Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Monday, February 02, 2009

Who is "OUR"??

The post below this one got me to thinking about sins a lot and Christ's death for sin. I was talking about it to a friend on the phone and it occurred to me that a lot of our ponderings would be answered -and issues settled- if we could all just grasp clearly who the OUR is in 1 John 2.


1My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2And he is the propitiation for OUR sins: and not for OURS only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2)
Is "OUR" all the Christians reading the book throughout time?
Is "OUR" a specific group of Christians only?
Is "OUR" the Jewish believers?
Is "OUR" Jewish people in general?
Is "OUR" the apostle and those with whom he ministered?

Who is John writing to? If we look at chapter one, he doesn't really say exactly who he is writing to. It seems to me that he is writing to believers. I know others don't hold that as necessarily true, though!

But if we do hold that he is writing to believers, then who are the other people for whom Christ is the propitiation? In my view, I think John is speaking of the believers when he says that Christ is the proppitiation for our sins, and he goes on to say that he is also the propitiation for the sins of everybody else in the world. In unlimited atonement, this is not a problem.

In order for that sentence to say something else, then I would think you would have to hold to an idea that the "OUR" in that verse is some smaller group of believers, like middle-eastern believers only. Then it could be saying "Christ is not the propitiation for our sins, those of us who live in the middle east, but for the sins of those who will come to believe all over the world. Am I getting that? What say you?

Side note: regarding the view that holds to point 3 and 5 of TULIP, if Chapter 1 is a warning to pretenders or a test of salvation, written to the unbeliever in the church, then how does it gel with looking at "OUR" in chapter 2 as a specific group consisting of believers only? Either the book is to a mixed multitude or it isn't. Just some food for thought. Please share your thoughts.

148 Comments:

  • The Catholic Encyclopedia's entry on Gnosticism is a long, but fruitful read.

    1 John is one of those books that shines far brighter when one fully understands why it was written. I think a solid grasp of what gnosticism was, and how deep it infiltrated itself into every other religion will help one to see more plainly who John is describing when he says "our".

    But to answer the question for those who haven't the time or interest,... "our" refers (in the context) to the apostle and those with him, as representatives of those who taught the same gospel John did.

    Chapter one is a declaration of orthodoxy that stands in stark contrast to the gnostic error that was being co-opted into Christianity, both by teaching, and again through the hijacking of religious language, terms, and even persons.

    When John says that Jesus is not only the propitiation for the orthodox, but for the whole world, I think he is trying to underline the exclusivity of the propitiation - there was not one kind of Jesus for them who propitiated for John and friends, and another kind for the gnostics, such that we have our propitiator, and they have theirs so we can all love each other and get along - rather it was John saying, Jesus is the propitiation for our sins, but not for our sins alone, but even for the sins of the world.

    Whatever John means in that last part I doubt he was suggesting that Jesus atoned for the sins of every single person who ever lived. It seems reasonable to me, and even likely, that John was simultaneously pointing to the exclusivity of Christ, and the universality of sin.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 2/02/2009 4:57 PM  

  • Rose,

    Gnosticism in its fully developed form was not around until after and or during the 2nd century (see Ronald Nash on Hellenism and Early Christianity); at best we could say that we have an incipient gnosticism (certainly some kind of dualistic thought). But it is anachronistic to assume a formal "Christian" gnosticism at the time that John penned this little epistle.

    Beyond that, and even beyond this passage; the Incarnation, if it is 'real' must be understood in universal terms. Otherwise the humanity that Christ 'assumed' in the incarnation would not be able to propitiate for the Christians, and or the world. If He only assumed humanity that was 'elect humanity' then what kind of humanity was the reprobate. Either the reprobate are non-human, in this scheme, or the humanity that Christ assumed is hybrid and thus non-human . . . and thus non-'saving'.

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 2/02/2009 5:18 PM  

  • Hi Daniel,
    Yes, I am aware of gnosticism, but haven't read such a great lengthy article as that!
    So you would pretty much go with my last category of who the "our" is. OK.
    I do appreciate you sharing your thoughts, even though I can't quite get my arms around it that what you say... would be John's intent.

    Bobby,
    That is an intereseting comment. Thanks for the info on gnosticism. The second part of your comment reflecting on the incarnation as related to the atonement: if one is not universal, then the other is not. Am I getting you right?

    You say beyond this passage - but can you put into words how what you are saying relates to the passage in question? Thanks - I appreciate reading your comments.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/02/2009 6:15 PM  

  • Rose,

    Yes I'm saying that the incarnation necessitates a universal atonement; since the assumption of humanity (incarnation) is the basis of what happens at the cross. But I'm not saying that the incarnation necessitates an universalist salvation . . . as Calvinists would charge Arminians with. I'm an saying that to be truly Christ centered we have to see Christ as both elect and reprobate, and not focus on "Us" as the elect/reprobate. Either we can recognize, by the Spirit, our "election in Christ," or we can deny it --- so I'm saying that all humanity is elect in Christ, but not all are 'saved'. I am avoiding the logico/causal relationship between Christ's atonement and salvation, that Calvinists feel compelled to follow.

    I'll try to spell this out in re. to I Jn later.

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 2/02/2009 6:35 PM  

  • Rose I would understand this portion of the epistle, down to vs. 7, directly addresses the newly converted. I am in favor of a plain reading and a more inclusive perception of the Atonement.

    By Blogger Kc, at 2/03/2009 2:54 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I'm sitting in a libary 250 miles away from home with a very important meeting on my mind for tonight. I'll hopefully get chipping in later on.

    A few thought starters though: Does the term "world" as used in the Bible authomatically mean every last person every born? Does it include the "angels that sinned?"

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 2/03/2009 5:58 AM  

  • Rose,

    instead of focusing on kosmos (world), I think the more important word to contemplate in the phrase: kai peri olou tou kosmou (. . . but concerning the sins of the whole world), is the word olos (olou) (= whole, entire, complete, altogether) --- the word "whole," and how that modifies kosmos.

    Obviously, I think trying to co-opt this passage with gnosticism as its primary frame is anachronistic (to impose a later meaning, concept, or ideal on an earlier and even foreign context); and I think trying to modify the Johannine usage of "world" through other contexts of John's usage of this word (in fact not this word) --- i.e. Revelation's: some from every nation, tribe, language, tongue --- is what is called illegitimate totality transfer (reading semantic range on a word or reference, from one disparate context into another, and assuming that they have one-for-one correspondence by virtue of a common author, for example); and/or this can be a "technical language fallacy" (see D. A. Carson), which assumes that just because a word might take on connotative meaning in one context (e.g. "flesh"), that by virtue of its "typical connotations" it always and in every case takes on these connotations --- when in fact it might mean something totally different, per a given context.

    Anyway, there are a few more "thought starters;" in anticipation of things to come ;-).

    If I have time, I will try and flesh out my thoughts on the incarnation and its universal implications relative to atonement --- and further, its impact on how we should think about I Jn 2:2, and how it helps us understand the atonement in general as the "inner-logic" at work in I Jn.

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 2/03/2009 6:42 AM  

  • Good Morning Rose

    Here is some food for thought. Out of the twenty times "world" is used in 1 John not one use is speaking of believers. And the only other time "whole world" is used is this verse:

    We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. 1 John 5:19
    also a key verse:
    And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 1 John 4:14
    Verses in which world is used:
    1 John 2:2,15,16,17; 3:1,13,17; 4:1,3,4,5,9,14,17; 5:4,5,9,14,17; 5:4,5,19 2 John 1:7

    good~night
    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/03/2009 10:42 AM  

  • Daniel,
    I was thinking about this on my freezing morning walk today.

    Someone comes on my front porch and I say to them:

    "OUR sofa is very comfortable."

    The person I am speaking to could be a part of "OUR"... or not.

    1. If it is my husband coming home, he is included in "OUR." The sofa is his too.

    2. If it is the neighbor, I am talking about "OUR" in a way that is not inclusive.

    Are you saying that when John uses the word "OUR" in this verse that he is not necessarily using it inclusivley... as in my #1 example?

    Thank you, Daniel, in advance.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/03/2009 10:59 AM  

  • Colin,
    I am completely aware that "world" and "whole world" doesn't always mean "all the people in the world."

    Sometimes it is used as hyperbole. One example is John 12:19

    Sometimes it doesn't even refer to people: John 21:25

    Still other passages make it clear that what is meant is "every person without exception": Romans 3:19, Galatians 3:22.

    I think in 1 John 5:19, Rev 3:10, Rev 16:14 we have examples the wording being used to indicate the "world's system", IMO.

    So my answer to your query is: NO.

    :~)

    I think it is the wrong question, though.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/03/2009 11:22 AM  

  • Alvin and Bobby,
    Thanks for your thoughts as well - looking forward to more helpful comments.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/03/2009 11:23 AM  

  • KC,
    Thanks for your thoughts too, brother. You would go with the "specific group of Christians" then. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/03/2009 11:39 AM  

  • Sis I meant to address the question, “who was John writing to” with my reply. I should have been clear that, although I find he was specifically addressing new converts, I find his use of “our” in this verse is first inclusive of all believers and second of all the world.

    By Blogger Kc, at 2/03/2009 11:56 AM  

  • Bobby,

    When I consider the ever-morphing (but always amorphous) emergent church of our day, I see a movement that is wide and less than congealed in doctrine and practice - that is, I see a movement that is real but presently defies a universal definition. It hasn't reached its fullest expression, if you will.

    In an hundred years, perhaps the movement will reach its fullest expression, and latter day historians will look back to the twenty second century and say, this was when the emergent church reached its fullest expression.

    It would be wrong however, for even latter day students of history to take this correct summation of the movement, and conclude that prior to this summation the movement was only concerned with drinking coffee on comfortable couches.

    My point is, as I am sure you understand, that the charge of anachronisticism may be a little heavier than reality warrants. It is true that John is writing decades prior to gnosticism's deepest juxtaposition upon the Christian faith, but is it really fair to suggest that until it had reached its fullest expression, none of these things existed or plagued the church?

    I think therefore, I am not at liberty to dismiss such things with the certainty that you do, especially given the timeframe: John's first epistle is addressing gnostic ideas that, although they would not become mainstream until several decades later, were never the less there in John's day, and neighborhood, in whole, in part, or in seed form.

    I take John's epistle as an historical document that already begins to identify (through polemics) certain gnostic influences that were present, and growing in his day.

    Having said all that, I appreciate your command of history, and what I say is not intended to bring disrespect to that. I am merely saying that I personally cannot regard ideas and teaches that span centuries, as being only applicable after a certain calender date - as though these ideas did not exist until they were mainstream.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 2/03/2009 12:09 PM  

  • Rose, I think that when John uses the word "our" he means to include only those of like profession/faith, meaning, himself and those believers that were alive at the time who believed the same things John believed.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 2/03/2009 12:36 PM  

  • Hi Daniel,

    You said:
    when John uses the word "our" he means to include only those of like profession/faith, meaning, himself and those believers that were alive at the time who believed the same things John believed

    OK, the smaller groupo of Christians.

    So then who would John be referring to when he goes on to say that Christ also died for others who are called "the whole world"? I am having a hard time getting my mind around your earlier answer in reference to who this means. Would you agree that the way he says "not for ours only, BUT..." that he is going on to contrast the small group with a bigger group? Who is the bigger group in your view? Who is John's "whole world"?

    Thanks so much for your patience with my density.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/03/2009 12:42 PM  

  • KC,
    Thanks for your clarification. I am having a hard time reading this verse any other way than the way you are reading it also.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/03/2009 12:52 PM  

  • Rose,
    It seems to me that in 1 John 5:13 John explains clearly to whom and why he wrote this epistle......

    1 John 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 2/03/2009 2:11 PM  

  • I was wondering who was going to correct me on that. :~)

    Wayne, would you see the word "OUR" then in this verse I am thinking about as referring to that same group or a smaller group?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/03/2009 2:15 PM  

  • Daniel,

    Yes, I don't doubt that there is some 'form', I believe it is F. F. Bruce who calls it an incipient gnosticism; so what I am challenging is not that there may have been a dualistic cult challenging the faith of the Christians John is writing to, but that we can say with certainty that the gnosticism we find developed in the second century and beyond (like with Clement of Alexandria, Origen, et al) is the same with what we find John confronting in the first century. If this is true, then to use (2nd century) gnosticism --- and its developed categories (which we do have record of) --- is anachronistic. So at least this approach should be held with much hesitation and suspicion, and at most, it is untenable (I favor the latter of these two ;-).

    This phenomenon is not just limited to approaching I Jn, but many of the epistles and books of the Bible. For example, either scholars approach books like this through assuming a Jewish reading or a Greek reading of the text; and thus these assumptions are imposed upon the text as the frame (this is done with I Cor w/o a doubt). And I just don't think this approach is the most tenable, I think it flows from a form criticism, and historico religions methodology of interpretation --- in other words, it does not really follow a literary/inductive approach to interpretation. Now I am not denying the value to understanding the historico/socio/cultural concerns that the Bible was penned in (esp. for linguistics and semantics); but I want to see the "theology" of the Bible as primary referent and context from whence we interpret the Bible.

    So Rose, I think the straightforward understanding of "our," must refer to Christians in general (both Gentile and Jewish); which implies that John is saying that Jesus did not just die for "our" sins (Christians), but for "everyone's" --- i.e. the sin's of the world (i.e. one group of people compared with another "group of people," the world).

    As far as the background, this letter could confront an incipient gnosticism, but it could just as easily confront imperial cult worship, docetism, aspects of Jewish mysticism, etc. Like Paul in I Cor. 1---4, I believe John is undercutting any and all forms of heresy that would deny the Messiahship of Jesus, by denying His relationship to the Father, by the Spirit, and His relationship to humanity by the incarnation (chpt 1; etc.).

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 2/03/2009 4:19 PM  

  • Bobby, thanks for your thoughtful response. I understand your assertion much better now, though I am not inclined to agree with your assessment of what is tenable, I do understand it better, and appreciate the tone, thanks again.


    Rose, Perhaps the best place for me to begin to answer you is with the word ιλασμos itself:

    Depending on your translation, you will see it translated as propitiation, expiation, and (infrequently) atoning sacrifice. We don't really have an English word that captures every nuanced morpheme for ιλασμos, so we translate it using one of these words.

    But what does ιλασμos mean? A fully nuanced meaning describes it as a process whereby someone's wrath/anger is either averted (resulting from the meting out of mercy) or satisfied (resulting from the meting out of judgment). The point is that someone's anger is entirely being appeased somehow.

    It is like the waiter who sneezed in the cops plate just as he served it. The cop's "anger" will be appeased either by having his meal replaced at no charge to himself, or by having the fellow fired - either way the cop is "appeased" - and by appeased, we mean that he has forever dealt with the offense, and will never (can never!) again be offended by it.

    I start there because I premise a lot of my understanding in this verse, not upon what the text could mean if this pericope were entirely isolated from history, the rest of the epistle, and the rest of scripture, but rather what this text ~must~ mean in the light of what we know already know explicitly (i.e. no fudge room) from other verses, and from the meaning of the word ιλασμos.


    Now, to use your own language, does scripture tell us explicity (no interpretation necessary), for whom Christ died? The answer is, yes, it does. Let us look at a quick list together and see if there is any wiggle room:

    In Isaiah 53:8, the prophet describes the dying of Christ as being "for the transgressions of God's people ("that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?") ;

    Question: Is everyone who was ever born one of "God's people"?
    Answer: You know they ain't.

    In Matthew 1:21, whom does Jesus save from sin? ("He shall save His people from their sins")

    Question: Is everyone who was ever born ... "His people"?
    Answer: You know they ain't.

    In John 10:11 we read, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep."

    Question: For whom did Christ lay down his life?
    Answer: for His sheep.

    Followup Question: is there anyone who is not one of Christ's sheep?
    Followup Answer: 15 verses later, (John 10:26) Jesus makes a distinction that gives us the plain answer: "but you do not believe because you are not My sheep". that is, No, not everyone is one of Christ's sheep - ergo, Christ did not lay down his life for everyone, if some are not His sheep.

    In John 15:13-14, Jesus aludes to Himself as laying down his life, not for the whole world, but for those who keep his commandments, "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you."

    Question: Does everyone keep Christ's commands?
    Answer: No.

    Followup Question: Are all (then) Christ's friends whom He lays His life down for?
    Followup Answer: No, not all are Christ's friends, for not all obey Him, and that being the case, Christ does not lay down His life for them.


