Why 1 Cor. 2:14 doesn’t teach “Total Inability.”

It is next to impossible to fully understand Paul’s intention of 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16 without first having a firm grasp on the concept of “wisdom” in the Greek culture. Paul uses a form of the word “wisdom” twenty six times in just the first three chapters. Needless to say, the apostle’s theme is overwhelming.

The mistake of many Calvinists is to presume this passage is a contrast between the abilities of the “regenerate” and the “unregenerate,” or the “natural man” versus the “spiritual man.” In actuality, the contrast is between “human wisdom” and “divine revelation.”[1]

Obviously Paul felt the inspired scriptures were sufficient to grant mankind the understanding for salvation, as he wrote to Timothy:

“…from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness…” (2 Tim. 3:15-16)

The Calvinist begins on the wrong footing when he reads the phrase, “the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,” and assumes that man’s “unregenerate” nature determined his assessment in such a way that he could not have deemed it otherwise. God does not determine or decree all of mankind to deem His own word as foolish. That is the free choice* of those depending on “human wisdom” versus those depending on the spiritually wrought truth of “divine revelation.” It is mankind’s responsibility to decide on which to place their trust.

Besides Calvinists beginning with an unfounded assumption, their interpretation places the culpability back onto their Maker. Consider the claims of Calvinism — God decreed for fallen man to be born morally incapable of assessing His own word as anything other than “foolish” and then are made to “perish” as a result. This is NOT the intention of Paul in this or any passage. His intention is to say that those who rely on human wisdom instead of the spiritual truths brought by the inspired apostles will see the cross as foolish and perish as a result.

Paul’s overarching concern in this passage is to make a case for true wisdom as held in contrast with the “wisdom of the wise” (1:19), the “wisdom of this world,” (1:20; 3:19), or the carnal “wisdom of men” (2:5). The Greeks boasted in their wisdom and Paul is providing them a spiritually inspired warning by teaching them what true divine wisdom looks like. That wisdom is contained in the gospel revelation (1:24, 30; 2:7). And there is nothing about that revelation that is insufficient in enabling a willing response (Rm. 1:16). Those who ignore the apostle’s warning are not to be thought of as victims of God’s unchangeable decree, as we must conclude if the claims of Calvinism are true. No, anyone who chooses to trade the clearly revealed truth in for lies stands as a fool “without excuse” (Rom. 1:20; Ps. 14:1).

Once a clear distinction is drawn between the wisdom of the world and heaven’s wisdom, Paul moves on to speak of “the deep things of God” (vs. 10). Just as you cannot know what is in my mind unless I reveal it, so too, no one can access the “deep things of God” unless these mysteries are made known by His Spirit. Clearly, there are some deep mysteries kept hidden in the mind of God for a time. As the Apostle Paul noted in verses 8 and 9:

“We speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:8-9).

It is only now that the mystery of Christ is being fully made known to all people. By what means? Some inner spiritual enlightenment? An irresistible regenerative working?

What does the scripture tell us is the means God employed to help the world understand the depth of God’s spiritual mysteries?

Paul expounds in Ephesians 3:1-10:

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—  if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,  which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;  to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,  of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power.  To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,  and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. (emphasis added) 

Clearly, the means by which God assists mankind to understand the deep mysteries of spiritual truth is by inspiration of chosen messengers. As Paul writes in 1 Cor. 2:13, “…we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.”

The Holy Spirit revealed mysteries to “His holy apostles and prophets” and in turn they write down “insight into the mystery of Christ” and “preach to the nations” so that the “wisdom of God might now be made known.” There is absolutely nothing in all of scripture that even remotely suggests that humanity is unable to willingly respond to this gracious Holy Spirit wrought truth of divine revelation!

With this in mind, let’s focus on the key passage of this debate: 1 Corinthians 2:14 reads as follows:

“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Simply put, this can be taken in one of two ways:

Calvinistic Meaning: “Fallen humanity, if not irresistibly regenerated by the Spirit, cannot want to accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for God has unchangeably decreed that revealed truth (the apostle’s teaching, scripture) will only be seen as foolish to them.” (God is ultimately responsible for man’s unbelief)

Traditionalist Meaning: “The man who freely chooses not to accept the things that come from the Spirit of God (apostles teaching, scripture, etc), but freely deem them as foolish, cannot understand spiritual truth, because those are the means of spiritual revelation.” (Man is responsible for his own unbelief)

The understanding of 1 Cor. 2:14 becomes very simple when we answer the first question posed by this verse, “Why won’t the natural man accept the things that come from the Spirit of God?”

Possible Answer #1: Because God so determined it by divine decree as a punishment for the sin of Adam.

OR

Possible Answer #2: Because the man freely chose the wisdom of the world over the wisdom being revealed by spiritually wrought means (apostles, scriptures, etc).

We believe Paul is saying that the “natural man” is one who will not accept the wisdom from the Spirit of God, because he himself considers these things to be foolish by HIS OWN FREE CHOICE, NOT GOD’S DETERMINATION. Therefore, he is incapable of ever understanding spiritual things unless and until he turns from human wisdom and accepts the wisdom being revealed by the Spirit through His chosen means (apostles, scriptures, etc).

How can any man really understand something he has already deemed foolish in his heart? He cannot. Those who rely upon the wisdom of this age over and above the clear revelation of the Spirit cannot begin to understand the deep truths of God. This message seems to be the clear intention of the apostle.

The following verses support this line of reasoning as Paul goes on to confront the carnal brethren in Corinth as likewise being unable to receive these same “deep things of God” due to their carnality (3:1-3). The clear implication is that these believer’s choices to live carnally, just like the unbelievers choices to deem God’s word as foolish, is the root cause of their inability to accept and understand spiritual truth (the apostle’s teaching). The believer’s carnality, like the unbeliever’s rejection of God’s word, is a result of their own choosing, not of God’s determination. It is the responsibility of the believer to turn from carnality so as to receive spiritual meat of God’s word, just as it is the unbeliever’s responsibility to turn from fleshly wisdom when confronted by the Holy Spirit wrought truth of the gospel, “the power of God unto salvation” (Rm. 1:16).

—————————————-

[1]https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/643-who-is-the-natural-man-in-1-corinthians-2-14

*When the term “freely” is used we mean: Contra-causal free will, which is the ability of a morally accountable agent to refrain or not refrain from any given moral action. We DO NOT means what the Calvinistic compatibilists means when they say “freely.” <read this for more>

75 thoughts on “Why 1 Cor. 2:14 doesn’t teach “Total Inability.”

  1. Leighton:

    I appreciate the time on this article.

    One thing that Calvinists often struggle is what you stated below.

    (God is ultimately responsible for man’s unbelief)

    Of course this is the logical choice if one follows their line of philosophy.

    This troubles many people and they pull out the compatibility card and feel better. However more and more are taking this to its logical end and just saying “That’s right! Rock on! Of course does that……For His glory!”

    Of course one of the many questions this begs is:

    …..Why and how does God command us to love our neighbor and our enemy ……with this kind of example?

    He is responsible for their unbelief and eternal death (which can in no way be called love) …but we are to love them.

  2. Leighton,

    Soon you will get opposing emails saying “Dead men dont make choices,” (or have they finally realized that canard is not applicable?

    Funny, we had some baptisms at church today (not infants, sorry Calvin) and the person leading read several verses just before. They all said we are dead and buried in Christ….and dead to sin, etc.

    But we still manage to get past that “deadness”.

    So, I hope we dont have people posting that unbiblical statement.

  3. Dr. Flowers writes, “Simply put, this can be taken in one of two ways:
    Calvinistic Meaning: “The reprobate, who has not be irresistibly regenerated by the Spirit, cannot accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for God has unchangeably decreed that revealed truth (apostles teaching, scripture) will only be seen as foolish to him.” (God is ultimately responsible for man’s unbelief)
    Non-Calvinistic Meaning: “The man who freely chooses not to accept the things that come from the Spirit of God (apostles teaching, scripture, etc), but freely deem them as foolish, cannot understand spiritual truth, because those are the means of spiritual revelation.” (Man is responsible for his own unbelief)”

    Have you so soon forgotten what Calvinism teaches? You have messed things up here. That which you label – Non-Calvinistic Meaning – is exactly what Calvinism accepts. What you label – Calvinistic Meaning – explains why people freely reject the things that come from the Spirit of God. You have not expressed two distinct positions.

    This is how you might distinguish better the two positions (you can massage them to make it clearer but the essential element is there):

    Calvinistic Meaning: “The reprobate willfully choose not to accept the things that come from the Spirit of God (apostles teaching, scripture, etc), but freely deem them as foolish, cannot understand spiritual truth, because those are the means of spiritual revelation.” (Man is responsible for his own unbelief).” This happens because people are spiritually dead (as a consequence of Adam’s sin) and have not been irresistibly regenerated by the Spirit (i.e., reborn giving life to their spirit). Thus, they are ruled by a sin nature and cannot accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for God has unchangeably decreed (i.e., original sin) that revealed truth (apostles teaching, scripture) will only be seen as foolish to him.” (God, through Adam’s sin, confined man to spiritual death and unbelief).

