Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Origin of Sin

Do you believe man was born with a sinful nature? Is the reason all men have sinned because all men were born in sin?

Is this what is referred to as Original Sin?

I am curious, can you think of any verses that would prove man is born with a sinful nature?

25 comments:

jazzycat said...

Romans 5:19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous.

Adam had the power to not sin. Through his disobedience, his offspring were made sinners. Therefore, we sin because we are sinners.

Jim said...

Jazzy, it is interesting that the verse says many were made sinners. Does this many mean all people were made sinners?

jazzycat said...

Jim,
That is interesting. I think it does mean all people. If it doesn't, then we know that all end up becoming sinners as Paus says for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Jim said...

True, but if many means all in the first context of the verse does it not carry that many should be all in the second half as well?

"many will be made righteous"

I'm not suggesting universal atonement but it does seem to be somewhat open ended.

Consider the previous verse.

"Therefore, as through one mans' offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life."

This is the context in which I read John 3:16.

Whosoever will may come!

Is that a fair reading of the text?

jazzycat said...

Jim,
Yes, it would seem to apply universal atonement. This is a perfect example of looking elsewhere in Scripture to see if perhaps an apparent precept is really true. It doesn't take much effort to discover that universal atonement is not true. However, it also does not take long to determine that all (100%) are sinners.

I agree totally that John 3:16 means whosoever will may come. John 3:16 does not speak to man's ability or the possibility of coming apart from God's intervention. You must look elsewhere in Scripture to find that answer.

Have you ever witnessed on the internet to atheists? It is very interesting.

Jim said...

I have not really witnessed to athiests on the web but I do read Ray Comfort's blog and he has some very interesting discussions.

Daniel said...

Jim - I believe that man was born cursed, and the consequences of that curse are that all men sin as soon as they are able. I don't think of it as some intrinsic thing that I am born with, rather I think of it as something I am born without - Christ.

The doctrine is, really, more of an apologetic, to explain why it is that all men sin - and Wayne answered the question - men sin because they are sinners.

I would answer it that men sin because Adam's transgression caused them to become sinners, but I wouldn't insist that the causality be that sin created in us a "sin nature" - for I do not hold sin as having creative power (for there is only one Creator, and it isn't sin) - and I likewise do not hold to the idea that God created "a sin nature" to punish Adam and his progeny with. Whatever causes us to sin, I think it was brought into being by Adam's sin, but not created - not something extra, but something less, not a something, but the lack of something.

If that makes any sense.

Jim said...

Daniel, are you saying you do not hold to the reformed teaching of Original Sin?

I had always been under the impression that we were born with a sin nature. But now I can see that perhaps because we were born spiritually dead our inclination was to sin given the opportunity.

Perhaps "nature" is the wrong term. Our expression as fallen man is to sin and thus we refer to the way in which we are bound to act as our nature. (ie: it's just his nature to do that)

Rose~ said...

Hi again Jim.

Jazzy said:
It doesn't take much effort to discover that universal atonement is not true.

Jazzy, I have put a lot of effort into that and have not found universal atonement to be so obviusly untrue or limited atonement to be apparently true. Could you tell me what Sciptures make it so abundantly and easily clear that Christ did not die for all sinners?

Even the most ardent Calvinists that I know tell me that it is difficult to make a case for limited atonement from the Scripures.

Jim said...

Rose,

Perhaps the question we should be asking ourselves is; Do we fully understand the atonement and what it means for us today as believers, and how does it affect a lost world?

Daniel said...

Jim, I will get to your questions in a bit, but I want to answer Rose,

Rose ~ Greetings. I cannot speak for Wayne but I suspect our answers would be similar. If I may...

You said, "I have put a lot of effort into that and have not found universal atonement to be so obvi[ou]usly untrue or limited atonement to be apparently true. Could you tell me what Sc[r]iptures make it so abundantly and easily clear that Christ did not die for all sinners?"

I think it is helpful to work from an objective understanding of what is meant by "atonement" - that is, we must guard against subjective interpretations of what "atonement means to me" and answer the question what is atonement.

Plainly and briefly stated, the idea of atonement refers to an accomplished (that is completed) reconciliation.

When we speak of "The Atonement" in Christianity, we are speaking about that finished work by which Christ reconciles men to God.

Here we need some discernment in order not to confuse similar ideas.

