« Christian Worship: The Holy Meal | Main | Warren’s Use of Scripture is No Laughing Matter »

Comments

Ray

David,

The decision that cannot be made is to "become alive in Christ." We do not hear the word, mull it over, debate the pros and cons, debate it with others, and then eventually make a choice either to disbelieve it and remain dead or to believe it and become regenerated by our own power. In other words, the decision to trust in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins is not what makes us alive in Christ - it is the evidence that the Holy Spirit through the Word has created faith in us that results in trusting in Christ. The "decision" comes after we receive faith from God, not before.

Think back to Ezekiel in the valley of the dry bones. Did the dead, disjointed, dry, dusty, DEAD bones make a decision and THEN came back to life? No. Ezekiel first proclaimed the Word of God to them, and life was returned to them by the grace of God.

It is not different for us. We are the walking dead. We cannot make a decision to trust by our own power. We might as well decide to keep on living but without breathing.

Think back also to the parable of the Sower and the Seed. Does the ground, whatever type it is, decide to suddenly grow a plant from within itself? No, of course not! Even thinking naturalistically this is nonsense! Soil cannot just bring forth vegetation; there has to be a seed planted first. It is the same with our faith. We cannot bring it forth from within ourselves - we're like soil without any seed. But when the Word of God is planted in our hearts, He brings forth faith and we are saved. It is entirely extra nos. When the Word is preached faithfully, the seed of faith is planted by the Holy Spirit. And when we are taught true and faithful doctrine, the Holy Spirit tends and grows it. So what Pauls says is true, "One plants, another waters, but it is God who gives the increase."

-Ray

Rev. Robert Waters

But David... biblically, one *cannot* make a decision to believe unless he is already a believer. Faith is not a decision, but a gift. Did you decide to be physically alive? Well, you don't decide to be spiritually alive either.

Suicide is a decision. So is the deliberate rejection of Christ. But being convinced that something is true is not a decision at all. It can even happen contrary to one's own will, intention and desire.

Once faith exist- by God's gift, without our cooperation (Ephesians 2:8-10, John 1:13)our will is transformed. Yes, we then will faith. But conversion is the moment in which the change takes place. We cannot will that it take place unless we are already converted.

Perhaps this will help. It's an example I once heard a pastor make, and it illustrates the point perfectly. Imagine that you are a teenage girl in the fifties. You are on a date with a boy you really like. He really likes you- but being a lady, you cannot initiate any display of affection.

The boy (God) wants in the worst way to hold your hand. He finally works up the courage to take it. Then, for the first time, you- the girl- have a decision: you can let your hand be held, or you can take it away.

Faith is letting our hand be held. We do not initiate the process- and if we don't initiate it, then it's not by our decision that we become Christians. On the other hand, if we do, then we're saved by the merit of that good work, and not by grace alone.

And no, Juan. Lutherans are neither disgusting to insist on salvation by grace alone, nor should we be ashamed. It's the very heart of the Gospel- and a teaching which is denied by the suggestion, contrary to Scripture, that a person who is spiritually dead can decide to become spiritually alive any more than a person who is physically dead can decide to become physically alive. Dead people don't make decisions!

You might do better to read more of Luther, instead of seizing inappropriately upon a single, careless of the phrase "made up my mind." Luther's own position is expressed well in his Catechism, and they are the clear teaching of Paul and John: "I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him. But the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, and sanctified and kept me in the one, true faith..."

One does not make a decision to become enlightened. To be sure, one may reject the experience. But the experience itself is purely passive.

I. Curiel

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Apocalipsis 3:20

I believe you guys are taking all these verses in the wrong direction. Humans are all about decisions (it is called free will). Yes Jesus already paid the price and the gift is presented to us, but God indeed first makes the calling and then comes the acceptance or the denial of the gift. I don’t have time to explain this I wish I would, but the fact is that we have to want to change in order for God to work his power in us and make the change and that my friend is a decision we must make.

Larry Kruse

Finally a voice of truth to counteract all the false teaching of the TV and radio preachers! Many preach the theology of Glory and not the Cross. Why can't Lutherans have a strong TV ministry that could free people from the bondage of this false teaching into the liberating truth of the Bible?

The comments to this entry are closed.

October 2010

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31            

A Little Leaven

Support This Site

Follow Me on Twitter

  • Twitter

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter