A Need for a New Identity:
Conversionism, Transformed Theology, and a New Tulip
Part 2: An Argument for Unconditional Love

December 14, 2011

By Bob Hadley, Pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Chancellor of Atlantic Coast Bible College and Seminary


This article is the second in a series that offer an alternative to the classical Reformed T.U.L.I.P. The entire series is available at www.transformedtheology.com. The first “Total Lostness.”

If there’s anything that’s unconditional where God is concerned, it would have to be His love for man. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).[1] “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32). Here is the real story. God did not spare His own Son but allowed Him to be sacrificed on the cross to pay the penalty for an unholy and ungodly world. In analyzing this, the apostle Paul makes the following statement:

7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (Romans 5:7-10).

 

The Apostle John makes the following declaration in 1 John 4,

9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:9-10).

 

In 1 John 2 he writes,

1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world (1 John 2:1-2).

What did John mean when he said that God sent His Son to be “the propitiation for our sins?” Wayne Grudem defines propitiation as “a sacrifice that bears God’s wrath to the end and in doing so changes God’s wrath toward us into favor.”[2] God sent His Son to be an atoning sacrifice that would change God’s wrath toward man to one of favor. In Hebrews 2 Paul explains that it was necessary for Jesus to come to the earth and “be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17b).

Jesus did more than “offer” an atoning sacrifice that would change God’s wrath to favor; Jesus became that atoning sacrifice. So the question shifts from what is propitiation to how did Christ become the propitiation for man’s sin? Paul answers this question in Romans 3: “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe” (Romans 3:21-22a). Once again Paul makes it abundantly clear that God’s righteousness is made available to sinful men “through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.” In verse 23 Paul qualifies the “all who believe”:

22b For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:22b-26).

 

In Romans 6:23 Paul warns that the wages of sin is death. Sin separates man from God; God is both creator and sustainer of life. This is what Jesus meant when he said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6b). In this sense, sin causes separation from God and death is separation from life. In order to restore this relationship with God and to bridge this separation that sin has caused, God sent His Son who is The Light of the World and The Life for the World and The Way to God “to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:26).

What is “redemption?” Once again looking to Grudem’s Systematic Theology, he defines redemption as “Christ’s saving work viewed as an act of buying back sinners out of their bondage to sin and to Satan through the payment of a ransom.”[3] A ransom is the price paid to secure someone’s freedom. Jesus gave his life on the cross as a ransom to satisfy God’s justice and wrath concerning the penalty of sin that must be paid (Matthew 20:28 and Mark 10:45). The Apostle Paul tells young Timothy,

1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, 7 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth (1 Timothy 2:1-7).

 

Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice satisfied God’s Law of justice and retribution set in place because of man’s sin. Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross was “payment in full” for the sin of the world. Paul notes that this sacrifice that Christ gave was different than any other sacrifice ever offered to God:

12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. (Hebrews 9:12-15).

 

Jesus Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the world. All men have sinned and because of that sin they are condemned to die. But God loved the world so much that He sent his Son to pay the penalty for that sin. Christ redeemed us by His blood. He bore our sins in and on His body on the cross. He paid the price for man’s sin so that God could forgive men without violating His own righteousness. A ransom was paid to set sinful men free from this awful penalty for sin. At one’s conversion, through faith, repentance and confession, an individual passes from death unto life as he is redeemed by the blood of The Lamb. His sins are washed away (Acts 22:16); and he has the promise that he will be reconciled to God (Romans 5:10).

God indeed so loved the world that He gave the life of His only begotten Son to die on the cross to pay a penalty He did not owe for a penalty men could not pay. In speaking of the children of Israel following a long period of disobedience and captivity, the Lord spoke through Jeremiah saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3b). Israel has had a long history of being on the mountaintop with God and then being in the Valley without Him. They have been disobedient to Him and then in repentance they have come back to Him. Israel’s history has been a long cycle of God’s blessings, their disobedience, God’s delivering them to their enemies, their cry for forgiveness and deliverance and God’s mercy and His grace as He redeems them and brings them back into fellowship with Him. God loved Israel then and He still loves His people today. While it is easy to see God’s Unconditional Love, it is difficult to see evidences of unconditional election in the nation of Israel’s rocky history.

Some have argued that God’s choice of election can be seen in God’s special relationship with Israel. However, if God’s special love for Israel is a means that will allow Him to establish His love and a relationship with the whole world, then it may be argued that His love for Israel is not specific at all, but rather a demonstration of His love so that all the world could come to Him and worship Him in spirit and in truth. There is no picture of unconditional election in the life of Israel but God’s Unconditional Love can be seen on every page not only in the Old Testament but the New as well.

Perhaps one of the greatest demonstrations of God’s Unconditional Love can be seen in Revelation 2, where Jesus is speaking to the church in Thyatira. He mentions a wicked woman who calls herself a prophetess who was either teaching in the church or the city and was responsible for seducing some of the church members to commit sexual immorality and eat foods that have been offered to idols. Listen to what Jesus said about this woman, “And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds” (Revelation 2:21-22). Two things are obvious here. First of all, Jesus gave this woman time to repent. He also gave those who committed adultery with her time to repent as well. The second thing that’s equally obvious is the fact that Jesus expected them to repent. This wicked prophetess did not repent and no doubt there were some who committed adultery with her who did not repent as well. There are eternal consequences to the choices men make. Jesus is addressing those consequences when He says that He will cast those who do not repent into great tribulation. He goes on to say, “I will kill her children with death” (v. 23a), which is an obvious reference to the second death.

Did God love this wicked prophetess who had this spirit of Jezebel? His willingness for her not to perish and His patience for her to repent certainly lends credibility to an affirmative answer to this question. Extend this question one step further. Since God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life, and since Jesus expected this woman to repent, He must have died on the cross to pay the penalty for her sin just as He did for everyone else. The provisions for her repentance had already been met at Calvary. Those who are cast into the great tribulation are those who did not repent of their evil deeds (Revelation 2:21–23). Even in one of the most extreme examples of human depravity in the Bible, God’s unconditional love is demonstrated and His forgiveness is offered and repentance is expected, even though it was refused.

