Skip to comments.Free Will-- A Slave
Posted on 06/25/2013 3:08:30 AM PDT by Greetings_Puny_Humans
Free Will-- A Slave
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, December 2, 1855, by the
REV. C. H. Spurgeon
At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.
"And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life."John 5:40.
his is one of the great guns of the Arminians, mounted upon the top of their walls, and often discharged with terrible noise against the poor Christians called Calvinists. I intend to spike the gun this morning, or, rather, to turn it on the enemy, for it was never theirs; it was never cast at their foundry at all, but was intended to teach the very opposite doctrine to that which they assert. Usually, when the text is taken, the divisions are: First, that man has a will. Secondly, that he is entirely free. Thirdly, that men must make themselves willing to come to Christ, otherwise they will not be saved. Now, we shall have no such divisions; but we will endeavour to take a more calm look at the text; and not, because there happen to be the words "will," or "will not" in it, run away with the conclusion that it teaches the doctrine of free-will. It has already been proved beyond all controversy that free-will is nonsense. Freedom cannot belong to will any more than ponderability can belong to electricity. They are altogether different things. Free agency we may believe in, but free-will is simply ridiculous. The will is well known by all to be directed by the understanding, to be moved by motives, to be guided by other parts of the soul, and to be a secondary thing. Philosophy and religion both discard at once the very thought of free-will; and I will go as far as Martin Luther, in that strong assertion of his, where he says, "If any man doth ascribe aught of salvation, even the very least, to the free-will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright." It may seem a harsh sentiment; but he who in his soul believes that man does of his own free-will turn to God, cannot have been taught of God, for that is one of the first principles taught us when God begins with us, that we have neither will nor power, but that he gives both; that he is "Alpha and Omega" in the salvation of men.
Our four points, this morning, shall be: Firstthat every man is dead, because it says: "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have LIFE." Secondlythat there is life in Jesus Christ: "Ye will not come to ME, that ye might have life." Thirdlythat there is life in Christ Jesus for every one that comes for it: "Ye will not come to me, THAT YE MIGHT HAVE LIFE;" implying that all who go will have life. And fourthlythe gist of the text lies here, that no man by nature ever will come to Christ, for the text says, "YE WILL NOT COME TO ME, that ye might have life." So far from asserting that men of their own wills ever do such a thing, it boldly and flatly denies it, and says, "Ye WILL NOT come to me, that ye might have life." Why, beloved, I am almost ready to exclaim, Have all free-willers no knowledge that they dare to run in the teeth of inspiration? Have all those that deny the doctrine of grace no sense? Have they so departed from God that they wrest this to prove free-will; whereas the text says, "Ye WILL NOT come to me that ye might have life."
I. First, then, our text implies THAT MEN BY NATURE ARE DEAD.
No being needs to go after life if he has life in himself. The text speaks very strongly when it says, "Ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life." Though it saith it not in words, yet it doth in effect affirm that men need a life more than they have themselves. My hearers, we are all dead unless we have been begotten unto a lively hope. First, we are all of us, by nature, legally dead"In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt die the death," said God to Adam; and though Adam did not die in that moment naturally, he died legally; that is to say death was recorded against him. As soon as, at the Old Bailey, the judge puts on the black cap and pronounces the sentence, the man is reckoned to be dead at law. Though perhaps a month may intervene before he is brought on the scaffold to endure the sentence of the law, yet the law looks upon him as a dead man. It is impossible for him to transact anything. He cannot inherit, he cannot bequeath; he is nothinghe is a dead man. The country considers him not as being alive in it at all. There is an electionhe is not asked for his vote because he is considered as dead. He is shut up in his condemned cell, and he is dead. Ah! and ye ungodly sinners who have never had life in Christ, ye are alive this morning, by reprieve, but do ye know that ye are legally dead; that God considers you as such, that in the day when your father Adam touched the fruit, and when you yourselves did sin, God, the Eternal Judge, put on the black cap and condemned you? You talk mightily of your own standing, and goodness, and moralitywhere is it? Scripture saith, ye are "condemned already." Ye are not to wait to be condemned at the judgment-daythat will be the execution of the sentenceye are "condemned already." In the moment ye sinned; your names were all written in the black book of justice; every one was then sentenced by God to death, unless he found a substitute, in the person of Christ, for his sins. What would you think if you were to go into the Old Bailey, and see the condemned culprit sitting in his cell, laughing and merry? You would say, "The man is a fool, for he is condemned, and is to be executed; yet how merry he is." Ah! and how foolish is the worldly man, who, while sentence is recorded against him, lives in merriment and mirth! Do you think the sentence of God is of no effect? Thinkest thou that thy sin which is written with an iron pen on the rocks for ever hath no horrors in it? God hath said thou art condemned already. If thou wouldst but feel this, it would mingle bitters in thy sweet cups of joy; thy dances would be stopped, thy laughter quenched in sighing, if thou wouldst recollect that thou art condemned already. We ought all to weep, if we lay this to our souls: that by nature we have no life in God's sight; we are actually, positively condemned; death is recorded against us, and we are considered in ourselves now, in God's sight, as much dead as if we were actually cast into hell; we are condemned here by sin, we do not yet suffer the penalty of it, but it is written against us, and we are legally dead, nor can we find life unless we find legal life in the person of Christ, of which more by-and-by.
But, besides being legally dead, we are also spiritually dead. For not only did the sentence pass in the book, but it passed in the heart; it entered the conscience; it operated on the soul, on the judgment, on the imagination, and on everything.
