I appreciate the humor of this MEME enriched generation, I really do. I have even chuckled at several that were aimed directly at me. I guess I can thank my two older brothers for my relatively thick skin.
(They still to this day call me “LP” which is short for “Little Pig.” Apparently, my first name is similar to the word “piglet” in Portuguese, which my Great Aunt Roberta kindly shared with us when she was back in the States on furlough from her missionary work in Brazil. Thanks Aunt Roberta!)
The MEMEs above are a common theme we see from our Calvinistic friends, but this is nothing new. Long before MEMEs I recall illustrations and jokes being employed to belittle anyone who suggested man was merely metaphorically sick when it came to their inherited nature from the Fall of Adam.
Back when I was a Calvinist I often used the old illustration about the Lifeguard. I recall preaching, “He doesn’t merely throw you a life preserver and allow you to grab on, but he dives in and drags your lifeless body off the bottom to breathe new life in you.” I’d conclude with something like, “We weren’t just drowning, we were dead! We were born corpses, not merely sick!” That’ll preach, won’t it!? I certainly thought so.
But is this what the Bible actually says? Or is this just a popularized catch phrase use to propagate a systematic dogma?
Hear me when I say this… When I mocked the metaphor of sinners being sick, I was mocking the inspired word of God and so are all Calvinists today who continue to propagate this misnomer.
The fact is that the scriptures metaphorically address our condition as a sickness far more than as deadness. (Jer 17:9, 23; Mk 2:17; Lk 5:31; Mt 9:12; Ps 38:3; Is 64:6; etc) And when speaking metaphorically of deadness it’s never described as a morally incapacitated condition from birth due to the Fall, but instead as a condition of being separated from God by our own rebellion. For instance, the Prodigal was “DEAD/lost” then “alive/found” demonstrating that the term “DEAD” is idiomatic for “separated by rebellion” not “innate moral inability” (Luke 15:24). Just as our soul is separated from our body when we die so too sinful humanity is separated from God by his rebellion.
Look what James taught,
“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” – James 1:13-15
Are we born “DEAD” according to James? Or is DEATH birthed in those who sin after its “full grown?” What did Paul say?
“What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.” – Romans 7:7-11
Are we born “DEAD” according to Paul? Or was it through the commandment, after “sin sprang to life” that DEATH came?
In contrast, the metaphor of illness is quite prevalent throughout the scriptures:
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” -Rom 5:6
“The heart is more deceitful than all else. And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” -Jer 17:9
“And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” -Mark 2:17
“There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your indignation; There is no health in my bones because of my sin.” -Ps 38:3
“For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” -Is 64:6
We are sick and in need of a Physician.
We are cursed and in need of His cure.
His life-giving truth is sufficient to accomplish the purpose for which He sent it — “…so that you may believe…and by believing may have life in His name.” (Jn 20:31)
So, I will unashamedly declare to my unsaved friends that I hope they come to know the Great Physician who can heal their illness. Get well soon, indeed!
For more on the metaphorical use of the word dead in scripture please CLICK HERE.
36 thoughts on “Sick or Dead?”
This is such a foundational topic, Leighton. Thanks. It is a major twisting of a Bible word – “dead” – away from its biblical roots and giving in a meaning borrowed from modern medicine – “inability” or “no function”. The heart ceases to function and the brain isn’t working and the person is pronounced dead! But biblically we know that a person continues to function… just without a body and in a different place! He is just “separated” from his body, which is the basic meaning of physical death in Scripture, and the spirit is separated from the indwelling presence of Christ, which is spiritual death.
The Calvinist needs to factor in what Paul meant in Rom 5:6 “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”
Being “weak” doesn’t sound like “dead” or inability to me. This same Greek word is consistently translated “sick” in the Gospels.
Before salvation we have a terminal illness even though often before conviction we might not feel too bad. But the Doctor tells us we’re dying and we need to trust Him and take this miracle cure that He spent all He had to make and offer to us. We also need to repent and stop trusting the other “cures” others have offered.