A good illustration of this can be seen in the following illustration. Suppose a father loved his four children who had gone out into the world and wasted their lives and had gone deeply into debt. The debt was about to destroy each of the four children. The father unbeknown to his children wrote a check out to each of his four children that would pay their debts in full and leave them with enough money to live the rest of their lives very comfortably. The father placed the checks in cards that were addressed to each child and placed them on a mantle in his den. He called each child and asked them one by one to come see him and share a meal together. They never came. He called them a number of times asking them to come but each time they made excuses and never came. Now, the love of the father was evident in the gift he prepared for each of his four children. Each gift was more than adequate to supply their need, which was substantial. His invitation was for them to come and sit down with him for a simple meal together. The only thing the father wanted was for his children to come and dine with him. Now, did the fact that his children did not come have anything to do with this father’s love for his children? No. In the same way, men’s refusal to come and dine with the Lord has nothing to do with God’s love and desire to meet their great need in the provisions that are already set aside for everyone who will simply come to Jesus. This love can also be seen in the wedding feast of Matthew 22.

In going back to God’s statement to Israel in Jeremiah 31:3b, God says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love. With loving kindness I have drawn you.” In looking at this question of unconditional love and unconditional election, what did He mean in the second part of this verse, when He said, “with loving kindness I have drawn you”? Once again the question must be asked, does everyone that God draws with His loving kindness respond as God wants them to respond? Since Israel’s history was up and down and they were in and out of captivity because of their disobedience to His word, both before and after this statement was made, it can be argued that the answer to this question is a resounding “no.” Add to this the overriding fact that no one fully responds to God’s drawing as He would have them respond, for all men, saved and unsaved, continue to sin and come short of the glory of God:

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us (1 John 1:8-10).

 

It is clear that God’s unconditional love supersedes any Biblical concept of unconditional election.

Consider Paul’s comments to Titus in chapter 3. Here Paul instructs Titus to remind those that he will minister to:

1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. 3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:1-7).

 

Does this passage speak to the issue of God’s Unconditional Love or does it speak to the issue of unconditional election? Obviously Paul attributes their salvation to God’s love and His kindness toward them, even though their hearts were wicked and their lives were completely out of control. Paul acknowledges that it is God’s mercy that saved them and not works of righteousness that they had done themselves. Had Paul stopped here, one could argue that God’s love is unconditional, and one could even argue the validity of regeneration and unconditional election in God’s salvific process. However, Paul did not stop there. He goes on to remind everyone how God saved them when “the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared to man;” he said, “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men” (Titus 3:8). Once again Paul is clear; it is God’s unconditional love demonstrated by Christ at Calvary that compels men to “believe in Him,” and that by believing in Him they “shall not perish but have everlasting life.” For those who do not believe in Christ are already condemned because they have not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16-17).

Consider one of the more tender scenes in Scripture painting a picture of Christ’s love for the world He created. Listen to His heart as He laments over Jerusalem before turning His eyes to the cross.

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’” (Matthew 23:37-39).

 

Jesus’ love for the world is seen here as well as in every scene and heard in every syllable and demonstrated in every situation that He found Himself. He is still seeking to save them that are lost. He is still reaching out to gather His children together so that His house is not left desolate. Blessed indeed are all who come in the Name of the Lord. Praise God, man’s Total Lostness is overshadowed by God’s Unconditional Love.


[1] All biblical citations are from the New King James Version.

[2] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 1252.

[3] Ibid., 1253.

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Joshua

Ron,

Could you explain the doctrines of Unconditional Election and Conditional Election and then how your proposal compares? I am not understanding how your doctrine of “Unconditional Love” is to be an adequate replacement for either doctrine.

Thanks!

    Joshua

    I’m sorry Bob, I put Ron at the top of my message. This is what I get for posting at such a time in the morning. I apologize.

    Bob Hadley

    I see unconditional love as the catalyst if you will of our response to come to Christ. I do not believe that God “determined in His heart” who would become objects of His grace and therefore be saved according to His decretive will nor His eternal purposes; I do not believe that God “elected individuals because He saw faith in their future” so I suppose the answer to your question is, I do not see conditional nor unconditional election as valid theological positions.

    I think see “election” in a more corporal sense and not in an individual aspect as far as the majority of texts in the Bible are concerned. I know there are a few texts that will challenge that statement but that argument can be applied to virtually EVERY theological position. Now I am also familiar with Michael Brown’s argument “ If individuals are not involved in God’s election but only the Church viewed as a corporate whole, we are at a loss to know how it is possible for God to elect the Church without in any way being responsible for the election of any individual saint who forms a part of it.” Today, I am inclined to leave those details up to God and not try to haev an answer to every question… I do not mind admiting that I am human and have definite limitations on my logical cognitive abilities to understand the complexities presented in the Scripture. I am working on them though.

    I really see predestination as more related to Christ and His destiny at Calvary and the implications of that and in a sense much of the teaching on Election tied to it as well. Am working through a lot of that in my mind as we speak but that is a generalized statement and answer to your question. I am sure this will continue to evolve in the days to come.

    I am in no way anywhere close to having a complete concept of the whole process of the conversion process and how it relates to every argument etc. That is why I am putting this out there… so in discussing the various aspects, I am challenged to “think through things” as seen in the eyes of others.

    Thanks for your input. Your ideas and comments are appreciated!

    Grateful to be in His Grip!

    ><>”

Mark

If there’s anything that’s unconditional where God is concerned, it would have to be His love for man. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Doesn’t the above verse contain a condition when it states that “that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life?” (emphasis added)

    Bob Hadley

    Sure does but it does not say that “God makes that choice in eternity past” AKA Conditional or Unconditional Election.

    ><>”

Shane

“Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice satisfied God’s Law of justice and retribution set in place because of man’s sin. Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross was “payment in full” for the sin of the world.”

Your statement leads me to believe that all people will enter heaven. I say this because we only have two connclusions from this statement that A) Christ paid for everyone just making salvation possible leaving the POWER in my hands to choose him. Therefore making his blood useless without a sinners decision. Also with so many people going to Hell you could say that Christ death was a failure. Or B) All people go to heaven because he paid for the whole world. and acording to two veses in Hebrews all would go if the death of Christ applied to the whole world.

