Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bible Truth #268 - Psalm 105:24-25

Psalm 105:24-25
24  The Lord made his people very fruitful; he made them too numerous for their foes,
25  whose hearts he turned to hate his people, to conspire against his servants.

This passage clearly shows how God works in the hearts of ALL men to accomplish His Will. God is God, we are not.

Here the psalmist tells us that God made the Israelites too numerous for their foes whose hearts He turned to hate them. I’d say He is still working the same way today. Look at the number of Arabs, Persians, some Europeans, and even some Americans who absolutely despise Israel. The Arminian will say that they are making a “free will” choice to hate them.

Once again I ask for the Scripture that supports the theory that man has a “free will.” Every verse I've been shown will have been inferred by the Arminian that “free will” exists. Not to mention that his inference contradicts passages like Psalm 105:24-25 above that unambiguously state that God sovereignly worked in the lives of men without asking their permission to make them HATE His people.

It all adds up to God choosing a bride for His Son before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), quickening us when we were dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1, 2:5, Colossians 2:13) based on nothing we did first (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5), and when we could do NOTHING to please God which includes believing and repenting (Romans 8:8), and then working in us to make us believe (John 6:29) and repent (2 Timothy 2:25).

Bottom Line - God is sovereign and He does the choosing. Those He chose, He draws, and those He draws, Jesus raises up - every single one. (John 6:44)

Bible Truth #267 - 2 Timothy 2:24-26

2 Timothy 2:24-26
24  And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
25  Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,
26  and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

I’ve written about this passage before (Bible Truth #12) but I didn’t even touch upon the last phrase of verse 26.

...that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Do you think for one minute that the devil wants anyone to be saved? Of course not. But here Paul clearly writes that those who are not saved have been taken captive by the devil to do his will. I write again that “free will” of man is a myth. Paul wrote in Romans 6:17-18 that we are slaves of either the devil or of God, and here he tells us that the lost WILL do the devil’s will.

This is also why Paul writes in Ephesians 2:2 that people who are lost are demon-possessed. Will a man who is demon-possessed confess Christ as Savior? Will a man who is demon-possessed come unto the Light (Christ)? Of course not, and this is exactly what Jesus said (John 3:20).

Will the Arminian argue that Paul is writing a lost man can come to his senses on his own without any movement from God? Read the passage again - the lost men who are opposing Timothy must FIRST be granted repentance by God (v25) which leads to the knowledge of Truth and their coming to their senses. This is easily reconciled with John 6:29 - God does His work first.

Paul tells Timothy in the very next chapter that lost men are always learning but NEVER coming to the Truth (2 Timothy 3:7). And until lost men are granted repentance by God, they will NEVER know the Truth nor come to their senses. This results in them doing the will of the devil. Jesus said the same thing to the Pharisees in John 8:42-47.

Bottom Line - I ask again, do those who believe in man’s “free will” think it is the devil’s will to let anyone get saved?

Bible Truth #266 - 1 Peter 3:18

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;

Many Arminians hold to this verse as proof that we have a choice, and it all hinges around one word in the English - might. “...that He might bring us to God,...”

Surely the Arminian is not saying that Christ failed in something He wanted to do? Jesus said that He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). As I’ve written before, either the Arminian believes that Jesus lied or He failed. (I contend He saved everyone He intended to save).

The Greek word translated “might bring” is prosago (Strong’s #4317) and it is used only 3 other times in the New Testament. If you will look at each of the other times it is used you will see that there is no hint of the “bringing” not taking place.

Luke 9:41 - And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.”
Acts 16:20 - and when they had brought them to the chief magistrates, they said, “These men are throwing our city into confusion, being Jews,
Acts 27:27 - But when the fourteenth night came, as we were being driven about in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors began to surmise that they were approaching some land.

Looking at the definitions for the Greek word prosago it is clear that the better English translation would have been “to render one acceptable to God.” That is definition 1) a) 1).

