Steve Hays has an impromptu debate with an atheist on Facebook:
by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
There is no true evangelism without the doctrine of sin, and without an understanding of what sin is. I do not want to be unfair, but I say that a gospel which merely says ‘Come to Jesus,’ and offers Him as a Friend, and offers a marvelous, new life, without convicting of sin, is not New Testament evangelism. The essence of evangelism is to start by preaching the law; and it is because the law has not been preached that we have had so much superficial evangelism. Go through the ministry of our Lord Himself and you cannot but get the impression that at times, far from pressing people to follow Him and to decide for Him, He put great obstacles in their way. He said in effect: ‘Do you realize what you are doing? Have you counted the cost? Do you realize where it may lead you? Do you know that it means denying yourself, taking up your cross daily and following Me?’ True evangelism, I say, because of this doctrine of sin, must always start by preaching the law. This means that we must explain that mankind is confronted by the holiness of God, by His demands, and also by the consequences of sin. It is the Son of God Himself who speaks about being cast into hell. If you do not like the doctrine of hell you are just disagreeing with Jesus Christ. He, the Son of God, believed in hell; and it is in His exposure of the true nature of sin that He teaches that sin ultimately lands men in hell. So evangelism must start with the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, the demands of the law, the punishment meted out by the law and the eternal consequences of evil and wrongdoing. It is only the man who is brought to see his guilt in this way who flies to Christ for deliverance and redemption.
by C. H. Spurgeon
Edited by Alistair Begg
Salvation belongs to the Lord! – Jonah 2:9
Salvation is the work of God. It is He alone who quickens the soul “dead in…trespasses and sins,”1 and He it is who maintains the soul in its spiritual life. He is both “Alpha and Omega.”
“Salvation belongs to the LORD!” If I am prayerful, God makes me prayerful; if I have graces, they are God’s gifts to me; if I hold on in a consistent life, it is because He upholds me with His hand. I do nothing whatever toward my own preservation, except what God Himself first does in me. Whatever I have, all my goodness is of the Lord alone. Whenever I sin, that is my own doing; but when I act correctly, that is wholly and completely of God. If I have resisted a spiritual enemy, the Lord’s strength nerved my arm.
Do I live before men a consecrated life? It is not I, but Christ who lives in me. Am I sanctified? I did not cleanse myself: God’s Holy Spirit sanctifies me. Am I separated from the world? I am separated by God’s chastisements sanctified to my good. Do I grow in knowledge? The great Instructor teaches me. All my jewels were fashioned by heavenly art. I find in God all that I want; but I find in myself nothing but sin and misery. “He only is my rock and my salvation.”2
by C. H. Spurgeon
"Whom he did predestinate, them he also called." — Romans 8:30
by John Hendryx
You said you trust in Jesus yet you claim YOUR sin has disqualified you. Consider ... this means you are not trusting in Christ alone but, at least partly, in your own ability to maintain a just standing before God. Still trusting in your own goodness to win Gods approval. But in Christ you already have his approval ...The gospel is good news that Christ ALONE saves, not you. You will never defeat sin by trying, only Christ can do so in and through you. If you believe you don't deserve heaven, by the grace of God flee from trusting in your own righteousness ... all of it... you have nothing to offer God. You are spiritually bankrupt and can only come to him with empty hands as a poor sinner. Trust in Jesus alone.
It seems that your sin deeply concerns you. This is a sign of life, for those without the Holy Spirit would be unconcerned, indifferent or hostile to God, rather than concerned or broken over their sin. In 1 Cor 11:31-32 it teaches than when a believer sins either we judge ourselves, or the Spirit will discipline us until we do so that we will not be condemned along with the world. That is good news .. the Spirit is working in you to be convicted over your sin, to hate it and, by the grace of God, to put it to death.... and you will be fighting it all you life .. in fact all of us are... when you fall though, the Spirit will ensure that you get back up and persevere to the end. Being a Christian does not mean you are sinless, but that you are united to the one who was, and God accepts you because of Him. Your cannot maintain your own standing before God ... that is the Lord Jesus' office, and His alone.
If you trust in Christ, your sins are forgiven... Because of Him, "the Father ... has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light." - Col 1:12
by Martin Luther
And here is the solution of the question which the Diatribe repeats so often all through the book: 'if we can do nothing, what is the purpose of all the laws, precepts, threats and promises?' Paul here gives the answer: 'by the law is the knowledge of sin' (Rom 3:19) His answer to the question is far different than the ideas of man, or of 'free-will". He does not say that 'free-will' is proved by the law, nor that is cooperates unto righteousness; for by the law comes, not righteousness, but knowledge of sin. This is the fruit, the work, the office of the law; it is a light to the ignorant and blind, but one that displays disease, sin, evil, death, hell and the wrath of God. It does not help nor set them free from these things; it is consistent merely to point them out. When a man discovers the sickness of sin, he is cast down and afflicted; nay, he despairs. The law does not help him; much less can he heal himself. Another light is needed to reveal a remedy. This is the voice of the gospel, which displays Christ as the Deliverer from all these evil things. But neither reason, nor 'free-will' points to him; how could reason point to him, when it is itself darkness and needs the light of the law to show it its own sickness, which by its own light it fails to see, and thinks is sound health?