    In Acts 20:28, Christ purchased something with His life... we read, "... the church of God, which He obtained with His own blood."

    Likewise in Ephesians 5:25-26, we see the same distinction, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her..."

    Question: Did Christ purchase the world with His blood, or just the church?
    Answer: The church.

    Question: Did Christ give Himself for the world, or for the church?
    Answer: The church.

    In revelation 5:9, we read that Christ ransomed, not everyone -in-every tribe and people, and nation, but rather (emphasis added), "And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the scroll and to open its seals, for You were slain, and by Your blood You ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation."

    Question: Did Christ ransom some people from every tribe, people, and nation, or Did Christ ransom every single person from every nation, people, and tribe?

    Answer: Christ ransoms some from each tribe, and nation, and people.

    Now I start there because these texts are explicit - they leave no wiggle room for us to (soberly) impose external ideas into the text.

    If Christ died for all, these texts can't belong in a coherently consistent bible, but If Christ really did lay down his life for some, and not for all, then what?

    The answer to the trailing question is another post all by itself.

    I mention these, not to sway those who already hold firm opinions about whom Christ died for, but rather to say that when I come to 1 John 2:1-2, I cannot read it as though these other verses didn't [1] exist, and [2] inform my prejudice.

    Thus I am predisposed to understand whatever John is saying, as not implying something that would contradict what is explicit and clear elsewhere in scripture.

    Thus, given my understanding of ιλασμos, I understand the text to be saying that:

    Christ himself has forever dealt with the offense of "our" sin so that God can [1] never again be offended by it, and [2] no longer (justly) condemn us for it, and that Christ is not only this for us, but He is this for the entire world.

    Given my understanding of the text, the word, and again, what I see elsewhere, I find no room to imagine that Christ is the ιλασμos for everyone that was ever born - since a right understanding of ιλασμos causes that interpretation of this verse to mean that everyone who was ever born will escape God's wrath - bar none, and this passage, simply cannot mean that.

    Thus, I am bound to interpret this text in harmony with the force of John's argument, i.e., as an emphatic way of saying that Christ is the only propitation there is, for us, or for anyone else.

    Sorry about the length.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 2/03/2009 5:47 PM  

  • Rose,

    as you can see by Daniel's last response here informing theology is inescapable when doing exegesis. I agree we should assume the unity of the message of scripture (this is canon), and that the analogia fide, analogy of faith, scripture interpreting scripture is helpful and necessary. But again, this gets us full circle, and illustrates the centrality that theological assumptions will indeed play in the interpretive process --- this is what I meant when I spoke of the "inner logic."

    Daniel is assuming certain things about "nature and grace" to make his interpretation "work;" and so am I (and we all do). That's why the Incarnation is so important here. It analogizes how we should think about the relationship of nature and grace (in hypostatic union in the person of Christ). That's why understanding what kind of humanity Christ "assumed" is so important to this discussion; and so informative to how we think about the "extent of the atonement."

    I don't have time to flesh this out further, off to work, maybe tomorrow.

    In Christ

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 2/03/2009 6:19 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    First off the John that wrote this Epistle was the Apostle John who leaned on Jesus breast, and the “we” spoken of here 1 John 1:1-5 are those apostles who could make the claim that they (seen,looked upon,handled,heard) Jesus. So John here is not going to contradict what he wrote in his gospel, and he is writing to believers “my little children” (1 John 2:1,13,18,28; 3:18; 4:4) a term of endearment. And the subject matter is that they may have “fellowship” (1 John 1:3,4) and the only way they could is by keeping with the truth they FIRST received. John is not writing to them because they do not know but clearly states that they DO KNOW ! 1 John 2:21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, BUT BECAUSE YOU KNOW IT, and that no lie is of the truth. I believe the false brethren that had went out from “us” (1 John 2:19) were like the ones in Gal 2:4 and Acts 15:1,24 (Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words). The local churches back then were not mega churches but had relatively small congregations. There was a study done that from the names mentioned at the end of Romans there were probably about fifty people in the congregation. The leadership knew where each believer stood concerning eternal life. Kind of like the Brethren churches of today, they have a Lords supper meeting and they are going to ask you “do you know the Lord” before they will let you take the Lords supper with them. It’s not like the mega churches or most churches of today where anyone could take of the Lords supper. And just like the ones who got a hearing in the Galatians church by claiming they had been sent out by the mother church in Jerusalem were bringing false teaching (2:22-26) and trying to get a hearing. John is warning them of this danger, and in order for them to stay in fellowship they needed to stay clear on the promise of eternal life (2:25) these false teachers were attacking on this VERY POINT denying that Jesus was the Christ (2:22) and to John this is saving truth (1 john 5:1a).

    I just wanted to give an overview, earlier I showed from context and proper study that the word “world” is NEVER used by John anywhere in his Epistles to mean believers. And the analogy of faith which we take the clear Scriptures to give us light on the more difficult ones and that Scripture NEVER contradicts Scripture. We know that John who penned John 3:16 clearly tells us the Father gave the Son because He loved the world and John in his Epistle tells us that the Son is the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14). Jesus cannot be the Savior of the world if HE DID NOT DIE FOR THE WORLD. That’s just common sense! So when John tells us that He is the propitiation for our sins, and not ONLY for ours BUT FOR THE WHOLE WORLD. This is what we would expect that a Savior would do being He has commanded everyone to believe, He surely would make a way or it would be an empty offer. Also John in his Epistle is not going to contradict a free gift that can be taken freely. John is not going to say the only way you can know you know Him, "other words know you have eternal life is by keeping His commandments" 1 John 2:3. When John clearly tells us in 1 John 5:9-13 we can know we have eternal life based SOLELY on the testimony of God, that God HAS given us eternal life. John is not going to contradict himself but the knowing He is talking about in 1 John 2:3 is that we are in fellowship with Him. When we are in fellowship with Him we know Him in a special way and makes Himself known to us John 14:23 Jesus said: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

    1 Timothy 2:3-6 says: For this is good and acceptable in sight of God our Savior, who desires ALL MEN to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom FOR ALL to be testified in due time.

    In the same way Jesus was a ransom for believers He was a ransom FOR ALL! And just as John the baptist said when looking at Jesus: Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the WORLD. 1 John 2:2 is evidence of that fact! And so is Rev 20 The Great White Throne where there is not ONE mention of sin! This all harmonises and is consistant with why Jesus can offer the living water for anyone to take freely without ANY reference to SIN or REPENTANCE Rev 22:17;John 4:10!

    Last verse in John's first epistle is: 1 John: 5:21 "Little children" keep yourself from idols. Amen

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/04/2009 10:48 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    What about the unregenerate person? When he is raised from the dead to stand before the Great White Throne his body will still be untransformed it will still be an appropriate habitation for his equally untransformed man. Where then such a person be sent? The unsaved man cannot enter into life because he has no divine life within him. Thus he must be put into the one habitat that is suitable for him that is Gehenna where the fire shall never be quenched and where the worm does not die. The spiritually dead sinner is cast into the lake of fire where he continues to reap unending corruption. Lacking eternal life his doom in Gehenna is sealed, at the Great White Throne he can claim nothing based on his works. And when his name is not found written in the book of life the lake of fire is his only possible destination. Hell is the inevitable consequence of remaining dead in trespasses and sin. This deadness first leads to the death of our physical bodies and then it leads to the second death as well, that is it leads to the lake of fire. Conclusion: I hope the result of this brief discussion will be to magnify our view of the cross of Christ. So splendid is His propitiation accomplished at the cross that every human being that has ever lived is free from the judicial condemnation for his our her sin. When we sing Jesus paid it all we mean it! God does not exact from any man the judicial penalty that Jesus paid at the cross. Jesus Christ’s completely sufficient suffering on the cross for the sins of the world will never be repeated in the case of any human being what soever. Further more as a result of the cross every man or women is eligible for the free gift of eternal life. All they need to do is believe in Jesus for that gift. But those who do not believe remain dead in their sins and subject the the corruption that sin all ways brings. Though eligible for life they have remained in spiritual death. Hell is the consequence of remaining dead to God. In hell the law of sowing and reaping goes on and on and on and on. The fire is never put out and the worms of corruption never die. In hell the surperlative gift of life paid for by our Savior’s blood has been missed forever. But that splendid gift is for every body! For the simple reason Christ died for every body equally. That’s wonderful!!! Let’s go out there and tell people about this. ZH

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/05/2009 3:51 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    This might bring a little more clarity to the issue:

    It is not at all hard to see how the propitiation Christ made on the cross can satify God's righteous judgment without automatically imparting eternal life to the unsaved person. Satisfaction for sin and the impartation of eternal life to a dead sinner are clearly separate and distinguishable actions.
    But for most Christians, an unforgiven sin means a sin not paid for, and therefore it seems to follow that if all sin has been paid for, it should all be automatically forgiven. But this line of reasoning is deeply flawed and unbiblical.
    It's first and foremost flaw is this: all sin IS paid for! But if that is true, forgiveness cannot be the remission of some unpaid penalty. In the same way, unforgiven sin cannot be sin for which we must pay as well as Christ. That would be double payment, and it would call into question the efficacy of the cross.
    Let us emphasize this point. The Lord Jesus Christ is not just potentially, the propitiation for the sins of the world. He IS that (1 John 2:2). Or as Paul puts it, "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them" (2 Cor 5:19; italics added). From the standpoint of God's righteous demands as the Judge of all humanity, all humanity's sin was paid for by Christ and none of it remains as an issue in man's final judgment. None of it! Not one single bit! ZH

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/05/2009 11:47 PM  

  • Rose,

    Jazzycat’s recent comments on the UoG are very apt for this discussion here. He points out (in effect) that Christ is called the Saviour of the world. For this cause the Father sent Him (1 John 4:14) and the believing Samaritans affirm that He is so (John 4:42)

    Let’s break this down simply:

    1) Christ is the Saviour of the world – not potentially, or hopefully etc., but actually is the Saviour of the world.

    2) The term “Saviour” relates to His work of saving to the uttermost - saving people from their sins – guilt, power and eventually the presence of sin.

    3) If Christ doesn’t save someone from the guilt, power and eventually the presence of sin – then He is not their Saviour. We cannot have a Saviour and still be lost.

    4) We can have a potential Saviour and still be lost, but Christ is never called or identified as a “potential Saviour,” but is definitely “a Saviour who is Christ the Lord!” (Luke 2:10)

    5) If Christ is the Saviour of the world, then the world must be saved, otherwise He is not their Saviour and is therefore misnamed.

    6) If the world in relation to this title “the Saviour of the world” means every last sinner ever born, then ever last sinner ever born is saved (will never be in hell) – otherwise (again) Christ is misnamed or His salvation isn’t worth a dime (to use an American expression - changed it from “isn’t worth a ball of blue” because I wasn’t sure how familiar you are with this term.)

    7) If the term “world” in relation to the title “Saviour of the world” means “all kind of sinners” i.e. from “among the nations” rather than the whole nations themselves, then the title makes perfect sense and the salvation spoken of is real and genuine and has no eternal casualties.

    Is my thinking flawed here? If so, where?

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 2/06/2009 2:49 PM  

  • Daniel,
    I have something to say to you but I have been so distracted the last couple of days that it has been hard to organize my thoughts. Maybe tomorrow? I hope we can talk more. I also have two more posts spinning around on this same subject.

    If only there were more time!!

    Bobby,
    Same to you :~)

    And you too, Alvin. Rememebr when Colin said something like that once: "and even Alvin..." ? heehee

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/06/2009 2:51 PM  

  • Hi Colin!
    Our comments crossed in space.
    I will get back to you also. "...even you, Colin." :~) :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/06/2009 2:53 PM  

  • Hi Sis. I’m looking forward to your continued thoughts and replies.


    Hi Daniel. After reading your thoughts it seems your interpretation requires that if the scripture states that Jesus saves some then it would logically preclude Him from saving others. IOW if Jesus saves His people from their sins then logically He could not also save the world from sin. Is this your argument?

    I was wondering how would you perceive the application of the sin offering that was made for “all the people”? Would you say it was applicable for even those outside the camp?

    Good morning Goodnight (I know, I know, but I had to say it once!). ;-)

    Colin doesn’t your (and Wayne’s) argument breakdown at item 3?

    ”We cannot have a Saviour and still be lost.”

    Can a man be saved without a Savior? Was Jesus the Savior when He came to save those that were lost or did He/does He become the Savior when they believe? Wouldn’t this make Christ’ position as Savior contingent on the faith of men rather than a determination of God even before creation?

    It would further seem that this item requires that determinism be true which would then necessitate that belief or unbelief be an “eternal state”. A man could not come to believe because he is lost and if he is lost then, by your terms, he has no Savior and therefore cannot be saved. If a man is saved then he must have believed before conception, otherwise he would have been lost and therefore cannot be saved.

    By Blogger Kc, at 2/07/2009 4:47 AM  

  • Good morning Rose/Kc

    I look forward to your response, Rose (as always) … and not yours only but the response of the whole world :o) (Only I haven’t the time and resources to answer them all – but hey! It would be tremendous witnessing opportunity and so time and resources would have to be made available. And lots of prayer as well.)

    Kc- Let me answer your queries to show you why #3 is watertight:

    1) Can a man be saved without a Savior? ANS:- No…unless he is his own Saviour. I think we both know that this is not on the cards for salvation from sin.

    2) Was Jesus the Savior when He came to save those that were lost or did He/does He become the Savior when they believe? ANS:- The answer is both. Objectively, He was called the Saviour even on the day of His birth (Luke 2:11) Subjectively, he became my Saviour when I was saved, otherwise I was still without a Saviour – lost (Luke 19:10) condemned already (John 3:18/5:24) etc., Obviously if I perish, then I do so without a Saviour. All I might be able to claim is a potential Saviour, hence #4 and beyond which points out that Christ is nowhere called a potential Saviour, but a definite, actual, Saviour.

    3) Wouldn’t this make Christ’ position as Savior contingent on the faith of men rather than a determination of God even before creation? ANS:- Only if the faith of men was left to chance or something outside the power of God. Far from being a hit and miss operation, faith is given by God so that His Son’s office of Saviour holds tight with 100% success rate. Thus the determination of God even before creation stretches further than merely providing an objective Saviour, but extends to the very subjective matter of salvation itself. The Last Day will reveal those who may claim to have had a Saviour and those who may not – the latter being left to perish in their chosen sin.

    Kc! Get yourself a good comfortable cushion!

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 2/07/2009 6:17 AM  

  • Hi Sis.

    ”Kc! Get yourself a good comfortable cushion!

    Colin I could think of nothing I’d enjoy more than a long chat with you but in this case I think we’ll move quickly because I’m looking for agreement, not an argument.;-)

    It seems you agree that point 3 is contingent upon the certainty that Determinism be true and I think you’ve explained that the only difference between an “objective” Savior and a “potential” Savior is one’s faith in Determinism.

    It would seem the only remaining question is whether “belief” and “unbelief” are eternal states. Would you agree that point 3 requires that ”A man could not come to believe because he is lost and if he is lost then, by your terms, he has no Savior and therefore cannot be saved. If a man is saved then he must have believed before conception, otherwise he would have been lost and therefore cannot be saved"?

    By Blogger Kc, at 2/07/2009 10:19 AM  

  • Hi Kc,

    I’m all for agreement as well! You can still sit on your cushion for a wee while too :o)

    Let’s take your sentence here phrase by phrase

    ”A man could not come to believe because he is lost
    MY OBSERVATION: What prevents a man from believing is his own stubbornness and sin. He loves darkness rather than light because his deeds are evil. Yes, he is lost but he is willingly so, and therefore culpable.

    and if he is lost then, by your terms, he has no Savior and therefore cannot be saved.
    MY OBSERVATION: Not necessarily. He is still unsaved – should he die in that wretched state, then he has no Saviour. He did have an offered Saviour but he evidently declined to receive Him and therefore died (as the hymn writer puts its nicely, though tragically) Out of Christ, without a Saviour.”

    If a man is saved then he must have believed before conception,
    MY OBSERVATION: No one believes before conception. Indeed, no one even exists before conception. Am I missing the plot here? :o)

    otherwise he would have been lost
    MY OBSERVATION: Apart from the fact that this thought is based on a somewhat faulty thought beforehand, I can still say that “Yes, I was lost but now I am found (or saved)”

    and therefore cannot be saved"?
    MY OBSERVATION: Sorry, Kc, this is faulty too. People who are saved were lost. People who are lost need to be saved.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 2/07/2009 12:07 PM  

  • Hi Sis.

