Friday, August 31, 2012

Bible Truth #405 - Acts 26:28-29

28  Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
29  And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.

Some have pointed out to me that the Bible has used the word “persuade” in our efforts to evangelize the lost. “Why would God want us to persuade anyone if they couldn’t be persuaded?

I see this question as someone grasping for straws in trying to prove man has the ability to come to Christ, the ability to believe, and the ability to repent - all in, and of themselves, and outside God’s working in them. Here are some examples of persuade being used:

Luke 16:31 - And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
Acts 18:4 - And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
Acts 19:8 - And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.
Acts 28:23-29 - And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. (Bible Truth #393)

None of these examples make the least bit of difference and none change God’s Word! As a matter of fact, it was Jesus Who said in the passage from Luke that men will not be persuaded even if one rose from the dead! As is always the case, Jesus is right - One HAS risen from the dead and are men persuaded? Not in the least.

I’m sure the man who believes in decisional salvation would disagree and say, “But men ARE persuaded. Many come to Jesus every day through persuasion.” Oh? So Jesus is wrong? Sorry, Jesus said men will NOT be persuaded. There is no room for an exception.

But regarding salvation, lost men aren’t persuaded, they’re convicted. God is simply using the efforts of those who proclaim the Gospel to quicken the dead spirits of some lost, giving them eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to understand. Then, and only then, can they be convicted by the Holy Spirit because the man without the Spirit, i.e. the lost man, understands nothing from the Holy Spirit. It is foolishness to him and he will not accept it (1 Corinthians 2:14).

The circumstances of our Gospel proclamation have no effect on the lost because nothing we do will quicken a man who is dead in his sins (Ephesians 2:1, 2:5; Colossians 2:13), nothing we do will cause a lost man to come unto the Light (John 3:20), and nothing we say or do will cause a lost man to please God and “accept” Christ (Romans 8:8).

No matter the method we use to proclaim the Gospel, God will quicken only those He chose in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Only those God has appointed to eternal life will believe (Acts 13:48). Only those belonging to Jesus will believe (John 10:26) because only God’s children will even be able to listen to God’s Word (John 8:42-47).

Once again, we become children of God NOT by human decision (John 1:13).

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bible Truth #404 - Romans 3:28

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

Justified by faith... and where does a man get this faith, this saving faith? Answer - God gives each believer a measure of faith (Romans 12:3). This is why some get more than others. But why doesn’t He give EVERY man saving faith? Most Christians who believe in decisional salvation think God wants to save every man. So if man receives faith from God, why doesn’t He give every man saving faith? Arminians will say, “Because most men don’t want it.
Really? Unfortunately, NO lost man wants it, he wants nothing to do with God.

So why doesn’t God give every man saving faith? Answer - Because He doesn’t want to save every man!

Some may try to claim God wants every man to be saved by quoting 1 Timothy 2:4, 1 Timothy 4:10, or 2 Peter 3:9 but those passages can easily be explained without contradicting the rest of God’s Word (click on the links). However, I have yet to hear an explanation justifying their position from one who believes in decisional salvation for passages like 1 Corinthians 2:14 that tells us a lost man will accept nothing from the Holy Spirit and will consider it foolishness; Romans 8:8 that tells us a lost man can’t please God; John 10:25 where Jesus Himself tells us why a lost man does not believe; and John 3:20 where Jesus tells us the lost hate Him and will NOT come unto Him.

It should be obvious that the lost have no faith, especially since God told us not all men have faith (2 Thessalonians 3:2). Does a man come to Christ without faith and when God sees he is sincere He then gives him faith? That is absurd. Without faith no man is going to come to Christ. A lost man hates Christ and will not come to Him (John 3:20). Why, or better yet, how can he come to Someone he hates? Why would God give faith to someone He hates? Some will say, “God doesn’t hate anyone! He loves everyone!” God hates workers of iniquity (Psalm 5:5), the wicked and those who love violence (Psalm 11:5), abortion doctors (Proverbs 6:17), and liars (Proverbs 6:19). Any one of those passages by itself proves God does not love every person on the planet which means a lot of Christians believe an incorrect interpretation of John 3:16. See Bible Truth #66 for more info.

But, getting back to faith - does God give a lost man faith to enable him to come to Christ and then if he “rejects” Christ take that same faith away? If true, someone please show it to me in Scripture.

A man is justified by God-given faith alone and not because of anything he does (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5).

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bible Truth #403 - Judges 7:19-22

19  So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands.
20  And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.
21  And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.
22  And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath.

And the Lord caused each man in the Midianite camp to turn his sword on each other. Here is another example of the Lord working ALL things after the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11). God made each of the Midianites want to kill each other. He worked in their minds to make them believe it was necessary to kill their fellow Midianites, or He worked in their minds to make them think they were striking at the followers of Gideon. Either way, God was at work!

Were they acting of their free will here? I’m sure if you could have stopped the carnage and asked one of these men if it was their decision to slay each other the answer would be yes! But did they truly have free will? NO! God was working in them to will and to do according to His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).

