GODS GRACE OR THE FREE WILL OF MAN
By Nick Bibile
And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. (Romans 11:6)
Calvinsim believes salvation is by grace alone apart from any human cooperation. Arminianism believes salvation is from grace alone but..
Some say we are not Calvinists nor Arminians we believe what the Bible say. Calvinists and Arminians both believe in the inerrant word of God, they both go to the Bible for final authority. Then why they both have a different view on this subject? .
Remember Jonah said, Salvation is of the LORD. (Jonah 2:9) What
made Jonah to say this? He did not go to a seminary or a theological school to
understand but he learned in humility in the belly of a fish. On one side we
Today almost all Christians believe that only by grace alone the sinner is saved. But when you go a little deeper they say God did his part and now man has to do his part, or man has to cooperate with Gods grace. This is Roman Catholic doctrine. This is not grace ALONE. This is grace + works = salvation.
Joh 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Grace alone is apart from any human cooperation, any human decision, any human works, any merits that we can do, nor human tradition. It is very important for us to understand a little history of the reformation, why God used Martin Luther to break away from man made doctrines of Romanism. I dont care how big your church is and how great your pastor is, we need to look to the Bible only. Do not be prideful and say, I know everything as I am going to a big church and our pastor teach only the truth. Remember Jonah, he understood this great doctrine in humility.
Martin Luther, the great Protestant Reformer said, "It is not irreligious, idle, or superfluous, but in the highest degree wholesome and necessary, for a Christian to know whether or not his will has anything to do in matters pertaining to salvation. Indeed, let me tell you, this is the hinge on which our discussion turns, the crucial issue between us; our aim is, simply, to investigate what ability "free will" has, in what respect it is the subject of Divine action and how it stands related to the grace of God.
If we know
nothing of these things, we shall know nothing whatsoever of Christianity, and
shall be in worse case than any people on earth! He who dissents from that
statement should acknowledge that he is no Christian; and he who ridicules or
derides it should realize that he is the Christian's chief foe"
(The Bondage of the Will)
These were the words uttered by Martin Luther, if you read very carefully he was very serious and very strong in his statement. As he points out that every Christian should know if his will has anything to do in salvation. Then he goes on to say that this is a very crucial issue, "free will" in related to the grace of God. Luther goes on to say if we do not know anything of this subject then we do not know anything of Christianity, and he who will disagree on this, is not a Christian and the enemy of Christianity.
Augustine, Luther, Spurgeon and others had much to say on this subject and they all saw how crucial this issue is for our salvation and today the average Christian have no idea of this issue. The sad part is the majority of the churches today; who are claiming to be evangelical Christian churches are teaching the opposite of what Luther, Spurgeon and Jonathan Edwards taught. Yes my friend, many churches believe in the free will of man in regard to salvation. You may say, I believe that too, whats wrong with that?
This is a modern teaching the early church and the protestant Reformers never taught this. Let me tell you, I am not writing this article to the theologians but to the common lay people. I was just like you very ignorant in church history and in theology. I believed that what ever came from the pulpit, as long as there were scripture to back it up. But we need to remember that scripture should fit into the whole council of God as Satan can quote scripture very wisely too.
The Threat of Calvinism?
As I said before, many evangelical churches are Arminians today, and one of the prominent pastors said, "The greatest threat to the church today is Calvinism" And it is amazing how they are still respecting Spurgeon as a great preacher and quoting Spurgeon most of the times.
Spurgeon and Calvinism
Now lets read Spurgeons own words on Calvinism,
is no soul living who holds more firmly to the doctrines of grace than I do,
and if any man asks me whether I am ashamed to be called a Calvinist, I answerI
wish to be called nothing but a Christian; but if you ask me, do I hold the
doctrinal views which were held by John Calvin, I reply, I do in the main hold
them, and rejoice to avow it"
"We only use the term "Calvinism" for shortness. That doctrine which is called
"Calvinism" did not spring from Calvin; we believe that it sprang from the great founder of all truth. Perhaps Calvin himself derived it mainly from the writings of Augustine. Augustine obtained his views, without doubt, through the Holy Spirit of God, from diligent study of the writings of Paul, and Paul received them from the Holy Ghost and from Jesus Christ, the great founder of the Christian Church. We use the term then, not because we impute an extraordinary importance to Calvin's having taught these doctrines. We would be just as willing to call them by any other name, if we could find one which would be better understood, and which on the whole would be as consistent with the fact."
