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This Week's Listing of Free Resources at Monergism

"For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy." - Rom 9:15-16

The Reformed Faith: An Exposition Of The Westminster Confession Of Faith (eBook)
by Robert Shaw. This is considered by many (along with A. A. Hodge's Commentary) to be the best commentary on the Westminster Confession.

The Glorious Feast of the Gospel (eBook)
by Richard Sibbes - Delivered in diverse sermons upon Isaiah 25:6-9.

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 14:11 -- john_hendryx

Is it Unjust of God to Ask Sinners to Do What They Are Morally Unable to Do?

Some claim it would be unjust of God to command us to do something we are unable to do.
 
That is an odd claim. Isn't that why we need grace to begin with? ... because we are morally bankrupt?, impotent to carry out the works of the Law? The command "Love the Lord your God with all your heart..." Does anyone naturally love God with all their heart? No. We are impotent to obey this command in the flesh. Does that make God unjust for asking us to conform to his holy standards? No, of course not. The commands of God are righteous and holy and we only have ourselves to blame for rejecting them ... not to mention that the purpose of the law is to reveal sin (Rom 3:19-20)
 
But lets bring this same question to the summons to believe the gospel. We all agree that the choice of right or wrong is put before every person. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." Yet, even if we did not inherit original sin from Adam, the moment we choose to sin in our personal lives against an infinitely holy God, we would render ourselves dead in sin, unspiritual creatures of the flesh, owing a sin-debt we cannot repay. Any good will or moral ability to see the goodness, beauty and excellency of Christ has been destroyed by sin. As a result, "...there is no one who seeks God" (Rom 3:11) Now, in every day life, if you owe a debt you cannot repay... are you still responsible to repay the debt?
Wed, 06/07/2017 - 13:33 -- john_hendryx

Not by Free Will but by Grace through Faith -- St. Augustine

Men are not Saved by Good Works, nor by the Free Determination of their Own Will, but by the Grace of God through Faith

But this part of the human race to which God has promised pardon and a share in His eternal kingdom, can they be restored through the merit of their own works? God forbid. For what good work can a lost man perform, except so far as he has been delivered from perdition? Can they do anything by the free determination of their own will? Again I say, God forbid. For it was by the evil use of his free-will that man destroyed both it and himself. For, as a man who kills himself must, of course, be alive when he kills himself, but after he has killed himself ceases to live, and cannot restore himself to life; so, when man by his own free-will sinned, then sin being victorious over him, the freedom of his will was lost. "For of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage." [1] This is the judgment of the Apostle Peter. And as it is certainly true, what kind of liberty, I ask, can the bond-slave possess, except when it pleases him to sin? For he is freely in bondage who does with pleasure the will of his master. Accordingly, he who is the servant of sin is free to sin. And hence he will not be free to do right, until, being freed from sin, he shall begin to be the servant of righteousness. And this is true liberty, for he has pleasure in the righteous deed; and it is at the same time a holy bondage, for he is obedient to the will of God.

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 13:08 -- john_hendryx

John 6:40 as a Proof Text Against Calvinism?

Visitor: As a proof text against Calvinism:
John 6:40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

Response: We all believe that. Calvinists also believe that anyone who looks to the Son and believes has eternal life.. But that is not where we differ. The question is are there any persons who are naturally willing to come to Christ, apart from grace?

Take a moment and look at the context of the verse you quoted. Three verses earlier Jesus declared, "all that the Father gives me will come to me." John 6:37

He says all, not some, but all the Father gives to Christ will come to faith in him.... and the giving to the Son precedes their coming to faith in him.

Likewise in the exact same passage Jesus declares, "no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him." John 6:44 and "the Spirit quickens, the flesh counts for nothing...that is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me grants it." John 6:63, 65

So all verses together declare that no one can come to faith in Jesus unless God grants it and all whom He grants will come to faith in Him.

So yes anyone who wills may come... problem is, left to themselves, no one comes. We have a will and make choices, but only grace can change us so the we use our will aright.

No one says Jesus is Lord apart from the Holy Spirit. (1 cor 12:3)

In isolation your verse may work for you but it really only says what men OUGHT to do, but says nothing about what they are able to do. But when you look at the surrounding context we quickly discover that Jesus says no one can come unless God grants it. So I suggest your interpretation of the isolated verse needs rethinking in line with the actual context.

Thu, 06/01/2017 - 18:14 -- john_hendryx

Not Able Not to Sin

I often see critiques from professing Christians online regarding their deep opposition to the biblical view that, due to a corruption of nature, fallen man has no free will to come to Christ. Recently I even encountered someone with a list of bible verses which allegedly prove that human beings have free will. Before going through these verses with you (so you can have a reference), I would encourage you to all be familiar with the Augustine's helpful four-fold nature of man before and after the fall. Augustine taught that there are four states of humanity:

These four states, which are derived from the Scripture, correspond to the four states of man in relation to sin:  1) able to sin, able not to sin (posse peccare, posse non peccare); 2) not able not to sin (non posse non peccare); 3) able not to sin (posse non peccare); and 4) unable to sin (non posse peccare). The first state corresponds to the state of man in innocency, before the Fall; the second the state of the natural man after the Fall; the third the state of the regenerate man; and the fourth the glorified  man.