On the annual "Day of Atonement" in the OT, the sacrifice did not atone for everyone in the world - it only atoned for the "nation" of Israel - and to be sure, it didn't even atone for every Israelite - for we read elsewhere that not everyone who was descended from Israel was rightly called an Israelite. Not that we need to build a case on such verses - as it was self-evident from Christ's ministry, and the ministry of the Apostles, that simply "being Jewish" by descent was by no means going to get anyone into heaven.

So the atonement was made only for those Jews who were "children of the promise" - those whom we would say were "faithful" (meaning they, like Abraham, were justified by faith and not by ancestry).

Here is where discernment is needed - We rightly discern that although the atonement was externally "offered" to all the children of Israel, it was only effective for those who were actually children of the promise. But we err greatly if we conclude from this that all were "atoned" for - but only those of the promise "made use of" the atonement. That idea betrays a critical misunderstanding of what is happening.

Atonement can be offered, but it is not applied except for those who are atoned for.

Perhaps a better example is Noah's Ark. Noah preached righteousness to his generation - and atonement was "offered" to all his generation, but it was only given to Noah and to his family - that is, only Noah and his family were actually reconciled to God (atoned for).

Here too we must exercise a proper understanding of atonement, if one is reconciled by an atonement -then one is reconciled "period". That is what atonement is - reconciliation.

Consider again Noah. If everyone had been reconciled to God then God would have been unjust to pour his wrath upon those who drowned - for they were just as reconciled to God as Noah. Unless a person understands that atonement -is- reconciliation, they can really mess this up.

Thus when we speak of universal atonement - we are talking about Jesus reconciling every single person to God. If that were the case, if Christ's death -did- reconcile everyone to God, then no person in all of history would ever be shut out of the kingdom, and hell would be for the Devil and his minions only.

But we see that not everyone is going to pass through the judgment unscathed - and that teaches us that not everyone is atoned for.

Only those who are reconciled to God will pass unscathed through the judgment.

When Paul speaks of the atonement as God "reconciling the world to Himself in Christ" (c.f. 2 Cor 5:19) - we understand Paul's use of the word "world" both in the immediate context, and by comparing it with the way Paul spoke of reconciliation elsewhere (In Romans 11:14-15 he speaks of arousing tje Jews to envy in order to save some of them for, as Paul says, if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be? - that is Paul is speaking of the world (with regards to reconciliation) not as meaning everyone who ever lived, but rather as meaning "not just the Jews". I mean really... if everyone was already reconciled to God, Paul's exhortations to become reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:20) would be rather pointless and quite unnecessary.

If you accept as true the idea that only those sinners who exercise saving faith in Christ will go to heaven, and that the remainder - those who reject Christ - will not go to heaven, then you are accepted (on a fundamental level) the idea that the atonement is limited to those sinners who exercise saving faith in Christ.

We do well to note that what has separated us from God is sin. Reconciliation takes place when? When sin is dealt with. When are we atoned for? When our sin has been dealt with.

If Christ atoned for everyone, that means that Christ suffered in full for the entire wrath of God directed against every sin that was ever committed. If God has fully punished every sin in Christ, there is no more room for condemnation - everyone must go to heaven - for there is no conceivable way for God to punish the same sin twice, if in fact he punished fully the first time. If he failed to punish it fully - no one could get to heaven, and if he did punish it fully - all would get to heaven.

Can it be that God did not know beforehand who would turn to Christ in faith? Did God really send Jesus not knowing whether or not anyone would be saved? If that seems ridiculous, then follow the reasoning to its logical conclusion If God knows beforehand who will be reconciled to Him by saving faith, would he send Christ to reconcile everyone to himself?

If not everyone, then we admit there is a limit, and if allow God to be omniscient, we must allow that God knows who will be atoned for - and if we allow this, we must allow that God only reconciles those who will be reconciled, and not all - and since reconciliation -is- atonement, we are saying that all who are saved are atoned for, and only those who are saved are atoned for - and God knows beforehand who they will be - and Jesus has been sent for them, and only for them.

The problem isn't really understanding the meaning of the word atonement though.

The problem for me was that I understood through my own experience that in order for me to be saved, I had to believe that Jesus really did save sinners, and that if I turned to him in faith, he really would save me. I had to believe that I not only qualified to be saved, but that I most certainly would be saved if I turned to Christ in faith.