Spurgeon went on to say,
The old truths that
Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, is the truth that I preach today, or
else I would be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape truth; I know
of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox's
gospel is my gospel. And that gospel which thundered through
False views on Calvinism
My friend, many of you are ignorant on this subject but it meant a lot to Spurgeon, Luther and others. Many may believe that John Calvin and James Arminius had a disagreement in theology and they debated on this issue. That is false. By the way John Calvin and Arminius never saw each other. John Calvin lived from AD 1509-1564 and James Arminius lived from AD 1560-1609. Many believe that Calvin wrote the 5 points, again this is false. It was the Arminians who wrote their 5 points first, and then Calvinists responded. Also many believe that Calvinists are against evangelism. This is also false as one of the greatest soul winners was non other than Charles Spurgeon who proclaimed boldly as a Calvinist, then others like William Carey, David Brainard, Cameron, Jim Elliot, Adoniram Judson John Patton and host of other great missionaries were Calvinists.
How did the Freedom of Will begin?
a British monk who lived in the 4th century; he rejected
original/inherited sin. Adams sin affected only Adam, others who are born after
Adam are innocent in their birth and later on when they grow up, they have a
free choice to sin or not. He believed there is no need for divine grace and
man has the capacity to do the will of God. The Church ex-communicated Pelagius
in 417 AD Augustine defended the church against the Pelagius heresy.
Augustine believed that mankind is incapable of raising itself from the
spiritual death, just like an empty glass cannot fill it self with water. Grace
of God is needed for salvation. The Pelagian heresy
was officially condemned at the council of
Semi-Pelagianism believes in the fall of man and the nature of man is changed by the fall. They believe the fallen sinner is not totally dead spiritually but only sick. The sinner still has an inherent goodness and righteousness. They believe that salvation is by Gods grace but the sinner has the ability to cooperate with Gods grace, this is done by the exercise of his will. Semi-Pelagianism was condemned at the Synod of Orange in 529 A. D. However Semi-Pelagianism never died, as it revived under the banner of Arminism.
James Arminius was born in
Today in our modern church the doctrines of Arminism have gained wide acceptance. And no one wants to question these evangelists and pastors, as the common lay people are not educated in Church history. But the theologians at that day rejected this doctrine. That is why the great men of God that day like Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and others were not afraid to tell the truth to the people.
Charles Finney (1792-1875)
Finney was an evangelist and became very popular in
"It's not very interesting to hear someone stand up and read a chapter of Scripture. It's certainly not very interesting to close your eyes and hear someone drone on in prayer. We're used to a livelier life. We're used to fast paced images. We're used to being excited. And none of this is very exciting. And so there seems to be an obvious impulse to "pep things up," and to make it more exciting. And of course for most evangelicals, that excitement is a part of the long standing tradition of revivalism that has influenced so many of us. And the great apostle of this path is Charles G. Finney.
And the wonderful thing about Finney is that he is so clear. I make my students read a big chunk of Finney at seminary because I've always believed that if I tried to summarize him, they wouldn't believe that I was being fair. Because, in the whole history of the church there is probably not a theologian as Pelagian as Finney. Finney begins to make Pelagius look good. And Finney's great insight, made perfectly clear on the first few pages of his Lectures on Revival, is that conversion comes about by the exercise of free will. And how do you as a preacher get people to exercise their free will to convert? It's by exciting the will. The more excited the will is, the more likely it is to convert. And therefore the meeting must be exciting. Now, in order to have an exciting meeting, Finney says, you must always have new things because old things lose their excitement.
But what most people who have studied Finney haven't noticed is that Finney himself makes clear in his book that this approach can work only because he believed as a postmillennialist that we were right on the eve of the millennium. He said that this approach cannot work long term because excitements often repeated ultimately destroy the body. But because the world is almost about to enter its golden age when we won't need excitement anymore we can do this for a little while as a short term strategy. The problem is that we've done it for a hundred and fifty years and we've destroyed the body. We haven't listened closely enough to Finney in an ironic sort of way.
B.B. Warfield once observed of the
theology of Charles Finney: "God might be eliminated from it entirely
without essentially changing its character." The same might be said of
contemporary evangelicalism. We need sharper analysis and pointed refutation.