    Colin,

    I suspect my logic fails as a result of my inability to distinguish between an “offered” Savior and a “potential” Savior. What is the difference?

    I’ll get comfy, since you insist. ;-)

    By Blogger Kc, at 2/07/2009 1:36 PM  

  • Hi Kc,

    Don’t get too comfy. This world ain’t your home. :o)

    One difference between an ”offered Saviour” and a ”potential Saviour” is that the first one has a Scriptural basis. We preach the gospel to every last creature without exception or distinction and we offer Christ to them. This is the basis of the Great Commission. The ”potential Saviour” idea does not carry the weight of Scripture with it, at least not when we are considering verses like 1 John 4:14 or John 4:42 where Christ is said to actually be the Saviour of the World. Sometimes the “is” quickly becomes the “could be” or the “maybe” or “can be” and I’m pretty sure that you share my horror at this development. You do, don’t you Kc? :o)

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 2/07/2009 2:15 PM  

  • ”Don’t get too comfy. This world ain’t your home. I’ve been snared! :-O

    Colin it seems then that, presupposing these terms, we could only preach Jesus as “a Savior in the world” rather than the Savior of the world”. In this case the “the” becomes an “a” and I know we would also agree this a terror. If Jesus is not the Savior of the world then we have no Gospel and no Savior to offer the world at all.

    I think it much more scriptural and fully in line with your thoughts here to settle in our hearts that Jesus is the Savior of the world and the man who rejects the Savior will not be saved.

    By Blogger Kc, at 2/07/2009 3:09 PM  

  • Hi Kc.,

    I agree with your last paragraph. I hope that I have not been perceived as limiting the message or the offer of the gospel. This is neither my intention nor is it my practice when I preach. I indiscriminately invite sinners, as sinners, to the Cross and thus provide the means for those who will believe to come and unfortunately leave the chronic unbelievers to their chosen fate.

    Re: your first paragraph: He is the Saviour in the world and offered to each and every man. But if words have meaning, He is not the “Saviour of the World” (as in all men without exception) in that some men whom He has purportedly saved (in that He is their Saviour) will be seen to be in hell. I can’t see how you can get round this!

    In practical terms, we are unto the same thing. In the theory, we differ somewhat.

    Enjoy the Lord’s Day!

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 2/07/2009 4:57 PM  

  • Rose thanks again for the space. ;-)

    Colin I’m sure that you know but for the sake of those who may not, I do consider you a true and faithful witness of our Lord and a blessing to me personally in spite of the flaws in your theology. ;-) Seriously though, my previous statement really does only pertain to the logic of the theory being presented and not to you or your preaching in any way.

    With respect to those seen in hell, Christ must indeed be the Savior of these as well or it could not be said of them that they rejected the Savior. If Christ is not their Savior and they have rejected Him as such then they are just in their determination but if He is their Savior then they truly have rejected the Truth of the Gospel and are suffering the fate of all who would do likewise.

    Thanks once more for the discussion dear brother. May God bless you always.

    By Blogger Kc, at 2/07/2009 6:38 PM  

  • Hi, Rose; I'm new to the site but have been watching this thread with great interest. Mind if I dive in? Thanks for the irenic tone of this blogsite; it is so needed. I wonder if I could contribute a thought from Rom 5:12-21 that might strike a cord with at least some?

    If all "sinned in Adam" and "all died" (5:12), how will all be raised from physical death (John 5:28-29)? Many have choked on the "all" in Rom 5:18 that receive "justification to life," out of fear of universalism.

    However, if we properly see "all" in 5:18 as strictly parallel to "all" in 5:12 (as conceded by almost all commentators), it is because Jesus' death covered all our guilt and death in Adam (5:18b), apart from any personal sin ("breaking a command, as did Adam," after "law was added," Rom 5:13-14, 20a, NIV). Hence, Jesus' death covered all those who incurred "condemnation in Adam," even those who would subsequently reject his "free gift of grace" (Rom 5:17)---they too will be raised from physical death, though not to eternal life.

    My conclusion is that the atonement is 3-D, not just 1-D:
    for all in Adam (1-D, 5:12, 18); and then for "the many" who first accept the free gift of grace (2-D, 5:17); and then for believers who continue to confess ongoing sins in the light (3-D, 1 John 1:5-9), which leads directly to 1 John 2:2, referring to all aspects of the atonement to reassure John's teknia ("little children") of its efficacy for anyone who needs it at any time (including at least "1-D" for all humanity).

    I sincerely hope I haven't confused more than clarified, this is a notoriously difficult passage, for sure; but it certainly made sense to most of my (average) men in the Saturday morning men's group.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 2/07/2009 8:17 PM  

  • Rose You’ve gone all quiet! Maybe John wants to know the secret? :o)

    Kc I appreciate you and your zeal and love for truth etc., as well. You write:

    With respect to those seen in hell, Christ must indeed be the Savior of these as well or it could not be said of them that they rejected the Savior. If Christ is not their Savior and they have rejected Him as such then they are just in their determination but if He is their Savior then they truly have rejected the Truth of the Gospel and are suffering the fate of all who would do likewise.

    Those in hell rejected the offer of a Saviour – or to be more precise: the Saviour. They would not come to Him that they might have life (John 5:40) Their judgement therefore is just and they will spend the rest of eternity ruing the wicked choice/choices that they made. When others responded positively to the very same offer as they were given and urged them to come as well, they loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil (John 3:19) In rejecting the offered Saviour, they rejected the whole concept of pardon, holiness and serving God etc., This confirms them in their sinful rebellion against God.

    Your argument above would only stand up if they had no offer of a Saviour. But they did and that’s were the big difference lies. Furthermore, it was not a bare offer of a Saviour – a mere formality – God’s call was as sincere as it could be. (However, it was not followed through with an effectual call and so they were left to perish in their chosen sins. But that is another matter – I record it here just to keep myself right.)

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 2/08/2009 4:08 AM  

  • Hello Rose, hope you're having a great day!

    GoonightSafeHome, you said, "What prevents a man from believing is his own stubbornness and sin. He loves darkness rather than light because his deeds are evil. Yes, he is lost but he is willingly so, and therefore culpable."

    I thought it was God who prevents a man from believing because God did not elect him from before the foundation of the world, before he'd done anything good or bad and before sin ever entered into the picture. Isn't that the real reason a man is lost (i.e., because God did not choose to save him), according to Calvinist theology?

    By Blogger Dawn, at 2/08/2009 5:21 PM  

  • Blessings, Rose.

    Dawn/All,

    Make no mistake, there is absolutely nothing we do, even our choices, that was not first ordained and decreed by God. In the words of Johnny.......

    That men do NOTHING save at the secret instigation of God, and do not discuss and deliberate on any thing but what he has previously decreed with himself and brings to pass by his secret direction. (Institutes: book 1, chapter 18, section1)

    The reason the Lost reject the Savior is because God ordained that they would and brings their rejection to pass by his secret direction. These are the reprobate, those he has predestined to eternal torment to the praise of his glorious justice.

    Below is a rendering of how Calvinists might interpret Matthew 22:1-14......

    And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to generally call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they could not come for being spiritually dead like a corpse. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it knowing the offer was not sincere, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was pleased, knowing everything was going exactly as he had foreordained: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy... nor effectually called. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad (non-Calvinists) and good (Calvinists): and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not a Geneva Study Bible: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a Geneva Study Bible? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness where he was predestined from eternity past; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For non-Calvinists are generally called, but Calvinists are chosen.

    Come, Lord Jesus
    wingedfooted1

    By Anonymous wingedfooted1, at 2/08/2009 10:31 PM  

  • Good morning Rose/Wingfooted:

    Wingfooted: I have read your rendering of Matthew 22:1-14. I note especially your somewhat bold claim that it is (and I quote) “a rendering of how Calvinists might interpret it.” In order to gain yourself some credibility, you really would need to show, with appropriate and traceable quotes, how Calvinists believe the following:

    * they could not come for being spiritually dead like a corpse
    My challenge: While Calvinists acknowledge man’s inability to come to Christ unaided (indeed, this is a belief of Evangelical Christians as a whole) yet they strongly emphasise the fact that such inability is self and sin induced. Unfortunately, either through ignorance or mischief, you signally fail to even mention this. However, you have a chance to redeem yourself on this matter, and acknowledge that it so.

    * ”knowing the offer was not sincere”
    My challenge: Where do Calvinists charge God with insincerity? Such a charge against God would be blasphemous and this makes your charge, as yet unproven, against Calvinists all the more serious. However, your chance to redeem yourself on this one is as open as the previous one.

    “knowing everything was going exactly as he had foreordained:”
    My challenge: This statement is another bald one. To bring it into the realms of basic, civil honesty, it is necessary to explain the relationship between God and the sins of men. A few months ago, we looked (either here on Rose’s site or on the UoG site, but I think it is was here) at how the Cross was ordained of God, even though it necessarily involved the sin of man. However, you seem very content to let a bald statement lie without any such qualification or explanation. This would presuppose that you are able to provide the proof that needed to make your charges stick.

    * both bad (non-Calvinists) and good (Calvinists):
    My challenge: Where do Calvinists teach that non Calvinist sinners are bad and Calvinists sinners are good?

    * Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a Geneva Study Bible? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness where he was predestined from eternity past; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
    My challenge Where have Calvinists ever claimed that salvation is through possession of a Geneva Bible? What did people do before 1557 when the NT was translated and somewhere around 1644 when the last one (until the last few years) was printed? I must confess my ignorance here on this matter, but doubtless your confidence in your own statements will instruct me further.

    * where he was predestined from eternity past;
    My challenge You did forget to put in because of his sins It was a slip, wasn’t it? If so, a simple acknowledgement will suffice. If not…sorry, we need solid proof.

    * For non-Calvinists are generally called, but Calvinists are chosen.
    My challenge You leave this, somewhat, hazy and therefore open to the charge of inuendo, although I do not charge you with this. It might imply that you are charging Calvinists with believing that only those who believe their system are among the Redeemed and that all others are lost. Perhaps you could clear up the doubt here, and if you are going for this somewhat serious charge, then again, your clear, uncluttered, proofs will be eagerly awaited at this end.

    Sigh

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 2/09/2009 3:44 AM  

  • Hi Dawn,

    The Bible puts the emphasis on the cause of unbelief as man’s own sin. Therefore the Lord Jesus rebuked the unbelieving people in John 5:40 with the words “Ye will not come to me that ye might have life.” Your words before sin ever entered into the picture are a little ambiguous. If you mean “before sin was ever committed” then we answer in the affirmative i.e. that “Yes, election and its consequential opposite of reprobation were dealt with before man ever committed sin on this earth.” OTOH: if you mean “before sin ever entered into the equation i.e. in the thoughts of God” then, we must deny this. God did not deal with the human race as neutrals, but with us all as guilty, wretched sinners and all (without exception) deserving to perish. That God chose to save some does not lessen the guilt or the responsibility of those whom He passed by. If there inability to come was not due to sin, then we might in some way excuse those who do not come. But this is not the case. They are wilfully blind and deaf etc., As quoted above, they love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. There can be no complaint if those who stubbornly refuse the offers of salvation (and continue to do so until their death) are left to perish. This is the real reason why man is lost according to the Bible and therefore according to Calvinistic theology.

    Since I have challenged Wingfooted above to provide proof of what he attributes to Calvinists, I will do so for my own statements.

    The Westminster Confession/Faith (3:7) VII. The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extends or withholds mercy, as He pleases, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonour and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice. (Emphasis mine)

    Mr Calvin was very clear on this too. In his Christian Institutes (3:23:8) on the cause of condemnation, he wrote: Accordingly, we should contemplate the evident cause of condemnation in the corrupt nature of humanity – which is closer to us – rather than seek a hidden and utterly incomprehensible cause in God’s predestination”

    I appreciate your question. I hope this helps.

    Regards,

    P/s Rachel. I’m afraid I haven’t read the said book, so I cannot possibly recommend or decry it. However, Jim has owned up to the link.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 2/09/2009 4:14 AM  

  • GoodnightSafeHome,

    The posting above was directed to Dawn and “All”.

    This “all” was intended for “all” bloggers and readers without distinction, not “all” bloggers and readers without exception. Sorry for the confusion.

    Regards,
    wingedfooted1

    By Anonymous wingedfooted1, at 2/09/2009 4:28 AM  

  • Wingfooted:

    The issue here is not who your original posting was for. The issue is whether your picture of what Calvinists allegedly believe is true. This concern for truth must override every other consideration.

    Since you show yourself capable of apologising for what you call "confusion", perhaps then you could either stand over your remarks (for whoever they were originally intended) by giving the required proof that they are indeed true and accurate words or withdraw them as untrue.

    This way, there will be even less "confusion" and thus a further apology can be avoided.


    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 2/09/2009 6:13 AM  

  • Colin,
    While I have grown weary of correcting the gross misconceptions about God's election and redemption of the lost, I would like to offer my encouragement to the great job you do in attempting to set the record straight with those who insist on painting a false picture.

    Wayne

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 2/09/2009 8:29 AM  

  • Thank you, Jazzcat, for your encouragement.


    Patience is a virtue,
    Gain it if you can,
    Seldom in a woman,
    Always* in a man.


    *Female version: "Never in a man"

    :o)

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 2/09/2009 8:37 AM  

  • Hi Rose


    Colin said:
    Your argument above would only stand up if they had no offer of a Saviour. But they did and that’s were the big difference lies. Furthermore, it was not a bare offer of a Saviour – a mere formality – God’s call was as sincere as it could be. (However, it was not followed through with an effectual call and so they were left to perish in their chosen sins. But that is another matter – I record it here just to keep myself right.)

    (Emphasis mine)



    The real BIG difference lies here:



    God’s call was as sincere as it could be vs. God’s call was sincere

    Notice how Colin had to qualify Gods sincerity instead of just saying God is sincere. Quite telling I think concerning Colins God?

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/09/2009 10:32 AM  

  • Alvin:

    Surely to say that God's call is as sincere as it could be is to say "God's call is sincere" but only with more force?

    However, to allay any worries that you seem to have, then let me restate it:

    God's call is sincere

    What does that tell you about my God?

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 2/09/2009 10:46 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    The reasons these ones Jesus is talking to in John 5:40 "But you are not willing to come to Me that you might have life.
    These ones had rejected light in the past not only had they not believed Moses writings vs.45-47 but they had already thought they had "eternal life" vs.39 so they were already convinced that Jesus was not the Messiah. But that did not mean that they could not be convinced in the future that Jesus was the Christ. In fact we find later on many of the priests did come to Jesus for life ( cf. Matt 27:41;Acts 6:7. Jesus loved these people and was going to go to the cross to die for them. You notice also that the two theifs on the cross were railing against Jesus at first (Matt 27:44)but then one is persuaded that Jesus is the Christ. And he says to Jesus remember me when you come into your Kingdom, Jesus told him today you will be with Me in paradise!(Luke 23:39-43) So as long as a person is alive there is hope that they will be persuaded that Jesus is the Christ the One who guarantees resurrection and eternal life (John 11:25-27).

    This shows the heart of God: Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."

    Jesus knew what was keeping people from coming to Him:

    But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 2 Cor 4:3,4

    If people were like rocks who needed to be regenerated so they could believe why would Satan have to blind the mind of a rock? Think about it.

    alvin :)
    good~night

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/09/2009 11:18 AM  

  • Daniel,
    I have so many thoughts! I may post some now and some later, too.

    You said:
    I start there because I premise a lot of my understanding in this verse, not upon what the text could mean if this pericope were entirely isolated from history, the rest of the epistle, and the rest of scripture, but rather what this text ~must~ mean in the light of what we know already know explicitly (i.e. no fudge room) from other verses, and from the meaning of the word ιλασμos.

    The analogy of faith approach you are using makes sense. You must know that others also use this method but have different passages that they begin from, to build. It is interesting to see how you build your undersatdning, and I thank you for putting it out there for us to see.

    You went on to say:
    Now, to use your own language, does scripture tell us explicity (no interpretation necessary), for whom Christ died? The answer is, yes, it does.

    When I read that, my eyebrows raised. <:~! Hmmm, let's see.

    I think I will begin with Isaiah 53, but will make a new comment for readability ease.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/09/2009 12:02 PM  

  • Regarding ISAIAH 53

    You said:
    In Isaiah 53:8, the prophet describes the dying of Christ as being "for the transgressions of God's people ("that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?") ;
    Question: Is everyone who was ever born one of "God's people"?
    Answer: You know they ain't.