I don't think anyone would argue that this isn't true - no one is saved unless they turn to Christ believing that God can and will keep his promise.

But some would argue that Jesus died for everyone rather than that Jesus died for those who would turn to him in faith - and that is where the big difference is.

If I understand that faith doesn't come to me because I think the right thoughts or do the right things (that is, not because I will or I run), but that faith comes to me because God himself shows mercy - when I begin to see that I only understood the gospel because God granted me the grace to believe His promise - or put another way, when I began to see that flesh alone cannot trust God's promises, that God Himself must intervene in order for me to "believe" the promises of God - when I began to see that my ability to believe was given to me as an act of grace - and that I could listen to the gospel a zillion times and never be able to trust God until He Himself granted me the grace to do so - when I began to understand that the reason I didn't "believe" before was not because I didn't understand it - but because I didn't want it - when I began to see that the desire to surrender myself to God in faith came not through my intellect, but from without - from God himself, after that I was never able to pretend that my choice to believe God came by my own power.

The moment I understood that I was saved by grace through faith, and not by intellect through faith - I began to see that this grace was not universal, but targeted. God didn't tell everyone in the world what he told to Abraham. He singled out Abraham. God didn't meet every Christ-hating Pharisee on the road to Damascus - he chose Paul. God's choice is not capricious or arbitrary - but according to (as scripture says) God's purpose.

The grace I received was not random, not whimsical - it was directed, it was purposeful, it was given to me as a gift, and like all God's gifts, it was an irrevocable one.

One might try and argue that if I wanted to, I could have "resisted" this grace - but that demonstrates an utter inability to comprehend the nature of grace. Into my heart God poured the sudden, utterly alien, and entirely irresistible desire to abandon sin and trust Christ for salvation. I had been a Christ-hating hedonist who had heard the gospel many times - but on a day when I wasn't looking for it, or expecting it - I was dragged into Christ through the sudden profound desire to be there.

When we speak therefore of Jesus coming to earth to die for everyone in order to provide the possibility for all to come into that saving relationship with Christ - we do this in denial of grace and sovereignty, and we do it because we fail to understand that the only reason anyone ever believes is because God creates something in certain condemned sinners that causes them to believe the gospel, something that God is by no means obligated to do - but does out of his mercy and in accord with his purpose - and something that God does not do for every convicted, condemned, hell-bound sinner.

It isn't as though God chooses to punish some, and let the others go unpunished. God chooses to punish everyone, some will be in Christ, and some will not. Those whom God elects to place into Christ will be reconciled to him through their union with Christ on Calvary, and those whom God does not extend this mercy to will also be punished, only they will bear their own punishment alone. Those who are in Christ will pass through the judgment just as Noah and his family passed through the flood - and those who are not in Christ will bear the wrath of God, just as those who were not in the ark bore the wrath of God.

These things become more "obvious" the moment one lets go of the idea that Jesus had to die for everyone in order for God to be fair. What would be "fair" would be everyone going to hell. If God chooses to save some, that does not obligate him to save all.

The fact that mercy is by no means obligatory should be obvious to anyone who has ever seen a genuine healing. Why did God heal so and so, but when we asked him to heal such and such he didn't? If mercy were obligatory, God would have to heal everyone identically right?

Anyway - my point is that these things become obvious when [1] one understands that atonement means reconciliation, [2] one understands that we are saved by grace through faith and not by superior intellect through faith, and of course, [3] that mercy is not an obligatory function of God - that he can and does show mercy to some, and not to others, and that there is [4] nothing unjust or wrong about it.

As I tend to do, I have probably written more than you care to read - and I am both a fast typer, and a poor proof-reader, so I hope I managed to give some answer to your original query - at least from the perspective of one who believes in sovereign grace.

jazzycat said...

Jim and Rose,
I made an error that I didn't catch. It should have read, "It doesn't take much effort to discover that universal salvation is not true." MY BAD! I meant universalism not limited atonement.

jazzycat said...

I really liked the entire comment by Daniel on atonement and especially this paragraph.......

Can it be that God did not know beforehand who would turn to Christ in faith? Did God really send Jesus not knowing whether or not anyone would be saved? If that seems ridiculous, then follow the reasoning to its logical conclusion If God knows beforehand who will be reconciled to Him by saving faith, would he send Christ to reconcile everyone to himself?

Jim said...