In our day evangelicals need to engage in more debate on matters of doctrine,
worship and life. True ecumenically will require a return to polemical theology
which, while scrupulously civil and honest, is also sharp and spirited Polemics
cannot only be a treasured part of Christianity's heroic past, but needs to be
part of our present. Defenders of the faith today must follow in the train of Athanasius and Augustine, of Luther and Calvin, of J.
always, doctrine, worship and life remain closely interdependent. Where
doctrine teaches that man is good and God is benevolent, worship will be
upbeat-the children's playroom-and life will be oriented to self-fulfillment.
Where worship focuses on human needs and entertainment, the doctrine of God,
sin and grace will wither and life will become self-centered. Where life is self-indulgent,
doctrine and worship will also be self-indulgent.
Arminian belief on the free will
As I said Arminian belief is Semi-Pelagianism view. The sad part is most Christians do not know that they are Arminians. Many Christians admit that they are sinners. But they are not taught the how salvation was initiated and the doctrine of grace.. Now let us see first the Arminian view on mans fall.
said in replying to Erasmus, who was a Pelagian in
"for the power of "free-will" is nil, and it does no good, nor can do, without grace. It follows, therefore, that "free-will" is obviously a term applicable only to Divine Majesty; for only He can do, and does (as the Psalmist sings) "whatever he wills in heaven and earth" [Psalms135:6]. If "free-will" is ascribed to men, it is ascribed with no more propriety than divinity itself would be - and no blasphemy could exceed that! So it befits theologians to refrain from using the term when they want to speak of human ability, and to leave it to be applied to God only."
According to the Arminian view, although the human nature was seriously affected by the fall, man has not been left in a state of total spiritual helplessness. God graciously enables every sinner to repent and believe, but he does not interfere with mans freedom. Each sinner posses a free will and his eternal destiny depend on how he uses it. Mans freedom consists of his ability to choose good over evil in spiritual matters; his will is not enslaved to his sinful nature. The sinner has the power to either cooperate with Gods Spirit and be regenerated or resist Gods grace and perish. The lost sinner needs the Spirit assistance, but he does not have to be regenerated by the Spirit before he can believe, for faith is mans act and precedes the new birth. Faith is the sinners gift to God; it is mans contribution to salvation.
to the above the Arminians believe in the following
order of salvation.
will to choose or reject the gospel.
3. Regeneration. (New Birth)
Well, this sounds pretty good, and many will not see as if there is anything wrong. We should wonder why Spurgeon, called the prince of preachers, preached at least twenty four sermons on election or some aspect of it, and he totally disagreed with the above Arminian perspective. The reason is that the scripture being the rule of faith does not permit to the Arminian view.
According to the Arminian view, when man sinned it did not affect him seriously. But that is not what the Bible is saying, the Bible says when man sinned and not only death came physically but he spiritually died. Spurgeon said in this matter, because of the fall of Adam he did not break his little finger, but he died. Now if the fallen man is spiritually dead, he is not alive to spiritual things. He is dead to spiritual things. Now you may understand why the Arminians say faith comes first before regeneration. Why? The sinner is not totally spiritually dead but he has a little life where he has the power to make a decision to accept the Lord. The scripture say otherwise.
1Co But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Now according to Arminiasm, man has the ability or the free will of choosing power to accept Christ. If this is so, then man is cannot be spiritually dead. And God is infinitely holy and man is a sinner, for man to come to the holy God, he must have even a little goodness and righteousness in him, meaning man is not that bad. This is humanism. All evangelical churches loudly denounce humanism, but it really entertains the humanistic will of salvation which really removes one of the battle cries of the reformers sola gratia.
Scripture say man is spiritually dead and powerless.
The Arminian view shatters in the light of scripture.
16 And the
LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in
17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when
you eat of it you will surely die." (Genesis 2:16-17)
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.
1Co for as in Adam all die
just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin,
and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned-- (Romans 5:12) Adam and Eves first son Cain was a murderer, this was the result of the first sin.
David said, "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful at the time my mother conceived me."(Psalms 51:5)
We are all
inherited with Adams sin. You do not have to teach a child to lie or to
be disobedient; the child is disobedient by birth. We are sinners not
because we sin, but we are sinners because we are sinners.
