Thursday, June 28, 2007

THE MOST BELIEVED LIE

There are many lies being told about our Lord that are, to the damnation of men's soul, believed by most.
There is, however, one big lie that is more unanimously believed then all the others.

It is a universally accepted fact that man has a free will. Men pride themselves in believing that they are able to override the power of God with this all powerful "free will". This lie claims that in the final analysis man decides the destiny of his own soul, and that God has made himself subject to this irresistible force.

If by "free will" man believes that he is free, when given two or more options,
to choose the one he wants, that is without dispute. As a matter of fact, that
is always the case. We could even go so far as to say that it is impossible to
select an option that is not your preference. When given an opportunity to
select from among two or more possibilities we always choose the one for which
we have the greatest inclination or desire. ALWAYS! Man's will is not free.
It is subject to, yes in bondage to, his natural inclinations.

Therein lies the problem. It is not in man's fallen, sinful nature to desire salvation God's way.


John 5:40
"And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life."

In choosing what he wants he always chooses against the light.

John 3:19
"And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."

It is impossible for man to force his choice against his own will. He is in desperate need of a new nature; one that is born from above. One that has as its only inclination a desire for coming to the Christ of scripture.

John 3:7
"...Ye must be born again".

Some will attempt to honor God by agreeing that He must give us a new heart, only to dethrone Him by saying that you must be willing to let Him.

John 6:44
"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him".

You say, but doesn't the Bible say 'whosoever will'...? Yes. But the problem
is not with the whosoever, it is with the will.


Greg Elmquist

Sunday, June 03, 2007

THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN: WHICH ONE ARE YOU?

Luke 18:11-13
"The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I THANK THEE, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I FAST twice in the week, I GIVE tithes of all that I possess.’ And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful unto me a sinner’. I tell you THIS man went down to His house justified rather than the other: for everyone that EXALTETH HIMSELF shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted"

Notice here that the Pharisee thanked God that he was not like other men. He then proceeded to boast, just as the free willer boasts in his ‘decision for Christ’, of what he did, obviously believing, in light of his attitude towards the publican, that his acts of obedience in some way contributed to his gaining God’s favor, even though he believed he was attributing all the good he did, not to himself, but to God. The publican, however, did not mention even one ‘good’ deed that he had done. He brought none of his righteousnesses with him, which is the case with every truly saved person (see Philippians 3:9), but humbly asked for God’s mercy, providing evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work upon him. He was not seeking or expecting to be justified by any of his own works, whether he attributed them to God or not. The publican, along with every truly saved man, shares the same mindset as the apostle Paul: "...God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ..." (Galatians 6:14).

The publican did not expect his works to make the difference between heaven and hell, nor did he look to anything he did, but only to God and His Mercy. To humble oneself is not a condition a man must meet in order to come to God, but is an evidence of God coming to the man. It is not man’s free choice for God that makes the difference between heaven and hell but God’s free will choice of man. Christ said this man, the Publican, rather than the Pharisee, was justified. The word justified in this passage means ‘to render (i.e. show or regard as) just or innocent, free, be righteous’.

Notice also that Christ referred to the Pharisee, who attributed his good deeds to God, as one who did not merely have things wrong and just needed a little correcting, but as one who exalted himself. If a man does not believe the Gospel wherein is revealed the righteousness of Christ, he shows by his ignorance that he seeks to establish a righteousness of his own (see Romans 10). So too, the man who believes that anything he has done is that which makes the difference between saved and lost, even though he praises God for it, exalts himself and not God, and remains in an unjustified state. God never overlooks the error that leavens the whole lump (see Galatians 5:9).

The truly saved man does not say, ‘Come and see what God has enabled me to do for my soul’, but "...I will declare what HE HAS DONE for my soul" (Psalm 66:16). Be not deceived. Those who adhere to the doctrine of free will, that a man must make a free-will decision for Christ before he can be saved, condition salvation, not on God’s election of grace and Christ’s atonement for sin, but on a work or act of man. Man must make his decision for Christ before salvation can be given to him, rather than man’s receiving Christ being something that is the result or fruit of salvation by grace being granted a man by God’s love-motivated election of him.

The free willer who insists he does not take any of the glory for salvation away from Christ because he attributes his positive decision for Christ to God’s enabling power, has been taught a lie. He is exalting himself, and not God, according to the Scriptures. Notice also in our passage just how many times the Pharisee used the word ‘I’. He said it 5 times whereas the publican made no mention of himself, other than for God to be merciful to him. Notice how there is no cause to believe the publican was in any way boasting by his request, but plenty of reason to believe that the Pharisee was boasting. The free willer is in the same boat as the Pharisee.

He exalts not God but himself, for he is constantly drawing attention to what he has done rather than only seeking to draw the listener’s attention to God and what He does. ‘I’, ‘I’, ‘I’, is all they say:
‘I chose Him, I love Him, I accepted Him, I sought Him, I found Him, I came to Him, I, I, I....’

The true believer says
‘God has elected me, He chose me, He has visited me with His glorious grace, His Son died for me and His righteousness was imputed to me, He took away my sins, He was merciful to me, He gave me the gift of faith, He caused me to repent and approach Him, He, He, He...’

