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Douglas

That is really well written, very clear, precise, and most of all, the "true-truth." It is absolutely biblical. Every single Christian should believe that without any doubts whatsoever. Thank you very much. God bless you.

Douglas

That is really well written, very clear, precise, and most of all, the "true-truth." It is absolutely biblical. Every single Christian should believe that without any doubts whatsoever. Thank you very much. God bless you.

jenny

Wonderful post! I am currently taking a Biblical Soteriology class and this is exactly what the teacher has been lecturing on! I have also been reading your posts on the book "Everything must Change" with interest because I am going to do my term paper for the class on the doctrine of salvation in the Emergent Church.

Truman

excellent food for thought. We are indeed born "dead" into this world, and we are awakened to Christ because the Spirit stirred us.

How could I have possibly known God if He didn't call to me first?

Shane Vander Hart

Predestination makes sense when you consider that we are utterly completely dead in our sins.

Good post.

sara McDonald

I can't disagree but it does seem that our language is inadequate to explain THAT moment. I know that there are many who do not remember it because they were so young, but for those of us who do... Well, how shall we describe it? "By the grace of God, I was born again in 1980."? or "God granted me the gift of faith in Jesus when I was nine years old."? or "God enabled me to accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour twenty-seven years ago."? Would that do it?

lc

Please realize I know the following analogy is poor, because the gifts of God and His Word are beyond any earthly connections. However, I think the analogy works as far as what part "our descion" plays. When I was young, the Jewel T man, stopped by our house. He told my parents his business, which was selling various sizes of tea bags and Jewel T products. We had never heard of a service for tea bags , that you could order and have delivered every week. Until that man had opened our eyes to it, we were "dead" to it. It had been a viable business and available to others before we had heard of it. We could have said no or discontinued at anytime. It wasn't our descion to buy that made it available. It was Jewel T making it available that even allowed us to decide. God's gifts to us allows us to run the race of faith to the end of our salvation. Jesus is the only Way, Truth and Light. God gives us the path to follow, with the measure of faith He has given each of us. He tells us He calls many, but few are chosen. Which tells me, not all He calls will be chosen. Freewill allows us to choose to embrace what He does for us or turn our backs to Him who loved us first. But we cannot do a thing to be called by God. We cannot prove to God we are good(because we aren't). We can, by not turning our backs to God, retain the salvation that He gives us (that we did not earn), His Way, not ways that we imagine we can modernize or make easier the path to salvation (ergo seeker sensitive, word faith, new age ect. religions). God bless us in our lives, that we be the best examples that He has planned for us to be. I am so glad that I don't have to do it without Him, I'd never measure up on my own.

Steve Newell

LC,

There's one little problem with your analogy: All the people in the house are dead with Jewel T comes calling. Likewise, we are all dead in our sins when God comes to us. God gives us life so that then we have "free will". This "free will" comes only after God saves us. Our salvation frees our will from sin so that we then can choose to either follow or reject God. Prior to God first saving us, we cannot make any decision for God since we are in a position that rejects God.

lc

Steve, I don't understand what you meant by, everyone is dead "with" Jewel T. Maybe you meant "until". In the analogy Jewel T is making a descion available to us that we can make that we might want, but couldn't have, without the route service they provided. God makes our descion available to us by giving us a measure of faith to begin with. Worldly examples are lesser than God. When someone doesn't understand that we don't create our own faith, but yet we have freewill to reject God, a worldly example they have experienced can bridge the gap of understanding. Paul urged us to run the race of salvation to the end. We can lose the prize, if we decide(our descion part) to stop running on God's path. We are sinful by nature of our freewill, which makes us slaves to sin.When God calls us to Him, it is by freewill that we remain. His calling is our faith. The same faith that we can pervert into something that is not of God. Which is why I needed a standard to bear my faith, heart, thoughts and actions up to. Which of course is God's words of Holy Scripture. I don't think you and I believe differently. I think my writing or your reading or both, don't convey the understanding. And since I don't think I'm a great storyteller, I'll concede that point! Analogies I've used with people seem to help. They get, that they don't find God, He gives them faith and salvation, they don't earn it. And they are reconciled that they are not puppets of a greater power. That God doesn't need them or their works. That He loves them and wants them to partake in His love.