    Very interesting!! I see this passage much differently than you may.

    Who are the people that Isaiah is calling "my people"? I think it is quite clear when looking at the surrounding context that the group called "my people" in that passage is a smaller group than you believe it to be.

    Yes!! I said "smaller" :~) Let me explain:

    Isaiah is speaking of his own native country, Israel. Isaiah is talking about what the Messiah is going to do for that nation specifically. Look at his language in Chapter 52, the chapter right before:

    1Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.

    2Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.

    3For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.
    ...
    9Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.


    Don't get me wrong, what the Messiah does for Israel, will not be ONLY for them. I am merely trying to get a make on who "my people" is in the verse that you have quoted, supposing it is a larger group: the 'elect' who will, or have believed, in Him.

    Isaiah says that this will effect other nations:

    15So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider. (Is 52:8)

    BUT - I think what dear Isaiah is talking about is the specific work regarding his own people right there in verse 8. They are the ones who in verse 4 did "esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted..."
    Those are the people that, as a people, called him "smitten of God." I know many people in this country who never called Jesus "smitten of God." We think of him, in the Western world, as a great teacher, even among those who don't believe in him as the Christ. If "we" is the church, the same goes - many modern Christians never have thought of Jesus as "smitten of God." The representatives of Israel did declare Him to be this, upon the time of their vistiation. That is who the "our" is in that passage - that is what "my people" - Isaiah's people - said of Christ. And He was smitten for the transgressions of those people. (Yet not for theirs only, but for those of the whole world!!!)

    You refer to verse 8

    that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people

    and assume "my people" to be only those who believe in Him (because they are elect). I humbly submit that you are reading more into the passage than what is there and broadening the group "my people." Isaiah means a specific group by "my people" when he uses that phrase.

    YET - don't mistake me - I am not saying that the Messiah's sacrifice was limited to the people that Isaiah was referring to in that verse, because under inspiration, Isaiah goes on to say that not only did he bear the transgressions of Isaiah's people but that God actually made "his soul an offering for sin." SIN. That is not "sins." Christ becamse SIN and this is not just an affliction of the nation Israel... or the church... but all humanity. All humanity has SIN.

    Anyway, sorry to be long-winded. I just want to add that in Chapter 54, Isaiah again brings the discussion back to his own people:

    5For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel...

    7For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.


    That is clearly the nation Israel - the ones He has forsaken, but will again regather, as Paul discusses at length in Romans and elsewhere.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/09/2009 12:04 PM  

  • He is the Messiah of Israel, after all.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/09/2009 12:06 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    One last comment before I get to bed. I believe Jim showed clearly that Jesus is not ONLY the propitiation for believers but for the whole world. Jesus satisfied God's justice for sin. Therefore He can invite ALL sinners to take of the water of life freely (Rev 22:17).
    So Jesus CALL for ALL to COME to Him so that they might have life is SINCERE because He made propitiation for EVERYONE!

    GOOD~NIGHT

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/09/2009 12:06 PM  

  • James, agent4him,
    Thanks for visiting! I am glad youa re reading this talk and I hope if you can offer any help that you will.
    I want to re-read your comment about the 3D salvation - that is so interesting!!! I do wish Colin and some of the other reformed folk around here would say some about that. I have to get my mind around it yet. Things take time for me to process. :~)

    Thanks again for visiting. I do try to keep the tone "nice" or irenic, as you say. In my view, no one can 'hear' anyone else if we are being less than that.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/09/2009 12:09 PM  

  • Wingfooted,
    Thank you for visiting. Have not seen you around in a while. :~) You ruffled some feather, but I think you were nice about it.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/09/2009 12:10 PM  

  • Dawn,
    You are always welcome here, too! I hope you are doing well.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/09/2009 12:11 PM  

  • KC,
    I think you made the last point in that discussion between yourself and Colin. :~)

    Colin,
    I know technically you got the last word, but I don't see how it answered this from KC:

    If Christ is not their Savior and they have rejected Him as such then they are just in their determination but if He is their Savior then they truly have rejected the Truth of the Gospel and are suffering the fate of all who would do likewise.

    I think it is "still hanging out there" so to speak.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/09/2009 12:14 PM  

  • Jazzycat,
    Good to see you as well.
    You're right - Colin is a tireless apologist for the Reformed position. He is a fine representative for you. (I like him too, because he is nice and gentle with a touch of humor) which makes his comments easy and pleasant for me to read, even though I don't agree with them. often.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/09/2009 12:16 PM  

  • Rose:

    Do you think that wingfooted1 should just as nicely substantiate the various charges that he has brought? Or failing that, he could just as nicely retract them, could he not? Is that an unreasonable expectation?

    Re: kc's point, I thought I had answered it. In rejecting the offer of the gospel, the sinner turns his back on all that the gospel would bring to him i.e. peace with God and holiness of life. Kc's point only stand sif the gospel was not for the sinner. but it is - very much so - and the sinner is totally responsible for its reception. I fail to see how I can make it clearer than that.

    Re: the 3D salvation, I'm all for it. Indeed, it is what I desired the night I got saved. I have the justification part 100%, still working with God on the sanctification part, and waiting for God's own good time on the third part i.e. glorification.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 2/09/2009 12:22 PM  

  • Colin,
    Regarding your answer to KC:

    1. If Christ did not die for that person who rejects Him, then Christ was not the Savior for that sinner ...and then rejected by that sinner. He was not a potential savior for that sinner at all. Right?

    2. I think if Wingfooted could provide quotes to substantaite, that would be very welcome. I think he is making summations gleaned from his various forays into these studies of what he believes are the logical conclusions of the theology he is criticizing, but I will have to read his comment more carefully.

    3. I think the comment agent4him made:

    My conclusion is that the atonement is 3-D, not just 1-D:
    for all in Adam (1-D, 5:12, 18); and then for "the many" who first accept the free gift of grace (2-D, 5:17); and then for believers who continue to confess ongoing sins in the light (3-D, 1 John 1:5-9), which leads directly to 1 John 2:2, referring to all aspects of the atonement to reassure John's teknia ("little children") of its efficacy for anyone who needs it at any time (including at least "1-D" for all humanity).


    regarding the 3D salvation is looking at a different angle of the atonement than the justification, sanctification, and glorification of individual sinners. What do you think of what he said about the 3Ds of the atonement?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/09/2009 1:27 PM  

  • GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME,

    Do you believe in Calvin, or Christ? When someone mentions JC in a post, which is the first name that comes to mind? Why do you defend the beliefs of Calvin and the twisted interpretation of the Gospel that these beliefs inspire? Why should WingedFooted defend his beliefs to you, a mere man? Are you somehow more qualified to pass judgment on the nature of man's beliefs? Why not cuddle up in front of the fireplace with the Institutes and cast the Holy Bible into the flames? Or, just butt out.

    By Anonymous JudgedFromAbove, at 2/09/2009 1:43 PM  

  • JudgedFromAbove -
    This is your first comment on this blog... and I am afraid my evaluation of it is that it was pretty rude.

    You may offer any thoughts you have on the post, but "leave the hand-slapping to me" - this is one of my rules posted in my sidebar.

    Do not tell anyone to "butt out" on my blog.

    Thank you.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/09/2009 1:56 PM  

  • Rose:

    1) Sufficient for any sinner is the knowledge that Christ has died for sinners and offers salvation to Him personally (as in “whosoever”) If he rejects this, then he has rejected the offered Saviour and justly deserves to perish. Indeed, he effectively perishes by his own hand. My position here is protecting the “is” in John 4:42. If Christ is the Saviour of the world (or, to add the emphasis of the believing Samaritans: is indeed the Saviour of the world but the world of which He is indeed the Saviour is not saved, then He is hardly a great Saviour, is He? He becomes a Saviour who doesn’t saved. Indeed.

    2) Have you ever heard any Calvinist either at your church, other churches or on your blog claim that salvation is through possession of a Geneva Bible? Or that Calvinists charged God with insincerity in the gospel offer etc? I think that the provision of substantiating quotes is essential at this point. Or, failing this, (as I suspect) they really should be withdrawn since they are simply true. Imagine the upset there would be if I had taken that same parable and doctored the words to read: And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not a copy of “Absolutely Free.” And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a copy of “Absolutely Free”? This would be a practical slander of your position.

    3) I would take the same line with Romans 5:18 as I do with John 4:42. I do not see how Christ has actually given justification of life to the spiritually dead and condemned already sinner (Ephesians 2:1) who remains and ultimately dies in his sins. It is only they who believe the gospel who do not taste of the second death. Again, I think your position (and James also) weakens these great verses. They do not speak about what Christ could do but doesn’t, but rather about what He actually does. There are plenty of other verses out there that portray Him making an offer to do something e.g. Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me and [if you come unto me] I will give you rest etc.,” or “If any man thirst etc.,” – they are clearly verses that are making an offer. But Romans 5:18/John 4:42 benefit is stated as a fact and that must limit it to those who actually avail of it. Is the Lord Jesus preparing a mansion in heaven for lost souls? No – but he is preparing a mansion for each of those for whom he is coming back. IOW we trace the benefit back to those who alone will avail of it.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 2/09/2009 2:47 PM  

  • Welcome back, Rose, and thank you for welcoming me.

    I appreciate your clarifying the "3-D" thing in response to Colin...you are exactly right: I was referring to three separate but related aspects of the atonement, which is the more specific subject of this thread.

    That said, I must quickly also apologize to Colin, because I did use a (different) "3-D" construct on Antonio's blog to build a broader concept of salvation---to which Colin alluded---but I didn't clarify here that I was changing the analogy to make a different point on the atonement. My weighing in on Antonio's thread was in response to what I viewed as a reductionism among FG advocates in discussing salvation (and I speak from within the FG camp). What I was hoping to contribute is a more nuanced way of thinking about salvation that might explain more than a few of the logical "disconnects" that FGers seem to be encountering, not only with those of a Reformed persuasion but also with evangelical-leaning Roman Catholics.

    On this thread with respect to the atonement, Rose, you have gotten the question exactly right as you responded to Colin on my proposal from Rom 5. I believe we have to deal seriously with Paul's seemingly misplaced use of "all" in 5:18, which strictly parallels his use in 5:12 with respect to Adam. I don't think Colin has adequately dealt with it in the context of Paul's argument.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 2/09/2009 9:45 PM  

  • Blessings Rose.

    All (you too Goodnight :-)

    Please forgive me for my late reply. My employer does not take kindly to “blogging” in the work area. While I was able to follow along, I was not at liberty to respond. Let me say that since my earlier post, some of the responses have been interesting, amusing, and unfortunate. I do not care for “mud-slinging” of any kind, biblical or otherwise. Let me also say I have full empathy for the Calvinistic interpretation of scripture. I have been studying it for over 6 years now. Even I felt it’s “pull”. I understand it. I empathize with it. And I reject it. Of course, the Calvinist will say the only reason some one rejects it, is because they don’t understand it. Anyway....here goes.......

    First, let’s have a few Calvinistic quotes.......

    “That men do NOTHING save at the SECRET INSTIGATION of God, and DO NOT DISCUSS AND DELIBERATE ON ANY THING but what he has previously decreed with himself and BRINGS TO PASS BY HIS SECRET DIRECTION (Institutes: book 1, chapter 18, section 1)”

    “The decree, I admit, is, dreadful; and yet it is impossible to deny that God foreknow what the end of man was to be before he made him, and foreknew, BECAUSE HE HAD SO ORDAINED BY HIS DECREE......Should any one here inveigh against the prescience of God, he does it rashly and unadvisedly. For why, pray, should it be made a charge against the heavenly Judge, that he was not ignorant of what was to happen? Thus, if there is any just or plausible complaint, IT MUST BE DIRECTED AGAINST PREDESTINATION....... Nor ought it to seem absurd when I say, that God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; BUT ALSO AT HIS OWN PLEASURE ARRANGED IT.....For as it belongs to his wisdom to foreknow all future events, SO IT BELONGS TO HIS POWER TO RULE AND GOVERN THEM BY HIS HAND. (Institutes: book 3, chapter 7, section 7)”

    Some more quotes.....

    “He hated the reprobate and planned their sin and damnation” (Robert Morey: Studies In The Atonement)

    “God has predestined whomever he saw fit, not only to damnation, but also to the causes of it...The decree of God cannot be excluded from the cause of man's corruption.” - Beza

    “It is certain that God is the first cause of obduration. Reprobates are held so fast under God's almighty decree, that they can do nothing but sin...” - Zanchius

    “God inclines and forces the wills of wicked men into great sins.” - Martyr

    “God moves the robber to kill. He kills because God forces him to. But, you will say, then he is forced to sin; I permit truly that he is forced.” - Ulrich Zwingli

    “Reprobate persons are absolutely ordained to this twofold end, to undergo everlasting punishment, and necessarily to sin; and therefore to sin, that they may be justly punished.” - Piscator

    Keeping these in mind, let’s now look at the challenges....

    *they could not come for being spiritually dead like a corpse*

    Goodnight says....“While Calvinists acknowledge man’s inability to come to Christ unaided, yet they strongly emphasize the fact that such inability is self and sin induced.”

    Answer: A “self induced sin” that was orchestrated, instigated, and brought to pass by the secret decreed will of God.

    *knowing the offer was not sincere*

    Goodnight says... “Where do Calvinists charge God with insincerity?

    Answer: Calvinism teaches that the Lost, the reprobate, were created for one “soul” reason, to burn for all eternity in the lake of fire. Calvinists teach, and I quote, “vessels of wrath which were CREATED for the purpose of destruction!” Interesting quote, since Paul stated these “vessels of wrath” were fitted or prepared for destruction, NOT created for that end. Anyone would plainly see that any offer of the gospel would be anything but “sincere” for those whom God hates and for whom Christ did not die.

    *knowing everything was going exactly as he had foreordained*

    Goodnight says... “it is necessary to explain the relationship between God and the sins of men.”

    Answer: I think the above quotes speak for themselves, but here’s another one....

    “God desired for man to fall into sin. I am not accusing God of sinning: I am suggesting that God created sin” R.C. Sproul Jr. - Almighty All Over

    I’m still searching to see which of the 6 days God did this. So far, no luck.

    *both bad (non-Calvinists) and good (Calvinists)*

    Goodnight.... “where do Calvinists teach that non Calvinist sinners are bad and Calvinist sinners are good?”

    Answer: All in fun. Roll with the punches. But, Calvinists do label non-Calvinists with “bad” theology. The Calvinists I have encountered, in general, have an “air” of superiority.

    Goodnight.... “Where have Calvinists ever claimed that salvation is through the possession of a Geneva Bible.”

    Answer: Again, all in fun. However, I am sure many during Calvin’s reign in Geneva wouldn’t consider it funny. Anyone who challenged Calvin and his interpretation of scripture were exiled, flogged, imprisoned, or even put to death. I would say their “safety” was through the possession of a Geneva Bible. Still, look at some of the reasons Calvinists say we should read “the Institutes”......

    Because it the most important book written in the last 500 years.

    Ouch!

    Because Calvin was the best exegete in the history of Christianity.

    Ouch again!

    Because Calvin is one of the five greatest theologians in Christian history.

    Double Ouch!

    Because you will know God better, if you read it prayerfully and believingly.

    Is this not exactly what the Mormons say regarding the book of Mormon? How Ironic.

    *where he was predestined from eternity past*

    Goodnight says.... “You did forget to put in ‘because of his sins’. It was a slip, wasn’t it?”

    Answer: Yes, because of his sins. Again, every sin that was instigated, ordained, and brought to pass by the secret decree of God.

    *For non-Calvinists are generally called, but Calvinists are chosen*

    Goodnight says... “You leave this, somewhat, hazy and therefore open to the charge of inuendo, although I do not charge you with this. It might imply that you are charging Calvinists with believing that only those who believe their system are among the Redeemed and that all others are lost. Perhaps you could clear up the doubt here, and if you are going for this somewhat serious charge, then again, your clear, uncluttered, proofs will be eagerly awaited at this end.”

    Answer: I quote Spurgeon....