    Non-Calvinistic Meaning: “Man is not spiritually dead as a consequence of Adam’s sin and is born with a will to do the things of God but with a nature that desires sin. The man who gives in to his sin nature and freely chooses not to accept the things that come from the Spirit of God (apostles teaching, scripture, etc), but freely deem them as foolish, cannot understand spiritual truth, because those are the means of spiritual revelation.” (Man is responsible for his own unbelief)”

    1. RHUTCHIN wrote: ‘This happens because people are spiritually dead (as a consequence of Adam’s sin) and have not been irresistibly regenerated by the Spirit (i.e., reborn giving life to their spirit).’ I’m not sure I totally follow, as not all Calvinists agree, hence 1-5 pointers, hypers, etc…. But if I have it right, where fallen man simply hasn’t been irresistibly regenerated, then it seems to follow that the Lord God irresistibly regenerates them before confessing Christ as Lord, when they hear the gospel??? Which to me implies that God has regenerated them to salvation to believe & confess a gospel that was preached from the beginning; to Abraham (Gal 3:8); that the gospel they believe unto confession is a gospel that some are ashamed of (Rom 1:16) but Paul wasn’t; the same gospel that is foolishness (1 Cor 1:18); that the power isn’t in the gospel (Rom 1:16), but in the Lord God alone. And if I have this right, its unconditional election, being regenerated to faith, with no will or conscious of man, because God chooses in His Sovereignty (Rom 9:13 ‘Esau I have hated.’) & (Rom 9:15 ‘I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy…’), but this faith that we the saved live in, as mentioned in the ‘hall of faith’ in Hebrews 11 (v20) ‘By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.’??? Hmm, if God ‘hates’ or ‘hated’ Esau, as Reformed Theology dictates….then why did Esau name is children Eliphaz: means God of gold, or God is fine gold or My Elohim is strength; and Jeush: means He will gather together…hasty; and Jaalam: means He will be hid… Korah: means Baldness, or icy…, and especially Reuel: means Friend of God, or God is friend’…if the Lord God ‘hated’ Esau??? And if Esau was dead in trespasses and sins, why was Esau trying to ‘repent’, Heb 12:16-17, but found no place for repentance??? Hmm, the gospel is ‘the just shall live by faith’…. from Adam & Eve, Abel, down through the annuls of history to our present time…. I’m a bit confused, please get me cleared up…

      1. Hello Thomas and welcome.
        I would suggest you consider the possibility that Calvinists don’t for the most part think logically.
        When you ask them a question – allow yourself to be prepared for a DOUBLE-SPEAK answer.
        Calvin’s doctrines – derived from Augustine – incorporate a “Good-Evil” Dualism.
        Calvinists struggle with the evil component of that Dualism -and can’t allow themselves to acknowledge it.
        They are in a perpetual tap-dance between two worlds
        One world in which the THEOS is benevolent and one in which he is malevolent.
        The doctrine forces them to embrace both worlds.
        But their internal sense of ethics drives a sort of thought-blocking process in their minds.
        They need to escape its malevolent face – and/or paint a benevolent mask over it.
        Hence the DOUBLE-SPEAK.
        What you are observing with rhutchin’s posts are exactly that phenomenon.

        br.d

  4. Such an important passage that Calvinists try to lean upon for a meaning of total depravity that the context does not support as you have pointed out Leighton. I think your best point was the one you borrowed – In actuality, the contrast is between “human wisdom” and “divine revelation.” We could say between the authority of Greek Philosophy and the authority of the Gospel of Christ, or between the teachings from the minds of men like Plato and the teachings of the revelation given by the Spirit to Paul.

    The natural man, Plato, who judges everything through general revelation alone, does not receive special revelation from God to give to others… He has to be saved first and called by God to be a prophet or apostle. Paul was such a person able to receive things from the Spirit of God.

    But even if “natural man” is about all unregenerate individuals and not just about receiving special revelation from God to give to others… the verse does not teach that God must give regeneration first, and cannot instead first give sufficient enabling light to their spirits to afford them the opportunity to seek, which if they will not harden themselves, will lead to God granting them the new birth after they humble themselves in repentance and trust of His mercy.

  5. I think one portion that sheds light on this subject is Pauls Defence of God in Romans 1.
    Romans 1:The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

    Here Paul is arguing that gods Qualities are plain and obvious to everyone because “God has made it Plain to them”. yet, due to wicked rebellion and not honoring Gods revelation, people are made fools, the truth is supressed. i,e they suffer from Spiritual blindness.Here Paul argues clearly, that spiritual blindness is a result of Man’s continuous rebellion/rejection of God as opposed to God not revealing his truths..

    In fact “God has made it plain to them”….

    Nice post on 1 Cor 2. Causes people to think.

  6. This exegesis can be expanded to be even more devastating to the Calvinist reading. From 1:2-9 & 1:30, we know that Paul is addressing people that are saved. In 1:18-31, he contrasts the wisdom of the world with the wisdom of the Spirit, as you have said, then in 2:6-16 he speaks of the need to have the Spirit to understand spiritually discerned things. But then in 3:1-3, Paul says that the Corinthians are “still in the flesh” and not “ready for solid food.” He is contrasting them with people who “have the mind of Christ” (2:16). So if the Corinthians were saved but not able to understand the spiritual things that Paul was speaking of in 2:14, then Paul clearly was not speaking of salvific wisdom. The Corinthians were still able to understand “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (2:2) even though they could not understand things that are spiritually discerned.

    1. Ross writes, “The Corinthians were still able to understand “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (2:2) even though they could not understand things that are spiritually discerned.”

      Earlier Paul wrote, “the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (v18). He divides the world into two groups, those perishing and those being saved.

      Then, “we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

      Now Paul divides people into two more groups, those not called (i.e., those perishing) and those called (i.e., those being saved).

      You are correct to conclude that spiritual discernment is given only to God’s elect and this is tied to their sanctification as “no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” (12:3) However, the Corinthians could not understand “Jesus Christ and him crucified” unless God had called them and they were being saved. To these, God gives faith and this by grace (Ephesians 2), and it is this faith that manifests belief in Christ. Whether people “understand fully” Jesus Christ and him crucified at the point where they perceive that God is saving them seems unlikely to me.

      I don’t see that you have presented anything devastating to the Calvinist reading. However, I think you have clarified the work of the spirit being focused on the elect to whom He gives spiritual discernment to promote their sanctification

  7. Interesting article that has very much misunderstanding in it leading to even more misrepresentation of the Reformed Faith view and understanding of this verse. I will be very interested in giving what I believe is the view of God’s understanding when it comes to this verse. What really strikes me as being very odd is that the person who wrote the article said he was once a 5 point Calvinist and then he really seems to misrepresent what he should know they believe about this verse. For example, when he gives the Reformed view notice how he throws the word “irresistible” in there. This is done I believe possibly to mislead the reader to make them think immediately the Reformed believer thinks God “drags violently against their will to the Christ to receive Christ as their Savior.” This is shameful as any Reformed believer or anyone who calls himself an ex-Calvinist knows better and that those who come to Christ in faith do so willingly in the day of His power love and mercy on their sinful souls. More to come soon. Looking forward to some Christ-like back and forth conversation letting iron sharpen iron. God bless to all

    1. Ralph, thanks for the comment brother.

      “This is shameful as any Reformed believer or anyone who calls himself an ex-Calvinist knows better and that those who come to Christ in faith do so willingly in the day of His power love and mercy on their sinful souls.”

      Just as you find “irresistible” to be a misrepresentation of Calvinistic soteriology, we find your use of “willingly” to be as well. By “willingly” you mean that they would never make any different choice, ever. We don’t think that is “willingly”

      Also, please check out this article Dr. Flowers wrote on your exact topic of interest. https://soteriology101.com/2015/04/11/5-reasons-for-the-accusation-of-misrepresentation-when-debating-calvinism/

    2. Ralph,
      You must be new to this. “Irresistible” is the I in TULIP….and it as clear as any Calvinist has ever taught it. If it can be resisted, there is a choice. If it cannot…..there is no choice and it is irresistible. Just own it bro! If you are a Calvinist, embrace that —dont try fancy-talk around it. It means just that—–God made all the decisions and man was forced/ dragged/ ordained/ willed/ conscripted/ irresistibly-drawn in.

      Dont run from it brother. Just embrace it! Apparently that is the beauty of Calvinism. If you say it was resistible….then your fellow Calvinists will eat you alive with accusations that you have a “man-centered Gospel.”

      1. “Irresistible” means that when Jesus calls Lazarus from death in the grave, to come forth, Lazarus comes forth.

      2. It would also mean – when it is infallibly decreed for you to have a FALSE belief – you will have a FALSE belief
        And any alternative of that FALSE belief is infallibly excluded by the decree.
        Therefore that FALSE belief will come to pass “irresistibly” within your brain.

      3. Thanks Gary.

        Luke 19 show a resistible side:

        “….come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving….”

      4. Gary:

        Let’s let Christ speak for Himself:

        “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.”

        He wanted them to come, but they didn’t.

        That sounds pretty resistible!

      5. Thanks Gary,
        Yes Matthew 19. It is Luke 18 (typo). It is also in Mark 10.

        Notice also in Mark 10…”Jesus looked at him and loved him…. Then come, follow me.”

        Jesus love him, and directly called him to follow Him…. yet he resisted. Boy, the Scripture can be so clear sometimes!! The call of Christ is clearly resistible!

  8. Leighton,

    The following section quotes incorrect verses:

    ‘As the Apostle Paul noted in verses 8 and 9:

    “We speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:8-9).’