Heb 10:12But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,
Hbr 10:13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.
Hbr 10:14 For by one offering He has PERFECTED FOREVER THOSE WHO ARE BEING SANCTIFIED.

Hbr 9:12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, HAVING OBTAINED ETERNAL REDEMPTION.

He obtained it, finished it, accomplished it, and is not dependant on anyone. Christ death is payment for sins of the elect which is all who believe in him.

    Bob Hadley

    Shane,

    Thanks for your input. You wrote, “Your statement leads me to believe that all people will enter heaven.” That is indeed unfortunate. I can assure you that was not my intent. Your two conclusions are where your confusion comes in.

    Reconsider my statement. “Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice satisfied God’s Law of justice and retribution set in place because of man’s sin.” Sin has both a corporate side and an individual side. We sin because we are sinners and we are sinners because we sin. Christ died for the sins of the world, corporately and He died for the sins of those who believe individually. he accomplished BOTH on the cross, satisfying God’s law of justice and retribution allowing Him to be the second Adam.

    Jesus indeed obtained it, finished it, accomplished it, and what He did is not dependant on anyone. Christ’s death is payment for sins of the elect (those who are saved) who believe in Him.

    Yep. That certainly works for me!

    Grateful to be in His Grip

    ><>”

Chris Roberts

“While it is easy to see God’s Unconditional Love, it is difficult to see evidences of unconditional election in the nation of Israel’s rocky history.”

Except for the fact that Israel was the nation unconditionally elected by God…

“it may be argued that His love for Israel is not specific at all, but rather a demonstration of His love so that all the world could come to Him and worship Him in spirit and in truth. There is no picture of unconditional election in the life of Israel but God’s Unconditional Love can be seen on every page not only in the Old Testament but the New as well.”

That would be fairly difficult to defend given passages like Deuteronomy 7:6-8 which show fairly clearly and unequivocally God’s election of Israel, and his faithfulness to his promise to make them his people. He did not do it because they were great or mighty or anything to write home about – in other words, he did not elect them because of any condition or merit within them, his election was unconditional. He did it because he said he would.

For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

This is exclusionary language: God passed aside all the other nations on the face of the earth, and singled out Israel for his purposes.

“The second thing that’s equally obvious is the fact that Jesus expected them to repent.”

I am curious what you mean by this. Normally if we say, “So-and-so expected something” what we mean is, “He thought it was going to happen.” I.e., my kids are expecting to get presents on Christmas morning. Do you mean Jesus thought they would repent but was wrong? Or do you mean there was an obligation, a burden, a necessity for them to repent, and they refused? I would agree with the latter statement. The gospel is offered to all people and there is an obligation for all people to respond.

“since Jesus expected this woman to repent, He must have died on the cross to pay the penalty for her sin just as He did for everyone else.”

It would seem a little beyond the scope of this article to get into limited atonement, but briefly, if Jesus paid for her sins, then she would be forgiven. God does not forgive sins then still hold those sins against the sinner. Everyone whose sins were nailed to the cross with Christ, will be with God in eternity. But not everyone will be with God in eternity.

“The father unbeknown to his children wrote a check out to each of his four children that would pay their debts in full and leave them with enough money to live the rest of their lives very comfortably. The father placed the checks in cards that were addressed to each child and placed them on a mantle in his den.”

Such examples are all well and good, but they defy Scripture. Propitiation is never spoken of in terms of potential redemption. A sacrifice always accomplishes what it is given to do. Jesus’ blood is not waiting on a mantle in a pouch, just waiting for some poor sinner to open the pouch and be washed with his blood.

Looking at it another way, the money the father puts on the mantle which goes rejected by his children is money that has failed to accomplish its purpose. The father gave it a good shot, he did the best he knew to do to help his children, but in the end it just wasn’t enough. But that is not the nature of a propitiatory sacrifice and it is not the way God speaks of Jesus’ sacrifice. Jesus accomplished what he set out to do – not to make something potential, but to make something actual.

“The only thing the father wanted was for his children to come and dine with him.”

But that’s not all our Father wants of us.

“This love can also be seen in the wedding feast of Matthew 22.”

It is odd that you would choose the wedding feast as your example, considering how it ends, but you are partly right in its application. This parable shows that God has done everything necessary for salvation, and he has extended the offer of the gospel to all people. The call goes out: “Come to the wedding feast!” Yet no one comes. Finally, one man comes but although this man has responded to the invitation, he has come to the table, he has checked the mantle and found there the envelope of money, this man has come on his own terms, he is not prepared for the feast, and he is cast away.

Then we find these peculiar, significant words: “For many are called, but few are chosen.” The invitation goes out to all, but not all are chosen to come and eat. What might be necessary first? Regeneration. Thus Jesus tells Nicodemus that the only way to see the kingdom of God is to first be born again.

“what did He mean in the second part of this verse, when He said, “with loving kindness I have drawn you”?”

It is often useful to look at the original language to make sure we are talking about equivalent words. This is especially true when trying to argue that a Hebrew word helps us interpret a Greek word (assuming you have in mind a passage like John 6:44 which speaks of the necessity of the Father’s drawing). In this case, Jeremiah 31:3 is translated a bit differently in the KJV than in modern translations. The ESV reads (and the HCSB is similar): “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” Instead of the verb drawing it is the noun faithful love. Behind it is the Hebrew word Chesed, that great word which speaks of God’s faithfulness, his covenant love for his people. It is especially noteworthy that Jeremiah 31 is not talking about what Israel is invited to do; it is talking about what God would do.

One of the greatest promises for New Testament believers is found in Jeremiah 31 – verses 31-34. There, God promises a new covenant to come. Nowhere in this new covenant does God mention what the people must do to receive the covenant – he only speaks of what he would do to bring this covenant about. “If they somehow respond to me with the faith that is already possible for them, then I will write my law on their hearts…?” No – “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Their work to respond to him, to be his people, comes as a result of his work, writing on their hearts, and making them his people.

