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To Whom Do We Ascribe our Repenting and Believing?

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  • To Whom Do We Ascribe our Repenting and Believing?

    by John Hendryx

    We cannot ascribe our repenting and believing to our own wisdom, humility, sound judgment or good sense, but, rather, to Christ alone. We turn our trust from ourselves to Christ only because He first opened our eyes, unplugged our ears and turned our stoney heart to a heart of flesh (Ezek 36:26) that we might believe the gospel. (Deut 29:4, 30:6) Arminian prevenenient grace actually begs the question - if two persons receive the same prevenient grace, why does one man believe the gospel and not the other? What makes them to differ? It is obviously not grace which makes them to differ since both had grace so all that is left is some native good will or good inclination that the other did not have. But who makes the will good? Where does the wisdom or humility to come to Christ come from? No man is naturally willing to submit to the humbling terms of the gospel. The Bible declares it: Jesus says, "the Spirit quickens, the flesh counts for nothing...that is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me grants it." (John 6:63, 54). and just before this Jesus also declares "All that the Father gives me will come to me" (John 6:37)So together in the texts Jesus in no uncertain terms declares 2 things: 1) that NO ONE can come to faith in Him UNLESS granted by the Father, and that through the quickening work of the Spirit AND 2) ALL whom He so grants will come to faith in Him. It leaves no room for the synergistic view. But you say "God commands all people to repent and believe the gospel." This is true... and its in the Bible ... the gospel summons to all people without exception but apart from grace NO ONE responds to it positively... left to themselves all people turn aside from the one true God. (See Rom 2, 3; and 1 Cor 2:14) And "No one can say "Jesus is Lord" apart from the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor 12:3).

    So is it (even partly) by our own doing that we are in Christ? No it is..."...by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Cor 1:30-31

    We repent, yes, and we believe, but it is God who, by his great mercy, changed our hardened heart to do so. It was not our natural wisdom or humility or good will that set us apart but it was the grace of God in Jesus Christ which granted all of these. Salvation is of the Lord.

  • #2
    Hello William.
    Interesting thread. I see were you are coming from, but I also believe we have a part in God's mercy. You hinted at that part where you said, '... to repent and believe the gospel.'
    God is Truth. God knows us deeper than we tend to know ourselves. Hebrews 4:12 describes the word of God as a doubled-edge sword.
    I have met people who have transformed after going through some 'close to death' rock-bottoms of ego-deflation at great depth. In that moment of ego-surrender they experienced a moment of clarity, or truth about themselves.
    That truth was God's mercy that started a chain reaction to liberation and continual praise to the Lord.

    John 7:16-18
    16 Jesus answered, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me.
    17 If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.
    18 He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him."

    We are not here for our selves, but for the One who sent us. Truth sent us. Truth is home, Truth sets us free from our false-self, our ego-self.
    As soon as we are willing to surrender our self, Truth reveals itself to us and we experience God's Mercy and Love.

    John 14:6-7
    6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
    7 If you really know me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."

    Both God and Jesus Christ is Truth. Christ was a living example of a man of truth.

    Not many people hit rock-bottoms to see the truth. Most how do hit a rock-bottom, still hang onto some vanity, and/or die without any clarity of their true-self.
    So God sent Jesus Christ to prepare and counsel those who '... do not know what they are doing' a way and the truth and the life of becoming a people of truth.
    After preparing his disciples of the truth, Christ died to allow the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of truth, to replace his counsel after he died. (see John 16:7-16)

    The human mind is strongly geared towards our body senses. I call this the body-mind. This mind knows next to nothing about the spirit-mind, which relies on the Spirit of truth.
    Only God (Truth) knows how much truth a person lives by, and that has a bearing, a part, in God's mercy towards that person. IMHO.

    Sorry that my text editor will not show 'red text' for Christs words.
    Last edited by Hermit; 05-09-2015, 03:39 AM. Reason: WYSIWYG text editor is not working.
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    • #3
      John 10:26 - "but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep."

      Those who do not believe have closed their eyes to the clear evidence - Deuteronomy 29:4. "Because you are not not among my sheep" - Only those who are Christ's, whom the Father has given Him, come to faith. Others are so blinded by their sinful prejudice that they refuse to believe. Only the regenerate, who have been "born again" John 3:3, 7 believe.

      John 7:16-18:

      "16 So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 17 If anyone's will is to do God's[a] will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. 18 The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood."
      Jesus indicates the source of His teaching. His message is not original to Him but comes from His Father. A true perception of the divine nature of Christ's teaching is granted to those who earnestly desire to do God's will - Psalm 25:14. A contrast is established between self-seeking messengers and Jesus, whose guiding principles is to be true to His mission where Christ and His message are identified as truth.