Visitor: if election is true, why preach the gospel?
Response: why preach the gospel? because "election" saves nobody by itself. Salvation is by Christ. Election is merely a blueprint of what God intends to do in history through Christ. The Father elects, the Son redeems and the Spirit quickens and unites the sinner to Christ through the gospel.
The gospel is like a seed. We cast the seed indiscriminately, as God commands, and it goes into the heart of man... but unless the Holy Spirit germinate the seed, so to speak, it falls on fallow ground. 'No one says 'Jesus is Lord' apart from the Holy Spirit." (1 Cor 12:3)
Jesus declared, "all that the Father give to me will come to me" John 6:37
Notice, Jesus says the Father giving them to the Son precedes their coming to faith in him... in addition Jesus says all, not some, but all that the Father gives to Jesus come to faith in him.
The main difference in understanding the bible is between monergism and synergism. .. does Jesus provide everything we need for salvation, including a new heart to believe (Deut 30:6; Ezek 36:26; John 6:63), or does Jesus only provide some of what we need? Does Jesus rescue us or help us rescue ourselves?
The issue is all about whether we are saved by Christ alone or not .. and the answer is in Scripture, the Christians' sole authority.
God has made us the means and instruments by which God disseminate the live-giving gospel. We are not called to discover who the elect are or to be concerned with the ultimate results, but to faithfully go about sowing the seed of the gospel. He will take care of produce the crop. The Apostle Paul said, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth." (1 Cor 3:6-7)
by Martin Luther
"...when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God." - Galatians 4:4-7
The Holy Spirit is sent forth by the word into the hearts of the believers, as here stated, "God sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts." This sending is accomplished by the preaching of the Gospel through which the Holy Spirit inspires us with fervor and light, with new judgment, new desires, and new motives. This happy innovation is not a derivative of reason or personal development, but solely the gift and operation of the Holy Spirit.
We ought to have no doubt about whether the Holy Spirit dwells in us. We are "the temple of the Holy Spirit."(I Cor. 3:16.) When we have a love for the Word of God, and gladly hear, talk, write, and think of Christ, we are to know that this inclination toward Christ is the gift and work of the Holy Spirit. Where you come across contempt for the Word of God, there is the devil. We meet with such contempt for the Word of God mostly among the common people. They act as though the Word of God does not concern them. Wherever you find a love for the Word, thank God for the Holy Spirit who infuses this love into the hearts of men. We never come by this love naturally, neither can it be enforced by laws. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- Martin Luther
by Jonathan Gibson
The Achilles Heel of Reformed Theology?
The doctrine of definite atonement, known historically as “limited atonement” or “particular redemption”, has always courted controversy. It has been called a grim and textless doctrine, the Achilles heel of Reformed theology (see, for example, Karl Barth and Broughton Knox). Of the many objections to the doctrine, one of the strongest is that definite atonement undermines a zeal for evangelism. If Christ died only for the elect, can we sincerely offer the gospel to everyone?
However, when definite atonement is placed alongside other biblical truths, the question does not follow. Particularity of grace in election or atonement does not mitigate a universal gospel offer. This is where we should follow Christ’s example.
In Matthew 11, Jesus explains that no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him (v. 27). The particularity is explicit. Yet in the very next verse, Jesus gives a universal offer to everyone to come to him and find rest (v. 28).
In John 6, Jesus claims that he has come from heaven to do his Father’s will, which is to lose none of those given to him but to raise them up on the last day (v. 39). This is actually the reason why (“For”) whoever comes to him will never be turned away (v. 38). The Father’s will is that “everyone” who looks to the Son and believes will have eternal life (v. 40). Christ’s purpose in coming was particular; the work he performed in his life, death, resurrection, and ascension was particular (cf. John 17); and yet his invitation was universal. It was also sincere.
Brothers and sisters, I am sure many of you have noticed that there is a significant group of people in the USA who have taken up a kind of mob mentality, who think that if you disagree with them on just about any issue you are either a bigot, a racist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, a white supremacist, a misogynist, or the like. Labeling people with these terms has become a common fear tactic as an answer to almost any argument. By charging your opponent with the ugliest, most dehumanizing slander ... by demonizing them and painting them in the most monstrous colors, the hope appears to be that you will realize you have committed the "unforgivable sin" and will drive you and the rest of society, through fear, in the political trajectory of the accusers.
Sadly, I will be the first to acknowledge, that hate, racism, xenophobia and the like are real problems in our world ... problems that we need to face up to as a society, but when terms like this are flung about so casually and used so habitually ...the banality, the predictability, and the all to common use these terms have robbed them of their force. It makes combating the real thing all that much harder. In addition those who use this labeling system for the smallest disagreement or infraction end up making themselves just as bad, because they are doing the very thing they accuse others of.
Brothers and sisters, I would discourage you from using these tactics when discussing issues with others. It is unbecoming, ungracious and is perhaps one of the greatest causes of the irreconcilable divisions that exist in our society today. Power is not that important that you have to sink to these kind of tactics. Obey the Lord and let the chips fall where they may.