“Does this passage speak to the issue of God’s Unconditional Love or does it speak to the issue of unconditional election?”

Not every passage dealing with salvation will address election. You cannot disprove unconditional election by saying, “See? He doesn’t mention it in this verse!” But as it is, this passage does show that our salvation does not come through our action – as you yourself note, v5: “…he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit…”

As for your attempt to change the implication of v5, I’m not sure what you are saying. “It almost sounds like our salvation is unconditional, with nothing to do with our work, until Paul turns around and tells it is because of our work…”? Verse 8 does not tell us how those who believe in God have come to believe in God; it only tells us that if you now believe, there are things expected of you. Regeneration means something. The presence of the Spirit will lead to something. Life in Christ brings about change. If you belong to Christ, if you believe in him, if you have been saved and transformed by his mercy and grace, then you now should live for him. The call for faithfulness among believers in verse 8 does not negate the message of unmerited salvation in verse 5.

“it is God’s unconditional love demonstrated by Christ at Calvary that compels men to “believe in Him,””

What do you mean by compels? My dictionary says it means, “force or oblige”. In what sense are men compelled to believe?

    Bob Hadley

    Hey Chris,

    You wrote, “that would be fairly difficult to defend given passages like Deuteronomy 7:6-8 which show fairly clearly and unequivocally God’s election of Israel, and his faithfulness to his promise to make them his people.”

    I agree with your statement here, 100%. The point of contention is that God chose the NATION Israel and not the individuals who made up the whole. Look at the verses before and after the 3 you cited, Consider, “4 For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the Lord will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly. 5 But thus you shall deal with them: you shall destroy their altars, and break down their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images, and burn their carved images with fire.” I do not see Unconditional Election as far as individual names concerned ANYWHERE in the OT with reference to Israel as a whole. That is my point. Unconditional love is however seen on every page. It was Adrian Rogers I think who said, “cut any page in the Bible and it will bleed the blood of Jesus” which is the ultimate expression of God’s love to the world He is seeking to reconcile unto Himself in Christ.

    Didn’t find the specific comment you are referring to in the quote on “Jesus’ expecting them to repent… lot of stuff to scan in both areas) but I am pretty sure you statement is correct, “Or do you mean there was an obligation, a burden, a necessity for them to repent, and they refused? I would agree with the latter statement. The gospel is offered to all people and there is an obligation for all people to respond.”

    You wrote, “if Jesus paid for her sins, then she would be forgiven. God does not forgive sins then still hold those sins against the sinner. Everyone whose sins were nailed to the cross with Christ, will be with God in eternity. But not everyone will be with God in eternity.” OK.. that has been argued for centuries and you and I have tackled it I am sure so let’s just suffice it to say that is debateable for now. I disagree as the illustration in my article points out.

    I also am aware of the ramifications of the argument, “he did the best he knew to do to help his children, but in the end it just wasn’t enough.” This smacks of man’s free will overstepping God’s sovereignty… I cannot overstep His sovereignty… teh fact that I or anyone refuses His offer in no way supercedes His purpose if His purpose is conditioned by my response to His unconditional Love.

    “The only thing the father wanted was for his children to come and dine with him.” But that’s not all our Father wants of us.

    I know that. It was an illustration dealing with His gift not His ultimate purpose for a relationship with me.

    You wrote, “Then we find these peculiar, significant words: “For many are called, but few are chosen.” The invitation goes out to all, but not all are chosen to come and eat. What might be necessary first?” That seems to me to be a little confusing… if many are called perhaps the best interpreation of those chosen are those who responded to the invitation. The chosen are those who came; which as I see it is the purpose of the invitaton in the first place.

    You wrote, “What might be necessary first? Regeneration. Thus Jesus tells Nicodemus that the only way to see the kingdom of God is to first be born again.” Might be… but certainly not stated here. Jesus’ statement to be born again is absolutely necessary to see the kingdom of God but again does not suggest regeneration PRIOR to repentance and saving faith; the rest of John 3 really supports the “whosoever believes” is regenerated and not the other way around.

    I love your comments with respect to Jeremiah 31.. ““I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” Instead of the verb drawing it is the noun faithful love. Behind it is the Hebrew word Chesed, that great word which speaks of God’s faithfulness, his covenant love for his people. It is especially noteworthy that Jeremiah 31 is not talking about what Israel is invited to do; it is talking about what God would do.”

    You are absolutely correct in noting God’s covenant love for Israel and for us all for that matter; It is all based on what God promises to do in us and with us and for us. One point to note is that a covenant is conditional; God is the initiator and the guarantor of the terms of the covenant and Israel and ultimately we are the beneficiaries or the covenant based on our keeping our part of the covenant.

    OK… didnt read far enough… you wrote, “Nowhere in this new covenant does God mention what the people must do to receive the covenant – he only speaks of what he would do to bring this covenant about. “If they somehow respond to me with the faith that is already possible for them, then I will write my law on their hearts…?” No – “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Their work to respond to him, to be his people, comes as a result of his work, writing on their hearts, and making them his people.”

    Notice your OWN statement here… “Nowhere in this new covenant does God mention what the people must do to receive the covenant – he only speaks of what he would do to bring this covenant about.” Then you wrote, “If they somehow respond to me with the faith that is already possible for them, then I will write my law on their hearts…?” No – You contradicted your own statement! The fact that He says He will write is Word in our hearts has NOTHING to do with regeneration PRIOR to repentance. It amply fits BOTH interpretations.

    You wrote, “Regeneration means something. The presence of the Spirit will lead to something. Life in Christ brings about change. If you belong to Christ, if you believe in him, if you have been saved and transformed by his mercy and grace, then you now should live for him. The call for faithfulness among believers in verse 8 does not negate the message of unmerited salvation in verse 5.”

    I agree. Remember, there really is no disagreement on the necessity of regeneration; the disagreement comes in WHEN regeneration takes place and why.

    Even in your assessment, “”Regeneration means something. The presence of the Spirit will lead to something. Life in Christ brings about change. If you belong to Christ, if you believe in him, if you have been saved and transformed by his mercy and grace, then you now should live for him.”