So Wayne you are saying that God knew who would respond to Him in faith and chose only to reconcile those ones to Himself?

jazzycat said...

Jim,
What? If God knew faith were going to happen apart from His intervention, then he would not have to then predestine and call those whom he justifies. This, "God saw who would have faith", view of Romans 8:29-30 is a grasping of straws attempt at explaining away this verse. The key is to understand that none would choose God apart from his intervention. This is the “T” of the TULIP. Could I ask you and Rose a question. If Paul was not teaching unconditional election, why did he say the following in Romans 9:14 "What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means!" This is the same objection we here today about election. Why would Paul answer an objection about election if he weren’t teaching predestination and election?

Daniel said...

I would piggy-back on Wayne's mention of the standard arminian interpretation of foreknowledge.

The text that speaks of how Adam "knew" Eve is speaking of a very intimate knowledge.

When God foreknew us - it isn't a picture of God seeing what we would do - that isn't foreknowledge. On that last day when Christ declares to the lost, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" - He will certainly have known from the foundation of the earth that they were never going to choose Him. If he --NEVER-- knew them, that that means that even though he had knowledge about them from the foundation of the world - that knowledge did not equate into the sort of "knowing" that we speak of when we speak of foreknowledge.

If Christ never knew the lost that means he never "foreknew" them either - for there was never a time when he "knew" them. Foreknowledge is not a glimpsing into the future to see what's going to happen - it is an intimate "knowing" that stands in direct opposition to "I never knew you" - the opposite of "I never knew you" is "I have always known you" - that is, the opposite of "I never knew you" is what we would call Foreknowledge.

The idea that God looked ahead in time is just nonsense. God doesn't look forward in time - God sees the beginning the end, and all that is in between in the same eternal glance. If God knows someone at the beginning, he knows them still at the end - his knowledge is not such that he learns anything as time goes on - He knows all from the beginning. The whole concept that God glanced ahead in time and saw who would pick him, and them called those ones -- this construct not only denies the omniscience of God, it makes God's role in our salvation reactionary - he isn't the "Author" and "Founder" of our faith, he becomes shuffled into the role of "co-writer" and "the guy who seconds the founding motion".

When the bible speaks of God's foreknowledge - it is never speaking of gazing into the future from the past - it is speaking of having known us from the foundation of the world to its completion. Those whom Christ never knew - mark my words - these God knew all about from the foundation of the world - but knowing about them does not carry the same meaning as "knowing" them.

My prayer is that those who hold to that understanding of foreknowledge that paints God as looking forward in time and reacting to man's choices before hand and call this fortune telling "foreknowledge" - my prayer is that this would be seen for what it is.

Kc said...

Daniel I can appreciate your understanding on foreknowledge but I’m sure you would not equate foreknowledge with foreordination, would you?

Jim said...

Wayne:

I thought I was just rephrasing the comment you liked so much from Daniel;

I really liked the entire comment by Daniel on atonement and especially this paragraph.......

"Can it be that God did not know beforehand who would turn to Christ in faith? Did God really send Jesus not knowing whether or not anyone would be saved? If that seems ridiculous, then follow the reasoning to its logical conclusion If God knows beforehand who will be reconciled to Him by saving faith, would he send Christ to reconcile everyone to himself?

~;)

Listen, I don't believe either that God saw those would respond to Him in faith and therefore chose to save them. That is just as preposterous I would agree, unless of course He knew who would hear the gospel and who would not, who would be convicted by the Spirit and who would not.

Now if you say that God foreknew His elect are you saying that God decided on every individual soul that would ever be born and then went on to choose only some to be elect?

Or did he simply know who would indeed be born and from them choose a remnant?

It seems to me that in the first scenario He would become the author of sin? Would this not make Him complicit in the actions or men throughout history since he was guiding the affairs of men down to the minutest detail?

How can you say that God sovereignly ordained sin and wickedness when He plainly says in His word that He tempts no one, neither has this wickedness come into His mind?

jazzycat said...

Jim,
Now if you say that God foreknew His elect are you saying that God decided on every individual soul that would ever be born and then went on to choose only some to be elect?

Yes, that seems to be the Bible answer in Romans 8:29-30 and elsewhere.

It seems to me that in the first scenario He would become the author of sin?

No, I don’t believe so. He allowed Adam to sin, which in turn made sinners out of all people that followed. To plan to save some before the foundation of the world does not make him the author of sin.