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He [might bring] would render us acceptable to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;

There may be a usage in the Greek language for prosago to mean “might bring” but not in God’s Word in this passage. If the Arminian understanding is left as it is written, the verse would contradict many other passages - most of which I’ve already written about.

Some will also say that Peter wrote that Christ died once for ALL - meaning all of humanity. One of the biggest stumbling blocks Arminians have, and anyone who believes in decisional salvation, is that they believe the Greek word pas (Strong’s #3956) can only mean individually (each and every) every time it is used. Not so! This Greek word can be used two ways:

1) individually - each, any, every, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything. OR
2) collectively - some of all types or groups. I give several examples of “all” being used collectively (some of all types) in Bible Truth #330.

Bottom line - Christ did not lie and He did not fail. He OBTAINED salvation for His Elect (Hebrews 9:12) and His Elect alone. He did not make it “available” for either the Elect, or all mankind.

Bible Truth #265 - Acts 22:14

“And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth.

This is Paul’s account of what Ananias said to him after he prayed over him and the “something like scales” left his eyes. Ananias simply told Paul what God had told him, that He (God) had chosen him. Paul was chosen long before that day. In fact, he was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. He and EVERY Christian (Ephesians 1:4).

Does the Arminian think that after Ananias laid hands on him and God restored his sight, Paul could have said, “Thanks, but no thanks.” then got up and went about the original reason he came to Damascus to start with? If the Arminian believes that, then there will be an example of that, or a similar occurrence, in the Bible, and there are none. And I hope he doesn’t point to Jonah and say, “See? Here’s an example of a man saying no to God.” Sorry, what did God want Jonah to do? God wanted Jonah to go to Nineveh and call them to repentance. And what did Jonah do? Jonah went to Nineveh and preached for them to repent. Jonah simply made it harder on himself. God is sovereign and His Word will NOT return void.  It WILL accomplish the matter for which it was sent. (Isaiah 55:11).

And regarding Jonah, God had a purpose for first directing Jonah (Proverbs 16:9) in the opposite direction - it gave us one of the most well-known and incredulous stories of repentance in the Bible.

How about the rich ruler?” (Matthew 19:16-22, Luke 18:18-23 & Mark 10:17-22) Sorry, God is still sovereign and His Word will not return void. The rich ruler did exactly what God wanted him to do, walk away sad. Either that or God lied to Isaiah - and I don’t for one second believe God lied, EVER.

Bottom Line - Paul was appointed to know God’s will and to see & hear Jesus - he had no choice in the matter. Neither do we, before or after, God quickens our spirit.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bible Truth #264 - Romans 1:1

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

Paul was called to be an apostle, and he was separated unto the Gospel. Did Paul call himself? No, of course not, God called him. Paul writes extensively about the calling of God’s Elect in Chapter 8 of this same letter. I wrote about the Golden Chain of Redemption way back in Bible Truth #4. This is the same calling every one of God’s Elect receive, except Paul was called not only to salvation, but to apostleship.

The point is, neither we, nor Paul had a choice in the matter. We were born one of God’s Elect and at a point in our lives, God WILL call us, we could not “uncall” ourselves. God determined before the foundation of the world who was called and who wasn’t (Ephesians 1:4). And if a man is called, he WILL be justified and glorified (Romans 8:29-30). We just have to live our lives until that point in time when God Calls us.

On the road to Damascus when Jesus knocked Paul to the ground, does the Arminian think he had a choice? Was Paul voluntarily knocked to the ground, was he voluntarily blinded? Certainly not!

If Paul was called, and every Christian IS called, why doesn’t God call everyone? And if the Arminian will claim everyone is called, I would ask that he show me in God’s Word the Scripture which supports that theory. It does not exist because Paul writes in the letter to the Romans that those who are called are justified and glorified. God is not going to call men, and then not justify or glorify them. As I wrote in Bible Truth #4, EVERY one whom God calls, He glorifies. In fact, I will show him Scripture where Paul writes that every man is not called (1 Corinthians 1:26).