    My point here is this; “does the Holy Spirit come prior to repentance and saving faith or after.” I maintain He occupies a cleansed heart that comes with repentance and saving faith; Since I do not see regeneration separate from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, I am not seeing “regeneration as preceding repentance and faith.”

    “What do you mean by compels? My dictionary says it means, “force or oblige”. In what sense are men compelled to believe?” Oblige is ok… it demands a response.

    Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Grateful to be in His Grip!

    &gt'<>”

Ben Simpson

Bob, I say to you basically the following same thing that I said to Ron Hale when he opined on election last month. If you are going to write an alternative view to the typical understandings of unconditional election and conditional election, I encourage you to deal with the Bible precisely where the Scripture speaks to the doctrine of election such as: John 1:12-13, John 3:3,7-8, John 6:37, John 10:25-30, John 15:12-19, Acts 13:44-48, Romans 8:28-30, Romans 9:14-16,22-24, Romans 11:1-7, 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, Ephesians 1:3-14, Ephesians 2:4-10, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5, 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, 2 Timothy 2:10, 1 Peter 2:9-10.

You must show how these passages teach neither conditional nor unconditional election but instead teach unconditional love. Good luck with that!

    Bob Hadley

    Ben…

    Sorry you are next. Did Ron respond to your post? If he did, I am confident that his answer and mine would resonate well together. I would like to see it if he did.. and then make comments accordingly.

    Thanks for your contribution.

    ><>”

Bob Hadley

Dan…

Here is what I see in the Scriptures you listed.

Scriptures on Election

John 1:12-13, I backed up to 9-13…
9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

In thinking about “unconditional election” verse 11 is certainly interesting. If He came to His own, then how could they NOT receive Him? Jesus is of course speaking of the Jewish nation but they did not receive Him. Those who DID receive Him are those who “believed in His name.” Verse 13 does qualify those who believe.

Those who believe are not those born into Christian homes, (Jewish here) nor by baptism (circumcision for the Jew) nor by adoption but are born of God; salvation is of God and His provisions.

I understand the idea that “the will of man” is a reference to man’s total inability to respond to the Holy Spirit apart from regeneration, which is of God. I do not believe that is consistent with the rest of the Scriptures.

John 3:3,7-8, Sorry. Don’t see any specific significance in the discussion of election here.

John 6:37, 35-40
35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Verse 37 is further qualified by verses 44 and following.

43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

In looking at this passage in its entirety, I see the importance of believing in Jesus and that is what brings about regeneration. Once again, this passage does not seem to speak about election.

John 10:25-30,
25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

Jesus is speaking to the religious leaders who refused to hear Him and see His purpose in the works that He did. Those works “bear witness” or verify His purpose. These religious folks did not believe in Him because “they are not His sheep.” Now, in all fairness there are two valid ways to see Jesus’ statement. They were not His sheep because they refused to hear His voice and follow Him… and the second is they did not follow because they were not His sheep. Both are valid interpretations and arguments equally supported.

John 15:12-19,
Once again, going to be tough to prove election here… Jesus is speaking to His disciples…

11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

I chose you and appointed you to go and bring forth fruit. This is a reference to His calling them to “come and follow Him.”

Acts 13:44-48,
44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said,”It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.'”

48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

The Jews contradicted and blasphemed; the religious proselytes heard attentively, and received the word of life: the Jews through their own stubbornness, refused to receive the Gospel; the others, destitute of prejudice and prepossession, were glad to hear that, in the order of God, the Gentiles were included in the covenant of salvation through Christ Jesus. God appointed salvation to the Gentiles not individuals.

Romans 8:28-30
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Paul is speaking to the Christians in Rome and I believe this passage speaks to God’s choice to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. See Ephesians 1.

Eph 1:3-14
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth — in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

Notice in verse 13, there is no mention of regeneration with respect to their salvation. In fact, Paul says “having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.” Seems to be a pretty strong case that regeneration is the result of repentance and not that which brings repentance. 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Romans 9:14-16,22-24, Rom 9:6-24
6 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, 7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” 8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. 9 For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.”

10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”

Israel’s Rejection and God’s Justice

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Rom 9:30-33
30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.

Once again, Paul is speaking to the issue of salvation being made to the Gentiles. These verses have nothing to do with individual election.

Romans 11:1-7,
11 I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, 3 “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”? 4 But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

7 What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

Once again, this passage is clearly speaking of the issue of salvation being given to the Gentiles, which is and always has been God’s predestined plan and purpose from the beginning.

1 Corinthians 1:26-31,
26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God — and righteousness and sanctification and redemption — 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

Qualifications of the man God can use. No reference to election here.

Ephesians 2:4-10,
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Saved by Grace through faith… great passage of scripture but no reference to individual election.

1 Thessalonians 1:1-5,
2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, 3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, 4 knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. 5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

6 And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. 8 For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. 9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Once again, Paul is thanking the Thessalonians for their faithfulness to the Word that they believed in and were faithful to… their election by God was as Gentiles… no individual election in this verse either.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14,
13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, 14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.
16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.

Again, election of Gentiles and not individual election.

2 Timothy 2:10,
8 Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Here Paul is admonishing Timothy to remain strong in the Lord; Paul tells him that he ‘endures all things for the elect, those who are saved… so that THEY may obtain the salvation which is in Jesus Christ with eternal glory. This is not a reference to conversion but rather sanctification.

See the verses to follow: “14 Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 17 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, 18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

1 Peter 2:9-10.
Lets back up to Chapter 1: 1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
Once again we see a letter addressed to Gentile Christians who are the elect according to the foreknowledge of God. Now to chapter 2:

2 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture… They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

This is a definite reference to God’s plan and purpose to bring salvation to the Gentile world.

>&lt’>”

Ben Simpson

Bob,

I’m assuming that you were referring to me here when you wrote to “Dan.” You previously asked if Ron responded to my challenge. He did not. Perhaps he could come alongside you and “Amen!” what you have written.

