Comment: Irresistible grace makes men into ROBOTS
Response: I never heard the Bible make this argument. In fact, it makes the opposite argument, that is a great act of love to help people who cannot help themselves.(Isaiah 42:7; Rom 9:16-21). Its called mercy. It no more makes people into robots than parents who save their disobedient children from danger makes their children into robots. You don't leave your children to themselves. And whether your children want your help at the time or not, you know better than your children what is good for them. Most people call this love. How much more does God know what is good for his children?
Grace is irresistible because the Scripture says of sinners that God turns their heart of stone to a heart of flesh (Ezek 36:26) before they follow Him. No one believes while his heart is still stone, and no one with a heart of stone would even want a heart of flesh (or it would already be flesh) - so this heart of flesh is not self-generated. but when God takes away the stony heart and makes it flesh, all barriers of resistance have been disarmed and we then see the unsurpassed beauty, truth and excellency of Jesus Christ. The new heart cannot but want to follow Him.
I have met many Christians who think that God will only love you if you first meet His condition(s). Many will say God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life ... but then turn around and say "now meet these conditions". But a conditional love is the very biblical definition of being a respecter of persons. Have a good look in the Bible what respecter of persons means. It is when you think you can get something out of a person you give him a seat of honor etc..
The God of the Bible, on the other hand, is a God who unconditionally loves more ill-deserving people than any man can count. Unconditional by definition means He is not a respecter of persons. There is nothing in us worthy, only ill-deserving, but he loved us anyhow, even before the foundation of the world. (Eph 1:4,5) and sent His Son to redeem us.
God indeed gives everyone in the world conditions ... but men are so wrapped up in themselves, captive to sin, that no one can or will meet them (dead in sin Eph 2:1). So in pity, mercy and love, Jesus comes and meets the conditions for us, doing for us what we are unable to do for ourselves (Eph 2:5).. Jesus meets the condition for us not because we first loved him but because He first loved us sinners,. (1 John 4:19; Romans 5:8)
Does God love the non-elect?
The Bible has a multi-faceted answer to this question which goes well beyond a short discussion, but suffice to say, God obviously has a particular unconditional love only for his elect that he does not for the non-elect. But much of the Bible also shows God's care and love for everyone in many and varying ways... so it is not a simple yes or no ... but if one is asking does he have an "unconditional love" for the non-elect, the answer certainly is no (Romans 9:13) -- or else everyone would be saved since unconditional would imply that all conditions are already fulfilled and all sins have been paid for, including the sin of unbelief.
In discussions with atheists, I always find it both amusing and puzzling that they almost never fail to make statements such as "I believe human sacrifice is wrong" or "in my opinion the Canaanite genocide was wrong". Now either they are trying to persuade me that such things are objectively wrong (in which case they have just denied their atheism) or in the unlikely event that they are really just giving me a personal opinion, I can only answer, "that's nice, good for you. Good luck with that". For if it is merely a personal opinion among millions of others, the statement is about as meaningful as the most absurd trifle.
A personal opinion about right and wrong has zero authority ... so why talk about it so often and passionately if you did not think it is truly right or wrong? if all is relative, as you claim, then someone else's opinion is not only just as valid, but to be celebrated. There is no "better" or "worse", "right" or "wrong" opinion in a relativistic world ... for something to be "better" would imply there was an objective standard of truth he/she was measuring it by.
A frequent visitor who is an atheist replied to this comment by challenging me with the following incoherent rambling:
"If I say, 'A cooked egg is better than a raw egg. Would you reply, "You stated an opinion about eggs. You must believe in an objective standard of egg quality."
Visitor: "...the Holy Spirit draws everyone at some point in their life. It is up to man to respond."
