Objections to Commentary w/Answers

I appreciate your response!  But you start off saying, “Your way believes that God can use evil tactics and deeds and hold humans accountable for them and not be blamed Himself.”  What evil tactics and deeds am I saying God uses?  He eradicated all mankind from earth save 8!  Because every intention of their heart was only evil continually!  Is that one of the evil tactics I am saying He uses?  Is that where you go when considering the power of the potter over the clay of the same lump to make one vessel to honor and another to dishonor?  That if God makes a vessel to dishonor it makes Him the ultimate Author of evil?  No.  That is why one must seek to understand His ultimate Purpose for us! SO,
Let me ask this:  What is the ultimate purpose God has in The Creation, given that man is indeed the acme of it? To me, our purpose is to be holy as He is holy, because we cannot live in His eternal kingdom unless we are. I am certainly not there yet and when Paul said in 1st Tim 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.   There are two parts of the saying, one Christ came to save sinners, and two, every sinner should consider himself chief among them.  That leaves no room for me to claim I am better than anyone else.  Off the subject!

You said, “Second, scripture no where says or teaches that we are free in the sense of being outside of God’s control, we live on the earth and are subject to all of its laws and sciences including death and have no control over those matters, but we are indeed free to make willing choices that have real effects. Sin is a choice and you are free to do so, including rejecting Jesus as Lord,. If we don’t have a choice, then we are basically fatalists and that our decisions and choices do not matter.” 
Is God’s control absolute?  Yes or No.  I do not claim God forces me to do evil.  Jeremiah 17:9 and Mark 7:18-21 speak very clearly of the condition of the unregenerate heart.  But throughout Scriptures It is made very clear that what man means for evil God can and does use to produce ultimate good.  We can’t outsmart God, we can’t outguess God, we can’t outmaneuver God.  Either He is in absolute control of man’s eternal destiny, or He has ceded control of that eternal destiny to a creature that has all the inate holiness of the serpent in the garden!  Since our relationship with Jesus is personal my eternal destiny is between me and Him.  It is not a corporate endeavor.  Unless of course you believe one must be a member of a church to be saved.  I do not, nor do I believe Scripture teaches that.

“Third, Why pray? God’s Word says to do so but if all is predetermined by God then what’s the use?
We are commanded to pray by a Sovereign God.  That should be enough of a reason.  But we are told in no uncertain terms that mostly we pray for the wrong stuff.  So what should we pray for? It isn’t as much what we should pray for as how we are to pray: in the spirit.  It is only then that we are in full accord with the will of God in what we are seeking.  It says those are groanings of the spirit that cannot be uttered.  That means they most likely do not have a vocal component.  I’m by no means an expert in prayer and I’m sure people are comforted by prayers offered up for them. Does God answer prayer that is contrary to His Will? No. Well, yes, but the answer is NO!

“Fourth, you quote Jeremiah 18:4-6 as a basis for the making of a man, the the true text is about the nation Israel. God sent him there to give him an object lesson for what was going to happen to them as a nation, not individuals.
I was not referring to Jer. 18:4-6 at all.  I was referring to Romans 9:20-22
Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?  22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