    I believe nothing merely because Calvin taught it, but because I have found his teaching in the Word of God. The doctrines of original sin, election, effectual calling, final perseverance, and all those great truths which are called Calvinism—though Calvin was not the author of them, but simply an able writer and preacher upon the subject—are, I believe, the essential doctrines of the Gospel that is in Jesus Christ. Now, I do not ask you whether you believe all this—it is possible you may not; but I BELIEVE YOU WILL BEFORE YOU ENTER HEAVEN. I am persuaded, that as God may have washed your hearts, HE WILL WASH YOUR BRAINS BEFORE YOU ENTER HEAVEN. I believe the man who is not willing to submit to the electing love and sovereign grace of God, HAS GREAT REASON TO QUESTION WHETHER HE IS A CHRISTIAN AT ALL, for the spirit that kicks against that is the spirit of the devil, and the spirit of the unhumbled, unrenewed heart.

    Here’s another quote from Calvinist Eric Tuininga's article entitled “Are Arminians Saved?”

    “So for some Arminians, BECOMING REFORMED TRULY MARKS THEIR CONVERSION TO CHRIST. Others I think are "reformed" without knowing it. They might call themselves Arminians, but they aren't. That's why I resist making blanket statements that "all Arminians are not saved.”

    Sounds to me that “the kingdom of Heaven” is going to be nothing but a Calvinist Convention.

    Well, there you have it. This is how I came up with the rendering of how Calvinists “might” interpret the parable of the wedding banquet. I’m sure for some, it will suffice, for others, I doubt it.

    Glory to God in the Highest!
    wingedfooted1

    By Anonymous wingedfooted1, at 2/09/2009 9:50 PM  

  • Hi Rose



    Hi Colin
    I’m sure everyone who is not a Calvinist here would call into question God’s sincerity in commanding people to believe when that is impossible for them to do apart from the One who is demanding it of them, or be guilty of their sin and reap the consequences which is the eternal lake of fire. When others were in the exact same sinking boat but were thrown a life preserver? From what Wingedfooted1 has shown us and that I have in the past it’s clear that the Calvinist God is NOT sincere but would demand people to do something they in no way can do apart from His willingness to supply.

    Hi Jim

    I’m looking forward to Colin’s reply because I believe what you’ve said is a open and closed case. But one question I would have is, do you believe that God ONLY paid for 1D sin for the world and not ALL sin taking it out of the way?

    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/09/2009 11:03 PM  

  • Good morning Rose/Wingfooted1

    Wingfooted1: Thank you for taking time to reply and back up some of your charges. First of all, I am unsure why you chose to blend your serious charges with those that you later claim (when challenged) were all in fun. Even in identifying these, you go on to use them to take further digs. Some of these digs e.g Calvinists which you have encountered have an air of superiority may be applied right across the board. Every Christian school feels that it has achieved accuracy on its chosen subject while its opponents have yet to learn. So you will forgive me for giving less time to that. If there are proud Calvinists (nay, Christians) then they have not yet learned Christ – at least on that matter.
    If I may try and bring a lot of chords together here (to save me a whole morning which I simply cannot spare) it should be said that Christians as a whole have struggled with the concept of the entry of sin into the world. That God could have prevented it goes without saying. When He created man in the Garden, endued him with a free will, and gave him a test, even logic itself shows that the test could have been failed. Of course, God had more than logic working for Him, because He foreknew the outcome. He knew with an absolute certainty that the forbidden fruit wouldn’t hang untouched on the tree. As He planned this test, (forgive my use of human steps of thought to describe the Almighty) at this point, He could have run with a less riskier plan. But He didn’t. Without indicting God for the sin (with all their sometimes unwise language – Calvinists are careful to say that God Himself has not sinned – a point which I wish could be acknowledged more, at least for the sake of truth and accuracy) yet it must be said that He deliberately proceeded with His plan.

    Why was this? Since sin is the great bugbear of the universe – the cause of every last problem and suffering on the earth and the reason why hell was dug etc., – why proceed with a plan that even gives it a chance of existence? We all say something to the effect that God wanted his creatures to worship him freely. He didn’t want robots etc., Agreed. But still … did this desire still warrant creating the circumstances in which sin could enter? Far be it from me to question the motives of the Almighty (I ask these questions not to doubt, much less indict, but to try and find out more so that I can worship God) Evidently it did.

    At this point, Calvinists and non Calvinists are both struggling to try and give a satisfactory answer. Calvinists go down the road that whatever God does, He does for a reason. That nothing happens by chance or outside His control. Is the universe beyond God’s control? Is the chariot thundering through the fields and hedges and in danger of overturning at the next ditch? We think not. (Understatement) Therefore every event is within the control of God. There are things which He prevents from happening. One obvious example was the proposed slaying of Peter after the Passover in Acts 12. But why not prevent the killing of James which the same passage records? For reasons best known to Himself, the Lord allows such events to go ahead while preventing the slaying of Peter at that time. (He later, of course, permitted it to happen.) Calvinists have taken the line that what God permits, He ordained to permit. God doesn’t have to wait (like you and me) to see what each new day brings. He organises events – even wicked ones (including the Cross) – and all to bring His glory from them. He does so without incurring any guilt Himself. We might, at times, wonder two things [i] how? and [ii] why? but we are dealing here with what we read in the Bible and we must work from what we have.

    If the quotes that you give are both fair and accurate and in context (and again, I do not have the time to look them up – I wish I did.) and not qualified elsewhere then some of them use language that I would not use. Sometimes, however, I feel in debates like this that instead of looking at what men said as a whole the tendency is to come to them either as a prosecuting lawyer or a defending one. I think that this does a grave injustice to the matter at hand. Calvin, for example, made statements which qualified the ones you give. For example, in his sermon on Genesis 8:22 he writes:

    “And further, it must be noted, that men are not exempted from guilt and condemnation, by the pretext of this bondage: because although all rush to evil, yet they are not impelled by any extrinsic force, but by the direct inclination of their own hearts; and lastly, they sin not otherwise than voluntary.”

    There are several passages in Scripture where wicked things were done at the Lord’s direction. The lying spirits were sent at His command to deceive the wicked king:

    And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.” (1 Kings 22:22-23)

    I am aware of the Hebraism (sp?) employed here, but still – it served the purpose of God to let them go forth. Does the Lord commission things to happen that do not serve His purpose? I would tend to read the Calvinist passages above in the exact same light, unless it could be proved, after earnest enquiry, to show otherwise.

    Apologies for this long posting.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 2/10/2009 4:58 AM  

  • Hi all,

    Several of you are waiting replies on various subjects. The above reply to wingfooted1 has taken up alot of my time this morning already and I am running seriously behind. My apologies to all.

    Suffice to say this to Alvin's remarks re: the sincerity of God calling men to beleive when they are unable (of themselves) to do so.

    God calls men to love Him with all their heart and souls and minds, which is the first and greatest of all the commandments. Yet, we know that they cannot do so. Why not? Because they are in slavery to sin.
    Is God insincere (or even cruel) to make such demands?

    We say "No" because man's inability is self imposed and he cannot sin himself out of his responsibility towards God.

    I really must leave it there. I'll keep an eye on any responses through the day, but unless I can make 2 minute replies, I'll have to let them go. I haven't been so busy in a long while. With thousands joining the ranks of the unemployed every day, I am thankful I have a job and better still, a ministry.

    Regards,


    The

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 2/10/2009 5:06 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    Hi Colin thank you for your response and your kind tone.

    If it seems as though I'm a little frustrated in the following it's not with you but with Calvinism itself.

    Do you really think that God would WASTE His time PLEADING with Israel all through the Old Testament to turn to Him if they could not?

    If He was going to MAKE them turn to Him, He would not WASTE His time PLEADING with them but this shows that there is clearly a human element which we would call the free-will of man.

    Other words human beings are not like rocks and we have an ememy the devil who is REAL. And Scripture clearly tells us that, that enemy is blinding the eyes of those who believe not lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ should shine on them (2 Cor 4:3,4).
    Well Calvinism’s explanation of things “the horrible decree of God” takes Satan completely out of the picture and makes people ROCKS so the ONLY way they can respond is if God MAKES them.
    This reasoning is deeply flawed and cuts at the very character of God that He desires ALL men to be saved. What Calvinism has done is brought God’s desire and His love for every man into question by taking away verses that clearly say that He does love the world and gave Himself for the world (John 3:16). But Calvinism would take these clear child like verses and make them read just the OPPOSITE!
    Putting His love in suspect and making a person wonder IF they are one of the ones He REALLY loved enough to die for????

    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/10/2009 6:33 AM  

  • Hi Alvin,

    Two minute reply:

    1) Does God waste His time (as you put it) requiring sinners to love Him with all their hearts etc., when they cannot and will not because of His sin? I think not.

    2) Sinners are not rocks neither are they “made” to turn to God. They are rational and responsible souls who are won to God by His enabling power. Did God MAKE Paul serve Him when He worked in him both to will and to do of His good pleasure? (Philippians 2:12) We both know that He didn’t. Just as God graciously turned the will of Paul, so too He turned my will. He broke the chains that fettered my will and he lovingly drew me to Himself. If you want to find fault with that, that’s your prerogative. But I must wonder what purpose is served in doing it.
    Calvinism has never claimed that men are rocks or void of responsibility nor has it ever taken Satan out of the picture, as you claim. If we could keep the debate to what Calvinism actually claims, then a lot of needless energy need not be spent.

    3) As I never tire repeating, many Calvinists do believe that God’s love in John 3:16 is universal. Calvin himself believed so. I quote his own comments from John 3:16 As the whole matter of our salvation must not be sought any where else than in Christ, so we must see whence Christ came to us, and why he was offered to be our Saviour. Both points are distinctly stated to us: namely, that faith in Christ brings life to all, and that Christ brought life, because the Heavenly Father loves the human race, and wishes that they should not perish. (Emphasis mine)

    If you want to go down the usual road that “Calvin spoke out of both sides of his mouth” – then there is little I can do to say any more? If you have a fascination with the black side of things as it relates to God’s relationship to the deep issues of sin etc., and I have a love affair with the brighter issues, then so be it. I am happy with my choice on the matter.

    Yes, the tone here is good. Let’s keep it that way. Ten minute reply over.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 2/10/2009 7:07 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    To most of you Calvinism has not touched your lives but is simply a doctrine to be debated. So you wonder what’s the big deal why is this guy so disturbed by this teaching? A big part of the despair that my own wife felt because of being told she was maybe not one of the elect. Which I don’t really blame anyone for, but just know how tragic this teaching is for someone who is unstable. Who always tried to get acceptance from her parents but never received it, and NEVER was told by them she was loved. So for her when she heard this Calvinistic teaching and stories told about a ball of worms rolling down a hill and God just pulling one out and sugar coating it. This did not have the same effect on me as it did my wife, because she ALREADY hated herself and couldn’t understand how ANYONE could love her and especially a God that was pictured as One that only REALLY just loved the elect. Well to make a long story short, I ended up leaving my wife at a mental ward and taking my little daughter who was just around four years old at the time. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. (Partly because in the past I had been with my dad when taking him to mental hospitals and knowing what goes on in them. Some of you know already that my dad had put in a gas stove and went off to work and when he returned my mom was dead at the foot of my bed. I was only six months old at the time so I have no memory of it, but do remember clearly when taking my dad to mental hospitals several times over the years and seeing the horrible memories of the conditions there.) But during her stay there she had a peace come over her when she was lying in bed. The nurses came into her room and went to turn her because her feet was at the wrong end. But she did not want them to touch her because for the first time she felt that God MIGHT really love her. This was the beginning of her recovery, that sliver of hope was enough at that time to go on with life.
    I hope this gives a little insight into just how horrible that decree that Augustine said he saw. Because it paints a God who does not really love everyone just those who He decided to love and prove it by dying just for them.

    I really struggle with keeping Calvinism and the person who is teaching it seperate. And I apologize to Colin or anyone else I have offended by making it personal with them. I really don't want to do that because it does not glorify my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/10/2009 7:21 AM  

  • Alvin,

    Your story is horrendous and there is hardly a human being out there, Calvinist, Christian, atheist or otherwise who wouldn't be moved by it.

    However, I don't think that going on the crusade that you are on is honestly helping you. You seem to want to paint all Calvinists with the same big black brush.

    What would think (for example) of a Jew who refused to have anything to do with Christians on the basis that some who professed that name held regular pogroms against Jews, called them "Christ killers" and eventually, Adolf Hitler who killed in the name of the Christian God finally set up extermination camps? Was he being rational?

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 2/10/2009 7:32 AM  

  • Hi Rose/Colin
    Colin when I say Calvinism I’m speaking of consistent five-point which you are representing in this debate. And you are defending the third-point limited atonement.
    And all I have done here in telling my own personal story is to let people know that it’s not just about doctrine believed or not believed but can have serious repercussions in peoples lives as it has mine. I will leave it at that.

    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/10/2009 8:01 AM  

  • Fair enough, Alvin.

    It is something to bear in mind though, if and when it comes up again in the various discussions here and elsewhere.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 2/10/2009 8:22 AM  

  • Rose, Alvin, Colin,

    We are blessed by the above exchange. As the "senior" respondent (?) in this thread, may I tell you both how proud I am?

    I tried about 8 hours ago to reply to Alvin's concluding question addressed above to me, but the blog server would not allow me to post (I had no problem on Antonio's); it's working again.

    Alvin: But one question I would have is, do you believe that God ONLY paid for 1D sin for the world and not ALL sin taking it out of the way?

    A: I do indeed believe that atonement is 2-D, 3-D universal (see my prev. two posts above), but that cannot really be proven from Rom 5:12-18, which argues from the all in Adam (5:12, 18) to the many in Christ (5:17, 19-21). The support any given passage might supply has to be viewed in the context of the author's argument (as is also the case with Calvin---thank you Colin).

    We have to distinguish between atonement for and remission of sins. Hence, Rom 5:12-21 supports universal (1-D) atonement for but limited (2, 3-D) remission of sins, and does not answer the question about what happens to those unremitted sins in eternity...all we can say is that those who freely accept the free gift of grace will prevail ("reign") over sin and its (2-D, 3-D) deathly consequences "to eternal life" (5:17, 21).

    (Hence, parenthetically, that's why FG advocates need to "get on the stick" and start preaching how we were intended to "reign in righteousness" now, as well as then. But that's another thread.)

    For universal 2-D, 3-D atonement, I go to the context of 1 Jn 2:2, which is dealing with the need of believers (the 2-D "free gift of grace" [atonement] already accepted) who then sin, and it is exposed by the "light": They need the assurance that when they sin they can be restored to fellowship with God and others by the ongoing atoning efficacy of Jesus' blood (1:5-2:2). John's specific point in this context is a "greater-to-lesser" (a fortiori) argument: they can have every confidence that their ongoing need for atonement of sin will be surely met because Christ's atoning sacrifice was intended and sufficient for the sins of the whole world, let alone the ongoing sins of believers, who already have eternal life by that same atoning blood (1 Jn 1:1-4; 5:11-12).

    Does that leave unremitted sin? Yes, for those who do not accept the free gift of grace (Rom 5:17). Does that mean Christ did not die for those who do not accept the free gift? Of course he did (1 Jn 2:2). Hence, we must distinguish between universal atonement and limited remission. Q.E.D.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 2/10/2009 9:08 AM  

  • Rose,
    Thanks so much for providing a safe place for us all to openly discuss our respective views. I know you’ve paid a price to do so.

    Colin,
    I apologize if it seemed I “jumped ship” on the discussion but I considered we had reached agreement on the original point of discussion. I appreciate you and your time and effort here.

    Alvin,
    Be thankful you’re not close enough to hug. ;-)
    I’ll offer my prayers instead.

    By Blogger Kc, at 2/10/2009 12:18 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    (NASB)

    John is writing to all nations since that was his commission from Jesus. Ultimately, he's writing to the whole world; to anyone who would like to fellowship with him, the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ. John's intention here is to teach and make disciples of all nations - or all who would see and hear and come - to learn of, and know the Father.

    John said, (1Jn1:v5)"This is the message we have heard from Him and 'announce' to you". He is announcing not just to believers, but also to those who 'would' believe. Here's how.

    He's addressing believers while at the same time directing the message to others who will come to believe but are presently confused over the difference between Christ and the antichrist; and even the devil and their own flesh; the testimony of God and the testimony of men.

    He's addressing believers who are still partly in darkness, even at the reading of this epistle: (2:v9) are still in darkness "until now".

    John is presenting the offer to the whole world by way of saying here:(v9) "If we confess our sins...He will forgive us our sins...". And:(2v2)"He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; but also for those of the whole world." Therefore, that means He is the propitiation for us when we confess our sins, and, for all in the world who would confess their sins.

