Is Grace Common ?

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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The preaching of the Word is gracious towards the elect but not towards the reprobate for by it God hardens them and provokes them resulting in a greater condemnation. As St. Paul terms it, a savour of death unto death for the reprobate but a savour of life unto life for the elect.

This does not deal with the Titus 2 passage or the typical Puritan understanding of it. Temporally speaking, the fact the gospel is preached to "all men" in general and indefinite terms is "grace." Even in 2 Cor. Paul says there is something "common" in the gospel as it is proclaimed to the saved and the lost, namely, it is a "savour." At the point at which the gospel is preached Paul did not know who belonged to which camp. It was the person's response to the gospel which manifested this.

I would argue that the grace here denotes "the doctrine of grace, the Gospel of Christ, so called, because it is a declaration of the love and grace of God to sinners, ascribes salvation in part, and in whole, to the free grace of God, and is a means of implanting and increasing grace in the hearts of men" (Gill). This in no way implies that the external call of the gospel is gracious or a grace but rather describes the content of the message of the external call as being a message of grace.

Has Gill become the one stop hyper-Calvinist shop? Don't even bother looking around for a better deal, Gill has it all under one roof. You haven't even attempted to deal with the explanation I have provided of 2 Cor. 6:1. Your preference is no substitute for the context. Remove the artificial chapter insertions, and it is clear that the apostle's "be ye reconciled to God" is the grace which he beseeches them to not receive in vain.

But even if the text is taken to refer solely to "a message of grace," it still requires us to see that this grace is being "received" by the hearers. This entails that grace itself is being offered to the hearer, and there still remains the possibility that it might be received in vain. Calvin comments, "Ministers are here taught, that it is not enough simply to advance doctrine. They must also labour that it may be received by the hearers, and that not once merely, but continually. For as they are messengers between God and men, the first duty devolving upon them is, to make offer of the grace of God, and the second is, to strive with all their might, that it may not be offered in vain."

But are they blessings?

Heb. 11:20, "By faith Isaac BLESSED Jacob and ESAU concerning things to come." Jacob received the eternal blessing and Esau the temporal. Those terms describe the limits of the blessing.

The issue I have is the suggestion that these good things that God gives to the reprobate denote a love to them or that he is gracious to them in doing so.

I have no difficulty with the concept of love or grace, so long as it is understood that this is never considered as ineffectual. If it is confined to the dispensation of earthly good things then it is a love which effectually confers temporal benefits on the reprobate. The problem only arises when this "goodness" of God is referred to as something which predisposes Him to desire also the reprobate's salvation; at which point it is made ineffectual goodness, and something quite contrary to that essential sovereignty which ought always to be ascribed to Him.

As an aside Rev Winzer:
1. I have printed off your review linked earlier,
2. Have you come across the following?

1. Happy reading.
2. Pastor Connors is a faithful minister, and his work on the subject is very good; I highly recommend it. The "stated" position of the EPC is in harmony with our Westminster Standards, and to that extent I can recommend the second work.
 

etexas

Puritan Board Doctor
If one answers "No, grace is not common", one will have to suffer the charge of "hyper-calvinist". For this question is intimately tied to "the free offer of the gospel" (AKA "the well-meant offer"), which says that God truly desires and thus truly offers the salvation of and for all, including those "passed over" in the electing decree of God.

I realize some of the biggest guns within Reformdom assert grace is common and salvation for all is desired and offered, even though the Reformed and Presbyterian confessions deny it, as well the Scripture. I cannot see it as other than Arminian doctrine within the camp, whatever I am labeled.

I have seen the doctrine of "Common Grace" used to foster friendship with the world and its arts -- because Grace is purportedly at work in it and them -- even to the point of accepting beauty -- albeit in sin -- as the grace of God.

There is then no more separation between the holy people and the unholy, the two-way road between destroying the antithesis, and the salt having lost its savor.

An enemy hath done this.

Steve

Steve, do you feel some (well meaning) men Like Shaeffer were to some degree guilty of this? I am just curious because sometime the writers and artist he put under an umbrella of grace really made me scrach my head. I think he was well meaning......but I just wanted your opinion. Pax.
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
So would you agree that Calvin taught exactly what the Puritans (and neo-Puritans like myself) did?