Would this not make Him complicit in the actions or men throughout history since he was guiding the affairs of men down to the minutest detail?

Men sin because they are sinners. They do it of their own free will without God guiding it. As the Joseph story tells us, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” God works through the evil of man to accomplish his purpose and occasionally he will intercede to thwart the evil of man. I think of the passages where Jesus before his time had come leaves groups of Jewish leaders who wanted to arrest him but no one laid a hand on him (John 7:30). Perhaps this was an example of God intervening?

How can you say that God sovereignly ordained sin and wickedness when He plainly says in His word that He tempts no one, neither has this wickedness come into His mind?

I may not understand your question properly, but I believe that God is control of everything that takes place. By being in total sovereign control, he has ordained everything that occurs including sin and wickedness by allowing it. The alternative is that he is not in control and can’t stop evil. He did not tempt Adam. For his purposes he allowed Satan in the garden. I don’t believe anyone can accurately determine the mind of God as to why he has done what he has done.

Have you considered my question about Romans 9:14?

Jim said...

Wayne, thanks for your comments. I will try to address my question a different way in a future post.

As for Romans 9:14 I agree it states God is not unrighteous in His choosing. Yet I am still not fully convinced the context here is individual election (apart from Jacob vs. Esau).

If that is the case then I find it very sorrowful. Consider your own family and relatives. Do you not yearn for their salvation and pray that God would save them? If you are correct in your assumptions here and as you state God has already picked who the elect are, then why worry whether or not your children and relatives will be saved? Why does God place such a love in our hearts for them if they are damned without hope?

jazzycat said...

Jim,
After my conversion in my fifties, I learned of this very Godly elderly man that was praying for my salvation regularly. He was a Calvinist, but since he wasn’t aware who were elect and who weren’t, he prayed for my salvation. I do not believe prayer changes God’s mind, but I do believe God uses prayer in his providence. I believe this man’s prayers were ordained to be answered. I sure don’t understand how it all works, but I believe if we pray fervently for the salvation of someone, God has perhaps inspired prayers for the elect. I know that doesn’t make much sense, but I have always been fascinated with the sequence of events that led to my conversion. So, we should definitely pray hard for our loved ones and witness to them any way we can…..

However, one thing is for sure under election or unaided human decision. People hear about the gospel and reject it with their own free will and are responsible to God for doing so. If unaided human decision does make the final decision, then many people have a logical complaint that God is not fair such as those born in an extremist false religion circumstance or those that die at an early age. If no one can/will come apart from God’s intervention, then it all depends on God’s mercy and no one is short-changed by his/her circumstances. IOW, I believe the fairness charge is more applicable to a non-Calvinist doctrine than to a Calvinist doctrine.

Jim said...

Wayne, I think I understand your position on election now and while it does sound very logical I am still not fully persuaded in my heart.

While it's true that not all people will be saved, nevertheless we see that salvation only comes to a nation or people group after the gospel has been presented. So to me the logical conclusion is that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. (not that our good preaching can save anyone but the Word is powerful to convict)

If however, the elect have already been chosen what possible motivation is there to go into all the world and passionately attempt to win the lost?

Will they not be saved regardless of our efforts? Perhaps that is too simplistic?

Duane WATTS said...

Hi All!
Again,belated happy posting!
Wayne, You said:
"I do not believe prayer changes God’s mind, but I do believe God uses prayer in his providence. I sure don’t understand how it all works, but I believe if we pray fervently for the salvation of someone, God has perhaps inspired prayers for the elect. I know that doesn’t make much sense, but I have always been fascinated with the sequence of events that led to my conversion. So, we should definitely pray hard for our loved ones and witness to them any way we can….."

Your right about one thing: That does not make a lick of sense:
We can not change God's mind, but prayer is effective. Prayer does not empower God, but it does change things that God fore-ordained from the foundation of the earth. It does not change what He fore-ordained, so what? It changes into what He fore-ordained?
Maybe it's God letting people think they have an impact.
I think it's like the old westerns where the bully outlaw shoots at cowpoke's feet and laughs "dance boy dance!

You added:

"However, one thing is for sure under election or unaided human decision. People hear about the gospel and reject it with their own free will and are responsible to God for doing so. If unaided human decision does make the final decision, then many people have a logical complaint that God is not fair such as those born in an extremist false religion circumstance or those that die at an early age. If no one can/will come apart from God’s intervention, then it all depends on God’s mercy and no one is short-changed by his/her circumstances."