It is good to keep these in mind as you look at the following texts of Scripture posted online in an attempt to prove man has a free will.  My response to the uses of these texts will be in bold. 

Phm 14
but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own Free Will. Free will In the Greek ( adv ) means voluntary choice...

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 17:16 -- john_hendryx

"Anyone can be saved If they will."

Visitor: Any person can be saved, if they will.

Response: Don't we all believe any person can come if they will? The problem is, are there any persons naturally willing to submit to the terms of the gospel? Does it come naturally for fallen sinners to come to the humbling realization that they have no righteousness of their own and so flee to Christ alone as their only hope? Can a person say "Jesus is Lord" apart from the Holy Spirit"? (1 Cor 12:3) The scripture reveals that men are so bent on wickedness (John 3:19, Rom 8:7) that unless the Spirit disarm the hostility of their hearts, turning their heart of stone to a heart of flesh, they would never believe.

Jesus declared, "the Spirit quickens, the flesh counts for nothing ... that is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me grants it (John 6:63, 65)

Augustine said, "to will is of nature, but to will aright is of grace."

Like you I believe the gospel must be preached indiscrimanately to all men. We are to get the gospel to men's ears, but only God can get it to their hearts.

Mon, 05/22/2017 - 11:59 -- john_hendryx

The Lordship Controversy Resolved?

Christ's Lordship is bound up in His being the Savior. Here is why:

When a person comes to faith in Christ as Savior, are they not acknowledging their helplessness, and so come to Him in the hope that He will free them from both the guilt and power of sin? Do not people come to Christ so that He might liberate them from sin's tyranny over them? In coming to Christ as Savior from sin we implicitly acknowledge His Lordship, for we no longer want to be under the rule of sin. When the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to our wretched condition before God, we want to be free of sin but, knowing we are impotent to save ourselves from it, we ask Christ to free us. No one who is truly converted comes to Christ and says "please don't free me from sin". Anyone who did this is not even coming to him as Savior but hoping He will leave them in their original condition as slaves.

We are all painfully aware of the remainders of sin that exist in us as believers.  But if the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we are incapable of remaining indifferent to it. We will mourn over it and desire to be rid of it, but being unable to do so ourselves, we come to the Savior daily plea for the help we so desperately need.  Can a person claim to believe in Christ as their Savior and be content to remain in sin? Will the Holy Spirit allow that? (1 Cor 11:31-32)  If so then in what sense is Christ their Savior? 

Wed, 05/17/2017 - 12:18 -- john_hendryx

Why does God command Christians to be holy when we are already holy in Christ?

“You shall be holy, for I am holy.” - 1 Peter 1:16

"Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God." 2 Cor 7:1

"...we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." Hebrews 10:10

Recently I have come across a number of people online who declare that we cannot become more sanctified ...and we cannot become more like Jesus because we are already perfect in him, so, they reason, that all calls to be holy are wrong.
 
I write this piece because I want to point out how important it is to make distinctions, especially when the Bible does so. In doing so we shall attempt to answer the question(s): Does Christ having made us holy once for all do away with the concept that we are to become more like Him? or does the fact that He has perfected us through the body of Christ once for all (Heb 10:14) contradict the idea that we are to be growing in holiness? How are we to understand all this?  

Perhaps this matter of definitive vs. experiential sanctification can be illustrated and better understood by a story I once heard from a friend.

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 17:20 -- john_hendryx

Responding to Christianese: Since God is Love He would Never Violate our Free Will

When I hear professing Christians say that since God is love He would never violate our free will (btw, a concept not found in the Bible)... my first thought is to ask:

"So you are troubled that God did for you what you couldn't do for yourself? Is Hell better than being saved? In everyday life we keep our children back from things that would harm them. Why? We do it because we love them. If this is true for our children, how much more God? So if God rescues us, in spite of our willful disobedience, it springs from His great mercy and love. But if His love toward us were based on a condition we have to meet, it would, by definition, be neither loving nor gracious."

It is better to reach important doctrinal positions by being biblically informed, rather than relying on unaided human reason or emotional appeals.

The Epistle to the Ephesians declares

"...even when we were dead in our trespasses, (He) made us alive (quickened us) together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—" - Eph 2:5

Now, God is not doing violence to our will any more than God violated your will when he gave you life, or gave you eyes, or ears.  But He certainly rescued us regardless of our disposition at the time because, like any good parent, he knows better than we do what is good for us. 

Some may raise the objection: but does not God say he does not want anyone to perish, but rather everyone to come to repentance?

Fri, 05/12/2017 - 14:26 -- john_hendryx

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