Thank you for taking each text and commenting on it, but I’m afraid that you missed my actual challenge. I challenged you to “show how these passages teach neither conditional nor unconditional election but instead teach unconditional love.” It seems that you simply demonstrated how these passages in your understanding do not teach unconditional election. Therefore, am I to assume that your position is nothing more than conditional election with a different name? Are you just recasting the typical Arminian soteriology into the T-U-L-I-P acronym, or are you attempting to put forth something new? I must admit that I’m confused.

    Bob Hadley

    Ben,

    You are correct that Dan should have been Ben… your challenge, ““to show how these passages teach neither conditional nor unconditional election but instead teach unconditional love.” was in and of itself a moot challenge in that the only thing I could do with the specific passages was deal with the issue of election. There was never any contention that these passages would deal with unconditional Love.

    Now as to your understanding of my position with respect to election in the mentioned passages, I spoke of what I saw or did not see with respect to election, both conditional and unconditional because while I understand the difference between the two, I do not see evidence of either in most of the passages, with the exception of the couple I acknowledged in my comments.

    The answer to both questions you pose is “No.” When I say “No reference to INDIVIDUAL ELECTION that is to unconditional or conditional.

    I am not Arminian because I do not begin with total depravity, which was dealt with in the first post.

    ><>”

    Ben Simpson

    Bob,

    Thank you for the clarification. You are saying that God did not conditionally or unconditionally elect/choose individuals. Instead, you are saying that God unconditionally elected/chose corporate humanity (Jews & Gentiles or in other words, every body). Do you believe that God elected/chose every person? Could you please define your understanding of election?

      Bob Hadley

      The reason I called you dan in the first post is because that is one of the check words to guard against spam… just used it now! Was wondering how I made that kind of mistake.

      As to your question of How I see election… I am refining all this and that is why I am participating in the forum in the first place. It is so much easier for me to work through questions that folks like you pose because you do not look at what I write in the same way I would.. sort of like someone checking my addition because I am apt to make the same mistake over and over again…

      So… while my concept of election is not fully developed by any means, I am leaning toward saying I see election as conceptual and more corporate than I do individual. I am relatively certain that I see predestination to a large degree relative to Calvary and God’s ultimate plan and purpose in salvation in general. Now while election is different from predestination, they are closely related and connected.

      Many if not most of the passages dealing with election are not individual in nature but rather corporate in that they for the most part deal with God’s plan to bring salvation to the gentiles. This is clear in God’s original promise made to Abraham.

      While I understand the ramifications of God’s omniscience and the philosophical debate that takes place with the various nuances that omniscience poses, I do not believe the Bible speaks directly to God’s specific choosing of individuals to be saved and His deliberate choosing of individuals to remain lost and damned to an eternity in hell.

      If that makes my position less than desirable then so be it. I would rather say i do not know all the ramifications of a particular problem than to claim that I do and come to the specific conclusions that unconditional and even conditional election poses. I simply cannot do so or am not willing to do so today.

      ><>”

      Ben Simpson

      I understand you’re in process, but who or what did God elect/choose?

        Bob Hadley

        I will answer the What He Chose…

        God chose to send His Son Jesus to die on the cross so that you and I in believing that He is indeed everything that He says He is (revelation) and that He will do everything that He says He will do (reconciliation) we might repent of our sin and turn from self to Jesus and receive forgiveness and adoption into His forever family.

        His elect are those who have believed.

        ><>”

        Ben Simpson

        Bob,

        So, God chose a plan and not a people? Is there any Scripture to back that statement? Everywhere election/choosing is talked about, it’s electing/choosing of people. While God did certainly choose to do what you said, that is not how God uses elect/choose in the Scripture.

        Also, I think I am detecting an inconsistency in what you are saying. You said earlier that many of the verses dealing with election have to do with the Gentiles as a category being chosen for salvation, and of course, the Jews were already chosen as well. So, basically you were saying that the “elect/chosen” is all of humanity.

        But, in your last comment, you said that God’s elect are those who have believed. So, which is it?

          Bob Hadley

          Sometimes I think we may be guilty of looking for contradictions in what we read and in reality they may only exist between our own ears.

          “So, God chose a plan and not a people?” Semantics my dear brother… God’s plan includes His people.

          Now you confuse me… you wrote, “While God did certainly choose to do what you said, that is not how God uses elect/choose in the Scripture.”
          ???????????????????

          Your view of my inconsistency… whether Jew or gentile, God’s “elect” are those who believe. Seems to be pretty simple to me.

          ><>”

          Ben Simpson

          Bob,

          Commenting on 1 Thes 1:1-5, you said: “their election by God was as Gentiles… no individual election in this verse either.”

          Commenting on 2 Thes 2:13-14, you said: “Again, election of Gentiles and not individual election.”

          It seems clear from these two comments that you believe, Bob, that God elected Gentile people as a category, which means that they are God’s elect.

          Then you contradicted yourself and said, “His elect are those who have believed.”

          That is a contradiction. The sad thing is that it may not be one between your ears.

          Bob, I’m not even arguing for or against you because at this point you’ve not put forth a coherent position that’s understandable. I don’t even know what you are trying to say even after several clarifying questions because YOU don’t know what you are trying to say. To be honest, I’m embarrassed for you. Perhaps you have gotten in over your head. Blessings as you continue to try to tread water!

Mark

Bob, concerning John 1:12-13, more specifically verse 13…
9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

You said:

I understand the idea that “the will of man” is a reference to man’s total inability to respond to the Holy Spirit apart from regeneration, which is of God. I do not believe that is consistent with the rest of the Scriptures.

I am trying to understand your meaning. Are you saying that this Scripture is inconsistent with the rest of Scripture? Or…?

Bob Hadley

Mark,

My comment was poorly worded. A better statement would be: While I understand HOW Calvinists reconcile the concept of the “free will of man” as being completely consistent with the notion of man’s total inability to respond to the Holy Spirit apart from regeneration, I do not believe that this concept is consistent with the rest of the Scriptures.

I have read on a number of occasions that this passage is used to indicate that the Scriptures teach that man is not saved or converted by “the will of man” and so by default he must be saved by the will of God, thereby cementing the foundation for unconditional election. I was simply saying that I do not see that in this passage nor do I find that concept laid out in the rest of or the whole of Scriptures. I was acknowledging that I do understand how Calvinists see depravity or inability and regeneration leading to “man’s free will” and the two not being inconsistent as some charge. I was saying in effect, I am not going there or making that kind of argument.