Steve Newell

LC,

We are completely and totally dead in our sins prior to salvation. Even if God gives us the option of making a decision, we cannot since we are enemies of God and reject God in our fallen condition. When God comes to us, we are dead. God must first make us alive. It is God who gives us life and salvation. There is no decision that we can make that is part of this process. We have only the ability to reject God in our state prior to God giving us life. Once God has saved us, then we have the ability to decide for or against God. But this ability is the result of salvation, not a cause of salvation. Even our faith is a gift of God.

Sorry if I caused confusion with poor wording in my response.

Paul A. Siems

Joshua’s final dealing with the stiff-necked people under his care sheds some light on this matter of deciding or choosing. In Joshua 24:15 he says,

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Notice that CHOICE is only stated as the option of those who do not count serving (worshiping and fearing) the LORD as good. Joshua never says that he and his family CHOOSE to serve the LORD, only that they do/will serve Him.

The context declares that the people have received their place purely by God’s doing.

Then also, the people’s response reiterates Joshua’s point.

“And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God.” (Josh 24:16-18)

Once again, the people admit that there is no decision or choice to be made regarding continuing in what the LORD has worked for them, but rather, the only choice, is to FORSAKE the LORD.

It is also noteworthy that Joshua makes the distinction of having been brought by the LORD to the other side of the waters. The LORD used water to deliver the people from their bondage and to make of them (regenerate) a people of faith. God used water both with Moses in connection with the Red Sea as well as the pillar of cloud, and with Joshua with the Jordan River.

There clearly is a choice or decision that is made, but as John writes:

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)

When a person awakes from sleep, he does not decide or choose to be alive and to make himself a living being. Likewise, one in whom faith has been regenerated does not decide or choose to believe and to make himself a believer. No person ever chooses to be alive, but can make the choice to stop being alive. It is the same with the believer.

Teresa

You say these at Laodicea are beleivers? Based on what?????
You are seeming to miss the same point that Jesus is trying to pound home with these lost indivuals that are playing church, but are not saved. Just a simple glance at his assesment of their spiritual health clearly demonstrates these people do not get it! They are trusting in SELF, MONEY and their ignorance gets thrm through daily by ignoring any sort of spiritual problem and the true rememdy to fix them. And where is the local cure in this picture, but outside the door of the church, because he had never been on the inside. Look at the text. These people are as saved as "sweet Judas" was.
The whole point of this letter to this psuedo church was to get through to them that they were totally decieved and not secure at all! They did not know their spiritual bankruptcy at all. They were not trusting in the blood of the lamb, but in money. They did not have true spiritual sight and he tells them this and says you need medicine for your eyes to get it! He tells them that they are poor, blind and naked! Born agains are not naked, but clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, the 2nd Adam.(1 Corinthians 15 and Romans 5) Born agains do not get spit out of Jesus mouth and into the tribulation to join the church of Thiatira who is thrown on a bed of suffering in tribulation. You are not poor as a born again because you have true spiritual riches in heaven. Your place in heaven has been bought not by money as these suppose, but by the precious blood of the Lamb. The Laodiceans do not get it. They are not saved. They are not secure. They do not see clearly and need true spiritual sight to understand the problem and to receive the cure. They are not even biblically educated with the basics! And they don't seem to care about the things of God to find out why there is this odd and fightening letter in the bible to them as a whole. But the desire is that indivually that any one of these could learn with their brain what the bible teaches about sin and what the cure is to their death problems and respond to the offer of salvation that is given to anyone who wants to be snatched from the fire, but that is done through response to his offer. With all due respect, anyone who says the letter to Laodicea is to a group of authentic beleivers may not truly understand the basics of the bible themsleves. That letter was to unregenerate and self absorbed people who are playing god instead of responding to God and they make Jesus sick to his stomach. He spits them out! But he longs to save them and that is why he sits faithful listening for his protical son or daughter to put away the distractions of the group and look at the true state of their soul tha is lacking before the great pain of the tribulation comes and or premature death, then the judgment. I think he is hoping for hearts to gather into the safe place of the eventual rapture before the tribulation so that all who are in Christ truly, are not comndemed but preserved and rewarded. Christ is telling them of the true meds they need for their eyes and brains really, which is to be born again and that would mean that you gain real sight or understanding to let Jesus apply his blood to your life. You get born again and you let him pay for your sins and you get the credit as he lived the perfect life. Now in order to get all that, you must reconize your distance and spiritual death and sin that all keep you away from the eternal one, who wants to heal you. Are YOU and YOU alone, going to get in the way of the healing that Jesus offers anyone?