      Concluding thoughts:

      No one can be born again without the truth, and no one can be saved, or come to a saving knowledge of God through his Son Jesus Christ independent of the truth. If anyone on this planet is to ever be saved, it will always be in response to the truth. Without the truth we cannot get to Heaven. Without the truth we cannot grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. We cannot know God's will without the truth. We cannot know and do God's work without the truth, because it is by the truth that we are equipped to do the work of God. We cannot have the assurance of salvation apart from the truth - 1 John 5:13. We cannot worship God apart from the truth. We cannot obey God apart from the knowledge of the truth. In emphasis - none can go to heaven apart from a right response to the truth - John 14:6.

      God bless,
      William

      P.S. Colors are disabled in this forum by the administration. This is to prevent future contrast issues with various templates.
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      • #4
        In order to receive the truth, we must first be born again because until then, we are still spiritually dead and can do nothing. Once we are quickened, we must receive the truth John 3:3-8.
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        • #5
          Hello William and Stratcar.

          I think you are both saying that people before the time of Jesus Christ, like those mentioned in the Old Testament, were non believers of the truth. That they were still spiritually dead.
          Then what about all the believers of God (the Truth), before the concept of rebirth by baptism (New Testament)?

          I am not denying the New Covenant. But the old covenant did work to a point.
          The spirit of God breathed into every human was still there then, as it is still today, and often referred to as our conscience. It is still a reference point of truth, to now what is right from wrong. It is still required so the not yet reborn can know that to be reborn into the new covenant is the right thing to do.
          The new covenant, reborn to the Truth through Jesus Christ, and the introduction of a spiritual Counselor through the Spirit of truth (Holy Spirit) was to help those reborn to see the Truth not just in miracles but in a man of truth (Son of God). That God (Truth) is alive in every person reborn to God. That we too can be Christ-like, and to be a human witness of God's Truth and Love in this world.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Hermit View Post
            Hello William and Stratcar.

            Then what about all the believers of God (the Truth), before the concept of rebirth by baptism (New Testament)?
            The OT saints were saved the same way as in the NT. The Holy Spirit enabled people through regeneration unto faith. Faith is a fruit of regeneration. In the time of the OT, people were saved by the forward looking faith of the coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ through the types and shadows of His coming. Much in the same way we have a historical rearward looking faith in Him having come and being who Jesus said He is, from which the types and shadows had come into full light.

            For what does the Scripture say? "And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." 4Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. 5But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness, 6just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works: 7"Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. 8"Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account" (Rom. 4:3-8).
            As you can see, the Bible tells us that Abraham was justified by faith (see Rom. 5:1 and Eph. 2:8-9). That is, his faith is reckoned as righteousness, v. 4. They were saved by faith in the Messiah in whom they were trusting. Only, for them it was a trust in the future Messiah. They knew He was coming as had been prophesied.

            In short, Regeneration is an axiom throughout the entire bible preceding faith.

            God bless,
            William
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            • #7
              Thank you William.
              What are your views on those who are not baptized but are living as a person of truth; they follow (the way and the truth and the life) of Christ (Truth) without having anything to do with Christianity?
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Hermit View Post
                Thank you William.
                What are your views on those who are not baptized but are living as a person of truth; they follow (the way and the truth and the life) of Christ (Truth) without having anything to do with Christianity?
                Lemme share my views through questioning. Consider Ezekiel 36:25-27. These Scriptures speak of regeneration, and are the Scriptures Jesus spoke of when conversing with Nicodemus in John chapter 3. A person is given a heart both receptive and obedient to the word of God. Now lemme ask you, if a person refuses baptism what does that say about them as evidence of regeneration? Now, I'm not saying that works are the basis of regeneration, but they're the evidence and fruit of it. Furthermore, why would a person receive the commandment to go and baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and they themselves refuse? Lastly, concerning Christianity, I take it you mean the church? If so, how does one partake of communion and fellowship with other members in the body of Christ? Would they not be a lame member of the body, especially considering that they are not following the head of the church which is Jesus Christ?

                God bless,
                William
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                • #9
                  Hello William.
                  Originally posted by William View Post
                  Lemme share my views through questioning. Consider Ezekiel 36:25-27. These Scriptures speak of regeneration, and are the Scriptures Jesus spoke of when conversing with Nicodemus in John chapter 3. A person is given a heart both receptive and obedient to the word of God. Now lemme ask you, if a person refuses baptism what does that say about them as evidence of regeneration? Now, I'm not saying that works are the basis of regeneration, but they're the evidence and fruit of it. Furthermore, why would a person receive the commandment to go and baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and they themselves refuse? Lastly, concerning Christianity, I take it you mean the church? If so, how does one partake of communion and fellowship with other members in the body of Christ? Would they not be a lame member of the body, especially considering that they are not following the head of the church which is Jesus Christ?
                  The person I am thinking of, does show lots of evidence of truth-filled works of unconditional love, humbleness, meekness, and bearer of truth which liberates false fears in people, and provide clarity see their own spiritual truth.
                  I did not say this person, or such true people, go and baptize. They are being true without baptism of water, but more of a baptism of faith that bares deep surrender and humility to gain spiritual truth and way of life.
                  They do not partake in communion in remembrance of Christ, but partake in regular group sharing to further their spiritual growth in truth.
                  They see God/Truth as the head of their life.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Hermit View Post
                    Hello William.