I think that to say they taught exactly the same is to go too far. We both know that Calvin did not spell out limited atonement in his writings and certain unguarded statements can be used by men such as A C Clifford to argue Calvin was in fact an Amyraldian.

I would argue that the Puritans developed the work of the Reformers making it more internally consistent. I find nothing in the Three Forms of Unity to warrant the FO and nor for that matter CG.

Further, let us recall that the final test is Scripture.

I certainly do not believe that the issue is a simple and straight forward as you wish to make it.

Psa 145:9 "The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works".

In the debate under review, Rev. Hanko attempts to explain away the apparent meaning of this text by insisting that "all" in this text does not refer to "all men" but to all God's works. He gives some oblique reference to what he means by “all” and then chides David Silversides for claiming to be a Calvinist and holding that "all" refers to all men in this verse. But has Hanko taken the time to read Calvin himself on this verse? Here are Calvin's comments:

I have noticed that the PRC are not all one on this. Rev. Stewart points out (as noted before):

God’s "tender mercies are over all his works" (Ps. 145:9). Many reckon that this includes the reprobate. But the next verse declares, "All thy works shall praise thee" (10a). The reprobate do not praise God, and so they cannot be the objects of God’s tender mercies. According to Hebrew parallelism, "thy saints shall bless thee" (10b) defines God’s works, here, as His people (cf. Isa. 19:25; 29:23; 45:11; Eph. 2:10).​

I would say that this seems best to me, however, even if all meant all (and it may do) I see no evidence that God's doing love is grounded on his love for the reprobate.

Try this from Rev Winzer: http://www.thebluebanner.com/pdf/bluebanner9-10&12.pdf


One problem I noticed with Silversides' book was that he assumed that when Puritan X said "offer" he immediately assumed that Puritan X agreed with his own conception of the "offer".
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
Remove the artificial chapter insertions, and it is clear that the apostle's "be ye reconciled to God" is the grace which he beseeches them to not receive in vain.

Whilst I have a great respect for you brother I do not agree with you here.

But even if the text is taken to refer solely to "a message of grace," it still requires us to see that this grace is being "received" by the hearers. This entails that grace itself is being offered to the hearer, and there still remains the possibility that it might be received in vain. Calvin comments, "Ministers are here taught, that it is not enough simply to advance doctrine. They must also labour that it may be received by the hearers, and that not once merely, but continually. For as they are messengers between God and men, the first duty devolving upon them is, to make offer of the grace of God, and the second is, to strive with all their might, that it may not be offered in vain."

I do not disagree with Calvin here but I disagree that it teaches "grace is being "received" by the hearers". The message of grace is being received (heard) outwardly but as Calvin teaches elsewhere:

"...there are two species of calling: for there is an universal call, by which God, through the external preaching of the word, invites all men alike, even those for whom he designs the call to be a savor of death, and the ground of a severer condemnation."

"Here he directs his voice to them, but it is that they may turn a deafer ear; he kindles a light, but it is that they may become more blind; he produces a doctrine, but it is that they may be more stupid; he employs a remedy, but it is that they may not be cured."

"God commands the ears of His people Israel to be stricken by, and filled with, the voice of His prophet. For what end? That their hearts might be touched? Nay; but that they might be hardened ! That those who hear might repent? Nay; but that, being already lost, they might doubly perish ! ...Hence, it is by no means absurd that the doctrine of the truth should, as commanded of God, be spread abroad; though He knows that, in multitudes, it will be without its saving effects."
Heb. 11:20, "By faith Isaac BLESSED Jacob and ESAU concerning things to come." Jacob received the eternal blessing and Esau the temporal. Those terms describe the limits of the blessing.

In your article you state:

Scripture speaks expressly on the relation and action of God towards the reprobate, as it has been determined by His eternal and immutable counsel. They are vessels of wrath fitted to destruction (Rom. 9:22), enemies of the cross of Christ (Phil. 3:18), delivered unto thraldom to obey Satan as their god, (2 Cor. 4:4), ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Tim. 3:7). Any goodness they experience from the hand of God is a bitter sweet. It serves to inure them and to prepare them for the day of wrath (Rom. 2:4, 5). God has been pleased to leave multitudes of them without the fragrance of the gospel, and of those that do come under its aroma, the gospel becomes a savour of death unto death (2 Cor. 2:16). Its promises were never intended for them, having only been purchased by Christ for the elect (2 Cor. 1:20); and its commandments are odious to them, for they are never graciously renewed by the Holy Ghost (Rom. 8:7). And when they stumble at the word, continuing in their disobedience, it is because that is whereunto they were appointed in accord with the good pleasure of God (1 Pet. 2:8)....The gospel cannot be regarded as having any intention of benefit for the reprobate simply because the benefits it holds out to its hearers were only procured by Christ for the elect.​