Steve Newell

Teresa,

Those is Laodicea are part of the Church, otherwise why would they be address as the church? One can be saved and then fall away from the faith. The purpose of this letter to this church is to serve as a warning so they will not fall away from the faith. Jesus states that he is disciplining the church out of love. This is a call for the church to repent and return to their first love, Christ.

Teresa

No, those in Laodicea think they are saved, rich and well. Jesus is addressing them in this one,because they are not sanctified and saved. The hallmatk issue here is that they are deceived and don't know it! And I don't think they are a group really care. The rich image is that their money is closer to their little deceived hearts, then the precious Lord who is outside the church door. Note the division. When you are born again, you are part of the bride of Christ and you are united into one spirit and one baptism in and with and through Christ, the head of the connected one body. The division has been healed and there is no condemnation for those IN Christ Jesus. Laodicea was never saved in the first place.

Per "falling away" you can not lose your salvation,"apostates" are those who via deception, who are not saved,still in the first Adam and do not realize their spiritual error, since they are spiritually dead. You don't seriously think that people can be UN-Born Again do you? You are either saved authentically, or you are not, but you are not in a state of flux or living in a state of limbo being born again one second and then the next second be un-born again. Saved, Damned, Saved, Damned...If that is the case for all of us, then Christ did not really fix the sin issue because your state changes on a dime. And if so, then what and how much of it do you need to do before you are lost again? For something so important, that seems pretty subjective with no addressing of it specifically in the bible. Jeuss came to heal the sin condition from the first Adam, and if you are truly saved and born again, you are from the Last Adam, Jesus. He proclaimed "It is finished!" If he is not able to completly saved you and spiritually birth you through the second Adam, instead of the first, then his work on the cross is of no real, important and lasting value. But, it doesn't work that way. Either you are complete in Christ, or you are unsaved and in need of his life changing power. You may not get it though. See the conversation in Matthew 7: 21. Those people THOUGHT THEY WERE SAVED, but they were not. And it looks like they bought into the "works for eterity" lie too. Therefore: a percentage of those who are unsaved, do not always realize it!
I was brought up in the church and thought I was a Christian for 21 years, but I was deceived and did not get born again and truly repent until 11 (almost) years ago. Lutheran church taught that you corporatly come to salvation through saying a mantra of Jesus dying on the cross. Finally, someone told me I had to personally come to Jesus and repent. I did not know that. I went to a building CALLED THE CHURCH OF_____. But when talking with friends about eternity, I had no real understanding and I would say the standard, " I think God knows my heart and I would hope that Jesus would let me into his heaven because I have done a lot of good things." I was not born again and in deception and would not have been IN Christ at that point. God preserved me and I found out the truth. There are millions out there that are the old me, deceived but don't know it!