><>”

    Les

    Bob,

    You said, “…by default he must be saved by the will of God, thereby cementing the foundation for unconditional election.”

    Here is a question: If ANY man is saved, do you believe his salvation is God’s will? I’m not asking about ALL men or SOME men. Just one. If a person is saved, is that God’s will?

    Thanks,

    Les

      Bob Hadley

      Yes. If a person is saved, it is God’s will… my problem is with the reverse of that statement; if a person is NOT saved, is that God’s will and my answer is unequivocally NO it is NOT. (2 Peter 3:9)

      ><>”

        Les

        Bob, I think you are just choosing to ignore the reverse. 2 Peter passage does not mean that he WILLS that none would perish. If it did, then NONE would perish. The ESV translates it better using “wish” instead of “will.” And that’s consistent with “God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked.”

        Really, this issue begs for definitions of the various meanings and types of God’s will. But I know many don’t want to talk about that. Some say just read the bible.

          Bob Hadley

          Les,

          2 Peter 3:9 was in reference to the first part of my statement. I was not using the verse to substantiate the second part of my statement. I just put it there afterwards… probably should not have done so.

          I stand by my statement, “if a person is NOT saved, is that God’s will and my answer is unequivocally NO it is NOT.”

          You are right… I am not interested in a discussion of the different types of God’s will nor the different types of His grace nor the different types of His Decrees.

          Those are explanations that folks have contrived to make their presuppositions sound intelligent.

          You are right; I would prefer to stick with the Bible, which seems to me to the safest foundation to build on.

          ><>”

          Les

          Bob,

          Discussions on the types of God’s will, etc. are just hermeneutics.

          But so be it. We can leave it there.

          Les

    Les

    Oh, I said you said,

    “…by default he must be saved by the will of God, thereby cementing the foundation for unconditional election.”

    I did not mean to imply YOU believe that. You went on to say, “I was simply saying that I do not see that in this passage nor do I find that concept laid out in the rest of or the whole of Scriptures.”

    Sorry for not completing that reference.

volfan007

As someone who is not involved in any system of theology, let me just say that I have no problem with the fact that the death of Jesus is sufficient to cover the sins of everyone in the world, and He sincerely, earnestly desires the salvation of all men. And yet, the death of Jesus will only be effective in the life of those who repent and believe.

Let me just say that I have no problem with the fact that God chose to save me, and He planned to save me before the world began. I believe in personal, individual election and predestination. But, at the same time, man was made in the image of God, and must make choices…can make choices…and is responsible for the choices he makes. In other words, election and predestination does not do away with the choice and responsibility of man. And, the choice and responsibility of man does not do away with the election of God and predestination.

I have no problem in believing in the total depravity of man, IF by that you mean that man is sinful and totally unable to save himself. If you mean that man is so dead that he no longer can make choices…can no longer respond to the calling and convicting of the Lord…then I dont agree with your version of total depravity.

I believe that we should just let the Bible tell us what it tells us…and accept it. I believe that so many fellas try to get into the realm of the unknown, and dwell there…. thus coming up with many, many, theological, philosophical theories and opinions, which really they have no idea about….and then, set about trying to convert others to their “system” of believing…even wanting to convert churches, the SBC, etc.

David

Les

David,

I appreciate your heart felt honesty. May I ask a question? You said,

“Let me just say that I have no problem with the fact that God chose to save me, and He planned to save me before the world began.”

I agree. Would you agree that it could NOT have turned out any other way? i.e. there is no way you could NOT have been saved if He did, as you say, “planned to save me before the world began.”

    volfan007

    Les,

    I believe that I had to make a real choice whether to be saved, or not. And, this choice does nothing to take away from the sovereignty of God, or from election, nor from predestination. I believe that God is big enough to work thru all of this to bring about His purposes, without being fatalistic.

    David

      Les

      But David,

      Would you agree that it could NOT have turned out any other way?

        volfan007

        Les,

        I had to make a real choice. Choices mean that things can go differently.

        From the perspective of Heaven….with God knowing all things….not being bound by time….He can see everything as already done….finished.

        David

Debbie Kaufman

David: So you would call your being brought to Christ despite would be termed fatalistic?

Debbie Kaufman

That should be, your being brought to Christ despite would be fatalistic? I would also ask who do you think God is. Do you actually think He is not active but passive? Really??

Bob Hadley

Debbie,

God was and is active in providing the means of salvation and He is active in making the benefits of His salvation available to all who reoent and believe in Him. The fact that an individual does not believe has absolutely nothing to do with the availability of the benefits, IF he would simply believe.

That is the only thing God does not do for an individual. He makes salvation so simple and so available that ANYONE can come in repentance and faith and believe in the finished work at Calvary based on promises found in the word of God. That choice is ours to make.

><>”

    volfan007

    Debbie,

    What Bob said. God is very active in salvation….very, very active. If He had not chosen to come to you and me, then we would’ve never been saved.

    DAvid

    PS. If man has no choice, then that’s fatalistic. Whatever’s gonna happen is gonna happen. That’s how the old, Hardshell Baptists believed.

Debbie Kaufman

If man has no choice, then that is God’s unconditional love.

Fatalism is a word thrown around that negates who God is. Think about it gentleman? Who is God really? And do you actually think an all powerful, all knowing God would hold back all that He is? He is a personal one on one God who is active in all aspects of our salvation.

God elects Individuals to salvation
Psa 65:4; Mat 24:24; John 6:37; John 15:16; Act 13:48; Rom 8:28-30; Rom 9:10-24; Rom 11:5-7; Eph 1:3-6; Eph 1:11-12; 1The 1:4; 1The 5:9; 2The 2:13-14

    volfan007

    Debbie,

    God’s love has nothing to do with whether election is unconditional or conditional….God loves whether election is unconditional or not.

    Also, the very definition of fatalism is that man has no choice. If God arbitrarily chooses one person to be saved, while not choosing to save someone else, then that’s fatalism. The people had no choice in the matter whatsoever.