You go on to say

Obversely, the Scriptures are just as explicit with regard to God’s hatred of the reprobate, as was demonstrated previously in connection with the introduction of the report. Whatever temporal benefits the reprobate enjoy as a result of God’s providential care of the creature, the fact that the word reprobate implies God’s purpose of displaying His justice with regard to them as sinners, means that every temporal benefit is a manifestation of God’s just displeasure against them. And this may be confidently maintained, not on the basis of an incidental statement, but in the very words of inspiration: “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished” (2 Pet. 2:9). Hence, the reprobate cannot properly be regarded as “beneficiaries” of God’s favour. In the purpose of God, the temporal benefits received by the reprobate are the very means He uses to reserve
them for punishment. This is what the Westminster Confession of Faith states with regard to God’s providential dealings to them:

God, as a righteous Judge... not only withholdeth His grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon in their hearts; but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had, and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasions of sin; and, withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan: whereby it comes to pass that they
harden themselves, even under those means which God useth for the softening of others.​

...Every temporal benefit, therefore, which comes to the reprobate is not without purpose, but is made effectual to them for their inuring and making meet for damnation.​

With you I agree :)

If it is confined to the dispensation of earthly good things then it is a love which effectually confers temporal benefits on the reprobate.

But as you yopurself have said "the reprobate cannot properly be regarded as “beneficiaries” of God’s favour. In the purpose of God, the temporal benefits received by the reprobate are the very means He uses to reserve them for punishment." It is precisely this point that means I am unable to accept that the temporal benefits are gracious or loving (Psalm 92:7).

1. Happy reading.

I thought it was very good and I agreed with the vast majority of it. Your footnote was correct in my opinion.

It might not be out of place to ask, in this connection, that if the temporal benefits enjoyed by the reprobate argue God’s love to them, what do the temporal deficits endured by the elect argue? The logical conclusion would be God’s hatred towards them. Yet, nobody would be prepared to concede such a conclusion. Why, then, should the argument from temporal benefit to divine love be embraced?​

You may be interested in Prosperous Wicked and Plagued Saints by Engelsma.
 

x.spasitel

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm a bit out of my depth here, so let me see if I am understanding this kerfuffle right. We all agree that God causes His rain to fall on the just and the unjust, but we disagree whether to call this grace or providence? I have no doubt I'm oversimplifying, help me out here...

As an aside, John Calvin is not the be-all and end-all of orthodox thought; he made errors just like the rest of mankind, including the day of the Sabbath rest and the perpetual virginity of Mary...so while he of course is an excellent source to cite, I don't think we can expect to say "Calvin says so!" and end the discussion. I know that's not the intent here, but some of the writing looks like that. My humble advice...
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
As an aside, John Calvin is not the be-all and end-all of orthodox thought; he made errors just like the rest of mankind, including the day of the Sabbath rest and the perpetual virginity of Mary...
fyi. The article below shows Calvin to be more Sabbatarian in his fourth commandment theology than has commonly been understood via the Gaffin/Primus school of thought:
Stewart E. Lauer, "John Calvin, the Nascent Sabbatarian: A Reconsideration of Calvin's View of Two Key Sabbath-Issues," The Confessional Presbyterian, volume 3 (2007 forthcoming).
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I do not disagree with Calvin here but I disagree that it teaches "grace is being "received" by the hearers". The message of grace is being received (heard) outwardly but as Calvin teaches elsewhere:

"...there are two species of calling: for there is an universal call, by which God, through the external preaching of the word, invites all men alike, even those for whom he designs the call to be a savor of death, and the ground of a severer condemnation."

Well said! "Invites all men alike." Here is something that is gracious -- invites. Here is something that is common -- alike. The invitation must be of a gracious nature in order for its rejection to be "the ground of a severer condemnation." There must have been a genuine opportunity presented to the reprobate to repent and believe, otherwise their not repenting and believing could not have been considered more heinous than the failure of those who did not hear the invitation.