"In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," was not only fulfilled by the sentence recorded, but by something which took place in Adam. Just as, in a certain moment, when this body shall die, the blood stops, the pulse ceases, the breath no longer comes from the lungs, so in the day that Adam did eat that fruit his soul died; his imagination lost its mighty power to climb into celestial things and see heaven, his will lost its power always to choose that which is good, his judgment lost all ability to judge between right and wrong decidedly and infallibly, though something was retained in conscience; his memory became tainted, liable to hold evil things, and let righteous things glide away; every power of him ceased as to its moral vitality. Goodness was the vitality of his powersthat departed. Virtue, holiness, integrity, these were the life of man; but when these departed man became dead. And now, every man, so far as spiritual things are concerned, is "dead in trespasses and sins" spiritually. Nor is the soul less dead in a carnal man, than the body is when committed to the grave; it is actually and positively deadnot by a metaphor, for Paul speaketh not in metaphor, when he affirms, "You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins." But my hearers, again, I would I could preach to your hearts concerning this subject. It was bad enough when I described death as having been recorded; but now I speak of it as having actually taken place in your hearts. Ye are not what ye once were; ye are not what ye were in Adam, not what ye were created. Man was made pure and holy. Ye are not the perfect creatures of which some boast; ye are altogether fallen, ye have gone out of the way, ye have become corrupt and filthy. Oh! listen not to the siren song of those who tell you of your moral dignity, and your mighty elevation in matters of salvation. Ye are not perfect; that great word, "ruin," is written on your heart; and death is stamped upon your spirit. Do not conceive, O moral man, that thou wilt be able to stand before God in thy morality, for thou art nothing but a carcass embalmed in legality, a corpse arrayed in some fine robes, but still corrupt in God's sight. And think not, O thou possessor of natural religion! that thou mayest by thine own might and power make thyself acceptable to God. Why, man! thou art dead! and thou mayest array the dead as gloriously as thou pleasest, but still it would be a solemn mockery. There lieth queen Cleopatraput the crown upon her head, deck her in royal robes, let her sit in state; but what a cold chill runs through you when you pass by her. She is fair now, even in her deathbut how horrible it is to stand by the side even of a dead queen, celebrated for her majestic beauty! So you may be glorious in your beauty, fair, and amiable, and lovely; you put the crown of honesty upon your head, and wear about you all the garments of uprightness, but unless God has quickened thee, O man! unless the Spirit has had dealings with thy soul, thou art in God's sight as obnoxious as the chilly corpse is to thyself. Thou wouldst not choose to live with a corpse sitting at thy table; nor doth God love that thou shouldst be in his sight. He is angry with thee every day, for thou art in sinthou art in death. Oh! believe this; take it to thy soul; appropriate it, for it is most true that thou art dead, spiritually as well as legally.
The third kind of death is the consummation of the other two. It is eternal death. It is the execution of the legal sentence; it is the consummation of the spiritual death. Eternal death is the death of the soul; it takes place after the body has been laid in the grave, after the soul has departed from it. If legal death be terrible, it is because of its consequences; and if spiritual death be dreadful, it is because of that which shall succeed it. The two deaths of which we have spoken are the roots, and that death which is to come is the flower thereof. Oh! had I words that I might this morning attempt to depict to you what eternal death is. The soul has come before its Maker; the book has been opened; the sentence has been uttered; "Depart ye cursed" has shaken the universe, and made the very spheres dim with the frown of the Creator; the soul has departed to the depths where it is to dwell with others in eternal death. Oh! how horrible is its position now. Its bed is a bed of flame; the sights it sees are murdering ones that affright its spirit;. the sounds it hears are shrieks, and wails, and moans, and groans; all that its body knows is the infliction of miserable pain! It has the possession of unutterable woe, of unmitigated misery. The soul looks up. Hope is extinctit is gone. It looks downward in dread and fear; remorse hath possessed its soul. It looks on the right handand the adamantine walls of fate keep it within its limits of torture. It looks on the leftand there the rampart of blazing fire forbids the scaling ladder of e'en a dreamy speculation of escape. It looks within and seeks for consolation there, but a gnawing worm hath entered into the soul. It looks about itit has no friends to aid, no comforters, but tormentors in abundance. It knoweth nought of hope of deliverance; it hath heard the everlasting key of destiny turning in its awful wards, and it hath seen God take that key and hurl it down into the depth of eternity never to be found again. It hopeth not; it knoweth no escape; it guesseth not of deliverance; it pants for death, but death is too much its foe to be there; it longs that non-existence would swallow it up, but this eternal death is worse than annihilation. It pants for extermination as the laborer for his Sabbath; it longs that it might be swallowed up in nothingness just as would the galley slave long for freedom, but it cometh notit is eternally dead. When eternity shall have rolled round multitudes of its everlasting cycles it shall still be dead. Forever knoweth no end; eternity cannot be spelled except in eternity. Still the soul seeth written o'er its head, "Thou art damned forever." It heareth howlings that are to be perpetual; it seeth flames which are unquenchable; it knoweth pains that are unmitigated; it hears a sentence that rolls not like the thunder of earth which soon is hushedbut onward, onward, onward, shaking the echoes of eternitymaking thousands of years shake again with the horrid thunder of its dreadful sound"Depart! depart! depart! ye cursed!" This is the eternal death.
II. Secondly, IN CHRIST JESUS THERE IS LIFE,
for he says: "Ye will not come to me that ye might have life." There is no life in God the Father for a sinner; there is no life in God the Spirit for a sinner apart from Jesus. The life of a sinner is in Christ. If you take the Father apart from the Son, though he loves his elect, and decrees that they shall live, yet life is only in his Son. If you take God the Spirit apart from Jesus Christ, though it is the Spirit that gives us spiritual life, yet it is life in Christ, life in the Son. We dare not, and cannot apply in the first place, either to God the Father, or to God the Holy Ghost for spiritual life. The first thing we are led to do when God brings us out of Egypt is to eat the Passoverthe very first thing. The first means whereby we get life is by feeding upon the flesh and blood of the Son of God; living in him, trusting on him, believing in his grace and power. Our second thought wasthere is life in Christ. We will show you there are three kinds of life in Christ, as there are three kinds of death.
