John for JESUS wrote: Of course God works faith and a change of will in a sinner's heart. Duh. The point I have made is that the sinner is able to on their own (through the preaching of the Gospel) to repent and believe.
So God "works faith", and the sinner "works faith".
What is the natural man (unregenerate) like? Is there is a decriptive text?
Romans 3:11 KJV 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Now John, how many understand? And how many seek God? According to the literal reading of the text, there are none.
Therefore the natural man does not ever seek after God, rather he goes away from God. Three billion or more religious people in the world do not understand, they do not seek Jehovah-Jesus. And if the religious are like that, what of the ungodly and the sinner?
No, the amazing grace of God is so called because it is God who takes the initiative. Both arminian and calvinium agree on this. But the Doctrines of Grace people take it a stage further, for the salvation at this point is still dependent only on the sinner; God has done all he can, and the rest is up to the sinner.
The step further is God "working" faith in the sinner, so that he believes.
John for JESUS wrote: If a sinner is unwilling to believe, but then God changes their minds so that they must believe.....
J4, if you do not grasp the simple doctrine that God works faith and a change of will in a sinner's heart right from the beginning, you will have problems with all of scripture.
Philippians 2:12-13 KJV 12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
God has a will, a pleasure (purpose). In his people, he "works" that will. He so works it that the saint's will is made conformed to God's will. Yet not one of them complains. (Note, it is only religious nutters on death row who say things like, "God forced me to do it.")
James 4:13-15 13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
Michael Hranek wrote: Brother John UK You have said a lot. Few are the pastors such as the church my daughter visited in Tennessee where the pastor began his Sunday message and ended up weeping over the lost in his city...and calling his congregation to praying for the lost (his church gets out and witnesses) with prayer every day in Dec
Brother, that was a most encouraging post! It is indeed rare, in these last times, to find a pastor who is weeping over lost souls and encouraging evangelism with much prayer.
Somewhere "out there", there will be sinners who are struggling through life, with no Saviour, no Holy Ghost, no hope, without God in this world. Christians generally steer clear of them, sticking rather to holy huddles where they can debate theology, drink tea together, and condemn heroin users and murderers.
One day we shall all be standing before the Judgment Seat of Christ, to give account of how we have used the gifts God has given to us. If we have quenched or grieved the Spirit, that is our own responsibility not God's.
Thankfully, we can praise God daily for his grace and mercy toward such undeserving wretches, and every day I thank Christ that he "died for the ungodly".
didactually wrote: For the three millionth time John me ole bucket ... WCF28/1 - (Read carefully and learn) "Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church, but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life: which sacrament is, by Christâ€™s own appointment, to be continued in his Church until the end of the world."
My question to the above answer was: "If as you say the child of the Christian (or Jew) is brought into covenant with God, what difference does that make?
Are you saying that ALL JEWS are saved?
Are you saying that ALL children of all believers (including Baptists) are saved?
The commission of Christ is not to go into the world and tell men to believe. The message to be preached is "Jesus Christ and him crucified".
"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness...."
We are to preach the blood of Christ.
This is where arminists and J4 make a big error. They place the emphasis on the question, "What must I do to be saved?"
But no-one is asking this question. There must needs be much ground work in a sinner's heart before he will ever ask such a question. Take a look around, and see sinners happy in their sins. They do not want to be saved, nor become a Christian, nor live a godly life.
People are not queueing up to join a church.
The mechanics of why a person comes to Christ through the preaching of the gospel is not nearly so important as that he DOES come to Christ. If he refuses the gift of God he will perish in his sins. If he turns away from God's grace, he will continue in darkness.
I wonder if anyone cares?
Eg. "Oh well, if they didn't believe, they weren't elect." Too bad.
Eg. "Oh well, they had a chance, I gave them a tract, I invited them to church, they stupidly turned their back." Too bad.
And meanwhile, every second, another sinner drops into hell for ever.
J4, you seem unable to comprehend that salvation is more than just being saved from judgment. It is a conversion to godliness. Think about it. How many sinners do you know who want to be godly? The answer is "none".
Why is this?
It is because the sinner was born with a sinful nature. This nature rebels against God, so the sinner rebels against God. The sinner does not keep God's law, nor can he do so.
How do you turn a sinner into a saint?
It is IMPOSSIBLE with man, because man does not want to be a saint.
But not with GOD. He alone can do it. And he does it through the gospel, which is THE POWER OF GOD, when the Spirit accompanies it.
A sinner can be so wrought upon by the Spirit of God, that he shows remorse for his sins, acknowledges his guilt, pleads only mercy, sees in Jesus a sacrifice for his sins, believes in the Son of God who died and rose again, and submits to the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ in his life.