In your article you state:

Scripture speaks expressly on the relation and action of God towards the reprobate, as it has been determined by His eternal and immutable counsel.​

This is important to understand, otherwise we end up with Prof. Murray's unreformed idea of "dispositions." God's immutable decree of reprobation has determined the nature of His actions towards the non-elect; but God's common care of the creation is also determined by His eternal and immutable counsel, as I go on to state in a subsequent paragraph. Hence there is nothing contradictory in asserting that so far as reprobation is concerned God hates the non-elect; but so far as they are partakers in the creation they are partakers of His goodness. And I would go so far as to say that this will still be evident even in hell, because there they will still live and move and have their being in God.

You go on to say

Obversely, the Scriptures are just as explicit with regard to God’s hatred of the reprobate, as was demonstrated previously in connection with the introduction of the report. Whatever temporal benefits the reprobate enjoy as a result of God’s providential care of the creature, the fact that the word reprobate implies God’s purpose of displaying His justice with regard to them as sinners, means that every temporal benefit is a manifestation of God’s just displeasure against them. And this may be confidently maintained, not on the basis of an incidental statement, but in the very words of inspiration: “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished” (2 Pet. 2:9). Hence, the reprobate cannot properly be regarded as “beneficiaries” of God’s favour. In the purpose of God, the temporal benefits received by the reprobate are the very means He uses to reserve them for punishment.​

Here we see that there is an historical process which manifests election and reprobation. A part of that historical process includes the conferring of benefits on all men alike. For some the benefits lead to repentance. To others they lead to hardening. A position which refuses to acknowledge the conferring of these benefits effectively denies the historical process which manifests reprobation by the use of means.

Here is the difficulty for those who reject the concept of "common grace" (you can take or leave the term itself; I won't dispute about mere words) -- by denying that God shows goodness to all men, they remove the very element which is instrumental in the hardening of the reprobate. If there is no goodness shown to them, there can be nothing against which they harden themselves.

It is precisely this point that means I am unable to accept that the temporal benefits are gracious or loving (Psalm 92:7).

Would you please explain how a "benefit" is not gracious? Do you suppose that this benefit was deserved? No? Then it is an undeserved favour; ill-deserved favour, in fact. Ill-deserved favour is grace. Please consult Ps. 136, where the Psalmist proves God's mercy from temporal acts, both common and saving. Especially verse 25, "Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth forever."

The insuperable difficulty of your position is seen in the fact that you leave the reprobate with nothing to harden themselves against, nothing which serves to make them meet for damnation. What are you going to suggest? that they harden themselves against God's hatred. The Scripture nowhere speaks in this manner. No, it must be that God shows genuine goodness to them in order that the rejection of His goodness might be seen to be a despising of God and a sign of reprobation.
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
The insuperable difficulty of your position is seen in the fact that you leave the reprobate with nothing to harden themselves against, nothing which serves to make them meet for damnation. What are you going to suggest? that they harden themselves against God's hatred. The Scripture nowhere speaks in this manner. No, it must be that God shows genuine goodness to them in order that the rejection of His goodness might be seen to be a despising of God and a sign of reprobation.

Rev. Winzer, have you read The Two Seeds. I understand the host site may cause problems for some, but I'm sure we/you/us [etc] can weight the article for its merits. Any thoughts on it?

Thanks.

j
 

jbergsing

Puritan Board Sophomore
In Matthew 5, Jesus teaches on loving our neighbors. In it, he uses what I'd call "initial" or "indispensable" common grace, in that what He describes is essential to our very existance, to emphasis his point when he says, "For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (v.45b). I'm not sure how far I would take the definition of "common grace" past this point. I can see the argument that it extends to enabling all to survive on this planet, although I know no Scriptural proof for it and that is where I am troubled.
 
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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Rev. Winzer, have you read The Two Seeds. I understand the host site may cause problems for some, but I'm sure we/you/us [etc] can weight the article for its merits. Any thoughts on it?

I haven't come across this article before, and because of its length and detail I'll have to come back to it on Monday.
 

JOwen

Puritan Board Junior
I'm a bit out of my depth here, so let me see if I am understanding this kerfuffle right. We all agree that God causes His rain to fall on the just and the unjust, but we disagree whether to call this grace or providence? I have no doubt I'm oversimplifying, help me out here...