Bottom Line - Paul was called to be an apostle and he had no choice in the matter. Neither do we.

Bible Truth #263 - Hebrews 3:5-8

5  Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later;
6  but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.
7  Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE,
8  DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME, AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS,

Continuing the same passage from Bible Truth #262 I want to focus on verse 7 where the Arminian will simply skip over it and point to verse 8 and exclaim, “See! There is proof we have a choice!” Neglecting the fact that verse 7 clearly says “...IF you hear His voice,..."

Since a lost man is dead because God has NOT quickened him (Ephesians 2:1, 2:5; Colossians 2:13), he will NEVER hear God’s voice! He must be quickened FIRST! So his natural reaction is to harden his heart every time he hears with his physical ears. Remember, he does not have “ears to hear” because God has not given him ears (Deuteronomy 29:4), i.e. spiritual ears. Sure he has a “choice” but it will always be the same - reject God (which is in fact what God wants, Bible Truth #30). I may be wrong but, spiritually speaking, I don’t know of any instance in the Bible where a lost person heard God’s voice. For Example - Paul’s companions on the road to Damascus heard a noise but didn’t hear or understand it as God’s voice (Acts 9:7, Acts 22:9).

On the other hand - a Christian who hears God’s voice also has a “choice” but it will ALWAYS be what God wants him to do. I can prove that with a verse from both the Old Testament and New Testament. When a Christian hears His voice... would you say that he is hearing God’s Word? Yes. So consider Isaiah 55:11 - God’s Word will not return void but WILL, there is no exception, God’s Word WILL accomplish the matter for which He sent it.

Then out of the New Testament, let’s feast our eyes on God’s Word that Paul wrote to the believers in Philippi (Philippians 2:13). It is God Who is at work in you, BOTH to will (think) and to work for His good pleasure, [not ours]. The point is, God is working in us even to make some of us think we are making free will decisions.

Bottom line - does the Arminian want to believe what he thinks is right? Or does he want to believe God’s Word? It IS incontrovertible.

Bible Truth #262 - Hebrews 3:1-4

1  Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;
2  He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house.
3  For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house.
4  For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.

For every house is built by someone, but the builder of ALL THINGS is God. The first verse that reminded me of was 1 Corinthians 3:6 where Paul was telling the Corinthians that he may have planted the seed, and Apollos may have watered it, but it was only God who makes the seed grow. See Bible Truth #118 in which I discussed that if the seed DIDN’T grow in someone’s heart, then obviously God didn’t want it to grow.

But the point then and now is that God is the builder of all things and this includes the hearts of men (Psalm 33:15). If God doesn’t “build” a heart of faith in a man, that man will NEVER be saved. God determines whether the heart will be opened to the Gospel or not. (Acts 16:14)

Bottom Line - We become children of God NOT by the will of the flesh (John 1:13).

Bible Truth #261 - 2 Timothy 2:11

2 Timothy 2:11
Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him;

Here are some easy questions. Who is Paul talking about? Who is we? Who died with Christ?

The answer is ALL THOSE CHOSEN IN HIM BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD (Ephesians 1:4), no one else. So Paul was telling Timothy here, if we died with Him (and we did), we will also live with him. Who will live with Him? We will, NOT those who did NOT die with Him.

Only those God chose before the creation of the world died with Christ because those He chose (His Elect) were the only ones “in” Him when He was crucified. This is mirrored in Romans 6:8 and is one of the clearest passages that proves Limited Atonement - i.e. Christ did NOT die for everyone but only those Chosen in Christ. Those He chose, He placed in Christ and we died with Him. Those God didn’t choose were NOT placed in Christ and they did NOT die with Him - hence they will NOT live with Him.

Bottom Line - God is sovereign and He does the choosing. Those He chose, He draws, and those He draws, Jesus raises up - every single one. (John 6:44)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bible Truth #260 - Luke 2:13-14

KJV
13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

NASB
13  And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14  "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

NIV
13  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14  "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

ESV
13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14  "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"

RSV
13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14  "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!"