    David

    Bob Hadley

    Here is a question that I continue to have a major problem understanding as I try to rectify this position you express as you say, “Who is God really? And do you actually think an all powerful, all knowing God would hold back all that He is? He is a personal one on one God who is active in all aspects of our salvation.”

    Here is my question… if it is God who is active in ALL aspects of our salvation as you suggest, how can you in your own mind see God as simply NOT saving any?

    I hear this statement made over and over again, “the question is not why did God save some, the quesiton is why did God save any.” I understand that statement… but even that is different from saying… the quesiton is not why does God save some, but rather why does He NOT save so many?

    I believe He has done everything heavenly possible to bring salvation to all men. However, the benefits that are eternal are available to those who place their faith and trust in Him and through repentance and forgiveness are made part of His forever family. This whole notion that God is in absolutely control of who is and who is not saved is amazing for me to even fathom. I simply am amazed at this whole concept.

    If man’s response to God is not important, there would be no admonition to come to Him in Faith… because that is what faith is, trusting God instead of ourselves. It makes no sense to say have faith in God… WHEN He gives you the ability to do so in the first place.

    Dazed and Amazed

    ><>”

Debbie Kaufman

According to the Bible, God even is involved in games of chance like the rolling of the dice.

Pro 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.

1Ki 22:20 And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead?…1Ki 22:34 And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded. …1Ki 22:37 So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria.

    volfan007

    Debbie,

    All of us, who are not 5 pt. Calvinists, also believe that God is actively working in the world….that He is carrying out His purposes in this world…..we just dont believe in fatalism, as you apparently do.

    David

      Bob Hadley

      David

      I think I could rationalize fatalism easier than I could determinism! I do not care for either but if I had to pick A or B, I think I would have to choose the former. Glad I can pick, C, other!

      ><>”

        Bob Hadley

        Let me say with respect to the statement above, I think I myself would rather charge events to fate than I would to God. I was actually viewing fatalism as a “whatever will be will be position” in contrast to Divine Determinism where every action and reaction is ascribed to totally to God. Since there is no point to human effort in either, and I would reject both as valid arguments in any discussion anyway.

        I just do not have the nerve to blame all that is wrong on God; I KNOW that has certainly not been the case in my life! That was why I said I thought I could justify fatalism easier than determinism.

        In truth… the statement I made was more tongue in cheek than it was theological and if I had a delete button I would have used it. Those are really two terms I do not use personally and probably should not have used them here!

        ><>”

Debbie Kaufman

Let me say with respect to the statement above, I think I myself would rather charge events to fate than I would to God

You accuse me of believing fatalism. I believe in a Sovereign God and no matter what happens in life, I still have faith in God because I know everything that happens good or bad is for His purpose. There is a God reason for everything, even if I don’t understand why, if what happens pains me deeply, there is a reason God has allowed it, and that reason is always good and right, because God can never sin and all that He is is good and right.

Then there is scripture Bob. It seems you may want a God of your own making instead of the God of the Bible. God isn’t just powerful, all knowing, everywhere, etc. just in salvation. But in everything. There is not one thing that happens that God has not given his permission to happen.

Proverbs 16:4. “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil”

Isaiah 45:7. “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things”

Romans 9:16. “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”

Isaiah 43:7. “Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him”.

Isaiah 45:7. “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things”.

John 12:39-40. “Therefore they could not believe…He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart.”

Matthew 11:25. “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

Matthew 11:27. “…neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.”

Romans 9:18. “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth

Matthew 19:25-26. “Who then can be saved?…With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

    Bob Hadley

    Debbie,

    First of all, lets clear up one thing… You said, “You accuse me of believing fatalism.” Correction. I NEVER use that word so I did no such thing. I only used it in this post because you or someone else, David brought it up.

    You said, “I believe in a Sovereign God and no matter what happens in life, I still have faith in God because I know everything that happens good or bad is for His purpose.” I understand that and I am also familiar with the passages that you cite. I do not believe in divine determinism nor do I believe in total depravity, unconditional election or Limited Atonement nor Irresistible Grace as we will see in the next couple weeks, in this series.

    This is an age old struggle and there are quality, capable folk on both sides of the argument. I am like you are, seeking to know Him and the power of His resurrection and how all the dots connect so that I may enjoy all that He has in store for me and those around me.

    Thanks for your participation.

    ><>”

Debbie Kaufman

Do you really think that Christ coming to this earth to die on the cross was an afterthought of God’s? Plan B? Oh no. All things happened as they were supposed to happen.

    Bob Hadley

    Again… NOPE. There is no such thing as an afterthought with God; no plan B.

    We are good there. I believe that Christ was predestined to go to the cross from the foundation of the world. I believe when God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life, God KNEW that it would cost Him the life of His Son but the amazing thing is, He did it anyway!

    I believe God planned for the elect to spend eternity in heaven with Him for eternity and that is why He sent Jesus to pay the penalty for your sin and mine. The benefits of the atonement are available to those who through repentance and faith trust Christ and Him alone for conversion. So, in that respect, I agree with you that ALL things happen as they are “supposed to happen” and God is indeed in charge of everything He has deemed necessary to effect eternity for those who believe.

    ><>”

Bob Hadley

Can I Miss God’s Plan???

I read this statement this morning and am wondering how it “squares” with irresistible grace?

“Wondering this morning how many prayed for Messiah’s kingdom to come before Christ was born but missed it b/c they were expecting something different…and how often I pray the same (Luke 11:2) with my own agenda at heart and, thus, set myself up to miss God’s plan b/c I have my heart set on something different.”

Your thoughts?

Grateful to be in His Grip!

><>”

Les

Bob,

I don’t know about this quote you made and how it relates to irresistible grace. But I love the reminder about postmillennialism. The Lord’s prayer teaches,

“…expects that the gospel will be successful in winning a majority of people to faith in Christ, such that righteousness will triumph over evil.

I love that William Carey was both a Postmillennialist and a Calvinist,as am I.

So, irresistible only reinforces that God WILL bring all “His people” into His expansive kingdom. Amen!

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