First there is legal life in Christ. Just as every man by nature considered in Adam had a sentence of condemnation passed on him in the moment of Adam's sin, and more especially in the moment of his own first transgression, so I, if I be a believer, and you, if you trust in Christ, have had a legal sentence of acquittal passed on us through what Jesus Christ has done. O condemned sinner! Thou mayest be sitting this morning condemned like the prisoner in Newgate; but ere this day has passed away thou mayest be as clear from guilt as the angels above. There is such a thing as legal life in Christ, and, blessed be God! some of us enjoy it. We know our sins are pardoned because Christ suffered punishment for them; we know that we never can be punished ourselves, for Christ suffered in our stead. The Passover is slain for us; the lintel and door-post have been sprinkled, and the destroying angel can never touch us. For us there is no hell, although it blaze with terrible flame. Let Tophet be prepared of old, let its pile be wood and much smoke, we never can come thereChrist died for us, in our stead. What if there be racks of horrid torture? What if there be a sentence producing most horrible reverberations of thundering sounds? Yet neither rack, nor dungeon, nor thunder, are for us! In Christ Jesus we are now delivered. "There is therefore NOW no condemnation unto us who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Sinner! Art thou legally condemned this morning? Dost thou feel that? Then, let me tell thee that faith in Christ will give thee a knowledge of thy legal acquittal. Beloved, it is no fancy that we are condemned for our sins, it is a reality. So, it is no fancy we are acquitted, it is a reality. A man about to be hanged, if he received a full pardon would feel it a great reality. He would say, "I have a full pardon; I cannot be touched now." That is just how I feel.
"Now freed from sin I walk at large, The Saviour's blood's my full discharge, At his dear feet content I lay, A sinner saved, and homage pay."
Brethren, we have gained legal life in Christ, and such legal life that we cannot lose it. The sentence has gone against us oncenow it has gone out for us. It is written, "THERE IS NOW NO CONDEMNATION," and that now will do as well for me in fifty years as it does now. Whatever time we live it will still be written, "There is therefore, now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus."
Then, secondly, there is spiritual life in Christ Jesus. As the man is spiritually dead, God has spiritual life for him, for there is not a need which is not supplied by Jesus, there is not an emptiness in the heart which Christ cannot fill; there is not a desolation which he cannot people, there is not a desert which he cannot make to blossom as the rose. O ye dead sinners! spiritually dead, there is life in Christ Jesus, for we have seenyes! these eyes have seenthe dead live again; we have known the man whose soul was utterly corrupt, by the power of God seek after righteousness; we have known the man whose views were carnal, whose lusts were mighty, whose passions were strong, suddenly, by irresistible might from heaven, consecrate himself to Christ, and become a child of Jesus. We know that there is life in Christ Jesus, of a spiritual order; yea, more, we ourselves, in our own persons, have felt that there is spiritual life. Well can we remember when we sat in the house of prayer, as dead as the very seat on which we sat. We had listened for a long, long while to the sound of the gospel, but no effect followed, when suddenly, as if our ears had been opened by the fingers of some mighty angel, a sound entered into our heart. We thought we heard Jesus saying, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." An irresistible hand put itself on our heart and crushed a prayer out of it. We never had a prayer before like that. We cried, "O God! have mercy upon me a sinner." Some of us for months felt a hand pressing us as if we had been grasped in a vice, and our souls bled drops of anguish. That misery was a sign of coming life. Persons when they are being drowned do not feel the pain so much as while they are being restored. Oh! we recollect those pains, those groans, that living strife that our soul had when it came to Christ. Ah! we can recollect the giving of our spiritual life as easily as could a man his restoration from the grave. We can suppose Lazarus to have remembered his resurrection, though not all the circumstances of it. So we, although we have forgotten a great deal, do recollect our giving ourselves to Christ. We can say to every sinner, however dead, there is life in Christ Jesus, though you may be rotten and corrupt in your grave. He who hath raised Lazarus hath raised us; and he can say, even to you,
"Lazarus! come forth."
In the third place, there is eternal life in Christ Jesus. And, oh! if eternal death be terrible, eternal life is blessed; for he has said, "Where I am there shall my people be." "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given unto me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory." "I give unto my sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish." Now, any Arminian that would preach from that text must buy a pair of India rubber lips, for I am sure he would need to stretch his mouth amazingly; he would never be able to speak the whole truth without winding about in a most mysterious manner. Eternal lifenot a life which they are to lose, but eternal life. If I lost life in Adam I gained it in Christ; if I lost myself for ever I find myself for ever in Jesus Christ. Eternal life! Oh blessed thought! Our eyes will sparkle with joy and our souls bum with ecstasy in the thought that we have eternal life. Be quenched ye stars! let God put his finger on youbut my soul will live in bliss and joy. Put out thine eye O sun!but mine eye shall "see the king in his beauty" when thine eye shall no more make the green earth laugh. And moon, be thou turned into blood!but my blood shall ne'er be turned to nothingness; this spirit shall exist when thou hast ceased to be. And thou great world! thou mayest all subside, just as a moment's foam subsides upon the wave that bears itbut I have eternal life. O time! thou mayest see giant mountains dead and hidden in their graves; thou mayest see the stars like figs too ripe, falling from the tree, but thou shalt never, never see my spirit dead.
III. This brings us to the third point: that ETERNAL LIFE IS GIVEN TO ALL WHO COME FOR IT.
There never was a man who came to Christ for eternal life, for legal life, for spiritual life, who had not already received it, in some sense, and it was manifested to him that he had received it soon after he came. Let us take one or two texts"He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto him." Every man who comes to Christ will find that Christ is able to save himnot able to save him a little, to deliver him from a little sin, to keep him from a little trial, to carry him a little way and then drop himbut able to save him to the uttermost extent of his sin, unto the uttermost length of his trials, the uttermost depths of his sorrows, unto the uttermost duration of his existence. Christ says to every one who comes to him, "Come, poor sinner, thou needst not ask whether I have power to save. I will not ask thee how far thou hast gone into sin; I am able to save thee to the uttermost." And there is no one on earth can go beyond God's "uttermost."