Calvinistic view of Total Inability or Total Depravity
Charles Spurgeon gives this beautiful example, one day a man said, that he did not believe any man had the power to walk to the house of God unless the Father drew him. This was very foolish saying according to Spurgeon. Because as long as a man was alive and had legs, it was as easy for him to walk to the house of God as to the house of Satan. There is no lack of physical power in coming to Christ, as physically men are alive, they can raise a hand in coming to Christ, they can walk down the isle in coming to Christ, and they can say a prayer in coming to Christ. But just because they did all these things physically, it does not mean they truly came to Christ. The defect is not in the body, as the natural man is alive and strong physically, the defect is in the mind and in the heart. It is spiritual. As he is spiritually dead.
Spurgeon gives the example of a lion and a sheep. The lion has legs so does sheep, the lion has a mouth so does a sheep, the lion have ears so does a sheep. Physically both can walk and eat. But the lion will not eat grass like a sheep neither the sheep will eat meat like a lion. The distinction is in the nature. By nature, the Lion is different than a sheep. In the same way by the natural mans nature is so corrupt that he has neither the will nor the power to come to Christ unless drawn by the Spirit.
Because of the fall, the sinner is dead, (Eph 2:5) blind (2 Cor 4:4), and deaf to the things of God (Isa 29:18); his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. (Jer 17:9) His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature, therefore, he will not - indeed he cannot - choose good over evil in the spiritual realm.
Rom 6:6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
2 Thes 3:2 for all men have not faith.
Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit's assistance to bring a sinner to Christ - it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God's gift of salvation - it is God's gift to the sinner, not the sinner's gift to God.
Adam was created perfect and he was holy, and he had a free will to choose Gods obedience or to disobey. But after the fall his offspring did not have a free will to choose God as man was dead in sin.
Due to the Total Depravity, the following did not happen.
not mean that man lost his conscience.
After the fall of Adam, he hid from God, why his conscience was guilty. When a thief robs a bank the first thing he do is to run and hide away from the authorities, why he has a guilty conscience.
2. Does not mean that the unregenerate cannot perform any outward good works. There are many unbelievers that perform outward good works. However it is not done to the glory of God.
3. Does not mean that the sinner will perform all the wickedness that he is capable of doing. Although from Gods sight the unsaved are utterly sinful, as God looks at the mans heart and motives as he weigh his thoughts, outwardly the unsaved person may not do what he really of capable of doing.
I have heard many Arminian preachers say that God did not make us like robots but with a free will. I myself is guilty in believing this before. Yes, the sinner has a free will and his free will, is a slave to sin. He exercise his will to please his carnal nature and not towards God. By nature the sinner has no life in Gods sight. He is positively condemned, and legally dead.
Also the sinner is spiritually dead. The sin affected our heart, mind and soul. The spiritually dead person has no power to choose God, as he is dead and the dead will not understand. Spurgeon said, "God does not violate the human will when he saves men. They are not converted against their will, but their will itself is converted. The Lord has a way of entering the heart-- not with a crowbar, like a burglar. But with a master-key, which he gently inserts in the lock, and the bolt flies back, the door opens, and he enters."
J.C. Ryle said, "The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith and calling upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us that we may have a good will, and working with us when we have that good will."
The scripture do not say anywhere the fallen man is sick, or has a decease or partly paralyzed or any kind of that nature, but the scripture boldly say the fallen man is dead, and unable to be alive, unless like the dead Lazarus, who was dead for four days, get the calling from Jesus, "Lazarus come forth" Then the sinner fallen dead man in sin, will be regenerated, meaning he will be born again. Only the call of God can make the fallen man alive.
Eph 2:1 and you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins
the fallen man is powerless. Yes POWERLESS, he has no power to gain
salvation, as the scripture is very clear when it says, "You see, at
just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly."
On the free will Martin Luther said on the tiny spark of the power of man, "The term "free-will" is too grandiose and comprehensive and fulsome. People think it means what the natural force of the phrase would require, namely, a power of freely turning in any direction, yielding to none and subject to none. If they knew that this was not so, and that the term signifies only a tiny spark of power, and that utterly ineffective in itself, since it is the devil's prisoner and slave."
When the sinner is spiritually dead, powerless, slaves to sin will he have a god shaped vacuum?
The Bible is loud and clear when it shows the depraved condition of mankind with the following scriptures.
know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.