    Correction:
    ‘As the Apostle Paul noted in verses 7 and 8:

    “We speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (1 Cor. 2:7-8)”

  9. admin quote….”It is mankind’s responsibility to decide on which to place their trust.” Josh 24:15 ….choose this day whom you will serve,…
    Psa 119:130  The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. No convoluted TULIP algorithms to navigate.

  10. First. Please read the passage: 1 Corinthians 2

    Paul came speaking the testimony of God which is “wisdom from God”, revealed in Jesus. The rulers did not understand this predestined mystery because the revealed mystery of God’s wisdom did not enter their heart. Why? Because the “wisdom” from God was revealed to Paul through the Spirit, and proclaimed >through the Spirit<. So then. Who receives and understands this wisdom from God? vs 10-13 Those who, like the apostle, have received “the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God”. No reception of the Spirit, no understanding. Period.

    Quite simply: Why does the “natural man” (i.e. the unregenerate “natural” / Holy Spirit-less man) not accept the things of the Spirit of God, and regard them as “foolishness to him; and CANNOT understand them”? Because they are spiritually discerned and the unregenerate do NOT (naturally, or by their own human nature) have the Spirit of God to GIVE them the understanding or discover to them the wisdom from God. viz. “the thoughts of God no one knows, except the Spirit of God.” Therefore anyone who does not have the Spirit of God cannot understand the true spiritual aspect of the wisdom from God.

    It’s that simple. That is exactly what the text is saying. Without the Spirit of God —“the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God.”— there is no ability to understand God’s wisdom, as revealed in Christ. UNLESS someone is born-again, he/she CANNOT see (understand) the kingdom of God. Being born-again is not “natural”. It is supernatural “from above”, by the Spirit.

    1 Corinthians 2:14, as well as many other texts of scripture, clearly teaches that the unregenerate has no “ability” to understand the things of God UNLESS the Holy Spirit GIVES that ability. Thankfully, for many multitudes upon multitudes, the Holy Spirit HAS given to sinners that very ability through the new birth.

    1. Hello Gary and welcome

      Gary:
      Quite simply: Why does the “natural man” (i.e. the unregenerate “natural” / Holy Spirit-less man) not accept the things of the Spirit of God,

      br.d
      On Calvinism – the answer is – an infallible decree

      On Calvinism – the state of nature – including the state of man’s nature – at any instance in time – is 100% meticulously determined before man exists. And the decree is NOT predicated on anything having to do with the creature or the condition thereof. It is solely and exclusively determined “Within himself”.

      As John Calvin puts it
      -quote
      Look to no other CAUSE than the will of god.

      -quote
      For it did not come by reason of NATURE…….

      1. HOW it is that sin exists anywhere, in light of a Holy God, is a mystery no one, including you and I, will ever understand.

      2. Gary,
        I ask myself that about my kids all the time! Why do they make choices that I dont want them to make?

        Apparently in the counsel of His own will, God decided that He did not want robots, but a true relationship with His creation. He gave man the ability to choose (please see the garden account; and Cain just after). With free ability to choose come the possibility of sin.

        In the counsel of His own will, He chose to let His holiness and sin exist at the same time.

      3. Your “kids” analogy is not the same as a sinner repenting of sin in the heart–as well as the resulting practice in life– and changing from hating God to loving God from the heart.
        Eve was deceived, sin came through Adam and He “died”. Cain’s sin was from a sinful nature. Sin is a choice only because the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, etc. and because Gen.6:5. etc. cf. Rom 3:9-19

      4. Gary,
        My kids analogy was simply to show that where there is choice, there is the potential for sin and doing things that are not God’s will (not what God wants).

        Adam’s “dying” does not mean that he could no longer make choices (even good ones). Scripture never says that…. and it often refers to unbelievers as “sick” or “lost” not literally dead.

        If you look around on the dozens and dozens of articles and (and hundreds of ensuing comments) you will see several answer given to the questions you raise (including Romans 3).

        Interesting that you give Genesis 6:5 as a reference. Calvinists use that to say that all men are evil all the time (They are “haters of God” even though many times Scripture calls them just, honest, holy, faithful, and “God-fearing”).

        What is particularly interesting with that reference (6:5) is that Calvinists insist on taking that literally, but the very next phrase they REFUSE to take literally: The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.

      5. 1. Your “kids” analogy is not the same as a sinner repenting of sin in the heart–as well as the resulting practice in life– and changing from hating God to loving God from the heart.
        2. Adam’s “dying” was spiritual. “good choices” is a relative term. Whatever “good choices” means, those [human] choices are not perfectly righteous before God, such that there was no need for Jesus to die for those “choices”, including the heart motive FOR the choice.
        3. No offense, but I am not going to: “look around on the dozens and dozens of articles and (and hundreds of ensuing comments)”. However you interpret my “choice” to refrain from doing so.
        4. re: 6:5 “God saw…”. I believe what God revealed that HE saw is a truthful assessment and indictment of the hearts of mankind. Mankind (all inclusive) cf. 6:12 was corrupt.
        5. I take 6:6 literally. (i.e. “taking words in their usual or most basic sense without metaphor or allegory”)
        6. I also believe that the Hebrew for “repented” is anthropopathic.

        -> God is free to alter His announced judgments when we repent (Jer. 18:1–10). Despite His knowing whether we will trust Him before we do so, He still condescends to respond to our trust, and thus our actions are significant. Though we must not take this truth for granted, our Father will always freely forgive those who turn to Him. His lordship does not abolish the real impact of our choices; instead, it establishes them as part of His overall decree (WCF 3.1).

        Coram Deo
        The window of forty days in Jonah 3:4 is the first indication the announced judgment on Nineveh may not be absolute. God is free to hide His secret will from us and warn of judgments He knows will never come to pass. The warnings in Scripture must not make us inactive; rather, we should be moved to change our ways by our knowledge that God is merciful. <-

        7. re: 6:6 – Do you believe that God is free to hide His secret will from us and warn of judgments He knows will never come to pass?

      6. Hiding a secret will from us and warning of judgments He knows will never come to pass….is that not deception?

        What kind of “warning” is it if he has programmed both the impossibility of judgement and our decision? A false “warning”…also know as deception.

      7. Do you believe that God is free to hide His secret will from us and warn of judgments He knows will never come to pass?
        Yes or No? Can you answer this?

        Do you think a warning from Yahweh, (i.e. “yet 40 days…”) which, mercifully, is meant to provoke repentance and turning from sin is a “deception”?

        When God told Abraham “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”; knowing full well that GOD was going to provide a substitute for Isaac, was God being “deceitful”???? I know Abraham believed God could raise the dead.

        Jesus says: “I am coming quickly”? Is HE being deceitful if “quickly” is a few thousand years, or more?

        Was God being deceitful with Job, planning events in Jobs life, even using Satan, “behind the scenes”?

        Just because we do not have insight into the “secret things” of God—how DARE we think we have a “need-to-know!— does not mean God is deceitful.

        I am just trying to help you see the potential for your theological perspective as it relates to how you represent the Living God to others. Satan is a deceiver. God is not.
        ________________________________________
        re: “What kind of “warning” is it if he has programmed both the impossibility of judgement and our decision?”

        This statement makes no sense.

      8. Do you believe that God is free in the counsel of His own will to create a world where man has free choice and those choices affect God choice (as it appears to be saying hundreds and hundreds of times in the Scripture)?   Yes or no?  

        Is everything that happens exactly as God planned/ willed/ ordained/ wants, including sin, rape, torture, murder, etc (as the WCF claims)?  Yes or no?

        Funny, it’s not me bringing up these Scriptures (like Gen 22), it is you.  It is only you saying “God knowing full well” what He would do….not God….not the passage.   

        Genesis 22:12 says, “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

        God tells mankind for all time, “now I know…”  He could have said, “I knew you would do that…” but, nah, He says “now I know.”  Why?  It’s a simple question.  Why did he say it that way? Why is He declaring for all mankind to see that He knew it when He saw Abraham do it?

        Why does He say throughout Scripture things like “I expected good fruit but you gave me bitter grapes…”(Isaiah 5)  ” I would have made you king forever but you….. ” (to King Saul)?  ((And hundreds and hundreds of other passages like this.))

        All throughout Scripture He interacts with man… and yes man “thwarts” His plans so He does something greater…as He says hundreds of times!

        Reformed determinists who teach that God ordained all things robotically (even sin), cannot accept that God chose (in the counsel of HIs own will) to limit Himself. They have decided in their minds that this idea “makes Him small” and makes things “man-centered.”  Others just take Him at His word from Scripture and find that all of this makes Him great, loving, and personal.

      9. Gary,

        You said:
        re: “What kind of “warning” is it if he has programmed both the impossibility of judgement and our decision?”

        This statement makes no sense.
        ——————-

        The statement means: The Calvinist, Reformed position states that not only does God know the choice that a man will make when he is “warned” but God ordains/ plans/ wills the choice man will make.

        So, God ordains our actions (even sin)
        He then warns against these actions.
        He then plans the disobedience (or obedience) that man will have.

        So, what kind of “warning” is it really if God has even ordained/ planned/ willed man’s response (negative or positive) to the warning?

        It is humorous to see Calvinists/ Reformed say “how DARE we think …..”

        We “dare” ask these questions because God planned/willed/ ordained in His “secret will” before time that we ask them!!