Now another text: "Him that cometh to me, [mark the promises are nearly always to the coming ones] I will in no wise cast out." Every man that comes shall find the door of Christ's house openedand the door of his heart too. Every man that comesI say it in the broadest senseshall find that Christ has mercy for him. The greatest absurdity in the world is to want to have a wider gospel than that recorded in Scripture. I preach that every man who believes shall be savedthat every man who comes shall find mercy. People ask me, "But suppose a man should come who was not chosen, would he be saved?" You go and suppose nonsense and I am not going to give you an answer. If a man is not chosen he will never come. When he does come it is a sure proof that he was chosen. Says one, "Suppose any one should go to Christ who had not been called of the Spirit." Stop, my brother, that is a supposition thou hast no right to make, for such a thing cannot happen; you only say it to entangle me, and you will not do that just yet. I say every man who comes to Christ shall be saved. I can say that as a Calvinist, or as a hyper-Calvinist, as plainly as you can say it. I have no narrower gospel than you have; only my gospel is on a solid foundation, whereas yours is built upon nothing but sand and rottenness. "Every man that cometh shall be saved, for no man cometh to me except the Father draw him." "But," says one, "suppose all the world should come, would Christ receive them?" Certainly, if all came; but then they won't come. I tell you all that comeaye, if they were as bad as devils, Christ would receive them; if they had all sin and filthiness running into their hearts as into a common sewer for the whole world, Christ would receive them. Another says, "I want to know about the rest of the people. May I go out and tell themJesus Christ died for every one of you? May I saythere is righteousness for everyone of you, there is life for every one of you?" No; you may not. You may saythere is life for every man that comes. But if you say there is life for one of those that do not believe, you utter a dangerous lie. If you tell them Jesus Christ was punished for their sins, and yet they will be lost, you tell a wilful falsehood. To think that God could punish Christ and then punish themI wonder at your daring to have the impudence to say so! A good man was once preaching that there were harps and crowns in heaven for all his congregation; and then he wound up in a most solemn manner: "My dear friends, there are many for whom these things are prepared who will not get there." In fact, he made such a pitiful tale, as indeed he might do; but I tell you who he ought to have wept forhe ought to have wept for the angels of heaven and all the saints, because that would spoil heaven thoroughly. You know when you meet at Christmas, if you have lost your brother David and his seat is empty, you say: "Well, we always enjoyed Christmas, but there is a drawback to it nowpoor David is dead and buried!" Think of the angels saying: "Ah! this is a beautiful heaven, but we don't like to see all those crowns up there with cobwebs on; we cannot endure that uninhabited street: we cannot behold yon empty thrones." And then, poor souls, they might begin talking to one another, and say, "we are none of us safe here for the promise was"I give unto my sheep eternal life," and there is a lot of them in hell that God gave eternal life to; there is a number that Christ shed his blood for burning in the pit, and if they may be sent there, so may we. If we cannot trust one promise we cannot another." So heaven would lose its foundation, and fall. Away with your nonsensical gospel! God gives us a safe and solid one, built on covenant doings and covenant relationship, on eternal purposes and sure fulfillments.
IV. This brings us to the fourth point, THAT BY NATURE NO MAN WILL COME TO CHRIST,
for the text says, "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." I assert on Scripture authority from my text, that ye will not come unto Christ, that ye might have life. I tell you, I might preach to you for ever, I might borrow the eloquence of Demosthenes or of Cicero, but ye will not come unto Christ. I might beg of you on my knees, with tears in my eyes, and show you the horrors of hell and the joys of heaven, the sufficiency of Christ, and your own lost condition, but you would none of you come unto Christ of yourselves unless the Spirit that rested on Christ should draw you. It is true of all men in their natural condition that they will not come unto Christ. But, methinks I hear another of these babblers asking a question: "But could they not come if they liked?" My friend, I will reply to thee another time. That is not the question this morning. I am talking about whether they will, not whether they can.
You will notice whenever you talk about free-will, the poor Arminian, in two seconds begins to talk about power, and he mixes up two subjects that should be kept apart. We will not take two subjects at once; we decline fighting two at the same time, if you please. Another day we will preach from this text"No man can come except the Father draw him." But it is only the will we are talking of now; and it is certain that men will not come unto Christ, that they might have life. We might prove this from many texts of Scripture, but we will take one parable. You remember the parable where a certain king had a feast for his son, and bade a great number to come; the oxen and fatlings were killed, and he sent his messengers bidding many to the supper. Did they go to the feast? Ah, no; but they all, with one accord, began to make excuse. One said he had married a wife, and therefore he could not come, whereas he might have brought her with him. Another had bought a yoke of oxen, and went to prove them; but the feast was in the night-time, and he could not prove his oxen in the dark. Another had bought a piece of land, and wanted to see it; but I should not think he went to see it with a lantern. So they all made excuses and would not come. Well the king was determined to have the feast; so he said, "Go out into the highways and hedges, and" invite themstop! not invite"compel them to come in;" for even the ragged fellows in the hedges would never have come unless they were compelled. Take another parable:A certain man had a vineyard; at the appointed season he sent one of his servants for his rent. What did they do to him? They beat that servant. He sent another; and they stoned him. He sent another and they killed him. And, at last, he said, "I will send them my son, they will reverence him." But what did they do? They said, "This is the heir, let us kill him, and cast him out of the vineyard." So they did. It is the same with all men by nature. The Son of God came, yet men rejected him. "Ye will not come to me that ye might have life." It would take too much time to mention any more Scripture proofs. We will, however, refer to the great doctrine of the fall. Any one who believes that man's will is entirely free, and that he can be saved by it, does not believe the fall. As I sometimes tell you, few preachers of religion do believe thoroughly the doctrine of the fall, or else they think that when Adam fell down he broke his little finger, and did not break his neck and ruin his race. Why, beloved, the fall broke man up entirely. It did not leave one power unimpaired; they were all shattered, and debased, and tarnished; like some mighty temple, the pillars might be there, the shaft, and the column, and the pilaster might be there; but they were all broken, though some of them retain their form and position. The conscience of man sometimes retains much of its tendernessstill it has fallen. The will, too, is not exempt. What though it is "the Lord Mayor of Mansoul," as Bunyan calls it?the Lord Mayor goes wrong. The Lord Will-be-will was continually doing wrong. Your fallen nature was put out of order; your will, amongst other things, has clean gone astray from God. But I tell you what will be the best proof of that; it is the great fact that you never did meet a Christian in your life who ever said he came to Christ without Christ coming to him. You have heard a great many Arminian sermons, I dare say; but you never heard an Arminian prayerfor the saints in prayer appear as one in word, and deed and mind.