10. As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one;
I have heard pastors saying from the pulpit that God has put a god shaped vacuum in the heart of man, and man is spiritually hungry and seeking, that is why there are so many religions as man is spiritually seeking, but only when he decided to accept Jesus that spiritual vacuum is filled and he does not thirst anymore. Doesnt that sound so good? But no where in the scripture supports that, in fact the scripture speak just the opposite.
is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
12. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who
does good, not even one. (Romans 3:11-12)
Jesus said, "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man unclean. (Matthew 15:19-20)
might say, I know there are many people who are seeking God, and I know there
are some very religious people who are very devout and really
seeking God. Again the Word of God stands true and not our
experiences or seeing things. Yes the Bible also says, "Having a
form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them." (2
THE NATURE OF THE HUMAN WILL
The fallen man will not come to Christ by nature; on the other hand the natural man is running away from God. When Adam sinned he was not looking for God but hiding away from God, it was God who was looking for Adam. Mans will toward salvation is zero. The fallen man cannot love God but he is rebellious toward God as he is hostile to God.
Joh 5:42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.
The mans will is to crucify Christ. "With one voice they cried out, away with this man, release Barabbas to us!" (Luke 23:18) Yes my friend it is a fact that men loved Barabbas than Jesus as the natural man is totally depraved and he likes darkness, his sinful pleasures than the light and the absolute holiness of God. "The sinful mind is hostile to God." ( Romans 8:7) The sinful man is not at peace with God but at war with God. "For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!" (Romans 5:10) The fallen man by nature believes he does not need Christ as he is good. He has a robe of righteousness and he does not see that he is naked. He will see that he is naked only if God shows him. He will see that he is not good and un-righteous only when God shows him.
In Arminianism man has a part in salvation. But not in Calvinism
Spurgeon said, "The late lamented Mr. Dedham has put, at the foot of his portrait, a most admirable text, "Salvation is of the Lord." That is just an epitome of Calvinism; it is the sum and substance of it. If anyone should ask me what I mean by a Calvinist, I should reply, "He is one who says, Salvation is of the Lord." I cannot find in Scripture any other doctrine than this. It is the essence of the Bible. "He only is my rock and my salvation." Tell me anything contrary to this truth, and it will be a heresy; tell me a heresy, and I shall find its essence here, that it has departed from this great, this fundamental, this rock-truth, "God is my rock and my salvation.
What is the
If you think for a moment, why is it that you are on the way to heaven and not your neighbor? Your neighbor has heard the gospel too. Is it because you made a decision for Jesus and not your neighbor? What was in you to make that decision and where your neighbor did not have? Is it faith?
That does not make sense as Jesus came to the sinners, to the prostitutes, murderers, thievesand did they have more faith to accept Christ than others? If the answer is your decision, then again you decided because you had faith, then how can you have some faith when your heart is evil? "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure" (Jeremiah 17:9)
Why the heart is deceitful? Because the heart is dead toward the holy God, Unless God gives you a new heart. "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." (Ezekiel 36:26) Who gives the heart? Who gives the Spirit? It is all from God. In Calvinistic theology all the glory goes to the Lord, in Arminian theology there is some that is reserved for man.
But the scripture is clear when God gives the new heart and he opens the new heart in response to the gospel. He not only initiates in salvation but he acts on mans heart on salvation, so all the glory of salvation goes to the Lord, and there is not a moment that I can say, I made the choice to accept Christ. Then 99% depended on Gods grace and that 1% which I had the faith, came from me. But the scripture speaks against, as we will see how the Lord opens the heart to believe the gospel.
On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to
find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had
One of those listening was a woman named
the city of
to respond to Paul's message then works is involved. (Acts 16:13-14)
The doctrine of Arminism falls apart in the light of the scripture, in Ephesians 2:8-9 Man has no room for boasting in salvation.
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
It is not your decision; it was the Lords decision. Jesus said, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up the last day." (John 6:44) Salvation is of the Lord.
and faith are the acts of regenerated men, not of men of dead sins. We need to understand
that God does not believe for us and he cannot repent for us but we will trust
in Christ for salvation. We must tell people in the gospel message to
repent and trust in the Lord for their salvation. But first it is God who
will raise the dead sinner and gives a new, heart then open that heart to
believe, by the grace of God.