ASV
13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14  Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased.

NLT
13  Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others--the armies of heaven--praising God:
14  "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors.”

The literal Greek Translation
13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude army of heavenly praising - God and saying:
14  Glory in highest [places] to God and on earth peace among men of goodwill

I believe there is significant evidence to support the conclusion that the King James Version of these two verses is vague, leaving verse 14 to be misunderstood by most Christians and misrepresented by Arminians. The NASB is accurate and it is supported not only by several other versions but also the literal Greek Translation. It says ...peace among men of goodwill. Well who are men of goodwill? Spiritually speaking, who will receive “good will” from God? It certainly will not be everyone! The evidence is found not only in verse 14, of course, but in the general idea taught throughout God’s Word about the depravity of lost man being dead in his sins (Ephesians 2:1, 2:5, Colossians 2:13) as well as verses that identify men whom God hates (Psalm 5:5, Psalm 11:5, Bible Truth #66).

Just as John 3:16 is misunderstood by many who believe God loves every soul who ever lived (He doesn’t, see Bible Truth #66), the angels in verse 14 above were NOT telling the shepherds that there will be peace and good will toward ALL mankind. This interpretation is not correct. Please take a closer look at verse 14 in the NASB.

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

On earth, peace among men with whom God is pleased. Is God pleased with ALL men? Absolutely not. In fact, Paul tells us that a lost man can NOT please God (Romans 8:8). God is certainly not pleased with the workers of iniquity, whom He hates (Psalm 5:5). He is certainly not pleased with the wicked and those who love violence, whom He hates (Psalm 11:5). So who IS God pleased with? Answer - He is pleased with His Elect, those He chose in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).

The bottom line - a simple word study will show that even in the angelic pronouncement of our Savior’s birth you will find that He did not come to make salvation “available” to all men. The angels proclaimed the birth of our Savior and peace among those men with whom He is pleased, i.e. the Elect.

Jesus came “to save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21), NOT everybody.

Bible Truth #259 - Arminian Prayer

Whether the Arminian will accept the following label or not is irrelevant. Every Arminian is a synergist. They believe that the human "free will" must cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the salvation experience, i.e. they believe that a lost man has to accept the drawing of God to Christ. The Arminian believes that a man can choose to reject salvation when God “offers” it to them. I will not claim the following, it is from http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/prayer_synergist.html

Here is a prayer that would be consistent with the synergist's theology if he really believed that faith is a product of our sinful human nature and not the result of grace alone:

“God, I give you glory for everything else, but not my faith ... This is the one thing that is my very own that I produced of my fallen natural capacities. For this little bit the glory is mine. So I thank you Lord that I am not like other men who do not have faith. When you extended your grace to all men some did not make use of it, BUT I DID. While You deserve glory for all I have Lord, my faith was the one part that I contributed to the price of my redemption, apart from and independent of the effectual work of Your Holy Spirit.”

WOW! IS this not what Arminians believe? Don’t they believe that a lost man, in his spiritually dead, totally depraved sinful nature can generate from nothing the faith it takes to believe? The idea that the Arminian believes he chose God before God chose him exalts the flesh. “I thank you Lord that you made grace and the free gift of salvation available to all men. I don’t know why most don’t accept it BUT I DID.” That theory exalts man and is false.