An Arminian on his knees would pray desperately like a Calvinist. He cannot pray about free-will: there is no room for it. Fancy him praying, "Lord, I thank thee I am not like those poor presumptuous Calvinists. Lord, I was born with a glorious free-will; I was born with power by which I can turn to thee of myself; I have improved my grace. If everybody had done the same with their grace that I have, they might all have been saved. Lord, I know thou dost not make us willing if we are not willing ourselves. Thou givest grace to everybody; some do not improve it, but I do. There are many that will go to hell as much bought with the blood of Christ as I was; they had as much of the Holy Ghost given to them; they had as good a chance, and were as much blessed as I am. It was not thy grace that made us to differ; I know it did a great deal, still I turned the point; I made use of what was given me, and others did notthat is the difference between me and them." That is a prayer for the devil, for nobody else would offer such a prayer as that. Ah! when they are preaching and talking very slowly, there may be wrong doctrine; but when they come to pray, the true thing slips out; they cannot help it. If a man talks very slowly, he may speak in a fine manner; but when he comes to talk fast, the old brogue of his country, where he was born, slips out. I ask you again, did you ever meet a Christian man who said, "I came to Christ without the power of the Spirit?" If you ever did meet such a man, you need have no hesitation in saying, "My dear sir, I quite believe itand I believe you went away again without the power of the Spirit, and that you know nothing about the matter, and are in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity." Do I hear one Christian man saying, "I sought Jesus before he sought me; I went to the Spirit, and the Spirit did not come to me"? No, beloved; we are obliged, each one of us, to put our hands to our hearts and say
"Grace taught my soul to pray, And made my eyes to o'erflow; 'Twas grace that kept me to this day, And will not let me go."
Is there one herea solitary oneman or woman, young or old, who can say, "I sought God before he sought me?" No; even you who are a little Arminian, will sing
"O yes! I do love Jesus Because he first loved me."
Then, one more question. Do we not find, even after we have come to Christ, our soul is not free, but is kept by Christ? Do we not find times, even now, when to will is not present with us? There is a law in our members, warring against the law of our minds. Now, if those who are spiritually alive feel that their will is contrary to God, what shall we say of the man who is "dead in trespasses and sins"? It would be a marvelous absurdity to put the two on a level; and it would be still more absurd to put the dead before the living. No; the text is true, experience has branded it into our hearts. "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life."
Now, we must tell you the reasons why men will not come unto Christ. The first is, because no man by nature thinks he wants Christ. By nature man conceives that he does not need Christ; he thinks that he has a robe of righteousness of his own, that he is well-dressed, that he is not naked, that he needs not Christ's blood to wash him, that he is not black or crimson, and needs no grace to purify him. No man knows his need until God shows it to him; and until the Holy Spirit reveals the necessity of pardon, no man will seek pardon. I may preach Christ for ever, but unless you feel you want Christ you will never come to him. A doctor may have a good shop, but nobody will buy his medicines until he feels he wants them.
The next reason is, because men do not like Christ's way of saving them. One says, "I do not like it because he makes me holy; I cannot drink or swear if he saved me." Another says, "It requires me to be so precise and puritanical, and I like a little more license." Another does not like it because it is so humbling; he does not like it because the "gate of heaven" is not quite high enough for his head, and he does not like stooping. That is the chief reason ye will not come to Christ, because ye cannot get to him with your heads straight up in the air; for Christ makes you stoop when you come. Another does not like it to be grace from first to last. "Oh!" he says, "If I might have a little honor." But when he hears it is all Christ or no Christ, a whole Christ or no Christ, he says, "I shall not come," and turns on his heel and goes away. Ah! proud sinners, ye will not come unto Christ. Ah! ignorant sinners, ye will not come unto Christ, because ye know nothing of him. And that is the third reason.
Men do not know his worth, for if they did they would come unto him. Why did not sailors go to America before Columbus went? Because they did not believe there was an America. Columbus had faith, therefore he went. He who hath faith in Christ goes to him. But you don't know Jesus; many of you never saw his beauteous face; you never saw how applicable his blood is to a sinner, how great is his atonement; and how all-sufficient are his merits. Therefore, "ye will not come to him."
And oh! my hearers, my last thought is a solemn one. I have preached that ye will not come. But some will say, "it is their sin that they do not come." IT IS SO. You will not come, but then your will is a sinful will. Some think that we "sew pillows to all armholes" when we preach this doctrine, but we don't. We do not set this down as being part of man's original nature, but as belonging to his fallen nature. It is sin that has brought you into this condition that you will not come. If you had not fallen, you would come to Christ the moment he was preached to you; but you do not come because of your sinfulness and crime. People excuse themselves because they have bad hearts. That is the most flimsy excuse in the world. Do not robbery and thieving come from a bad heart? Suppose a thief should say to a judge, "I could not help it, I had a bad heart." What would the judge say? "You rascal! why, if your heart is bad, I'll make the sentence heavier, for you are a villain indeed. Your excuse is nothing." The Almighty shall "laugh at them, and shall have them in derision." We do not preach this doctrine to excuse you, but to humble you. The possession of a bad nature is my fault as well as my terrible calamity. It is a sin that will always be charged on men; when they will not come unto Christ it is sin that keeps them away. He who does not preach that, I fear is not faithful to God and his conscience. Go home, then, with this thought; "I am by nature so perverse that I will not come unto Christ, and that wicked perversity of my nature is my sin. I deserve to be sent to hell for it." And if the thought does not humble you, the Spirit using it, no other can. This morning I have not preached human nature up, but I have preached it down. God humble us all. Amen.
grace and peace
Great preacher, but he was dead wrong on his take about free-will.