Just Who fit those vessels of wrath for destruction?  When you worked construction, didn’t you use ‘expendables’?  Those were tools and bits and files and stuff that were good for their purposes, but were meant to be used up or destroyed so the ultimate plan could be completed.  Indeed the end result could not be achieved without them.  Do you believe God, in order to achieve His ultimate goal would not have need of anything like that?  It is not up to us to decide which is which.  Our job is to carry out the Great Commission.  In John chapter 6 it says hundreds turned away and followed Him no more.  But of all those He was given by the Father, He would lose none. So I did not give myself to Him until after the Father gave me to Him.  That decision was made before the foundation of the world!!
I think there is little doubt this passage is precisely about someone who questions the Sovereignty of God in His absolute right to use any part or piece of His creation according to the good pleasure of His will alone re:Judas and Pharaoh, re Jacob and Esau.  And it is no different for one to question the right of God in how He uses someone else.   i.e. It would not be fair of Him to decide if John Doe is saved or not without John Doe having a voice in it before He does either.  The problem with that line of thinking is it is refuted in the choice of Jacob over Esau: before they had done anything god or bad God chose re Romans 9:11.  If God can sovereignly choose in their cases, why can He not sovereignly choose in mine?  
My response to the call proves His choice. My choice does not force His response.
‘My response proves His choice. My choice does not force His response.’ also answers your fifth statement.  “It is the responsibility of man to repent and trust Jesus as Savior and Lord, God’s Word places the responsibility on the person in numerous places.  Ezekiel 18:23, 32, John 3:16 – 18, 2, Acts 16:31, Romans10:9-10, 13, 2 Thess. 2: 10 – 12, Rev. 22:17”
Regeneration precedes faith!
And it is only in faith one comes to Christ.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
By faith He IS Lord and Savior to us as we walk this sod!
The Book of Romans is our theological primer concerning the power of God over man and many other topics. It seeks to teach the proper use of reason in understanding God; an extremely lofty goal considering the depths to which its readership has fallen,

Again thanks for your response. Iron sharpens iron. 

Short Commentary on Nicodemus

Jesus appealed to reason when seeking to make his followers and even the scribes and pharisees see and understand God and His righteousness.  Many, many Christians absolutely believe that God does not save anyone who does not come seeking Him and His forgiveness in Jesus Christ. We must make the first move then He takes over.  We must come to Him of our own free will; He does not force Himself on anyone.  Is this Truth?  Is this what the conversation with Nicodemus bears out?  Jesus appealed to reason for Nicodemus to understand about being born again, which most agree is the first step in a person’s salvation.

In the story of Nicodemus this is especially evident.  The story is quoted below with Q&A. John 3:1

 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Jesus doesn’t acknowledge the flattery of Nicodemus. Instead he tells us outright that unless a man is born again he cannot even SEE the Kingdom of God.  If one cannot even see something it means two things.  One cannot physically discern with the eye and one cannot comprehend the meaning of something or someone with the mind.  Their thinking simply cannot make sense of the truth presented to it.  It is like looking at a chalk board covered with the mathematical equations leading to the expression of the theory of relativity.  Unless one has some idea of what all the letters and symbols mean there is no way to understand what they say or refer to.  Or looking at the Lord’s Prayer written in Cyrillic or Greek when one has no comprehension of the Russian or Greek alphabet or language.  One cannot even see the Lord’s Prayer.  All one sees is meaningless marks on a page.  Being suddenly infused with the ability to read and understand Russian or Greek would give one the ability to see (read understand) what one was looking at.  

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

Nicodemus appeals to reason as he sees it.  He asks can a man enter again into the womb and be born again.  This is an absolute impossibility and he knows it.  But he is not taking into account the state of the man’s spirit which is what Jesus was talking about.  Scripture gives us the condition of all men since The Fall of  Adam–dead in trespass and sin.  All if us save Jesus alone, since that Fall have inherited that nature from Adam–Dead in trespass and sin.  This is the appeal to reason Jesus asks Nicodemus to recognize.  Of Course a man cannot reenter his mother’s womb, that is ridiculous!  It is the Spirit that must be born again because it was stillborn at conception and born dead in trespass and sin.  Think, Nicodemus, of yourspiritual condition!

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Jesus said a man must be born of water and of the Spirit–born of water, born into the world as a child of Adam, and of the Spirit, the dead spirit must be regenerated, brought back to life by the Holy Spirit of God.  All, every human who has ever lived save one alone was conceived a fallen child of Adam, spiritually dead. at some point after conception, the Spirit can, in the Providence of God, reanimate the dead. Case in point John the Baptist who leapt with joy in the womb when Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus, visited them.  That reaction of the baby John the Baptist must be considered the reaction of one born again who sees the Kingdom through spiritual eyes. 