      10. This is typical eisegesis.

        Verse 6:5 is taken literally (not poetically, or as hyperbole) … but….noooo…… verse 6:6 all of a sudden is ….wait for it….. wait….. an anthropomorphism (anthropopathic). And the average, common Bible reader is supposed to know this how?

        Oh…. yes… you give the reference in the Westminster Catechism. That should do it. Give everyone a copy of that to go along with their Bible.

        Imagine what we would think of the noisy nation that continues its saber-rattling, “We’re gonna attack you…..” (wink wink), knowing full well they will not attack. At BEST we would call that bluffing and certainly many would call it outright deception.

        It certainly seems petty and unnecessary (in this WCF interpretation of Scripture) for God to send countless prophets to warn of countless judgements that He had no intention of bringing!

        Maybe in His “secret will” He has no intention of judging the world in the end! How is one to ever know what He means and what He is only pretending to mean?

      11. I believe you are mistaken “fromoverhere”. I did not say 6:6 wasn’t “literal”.

        Anthropopathism is the attribution of human emotions, or the ascription of human feelings or passions to a non-human being, generally to a deity. This is merely a way of describing the use of a word.

        It is not “eisegesis. I was talking to you. It is not a word in common use, nor is it found in the bible, so your concern for the “common Bible reader” can be alleviated. I was giving you some credit in understanding the concept.

        When you threaten your “Kids” with some punishment for some supposed wrong, [hoping the threat itself will curb the negative attitude or behavior], but you do not have any intention to carry out that threat {a common fault in parenting!} are you being deceitful? I doubt you think so.

        Your {whatever it is} in the 5th paragraph down, is (sad to say fromoverhere), a misrepresentation of the WCF**. (i.e. “yet so…”)

        ** I have found that, for some reason, the second part of WCF 3:1 is not being addressed. I have not seen (at least to date) that aspect of the statement even referred to in online people discussions.

        • 1. God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: ** yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.
        • YET SO…

        The last paragraph re: “secret will” is absurd, and borders on, if not actually is, mocking God.

        I perceive an increasing smug, and condescending tone in your communications. Are we going downhill from here? Why does it seem like “discussions” like this have to go sour? I’m not interested in sour.

        Blessings!

      12. Sorry for my smugness and sourness. I appreciate your good intentions toward me.

        My testimony is scattered on all the pages here that you dont want to read (fine). I get tired of telling all over again how I was a Bible School trained Calvinist (35 years sent out missionary by a Calvinist church)….but then put down Pink, Boettner, and vanTil to read and listen to Scripture (all of it, not just the list of 40ish reformed-looking verses).

        It is my fault for bringing into this conversation the frustration of 30 years of explaining my exit from Calvinism. Sorry.

        So much dependence on Catechisms, Canons, and Synods (largely by people who persecuted/tortured those who disagreed) and so little listening to the literally(!) hundreds and hundreds of passages where God says “I did not send them to tell you that. They were not doing my will..” (etc). Yet, men continue to foist these things on God as His “secret will,” even though He says He had nothing to do with it!

        What is He saying if not the exact opposite of what the WCF is claiming?! And so clearly. And in so many books (poetic, historical, prophetic). There would be no difficulty in understanding this if man did not approach the Bible with a predisposed idea of “what God MUST be like.”

        We impose on our definition of God what the medieval doctors of the law insist that “he must be like.” Nah, I just got tired of doing that and “explaining away” hundreds of passages ((Notice how many times Calvinists, monergism.com, Gospel Coalition etc start with the phrase, “This passage appears to say…. but we know it cant mean that.”)). That just gets so tiring to constantly say “It does not mean what is says…”

        Again…sorry for my tone.

      13. I lost track. Please cite the part that makes you think I am mocking God.

        I cringe at the idea of mocking God! That is because I am not a determinist. If I were a determinist/ Calvinist/ WCF-er, I would have to believe that any mocking of God was intended/ planned/ ordained/ willed/ desired by Him (in His secret will) so as to somehow bring Him greater glory.

        But since I dont think that that Scriptures teach that idea, I cringe at the idea of mocking God! Please show me so I can correct it if I did so.

  11. Can someone direct me to an answer here. Are all who believe regenerated/saved. I understand the idea that we are called to repent and believe in order to be saved however I know many who make sincere responses to the gospel call but never seem to show any change of heart or direction. It is as if they hear the gospel, respond but never show the fruits of salvation. Regeneration is the Lord’s work I understand that but how is it that some respond and are born again and others respond and don’t show any sign of a change of heart? Would appreciate some guidance here many thanks.

  12. Can someone direct me to an answer here. Are all who believe regenerated/saved. I understand the idea that we are called to repent and believe in order to be saved however I know many who make sincere responses to the gospel call but never seem to show any change of heart or direction. It is as if they hear the gospel, respond but never show the fruits of salvation. Regeneration is the Lord’s work I understand that but how is it that some respond and are born again and others respond and don’t show any sign of a change of heart? Would love to get a bit of clarity on this one. Thank you.

    1. br.d
      Greg – here is another thought.
      Perhaps the Lord is showing you these things because he is planning on using you in some kind of capacity for his body?

      The Lord has a tendency to see the internal make-up of each of us
      Every person is a little different – coming from a different back-ground – and bringing different personal strengths and weaknesses

      The Lord works to challenge our weaknesses and turn them into strengths.
      And at the same time – he cultivates our strengths – and gives us opportunities to use them
      Using them is part of our fulfillment and efficacy in life – because they represent our internal make-up and our sense of efficacy.

      Perhaps you might consider the story of Jeremiah the reluctant prophet.
      The Lord on many occasions said to him “Jeremiah – look at that over there – what do you see?”
      Jeremiah would answer – and the Lord would say “You have seen well Jeremiah!”

      So consider the possibility that the Lord is showing you something he wants you to see.
      What is the heart he wants you to have concerning what you see?
      Does he want you to have a heart of compassion concerning the things that he is showing you?

      What you are seeing right now may represent more than just the things you are seeing.
      If for example – you have a burden in your heart – concerning the carnality of God’s people – perhaps the Lord is giving you that burden for a reason.

      Remember the Lord told Peter “Feed my lambs” “Care for my sheep”
      But also remember – for Peter to do what the Lord asked – required some things the Lord had to deal with in Peter’s life.

      Perhaps what you are seeing is part of what the Lord is doing in your life
      You may want to ask him about that.

      1. Brd thank you for the sincere responses and for the time to really think about them. Thanks for the encouragement too in your second response. I believe my question needs to be simplified. Let me make it a bit more personal perhaps. When I was born again it was a moment perhaps similar to Wesley’s ‘strangely warmed’ moment or Paul’s Damascus road experience. I’m talking now about the moment of salvation and not the road of salvation i.e the sanctification or fruit bearing process. I was literally brought from darkness into light and couldn’t stop crying because of the miracle that had happened in my heart. It was a complete and absolute change in one moment from being in darkness to then being in light. That moment has forever marked me as the moment I was saved. My question then I suppose is – surely every one who is born again should have a moment where they know that they are saved – perhaps not as clear as my own experience but certainly a clear understanding that Christ has come to dwell in his/her heart – the born again experience. This is my question I suppose. There are many who seem to have made a decision in their lives to serve Jesus but when chatting to them they cannot say when they were actually born again – when they could feel the miraculous change of heart. Surely when being transported from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light one knows when that happened.

      2. Greg,
        This is my question I suppose. There are many who SEEM to have made a decision in their lives to serve Jesus but when chatting to them they cannot say when they were actually born again

        br.d
        Hello Greg
        I also had a dynamic experience when I came to the Lord.
        But on the topic of me knowing the term “Born again” – I was introduced to that term by a Christian friend.

        But if he had not introduced me to that term – would I know to say I was “born again”?
        I wouldn’t even know what “born again” is – because no one every introduced that term to me.

        Now it may also be – that a person answered an alter call – and that person perhaps did that for reasons other than their own personal salvation.

        – We could have a wife who answers an alter call because she wants to please her husband.
        – We could have a husband who answers an alter call because he wants to please his boss.
        – We could have new members in a church answering alter calls because they need that church for social reasons.

        All of those reasons for answering an alter call – or wanting to call oneself a “Christian” may not be what God requires.
        He requires a sincere understanding of one’s condition – and eternal fate – and the price that Jesus paid for his salvation.

        God has set a condition – and that condition is expressly asserted in scripture.
        The jailer looks at the Apostle and asks “What should I do to be saved”.

        Now that Jailer is not asking that question – because he is concerned about pleasing his boss or his wife.
        He is asking that question because he is concerned about his life and his eternal fate.

        The Apostle knows why the Jailer is asking that question – and he gives God’s answer
        What **YOU MUST** do – to be saved – is believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ

        The Jailer’s question – is essentially this:
        What CONDITION does God require for my salvation?

        The CONDITION which the Apostle conveys to the Jailer is: Believe upon the Lord Jesus – and you shall be saved.

        This – by the way – is what separates Calvinism from all of its alternatives

        John Calvin explains
        -quote
        if he has DOOMED US TO DEATH it is vain for us to fight against it. (Institutes 3:23:12)

        -quote
        Individuals are BORN….DOOMED FROM THE WOMB to certain death, and are TO GLORIFY HIM by their destruction.