Response: Thank you for your comment but it has no biblical basis. I often hear persons appeal to John 6:44 as if the word "draw" somehow means that man is placed in some neutral semi-regenerate state outside of his natural depravity leaving man with a new moral ability to either 1) believe or 2) not believe. But when read in context verse 44 cannot possibly mean that. Jesus leaves no room for such a view. Here's why:
Take the time to read verse 44 in light of verse 37 which uses the same language "come to me", clearly indicating that Jesus is keeping on topic ... Verse 37 reads, "ALL that the Father gives to me will come to me." So according to this verse, HOW MANY of those who the Father gives the Son will come to faith in him? Verse 37 says ALL. It does not say some. It does not say 50. It says all. And it also teaches that the Father giving them to the Son precedes their coming to him. So saving grace is not a reward for faith but the effectual/infallible cause of it.
Jesus is not teaching what you are saying... Instead in light of verse 37 we can only conclude that ALL THOSE whom the Father DRAWS will come. (Also see verses 63 & 65 which teach the same idea).
Atheist: justify why this all knowing god of all good, refuses to intervene in pure evil events of the past. If he was aware of the Holocaust and did nothing to stop it, id say this god gets off on our suffering. Assuming he has the capability to stop it. Leaving us with the conclusion he cant be both essence of good and all knowing
Response: Your argument assumes that such a thing as evil exists.... May I ask, whose standard are you appealing to, to determine if something is good or evil? Why is genocide any different than a day at the beach. If there is no God then all actions are equally evanescent. If all is relative, then to Hitler the genocide was good. It was only bad for people on the receiving end. And as a relativist you cannot say one persons morals are better than another's since there is no "better" or "worse", only change. But ironically you are using an argument which assumes objective morality actually exists ... so your argument is self-defeating.
Also evil exists because we want evil, so anything that happens to us on this earth is better than we deserve. Your comment speaks as if humans were by nature innocent and good... and as such God is somehow obligated to help. But the reality is that, sadly, we are hardened rebels who hate God, (myself being the worst offender). If God intervenes to save anyone it is sheer mercy ... not getting what we deserve. That is certainly the case for me, at least.
"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." - Matt 10:29-31
What does this teach us? That there is nothing on earth or heaven beyond God's notice or control. All events are meticulously orchestrated by our beneficent God. He has fixed our days and the time of our death which means we should not concern ourselves with it nor fear when it comes ... We can trust wholly in God's sovereignty for protection, even in death.
Christ comforts us by here asserting that God's governance reaches to all creatures and things, even the most minute and inconsequential. Not one sparrow falls, or is killed with an arrow or otherwise, but by the will of God. How much more then does He arrange the affairs of those created in His image? Christ declares there is no such thing on earth as chance but all is unalterably ordered and ordained by our all-wise God.
In context, our Lord's wider purpose here is to encourage His disciples to a continued preaching of His Gospel even in the face of the most fierce opposition; to act boldly without regard to our lives (if necessary) for His sake; That we would not love our lives so much as to shrink from back from death (Rev 12:11). In His meticulously ordained providence, our Father takes care of the most trivial and the most weighty, such that that no life is taken away without the good pleasure of His perfect will. On the contrary, He will take care of us. No one can imprison you or strike you down unless God gives His permission to do so (Revelation 6:11). So fear not. Though our situation may give every indication that God has abandoned us, as it did our Lord on the cross, yet He assures us that He always has a larger purpose in mind, and so calls us to trust in His wise ordering of all things.
The question almost always arises from those who doubt the Reformed view of Christ's saving work as to why would God command us and warn us in the Bible if a person cannot lose his/her salvation. On the surface, when we use human reason, such a question seems to make sense, but when we apply the question to Scripture, something else entirely emerges.
There are three major views about how this works out 1) the Arminian view, 2) the antinomian view and 3) the Classic Reformed view..
Arminians (rightly) teach that believers must persevere to the end. 2) the Antinomian view rightly teaches that a person cannot lose his salvation. But both of these views overlook major sections of Scripture and truncate the blessings of the gospel. 1) the Arminian view wrongly believes that Christ's work is not sufficient in itself to carry a person to the end. That our preservation is not part of the redemptive benefits of our salvation in Christ. In this view Christ secures neither our faith nor our preservation, but Christ only provides salvation if we meet the condition of faith and perseverance on our own (or perhaps with some help). The Antinomian view, on the other hand, wrongly overlooks the clear biblical statements requiring believers to persevere to the end and thinks that people can behave any way they want and still be saved, even if they later leave the faith.