                    The person I am thinking of, does show lots of evidence of truth-filled works of unconditional love, humbleness, meekness, and bearer of truth which liberates false fears in people, and provide clarity see their own spiritual truth.
                    I did not say this person, or such true people, go and baptize. They are being true without baptism of water, but more of a baptism of faith that bares deep surrender and humility to gain spiritual truth and way of life.
                    They do not partake in communion in remembrance of Christ, but partake in regular group sharing to further their spiritual growth in truth.
                    They see God/Truth as the head of their life.
                    Let me ask you a question? What is an act that a man can do (communion) that delivers more of an impact then an act from God himself. Sometimes these people don't see clearly. They most likely seek truth because they can find none, especially in the word. I learned a long time ago that it's only a book until you read it. Then you are no longer confused. If you can't read the bible, then you will not see the remarkable aspects of reality and what god has shaped for us to understand.

                    Communion has nothing to do with a mans faith, more so his devotion.
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                    • #11
                      Cloud, I agree with #10 completely. Jesus did say "If you believe in me, you will obey my commandments." We are commanded to be baptized upon belief. We are commanded to be right with God before taking communion, which we do as often as we will.
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                      • #12
                        Hello Cloud.
                        [FONT=arial]Thank you for your response.
                        I am a Christian and will remain as one, for I believe in Christ's way, truth and life. It is the way to live the truth, and the true way to live. It is the only way to the Father, as Christ said.

                        (NIV John 14:6) Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
                        The last word 'me' is the same as 'I am the way and the truth and the life.' That is what 'through me' refers to.

                        (NIV John 14:7) in the next verse Jesus said, "If you really knew me, you would know my father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
                        Jesus Christ is God, and God is Jesus Christ.
                        In other words, no one comes to the Father (God/Christ) except through ' the way and the truth and the life'.

                        What I am saying is that people who live such a life, who are not Christians by the church, do they not also receive God's mercy?
                        If not, what mercy and love of truth are they radiating?[/FONT]
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                        • #13
                          Jesus said, "He who denies me, I will deny before my Father in Heaven." Our best works are as filthy rags." That goes for all. When we are saved, our works are accounted for as hay, wood, and stubble which are burned up for the bad and as reward of crowns of glory for the good. They try to do good by works, but Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us we are saved by faith from God, not of works. Only the Father gives us faith in His Son Jesus John 6:65. Most people do not receive that faith. They perish. Those who do receive that faith are saved.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
                            Jesus said, "He who denies me, I will deny before my Father in Heaven." Our best works are as filthy rags." That goes for all. When we are saved, our works are accounted for as hay, wood, and stubble which are burned up for the bad and as reward of crowns of glory for the good. They try to do good by works, but Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us we are saved by faith from God, not of works. Only the Father gives us faith in His Son Jesus John 6:65. Most people do not receive that faith. They perish. Those who do receive that faith are saved.
                            Is not Jesus Christ, God, and/or Truth the same?
                            If so, does not living the faith of one also be living the faith of the others?
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Hermit View Post
                              Is not Jesus Christ, God, and/or Truth the same?
                              If so, does not living the faith of one also be living the faith of the others?
                              Yes to Jesus being God. And no to God and the Truth being the same. I believe you are confusing truth (an attribute of God) as God. Truth can exists outside of God, we can find truth outside of our Scriptures. Scripture also says God is love, but love is not God. Don't confuse the two, please consider the differences. Attributes of God, for example, are a man of peace, a man of war, Justice, Mercy, Grace, and Wrath. Glory is the sum of all God's attributes, as well as His Holiness. The issue I believe you are demonstrating comes by emphasizing only one attribute in favor of another, while rejecting God Himself. All glory belongs to God, is He not Worthy to be praised corporately in His house of Worship? And it is possible that one pursues truth and rejects the truth OF Christ.

                              As to your question of whether not living the faith of one also be living the faith of others. Everyone demonstrates faith. Even unbelievers. Faith can be defined as "action based on belief sustained by confidence". An unbeliever for example, walks up to a computer chair and flops down in it in front of the monitor never testing the chair. They have demonstrated faith. One who does not exercise faith or acts upon belief demonstrates a dead faith. The faith of a believer while being initially enabled by the Holy Spirit (a fruit of regeneration) is active rather than passive.

                              Your previous questions are rather speculative. I ask you to provide Scripture for "people who live such a life, who are not Christians by the church, do they not also receive God's mercy?" What then was the point of Christ's death if God demonstrated mercy to them without Him?

                              Again, your example demonstrates imo, a self centered individual that refuses to step outside of their comfort zone. Either that or they have rejected the Commandments of the Lord, and that in itself demonstrates the state of their faith.

                              God bless,
                              William
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