Yep – WEAK
Leighton .. here’s the real problem: Calvinist cannot discern between SOUL (heart + conscience) and SPIRIT (mind, emotions, and will) OR understand them backwards. It is the SOUL the needs saving and so it is the SOUL that determines our NATURE — 1) Human/innate/innocent nature, 2) sin nature, or divine nature when we are saved. However, our SPIRIT processes what we hear and see in our flesh first .. and it is completely neutral on everything it hears or sees until it understands what it is hearing or seeing. Therefore, God is able to communicate with our minds regardless of what our nature is.
Now once we have heard, we are inclined to consider what is in our HEARTS about the gospel (do we want eternal life? Do we want to have a major change in our lives for the good? Is God good or evil? Can we really have eternal life and life now more abundantly, Jn 10:10?) We also consider what is in our CONSCIENCE (Are we sinners? Is our sin hindering our progress in life in the areas of honor, wealth, or health?)
This is all what God meant when He said, “Come let us reason together; though your sins be as scarlet…” (Isa 1:16) Psychologically speaking, there is no inability to do this except a mental challenge such as youth or mental incapacity.
Cannot sick and weak can be used as the state in sin,but we our dead in our standing before God which means we cannot respond “positively to God only negatively unless resurrected as we our dead men dying.This is also used with opposite results in the believers position in Christ versus his progression in sanctification,we are made alive in him and are continuing to be made alive in our walk.
Paul had in mind in Ephesians the death of Christ and resurrection 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the DEAD, which was the power which saved the elect who were dead in trespasses and sin in Ephesians 2.
Now how dead was Christ ? We must be careful here as changing the meaning of death and make it less could undermine the whole gospel in Ephesians.Context is crucial as scripture interprets scripture.
Have you read the other comments? No one is saying Christ was not dead!!! The Romans made sure of that!
But believers are called “dead to sin” several times. Do we sin?
In Luke 15, Christ called the prodigal son “dead” twice. But he still came to his senses….. in a far away land…. and came home to a Father that did nothing but wait.
Thanks for the reply,
Believers are dead to sin because they are positionally in Christ and made alive spiritually.In Christ I am sinless because of his atoning work, Romans 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord “will not impute sin.”With the flesh I serve the law of sin Romans 7:23.
We must make a clear distinction in position and progression in Christ and in Adam which death is positional and sickness is progresional.
Now much is said of the Prodigal son being dead to his father which is a salvantic parable,can we see the Spirit quickening work visibly of course not until we see the son repenting.
Now go back and start at the first of Luke 15 and you will see the good Shepherd going after the one lost sheep and caring it back to the fold, then the woman lighting the candle and searching diligently until she finds the lost coin which are all monogestic works of God.
Grace to you
Luke is full of parables. The one you mentioned also says this… “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”
So you believe there are persons who need no repentance?
These are parables and must be seen that way. My point was that Christ used the word “dead” twice.
I am not sure how long you have been following this blog, but I think you are new. If you will go back through some of the posts you will see my story. Having been a Bible-school-trained Calvinist, I am quite familiar with the go-to passages that you quote to me and to Brian. They have been answered many times and in long thoughtful posts on these pages. I dont really have time right at the moment to go back through those verses.
I see that you are using words like “salvantic” “progression in Christ” “God’s revealed will” (as opposed to God’s secret will).
Now, it is not wrong to use words that come from other sources….words you have been taught. But it does indicate to me that you are like I was (while I was a Calvinist) —- you are being taught to look for the key verses that will uphold Calvinism. Taught to see things that are not supported by the Scripture (God has different wills: His secret will is one thing, but often His revealed will is the opposite).
Very early in your correspondence you are bringing out the go-to verses (there are very few). In one letter you quote Romans 3:11 (no one seeks God). On these pages I have stated that for every poetic verses about non-seeking (see that verse in the context of “everyone with venom on our lips” and “everyone’s feet shedding blood”), we have ten verses saying that we must seek (‘anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” “seek first the kingdom” “seek and you will find” etc).