When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote
to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those
who by grace had believed." (Acts 18:27)
That is why
this is called the gospel of grace, and Calvinism is the gospel of grace as it
is Theo centric, meaning it is centered on God, and Arminism
man have the free will, and man is at the center. Jonathan Edwards said, If God
did not pardoned angels when they sinned, is he obligated to save us? Not
at all." We all deserve death. That is where we can embrace
Now we should understand in the view of salvation, the following is correct.
1. Man is
totally depraved, cannot choose God in his free will.
2. God regenerates the spiritually dead man, making him alive for true spiritual things.
See Ephesians 2:3-5
All of us
also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature
and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature
objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in
mercy, made us
alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by
grace you have been saved.
3. Once the sinner is regenerated, alive from the dead he will realize how sinful he is and repent of his sins. The ungodly will not repent only the godly will repent. 2Co 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance.
Now he will thirst for God and seek after him. The Arminian cannot utter these words. "O yes! I do love Jesus, because he first loved me." 1Jo 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
All the glory goes to God as he opens the heart and mind.
The natural mans heart is dead toward God and Satan has blinded his mind and cannot see the light of the gospel. (2 Corinthians 4:4) Unless God opens the heart and the mind. Let us go to Matthew 16:13-17.
came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples,
"Who do people say the Son of Man is?"
They replied, "Some says John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others,
Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to
you by man, but by my Father in heaven.
Again we see, the credit did not go to Peter, but to the Father who revealed it to Peter.
We see the story of the two disciples traveling to a village called Emmaus, and they were discussing of the all what happened of the crucifixion to Jesus, when Jesus himself came and walked along with them, but they were kept from recognizing them. Well, what happened to mans free will? Is God sovereign? Yes, God can do anything because he is the Potter and we are the clay. Then we see how their eyes were opened.
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and
began to give it to them.
Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from
They asked each other "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked
with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"
Yes my friend God can shut the eyes and he can open the eyes according to his will.
Can you remember when Jesus was with the disciples, how many times he told them that he has to suffer, die and the third day he will rise, but it never went into their heads. Again in the following scriptures we see how Jesus opened their minds.
He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you:
must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
Beloved, we cannot choose God, he chose us. Jesus said, You did not choose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last." (John 15:16)
"One of the clearest passages in the New Testament on the role of faith in relation to grace is found in the second chapter of Paul's letter to the Ephesians. It is a familiar text to most, it is by grace you have been saved through faith --and that not of yourselves, and it is the gift of God --not of works so that no one may boast." (Eph. 2:8-9). Too often contemporary Christians misread this verse to mean that God's plan of salvation is that people accept his free gift of grace offered through faith in Christ.
is often used that if you are given a gift from a friend, you still have to
accept the gift before it becomes yours. The acceptance of God's gift is the
means of salvation in this view, but this idea is simply found nowhere in the
text. What we do find, however, is a completely sovereign description of the
role of faith in relation to grace. Notice, for example, the comment made by
the apostle, "...so that no one may boast." If I save myself by
making the right choice (deciding for Christ), then surely I can boast about
this choice, because, in effect, I have shown that I am wiser and smarter than
many others, having acquired for myself eternal life by this decision. But if
Paul is suggesting that the entire salvation process, from God's grace, to my
personal faith in space and time, is the gift of God in which we do not
cooperate ("--that not of yourselves"), then, and only then, has room
If we are saved by our own faith, a faith of good works we posses, then there is no room for grace.
Ro 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
Grace is the unmerited favor of God toward the fallen man. Some believe that grace is a substance, but the Bible describes grace as disposition of God upon the undeserving. Grace is initiated by Gods own character, through his love and mercy. The sinner cannot earn this kindness or merit but it is the act of God.
One of the battle cries of the Protestant reformation is called "Sola Gratia" meaning we all deserve the wrath of God, but God did not foresee anything good in us for us to be saved but we are saved purely by his grace. If we are saved by our own faith, then there is no room for grace.