        -quote
        by the eternal GOOD PLEASURE of god – though the reason does not appear – they are NOT FOUND but MADE worthy of destruction. – (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of god pg 121)

        -quote
        Not only the destruction of the wicked is foreknown, but that the wicked themselves have been CREATED for this very
        end—that they may perish. (Commentaries Romans 9:18)

        And in Calvinism – a large percentage of believers are divinely deceived – because they were created as CHAFF

        John Calvin
        -quote
        But the Lord….instills into their minds such A SENSE of his goodness as can be felt WITHOUT the Spirit of adoption.
        (Institutes 3.2.11)

        -quote
        he ILLUMINES ONLY FOR A TIME to partake of it; then he….forsakes them…..and strikes them with even greater blindness (Institutes 3.24.8)

        In Calvinism – all of the promises of god to the believer within scripture – are classified as the ENUNCIATED will of god.
        And in Calvinism – the ENUNCIATED will of god – is in most cases – the exact opposite of the SECRET will of god.

        So for the Calvinist – all of promises of god to the believer within scripture serve as signs of the believer’s eternal damnation.
        The god of Calvin – speaks those promises to the believer – because he wants to magnify the believer’s torment in the lake of fire.

        No Calvinist has any CERTAINTY of whether or not he was specifically created for eternal torment in the lake of fire – for Calvin’s god’s good pleasure.

        And no Calvinist knows whether or not his god has deceived him with a FALSE SENSE of salvation – and will continue to deceive him with a FALSE SENSE of being a Christian – throughout his life – only to wake up in the lake of fire and discover what he was really created for.

        That is Calvinism’s version of the “Good News”

        So you may be talking to a Calvinist – who does not have any CERTAINTY of his salvation – because he doctrine stipulates NO CERTAINTY is permitted.

        He can’t say if he is born again or not – because his doctrine does not grant him the ability to know that.

      3. BR.D thank you for your response.

        I appreciate the idea of being introduced to the term ‘born again’ by a friend but the phrase is also used as we know by Jesus himself in speaking to Nicodemus. But that aside I’m certain we understand the term born again to be the idea of being regenerated or having our hearts renewed through the spirit whereby the spirit enters our lives. I believe this experience to be what we call being born again and the sanctification process to be the work of continued salvation after that. I believe that we are saved, being saved and then absolutely saved when we meet Jesus – the past, present and future idea of salvation. But there is an absolute moment of salvation – that is clear in scripture. I believe everyone should know when they were saved – perhaps not with as much clarity as others but how can we not know when Jesus took His place in our hearts.
        I understand the ideas you express regarding Calvinism however I’m not one to really get too worked up about Calvinism or Arminianism etc. I just wanted to speak regarding the experience of salvation. I know many Calvinists who are absolutely certain they are born again. I know many Arminians who are not sure whether they are born again. So I don’t believe the argument is resolved via certain doctrinal lenses. My question ultimately was about the experience of salvation; I expressed that the experience of salvation seems to be different from believer to believer and wondered what the platform felt. Mine was radical and I suppose the danger is to then make mine an absolute paradigm for everyone else. Perhaps for some it is less ‘radical’ – the moment of salvation – but ofcourse no less of a miracle. I appreciate all your responses and help. I will keep posting as I think 

      4. Greg,
        I believe everyone should know when they were saved

        br.d
        Of course that is subjective now isn’t it. :-]
        It is not for me to dictate to God – a certain model of what does within the regeneration process.
        And I’m sure you would say the same thing

        That being said – I think its reasonable to assume – if a believer is engaged in a church in which a personal relationship with Jesus is emphasized – and people’s lives and behavior are examined – then I think you are going to see that a testimony that fits into that social structure. So that goes back again to what I said before about the church a person is involved in doesn’t it?

        For example – I belonged to a congregation of believers who put a high emphasis on walking in the spirit and not in the flesh.
        That emphasis was so dominant within that body – that everyone in the body was aware – their lives and every element of their behavior was under scrutiny by everyone else.

        If they didn’t walk before the Lord – according to the standard set by the body – their walk in the Lord would be held suspect.
        That is certainly not going to be the case – in a church which functions predominantly as a social club.
        And I have seen churches where that is the case.

        Greg,
        I know many Calvinists who are absolutely certain they are born again

        br.d
        One can understand why they would want to insist that.
        But it is an abject denial of their belief system

        Firstly:
        Calvinism has the doctrine of the “Invisible” church
        The TRUE church in Calvinism is “Invisible” to everyone except god himself

        John Calvin
        -quote
        We are NOT bidden to distinguish between reprobate and elect – that is for god alone, not for us, to do . . .
        (Institutes IV. 1. 3.)

        John Calvin
        -quote
        We must thus consider both god’s SECRET election and his INNER call. For he alone “knows who are his” (Institutes. IV. 1. 2.)

        Secondly
        Calvinisms’ interpretation of the wheat and the chaff – is that the Chaff are believers who have been divinely deceived with a FALSE SENSE of salvation.

        John Calvin
        -quote
        But the Lord….instills into their minds such a SENSE of his goodness as can be felt WITHOUT the Spirit of adoption.
        (Institutes 3.2.11)

        -quote
        he ILLUMINES THEM FOR A TIME to partake of it….and then he…..strikes them with greater blindness (Institutes 3.24.8)

        So the Calvinist would have to answer this question:
        If a FALSE PERCEPTION is infallibly decreed to exist within a person – is it possible for that person to escape that infallible decree?

        According to Calvinism’s doctrine of decrees – WHATSOEVER comes to pass is FIXED at the foundation of the world – by infallible decree

        That would mean the PERCEPTION of salvation – which exists within every Jehovah’s Witness – and every Mormon – and every Bible based cult member – was specifically selected and FIXED by infallible decree – which is impossible for a fallible creature to escape.

        Greg
        I know many Arminians who are not sure whether they are born again

        br.d
        Now you should be able to see – there is a difference in doctrine there.
        The Calvinist – looks at the warning verses in scripture concerning falling away – and his doctrine tells him – those verses don’t apply to himself – because his salvation is by infallible decree which he is powerless to alter.

        When the Non-Calvinist thinks about those warning verses and reads: “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling”
        He has more of a legitimate reason to see that as a warning that he should be concerned about.

        I have never been in a church that called itself “Arminan” so I can’t say what you’ve seen.
        But in the many years in the Lord and in many groups – I have only met a few persons who questioned their salvation
        And those people struggled with mental illness – so it was not that much of a surprise.

        Greg
        Perhaps for some it is less ‘radical’ – the moment of salvation – but of course no less of a miracle.

        br.d
        YES! totally agreed!
        So I think you and are probably more or less on the same page.

        It was nice chatting with you also Greg
        My sincere thanks
        And blessings :-]

      5. Just one thought BrD about your comment on congregations where – “their lives and every element of their behavior was under scrutiny by everyone else.” That happens in most gospel preaching churches, even Calvinist ones.

        I’ve found such “scrutiny”, if not accompanied by wise loving counsel, can lead to a works sanctification system filled with man-made traditions, and lead to many conforming “Christians” who are not yet born again.

        All should be directed to the scrutiny of God’s Word for self examination as to the authenticity of what they think was God’s regeneration of their spirit, giving them His everlasting righteous life through faith.

      6. br.d
        Yes! I can see that.
        Thanks Brian.

        In the situation I personally remembered – it also lead to a “pecking order” and subtly leading members of the congregation into temptation.

        Because those who were in the position of authority – could exercise that authority – by subjecting those who were not in authority to their their scrutiny.

        Thus it became quietly understood – that if you were in a position of authority – then those who were below you – did not have the authority to scrutinize you. But you had the authority to scrutinize and thus make life miserable for them.

        Consequently – those who where in authority lusted after “getting away” with things which others were not granted the ability to “get away” with.

        This is essentially – the same pattern we see with Washington law-makers.
        They can design laws in such a way – in which certain loopholes are available only to select individuals.
        They can design those laws such – that they just happen to be the select individuals who qualify for the loopholes.

        As a consequence – it became obvious to anyone within the body who could discern it – that members of the body lusted after positions of authority because in that position of authority you could subject others to your scrutiny – while not being subject to scrutiny yourself.
        Hence the “pecking order”.

        This is of course not how the Lord intended the body of Christ to function.
        One member of the body “taking advantage” of another member – is the antitheses of “one joint supplies another”
        They were not living a “self-sacrificing” life
        They were living an “I’m going to sacrifice you” life.
        Consequently – body members got sacrificed on the alter of a ministry essentially functioning as a “principality and power”

      7. BR.D Thanks for the time you took to reply and the details you added. Awesome. Again, the platform is full of people far more in ‘researched’ than I am. It has been a pleasure to chat and to get your input. I will keep posting as I go. Have a great day, BR.D – thanks again.

      8. Thank you Greg!
        May the Lord bless you and answer all of your questions! :-]

    2. Greg, The parable of the Sower and the warning passages of Hebrews should help answer your question. There are many who believe certain facts about Jesus to be true and might even enjoy certain Christian practices, even publicly professing they are Christian. They exist in many denominations who don’t preach the Gospel of only trusting Jesus to take away one’s sins. They need to be warned that they are not good soil (born again) yet. They should not be told to be assured that they are saved just because they have made a public decision, for it is not by faith one is saved, but through faith that God does the saving. Their faith might still be shallow and full of thorns, with no real root yet only in Jesus.