It is not a good idea to pull one verse (or half a verse) —-out of a context— meant to teach something else, and use it as a trump card against all the many verses saying something contrary.
Please feel free to visit the other pages on this blog and have a look at my comments. I believe you will find responses to your ideas.
Thank you Grace for the question. If you read what I wrote you will have seen I pointed to Rom 5:6 as evidence. You will need to tell me what Paul meant by “sick” there.
But “dead” consistently means separation in Scripture, and does not emphasize the modern medical idea of “ceasing to function” like the lungs, heart, and brains no longer working. Rather in the Bible it is the separation of the soul from the body, when physical death takes place, and the separation of man from the life of God when in a state of spiritual death.
The Son of God was separated from the Father and under His wrath from our sin, but though also physically dead, (separated from His body), He still was functioning in the Spirit. The unregenerate man’s spirit still functions and is able to be influenced by God’s grace, as Scripture clearly teaches.
Only Calvinism comes up with a weird idea of life then faith then everlasting life in Christ… but Scripture teaches Light then Faith then Life (John 1:4-13, 12:35-36, 20:30-31).
Thanks for the reply,
Romans 5:6 states that when we were yet without strength Christ died for the ungodly. As I have previously stated that the life of sin in progression is often illustrated as incurable sickness,notice the saving virtue in this text is the death of Christ not the response dying sinner who is without strength.Why do the unregenerate walk the course of this world in the sickness of sin?I say the answer is in the totality of scripture, he is born spiritually dead.
I agree with you that death is separation,but will take it further as a total separation from God who is life.
Can the dead hear,see,or understand the living?
Not unless they be resurrected through the spiritual birth in which Jesus clearly states that they cannot enter or see the kingdom of God unless they be born again, John 3 as the wind blows wherever it wishes and it is the Spirit that quickens the flesh profits “nothing”,John 6:63.
Yes, Grace, the separated “dead in sins” do hear when God speaks to them… drawing them before regeneration. They do see the light pointing them towards His mercy. Consider Adam, Nicodemus and Cornelius… all unregenerate but hearing and understanding God.
You and I are now “dead to sin” but we can still hear its call to us from our flesh and allow it to have its way… right? I still think my illustration above fits and explains a pre-regeneration state well.
“Before salvation we have a terminal illness even though often before conviction we might not feel too bad. But the Doctor tells us we’re dying and we need to trust Him and take this miracle cure that He spent all He had to make and offer to us. We also need to repent and stop trusting the other “cures” others have offered.”
Thanks for the reply brainwagner.
Would you care to comment on how you think Adam responded positive to God as made himself aprons of fig leaves then hid himself when he heard God’s voice, then blamed Eve and basically God for giving her to him,which is self righteousness the number one response to being dead to God.
Nicodemus was so confused between the natural birth and spiritual and said how can these things be?
The Bible tells us that Cornelius was a devout man that feared God before he heard the Gospel but he also fell down and worshipped Peter before he spoke it to him which is certainly not a positive response.We must be very careful in Acts as it was also a transitional book not a doctrinal epistle that many false doctrines on salvation has come from.
Baptismal regeneration with the sign tongues are two.
Thank you “Grace” for the invite to explain further. I also appreciate that you confirmed “dead” is a positional reality before and after regeneration, and does not mean inability for the spirit to act.
The issue is whether or not that before regeneration the Scripture teaches there is an ability to act in response to God’s initiative in some positive way, not meriting salvation, but as part of the pre-salvation relationship God has while drawing each person towards trusting Him and His mercy.
Adam was responding positively to the shame of his conscience (a gracious gift from God) by trying to cover his nakedness. Adam was responding positively when answering “Here am I” when called by God. God was giving understandable information about the curse to an unregenerate man.
Nicodemus was responding positively to the information he had of Jesus’ miracles and sought Jesus out. Jesus gave understandable information about the new birth and belief in Him to an unregenerate man.
Cornelius was responding positively to the revelation he had of the one true God and God led him to the message of salvation (11:14). He had not received the Spirit yet, so unless you believe regeneration lasts for days or months before salvation, I don’t think you would say He was born again before meeting Peter. (You do believe regeneration was in the OT, don’t you?)