God called out of his grace Abraham, when Abraham was living in paganism. Why did God elect Abraham and not anyone else? Is God unfair? God elected a tiny nation called Israel, over other nations, God took care of them like a father to a son and other nations did not have that blessing, Is God unfair? Moses had killed an Egyptian and hid him in the sand, he was a murderer. God gave grace to Moses and not to Pharaoh, is God unfair? Saul of Tarsus was an enemy of God, killing the Christians but God instantly gave mercy and grace to him while Pilate was not elected. Is God unfair? Paul was a violent persecutor of the church and so were Pilate and Caiaphas who was against Christianity. Therefore is God obliged to give the same mercy and grace that he gave to Paul? Jacob and Esau before they were born, before they could do anything good or bad God elected Jacob, so God's election will stand. In later years Jacob deceived his brother and father, yet God's election and his word did not change. Why did God elect you over your friends? Did you deserve salvation? Are you better than others?
Spurgeon said, "Well can I remember the manner in which I learned the doctrines of grace in a single instant. Born, as all of us are by nature, an Arminian, I still believed the old things I had heard continually from the pulpit, and did not see the grace of God. When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this.
I can recall the very day and hour when first I received those truths in my own soulwhen they were, as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron, and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown on a sudden from a babe into a manthat I had made progress in Scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, the clue to the truth of God. One week-night, when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher's sermon, for I did not believe it. The thought struck me, how did you come to be a Christian? I sought the Lord. But how did you come to seek the Lord? The truth flashed across my mind in a momentI should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. I prayed, thought I, but then I asked myself, How came I to pray? I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. How came I to read the Scriptures? I did read them, but what led me to do so? Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, I ascribe my change wholly to God."
That is to
say, man should realize that in regard to his money and possessions he has a
right to use them, to do or to leave undone, according to his own
"free-will" - though that very "free-will" is overruled by
the free-will of God alone, according to His own pleasure.
However, with regard to God, and in all that bears on salvation or damnation, he has no "free-will", but is a captive, prisoner and bond slave, either to the will of God, or to the will of Satan.
Professor James White said, "It was not the Arminian theology that provided the strength and power of the Reformation; it was "reformed or "Calvinistic" theology that called men to stand up for the truth of the gospel against the tyranny of Rome. Modern evangelicals need to recognize that Arminianism is, at its very core, a return to the very principals that the Reformation fought against in the first place! While the outward manifestations might differ, Arminianism and Roman Catholicism stand hand in hand in opposing Gods sovereign grace in salvation! Both place the final decision of the outcome of an individuals life completely in the hands of the man himself, and in so doing, deny God his rightful role as Creator and Sovereign of the Universe. Most of modern evangelicalism does not, in reality, have anything to say to Rome, simply because it has compromised on the central issue of Gods grace!
Further, since Arminianism is, when taking to its logical conclusions, antithetical to simple Christian theism, those who embrace this system find them self incapable of consistently dealing with the philosophies of man, simply because they have embraced some of the most fundamental concepts of those philosophies rather than accepting the revelation of the sovereign God! In a vain effort to "win" men by seeking to avoid offense, the strong doctrines of God as Creator and Sustainer of the universe are left to the side, and the battle is joined on the home ground of the atheist or secular humanist. The gospel is compromised in the interest of defending it! Such simply ought not to be.
One is saved by grace alone not by any human decision, merits and works but by Christs works alone. We were all under sin, we were all by nature the children of wrath. (Eph 2:3) There was no way we could change our nature by any works or anything that we can cooperate with Gods grace. We were spiritually dead and God by his grace by the power of the Holy Spirit brought a spiritual resurrection. (Eph 2:1, 5) We can boast of nothing but give glory to God alone for salvation.
Finally Charles Spurgeon tackles this issue when he preached on Martha and Mary in his latter years.
The next thing she was commended for was this it was her own choice - "Mary has chosen the good part." Some of our captious friends will be saying, "Ah! ah! are you going to preach free-will now, and tell us that it is man's choicest?" Oh! brethren, you know what I think of man's will, that it is a slave, bound in iron fetters; but yet God forbid that I should alter Scripture to suit anybody's doctrine, or even my own. Mary did choose the better part, and every man that is saved chooses to be saved. I know that at
the back of his choice, and as the cause of his choice, there is God's choice; but still the grace of God always imparts grace to the man's heart. No one is dragged to heaven; nor does anyone ever go to Christ against his will; the soul must be made willing in the day of God's power. This is the triumph of God's grace; not that he takes men to heaven as we might carry machines there, but that he expressly acts upon the human mind, leaves it as free as ever it was, and yet makes it perfectly obedient to his own will. Mary chooses; God had chosen her in old eternity, and, therefore, she chooses him.
I choose him in return."
We choose him because he chose us first.