I write again that God’s Word says the following about a sinful, lost, spiritually dead, totally depraved man who was not chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4):
- every imagination and thought he has is ONLY evil, continually (Genesis 6:5)
- it is impossible for him to do good (Jeremiah 13:23)
- it is impossible for him to make a decision to believe in Christ (John 1:13)
- it is impossible for him to come into the Light because he hates the Light (John 3:20),
- it is impossible for him to come to Jesus unless God draws him, and if God draws him, Jesus raises him up (John 6:44)
- it is impossible for him to come to Jesus unless the Father enables Him (
John 6:65)
- it is impossible for him to understand Truth (John 8:43) because he doesn’t belong to God (John 8:47)
- it is impossible for him to do a righteous act - e.g. “accept Jesus” (Romans 3:10)
- it is impossible for him to understand ANYTHING of or from God (Romans 3:11)
- he is hostile toward God (Romans 8:7)
- it is impossible for him to please God (Romans 8:8)
- it is impossible for him to believe the Gospel because it is foolishness to him, he can’t understand it (1 Corinthians 2:14)
- he is demon-possessed (Ephesians 2:2), this is one reason why he is God’s enemy and can’t please Him.
- he has no hope (Ephesians 2:12, 1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Since all this is true and he’s not going to do anything to help in his own salvation at all, how can a LOST man be saved? The answer is easy - the first thing that happens in the salvation of a soul is that God quickens the dead man’s spirit and saves him. Without God acting first, according to the verses above, the unredeemed, natural man is going straight to Hell.

We become children of God NOT by human decision (John 1:13).

Bible Truth #258 - 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

14  For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
15  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Here is one of the passages the Arminian will use to claim that Christ died to redeem every human ever born. But at the same time they will claim salvation is monergistic, i.e. a work of God and God alone. Their claims leave a lot of contradicting theories. The first is this - if Jesus died to redeem every person ever born, why is anyone in Hell? If Jesus’ death on the cross is all that is needed and He died to redeem everyone, should not “everyone” be saved? But yet, most Arminians are not Universalists.

The Arminian will respond, Yes, Jesus died to redeem everyone but to be saved you must believe in Jesus and accept His free gift of salvation. To which I reply, “Oh! Then Jesus’ death on the cross is not all that is needed? A lost man MUST believe and accept Jesus as their Savior BEFORE God will save them? To be saved, a lost man must cooperate with God in his redemption?” In that case, salvation is not monergistic but synergistic, the belief that the human “free will” cooperates with the Holy Spirit in the work of regeneration.

Synergism is false and the Arminian knows it. That is why they claim that believing and repenting are not considered works. Sorry, anything required of man BEFORE God saves him negates the complete work Christ did on the cross. Before Christ gave up His Spirit on the cross He said, “It is finished,” EVERYTHING that needed to be done was done. There is nothing required of man to gain salvation. There are, however, many things he will do as the result of God quickening his dead spirit. Things like believe and repent.

For a greater in-depth reading of the difference between monergism and synergism, please click here.

Finally, there is a word in verse 14 that many simply overlook. The word is compel, or the KJV uses constraineth. The Greek word is synecho and there is no way it can be understood as anything other than what it means. Please look it up, it’s Strong’s 4912. There is no “free will” found anywhere in those definitions. There are however some sub-definitions that can be misinterpreted that the Arminian will cling to. Sorry, compel means God’s love made us believe which is exactly what Jesus said in John 6:29.

Bottom Line - Jesus did NOT die to redeem everyone, He loved His church and died to redeem her (Ephesians 5:25), and her alone. Jesus Himself said that His Blood will be shed for many, not all (Mark 14:24). Salvation is the sole work of God and God alone, there is no cooperative effort between God and man.

Bible Truth #257 - Acts 10:36-41

Acts 10:36-41
36  The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all) —
37  you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed.
38  “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
39  “We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross.
40  “God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible,
41  not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.

Here we have another classic example of God sovereignly choosing people. In this case, God chose who would see Jesus after He rose from the dead. The Arminian may say, “Well, He couldn’t appear to everyone.” Don’t tell me that. When He returns EVERY EYE will see Him (Revelation 1:7) so if God wanted Jesus to be seen by everyone after His resurrection, it would have happened. But that wasn’t His plan and because it wasn’t, God chose a select group to see Him, even though at one time that “select group” numbered over 500 people (1 Corinthians 15:6). And He did His choosing long before any of these events transpired.