I am sure the reader can see the difference between the two. One exalts himself while the other humbles himself and is justified. The free willer’s gospel teaches a salvation by works, for it allows room for a man to boast in his salvation even though, to his mind, he denies this by attributing his obedience, in the form of his free will decision for Christ, to God. Such people are LOST.

In this we see that boasting is not excluded by a gospel which teaches that salvation is conditioned on a man’s works, or hinges on a man’s free will decision, but it is only ever excluded by THE Gospel Message which teaches that salvation is by grace through faith in the Person and Works of Christ Jesus the Lord, attributing all of salvation to Him and conditioning no part of it on man. Grace does not enable a man to believe, but provides, as a gift, the only faith which can and does believe the Gospel.

Only THIS Gospel leaves no room for a man to boast; only THIS Gospel saves. Faith in this Gospel alone humbles the believer, excluding all boasting, for it conditions all of salvation on Christ (see Romans 3:24-28).

Moreno Dal Bello

Saturday, June 02, 2007

THE GOSPEL VS ARMINIANISM


The Five Points of Arminianism Vs The Five Points of Grace

Arminian Point 1:
Free-Will or Human Ability

Although 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 man's freedom. Each sinner posses a free will, and his eternal destiny depends on how he uses it. Man's 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 God's Spirit and be regenerated or resist God's grace and perish. The lost sinner needs the Spirit's assistance, but he does not have to be regenerated by the Spirit before he can believe, for faith is man's act and precedes the new birth. Faith is the sinner's gift to God; it is man's contribution to salvation.


True Gospel Point 1:
Total Inability or Total Depravity

Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. 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. 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.

Arminian Point 2:

Conditional Election

God's choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world was based upon His foreseeing that they would respond to His call. He selected only those whom He knew would of themselves freely believe the gospel. Election therefore was determined by or conditioned upon what man would do. The faith which God foresaw and upon which He based His choice was not given to the sinner by God (it was not created by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit) but resulted solely from man's will. It was left entirely up to man as to who would believe and therefore as to who would be elected unto salvation. God chose those whom He knew would, of their own free will, choose Christ. Thus the sinner's choice of Christ, not God's choice of the sinner, is the ultimate cause of salvation.

True Gospel Point 2:
Unconditional Election

God's choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world rested solely in His own sovereign will. His choice of particular sinners was not based on any foreseen response of obedience on their part, such as faith, repentance, etc. On the contrary, God gives faith and repentance to each individual whom He selected. These acts are the result, not the cause of God's choice. Election therefore was not determined by or conditioned upon any virtuous quality or act foreseen in man. Those whom God sovereignly elected He brings through the power of the Spirit to a willing acceptance of Christ. Thus God's choice of the sinner, not the sinner's choice of Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation.

Arminian Point 3:

Universal Redemption or General Atonement

Christ's redeeming work made it possible for everyone to be saved but did not actually secure the salvation of anyone. Although Christ died for all men and for every man, only those who believe on Him are saved. His death enabled God to pardon sinners on the condition that they believe, but it did not actually put away anyone's sins. Christ's redemption becomes effective only if man chooses to accept it.

True Gospel Point 3:
Particular Redemption or Limited Atonement

Christ's redeeming work was intended to save the elect only and actually secured salvation for them. His death was substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in the place of certain specified sinners. In addition to putting away the sins of His people, Christ's redemption secured everything necessary for their salvation, including faith which unites them to Him. The gift of faith is infallibly applied by the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, therefore guaranteeing their salvation.


Arminian Point 4:
The Holy Spirit Can Be Effectually Resisted


The Spirit calls inwardly all those who are called outwardly by the gospel invitation; He does all that He can to bring every sinner to salvation. But inasmuch as man is free, he can successfully resist the Spirit's call. The Spirit cannot regenerate the sinner until he believes; faith (which is man's contribution) proceeds and makes possible the new birth. Thus, man's free will limits the Spirit in the application of Christ's saving work. The Holy Spirit can only draw to Christ those who allow Him to have His way with them. Until the sinner responds, the Spirit cannot give life. God's grace, therefore, is not invincible; it can be, and often is, resisted and thwarted by man.

True Gospel Point 4:
Efficacious (or Irresistible) Grace

In addition to the outward general call to salvation which is made to everyone who hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The internal call (which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected; it always results in conversion. By means of this special call the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man's will, nor is He dependent upon man's cooperation for success. The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ. God's grace, therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended.

Arminian Point 5:

Falling from Grace

Those who believe and are truly saved can lose their salvation by failing to keep up their faith, etc. All Arminians have not been agreed on this point; some have held that believers are eternally secure in Christ - that once a sinner is regenerated, he can never be lost.


True Gospel Point 5:
Perseverance of the Saints

All who are chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in faith by the power of Almighty God and thus persevere to the end.

According to Arminianism:


Salvation is accomplished through the combined efforts of God (who takes the initiative) and man (who must respond) - man's response being the determining factor. God has provided salvation for everyone, but His provision becomes effective only for those who, of their own free will, "choose" to cooperate with Him and accept His offer of grace. At the crucial point, man's will plays a decisive role; thus man, not God, determines who will be recipients of the gift of salvation.

According to the Gospel:

Salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the Triune God. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ's death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.