As an aside, John Calvin is not the be-all and end-all of orthodox thought; he made errors just like the rest of mankind, including the day of the Sabbath rest and the perpetual virginity of Mary...so while he of course is an excellent source to cite, I don't think we can expect to say "Calvin says so!" and end the discussion. I know that's not the intent here, but some of the writing looks like that. My humble advice...


The Scriptures are the only infallible rule of faith and life. Calvin at best is, like us all, an unprofitable servant. The use of Calvin on this subject is only useful in establishing his own thoughts on the matter (Much like Calvin's Calvinism). I used Calvin for support, nothing more. It is hard to find common ground on secondary and supportive authors for Hoeksematites as they almost always reject the language of the Puritans. Calvin is someone we can all agree on.

To think that Calvin is wrong on this subject however simply because he believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary is spurious logic. Calvin holds forth wonderful exegesis on the subject (unlike his emotional overature on the perpetual virginity of Mary), and ought to be considered consistent on exegetical grounds.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I got mine!

I have uploaded to the NP website James Durham's sermon dealing with "Christ Offered", "Of The Gospel Call, and the Largeness of the Offer", etc. from the Naphtali Press critical edition of his Sermons on Isaiah 53. This is Sermon Two on Isaiah 53:1. This is from an elaborate new edition (2001) of Durham's sermons (review comments below). See the prepublication offer on the second printing due out this Fall at the online store.

Christ Crucified: Or the Marrow of the Gospel in 72 Sermons on Isaiah 53. By James Durham (1622-1658). Text carefully corrected and compared from several editions. Size: 7×10. Hardcover. Smyth sewn. 704 pages. Extensive Table of Contents, Subject and Scripture Index. Side headings. (sorry, prepub offer for USA only).
This is no ordinary book of sermons. It is the type of book that you will enjoy reading over a period of time. Keep it on your reading table; use it as part of your devotional reading to help you meditate on and appreciate anew God’s great plan of redemption. Dr. Dominic Aquila, PCA News.
One of the great passages of Scripture is Isaiah 53, and one of the great expositions of it is by James Durham (1622–58). The work has been thoroughly done, … with relevant footnotes, glossary and index. The technical aspects of paper and binding are splendid with large clear pages and good margins. Dr. Rowland S. Ward.

This is marrow indeed. We need say no more: Durham is a prince among spiritual expositors. C. H. Spurgeon in Commentaries and Commentating.

isa53.jpg


I just bought it! But I was not charged for shipping. Is this a glitch?
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
I just bought it! But I was not charged for shipping. Is this a glitch?
It shows shipping on my record but not in the email the software sent out. If you are sending a check, please add the 8.95. Thanks Ken. PM me if you need more info.
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
The insuperable difficulty of your position is seen in the fact that you leave the reprobate with nothing to harden themselves against, nothing which serves to make them meet for damnation. What are you going to suggest? that they harden themselves against God's hatred. The Scripture nowhere speaks in this manner. No, it must be that God shows genuine goodness to them in order that the rejection of His goodness might be seen to be a despising of God and a sign of reprobation.

The reprobate harden themselves by rejecting the gospel and by refusing to acknowledge that the good things they have come from God. Hence "when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever:" (Psalm 92:7)

Would you please explain how a "benefit" is not gracious?

Because the temporal benefit is controlled by the decree of reprobation.

Do you suppose that this benefit was deserved? No? Then it is an undeserved favour; ill-deserved favour, in fact. Ill-deserved favour is grace.

But what is God's purpose behind the temporal benefit? I come back once again to the Psalms:

Psalm 92:6-8 "A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this. When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever: But thou, LORD, art most high for evermore."

Psalm 73:1-3, 17-20 "Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image."

Might I suggest a read of Hoeksema's The Curse-Reward of the Wicked Well-Doer :up:
 

turmeric

Megerator
I like Jonathan Edwards' book The Freedom of the Will, as he points out that the reprobate aren't disabled so much as disinclined to accept the Gospel. It's our inclination that God sovereignly changes. He simply does not do this for the reprobate. So what He is offering is well-meant, but we don't want it; unless we are regenerated. That's my understanding, for what it's worth.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hello Matthew,

You say,

There must have been a genuine opportunity presented to the reprobate to repent and believe, otherwise their not repenting and believing could not have been considered more heinous than the failure of those who did not hear the invitation.​

Yes, I can see this. But does this, in your view, indicate a desire on God’s part to save them? It is “genuine opportunity” I focus on here. I give a thief who has robbed me a genuine opportunity to repay, but he has spent the money and is unable.