I have always found this a most bizarre (websters new collegiate dictionary 1979: "involving sensational contrasts or incongruities") consolation:
Under self determinism: some hear the gospel, and respond either positively or negatively and are accorded salvation, or lost. Others never hear the gospel and are lost. This ain't fair.
To determinists a better option is to remove all choice from humanity. God would rather hand select which sentient beings He will eternally boil in oil because all are equally deserving, after all, all are equally evil as God designed them to be from before Adam. (You did say that God sent Satan to make Adam fall, right?)
You did say that God is Sovereign and that to you means that HE must control every action, right?

IN Christs Love*
Duane

* That is assuming that you are the elect. I would not presume to love someone whom God hates ;)

Duane WATTS said...

Back to the Question:
Do you believe in original sin?
My position is that God created Man, Male and Female created HE them in His own image, which His image included from the start a measure of godlike (small "g") creativity, and a full measure of autonomy. He placed the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden to test Adam, what he would choose using his autonomy.
Of course God knew what Adam would choose in advance, but with out the test, ...I don't know...Adam would have never been complete?
Adam already knew Good; he did not need to know Good And Evil, but that was the test. He failed.

I agree with Daniel that it is not something we are born with (sin nature), but what we are born without, that is Jesus.
So why the doctrine of total depravity? Dr. Badger in his critique of the Calvinist and Arminian views of TD (Journal Of the Grace Evangelical Society Spring 2003) believes that we were all present in Adam at least as potential, and therefore have his nature and have inherited his curse. I don't get that we were "in Adam". If this is true, what was accomplished by God covering them with animal skins? Was that not emblematic of Adam and Eves atonement (In the future sacrifice of Christ)? If we were in Adam and Adam's fall eternally cursed us, would we not still have been in Adam when he was reconciled to God, and would we not also be reconciled? Or did we cease to be in Adam after he was cursed, before he was reconciled and yet before any of the children of Adam was conceived?
Daniel's seems the best explanation: We did not get Adam's sin, but we did lose the presence of God, any relationship with God.
Our position regarding the Sacrifice of Christ is "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin oF the WORLD".
What I begin to comprehend is that, just as in Daniel's point about Adam's sin not becoming our own sin, all sin has been taken out of the way and nailed to the cross according to the scripture. Total payment for all sin. Jesus and has proved his love for the world to the extent of dying even for those who would not ever receive Him. When you throw a banquet, do not invite friends and family, but...love your enemy...Now the vail is removed-for all.
ALL that we lack for eternal life is Jesus Christ, who is the Resurrection and the Life.

PEACE and LOVE IN JESUS CHRIST
I mean it.

Duane

Duane WATTS said...

Following up myself:
Clarifications:
I'm still unsettled on total depravity. But I do know that we have the ability to choose good and evil every moment. An unredeemed person decides to stop at an accident scene and saves a victim's life. Firemen race into to the WTC and forfeit their own lives. A soldier throws himself on a grenade to save his buddies.
People can make these decisions. Can not an individual, drawn by the cross of Christ,only through a faithful witness(And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me),believe in Jesus unto everlasting life? Or do the angels guarding the gates of Eden also guard the gates of belief so that only the elect will believe?
I believe there are only two things to bar accepting this free will scenario.
1. Your sovereignty of God doctrine will not allow a person self-determinism.
2. Belief alone in Jesus Christ alone is inadequate. A person must repent of their life, turn to God, commit their lives, love God, etc.

my response:
1.God's total sovereignty over our every action, thought, decision is unsupported by scripture, but is a philosophy of men, specifically, I believe, Socrates through Augustine. "Every Cause has a first cause." This would make HOLY GOD into the author of sin.

2. This is works righteousness:
For by FAITH have you been saved through GRACE, not of works lest any man should boast.
The response to my response is that regeneration preceeds belief, commitment etc. Then why soli fide? Why not regeneration alone? Why muddy the waters with Grace alone and not just say the regenerate alone.
The gospel should be "if God regenerates you, then you will be (by definition)saved. The remainder (how?, why?, what next?) is just details for the regenerated. And where the support in scripture?

Note to self: Without Love I am just a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.

In the Love of our Savior

Duane