      They need to be asked to consider deeply what/who they are trusting for their salvation from sins (not just from hell). It can only be through, not by, trust in Jesus and His payment and promise of cleansing for sins, that God the Father will give the new birth. They can begin to then see if God has done that by looking for the results of the new birth He produces in and through them (not self-manufactured). Those results are talked about in 1John and Rom 7-8.

      1. Thank you for the response Brian. I agree. Surely the trust in Jesus is something we can do but the ‘born again’ experience – the moment of regeneration – is from the Lord. I have seen many – like you say – confessing believers but in chatting they can never really put a time to when they actually felt the change of heart. Let me perhaps word it like this: Let me make it a bit more personal perhaps. When I was born again it was a moment perhaps similar to Wesley’s ‘strangely warmed’ moment or Paul’s Damascus road experience. I’m talking now about the moment of salvation and not the road of salvation i.e the sanctification or fruit bearing process. I was literally brought from darkness into light and couldn’t stop crying because of the miracle that had happened in my heart. It was a complete and absolute change in one moment from being in darkness to then being in light. That moment has forever marked me as the moment I was saved. My question then I suppose is – surely every one who is born again should have a moment where they know that they are saved – perhaps not as clear as my own experience but certainly a clear understanding that Christ has come to dwell in his/her heart – the born again experience. This is my question I suppose. There are many who seem to have made a decision in their lives to serve Jesus but when chatting to them they cannot say when they were actually born again – when they could feel the miraculous change of heart. Surely when being transported from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light one knows when that happened.

      2. Thank you for the response Brian. I agree. Surely the trust in Jesus is something we can do but the ‘born again’ experience – the moment of regeneration – is from the Lord. I have seen many – like you say – confessing believers but in chatting they can never really put a time to when they actually felt the change of heart. Let me perhaps word it like this: Let me make it a bit more personal perhaps. When I was born again it was a moment perhaps similar to Wesley’s ‘strangely warmed’ moment or Paul’s Damascus road experience. I’m talking now about the moment of salvation and not the road of salvation i.e the sanctification or fruit bearing process. I was literally brought from darkness into light and couldn’t stop crying because of the miracle that had happened in my heart. It was a complete and absolute change in one moment from being in darkness to then being in light. That moment has forever marked me as the moment I was saved. My question then I suppose is – surely every one who is born again should have a moment where they know that they are saved – perhaps not as clear as my own experience but certainly a clear understanding that Christ has come to dwell in his/her heart – the born again experience. This is my question I suppose. There are many who seem to have made a decision in their lives to serve Jesus but when chatting to them they cannot say when they were actually born again – when they could feel the miraculous change of heart. Surely when being transported from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light one knows when that happened.

      3. Greg, I understand what you are saying, but the Scripture does not bear out that “need” of an immediate recognizable “complete and absolute change” as part of the evidence of the new birth. Your experience was not the same as Wesley, right? Did he experience unstoppable crying? And Saul/Paul probably wasn’t born again until the time he was praying in the house in Damascus where Ananias found him. Could he have rejected the Lord’s miraculous confrontation on the road?

        Did you commit your heart to only trusting in Jesus to save you from your sins? People can feel guilty before regeneration and desire outward reformation from some of their sins, or they can fear hell and cry out in fear, not wanting their sins to send them to hell. But they might not yet want Jesus to take away all of their sins, including all the pride, lust, bitterness, and greed.

        Yes, there will be evidence of the new birth after it has taken place. And a person should look for it. God produces it, but it might not be immediately recognizable.

        I personally believe a person should not get baptized until they understand clearly what trusting Jesus to take away their sins means. But that’s all they need to have “experienced” before baptism and not some “Damascus Road” experience first.

        I’m guessing you understood the gospel for some time before that final moment of conviction and commitment. And that you had been mentally fighting against making that commitment, to trust Jesus to take away your sins, for various reasons. Was that the case in your experience?

      4. Greg,
        I hope that you thank God for the experience you had at salvation.

        Will you raise your kids in the Lord?

        Many people were raised in Christian homes and understood the gospel at a young age, likely having no real “crying moment.”

        Personally, I have had a couple “crying on the floor” moments when realizing what Christ has done for me. Can I now expect others to have additional moments of realization? Do I now assume that one of those moments (even years after my baptism) is the “real” moment of my conversion?

        The jailer sees Paul singing in jail and staying around after he could have walked out….. and he is radically convinced. But his “whole household” comes to Christ too…. not having had the same experience. Many early believers saw first hand miracles. Can we make that the norm?

        And for that matter, if we “follow the NT example” a man’s “whole household” would necessarily come to Christ. Or we would have a riverside experience like Lydia. Or a fall off the donkey like Paul. Or a “sheet down from heaven” like Peter and Cornelius.

        I think the Scripture is showing us that the encounter with Christ (I should say “final” encounter….since many come to a slow realization) is different for a lot of people.

        I have been an overseas missionary most of my adult life and have seen many kinds of conversions. Some people (usually in hard to reach places, with a completely different world view) are having dreams and visions of a Christ that they need. Many come to Christ from radio programs having never met another believer or held the scriptures in their hands. Certainly as they establish communities/families of believers, they would not/ should not assume that everyone have the same experience they had.

        I hope this helps.

      5. Hi fromoverhere

        Thanks for the reply and certainly salvation is something we all need to be grateful for – what an amazing saviour we serve. I am doing the best I can to raise my kids in the Lord yes. One of the dangers I’m learning is as you say – that we can’t put our expectations on our kids in terms of how they respond to or come to the Lord.
        I am grateful for your response and it certainly helps a lot. Personally the question came from a place where I was looking at salvation from the Calvinist perspective and the Arminian. For many years after my salvation I resonated with Calvinism because of my salvation and what I believed was God’s election on my life. I resonated with that idea because my salvation was so radical and seemingly without any response on my part. Then when reading the Calvinist idea of regeneration prior to faith it became clear to me that that is exactly how I experienced my salvation. But over the years I’ve moved away from Calvinism simply because I cannot believe that God predetermined an elect few and damned the rest. Any way my journey is a longish story. But the crux of my question was simply to reach out and ask how others experienced their salvation. When I looked into the Arminian interpretation I realized that salvation was a case of man’s response to the gospel call – repenting and believing unto salvation. I looked into that and then thought – but how does that relate to my experience? Surely there must be a moment when one feels a sincere change of heart at salvation? So my heart resonates with the idea of man responding but I couldn’t quite get to grips with how that played out in reality simply because my salvation was so different. Hence you have helped. Thank you (don’t know your name…) for your time and sincerity. And God Bless as you continue in the mission field.

      6. Greg,
        People just call me FOH as I maintain a low profile working mostly in sensitive areas of the world.

        Some of my newly-minted-Calvinst friends (“discovering” Calvinism after being believers for 30-40 years) say, “But FOH, I wasnt seeking God when the gospel was presented to me.”

        What? Is that some kind of “proof” for their misinterpretation of Romans 3:10-11??

        The Word tells us to preach the salvation in Christ to all! It never says look for those who are searching for God. The jailer wasnt seeking… But Lydia was “a worshipper of God.” The Athenians were seeking all kinds of gods. Cornelius was a God-fearing Greek/Roman.

        On Youtube you can see a one hour+ message by John MacArthur on the parable of the “seeking Father” which most of us will call the prodigal son. He assures us (via Romans 3) that it was NOT the son but rather the Father who was seeking (cuz the son cant, you see). Eisegesis in plain view. (see more below if you want)

        One strident Calvinist came on this site and argued that God’s love and offer of salvation is only for His elect (a very few). He stressed that it was irresistible saying, “When Jesus says come, you come!”

        Then I brought up the rich young ruler and quoted scripture saying that Jesus loved him, felt compassion, and then called him “come follow me.” Of course our Calvinist friend had nothing to say, and although very active up till then, he never came back.

        Did he leave like so many on these pages, calling us heretics and slamming the door on his way out? We dont know, cuz they dont keep the dialog up very long. No doubt they return to their “Calvinist echo chamber” repeating gotcha verses to each other and declaring how their positions “gives God the most glory.”

        Hoping this helps….
        FOH

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPxSgB28v3M. At the 41 min mark he mocks the “freedom of the will.” He says that Jesus shows us the most terrible sinner. “How does God treat him?” John asks. Of course ….MacArthur shows the love of God. But ……

        42 min mark he skims quickly the idea “he came to his senses.” (no long-winded expository there)
        48 min “as good as dead” He goes into great detail throughout to say that the son is dead…as good as dead.
        51 min “the Father was looking.”
        54:30 min… “Father is the seeker.” Really? Did he go and find the son in his sin? Nah. He just waited.
        55:20 “Full reconciliation! Why? Because he came with a penitent heart.” (no exposition there)

        He goes on to show that God comes in and embraces us and our shame…which is great!

        He calls it grace and he is right.

        At 59:40 he begins the eisegesis. “It is God who initiates. He is the seeker who finds the sinner before the sinner can find Him.”

        Really John? C’mon! That is so clearly imposing your way on this passage.

        He commits a huge hermeneutical error, bringing in a single phrase of an unrelated verse and makes it speak into the passage and diminish or eliminate the clear teaching of the passage.

        Why not do the opposite? Why not take the clear teaching of Christ (who calls the son “dead” twice) and teach that a “dead person” can “come to his senses” “come with a penitent heart” (MacArthur’s words) —-and then re-read Romans 3 in light of that? The Romans 3 quotes are all from the OT making a different point. But for some reason John prefers to nullify the clear teaching of Christ here with a mis-interpretation of Romans 3.