I agree that Acts is not a doctrinal epistle, but apostolic explanation of events in it and apostolic preaching in it can be trusted, right?
Thanks for the reply brainwagner,
Now starting with Adam again and the state of deadness,you quoted Adam answering God here I am but not in rightly in his blaming Eve and not himself which is true repentance is not found in the text.Undertand dead in sin doesn’t mean sinners don’t do anything when they hear the voice of God’s revealed will as they may pray,reform,try to keep the law,as they may seek God in many of “their own “ways but not in truth true repentance always say you alone Lord have I sinned against Ps 51:4.
Although Nicodemus had interest at the time and was later converted he came to Christ by night not day possiblely for fear of the jews and also only claimed Christ to be a teacher not the Son of God was also rocked back on his feet at the revelation of the new birth all negative response as dead men have this response in Romans 3:11 There is None that understandeth their is none that seeks after God.
In the book of Acts we have the church getting established,Apostles being confirmed by miracles,signs to Jewish people that God was saving Gentiles it is 100% infallible.You need to understand the Gospel had just started.
Cornelius was a elect child of God before he heard the Gospel but he still had to hear read Acts 18 :10 when the Lord spoke to Paul to speak the gospel and be not afraid as confirmed he the Lord has much people “elect” in that city.
Acts 13:48 paraphrasing when the Gentiles heard the Gospel as many as were ordained unto eternal life believed.God had elect scattered out every where that needed to hear the gospel.
That people being said God’s people are truly converted when they are made alive by the Spirit to believe,respond,receive,hear,see,walk and seek God “in truth”which is impossible for a dead man to do.
Salvation belongs unto God alone who raises the dead.
Grace to you
Thank you “Grace” for interacting again. But I still think you fail to see the main point. That is – God is having an active relationship with unregenerate people, giving them understandable information that they can respond to positively or negatively. Certainly they can not understand on their own… but no regeneration is needed for God to make them understand and to give them sufficient ability to make a free choice.
The Calvinist, of course, can not accept this for it would undermine his dogmatic view of individual eternal immutable election built upon a premise borrowed from pagan determinism. He then looks for passages that seem to confirm this determinism of individual salvation. But God plainly says individuals who are not yet joined to Christ through faith are “not His people” or “beloved” (Rom 9:25). They are “not His” (Rom 8:9).
Now the passages you pointed to do not have to have Calvinistic determinism imposed on them. In Acts 18:10, the same adjective – “many” is used from 18:8. There is no need to read into this verse a pre-creation group of elect, not yet regenerated existed in Corinth. God was only telling Paul that he would be safe in Corinth to help the large flock that was already there.
As for the poor Calvinistic translation in Acts 13:48 using the word “ordained” for a Greek word that does not have those theological overtones, here is an exegesis you might want to consider – https://www.academia.edu/30159612/Acts_13_48_-_exegetical_dialog
Thanks again for your time,
I replied to Cornelius to fromoverhere if you want to look.Caiaphas prophesied that the death Christ would gather in one all the children of God scattered abroad,John 11:52 as his atoning work brings the surety of our peace by his stripes we WERE healed,past tense then on the cross.
We are still enemies and children of wrath in the state of the flesh until converted and sealed by the Spirit as you referred.
I question I have on the infallibility of scripture from the free will perspective as you feel that the Calvinist free will got in the way on Acts 13:48.
Through all the years of recoping and translating of Hebrew,Greek,and putting it differing languages through the hands of sinful man how can you be sure you have a pure copy of all God’s word in truth if you believe in libertian free will and not God determing to keep his word pure as he promised?
First “Grace”… the phrase “by His stripes” is an interesting figure of speech. Is it a synecdoche for Christ’s death? One shouldn’t try to prove dogma from unclear figures of speech. Also “were healed” doesn’t have to mean more then “You believing readers were saved on the basis of the benefits of Christ’s death the moment you trusted Him.”