Satan seeks to deceive and he infiltrates the church. He did the same with Judas who was an apostate (in that he was never truly saved in the first place.) He was simply playing the game. He was a good looking on the outside, but far from being transformed with in the spirit-being; then he went on to his judgement. In short Judas and many others are part of the psuedo church, but are not authetically born again. Jesus is addressing in the letter to Laodicea- the fakers of the church, who are deceived. Because they are not saved, they wander off into other things. They went out from us, John tells us, because they were never really with us in the first place. That is a letter to a church filled with many apostates from the pseudo- church to whom Christ offers salvation, who never possessed salvation in the first place. He also offers salvation to the lost who would never set foot in a church. It is not the well who need a DR. but the sick. Jeuss is not re-offering salvation to those who are already saved and then damned and then saved and then damned.... The church of Laodicea is deceived. They think everything is fine with God, but they do not have a relationship with Jesus. He is outside the door, not residing on the inner-court of their heart, washed in the blood of the Lamb and born again spiritually of the Last Adam, Jesus, per Romans 5&1 Cor 15. It is called deception, folks. They will fall away( but were never saved in the first place and can then fall away,cause there was nothing holding them there in the first place and group together with all the rest of the lost of the religons of the world. The lost and deceived of Laodicea and others gather together into the whore honoring the diverse religous groups and the like unity of the New Spirituality. "We are all One and we are God." They act very much like the church and they think all is well too...until God sends judgement in Rev 17. In fact the Anti-Christ, their husband is not just against Christ, but is a replacement. Keep that word in view. The Laodicean church and possibly others, but for what we are talking about, IS ABOUT SATAN PROVIDING A REPLACEMENT CHURCH TO THOSE WHO ARE DECEIVED. OF COURSE THEY ARE GOING TO CALL IT THE CHURCH AND OF COURSE THE LORD IS GOING TO ATTEMPT TO CALL THEM TO SALVATION.

Jesus is not saying they are saved and be careful not to lose their salvation: he has already diagnosed the present reality and demonstated that they are not saved period. They are called blind, poor, wretched and naked and that they make him sick and they will be spit out. These are not the same as the church of Philadelphia, who are authentically saved, and will be kept from the testing that is coming on the whole world save them.

Finally, just because you are called "church" doesn't mean anything. Look at Brain Mcclaren and Rob Bell and many other friends of the Emerging church who deny Christ's atonement and his divinity and his name being the only way to heaven and so on so forth...they have signs up at the front on their buildings they pastor called "Church". They think they are the church. They think everything is okay with Jesus, but they deny the means to salvation. Timonthy 3 says in the latter days that people will have a FORM of godliness, but DENY the Power there in. Religon of the "church" LACKS THE AUTHENTIC JESUS AND ALL THAT SALVATION PROVIDES, AND WHILE THEY CALL THEMSLEVES "CHURCH" THEY ARE DECEIVED AND STILL IN NEED OF JESUS.THIS LETTER IS TO MANY AND I BELEIVE IT TO THE EMERGING CHURCH WHO, BY THEIR PROCLAIMAMTION DEMONSTRATE THEY ARE NOT SAVED AND HAVE NEVER BEEN BORN AGAIN, BUT ARE DECEIVED. They were not saved in the first place, they have fashioned themselves their own little god, worship themselves and attend and run the local churches to a group of lost and deceived people that do not realize their need for the blood? Why? Because it isn't being preached. The truth is being supressed. Many find themselves in the church week after week in dead mainline churches, or in the Catholic good works to buy off God religons and do not realize their spiritual bankuptcy. They do not have the robes of HIS righteousness that cover them. They are poor, blind and naked. These are the unsaved that Christ tries to call out to and some may listen and many others will not. And finally, there are millions of great and terrible churches out there and mixed groups of company that include saved and unsaved deceived people and God is calling to all those who are unsaved to come to him and exhorting all those who are saved to hang in there and finish the great commision. God's Spirit keeps us and we are in the father's hand and we can not be snatched out, but we can drift from completing the work, and we can forfeit our eternal rewards and so on...God is speaking to a wide audience and that is why there are 7 letters. But make no mistake about at least the Laodiceans- they have not been born again and are about to suffer intense pain if they do not indiviually repent and join in with the authentic church who is to be raptured out to the marriage with the Son of God.