This is no different than the way God works in each of His Elect, those chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). At a point in time God chooses in the life of one of His Elect He quickens their dead spirit through faith, the faith that God gives them (Romans 12:3; Ephesians 2:8) as a gift. God simultaneously gives them 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).

God then draws them to Christ, and here’s the important part that is lost on most believers who think they “accepted Christ,” Jesus WILL raise them up. There is no if, there is no except, there is no maybe, there is absolutely no option for their so-called “free will.” Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:44) ALL those drawn, Jesus raises up.

The specific point to which I am referring that relates to this Bible Truth is when God works in a man and makes him believe (John 6:29). Just as God worked in the minds of the Midianites to make them slay each other and then flee, He works in the mind of one of His Elect and gives him belief, not the ability to believe (Philippians 1:29).

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bible Truth #402 - Psalm 41:9

Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

This is prophesy regarding Judas and his betrayal of the Son of God unto the Jews for crucifixion and was quoted by Jesus in John 13:18. Many times in God’s Word He tells us that He has a plan for the lives of every human being who ever lived. No one will go through their lives not fulfilling God’s purpose for them (Psalm 57:2, Psalm 138:8, Revelation 17:17).

When this prophesy was made by the psalmist in history, God had already determined in eternity who it would be. When God created time, everything that was going to take place in history, has already occurred in eternity (Isaiah 46:10). Here in Psalms we see that Judas was as much an integral part of God’s purpose as was King Herod and Pontius Pilate (Acts 4:27-28). God had ordered the steps of ALL those involved (Proverbs 16:9, Proverbs 21:1).

God owns each and every human being who was ever born (Psalm 24:1, 2 Peter 2:1), and can have mercy and compassion upon whomever He wants (Romans 9:15). He has an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11) for each and every person because we were created for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11).

Free will? Sadly, no. God is working in each one of us to will (think, reason, believe) and to do (act, behave, live) according to HIS good pleasure, not ours (Philippians 2:13). So we not only do want He wants us to do (Proverbs 19:21, Proverbs 20:24, Ephesians 1:11), we think and believe according to His plan (John 6:29, Philippians 1:29).

Judas was God’s chosen vessel unto dishonor (Romans 9:21). His act of betrayal was God’s plan for him and God endured with much long-suffering the vessel of wrath (Judas), who was prepared and predestined for destruction (Proverbs 16:4, Romans 9:22).

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

Friday, August 17, 2012

Bible Truth #401 - Zechariah 12:1

Zechariah 12:1
The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.

God forms the spirit of man within him...

This is similar to the passage where the Psalmist writes that God forms the heart of every man (Psalm 33:15). God turns hearts as He sees fit to accomplish His purpose (Psalm 57:2, Proverbs 21:1). God is the one Who, for some, takes out their heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). He gives His people a heart to know Him (Jeremiah 24:7) and fear Him for their own good and for the good of their children (Jeremiah 32:39). God opens some hearts and keeps other hearts closed (Acts 16:14). God turns hearts to hate His people, whether they be children of Israel or Christians (Psalm 105:25). And He does all of this while making some men believe they have free will!

Who we are in God’s sight had been set long before we were ever born, set by God. Our birth had been determined (Acts 17:26), our steps ordered (Proverbs 16:9), our works before ordained (Ephesians 2:10), our days written (Psalm 139:16), our end expected (Jeremiah 29:11), our souls purchased (Revelation 5:9), our eternity predestined (Romans 8:29-30), and our eternal life appointed (Acts 13:48).

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

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bible Truth #400 - 1 Peter 5:10

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

In 1 Peter 1:1-2 Peter makes it clear that he is not writing to all of humanity. He is writing to a specific group of people, the Elect of God.

He then writes in verse 10 above that God has called US unto His eternal glory. Because we know to whom Peter was writing, we can say with certainty that he is not referring to “us” in the context of humanity. However, undoubtedly there will be those who say that God has called, and will call, everybody to salvation at least once in their life.

The problem is that anyone who says this ignores passages that state rather clearly this is not true. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 1:26 that not many wise men are called, not many mighty men are called, nor many noble men are called. If God “called to salvation” every man then Paul would have written God has called each and every man (hekastos - Bible Truth #324) to salvation instead of giving examples of whom God did and did not call.

Paul also writes elsewhere those whom God calls [to salvation] He also justifies and glorifies (Romans 8:29-30). There is no option for man to accept or reject it. Within the golden chain of redemption there is a people God foreknew, His Elect. Those He foreknew, He predestined to be saved. Those He predestined, He called, justified, and glorified. It is already done, and it was done before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Now some will say that we weren’t predestined to be saved but predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. Please... does anyone actually believe there will be someone predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ who ISN’T going to be saved? Are there any lost who have been conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ?

The point is Paul isn’t the only one who writes about God calling US unto His eternal glory. Here Peter does as well.