The Bible teaches a much more robust and complete view of all the related texts and while the other views state truth, they only state partial truth, but the part they fail to apprehend has a devastating effect on the message of the gospel.
1) God requires His people to persevere to the end (Colo. 1:21-23; 1 John 1:5-10; 3:3-6; Hebrews 10:26-31; Hebrews 12:1)
2) In Christ, God preserves His people to the end. (John 6:38-40; John 10:28-29; Romans 8:28-39, 11:29; Philippians 1:4-6; Philippians 2:12-13; 1 John 2:19, 1 John 3:9)
In Colossians 2:11 and 12, Paul is talking about the cross. He’s talking about Jesus dying on the cross, and then he says, “In him you were also circumcised …” He’s talking to Gentiles, by the way, who weren’t literally circumcised. He says, “In him you were also circumcised … not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ …”
Here’s what he’s saying. On the cross Jesus was cut off. That’s why he calls it a circumcision. On the cross Jesus Christ said, “My God, my God, I can’t see you. I can’t feel you. Where are you?” Isaiah 53 says he was cut off from the land of the living. Why? He was getting what circumcision represented. He was being cut off. He was going under the knife. It was bloody. It was violent. He was getting the curse we deserve, because we can’t stand in the judgment. We can’t stand before the law.
That’s not all. It doesn’t just say he was circumcised on the cross. It says, “In him you were circumcised, not a circumcision made with hands,” he says, because the Gentiles weren’t. “You have a new heart. You have new life.” Why? “Because you’re circumcised with Christ.” What does that mean? It means now you stand in him in this way.
Good works and obedience may be the necessary fruit of conversion but they are not the gospel which saves, nor do they play ANY part of what maintains our right standing before God .. That office is reserved for Jesus alone. We contribute nothing to our justification. And if, as some claim, our continued standing in Christ is ultimately conditional, then it would directly contradict any feigned assertion that justification comes through Christ ALONE. Again, fruit is necessary, but it is Christ's fruit.. He chose us and APPOINTED US TO BEAR FRUIT...fruit that will abide (John 15:16)
What about passages which call us to obedience and warn about disobedience. Well, this is what actually happens to true believers who fall into sin:
"But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we MAY NOT BE condemned along with the world." (1 Cor. 11:31-32)
When a believer acknowledges his sin and the righteous judgment of God, God will not judge us, but when we sin we are judged by GOD as a form of discipline SO WE MAY NOT BE CONDEMNED ALONG WITH THE WORLD. Such discipline drives us back to obedience, and never results in causing God to forsake our status as His children. No one, including you or me, would have hope if any of our salvation depended, even a little, on ourselves. The idea that Christ can lose a believer also directly contradicts God's promise that His call is irrevocable to all those he has given Christ. (Rom 11:29; John 6:39)
The gospel is not behavior modification, becoming a better person or learning to become more moral. It is not taking the life of Jesus as a model way to live or transforming/redeeming the secular realm. It is not living highly communal lives with others and sharing generously in communities who practice the way of Jesus in local culture. These may all be good things but they are not to be confused with the gospel. They should accompany the gospel, and should not separated from the gospel and while God may use them to authenticate the gospel and make our proclamation of the gospel more fertile in hardened hearts yet they are not to be viewed as replacements for the gospel.
Did you notice the one characteristic of all of the above activities has nothing to do with what Christ has done for us, but all about what we do for him. The true gospel, rather, is news about what Christ the Saviour, has already done for us (in his life, death and resurrection) rather than instruction and advice about what you are to do for God. Christ's accomplishment, not ours, is the essence of the gospel. Above all, the gospel of Christ brings good news, rather than instruction about our behavior. The gospel of not about what we do, but our acts inevitably spring up and overflow in thanksgiving due to what Christ has done for us.