Now I know that is a lot, but I think it is important to get this and if you don't? Wow! Listen to Way of the Master, and Todd will interview people are are currently attending church and don't have Christ but are relying on good works to save them. Why? Because they are deceived and need to read the letters to all the churches with major time spend reading Laodicea and then check themselves to see if they are really in the faith at all.

Mike Baker

Beware the false doctrine that salvation only occurs in the past tense. The belief that we are saved by virtue of a fixed point of time that occured in our past contradicts Holy Scripture:

"But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, HE SAVED US, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7

"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. BAPTISM, WHICH CORRESPONDS TO THIS, NOW SAVES YOU, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him." 1 Peter 3:18-22

"Whoever believes and is baptized WILL BE SAVED, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." Mark 16:16

The timeless nature of our salvation is reflected in God's Holy Word. The Bible teaches that each Christian WAS saved, IS saved, and WILL BE saved. It is not something that is over and done with that you can check off your list and move on. It is an intimite relationship with the Savior that echoes the eternal existence of God. Salvation exists yesterday, today, and tomorrow and is totally dependent on Christ. That is the true, intimate relationship with Jesus. Counting back to your decision day is the stuff empty, corprate religion.

So when the question comes, "When were you born again?" The Scriptural answer is, "When I was born of WATER and the SPIRIT at baptism. [John 3:5]"

When the question comes, "When were you saved?" The Scriptural answer is, "Before the foundation of the world [Rev 7:8], now [Heb 10:39], and in the future at the Last Day [John 6:44]."

Teresa

I don't know that I would say that remembering back to your submission salvation experience is somehow a "false doctrine." That seems a bit strange to me. Yes, in Eternity past Jesus was privey to knowing who would and would not bow the knee to him and I was saved in Christ, but I live IN time. And it was not until I was 21 during earth years that I was made aware of my sin problemo, & that I needed to repent and be born again by letting the Spirit wash my heart and revive my dead spirit.

Case in point: In John, during Nicodemu's conversation with Jesus, Jesus got straight to the point of telling this man what the problem was and why he came to earth to fix it. He told Nic staight out, " You must be born again by the power of the Spirit." He let Nic figure out if he wanted to act on this new enlighten info that was not be taught at the time by the leadership. Note that Jesus did not just say, " Nic, your salvation was in me before the foundation of the world and only that is somehow valid- there for, don't repent in current time okay?" "Everything has been taken care of for you." No, we must act on the info we are given and that is important, just as important as the foundation of the world saving that Jesus has knowledge of and the eventual glorification wrap up too.
To be perfectly accurate: I will say that the authentic have been saved which means: justified, are currently being sanctified and we will one day be gloried.

Please don't discount any of that process by saying any one part of that is FALSE; it is different moving parts that go hand in hand together and can not be parted out,& picked apart. Example:look at how even the trinty works together, but also there are seperate-ness to the identities- and then also they are all one in one God. It is all part and parcel of the same thing. Sometimes you only hyper focus on a particular point when you are talking, but all three aspects are equally important. But you should not discount the here and now aspect, that seems foolish to me.

Mike Baker

Remembering back to the time of your conversion is not false doctrine. The idea that you are already saved and that salvation is a past event that is not taking place now and will not take place in the future is what contradicts Scripture.

As far as being "born again", the verses should be quoted directly:

"Jesus answered, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.'" John 3:5-6

Man cannot make himself spiritually born again any more than he can make himself physically born in the first place. Salvation is a gift of God that is "of water and the Spirit".

The Bible teaches both subjective and objective justification. Our salvation is both extra nos (apart from us) and pro nobis (for us). These terms do not define different forms of justification or even different kinds of justification. They are the two different ways that the Bible expresses the Forgiveness of Sins.