        Honestly it is painful to watch him do that.

        Then he says, “God’s love FOR THE PENITENT is lavish….etc etc” referring uniquely to God’s love (no exposition of the son’s penitence).

        With one tiny reference to his interpretation of Romans 3….he proclaims that it was the seeking father.

        Another example of bringing your preferred position to the text and making the text support you.

      7. FOH
        repeating gotcha verses to each other and declaring how their positions “gives God the most glory.”

        br.d
        Yeah Like:

        1) The Bible teaches WHATSOEVER comes to pass is determined in every before we are created.

        2) But it also teaches us to go about our office *AS-IF* NOTHING is determined in any part before we are created.

        CONCLUSION:
        Bible exegesis equals treating what the Bible teaches *AS-IF* it is FALSE!

        That’s what you get from too much divine revelation!! ;-D

      8. Thanks FOH. Appreciate the input.

        What is your understanding then of Romans 3vs10-11? I am a believer in the idea that even prior to salvation we are able to seek God. Not to attain salvation through our own means but that God says clearly that we are to seek Him and call on His name. This is not to say that men will but I believe men are able. But would like to get our idea on Romans 3vs10-11.
        I agree that there was an ability in the rich young ruler to come and he refused the offer. However one could argue that this was not a call to salvation per se but a call to follow Him. The disciples were told to follow Jesus and yet this following is not equated to salvation as Jesus had not died yet. Again, I am not saying that man is unable to respond to the call of God I am just saying that there are loopholes from both perspectives here.
        Thanks for the video re John MacArthur.
        Have a great day, FOH.

        Greg

      9. Thank you Brian for your response.
        I agree that not every man’s born again experience is the same. This was I suppose the foundation of my question – what was it like for you and for others etc. You asked ‘did you commit your heart to only trusting in Jesus to save you from your sins…’ Funnily Brian there was no sense of commitment for me when I came to Jesus. That may sound strange but I had a moment – as expressed – that was completely out of my hands if I can say. When I was born again it was on an aeroplane coming back from one of our local cities. Prior to this moment I was away for the weekend but I could feel that something – God – was speaking to me – in retrospect but not in the moment – and when I stepped off of the plane I was a totally different person with a completely new heart. I quit my job, sold my car and left everything to begin building a church – these new desires happened in one moment. I didn’t think about sin nor whether I was repenting for all sin or some sin or whatever – I simply knew that Jesus was my saviour and that all I wanted to do from that day forward – 14 years ago – was serve Him. Recognition from that day onwards was daily – I continue to walk by the Spirit and repent for sin as the spirit convicts me.
        I agree with you that baptism must be taken seriously. It is true that so many are baptized before they understand that it means a walk that identifies with Jesus – a life that totally belongs to Him. Baptism has become very cheap these days. When you say that that is all they need to have experienced prior to baptism I understand you speak of this as trusting in Jesus. I’m certain that is more than an intellectual trust? Like you say – and I’ve seen – I see many ‘trust’ in Jesus but never commit to Him.
        You mentioned that perhaps I understood the gospel for some time before that moment of conviction. No not at all. I was an absolute heathen  without any understanding of church or what being born again even was or even who Jesus was. I had heard of Him at school etc but when I was born again – all I wanted was to get to know who this person was. Thank you for your replies Brian. God Bless you.

      10. Greg, you are making your experience sound a little more cryptic than what I’m guessing it actually was. There must have been some thought process going on in your head when you were on the airplane. Were you returning from a journey encounter that God used to remind you that you were indeed “an absolute heathen” that needed a saviour. You mentioned sensing “something – God – was speaking to you.” What exactly were you hearing?

        That “speaking” must have included that you should stop being a heathen and start following Jesus. Did you also “hear” that you should leave everything and start a church while on that plane?

        I’m also needing some clarification on why you say you weren’t “repenting for all sin or some sin or whatever”. You certainly didn’t want to be “an absolute heathen” anymore after hearing that voice. Right?

        And you had mentioned sincerely crying. How was that not about repentance? Were you crying for some other reason? And you mentioned you “simply knew Jesus was your savior”. He was your savior from what, if not from your sins?

        I look forward to hearing more detail which I think you are leaving out for some reason.

        I was brought up understanding the gospel and was early in my life wanting Jesus as my salvation from hell. It wasn’t until close to my senior year in high school that I began to recognize that God had given me the new birth at some point, because it was then I began to see the results of His changes that He was making in me through that new birth.

      11. Brian
        Hi Brian. Sorry about the ‘cryptic’ message. I wasn’t trying to hide anything and as I read your reply yes these ideas you mention are all true. I suppose the idea I was trying to get at was that the Arminian idea of repenting and believing just didn’t seem to be as ‘step by step’ for me. There was no ‘consciousness/awareness’ of doing these things like I hear many speaking of. I often hear whether it be in books or from pulpits or perhaps biographies etc the idea of coming to the Lord, repenting and believing. Even Paul said to the jailer, ‘believe’. So my mind has had me wondering what happened in my situation regarding the new birth and how have other experienced it? This was my question ultimately. You have been a great help and I have enjoyed – and hope to continue – your input and your responses. Have a great day, Brian. God Bless
        Greg.

      12. But I’m wondering Greg why you won’t fill in the more of the details that I asked for about the “hearing” on the plane, the recognition of Jesus as Savior, and the “crying” that seems like repentance. It almost gives me the impression you want to be so loyal to Calvinist idea of irresistible regeneration that you want to deny free will responses of any repentance and faith to God’s drawing before that regeneration.

        Saving Grace is through faith. Regeneration is a saving grace. Faith must be in place first for that grace to go through it.

      13. Hi Brian

        Thanks for the reply. No I’m not defending a certain doctrinal view here but just trying to clarify what my experience was. I suppose we remember certain things and tend to emphasize the greater memories. The ‘crying’ was a moment of both confusion and joy – difficult to explain but it was in no way a sorrowful moment. I remember an inexplicable joy. I don’t desire to defend a Calvinistic idea but my experience didn’t come with a free will choice at the time – it wasn’t as if I was presented with something and given the ability to say yes or no. That is all I am saying. Others I know seem to make a decision for Christ and that is fine. Thus I don’t deny that we are able to resist the call of God to salvation. I believe that many do and I believe that it is a biblical idea – the call to believe from Christ is genuine and many refuse it. I understand that but my personal experience was different.
        Regarding the idea of faith being in place before regeneration – sure. However, Ephesians says saved by grace through faith in that salvation is all of God and we accept that by faith. To that extent men can refuse the gospel call. No man is forced to believe. The gospel offer is available to all. Salvation is a gift of God which we appropriate through faith. In other words, we are called to believe yes but in some cases that amount of belief is different on the part of the person being saved. The jailer is strictly told to believe whereas someone like Paul we don’t hear his reaction to the gospel we simply understand that he was born again. Similarly, with Cornelius who was seeking God prior to salvation. We don’t hear that he believed but we do see the amazing grace of God when the Holy Spirit falls upon them and they are saved. Thus in all I am saying the idea is that I don’t like to make a paradigm scenario for every salvation experience.
        I hear what you are saying regarding faith to be in place however was there faith in Paul before his salvation? Was there faith in me before my salvation? Who knows? I could argue against it. Salvation is by grace and appropriated through faith. If faith had to be an absolute pre-requisite, then how is regeneration a saving grace? How is it then a gift? Anyway, Brian I hope we can keep chatting as we go.

        Have a great day and thanks again for the thoughts

        God Bless
        Greg

      14. Hi Brian

        Thanks for the reply. No I’m not defending a certain doctrinal view here but just trying to clarify what my experience was. I suppose we remember certain things and tend to emphasize the greater memories. The ‘crying’ was a moment of both confusion and joy – difficult to explain but it was in no way a sorrowful moment. I remember an inexplicable joy. I don’t desire to defend a Calvinistic idea but my experience didn’t come with a free will choice at the time – it wasn’t as if I was presented with something and given the ability to say yes or no. That is all I am saying. Others I know seem to make a decision for Christ and that is fine. Thus I don’t deny that we are able to resist the call of God to salvation. I believe that many do and I believe that it is a biblical idea – the call to believe from Christ is genuine and many refuse it. I understand that but my personal experience was different.
        Regarding the idea of faith being in place before regeneration – sure. However, Ephesians says saved by grace through faith in that salvation is all of God and we accept that by faith. To that extent men can refuse the gospel call. No man is forced to believe. The gospel offer is available to all. Salvation is a gift of God which we appropriate through faith. In other words, we are called to believe yes but in some cases that amount of belief is different on the part of the person being saved. The jailer is strictly told to believe whereas someone like Paul we don’t hear his reaction to the gospel we simply understand that he was born again. Similarly, with Cornelius who was seeking God prior to salvation. We don’t hear that he believed but we do see the amazing grace of God when the Holy Spirit falls upon them and they are saved. Thus in all I am saying the idea is that I don’t like to make a paradigm scenario for every salvation experience.
        I hear what you are saying regarding faith to be in place however was there faith in Paul before his salvation? Was there faith in me before my salvation? Who knows? I could argue against it. Salvation is by grace and appropriated through faith. If faith had to be an absolute pre-requisite, then how is regeneration a saving grace? How is it then a gift? Anyway, Brian I hope we can keep chatting as we go.
        Have a great day and thanks again for the thoughts
        God Bless
        Greg

      15. Greg, I appreciate your willingness to talk some more, but you still left out details of what you “heard” that night on the plane. And was the crying on the plane? Are you saying there was nothing you heard, but that you just started crying with joy? Was there nothing that happened in your life before you got on the plane or on the plane? Were you just sitting there and zap, you now think you were born again? Really?