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Flesh begets only flesh.  John 6:63 says the flesh profiteth nothing, it is the spirit that quickeneth!  There is no reasonable way to defend the idea that the spirit quickens itself, or that the flesh begets any spiritual good.  In Scripture God uses truths of the physical realm to help us understand spiritual truth. In this case the physical truth is no one dies and then wills themselves back to life.  The dead do not come back from the grave of their own volition.  The dead do not call out for new life.  The dead do not sit up and take medicine to cure themselves. The dead do not reach out for the paddles to shock their heart back to life.  The dead do not bury themselves or come back to rewrite their wills after they are buried.   The dead are utterly and absolutely helpless and at the mercy of others to be thrown into a ditch unmourned and unremembered or to be honored and remembered for generations to come.  SO, since this is the absolute truth of the physical realm, the absolute truth as it applies to the spiritual realm is that the dead spirit that every child of Adam is conceived with is at the mercy of the Spirit for reanimation.  The dead spirit does not cry out for help.  The dead spirit does not seek a way out or a way to know God.  The dead spirit is dead, incapable of any action of its own volition, it has no volition, it is dead. It is Completely at the mercy of God the merciful Creator of all that is and Giver of Life itself, while we were yet enemies He died for us and while we are still enemies in the flesh, He brings life to the spirit of each and every one of whom He chose to be in HIM from before the foundation of the world:  His choice by His Sovereign power according to the good pleasure of His own will!

Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Reason says you should NOT be surprised that you need to be born again, spiritually, in order to have spiritual life!

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

No more than our physical senses can tell us where the wind comes from or where it goes, they do not feel the work of the Holy Spirit.  Just as we do not remember our physical birth Jesus is saying it is unreasonable to expect that we can know the moment the Spirit does his work of regeneration or how long it has been since it happened. Man makes his plans but God orders his steps to show the outworking of redemption.  The man born blind that Jesus healed was forty years old before God showed His power in healing him.  Did the man ask why He waited so long?

Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

Nicodemus had learned his theology at the hands of the Scribes and Pharisees.  He knew only what they taught him because he never sought to apply reason to their teaching!  He did not question everything and hold to that which was good.

10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

Again Jesus appeals to reason that as a master of Israel, Nicodemus should know that God is the potter that hath absolute power over the clay(clay being all mankind) of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor(to be used unto the glory of God in this realm i.e. John  the Baptist) and another unto dishonor(to be used to dishonor God and the body in this realm i.e. Judas).

11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

Again appealing to reason as to how!  We are asked to use reason to understand truth.  The truth is the flesh profiteth nothing.  

Now how does free will fit into this?  Is the will of the flesh free?  Well even if it is what good is it?  The flesh profiteth what? Nothing!   So what  does Jesus say?  Seek reason!  The flesh presents its works to God and the spirit is dead in trespass and sin. Those who have ears to hear, have spiritual ears to hear the heavenly things of God.  The ears of a corpse, physical or spiritual,  hear nothing.  They do not hear the truth that one must be born again until after one is born again!.  Can the flesh’s sense of self-preservation want to try to imitate the life that is only available by the mercy of God?  Sure?  Does the flesh want to take credit for accepting the good news of the forgiveness of Christ? Sure!   It is only the will of the regenerate spirit that can hear the gospel, that can choose Christ, that can demonstrate the gift of true faith that is the gift of God.  Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God in giving one ears to hear which are the spiritual ears of the regenerate spirit.  Is it possible I am wrong about this? Sure.  Is it reasonable?  No.  What is proven by Scripture beyond a reasonable doubt is that regeneration must precede faith.  The exercise of true faith, the faith that reaches out from spirit to Spirit cannot occur any other way.

How is the Absolute Sovereignty of God denied by the theory of free will?  If God decided who was chosen from before the foundation of the world, and then even one of those who were chosen decided during their life on earth that they were not going to comply with God’s plan, then the Decree of God that called that person would be rendered moot.  The will of the creature would overrule the will of the Creator.  God would not be The Sovereign Lawgiver but only the Big Man in the sky who’s plan may or may not work.

 

3D Sidewalk Paintings and God!