The difference was made by God's Spirit, not an intellectual capacity to understand a message and rationally decide it is true. In fact, the more intellectual they are, and more worldly wise, the less likely they are to be converted, because conversion God's way is by humility and childlike faith, which can only be produced by the Spirit.
Many years ago, when Arthur from Scotland used to post, he recommended that I read the story of William the Baptist, and this, when the same old subject of baptism was being debated, as it always will be.
Now not wishing to call any of my Presby friends biblically foolish, which they are not (usually), after reading such a story, I saw that maybe their position on amount of water required, actually had a reasonable biblical basis. With no recourse to tradition, historians, or greek, the argument was made solely from biblical accounts, which I found most impressive and persuasive.
Inded, after reading such, I found myself no longer in the assured position I previously held, but was open to further illumination by the Holy Ghost, as and when he chose to give such.
However, I have remained in that state of openness ever since, and would never argue concerning the quantity of water, immersion, sprinkling, whatever, from scripture, as that would be rather difficult to do, seeing there be plenty of good arguments against immersion.
Folks wishing to read this story and see for themselves can do so HERE
Torgel wrote: When you lose your trust in God, ie faith, then God removes the ability to trust which otherwise is a blessing among God's people. America and the western nations have lost all trust/faith in God just as Israel did. Blessings such as the gift of faith and the establishment of true biblical churches together with the true worship of God are removed from these nations. Whys should God bless a people which rejects Him and His Son. Matt 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
Interesting points, and all worth meditating on. However, I do not believe God deals with nations as nations, that is, what he does to one he does to all. A faithful man surely will remain faithful, no matter where he lives?
John for JESUS wrote: Maybe I elaborated to much, let me try again! What are they doing listening to preaching? The seed of faith was dropped on them through the preaching of the Gospel. You say it is not natural! However, it is natural for some sinners to go to church when invited and hear gospel preaching, for others to be witnessed to by Christians outside of church, and for others to hear preaching in the media.
Ah yes, this is the answer to the question. Thank you.
Now notice that you mention "some sinners". "it is natural for some sinners to go to church when invited and hear gospel preaching".
So already we have a limit, that is similar to limited atonement. Only some sinners will voluntarily go to hear a gospel message. And only some of them will actually HEAR the gospel. The reason I emphasise "hear", is because if you ask these folks who have attended the church what they thought of the gospel, many of them will not even want to talk about it. They might grumble about being called a sinner, "Who does that preacher think he is, calling me a sinner?" But they do not understand the message. They are not taken aback by the glorious love of Christ. It means nothing to them.
And what are they doing listening to preaching? It is not natural, and the natural man does not desire to hear the preaching of the gospel. Something happened, eh?
Have you ever tried to get someone along to hear the gospel? Has a sinner ever given you the opportunity to spend fifteen minutes telling them the good news?
Much experience in evangelism will assist your understanding of sound doctrine, because you will see biblical doctrine being enacted out. At present, you imagine that people are queueing up to respond to the gospel. Okay, take the gospel to lost people and see how many will even listen to you. Don't forget to begin with the law, showing them that they are sinners under God's wrath and bound for hell. If they stick with it after telling them that, you are doing mighty fine.
Christopher000 wrote: ...left to the fate of nature and what goes on in the world around us.
Christopher, I think I understand your question. Is it like this?:-
Two men are getting ready for a long drive. One is a Christian and he prays for safety on the journey, no headaches, no punctures et al. The other man down the street is a non-Christian, and he just gets in his car and goes.
They both arrive at their destinations safely and feel content.
Now did God grant special grace to the Christian and grant him a safe trip, and did God grant common grace to the non-Christian and grant him a safe trip?
What difference did prayer make in their lives?
Can prayer change God's pre-ordained plan?
If I forget to pray before getting in the car, will God teach me a lesson and cause the engine to blow up?
If the reprobate does just one act of kindness, will God let him live a bit longer and grant him safe journeys?
Some very good posts on this thread, especially the scriptures posted showing that God works salvation in a dead sinner, not requiring his will initially.
As I was reading the hymns quoted by US, I was reminded of the parallel of God's sovereignty and man's responsibility. Those hymn writers had their doctrine absolutely spot on.
"wakened up from wrath to flee"
Just an example of what I mean, a man that is fast asleep (dead in trespasses and sins) will never, ever flee from the wrath to come. Why? Because he is not aware of God's wrath. He jokes about hell, even saying that is where he wants to go, where all his friends are. The reality of hell is not part of his experience.
But when "wakened up", wow what a difference! The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and this man will now show some wisdom in fleeing from the wrath to come. What was this "wakened up"? This is that sovereign work of God: enlightening, quickening, revelation. It is a resurrection from death to life. And it is only the living man that will arise and flee from the wrath to come.
All around him lie the slain. These do not move, they are like a valley of dry bones, fleshless, no muscles. They cannot move, fast bound in sin and nature's night. They need a work from God!