But then again, he was a Calvinist. Like all Calvinists, he had more respect for John Calvin and his teachings then he did for Jesus and His teachings.
As for me and my house, we shall follow the one true God, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, not John Calvin and his misguided teachings.
“But then again, he was a Calvinist. Like all Calvinists, he had more respect for John Calvin and his teachings then he did for Jesus and His teachings.”
Joh 6:64-65 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. (65) And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
“As for me and my house, we shall follow the one true God, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, not John Calvin and his misguided teachings.”
So Martin Luther, all of the Reformists, John Knox and all the Scottish divines who brought revival to that country, Spurgeon, Matthew Henry, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, countless others... weren’t following Jesus Christ!?
You’re on it, brother!
Joh 6:64-65 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. (65) And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
“Not if and when they put so much emphasis on Calvinism that they make others think they are lost if they don’t agree with him.”
Instead of talking about vague “theys,” you should stick with who you are talking to or about. Spurgeon certainly wasn’t of that opinion, and neither am I. Otherwise we’d both be condemning ourselves, having begun with your opinion, and only later coming to this truth.
“However, what he means is we are all chosen, not just some.”
That’s directly contradicted by the scripture you didn’t comment on. The Jews there weren’t chosen. Christ was specifically explaining why it was they did not believe. It says, “there are some of you that believe not... Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” How is it a “therefore” if Christ was affirming that they had indeed been given it from the Father? His statements make no sense with how you read it. Therefore, they do not believe, not because they received it from the Father to believe and then rejected it; they do not believe because “no man can come unto me, except it is given from above.”
The same is true in many other places. For example, according to you, the Pharisees did not believe and therefore ceased to be the sheep of God. But the scripture says they did not believe, BECAUSE they were not His sheep.
Joh_10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
According to you, the Gentiles who heard the preaching of the Apostles believed, and were therefore ordained to eternal life. But the scripture reverses the order:
Act_13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
And most terribly, you make the election of God to be of no effect, since all are elected to the same blessings, but the power of God is ineffectual to bring anyone to Christ. It must be improved upon by the individual’s personal righteousness. The whole golden line of salvation, therefore, from the call, to the justification, to the glorification, is completely false:
Rom_8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
“I do not think Jesus was telling Nicodemus that he had to be one of the chosen.”
Certainly He does, because the Holy Spirit is a free agent in salvation:
Joh 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
The Spirit blows “where He listeth,” according to His own will, and not the will of man.
“Gee, it sounds like God wants all to come to repentance, not just certain individuals chosen above others, but ALL...because when you claim that only the elect are chosen, then you also claim that many were created for the sole purpose of going to a hell that was created for Satan”
It says “to us-ward,” who have received the promise, distinguished from the scoffers mentioned earlier:
2Pe 3:3-4 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, (4) And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
And who are also described as having been “appointed” unto condemnation in the previous epistle.
1Pe 2:7-8 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, (8) And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
The same in Jude:
Jud 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
And by Paul, the vessels which are ‘fitted for destruction,” in contrast to the vessels of mercy chosen before the foundation of the world:
Rom 9:20-22 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? (21) Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? (22) What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
And certainly Christ here prays only for those given to Him out of the world, and not these scoffers who ‘crept in unawares.’
Joh_17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
So we see that the vessels of wrath are indeed “appointed” to their condemnation, though it is incorrect to say that God is the author of their sin. We affirm that no man is saved unless God has snatched Him. And we affirm that no man is condemned because God made them to do evil. Rather, God passed them by “to leave in the common misery into which they have willfully plunged themselves, and not to bestow upon them saving faith and the grace of conversion; but, permitting them in His just judgment to follow their own ways, at last, for the declaration of His justice, to condemn and punish them forever, not only on account of their unbelief, but also for all their other sins.” (Canons of Dort, First Head Article 15)
This is because man, by nature, does not understand or seek after God.
Rom 3:10-12 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (11) There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. (12) They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
One would think that if you were such a stickler for “all,” that you would take it seriously when “all” and “none” are capable of doing what you claim you did.
So, if “all” are gone astray and do not seek after God, how did you come to seek after God? Was it a spark of goodness that you possessed which no man else did?
If one has a free-will, as a Christian why then do they free choose to sin? Not a sermon. Just a thought.
True, but not all repent. The power to repent must be granted to us by God:
Act_11:18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, "Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life."
BTW-You may wish to look up the word "Gee".
If we leave it to the sovereignty of God, then it is possible the sovereignty of God looks at choice and before time selects those who have responded to Him. He then ensures their selection of Him by opening their hearts. "Those He foreknew He predestined."
Or it could be something else entirely unknown to us.
I was picking which sweet corn plants to thin in my garden the other day. I did have a rough guidance of 8 inches apart or so, but pretty regularly I'd choose two side by side strong plants over the one 8 inches apart.
Why? It just felt right to me.
“If we leave it to the sovereignty of God, then it is possible the sovereignty of God looks at choice and before time selects those who have responded to Him. He then ensures their selection of Him by opening their hearts.”