    He is saying one simple thing to all here. John is writing to a small group of congregants here, but, knowing God manifested to him and the other 11 apostles 'the Word of Life', John is consciously addressing all nations, with every letter he writes, and every time he sits down to teach. Let's not forget about the 'broader context' here some of you theologians.

    He is also saying that even you and I were once a part of the dreaded world. That is , in effect, where we all first heard the announcement and had to confess that we had sin unto death.

    John tells us the gospel gets proclaimed to all nations; the apostles teaching and making disciples by announcing the Light of the world to all men. Does it reach all nations and all men? That's not John's job. His job is to make it available to be taken there.

    Now is the simple reading of this scripture of 1 John, which brings me safely to an understanding of atonement as being available to the whole world - through faith, really nothing more than a mere theory?

    1 John then closes with some good advice. "Little children, guard yourselves from idols". I'm wondering what he would tell me if I asked if I could substitute the word "theologians" in the place of idols, because we tend to let them too often carry us away into theory and away from knownable truth. I'm sure John would tell me..."No, sorry, you don't get to write scripture - but nice idea anyway kid".

    Really nothing more than theory?
    Love Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 2/10/2009 2:11 PM  

  • Rose,

    Since I don't know Todd I'm not sure whether he was addressing me or not.

    He didn't seem to disagree on universal atonement in 1 John 1:5-2:2, but got there in a different way?? Was I being "accused" of being a theologian? Am I being asked to provide a response, or just accept his take on the text?

    Either way, I'm cool; just asking for some clarification about ROE on the blog.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 2/10/2009 2:59 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Todd, at 2/10/2009 3:42 PM  

  • No,no agent4him. I was just blathering away. I skimmed over your universal atonement theory but will have to go back to it now that you mentioned it. I don't see how anyone can disagree with what I said on the text. All it seems I did was go 'one times one, equals one'. But I'm sure there is something disagreeable about it to someone. Peace. Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 2/10/2009 3:42 PM  

  • Fair enough, Todd...

    Jim

    By Blogger agent4him, at 2/10/2009 3:57 PM  

  • Agent4him,
    After looking back I will tell you I don't think we need any more "nuanced ways" of explaining these things.

    "What I was hoping to contribute is a more nuanced way of thinking about salvation that might explain more than a few of the logical "disconnects"..."

    I don't think they are serving their desired purpose. Let's not make it more nuanced but simpler. Because it's simple by its own nature.

    Forgive me for feeling a little differently than many others about these things.

    If you are fully convinced about your beliefs on atonement then just use scripture to state them simply for you. Otherwise it sounds almost like you consider them yourself as theory, or likely possibility. As you are a professor I understand that you will jeopardize your job if you oversimplify the subject matter too much.

    Just some general thoughts of mine. I know they are a little out of vogue compared with the vast academic self-gratification that goes on throughout many of the Christian citadels.

    So don't take it personally. Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 2/10/2009 4:15 PM  

  • KC wrote:

    Hi Daniel. After reading your thoughts it seems your interpretation requires that if the scripture states that Jesus saves some then it would logically preclude Him from saving others. IOW if Jesus saves His people from their sins then logically He could not also save the world from sin. Is this your argument?

    I was wondering how would you perceive the application of the sin offering that was made for “all the people”? Would you say it was applicable for even those outside the camp?


    KC, thanks for taking the time to read my comments, and I apologize for the tardiness in responding - I wrenched my back last week, and am only just recovering enough to catch up on things.

    My argument was that we use the explicit to interpret the implicit, and not vice versa.

    You will note that on the day of the atonement, the high priest went into the Holy of Holies, not carrying the names of every Gentile nation on his shoulders, but the names of the twelve tribes of Israel for whom he was offering atonement. Not with a chest full of every precious stone known to man in order to represent all people everywhere, but with twelve gems, each stone chosen on a one-to-one basis for each tribe.

    Can it be that the high priest made atonement only for Israel, but made sin offerings for everyone?

    Again, I interpret the implicit "sin of everyone" through the explicity "only for Israel" - and in doing so come to an understanding that is consistent with scripture, and a right understanding of propitiation.

    If that helps.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 2/10/2009 4:21 PM  

  • Rose, thanks for letting me know how you understand that verse (Isaiah 53:8). If I follow your reasoning correctly, you are saying that the pronoun "my" in verse eight refers to Isaiah, so he is speaking of Isaiah's people - the nation of Israel. Correct?

    Yet carrying on in the text, but three verses later (v.11) we see that the same speaker says that his servant will justify the many and bear their iniquities.

    Surely you do not regard Isaiah's servant as the Messiah, yet upon what grounds do you imagine the speaker suddenly shifts from Isaiah to God? Or do misunderstand you entirely.

    It seems to me that verse 11 makes plain who is speaking - the Lord, and when he says "my people" he is not referring to Isaiah's people, but to his own - whomever they may be.

    The connection I see, and hopefully I can see this without reading anything extra into the text, is that God's servant justifies God's people. That is an explicit statement. In order to say that God's servant justifies everyone, we have to say that God's people refers to everyone - which makes the reference to "His" people unnecessary and redundant - not that we make our argument based upon how clumsy the text would become - but that we add that to the rest of it.

    Let me know if this stands to reason or not.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 2/10/2009 4:46 PM  

  • Hi Sis.

    Daniel thanks for your reply and I’m really sorry about your injury. May God bless your recovery.

    With respect to the sin offering I was really more interested in how you view it in terms of its application. In your opinion, did it apply to every person of every tribe in Israel?

    By Blogger Kc, at 2/10/2009 5:21 PM  

  • Dear Daniel,
    You raise a good question - the "my servant" one. When I read through Is 52-53, specifically 53 the first 7 verses, (prior to the verse we are talking about), it seems apparent Isaiah is talking about 'people.' He talks about "we" time and again through that chapter. When you, Daniel, read "we" in Isaiah 53 would you not assume it is Isaiah talking about himself and his people? He even continues on in verse 10 and uses the same 'voice': "yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him..." That would not be the 'voice' of the Lord talking about Himself...

    (this is an expressive consideration for me, not an inspiration consideration. I realize that the whole Bible is technically the "voice" of the Lord. I trust everyone understands what I am grappling with in my use of the word "voice" here)

    I do see how verse 9, 11 and 12 could be taken to be from a different 'voice', but verses 2-6 and verse 10 cannot be the 'voice' of the Lord, but are the 'voice' of Isaiah.

    An interesting thing to ponder.

    Anyone else is free to offer wisdom here. And more thoughts from you are welcome as well, Daniel, of course.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/10/2009 5:22 PM  

  • James,
    ROE: be nice. :~) There are only a few times when I feel the need to jump in. A good example is one of the comments earlier. I don't like to over-modify and my ROE are very simple: be nice. :~)

    Thanks! Glad you and Todd figured it out.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/10/2009 5:25 PM  

  • KC - the back feels much improved today, thanks.

    You ask, With respect to the sin offering I was really more interested in how you view it in terms of its application. In your opinion, did it apply to every person of every tribe in Israel?

    Which sin offering are you specifically referencing? There were several, and it would be prudent I think to narrow my answer down to the one you are referring to.

    let me know

    By Blogger Daniel, at 2/10/2009 6:03 PM  

  • Rose sticking with first person personal pronouns (I, me, my), we see only three references in the whole context (my people, my servant, I will allot him a portion).

    Comparing apples with apples - these all consistently refer to God the Father... are they not?

    By Blogger Daniel, at 2/10/2009 6:16 PM  

  • Hi Sis.

    Daniel, the sin offering of atonements:

    (Exodus 30:10 KJV)
    And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD.

    (Leviticus 16:33-34 KJV)
    (33) And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation.
    (34) And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.

    By Blogger Kc, at 2/10/2009 6:22 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    Hi Jim/Kc Thank you both for your kind words.
    Kc your prayers are always welcomed, my wife did have to spend a short time in a mental hospital last year. So complete healing will not take place until she sees her Lord face to face.

    Jim . . .I believe were on the same page. I just never thought of it in the terms you use 3D atonement and limited remission of sins. And I believe your terms are very good.
    The atonement for sins being for all and remission of sins or forgiveness of sins being only for those who believe. I have explained it in the past by saying that forgiveness of sins is personal and all that are in hell are unforgiven but they are not there because they are unforgiven but because they do not have life. All their sin had all been paid for even the sin of unbelief. Which isn't the reason for their eternal condemnation but the cause for not having life. Because the reason they are cast into the lake of fire is because their name was not found written in the book of life. As Zane has explained the reason and the cause being different. You will find a very good explanation of the difference between cause and reason HERE

    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/10/2009 11:10 PM  

  • Alvin,

    I read Zane's article last year in Grace in Focus on names not written in the Book of Life, but I must confess I had trouble following the logic....

    I've discussed the article with a friend who also felt somewhat funny about it, so I probably should look at it again. There is a promise addressed to the overcomers in Revelation (the church at Sardis) that talks about not erasing their names from the Book of Life (Rev 3:5).

    I wonder if everyone's name is initially written in the Book of Life (= 1-D universal atonement for guilt in Adam) and erased only when they refuse to accept the free gift of grace for remission of personal sin (2-D) by the time they die?

    That would mean that children who die before their consciences are mature enough to be convicted of personal sin have a destiny with God, since their names have not been erased. That just seems to me to align so well with what we already know about the compassion and grace of our God.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 2/11/2009 12:32 AM  

  • Hi Todd . . .something that you said caught my attention:
    He's addressing believers who are still partly in darkness, even at the reading of this epistle: (2:v9) are still in darkness "until now".

    I believe your reading your own ideas into the context.

    I believe being that John is speaking about fellowship abiding vs.2:6,10 he is contrasting between light and darkness v.9. Also notice vs12-14 are in the affirmative concerning (little children,fathers,young men). And John affirms that he is NOT writing to them because they don't know the truth but because they DO KNOW THE TRUTH vs.21. John is concerned that they might start listening to these false teachers (vs26) who have went out from the mother church (vs.19). These false teachers had NEVER believed that Jesus was the Christ (vs.22,26). And to John this is saving truth (1 John 5:1). If they were to listen to these false teachers their being a child of God would not be in jeporady (5:9-13) but their fellowship (1:6). Because if we get confused about the gift of eternal life and question whether what Jesus said was true. We end up leaving the foundation of grace that was first delivered to them and us and end up walking by the flesh. These ones John is writing to ARE walking in the light because they KNOW the truth. John was writing to them that their joy may be full (1John 1:4). And the only way their joy could be full is walking in the truth they already know.

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/11/2009 12:38 AM  

  • Hi Jim

    I’ve always taken Rev 3:5 the same as Rev 2:11 (shall not be hurt by the second death) using litotes ( a figure of speech in which something is expressed by a negation of the contrary).
    Although Jim I do see in the OT references to the possibility of names being removed from books (Exodus 32:32,33). Also Isa 4:3; Ezek 13:9 and Mal 3:16 come to mind, whether they are speaking of a book of life in which all names are written I don’t know. But we know that the Lambs book of life it’s impossible for names to be erased because the grounds by which they are written there are purely by grace and is a gift.
    Jesus said: “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20)
    Zane when asked “when are peoples names written in the book of life?” said: I don’t know, next question? Ha!Ha!

    We can REJOICE because as babes we have taken of the water of life freely and KNOW that our name is written there! We don’t have to wait to see if it is but can rejoice now as Jesus said! Praise the Lord!!!! Luke 10:20,21

    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/11/2009 1:24 AM  

  • Good morning Rose,

    I am not so sure that your argument with Daniel is watertight. Even if it is technically Isaiah speakingin some places, yet he is speaking by inspiration of God (which, of course, you acknowledge) i.e.as one moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21) This should not make any real difference to the point made.

    There are a number of places in the bible where it is hard to know where the speaker in the text quits speaking and the writer of the book (as a kind of narrator) takes over. For example, where did in John 3 did Christ quit speaking to Nicodemus and John take over. Did Jesus quote v16 to Nicodemus ("For God so loved the world...") or is this John's inspired comment written many years after the recorded event? There are no speech marks in the Greek language and the commentators draw the line at various places. But here is the point. Does it ultimately matter?

    The gospel is the gospel whether the actual speaker in the text is quoting the words of the Lord with Him as the speaker, or putting his own inspired commenatary upon the words.

    Just a thought.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 2/11/2009 4:11 AM  

  • Good mourning Rose!

    It was mournng and I didn't even realize it until I looked at the posting time. Its 2:44 here and I'm about to go for my run!

    Have a Great Day!
    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/11/2009 5:44 AM  

  • Sorry Colin . . .Good mourning! It's still night here in Washington State and it is snowing, so the running was crisp and the air was cold!!!

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/11/2009 7:14 AM  

  • Hi Alvin,

    Good morning to you too :o)

    Weather a bit damp here, but no snow. In Ireland, it only rains between the showers and twice a week i.e. Monday to Friday and then the weekend. Sometimes it only rains on days beginning with the letter “T” like “Today…Tomorrow…Tuesday…Thursday…Thaturday and Thunday.” We get 9 months of bad weather and then winter. For details of relaxing and memorable holidays, contact your local Irish Tourist Board office.

    See ya around,

    Regards,

    OK – Go for it Missy. #100 awaits your comments.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 2/11/2009 7:30 AM  

  • Alvin, Rose

    I couldn't agree with you more, Alvin, on your response to Todd. That those in John's audience do know the truth is the single most important determinant of the possible meaning of John's antitheses (know God/don't know God; abide in light/abide in darkness; etc.) in the first epistle.

    Regarding litotes in Rev 3:5, I know that is Zane's explanation but I'm not sure yet that I can go with that. When I propose that names can not just figuratively be erased, it has nothing to do with what we might think of as "losing one's salvation." I just believe it is plausible that all humans start out with physical life in Christ (1-D atonement, Rom 5:18) and then reject the free gift of grace (Rom 5:17), to the extent that they are able to understand that offer as God reveals it in response to their conscious conviction of sin by the function of conscience/law (Rom 5:13-14, 20a). If they have never accepted that gift by the time they die (Heb 9:27), what I am proposing is that may be when their names are erased from the Book of Life. This would harmonize both with Paul's exposition of the atonement in Rom 5:12-21 and John's in 1 John 2:2.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 2/11/2009 8:09 AM  

  • KC - thanks for the quick rejoinder.

    First let's mention who the high priest was not making atonement for - the Gentiles. He was atoning for a chosen people, not the whole world.

    It is my conviction that the revelation of God did not happen all in a moment, but began with Adam and Eve, and was revealed with increasing clarity until it culminated in the coming of Christ, and especially in the illuminating ministry of the Apostles who expounded Christ's teaching for us. That is, I regard the writings of the NT as being more revelatory than the OT, such that when an Apostle in the NT says, "It is thus" - I may, if both reason and application demand it, presume that this was so even in the OT, but rather it was hidden then, and revealed now.

    With this in mind, when Paul writes that they are not all Israel who are of the nation of Israel, I understand that to mean exactly what is said, and furthermore, I understand that this truth is true of Israel in both the NT and the OT. Not that I need Paul's clarifying comment, for we see the same thing in the OT - how many ordinances are there for which one could be cut off from being a member of the Israelite nation? They certainly remained Israelites by birth, but they were no longer "Israel" in God's eye. Then we have 1 Samuel 3:14, which answers your question explicitly, wherein it identifies a family of Israelites for whom there shall be no atonement by sacrifice offered forever.

    Given that these are so, and easily researched, I can only say that the high priest offered up atonement for the same people Paul would describe as Israel - meaning those of a faith like Abraham's, and not meaning every single person from every single tribe, as clearly scripture shows that not every single person from every single tribe was ateoned for.

    If that helps.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 2/11/2009 8:09 AM  

  • Good Mourning Jim

    So with your reasoning why would God be threatening believers with the possibility of their names being erased from the book of life? In Rev 3:5 the one who overcomes is the one who's name will not be erased? Or are you thinking that the Book of Life there is not the Lambs book of Life, but a book of life in the sense that all the living are there? Anyway you've got me thinking, and that's always good.

    Let them be blotted out of the book of the living,
    And not be written with the righteous.
    Psalm 69:28
    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/11/2009 8:28 AM  

  • Rose and all,

    Romans 8:30 leaves no wiggle room for anyone's name being erased from the book of life. This is a clear passage about predestination that has nothing to do with a "system" or 1D, 2D, or 3D.

