours out His love on us and awaits for us to reciprocate that love.

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  25. This does not diminish sovereignty. It simply shows that with all of His power God is not a dictator nor a tyrant but a loving father who is longing to have his children love Him in return out of their own free will. Could God force the Universe to work the way He wanted it to? I suppose. But according to the Bible, He does not.

    You then say: OK, I like to say it again; An offering is NOT a gift.

    Fully agreed! I am not saying that an offering is a gift. I am saying that salvation is a gift that is offered freely.

    I will cut my response there because I think I have dealt with those things which matter. However you posed a question, If Jesus is capable of saving everyone then why doesn’t he? Again I quote Jesus when speaking of Israel He said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” Jesus can save anyone, but He will not save those who don’t want to be saved. He will not force or coerce. He will convict the heart, call, invite, pursue but He will not coerce. This does not diminish Gods sovereignty any more than the reality of lost souls diminishes the power of the cross. Now allow me to clarify. I am not saying that Jesus puts salvation on the table so that whoever wants it can help himself. Man does not seek salvation. What Jesus did was provide salvation through His death and He then pursues us. We do not pursue Him. He pursues us, calls us, appeals to us all throughout our lives but He does not force. If we choose to reject Him He will give us what we want, eternal separation from Him. Rejecting God is not easy. He pursues us like a hound. He won’t relent but He will not force. While rejecting Him is not easy it is possible. That is why even those who die without accepting Christ experienced guilt and conviction throughout their lives. Because Jesus was trying to convict them and bring them to the cross but they refused to the bitter end. If those people had been selected for eternal death, then why does Jesus try so hard to save them by convicting them of sin?

    I have written much and will end there.

    Blessings,
    Marcos

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  26. Yes Marcos, I have noticed that too, but it was all worth it.
    I have enjoyed the debate and I thank you for not rejecting me as a person for wearing different glasses.

    As you know that sometimes those debates can get very heated if we don't practice a lot of self-control, but even then it is still worthwhile for the expansion of the borders of our understanding, for it is the will of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ to lead us into ALL the truth.

    I continually will read your posts and leave a comment here and there and if you like a good debate about any topic, I always will be there for you.
    Lots of brotherly love
    Paul

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  27. Paul,

    Are you kidding? I love people with different glasses. Anyone who rejects people with different glasses does it simply because they are insecure. I am not insecure because I know that even if my theology is wrong, I am not saved by having the right theology but by the blood of Jesus. That frees me to discuss the possibility of being wrong theologically.

    Again, I have really appreciated our discussion. I cant say that enough. I look forward to future ones!

    In addition, I would like to follow your blog but I cant find a follow widget. If you add one, I will gladly follow. I invite you to follow mine as well (unless you already are and I just don't know it).

    And one more thing. I noticed on your profile that you live in Queensland, Australia. Is that correct? I used to live in Perth. I'm American but my wife is an Aussie girl. Both of us will be returning to Australia after I finish my bachelors in the U.S. I will be, God willing, continuing my ministry there. Maybe we'll get a chance to meet up and talk face to face!

    If you want to continue talking about the concepts of pre-destination and free will that we have been discussing feel free to do so at any time. The main thing I would like to clarify with you is that both you and I are only a centimeter away from sharing the same exact theology. Like you, I too believe that man is so depraved that he will not of Himself come to God. God has to be the one that initiates by attracting and drawing the soul to Him. This is the work of the Holy Spirit called conviction. If the Holy Spirit did not convict then no one would ever be saved because no one would be interested. Where we part ways is in the outcome of this God-initiated call. You believe that it is an irresistible call. I maintain that it is resistible (though not easy), not because man is greater than God, but because God restrains Himself from absolute control so that we can chose to love Him without any coercion. This is why we can blaspheme the Holy Spirit. Do you see how close we are to one another? It's amazing.

    If you would like to debate another topic, I invite you to read by blog posts "Why Hell Cant Be Real 1-5." Since you are an ardent Bible student I'm certain you will have a lot to contribute to that discussion, so feel free to comment!

    Cheers mate!
    Marcos

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