Does his inability make the opportunity less genuine? Have I not the right to require what is mine? Am I disingenuous in requiring it? Is not his guilt established by his obvious inability? Has not God the right to demand what is due, despite wicked inability? I suppose desire and require represent the two views here.

The “invitation” spoken of, does He not know they have already spent that which would enable them to come and pay?

“The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men…” There is mercy, grace, and eternal life provided for all who will come in the Savior – in Him alone – and the word of reconciliation is gone forth through all the world. Does God invite all the world to come in the sense that He desires all should be saved, or is it rather that He desires holiness and obedience in all, the proper due owed Him? The “invitation” I can see in this latter respect. I would call this general invitation His “command” or "righteous requirement".

Are we not all in this condition of being unable to come and give Him what is due? Yet some He has ordained they would find within themselves withal to come – to respond to the invitation – by virtue of His regenerating grace in them.

You said,

The insuperable difficulty of your position [AV1611’s] is seen in the fact that you leave the reprobate with nothing to harden themselves against, nothing which serves to make them meet for damnation. What are you going to suggest? that they harden themselves against God's hatred. The Scripture nowhere speaks in this manner. No, it must be that God shows genuine goodness to them in order that the rejection of His goodness might be seen to be a despising of God and a sign of reprobation.​

But are not the reprobate already hardened? Already meet for damnation? Was not “the rejection of His goodness” done in their father, Adam? And again, afterwards, following suit, in themselves? Do not the reprobate by nature already hate God? The “genuine goodness” He shows them, is this not just the revelation of His gracious character – to which they are averse? And which aversion further provokes His wrath? That is, is not the goodness but in Himself, rather than toward them as in a design to save?

Calvin says,

How comes it that some men are godly, and live in the fear of the Lord, while others give themselves up without reserve to all manner of wickedness? If Paul is to be believed, the only reason is, that the latter retain their natural disposition, and the former have been chosen to holiness. (Comm. on Ephesians 1:4b)​

Is it not that there is a greater damnation to those who have seen the Light and rejected Him, while those who have not seen Him are nonetheless damned, yet not with as great a culpability? Are not all under the sentence of death – and damnation – and accounted “children of wrath”?

We are responsible for the wickedness of our “natural disposition” as the Lord makes clear in John 3:18-21. And on some He has shown mercy, saving us from our ruined – natural – estate.

Is my thinking correct in all this? Please consider the nature of my mind in your response; I am not too good in philosophy or abstract theology, but am of a simpler sort.

I have downloaded your Blue Banner article and the Historic Calvinism and Neo-Calvinism articles you recommended, but haven’t had time to read them yet. I desire to be in line with Scripture and its truth in these matters.

Thanks,

Steve
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Yes, I can see this. But does this, in your view, indicate a desire on God’s part to save them? It is “genuine opportunity” I focus on here. I give a thief who has robbed me a genuine opportunity to repay, but he has spent the money and is unable.

Hi Steve. In the article Chris Coldwell referenced earlier I make the case against positing desires in God for the salvation of elect and reprobate alike. "Desire" indicates volition. To suppose that God desires something which will not come to pass is to suggest there are things beyond God's control which He would prefer to happen otherwise than they do. The reality is that He possesses sovereign dominion over all things and He does whatsoever pleases Him, Ps. 115:3.

A genuine opportunity presented to the sinner does not imply one way or the other what God desires or wills for them. So far as human responsibility is concerned, the sinner is presented with the opportunity to believe in order to be saved. As far as divine sovereignty is concerned, God desires, wills, chooses, is pleased (or any other word indicating volition) to give faith to the elect alone in order to save them.

The fact that God does not choose to give faith to all men does not render the opportunity to believe the gospel any less genuine. God offers no violence to the will of any creature. He foreordains their choices, but they make those choices and are accountable for them. It is not God's *fault* that the sinner does not believe. That is the sinner's choice through and through. On judgment day he who does not believe the gospel will not be absolved from their guilt on the basis that God foreordained his actions, but will be condemned because *he* believeth not the record that God gave of His Son. Blessings!
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
The fact that God does not choose to give faith to all men does not render the opportunity to believe the gospel any less genuine. God offers no violence to the will of any creature. He foreordains their choices, but they make those choices and are accountable for them.