The point is God is unchangeable, immutable; He works the same way now as He did almost 2,000 years ago. He chooses to whom He will reveal Christ. A man who is lost is DEAD in his trespasses and sins, spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1, 2:5, Colossians 2:13). As such, he can do NOTHING in spirit and truth. Spiritually, he can’t hear, he can’t see, he can’t speak, he’s DEAD. This is why he can’t please God, it’s impossible. There is NOTHING a lost man can do that will please God (Romans 8:8). And even worse than that, everything he does is sin. Paul writes that everything that is not of faith, is sin (Romans 14:23) and since the lost have no faith they sin every second of every day of their lives.

Bottom Line - God is sovereign and He does the choosing. Those He chose, He draws, and those He draws, Jesus raises up - every single one. (John 6:44)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bible Truth #256 - Acts 9:10-16

10  In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered.
11  The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying.
12  In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
13  “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem.
14  And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
15  But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.
16  I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

Once more I bring more verses than I want to discuss so you will have the key verse in context. You know the story - Chapter 9 of Acts starts out with Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. That in itself may be a “Bible Truth” in the future but the Spirit hasn’t led me to write one up. However, reading the account Luke provides here or of Paul’s recollection of the event in Acts 22:6-11, I hope you don’t think Paul could have said no to his Savior.

The verses above tell the story of what happened next, how God told Ananias what to do. But the verse I want to focus on is verse 15. God told Ananias that Paul was His choice, period. God did not make His plan when He saw how much Paul hated the Christians, it was made long before then. Paul was not only chosen in Christ (as every believer was) before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), God planned to save Saul on the road to Damascus AND to carry his Savior’s Name before not only the Jews, but also the Gentiles. And all this was done without asking Paul.

As God told Ananias, Paul was his chosen instrument. He was going to show him how much he would suffer for Christ’s Name. Paul understood that not only was belief given him, but also every bit of his suffering. How can I say this? Paul preached it! I can hear the Arminian now, “Not only is belief given to him but also suffering? Where is that?” Paul wrote it in his letter to the Philippians, Chapter 1 and verse 29.

Several times in his letters Paul makes it clear whose idea it was that he had become a believer - it was by the will of God, not his will. If it had been left up to him, Paul would have continued killing Christians. But by God's will, Paul was converted on the road that day. (2 Corinthians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 1:1, 2 Timothy 1:1)

Bottom Line - what happened to Saul on the road to Damascus is no different than what happens to every Christian when God quickens their dead spirit. Most of the time it will not be as dramatic but the same thing happens regardless. Before time, God chose; in time, God converts through faith, the faith He gives; God grants His gifts of belief, and repentance; man responds by coming to Christ. He can do nothing else.

Bible Truth #255 - Amos 3:1-2

1  Hear this word which the LORD has spoken against you, sons of Israel, against the entire family which He brought up from the land of Egypt:
2  “You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”

Keeping in line with Arminian thought and belief, the Israelites had a choice whether to accept God’s favor and discipline. Here God said that He chose them, and them alone from among ALL the families of the earth. I guess the nation of Israel was unanimous in its vote to accept it?

Something else to consider... was God being unfair to all the other families of the earth? I mean, is it just and legitimate for God to pick only the Israelites? From all appearances it seems that by choosing only the nation of Israel, the rest of all the families on earth were consigned to spending an eternity in the Lake of Fire. Is that Just?

YES! God is just (Isaiah 45:21), therefore anything and everything He does is just.

Because of Adam EVERYONE deserves Hell and the Lake of Fire, no one is righteous (Romans 3:10). That is where each and every one of us were headed until God, at some point in the lives of those He has chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), quickened our dead spirit by His word (Romans 10:17) through faith, the faith that God gave us (Ephesians 2:8, Romans 12:3) as a gift. God then gave us belief (John 6:29, Philippians 1:29), repentance (2 Timothy 2:25), and understanding (Luke 24:45, 1 Corinthians 2:14, 2 Timothy 2:7). And please understand, the Bible says over and over that a lost man is dead and can do NOTHING pleasing to God (Romans 8:8) which absolutely includes believing or accepting Christ and repenting of his sins. Belief and repentance is the result of salvation, not the cause.