Have you seen the 3D sidewalk paintings that look as if you could walk right into them?  I think they are absolutely amazing!  Don’t you?  Consider this:  Most seeing this worship the Omnipotent, Creator, God the Father of Jesus Christ.  The sidewalk artist makes his work appear to be something one can walk right into or fall into or climb, and the artist creates only an illusion that fools our senses.  God created from nothing a complete multi-dimensional universe including the artist who fools us with their 3D artistry.

One of the dimensions God works in is time!  There is a division in believers concerning Intelligent Design and Creation Science.  ID people say its not necessary to believe in a literal 6 days of creation or a world wide Genesis flood to believe in a Creator God.

I have to agree.  The problem is that doing so makes limits the Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent God of Creation to a Designer we can predict logically.  Their reasoning doesn’t include any of the Supernatural characteristics that must, also, logically be part of the very nature of the Creator Who exists in eternity and is very involved in His Creation’s ongoing existence.

God WORKED in time but was not limited BY it!  The view of the past that we have can certainly be God’s artistry to prove to us that He was absolutely correct when He told us that He would make the wisdom of the wise foolishness.  The fact is that we cannot prove empirically that is what He has done.  But REASONABLY do we worship the God of the Bible, or do we worship the God that Intelligent Design laws limit Him to by stopping short of His Supernatural Characteristics?

And that is the question:  Is the Creator God we worship One we can figure out and ID folks know or is He the Creator God who is more about teaching us holiness and righteousness; willing to be mysterious in many ways than being “knowable”.

The 500 Year Old Question!

 

Arminianism vs Calvinism…

  Cut to the chase!

Calvinists say Its God’s choice and I can live with it.

Arminians say Its my choice and I can’t live without it.

Either God IS all-Powerful or He is not.  If my choice over-rules His it is obvious He is not!

Where does Scripture say we have free will?  Indeed it says we are captives to sin until the Lord sets us free and those whom He sets free are free indeed!

Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Chapter One

What if your understanding of Christianity was somewhat in error?  Would you do anything at all to correct it?  Or would you hide behind the dogmatism of the establishment instead of creating your own very personal relationship with the Lord?  Of course, that is what we are told must be done if we are to be or become a child of God, isn’t it?

What if Adam was pronounced ‘good’ because he was created to fulfil a specific purpose;  a purpose The Creator ordained would come to pass in the fullness of time?

The question we are faced with is was Adam pronounced ‘good’ because of his moral purity, innocence, and personal relationship with God, or was he pronounced ‘good’ because he would accomplish the ultimate purpose of God in creating him?  Can it be both?  I think not!  And here’s why:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth and the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

In unpacking this primary statement of creation, there are several things to consider.

First, God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.  So how is it possible that darkness is upon the face of the deep in the newly minted creation?  The definition of holy is ‘separate’.  God created heaven and earth to be apart from Him.  His light is not an integral part of it.  Why would God create something He wanted to be separate from?  He did so to fulfil His ultimate purpose for it.

One of the primary directives Holy Scripture gives us is to “be ye holy as I am holy”.  God sees the end from the beginning, not through clairvoyance, but through planning.  His plan is detailed to the subatomic level.  For the children of God to ultimately join Him in eternity, we must be holy as He is holy.

He does not have to be the author of sin for His plan to be detailed.  He created us with a carnal nature.  Scripture says that the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, indeed it cannot be!

Okay, is it jumping to a conclusion that we (in Adam) were created with a carnal nature?  Oh, but this is getting ahead of the story!

Returning to holiness, we have to go back to creation before the beginning.  God is eternally holy. God is light and life.  So what is He eternally separate from?  All that is antithetical to life and light!  That is what He wants His children to be.  Now we have to ask ourselves, is this the best of all possible worlds for God to accomplish His ultimate goal; if indeed that goal is to bring the fruit of His creation (mankind) into eternity with Him; giving us eternal life with Christ as co-heirs.  We, of course do not know what we will be in eternity, but we know that we will be like Him! 

Do God’s ends Justify God’s Means?