As for God preserving His Word… Yes He has… not in the originals or in one translation 1500 years later. But it is there among the copies and translations that reflect the originals. And where all the copies agree… we know that is original. And where there is disagreement among translations, we must determine why. But yes He has allowed free will involvement in copying and translating… as is evident.
It is a false either-or dichotomy to say God cannot also allow for freewill in somethings and still make sure His Word is preserved.
The Caiaphas prophecy was about gathering all the scattered faithful Jews who had OT trust in the promises of God. It is a stretch to think Caiaphas would have been thinking about a subgroup of elect from every nation.
In your response to Brian you said this.
Grace: “The Bible tells us that Cornelius was a devout man that feared God before he heard the Gospel….”
In one of your responses you quote the often-quoted Romans 3:11 (no one seeks). It is followed by Romans 3:12:
3:12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.
You want a literal translation of Romans 3:11 ( which was really meant in context to teach that the Jews were no better than than the Gentiles).
But then Rom 3:12 tells us that “no one does good.”
Yet you see (rightly) that Cornelius is doing good “before He heard the Gospel.”
Which one is it? You can or can’t do good (be devout, ‘God-fearing’) before hearing the Gospel?
If you have Cornelius “doing good” “being devout” “being God-fearing” “seeking God” before any mention of the Gospel (which is how one hears) then you cannot be consistent in your teaching of “dead”.
Thanks for the reply,
Let me ask you this as this is what I was referring to of the parable of the Prodigal son,could the invisible God the Holy Spirit have already been preparing,humbling Cornelius long before?The ministry of the Spirits work is a very deep mystery within itself as he even restrains the wicked and gives them over at times to reprobation,Romans 1.
We see Cornelius in his Total inability to find God in himself he fell down to worship a man,Peter in verse :25,did you see this?He I believe was the first Gentile to be saved in Acts and he needed the Holy Spirit to fall upon him “first”that he could savingly believe the gospel that was being preached the Bible is clear to point this out Acts 10:44-45.
As a rule we should never let a unclear passage interpret the clear teachings of the totality of scripture.We need to go back to the garden and believe the words spoken by God that in the day of transgression we Adam died and his posterity or else believe devil’s lie that we didn’t.
Cornelius left to himself would have remained in his sin and condemtion without God’s grace and mercy.
Man is nothing he has a free will to hell but none to heaven until God works in him to do and will his good pleasure is the testimony of scripture.
Being confident of this very thing, that HE which hath BEGUN a good work in you WILL perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Phil 1:6.
I think you are bringing the answers to the text. You have learned most of this from the reformed movement that is “teaching” a lot of people how to find verses to justify this position.
Please read the thousands of comments in these pages that deal with your ideas and much more!
The Bible is full of passages like …. “Chose for yourselves this day who you will serve…”
The Bible is full of passages like …. “devout, God-fearing people…” (when they hear the Gospel they respond, but they were already seeking.)
The Bible is full of passages like …. “anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (we must believe, and seek—it never says anything —anywhere about being giving a special gift to do this).
The Bible is full of passages like …. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Christ wanted….they would not. In your position—- they were already being called by Christ. Yet they resisted. That eliminates “irresistible grace”)
The Bible is full of passages like …. “When I am lifted up, I will call all men to myself;” “God is patiently waiting;” “Paul persuades men;” “God is not willing that any should perish” (yet they do); “come unto me all who labor and need rest” (oh but first I must “make you alive”); “seek first the kingdom” (spoken to the masses on the mount —- not a select few)…. and on and on and on…..
That is the “totality of scripture” to which you refer. Thousands and thousands of verses!
Your philosophy…. based on 40-50 repeated verses….. has been learned from well-meaning leaders who teach that all sin, doubt, and evil originate with God —for His glory. And man is “too dead” to see anything from God (although we see people doing “good things” all around us). And that Christ died for 00.15% of humanity and created the other 99.85% for torture (does not love them or even want to redeem them).
I know all this, because I was a cage-rage disciple of this movement myself.