No man can come to Christ unless the Father draws him and if God draws him, Christ WILL raise him up (John 6:44). There is no free will in that passage nor in Amos 3:2.

Bible Truth #254 - John 8:44

John 8:44
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it

I talked about this passage in Bible Truth #23 but I now want to bring up a different point.

I want to use this verse to help prove man does not have a free will. This passage came right in the middle of Jesus’ stinging rebuke to the Scribes and Pharisees after they brought to Him a woman caught in the act of adultery. But there is a phrase here that most people read and pass right over. To which phrase am I referring?

“...and the lusts of your father ye will do.”

These are Jesus’ words and they are irrefutable. He was speaking to lost men whom He just identified as being of their father, the devil. And since He also just said (verse 42) by implication that God is NOT their Father, He made it very clear that every human being ever born is either of God, or of the devil. But did you catch what He said? The lusts of your father you WILL do.

Jesus did not say they may do what the devil wanted them to do, He did not say they had a choice to do what the devil wanted them to do. Jesus said the lusts of the devil they WILL do. This reconciles perfectly with Romans 6:17-18 where Paul writes that before we were saved, we (Christians) were slaves to sin. This is supported by Genesis 6:5 where God tells us that EVERY thought a lost man has is ONLY evil, continuously.

Since we always did what the devil wanted us to do before we were saved, will the Arminian tell me the devil wants some people to get saved because he is making them believe in Jesus? Then when they believe in Jesus God saves them? I don’t think so. I’m not a Bible scholar but I’m certain that is not in God’s Word.

We become children of God NOT by human decision (John 1:13), it’s God’s decision and He made it before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).

Bible Truth #253 - Isaiah 14:24-27

24  The LORD of hosts has sworn saying, “Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand,
25  to break Assyria in My land, and I will trample him on My mountains. Then his yoke will be removed from them and his burden removed from their shoulder.
26  “This is the plan devised against the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out against all the nations.
27  “For the LORD of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?”

This is the prophesy God gave Isaiah about Assyria and what He was going to do to them. It made no difference what the Israelites did, and it made no difference what the Assyrians did, God had a plan and He was going to work it out completely and perfectly. Who can frustrate God’s plan? Who can change it? No one can change it because God works out EVERYTHING according to the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11), not man’s will.

More than anything else, the purpose of this Bible Truth is to show that there is no free will contained within God’s Word. God does what He wants to do, when He wants to do it, to whom He wants to do it, how He wants to do it, and where He wants to do it. You’ve heard it said that God has a plan for your life (Proverbs 16:9, 19:21, 20:24, Jeremiah 10:23, 29:11). Well, He not only has a plan for your life but He has a plan for everybody’s life and within that plan is no provision for man’s free will. But God is gracious in that He makes you THINK you’re making your own decisions. But really you’re not. Paul writes in Philippians 2:13 that it is God WORKING in us to will and to do of His good pleasure.

Bottom Line - God has a plan and it includes man, NOT man’s “free will.”

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bible Truth #252 - Romans 10:14-17

14  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
16  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

This is a passage that many, many, believers misunderstand. I was among them until recently. While studying this passage the Holy Spirit spoke to me (John 16:13) regarding verse 17. Oh, the passage is one that most Christians who read God’s Word regularly are familiar with but unless a word study is done of verse 17, many just read it and assume it means what they think it to mean at first glance - especially if they use one of the many versions which has the translation wrong. These versions are: NLT, NIV, RSV.