Objective justification says, "that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” [2 Cor 5:19]

Subjective justification says, “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." [Acts 10:43]

Objective justification says, “everyone is saved.”
Subjective justification says, “because I believe I am saved.”
Both are simultaniously true and Biblical.

Both are true and neither work without other. If man’s justification before God had a purely objective quality, salvation would work ex opere operato (from the work having been worked). Everyone would go to heaven without faith since Christ died for all. This is not the case. If man’s justification before God had a purely subjective quality, salvation would be based on the merit of the individual. Justification would only apply to those with faith and Christ would not have died for the sins of the whole world. This is not the case. The Bible says that Christ died for all men, and that those with faith will be saved. A one-sided view either way is contradicted by Scripture.

Salvation occurs by laying hold of the objective promise of Christ’s work on the cross for all man. It is both subjective and objective. It is all the same justification. The full picture of justification says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1

But both objective and subjective justification are entirely the work of God. Just as we did nothing to accomplish Christ's atonement on the Cross for all men, we do nothing to accomplish the faith that justifies us in our own hearts. It is entirely the work of God in us. We play no part in the creation of this saving faith. As Scripture says [my empahsis added]:

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:8-10

Being "born again" of water and Spirit in Jesus Christ is God's work and His creation. We do nothing to attain salvation. We are His workmanship. Salvation of individual occurs in time, but it does not occur by the power of the individual. It is not a series of realizations, acts, or decisions. It is entirely Christ. You are saved because of Christ and the faith that justifies you was given to you by God so that you would believe. Salvation is not a finite human work; it is an infinite divine gift.

"Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith." Romans 3:27-30

Christopher

Yes we are dead in sins, but this is not total inability to choose to not sin. Many people not saved choose not to kill. We all have the ability to choose to do right and obey Gods Word. If I am dead then I cannot sin.

How does God quicken us? By his Word! Take away God's word no man could be saved. If God makes us alive then our free will chooses to be saved then we would not need God's Word. What is Grace? Gods Word! Not some mystical power that makes us alive.

Salvation is very simple. "LOOK AND LIVE"
Unfortunately Calvinism appeases the intellect and Scholarship, totally opposite of what the New Testament Church was.
Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Jim

Yes, we are completely unable to follow Jesus as a child of God and co-heir until the Spirit convicts us of sin but at that point we have a decision to make. This decision is not "work" but is the decision to bow the knee to the King and follow Him willingly (no matter how difficult that may be sometimes). Paul makes this clear in Romans and yes, I know that both sides of this argument have argued only their own side in this debate since at least the time of Dort but there is obviously a choice to make and that means there can be rejection. As per the words of God through His man Joshua;

Jos 24:14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.

Jos 24:15 “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond 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.”

notice the word"choose" and Joshua t telling them to "put away the gods that your fathers served." There is obviously choice involved.

Jim

Steve Newell

Jim,

Joshua is speaking to those who are saved, not to unbelievers. As ones made alive in Christ, we now have the ability to accept or reject Christ. Unbelievers do not have the ability to make a decision. Had Joshua been speaking to the unbelieving Canaanites, then your point would be valid.

Steve Newell

Christopher,

The issue is not whether one can chose to sin or not to sin, but does one have the ability to accept Christ on their own? If we do have the ability to make the decision, then we really aren't so bad that we can accept God. But does that square with scripture? God uses Word and Sacrament to impart salvation to us. God's Word precedes salvation.

Grace is God's disposition towards us. It is giving us the gift of salvation that we do not desire.

By placing the focus on the individual's ability to make a decision, salvation moves from being objective to subjective.

It appears that you are using the KJV for your quote of Acts 8:37. In more current translations of the Bible (NIV, ESV, NASB, NKJV), Acts 8:37 is not included but in part of the footnotes. Older manuscripts do not include verse 37 which these translations are based on. The KJV is based on the Textus Receptus which was a translation by Erasmus in the 1600's.

BTW, this is a Reformation not a Reformed position.

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