That way of thinking isn’t logical. So God foresees that they will choose Him... yet ensures their selection. Didn’t He already know they were going to choose Him in the first place? So why ensure what you foreknew was already going to happen? The scripture is quite clear that faith is the gift of God:
1Co_12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
Php 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
Therefore, if one wants to hold two contrary opinions, it is easy to say “We chose God, but then He insures that we choose Him,” with a straight face, while still holding to Free-will’s ability to choose righteousness for itself.
Your position breaks down even further when we read into how men are chosen or not chosen. In Romans 9, we read that Jacob is chosen over Esau before either child had done “good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth.” If it is based on their choices previously foreseen, then it does not follow that anyone is “elected” or that it is “of him that calleth”; that is, ordained to salvation so that the call is effectual. The very concept of election and of a call not according to “him who willeth or runneth, but God who sheweth mercy” (Rom 9:16) requires that it is done before either child performs “good or evil.” Since if God merely foresees that they would do good, this is an act that He foresees will occur after birth. It is the cause of his predestinating them to salvation, because he knows that they will willingly do it. So why bother telling us to begin with that he predestinated us before they had done “good or evil,” if the decision was made because of the “good” or “evil” that they would do? And it cannot be of him that “calleth,” because it is by the man who righteously responds to the call. The call itself has no power. Since, according to you, God calls everyone, but it is ineffectual in and of itself to save anyone. Man must improve upon that call, so that in the last analysis we can only say that one man believed because he was righteous enough to respond to the call, whereas the other justly dies because he refuses it. They had their fair chance, though a CHANCE is all that it ever was.
But we know that the scripture instead teaches that if the same effectual call is given to both Jacob and Esau, that it must result in salvation. Because “whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, he justified” (Rom 8:30). He did not call, and then predestinate those who responded. The predestination is the direct cause of the call in the first place. None of this is mere chance.
It is more logical to conclude from the scriptures that God predestinates what He foreknows, which means that nothing happens without His permission or, in the case of the elect, His working.
Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
What He foreknows is not driven by mere chance, but rather what He foreknows is established according to His will and purpose before the world began. And why is that? Because when man is left to his own devices, he will always choose the evil. So if God does not elect anyone, then all will be damned, and justly so.
“Now, since on God’s own testimony, men are ‘flesh’, they can savour of nothing but the flesh; therefore ‘free-will can avail only to sin. And if, while the Spirit of God is calling and teaching among them, they go from bad to worse, what could they do when left to themselves, without the Spirit of God? Your [Erasmus] observation that Moses is speaking of the men of that age is not to the point at all. The same is true of all men, for all are ‘flesh’; as Christ says, ‘That which is born of the flesh is flesh’ (john 3:6) How grave a defect this is, He Himself there teaches, when he says: ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God (v. 5)...I call a man ungodly if he is without the Spirit of God; for Scripture says that the Spirit is given to justify the ungodly. As Christ distinguished the Spirit from the flesh, saying: “that which is born of the flesh is flesh’, and adds that which is born of the flesh cannot enter the kingdom of God’, it obviously follows that whatever is flesh is ungodly, under God’s wrath, and a stranger to His kingdom. And if it is a stranger to God’s kingdom and Spirit, it follows of necessity that it is under the kingdom and spirit of Satan. For there is no middle kingdom between the kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan, which are ever at war with each other.” (Martin Luther, On the Bondage of the Will)
As an "ism" follower, you would rather follow the teachings of a man who was born 1500 years after Christ was crucified. Instead of following the teachings of the man we are called to follow, the One crucified. God Himself.
An "ism" follower is a person who follows the teachings of men instead of our Creator, Savior, and Author of our faith, our Lord Jesus Christ.
You would rather hang your salvation on the false doctrine that God created some of us for salvation, and others for damnation. I disagree.
I do not believe God is cosmic rapist. We are not "Chatty Cathy" dolls that He created. He created us with a free will, so that we would love him willingly.
That is what this whole life thing in the world is about. One chance to love Him or reject Him. Those who accept His love and love Him back will receive the righteousness of Christ. Those who reject His love, won't. "Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous" Psalm 1:5
If God did not want us to have free will to chose or reject Him, then He would have no reason to make the world with sinful men to populate it. If we are chosen with no choice, then He had no reason to become a man who would be brutalized and murdered on a cross for sins He did not commit. After all if, as Calvin taught, we have no choice in the matter of whether or not we would love Him, then there was no reason for Him to do all He did.
That being said, the best way I can debate your misguided thinking is to prove you are wrong by using the scriptures that speak of man's free will in choosing to follow God, or to reject God.
What follows are various Scriptures from both the Old and New Testaments where the Word of God tells us that man has a free will to accept or reject His love, and ultimately Salvation.
As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. 1Chron28:9
"If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it." (Gen. 4:6-7)
"I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live." (Deut. 30:19)
"And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Josh. 24:15)
Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.Come now, and let us reason together, Says the LORD, Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken." (Isa. 1:16-20)
"Seek the LORD while He may be found ,Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon." (Isa. 55:6-7)
"Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you." (Hos.10:12)
Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus says the LORD: Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good." (Jer. 18:11)
Now you shall say to this people, Thus says the LORD: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death." (Jer. 21:8)
"Now therefore, amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; then the LORD will relent concerning the doom that He has pronounced against you." (Jer. 26:13)
Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, says the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies, says the Lord GOD. Therefore turn and live." (Ezk. 18:30-32)
"But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way andfrom the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish? Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it." (Jon. 3:8-10)
"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!" (Matt. 23:37)
"I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." (Lk. 13:3)
He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.(Jn. 3:18-21)
"And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, Be saved from this perverse generation."(Acts 2:40)
"Then Peter opened his mouth and said: In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him." (Acts 10:34-35)
"Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31)
"But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered." (Rom. 6:17)
"Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (2 Co. 7:1)
"Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work." (2 Tim. 2:21)
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls." (Jas. 1:21)
"Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." (Jas. 4:7-10)
"Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit[a] in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart." (1 Pe. 1:22)
"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come! And let him who hears say, Come! And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely." (Rv. 22:17
“Ultimately you, being a follower of Calvinism, means you reject the idea that men have been created by God to have a free will.”