    "And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

    There are other passages that say the same thing such as the Jesus sheep passages of John, Romans 9, etc........

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 2/11/2009 8:54 AM  

  • Hi Jim

    I looked at Romans 5:18 in the majority text without the added words such as free gift.
    I think what your getting at is the book of life your speaking of has everyones name and in the end will only have believers who have overcome. So it would have to do with the saints rightousness and not the imputed rightousness of Christ.
    I'll have to think on that some more . . .but for now off to bed!

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/11/2009 9:01 AM  

  • Hi Jazzycat you need to go back and read Jim's post this time with your glasses on.

    When I propose that names can not just figuratively be erased, it has nothing to do with what we might think of as "losing one's salvation."

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/11/2009 9:06 AM  

  • Alvin,
    I did have my glasses on when I read the following two statements on this thread:

    1. I wonder if everyone's name is initially written in the Book of Life (= 1-D universal atonement for guilt in Adam) and erased only when they refuse to accept the free gift of grace for remission of personal sin (2-D) by the time they die?

    2. Zane when asked “when are peoples names written in the book of life?” said: I don’t know, next question?

    Both of these questions are answered by the passages I gave in my previous comment. When you add Eph. 1:4 to the list along with Rev 13:8, 17:8, I am quite surprised that Zane or anyone would wonder when peoples names are written in the Book of Life. Could it be because these passages do not fit their man made system?

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 2/11/2009 9:58 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Todd, at 2/11/2009 11:09 AM  

  • Hello Alvin,

    Hi Todd . . .something that you said caught my attention:
    He's addressing believers who are still partly in darkness, even at the reading of this epistle: (2:v9) are still in darkness "until now".

    I believe your reading your own ideas into the context.



    I didn't say anything about the context of this verse. You've told me all about the context. That doesn't change what the verse says. It's a very valuable incidental point mentioned by John. Make it work with everything else he says. He said it for a reason.

    Sure, as you say, John is speaking directly to a crowd that knows the Truth. Everyone in this thread knows the Truth. Does that mean we won't continuously need more instruction and encouragement and to grow in the Truth all the way until the Lord returns?

    Don't let some overblown idea of what the context is wash away the direct meaning of 1 John 2:9.

    At least this is the way I see it Alvin. Thanks,Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 2/11/2009 11:12 AM  

  • Alvin,
    First we must determine literally what the literal translation of the verse is and then let that be our primary guide as to what the verse means. A thought-for-thought translation is not going to be much help in that. The context of 1 John being what it is, a huge and much encompassing one, we need to first allow each and every statement to have first chance at expressing it's own meaning. That's how I approach these things anyway.

    Just thought I would throw that in. Thanks, Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 2/11/2009 12:32 PM  

  • Wow,
    Interesting discussions here. I can't keep up with it.

    Colin,
    Of course I appreciate what youa re saying about the 'voice" - it is all the word of God. BUT don't you see what I am getting at and why it may make a difference to the point that Daniel was trying to make? If "my people" is the lord talking, we may have (I say MAY have) cause to believe that it includes the church, but if it is Isaiah talking, we wouldn't be able to get away with that kind of thing.
    It does matter. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/11/2009 2:26 PM  

  • Rose, Daniel, Alvin, Todd, et al.

    I will try to respond to all the interlocutors since my last post #100, as appropriate:

    Daniel(#101): Agree, the atonement in view is only for the people of Israel, but I would characterize it only as "3-
    D atonement"; it is atonement only for the ONGOING sins among the "people of God" who have already been "saved"; it is analogous to 1 John 1:9 for NT believers.

    Alvin(#102): So with your reasoning why would God be threatening believers with the possibility of their names being erased from the book of life?
    A: No, not at all. That would be thoroughgoing Arminianism. It is the same Lamb's Book of Life.

    As I think further about this, I see the Book of Life as involving all three aspects of our salvation, including our inheritance at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor 4:16-5:10). I view the Overcomers as believers who (using John's own terms in Revelation) "keep the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus," and thus warrant no loss of inheritance, which is part of their "name." So, when John says with a double negative in the Gk "I will not in any way blot out...," it is entirely plausible that 3:5 is referring to preservation of full inheritance at the Judgment Seat for believers, who are clearly in view here.

    A parallel Pauline allusion to our "name" at the Judgment Seat of Christ might be 2 Tim 2:12, which I take to be with reference to believers who are not in fact Overcomers, because (in Johannine terms) they did not "keep the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus."

    Jazzycat(#103): I will address 1-D, 2-D, etc. below.

    Alvin(#104): Yes, it would be what I call manifested righteousness, which is exactly what First John 3 is all about.

    The phrase "free gift" does not occur in the Gk of 5:18, but has to be supplied from the antecedent reference in 5:17; there is actually only one GK word in 5:17 for "free gift" which is understood as the referent for the same translated phrase in 5:18.

    Jazzycat(#106): The operative "time stamp" in the 3 passages you cited for the names being written is "before the foundation of the world." Actually, we agree in the sense that you are citing passages from the standpoint of God's sovereign decree, which is in fact timeless, although this phrase is the only way that time-bound creatures can understand it.

    But (at the risk of annoying you once again with a multifaceted view of the atonement; please forgive me), as I am making the case here, all human names are initially written in the Book of Life (1-D atonement, which gives eventual believers and unbelievers alike physical life after death, John 5:28-29). Those who are then convicted of personal sin and do not accept the free gift of grace (5:17) (i.e., they fail to freely appropriate 2-D atonement) before they die will have their names blotted out. From God's omniscient viewpoint, this is timeless as well and thus included "before the foundation of the world"; but it does not negate or trump the exercise of free will by time-bound humans.

    Todd(#108-109): You said with respect to the analysis of single verses, Make it work with everything else he says. He said it for a reason.

    You just said "context" in so many words. I gave my view of John's contextually nuanced (that's not a bad word, Todd; see below) meaning for 1 John 2:1-2 as a "greater-to-lesser" argument for John's little children = believers, as Alvin argued. Although 2:1-2 certainly concedes the truth of universal atonement for unbelievers, that is not the point in context, which is the boundless capacity of Christ's blood to pay for all sin, even if the sins of the whole world were all to come to the light.

    I would have to strongly disagree with your approach to letting a single verse say what it says before letting the context have any say. That only gets us into trouble repeatedly. Far more profitable and leading to far less "reversals in midstream" would be to simply accept that a single verse could potentially mean a whole range of different things which can only be narrowed down and specified by context. If we start with context, as Alvin has suggested, life is just easier.

    In practice, we end up going back and forth iteratively between possible individual meaning and the larger context; these mutually inform one another, especially in debated texts like this. If they were all that simple, we wouldn't be debating Jazzycat and Goodnight.

    Rose(#110): See above on my response to Daniel.

    Thank you all for your very valuable input. Even if some of us continue to disagree, it has really helped me to sharpen my definitions and description of what I see as going on here. This may be one of the bests ways to "do theology" in community!

    By Blogger agent4him, at 2/11/2009 2:32 PM  

  • Daniel,

    OK, back to "my people" - I think you may be right and that it is God saying "my people." I will admit that there is a possibility that it is not Isaiah saying "my people." I think it is interesting that you note the difference between the first person singular and the first person plural to discern that. I was wondering if it would be just as helpful to determine the voice based on where the phrase "thus saith the Lord" appears - as it does a couple of times in Is 52-54.

    So I recognize that you may have deflated my argument about the "voice" of that phrase.

    BUT - in the context of Isaiah 52-54 this still... seems to be the nation of Israel. I challenge you or anyone else to read Isaiah 52-54 again and imagine that this is speaking of the church and not the specific nation of Israel.

    After all, God does call the nation of Israel "my people." Does He not??? Yes, the physical nation that walked about and was ruled by God and disobeyed Him etc. etc.

    Your responce to Casey got my mind a-twirling!

    I tell you, your response to Casey and this discussion between you and me really gets me thinking!! I may just have to write a post or two on it. It hits my passion. Here is a title I might use:
    Loosey-Goosey Hermenuetics
    or maybe
    the Old Testament vs. Romans 9:6-7

    (I hope you don't mind my humor there) :~)

    I am so convinced that when God speaks of 'Israel', he means the people that they thought He meant - and not some other, heavenly, nebulous ungraspable-in-human-language group. God's Word was *not* veiled completely when He spoke in the BC times - His meaning could be known.

    I am so sincerely bothered by the Covenental notion that somehow the name "Israel" was a code word that no one understood in the OT. I am opposed to that view vehemently. It gets me all worked up! :~)

    Also - the verse that is used to hold up this approach by Paul is not saying that the church is Israel. It just is not clearly saying that in Roamns 9 or the otherrs that people bring from time to time.
    Thesse are also surrounded by so many other passages written by Paul that clearly say that God is not done with the nation of Israel and in those instances it is clear that he is talking about the nation.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/11/2009 3:07 PM  

  • And just to clarify: I am not trying to take away one of the best loved passages from the larger "people of God" - the church. We all knkow that what God has done has benefitted the Gentiles who believe in the Messiah. He is our savior and He has born our griefs and carried our sorrows too. He was wounded for our transgressions as well.

    BUT - I become more and more convinced that it is important to view these things carefully with the authorial intent in mind. I think Isaiah is talking about specifically how He was going to do that for this people, Israel. He is the Messiah of Israel. That is the picture we get from Isaiah 52-54.

    Here is why I get fired up about this subjeect: I think it is directly relevant to our view of the faithfulness of God whether or not He meant what He promised to Israel. God was not just using code language and somehow confusing these sons of Abraham, Issaac and Jacob... that He was promising something to them when He really wasn't. This is not a permanent setting aside in the NT view. He will fulfill all that He said He would, it was not trick language when He made the great pronouncement about what He would do for them. I find it treacherous imagine such. I hope somebody, anybody understands what i am saying.

    I could go on!!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/11/2009 3:20 PM  

  • sorry for the typos - no time to be careful.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/11/2009 3:20 PM  

  • Rose,

    Regarding your comments on Israel, you betcha...count me in.

    Also, you will have my undivided attention any time you say "authorial intent" as if you mean it!!

    By Blogger agent4him, at 2/11/2009 3:25 PM  

  • Hi Rose,
    So much to stay up with here.

    Just a random thought: I think John is clear when he says Jesus is the propitiation for our sins and the sins of the whole world.

    But is it said anywhere that He is the Saviour of the whole world?

    A saviour saves, right? Could Jesus be our saviour because we believe the testimony that he is? And could he be our propitiation and not only ours but the whole worlds and still not be the whole worlds Saviour?

    Revelation 19:11-15 States that those names not found written in the book of life are cast into the fire. It does not state people are cast into the lake of fire for their deeds, they are judged for their deeds but cast into the lake of fire after their names were not found in the book of life.

    Just some thoughts.


    Kris

    By Blogger Kris, at 2/11/2009 5:12 PM  

  • Agent4Him,
    Thanks for the following explanation:
    I am making the case here, all human names are initially written in the Book of Life (1-D atonement, which gives eventual believers and unbelievers alike physical life after death, John 5:28-29).Those who are then convicted of personal sin and do not accept the free gift of grace (5:17) (i.e., they fail to freely appropriate 2-D atonement) before they die will have their names blotted out. From God's omniscient viewpoint, this is timeless as well and thus included "before the foundation of the world"; but it does not negate or trump the exercise of free will by time-bound humans.

    While this may be a creative way to prop up a theological system that makes human decision the deciding factor in salvation, I do not believe you can reconcile it with Romans 8:29-30 and many other passages that point to God’s intervening grace as being the cause of justifying faith for those He predestined before the foundation of the world to be saved. Paul goes on in Romans 9 to state plainly that it does not depend on human will! Why? Because, until God changes his heart and nature, no man will accept the free offer of grace. Once this gracious call occurs, then the sinner comes willingly and that is why Paul says, those whom he called he also justified.

    You are right about this process not trumping the exercise of free will because the only ones who want to come to faith are those who have been given a new heart of flesh and they come willingly. These are the ones whose names are written in Book of Life.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 2/11/2009 5:23 PM  

  • Rose, rather than deflate your argument, I hope to inflate both our understandings. When I read Isaiah, I am not superimposing "the church" into everything, and I think doing so would be silly. Like you, I prefer to regard the passage as speaking directly to the readers of the day, who would have understood the passage in those terms.

    No one reading the passage in Isaiah's day would have said that those who had been judicially cut off from Israel in accord with God's law were still "part of Israel" because of their lineage; which is to say, that even then, not all of Israel was Israel, and my presumption is that everyone understood that.

    Paul doesn't say that the church replaces Israel, he says that the church is grafted into Israel. I don't contend, therefore, that Isaiah is speaking of the church, I contend that Isaish is speaking of the "true" Israel, the same "true" Israel that the church would eventually be grafted into.

    Having said that, a Jew who rejects the Messiah, that is, any Jew who rejects God in rejecting Christ, is -not- a child of Abraham's promise - not a child of faith - not... a "true" Israelite.

    Thus I don't impose the church into those texts, as you might be inclined to imagine, though I know many of my ilk who do. I prefer to let the texts stay as they are, and understand the church as being grafted into Israel.

    Does that help?

    By Blogger Daniel, at 2/11/2009 5:48 PM  

  • Rose, this is great.

    Kris, I think you hit the nail on the head. Your comments about propitiation and Saviour are entirely parallel to my categories of atonement for and remission of sins. Thanks so much for weighing in.

    Jazzycat, thanks for your gracious response. (You didn't call me semi-Pelagian, or worse.) You have clearly stated a standard Reformed position on this.

    I guess I'm not saying that human decision is the deciding factor, only that human free will is exercised within more constrained dimensions than is divine agency. God's sovereign decree unbound by time is in part effected yet nevertheless unaltered by human decision. Neither "trumps" the other, and humans are not able to "unscrew the inscrutable" ways that God permits the two to mesh. I would commend to your attention Job 34:29; 37:13 on this, Elihu's response to Job's complaint that, in effect, God's will did trump human prerogative. If you are at all interested in how Job and his interlocutors wrestled with these issues, I would commend to your attention my book on Job and Ecclesiastes (see photo).

    As far as Romans 8:29-30 is concerned, Paul in context is specifically reassuring suffering believers that they will be fully glorified and co-reign with Christ because they have satisfied the contingency for that reign of "suffering together with him" (8:17). Verses 8:28-30 are addressed to "those who love him and are called according to his purpose." The "election" here should not be squeezed into universal Reformed categories, but is related to human agency in the specific accomplishment of God's purposes in redeeming the "creation in futility" (8:20-21).

    I would contend that not all believers in fact love him enough to suffer together with him in accomplishing these purposes, and that using these verses as you do to speak universally is a tenuous way for you to "prop up your theological system."

    In reply to your remarks about Romans 9, I am a progressive dispensationalist and probably see the entire corpus of chaps. 9-11 very differently than you do, and specifically dealing with the future of Israel, per Rose's recent remarks above. If you would like to see a different yet nonetheless coherent way of putting these passages together that does not merely echo Reformed soteriology, I would commend to your attention Rene A. Lopez's Romans Unlocked (21st Century Press, 2005), revised edition due out in about 6 weeks.

    Daniel, thanks for your clarification. I would take issue with one small but important point. The olive tree represents not Israel but the covenant with (and promises to) Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob which preceded Israel and continues in force to all Abraham's seed, including physical Israel, even after the Mosaic covenant with Israel has become obsolete.

    Thank you all for your patience in listening carefully to one another.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 2/11/2009 6:24 PM  

  • Hi Rose/Tod/Kris

    I’m on my work days right now so have very little time to blog but I believe Jim covered it very well.
    One thing I was thinking about, it does say that in 1 Tim 4:10 “who is the Savior of ALL MEN, especially of believers.
    So I would consider that the same as the Savior of the whole world. So in the sense that God in Christ was reconciling the world unto Himself not counting their sins against them He is the Savior of the WHOLE WORLD. He has taken sin out of the way and that is the reason He can offer the living water for anyone to take freely.

    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/12/2009 5:33 PM  

  • Remember in the OT when someone sinned they had to bring that little lamb and cut it’s throat themselves signifying that their sin cost that little innocent lamb it’s life. Well that’s the same with Jesus, He is the Lamb of God that took away the sin of the WHOLE WORLD. So He IS the Savior of the whole world whether they believe or not, the fact remains it was His life blood that was slain for EVERYONE, He laid down His life for every person that has ever or will ever be born. He has paid for their sins! And that is the ONLY reason any of us can take that living water freely! God slew the Lamb Jesus Christ for everyone so the sin of the world has been taken away, and none of it it remains!!!!!