        You also really need to think more clearly about what grace through faith means. Faith has to be in place first for grace to go through it. Nothing can go “through” something that’s not there. Regeneration has to be given through faith.

        Are you willing to see what happened to you and Paul as just drawing you to an opportunity for decision, and that you actually didn’t get born again until later after you said, “yes” to Jesus as your Savior? Don’t you see that God draws everyone sufficiently to a decision and can use emotional events to do so? No one asks for or resists the drawing, but they can resist or accept after being drawn. You accepted, Praise the Lord!

        I already mentioned that Saul didn’t get converted until he was praying, calling on the name of the Lord in Damascus. See Acts 9:11, 22:16 & also his mention of obeying the vision in Acts 26:19.

        Cornelius heard about trusting Jesus for forgiveness (Acts 10:43) and Peter confirmed that Cornelius received the Spirit after hearing the gospel and that his heart was purified by faith (Acts 15:7-9).

        God doesn’t save anyone by irresistible grace and then give the opportunity for freewill faith. That contradicts clear Scripture. Grace through faith!

      16. Brian,
        God doesn’t save anyone by irresistible grace and then give the opportunity for freewill faith.

        br.d
        This is very similar to the Calvinist – claiming the Bible teaches NOTHING HAPPENS that is not knowingly and willingly decreed”

        And in such case – Joseph’s brothers killing Joseph CANNOT POSSIBLY HAPPEN without it being knowingly and willingly decreed.

        But that same Calvinist – wants his god PREVENT Josephs brothers from killing Joseph

        Which begs the questions
        1) Why would a perfect being want to PREVENT an event he knows in not going to happen?

        2) And if he does decree that event to infallibly happen – why isn’t he smart enough to know – he can’t PREVENT it?

      17. Hi Brian
        Thanks again for the thoughts. Let me just clarify the story so we are all good to go (smiley face). Perhaps I tended to focus on one element more than another.
        The weekend I was born again was over a family camp where I attended something Christian for the first time in many many years. Over that time – the weekend – God was certainly drawing although at the time I didn’t know that but in retrospect He was speaking. SO on the plane when I felt the change of heart I believe God had already softened and softened my heart for the whole weekend and perhaps even prior to that through things I wasn’t aware of. So no it wasn’t a bolt of lightning whereby I hadn’t heard anything. What I heard was his voice calling and drawing. The crying came afterwards when I was at home – after being born again not before – when I phoned my family to tell them what was happening. It was at that time I couldn’t fathom what was happening and the crying began. I believe I was hearing the stirrings of God and essentially the voice of God speaking to me both at the camp and in the plane. That has never really been the issue. The issue is that you mention I ‘said yes’ to Jesus. Now honestly I cannot say that I did, Brian. I have been honest all the way but I just cannot say that I responded. Again, I’m not saying that there is no response because that would be denying scripture but in my case it was as if there was not acceptance but merely a result. That I can’t debate.
        I hear you with regards to Paul however I would suggest that the vision he obeyed in Acts 26 was not the salvation vision but the vision to preach the gospel – that is the context there and hence the next verse says “but declared first to those…” Anyway that is another story.
        I agree that for the same person there cannot be irresistible grace AND a free will response. That would be ridiculous. I believe all have access to be saved BUT I believe that in some cases the call of God is a bit more ‘irresistible’ – if we can say that – for some than it is for others.
        Brian thanks for your amicable conversation and tone. I appreciate this time to chat.
        God Bless

      18. Thank you Greg for confirming that you had been to a family camp before your God given experience on the plane. And I’m sure the gospel was preached at that camp. And I’m guessing you were thinking about what had happened or what was said at that camp during the flight.

        You weren’t resisting God any longer, and probably people were praying for you. So God made His presence known to you in a special way and you thankfully received it. That’s my take. I’m guessing you already were feeling a need to have a change in your life (repent) or you wouldn’t have gone to that Christian camp!

        I recommend when you give your testimony that you don’t make it sound like you were a heathen, not even thinking about the gospel, and then God just zapped you with the new birth. Grace must go through faith! Faith comes from having heard, understood, and not resisted Gospel truth.

      19. Hi Brian

        thanks for the reply. I look forward to continuing to chat. Have a great week, Brian and thanks again.

      20. Just to mention Brian in case you felt I was trying to conjure up a fantastic story – I wasn’t attempting to fabricate something but sincerely just wrote my understanding of events. I’ve appreciated your input – thanks
        Greg

      21. Greg,

        In my experience, as a child, yes, I went to Sunday School, Vacation Bible School in the summer, Church camp, etc.

        But as a child, what did I really learn about sin, let alone forgiveness of sin, and Jesus?

        Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world…red and yellow, black and white…etc.

        That’s about it.

        Kids know about love, because that’s natural. In my bold opinion, hate is learned, but love is natural. But knowing about Jesus’ love to ME, instilled that there is an AFTERLIFE beyond this life. I do not remember a time that I didn’t believe in an afterlife.

        Sin, was not really something taught at that young age. And in my BOLD opinion, for a child, SIN should not be taught to a child, because that is WELL BEYOND comprehension for a child.

        But knowing that Jesus loves me, knowing that there is a God who created me, that there is something beyond this life, instilled a direct RESPECT for God, coupled with the parental teaching that “respect your elders” was an ethic taught to children, and that teaching was important.

        Children, with that teaching, automatically OBEY their parents, because they are to be in FEAR of their parents for punishment if they disobey. That satisfies one of the Ten Commandments already. And THAT, in and of itself, gives an example of what God is all about. Love.

        Age appropriate teachings, as a child grows.

        The same that the Apostle Paul discusses about MILK/MEAT. A baby Christian isn’t ready for the MEAT. A baby Christian, what do you teach a baby Christian?

        These are the reasons that I do not believe in a LIGHT SWITCH, being turned on, that you AUTOMATICALLY believe on a JUST BECAUSE, which some call REGENERATION. I, personally, reserve that teaching for the Jews who were already following God ALREADY, under the law of Moses, but who are BLIND to the fact that Jesus is their long awaited Messiah, that they cannot discern in the Hebrew scriptures, but that WE CAN.

        I was well into my 30’s before I FINALLY began studying the Bible to learn about this Jesus that I heard so much about in my youth.

        And I found the bible to be a VERY mysterious work of art, in which Jesus is indeed HIDDEN in the whole Bible, espectially in the book of Genesis…all of it.

        I found that I should NOT read the bible in an EXPOSITORY manner, but in a SPIRITUAL manner. Expository has its usefullness, but it’s NOT how Jesus is DISCOVERED in the book.

        Knowing the basic, NOT EXHAUSTIVE, but basic, history of the Jews, and the physical land of Israel, and the prophesies thereof of both the Jews, and the physical land of Israel, and how the bible explains all this…THAT is what CONVINCED me, and it took 9/11 for me to even get started at looking into this.

        I was convinced, without a shadow of a doubt, that Jesus is the savior of my sins, and that I want nothing more than to be with him when i die.

        And I talk about Jesus with anyone…even at work. I work as a flagger (traffic control), and my partners always change, crews that I work for changes, and we will be in a conversation of something, and then out of the blue, I will say, “Well, I’m a Christian, and…blah, blah”, then direct the conversation in such a way that includes why I believe what I beleive.

        The word FAITH, the definition includes PERSUASION, in that someone tells you something, and something that they said, persuaded you to believe. It’s not about a light switch. Jesus is the WORD OF GOD. If you believe in the WORD of God…

        What is the WORD of God? Sure, it’s Jesus. But it’s the Bible, the words of Jesus written down from Genesis to Revelation.

        Once I was convinced of the truth of the Bible, in a SPIRITUAL MANNER, rather than the expository manner, then I was finally Baptised FOR REAL. And the learning continues.

        And with that learning, convinces me that some denominations are WHACKY, others not so bad. But Calvinism…TERRIBLE.

        Ed Chapman

      22. Ed, thanks for your reply. You pose some interesting food for thought. It has been great to ‘chat’. As I ponder I’ll continue to post. Have a great day, Ed.
        God Bless
        Greg

  13. Thank you all for the sincere responses and for the time to really think about them. Thanks for the encouragement too in your second response. I believe my question needs to be simplified. Let me make it a bit more personal perhaps. When I was born again it was a moment perhaps similar to Wesley’s ‘strangely warmed’ moment or Paul’s Damascus road experience. I’m talking now about the moment of salvation and not the road of salvation i.e the sanctification or fruit bearing process. I was literally brought from darkness into light and couldn’t stop crying because of the miracle that had happened in my heart. It was a complete and absolute change in one moment from being in darkness to then being in light. That moment has forever marked me as the moment I was saved. My question then I suppose is – surely every one who is born again should have a moment where they know that they are saved – perhaps not as clear as my own experience but certainly a clear understanding that Christ has come to dwell in his/her heart – the born again experience. This is my question I suppose. There are many who seem to have made a decision in their lives to serve Jesus but when chatting to them they cannot say when they were actually born again – when they could feel the miraculous change of heart. Surely when being transported from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light one knows when that happened.

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