Rev Winzer, are you saying that God foreordains their choices by choosing to whom He shall give saving faith? Would you say the gift of faith is a 'second cause'? Or are you saying that God *immediately* causes them to choose?

It is not God's *fault* that the sinner does not believe. That is the sinner's choice through and through. On judgment day he who does not believe the gospel will not be absolved from their guilt on the basis that God foreordained his actions, but will be condemned because *he* believeth not the record that God gave of His Son. Blessings!

I really like the way you put that! That'll preach!
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Rev Winzer, are you saying that God foreordains their choices by choosing to whom He shall give saving faith? Would you say the gift of faith is a 'second cause'? Or are you saying that God *immediately* causes them to choose?

Pastor Klein, I would say, first, God has foreordained all choices which all men make, be they evil or good. Secondly, the choice to do evil is freely made by the creature without positive influence put forth by God, but is nevertheless the result of pre-determining factors, so that they could not but choose the evil. in my opinion, Edwards' doctrine of necessity provides the best explanation of pre-determining factors. Thirdly, in the case of good choices, such as the act of believing unto salvation, there is a positive influence put forth by God the Holy Spirit in the elect, whereby He irresistibly determines their will to embrace the grace offered in the gospel. Thus, yes, God immediately *causes* them to choose. Nevertheless, faith is still the action of the elect soul, so it must be regarded as a second cause. Christ has wrought His mediatorial power on the soul to make it willing in the day of His power.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Thank you Rev Winzer. To which Edwards work are you refering?

I did mean to hijack the thread, BTW. My apologies.
 

cih1355

Puritan Board Junior
Hi Steve. In the article Chris Coldwell referenced earlier I make the case against positing desires in God for the salvation of elect and reprobate alike. "Desire" indicates volition. To suppose that God desires something which will not come to pass is to suggest there are things beyond God's control which He would prefer to happen otherwise than they do. The reality is that He possesses sovereign dominion over all things and He does whatsoever pleases Him, Ps. 115:3.

A genuine opportunity presented to the sinner does not imply one way or the other what God desires or wills for them. So far as human responsibility is concerned, the sinner is presented with the opportunity to believe in order to be saved. As far as divine sovereignty is concerned, God desires, wills, chooses, is pleased (or any other word indicating volition) to give faith to the elect alone in order to save them.

The fact that God does not choose to give faith to all men does not render the opportunity to believe the gospel any less genuine. God offers no violence to the will of any creature. He foreordains their choices, but they make those choices and are accountable for them. It is not God's *fault* that the sinner does not believe. That is the sinner's choice through and through. On judgment day he who does not believe the gospel will not be absolved from their guilt on the basis that God foreordained his actions, but will be condemned because *he* believeth not the record that God gave of His Son. Blessings!

Hi Rev Winzer,

Do you believe that God can have the desire to do something without making any plans to do it?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Do you believe that God can have the desire to do something without making any plans to do it?

Definitely, no. 1. God only desires what is for His own glory. To desire anything less would be idolatry. 2. God is perfectly wise and has purposed what will best serve His own glory. 3. God is Almighty, and powerfully works all things according to His perfectly wise purpose which fulfil His desire for His own glory.
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
When asked...

Do you believe that God can have the desire to do something without making any plans to do it?

Rev. Winzer posted...

Definitely, no. 1. God only desires what is for His own glory. To desire anything less would be idolatry. 2. God is perfectly wise and has purposed what will best serve His own glory. 3. God is Almighty, and powerfully works all things according to His perfectly wise purpose which fulfil His desire for His own glory.

I don't understand the above quote Pastor.

If God is perfectly wise how can He not make plains to work all things according to His wise purpose and will? What then does God's will or desire have to do with His purpose? Is it wise to desire something and not make plains to get that which is desired?

I don't understand.

j
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I don't understand the above quote Pastor.

Let's look at the question again. I was asked, "Do you believe that God can have the desire to do something without making any plans to do it?" So the question is asking, Does God have unfulfilled desires? To which I answered, "Definitely, no." Then I explained that God has all wisdom and all power to realise every desire, thereby showing that God has no unfulfilled desires.
 
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