Faith comes by hearing,... First, I want to bring to mind is that dead men can’t hear God’s Word. The lost are spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1, 2:5, Colossians 2:13) and so they hear nothing spiritual. They understand nothing from the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14) because the information must be spiritually discerned. That is why God’s Word is foolishness to them, they don’t have the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself said to the lost that they are unable to hear (understand) what He is telling them (John 8:43). Calling on God is a spiritual act, and a lost man is spiritually dead and can do NO GOOD THING (Romans 3:12). The Arminian will say that God reveals it to them (Galatians 3:23). To that I say there is no place in God’s Word that indicates in any way, shape, matter, form, or implication that God reveals anything regarding salvation to a lost man. In that passage Paul is talking about God revealing His faith to us, His Elect. Every place in the Bible that speaks of God revealing or making known anything about salvation, it is to US, the Elect, the Bride of Christ, those chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), the Church. I don’t know of anyplace in the Bible where God revealed or made known anything to a lost man. Might there be? Sure, but I don’t know of it at this point in time and I’m sure it won’t have anything to do with salvation.

Faith comes by hearing,... Second, the word translated “by” is the Greek word ek which is a primary preposition denoting origin - it can mean out of, from, by, away from, etc. It means something totally different than the word “by” in the next phrase.

...and hearing BY the Word of God. First, the “by” in this phrase is translated from the Greek word dia which is a primary preposition denoting the channel of an act. As my pastor has said many times - “through the instrumentality of.” Paul did not write “faith comes by audibly hearing the Word of God” - as in preaching - as so many Christians understand the verse. The KJV, the NASB, the Greek, all say the same thing. Faith cometh by [spiritually] hearing, and hearing BY the Word of God... not “hearing the Word of God,” as in the sound produced by a preacher speaking words from a pulpit.

...and hearing by the WORD of God. Second, in the phrase “Word of God,” WORD literally means “voice” as in “voice of God” or that which is spoken by God. Please follow this link to see the Greek definition. In other words, “command of God.” It does not mean the written Word, as in the Bible. The Greek word rhema means utterance, voice, speech.

In other words, hearing, i.e. the ability to hear spiritually, comes BY the Word of God, or BY God saying so. Just as “by God’s Word” the world came into existence, so to “by God’s Word” we were given the ability to spiritually hear. UNTIL God gives us humans this ability (by quickening our dead spirits thereby SAVING us), the lost will NEVER hear (understand) and will NEVER get faith. Some Bible versions get that completely wrong, including the NIV. That is why when I study, I use several versions of the Bible AND especially the Greek if there are any differences between versions.

Until God commands the lost person to be quickened (think of Jesus commanding Lazarus to come out of the grave), he will remain dead and unable to hear. And according to Romans 10:17, as long as he is unable to hear, faith will NEVER come to him.

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the Word of God.
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the command of God.
Faith comes by hearing, and the ability to hear comes when God commands it to occur.
Faith comes by Spiritually hearing God’s Word, and the ability to Spiritually hear comes only when God quickens the dead spirit in a lost man and gives him ears to hear.

What is hard to believe is that verse 17 turns the preceding verses on their head. It seems verses 14-16 make it clear that the context is physically hearing but it simply is not accurate. Just as the Pharisees asked Jesus what they must do to do the works of God, Jesus in John 6:29 turned the question on its head by saying the work of God, not the work of man but the work of God is that they believe. So even though these men asked Jesus what THEY must do, Jesus answered them by saying what GOD does.

Go back to Bible Truth #154 - (Ezekiel 37:1-14) Ezekiel prophesying to the bones. Did those bones hear him? Of course not. Did they put flesh on their own bones? Of course not. But it was certainly God using Ezekiel’s prophesying to do it. The bones had NOTHING at all to do with their coming to life. THAT is the context of God using the preachers’ preaching from the pulpit to the lost in the passage from Romans above.

So, back to the passage in Romans 10:14-17... Even though it appears that Paul was writing about audible hearing in the previous verses, verse 17 is clear - the ability to [spiritually] hear is granted by God to specific people, nowhere does it imply or directly say that everyone can hear. The question is, to whom does God grant this ability to hear? Answer - Those He has chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 1:4)

Bottom Line: we become children of God NOT by the will of the flesh (John 1:13).