Notice that you spent more time explaining how I am an evil Calvinist than actually taking the time to answer a single thing I said. Either the scripture contradicts itself, or your position is false. Why should I regard your insults, or the things you provide, when you haven’t even gone through the trouble of exegesis? Do you think that you can magically make the scriptures go away that prove that faith itself is the gift of God? But to touch upon your error:
What Christian ever denied the command: “unless you repent, you will surely perish?” Or that a person must believe and turn to Christ? We simply affirm with Christ that “no one comes to me, unless it is given to them by my Father.” It is certainly true that a man believes, and he repents, and he acts by his own agency (though what is acting upon that agency is not by the control of man). As God does not control us like robots, but rather works within us, empowering us, giving us a new heart that desires both to will and to do of His own good pleasure:
Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
We certainly both will and do, but how does one come to will and to do if not by God’s working? Is there a single good thing in man that can do God’s will of its own accord? The scriptures says that there is “none good,” there are none who understand or seek after God. So what is there in man that can do this good thing? What spark of goodness is there in man that you can offer me to prove your argument?
Joh 3:27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
Is there a single thing on this Earth we can affirm came from our free-will, and not from above?
And is God a “rapist” for working in us “both to will and to do of His own good pleasure?” If a man is a slave to his sin, is it “rape” for someone to release them from their bondage? Would you rather have the free-will to freely live your slave life and die according to your good pleasure and purpose? For that is what you do, unless God brings you to Himself with infallible power:
Joh 10:27-29 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: (28) And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (29) My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
Joh 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
The commands of God do not imply a moral ability of the hearer to obey them. After all, among those commands are “sin no more,” and “be ye perfect, as my Father in heaven is perfect.” And yet we are told that “if we say we have no sin, the truth is not in us.” We are not told to be perfect because we can be perfect, but so that we should covet being perfect, and oppose the evil, because “for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” And the knowledge of sin is the “schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” It is not in the power of man to do anything good by his own free-will, as has been said before, but depends on the mercy of God who tells us that we ought to covet a new heart, but at the same time promises to provide us that heart so that we should believe in the first place:
Jer_24:7 And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.
There is no fear here, no danger of damnation for the elect. No reason to fret of not being “good enough” for God, for whom God predestinates He also calls, and whom He calls He justifies.
But shall we cast away these scriptures just to hold on to a vain religion, no different than Romanism, and every other religion in the world, which puffs up man’s Free-Will over the wonderful power of God which calls on us all to lean on Him and not on ourselves? An accursed religion it is which claims that man is good, or has some spark of goodness in him, with which to merit his salvation. But our God tells us the truth, that we are dead and are bones exposed, and can never meet any condition for salvation. But blessed be the God of heaven who brings flesh to our corpses, a new heart for our chests, and breaths a new spirit into our bodies, so that we may live and be fruitful, with good fruit abiding forever.
Joh_15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
“I have learned that today’s hyper Calvinists will not be swayed by any logical explanation given.”
I am not a hyper-Calvinist, so maybe you should try giving a logical explanation instead of assuming that none would work if you did give one.
John Calvin taught a lot of stuff. To wholeheartedly reject what he taught is to dismiss everything he wrote. For instance have you read The Institutes? Do you reject it all?
Have you read the Westminster Confession? Are there parts of it you agree with or do you reject it all?
I have learned that today's hyper Calvinists will not be swayed by any logical explanation given
Can you distinguish the difference between an ordinary run of the mill Calvinist and a "hyper Calvinist"?
Are there any on this thread that you would number among the latter?
Did not Christ say many are called but few are chosen? There can be only one explanation as to why two times it was Written that God hated Esau and Jacob He loved. Their souls/spirits existed before they were placed in flesh body at conception.
The Roman Church, especially in the West, adapted Augustine's teachings as doctrine and began persecuted all dissenters out of existence over the next couple of centuries. To embrace original sin you, must negate mans free will and their ability to obey God on their own.
If you honestly study the early church Saints along with the apostles, and yes including Paul, you will see they taught free will.
I already gave examples of the New Testament writers backing me on free will in my comment #13. However, if you read the writings of 2nd century Saints, you will see that they also believed and taught free will as it was taught to them by the 1st century Saints.
No reward can be justly bestowed, no punishment can be justly inflicted, upon him who is good or bad by necessity, and not by his own choice.
In the beginning, He made the human race with the power of thought and of choosing truth and doing right, so that all men are without excuse before God.
If thou wilt be perfect. Consequently he was not yet perfect. For nothing is more perfect than what is perfect. And divinely the expression if thou wilt showed the self-determination of the soul holding converse with Him. For choice depended on the man as being free; but the gift on God as the Lord. And He gives to those who are willing and are exceedingly earnest, and ask, that so their salvation may become their own. For God compels not (for compulsion is repugnant to God), but supplies to those who seek, and bestows on those who ask, and opens to those who knock
Nor shall he who is saved be saved against his will, for he is not inanimate; but he will above all voluntarily and of free choice speed to salvation. Wherefore also man received the commandments in order that he might be self-impelled, to whatever he wished of things to be chosen and to be avoided. Wherefore God does not do good by necessity, but from His free choice benefits those who spontaneously turn.
As for my disdain for Calvin's teachings, I will reserve any more comment on the man personally for God himself. For when a man's teachings lead millions astray from the truth, it is God he must eventually answer to. By now I am sure he has.
Some are given free will, Paul most certainly was not given free will. Saul was doing his free will and he sure did not ask for Heavenly direction on his trip to Damascus. Yet he was interrupted in doing his free will and wrote extensively regarding those predestined from before the foundation (means the overthrow - casting down) of the world (or as Peter calls it the world/age that was, IIPeter 3)
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