Thursday, July 8, 2010

Brennon's Thoughts: Verses All Arminians Should Know Part 3

Brennon has posted a great list of scriptures that support Arminianism. I'm not certain that they support the Arminian position. Rather than try to responding to them all at once, I will break them down into several posts based on how the list is presented.This topic interests me because I really wanna know what the Bible says. Here is part 3 regarding the idea that Bible teaches that God's grace is resistible. 

Verses that show grace is resistible:
24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.

Many Christians talk about "common" grace. This describes the grace that every human being receives from God.  For example, Gravity so that we don't go flying off the earth. However I think this portion of the post is regarding the grace that leads to salvation. The grace of understanding and recognizing your own sin and need for salvation and the desire to please God in gratitude for forgiveness.  From this point of view..everyone begins at the point of resisting this idea. We are aren't even capable of grasping it without God's grace.  IT's not like everyone starts at a neutral position and then after making a decision to follow or not follow Christ after hearing the gospel they either accept or resist the Gospel.  Resisting is the default.  Therefore I think that this verse is not describing resisting grace but describing the position of every sinner.
29(All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus' words, acknowledged that God's way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)   - Luke 7:29-30

Does it say that Pharisees and law experts rejected God's grace? No. They rejected God's purpose for them.  Again I must ask what else would you expect unregenerate sinners to do?
  • Acts 7:51 - Blatant resistance of the Holy Spirit. It is proper to infer that if they didn't resist, they would have been led to repentance.
 51"You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!

Is rejecting the Holy Spirit the same as rejecting grace? No, I don't think so. And I don't think the inference is is that they could have chosen on their own not resist. Again John 6:44 tells us that without the Father drawing us to Christ we are unable to go to him.
 16But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our message?"

Just because some who hear will and do reject the Gospel that does not mean that they are rejecting grace. Given that no one can can accept the Gospel without grace it stands to reason that if they reject the Gospel they didn't have the necessary grace in the first place.
  • 2 Corinthians 6:1 - One can receive God's grace, yet not appropriate it in their lives.
1As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. 2For he says,
   "In the time of my favor I heard you,
      and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation. - 2 Corinthians 6:1-2

What does Paul mean? He is addressing fellow workers and warning that you can be used to reconcile others to God (chapter 5) but don't miss out yourself. I do not see how this is saying that grace can be rejected or resisted because for such a one, salvific grace isn't applicable.

I think that this brings up a very important point. What is grace? Grace is God's unmerited favor. It is God gifting you with thing(s) you do not deserve. It is unearned. It's something God does because God wants to do it. It can't be duplicated or demanded or traded. If you don't earn something how can it be rejected?  For that matter how do you reject something that has no place in you. It never belonged to you. Grace is a gift. Grace is a God-given gift that can't be recognized apart from the Holy Spirit. A sinner can't reject something he/she doesn't recognize that exist. He/She must reject it.  And without the Holy Spirit we can't see it or even begin comprehend anything about it.  The Old Testament gives a brilliant illustration of just how much a radical change it is for a human being to be in a position to receive grace.

And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: - Ezekiel 11:19

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. - Ezekiel 36:26

Brennon's Thoughts: Verses All Arminians Should Know
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