Please feel free to find-in-page my name on any of the pages on this site for further explanation. All of your objections have been discussed already. Please also read and meditate on the hundreds and hundreds of passages and verses provided on these pages (the totality of Scripture —not the go-to 40-50).
Thanks and I will have to say you you can type faster and better than me but I won’t envy because it was determined ha ha.
You said that we we are commanded to seek and believe and you said that is doesn’t take a special gift for this?
Ephesians 2:5Even when we were dead in sins,hath quickened us together with Christ,(by grace ye are saved,)2:8 For by grace you are saved through faith;and that not of yourselves :it is the gift of God :9 Not of works,lest any man should boast.
This is the fundamental difference with us and you tell me it’s not special what Christ died for? I believe scripture clearly states it’s the most special gift ever performed a resurrection from the DEAD and the gift of faith impossible with man.To him be the glory forever!
I did NOT say “it’s not special what Christ died for?”
I am not sure what you mean. I am a missionary and pastor for 35 years. I preach (even on the street) how special Christ’s gift is!!
I call people to believe! I (like Paul) try to persuade them. I (like Paul) “am all things to all men to win some.”
I tell them that Christ said “When I am lifted up I will call all men to myself.” “Come unto me ALL who labor and need rest.”
I tell them that Christ said “seek and you will find. Knock and it will be opened.”
In my studies of Greek I found what most agree with that Eph 2:8, 9 does not mean that the faith is the gift. Grace is the gift!
Keep reading the Word (Not monergism.org!!) and you will see that Christ’s offer is open to all….and all are being called!
From a former Calvinist.
Do you realize what you are doing? You are taking a verse Eph 2:5 (that we all believe!!) and saying it must mean a certain thing.
Of course because of His love and His grace He has made us alive in Christ!! Praise God for that!
But if you take this verse and say that it means we are regenerated first, and then given faith, then we (irresistibly; we have no choice) exercise faith, repent and we are saved…. you are adding to the passage.
And then you are using an “added-to” passage to negate/ trump all the hundreds of passages where all men are called to believe.
Your trump passage is not clearly saying what you say. But other passages are clear. You are taken an unclear passage and making it more important than hundreds of clear ones.
There are hundreds of passages like Titus 2:11…
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.”
and the hundreds like …..Rom 1:16…
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”
Of course you can say….. “yes to everyone who believes…. but a person cannot believe”
Yeah… I know all about that…. that is a brought-to-the-text idea also.
The Bible calls people to believe…. and never says that are too dead to believe.
There is physical death which total separation from physical life would you agree?Eternal death total separation from God’s mercy and in the presence of God’s judgment without remedy would you agree?
Spiritual death has the same separation and without human remedy.
If you bring nothing to the text in Ephesians 1 and 2 you will not find human will but God’s will,purpose and choice being exercised throughout the text when you get to chapter 2 the sinner is dead and Gods quickening resurrection power, where to get creature power in this?
Titus 2:11 you mentioned and I’m sure you are reading into the text every individual that ever lived on earth has received the Gospel in the term all people?Do you believe that the gospel had even reached every individual at the time Paul wrote this?The gospel has never even reached that far since then.
Start in Titus 2:1 and will find exhortations being given to the aged men and women and young men and women.All people means without discrimination of age,gender or race in most places in scripture if it did mean every one head for head then we are both wrong and Universalism is right as they read that same definition into the word world and all men to prove their false gospel that everyone will be saved.
Behold the lamb of God which “taketh away” the sin of the world John 1:29 literal interpretation is that sin has been done away in the lamb for that world!
All these text if you render them literally and you read Universalism into all people and world it will say far more than you want to.
Thanks for this good post.
Far too much mileage has been made out of the “dead mean don’t make choices” catchphrase.
Apparently they do!! I am dead to sin and buried with Christ yet I still sin (alas!).
Have you noticed that our Reformed friends are quick to use the Biblical account of Jesus commanding the physically dead Lazarus to come forth from the tomb (and he did) …
They do not like to use the same or similar analogy when God in the garden called out to the now spiritually dead but physically alive Adam, “Where are you?”