    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/12/2009 6:03 PM  

  • Daniel,
    Yes, it helps a lot.
    I am glad that you don't presuppose the church into those texts as many of your ilk do. :~)
    I find it frustrating.

    I have become so busy in the last two days as I always do toward the end of the week.

    But I have a post I hope to find time to develop soon:
    "Facets of the Atonement" or something like that. :~)

    promises, promises.

    Anyways, that was a big rabbit-trail!! It was just the first of the scriptures you were using to make your point about CHrist only dying for the elect. I hope you understand why I think that particular one is "iffy" to as proof that Christ only died for "my people" being the 'elect' exclusively. I do think "my people" was an exclusive group in that passage, but it is just one facet of Christ's work and does not limit what *else* He did on the cross - what He did for the "whole world."

    I trust that I am clear on what I mean.

    Now, let me look at the other scriptures you bring up.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/13/2009 8:02 AM  

  • Rose, I think I understand you clearly, but let's be sure.

    What you are saying is that you see no significant difference between saying that Christ died for God's people, and saying Christ died for everyone who ever lived or will ever live... right?

    That is, when you see that Christ died for God's people, you don't conclude that there are other people who are not God's people for whom Christ did not die, but rather presume that "my people" must be all inclusive.

    Which itself is saying, that you filter your interpretation of this text through the presumption that whatever it says, it really means that Christ died for everyone's sins.

    Correct me if I am mistating, overstating, or overly dissecting, your understanding.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 2/13/2009 11:09 AM  

  • Hi Daniel,
    I have no time but I have to jump in and say that NO, that isn't what I am saying at all. I am saying that yes, definitly when this passage says "my people" I do believe that to be a fintie group. I don't believe that this limits that he might have died for other people too in another aspect of the atonement. I simply believe that Is 53 is presenting a specific aspect of the atonement. I am still in need of more study, though. Please tell me if you grasp what I am saying.

    I will write a post on it this weekend, God willing.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/13/2009 11:20 AM  

  • Rose, I appreciate the demands on your time, so don't feel you have to rush. ;)

    Okay, let me see if I understand you then, you are saying that you understand this text to mean that the Messiah died (was cut of from the land of the living) for the transgressions of a select group (identified as "my people") but regard this "dying for the sins of some one" as just one of several(?) aspects of the atonement...?

    Let me know if I am still a little thick headed on this.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 2/13/2009 12:28 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    I go by the analogy of faith which Scripture never contradicts Scripture, and you first go by the clear child like verses.

    John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

    Now you can take that verse like a child and believe what Jesus says OR you can read your OWN theology into it and have to change (love, world, whoever) by qualifing everything there to fit your understanding???

    John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

    Now a person is not going to have any problem with that verse if they are like a child have taken Jesus for what He said in John 3:16. World means world, pretty simple!

    2 Cor 5:19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

    Now this verse harmonizes with the first two! It is the same WORLD that Jesus LOVED and gave Himself for and took away the sin of the WORLD reconciling the WORLD to Himself NOT IMPUTING THEIR SINS TO THEM. These Corinthians had already received the reconciliation (v18; Romans 5:11) and were now given the ministry of reconciliation and as ambassadors of Christ, as though God were pleading through them to the WORLD to be reconciled to Him. Why? Because John 3:16 He loved the WORLD and gave Himself FOR the WORLD!

    1 Timothy 2:3-6 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

    Ok this verse completely harmonizes with John 3:16 God’s desire is that ALL men be saved so that is why He told us in John 3:16 that He died for the WORLD and the ransom He paid was for ALL, why? John 3:16 tells us why, because He loved the WORLD! And the “ALL Men” who He desires to save He GAVE Himself for a RANSOM that is all that He desires to save, which is ALL MEN!

    1 John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

    So who is the “WHOLE WORLD” here? If we have believed John 3:16 we should know! A little child that has taken John 3:16 simply for Jesus word would know.

    Another who has drunk the living water
    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/14/2009 1:26 AM  

  • Therefore I exhort FIRST of ALL that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for ALL men, for Kings and ALL who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in ALL godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in sight of God our Savior, who desires ALL men to be SAVED and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who GAVE Himself a ransom for ALL, to be testified in due time, 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)

    This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance.
    For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of ALL men, ESPEACIALLY of those who BELIEVE.
    These things command and teach. (1 Timothy 4:9-11)

    The Jews at first questioned if the Gentiles could be saved. Paul makes crystal clear that God DESIRES that ALL men be SAVED. And reminds them that Christ Jesus is the Only Mediator between God and men because He GAVE Himself a RANSOM for ALL.

    Sounds like John 3:16 For God so LOVED the WORLD that He GAVE His only begotten Son, that WHOEVER believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

    Hey, ALL! that means He loves even alvin

    If you go with the child like Scriptures first you’ll never go wrong and will not miss the HEART of God!

    Happy Valentines Day Rose!

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/14/2009 6:16 AM  

  • Did you see the one ALL I missed, that I didn’t darken? How about if you were that ONE that God missed? If He did not die for ALL like the CONSISTANT Calvinist say but just for the select few? You would have completely missed the love of God because it was not for you, IF that were true! But thank God His love is NOT like that and He didn’t leave anyone out. Remember the shortest verse in the Bible, and that gives you a little look into the HEART of God!

    Jesus wept . . . . and remember Jesus wept over Jerusalem too, He would have gathered them as a Hen gathers her chicks BUT they would NOT….and at the cross Father forgive them they know not what they do! That is God’s heart. Aren’t you glad!!!!!

    . . . . .even alvin :) he loves YOU too, I know! He told me in John 3:16!

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/14/2009 7:08 AM  

  • Alvin,
    Romans 5:18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

    From your reasoning, would you say that this verse means that all (100%) of men who ever lived will be saved? Hmmmm! Or, perhaps we should dig a little deeper as Daniel did in one of his comments.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 2/14/2009 10:25 AM  

  • Hi Rose & Jazzy,

    Jazzy, Adam's sin LED to condemnation, which is conclusive. But Christ's act LEADS to justification which is not conclusive without faith.

    Does that make sense?

    By Blogger Kris, at 2/14/2009 12:31 PM  

  • Jazzycat,

    With regard to your comment/question on Rom 5:18, I believe Kris is exactly on the right track.

    I cite the great Yogi, "It seems like deja vu all over again." We've previously covered this ground at length in this thread already, and I would welcome your interaction with the exchanges that took place starting with my first post on 2/07/2009 at 8:17 PM.

    Colin engaged the proposal with substantive interaction, but your only input came indirectly 4 days later (2/11/2009) when you cited Rom 8:29-30 and Rom 9 to dismiss out of hand the idea of multifaceted atonement. I went on to reply to your challenge using the same proposed framework I had used to deal with 5:18.

    Moreover, it seems to me that Alvin did engage my proposal on 5:18 and had no problem with seeing Christ's death in 5:18b as atonement for Adam's guilt on behalf of all humans (5:12, 18a).

    I concede that I may not have articulated the clearest proposal in the world, but I did make a first attempt to do so on both the passages you have cited, 5:18 and 8:28-30. What say you in response to my specific proposal on 5:18, which Alvin has already conceded is consistent with his approach?

    By Blogger agent4him, at 2/14/2009 12:54 PM  

  • Kris and Agent4him,
    Makes perfect sense. I think you both missed my point that I was making to Alvin, which is that "all" does not mean 100% of the people who ever lived in every Biblical verse where it is used just as "world" doesn't always mean every single person who ever lived when it is used.

    To make that point does not require that I follow a certain sequence of comments in this thread. Obviously 100% of men who ever lived are not justified since to be justified means to be saved.

    In Romans 5:18:
    condemnation = lost
    justified = saved

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 2/14/2009 3:46 PM  

  • Jazzycat,

    That's exactly what I was talking about in my previous proposal: My view of 5:18 is precisely that 100% of people are justified in the sense that they are exonerated/acquitted of their guilt in Adam and will thus all be raised from physical death. Hence, for that guilt, they are 100% covered by Christ's atoning blood (unlimited atonement = 1-D).

    But that doesn't mean they are all "saved" in the sense you mean it, because they still have to appropriate (by faith) the free gift of Christ's atoning blood (5:17, 2-D) for their personal sin---sinning "after the likeness of Adam" (5:13; cf. 5:20 ["that the offense might abound"]); i.e., a fully cognizant choice to rebel in response to what God has revealed (Rom 1:20). This is the substance of what Kris was implying (correct me if I missed you, Kris).

    By Blogger agent4him, at 2/14/2009 5:57 PM  

  • Hi Jazzycat

    To understand the meaning of any given word you must go by the context. What I was showing is that all the verses that I used were in complete harmony with John 3:16. That is if you take John 3:16 as a child would, meaning love would mean love and world would mean world and whosoever would mean whosoever. So it would be obvious when you came to those verses speaking of the Savior of ALL men that would mean the whole world as also in 1 John 2:2 the propitiation is not only for believers but for the whole world. Jesus satisfied God’s justice demand for ALL sin (John 1:29), and PROOF of that is He offers the living water to anyone to take freely (John 4:4; Rev 22:17).

    Concerning Romans 5:18 it must be taken in it’s context but it does not contradict John 3:16 in anyway.

    Jazzycat I believe your backward in your interpretation of Scripture, and you would not be having the problems you are if you took a child like verse such as John 3:16 for just what it says. Remember John 3:16 is spoken to an UNBELIEVERS in the book that was written to unbelievers that they might have life (John 20:31). So it must be taken just as a little child would take it. Because that is the ONLY way you can enter in . . .as a child!

    The way you are interpreting Scripture you would have to be a theologian!!!!

    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/14/2009 9:22 PM  

  • Alvin,
    I do not understand why you think John 3:16 is a problem for my view. I agree that all who believes in Jesus Christ have eternal life. The all is 100% of the people who live or have ever lived. WE AGREE ON THIS! It is you who does not understand predestination and election as presented in Scripture.

    If 1 John 2:2 affirms universal atonement, does 1 John 4:14 affirm universal salvation?

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 2/14/2009 10:36 PM  

  • Agent4him,
    Thank you. I think just as one is either pregnant or not, a person is either saved (justified) or not. I believe Romans 3:21-26 makes this clear, and I think Romans 5:18 is clearly speaking of a spiritual justification that means a person is saved and has eternal life. When the Bible uses justify and justification, it is referring to someone who is saved and to inject your 1D, 2D, stuff is just not a Biblical concept!

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 2/14/2009 11:00 PM  

  • Rose, Jazz-man,

    Why invoke the malapropism of pregnancy, when we readily admit that there are 3 distinct aspects to salvation, as Colin conceded above? Why can't Jesus' blood provide ongoing atoning efficacy, as is so clear from 1 John 1:7, 9?

    With all due respect, sir, are you not "injecting your stuff" when you read anything other than what these verses plainly affirm by the terms "all" and "whole"? I don't see how there is any other way to be true to the text and honestly reconcile the "apparent" universalism of 1 John 2:2; 4:14, and Rom 5:18, as you so astutely pointed out to Alvin.

    I have only used terms like 1-D, 2-D, etc., for the sake of convenience and have already twice defined for you the various aspects of the atonement behind these markers and how they are grounded in the plainest possible reading of Rom 5:12-21. Have you honestly provided the basis for your view of these verses without reading into them your own "pregnant" theology?

    By Blogger agent4him, at 2/14/2009 11:31 PM  

  • Agent,

    To be clear I don't believe we are justified unless we have faith (believe) in the Christ. I do however believe ALL mens sins are propiated and atoned for except the sin of unbelief in Jesus for Eternal Life. John 16: 8-9 Mark 4: 28-29.

    By Blogger Kris, at 2/14/2009 11:56 PM  

  • Oops, hi Rose.

    By Blogger Kris, at 2/15/2009 12:01 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 2/15/2009 12:26 AM  

  • Hi Kris

    The atonement for sins being for all and remission of sins or forgiveness of sins being only for those who believe. A judge does not forgive (because that is personal not having to do with judicial) but either finds one innocent or guilty, ALL sin has been dealt with judicially. Jesus made propitiation (satisfied God’s justice for sin) for the sins of the whole world. No one will be sent to hell because of their sins. That does not automatically give them the gift of justification which is only by faith. I have explained it in the past by saying that forgiveness of sins is personal and all that are in hell are unforgiven but they are not there because they are unforgiven but because they do not have life. All their sin had all been paid for even the sin of unbelief. Which isn't the cause for their eternal condemnation but the reason for not having life. Because the reason they are cast into the lake of fire is because their name was not found written in the book of life. As Zane has explained the reason and the cause being different. You will find a very good explanation of the difference between cause and reason HERE

    Note: If the person stole the judges car, then after he has been found guilty if the judge wants to he can take off his robes and forgive the person. But the court room has nothing to do with forgiveness just making a verdict of guilty or innocence. This is why we have two calls, one is for all men to repent because they have offended God by their sin. But if one asks what must I do t be saved? The answer is always “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” One has to do with harmony with God concerning sin and repentance, the other is for the gift of eternal life which can be taken freely (John 4:10: Rev 22:17.
    Acts 20:21b repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/15/2009 12:38 AM  

  • Hi Rose
    Hi Kris

    My HERE didn’t work, here is the address: www.faithalone.org/Grace%20In%20Focus/novdec07/sin%20of%20unbelief.htm

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/15/2009 12:57 AM  

  • Rose, Happy day after V-day!

    I had another thought, that knowing your opinion on would help me to understand your take on Isaiah...

    Would you say that these people (God's people) are the same that Christ is referring to in John 17:9, ("I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours;")?

    Let me know, but no rush - I know you are taxed lately.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 2/15/2009 8:15 AM  

  • Good Mourning Rose

    context
    John 17:6-9,20
    “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept your word.
    “Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You.
    “For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.
    “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.

    “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all maybe one

    alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/15/2009 9:15 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    Who are the “us” in 1 John 2:2
    Context
    1 John 2:1-3
    My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
    And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole worlds.
    Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.

    The “our” in this context includes both the ones John is writing to and the ones that (seen,looked upon,handled) concerning the Word of life 1 John 1:1.

    Also He Himself is the propitiation, He Himself is the Advocate (Paraclete, helper) for believers. This is speaking of more then just His blood but Himself, He stands before the Father with nail pierced hands and feet as all believers Advocate when they confess their sins 1 John 1:9.

    Context : supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men 1 Tim 2:1
    1 Tim 2:3-6
    For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
    For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

    Note: He “gave Himself a ransom for all” indicating that the “ransom” was provisionally universal.
    The reason Jesus can be the Mediator between God and men is because He paid for all their sins, and that is why all are invited to take of the water of life freely without ANY reference to sin. He pleads with all through believers to be reconciled and is not counting their sins against them
    Alvin :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/15/2009 10:19 AM  

  • So when John 3:16 which is written to unbelievers which is everybody before they believe. They can take Jesus at His word when He says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
    Sin is no longer a barrier between God and men, and that is how all can be invited to be reconciled and take of the water of life freely, but you must come as a child not a theologian.
    This is my last post on this subject.
    Alvin :) good~day

    By Blogger alvin, at 2/15/2009 10:38 AM  

  • Hi Daniel,
    No I don't think that Jesus was only praying for "my people" (as in the nation Israel), in that prayer in Gethsemane.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/17/2009 11:50 AM  

  • Rose, I also do not think that Jesus was praying for the nation of Israel in John 17:9, but then, that wasn't my question, was it?

    My question was whether you thought that the people who God considers his in Isaiah 53:8, are the same people that Christ considers God's here in John 17:9. Since both make references to a people whom God regards as His own, we must conclude that either both refer to the same group, or that there are two (or more?) groups of people who are simultaneously God's people, but are not the same group.

    To be sure, I am inclined to think that this is the same group, identified not by nationality, but by children of the same promise - for surely the promise given to Abraham concerning not only himself, but his Seed (not the capital), and again, those who are Abraham's descendants through that same "Seed". These are all children of the same promise - all God's people. Some of these people are found in the nation of Israel, but not all who are Israel are children of this promise, so it cannot refer to the nation of Israel not in Isaiah, and not here - at least not if we are consistent - unless of course, God has all sorts of people whom he regards in the singular "my people".

    One shepherd, one flock. Perhaps I am too simplistic?

    Let me know your thoughts.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 2/17/2009 2:30 PM  

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