Adam hears God’s voice and responds just like a sinner by pointing the blame toward Eve.
Very good. And what about the spiritually dead Abel who…
“…brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering.”
Matthew even calls him “righteous Abel.” He is certainly not a “hater of God”!!
Hebrews even says …
“By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.”
What does he speak? What does his lesson tell us?
For Calvinism this is just another of the thousands of passages that makes no sense.
1. He was “righteous” not a God-hater.
2. It never implies or appears to say that his faith was somehow “forced” (irresistibly) on him.
3. If it was “forced on him” the example teaches us nothing since we either have the forced faith or we don’t.
Another thing about your Adam example.
Doesn’t he make clothes of fig leaves? Isn’t he convicted of something?
How can he be convicted of ANYTHING if he is so dead?
I just noticed this!!!!
Keep em coming Ron!! 😀
“And, further, we must believe that ‘he is a rewarder of them that seek Him’—for that is the meaning of the Greek word. We must believe that God will reward the man who seeks Him and that, therefore, God is worth seeking! We must believe that although it may be costly to follow after God, and do His bidding, yet it will pay you—that there is a great reward in keeping His Commandments—that He does hear prayer, that He does grant great blessings to those who truly seek Him….
And, dear Friends, the person who has no faith is unaccepted with God. All through Scripture faith is spoken of as the great method of justification.”
C. H Spurgeon, 18 April, 1897
Preach it Spurgeon! Faith precedes justification! God rewards those who seek Him!
Geisler has some good things to share in his Systematic (Vol. 3):
He shares other Biblical figures of speech describing total depravity beyond the word “death” or “spiritual death”, for instance:
POLLUTED – in need of purification or cleansing
SICK – in need of healing
IN THE DARK – in need of light
Clearly a sick person is able to receive a cure, just as a dirty person can embrace cleansing and a person in the dark can accept light.
In every case, the sinner is incapable of doing these things by himself (p. 126).
Yes….and Luke 15 tells us that a “dead” man (Christ says it twice) is able to “come to his senses” while in a “far off country”.
The Father in this case does no dragging whatsoever…..just waits.
Glad I read this!!
In addition to “spiritual death,” I think there’s another way we should understand the sinner’s death. The “death” that came to Adam (1 Cor 15:21) and was passed on to the human race (we were all “in Adam,” as it were) is a death that can only be cured by a resurrection (vv 22-23, 26, 42ff). More than a healing of the soul or spirit is in view here. God warned Adam that he would die the day he took the forbidden fruit. He did…in a PROLEPTIC sense. We find prolepsis throughout Scripture. Abraham, for instance, was the possessor of the promised land and father of a great nation before Isaac was born. God told Sarah that kings had come from her, though she had not yet given birth. God calls things that are not as though they are (Rom 4:17). That’s prolepsis! So when God told Adam he would die in the day he took the forbidden fruit, He did not mean Adam would literally drop dead that day. God was not speaking of the TIME of Adam’s death, but of its CERTAINTY. He meant that his death—his literal, bodily death—would, at that point, be made certain. And it was! Adam was, at that point, a “dead man walking.” By being driven out of the garden, Adam (and all his descendants) lost access to the tree of life, thus making death certain. We were all “in Adam,” as it were, when Adam sinned. Thus, all of us sinned, AS IT WERE. Romans 5:12 is an “as if,” or “as it were,” statement. Adam sinned, and we all became sinners at that point, AS IT WERE, for we’ve been dying ever since. In other words, when Adam sinned, it’s AS THOUGH we were sinning right along with him, seeing as how we’re still under the curse (we still die). This passage has nothing whatsoever to do with “federal headship” and the nonsensical doctrine that little babies are born guilty in the sight of God. And it certainly does not mean that we’re “dead” in the sense that we’re utterly incapable of responding to the gospel in faith.
Thanks Dr, Leighton
I guess my only question would be how to reconcile Ephesians 2?
Thank you for your post Ryan – and Welcome to SOT101
Can you be a little more clear on what specifically you mean and who you are addressing your question to?