Is Faith an Effectual Gift in Eph 2:8-9?

by Isaac Barrett

The goal of this review is to demonstrate that Piper’s interpretation of Ephesians 2:8-9 is incorrect. First this review will summarize the possible interpretations of what the gift is in verse 8. Then, each section of this analysis will restate and identifies problems with Piper’s arguments. Timestamps have been included to encourage readers to listen to Piper’s video for themselves.

First, the text of Eph 2: 8-9:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 

ESV

What is “This”?

The main question is: What does this refer to? “This” is a demonstrative pronoun. Paul is demonstrating that something, this thing, is a gift. He’s pointing at something he just said in the previous phrase, “For by grace you have been saved through faith”, and he saying “this thing is a gift”. But what is Paul referring to as a gift? To help answer this question, let’s repeat this passage with the Greek word, gender, and number displayed:

For by grace [charis, feminine, singular] you have been saved [sesosmenoi, masculine, singular] through faith [pistis, feminine, singular]. And this [toutō, neuter, singular] is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 

There are six possible interpretations for the gift. Based on the grammatical structure of the verse (seen above), four interpretations will be ruled out. They will be ruled out because ancient Greek authors used the gender and number of pronouns to make it clear to their reader which noun the pronoun is referring to. Here are the six possibilities:

1: The gift is “by grace you have been saved through faith
2: The gift is “by grace you have been saved
3: The gift is “been saved through faith
4: The gift is only grace
5: The gift is only salvation
6: The gift is only faith

You’ll notice that the pronoun “this” [toutō, neuter, singular] does not match a single one of the previous nouns in question; neither “grace”, nor “saved”, nor “faith”. If Paul wanted to say only one of those was the gift, then all he would have had to do was match the gender and number of “this” with that noun. But he chose to make it match none of them. So the gift can’t be only the grace, nor only the salvation, nor only the faith.

Even though it’s not possible, interpretation six, that only faith is the gift, is often argued because faith is the last thing referenced.  Most who quote Ephesians 2:8-9 to claim that ‘faith is a gift’ are arguing from this position. This seems like a natural interpretation to English readers because…that’s how we would denote which noun to which the pronoun refers. The problem is: Paul didn’t write in English. Piper, as well as many other scholars, correctly understand that this interpretation is impossible due to the grammatical formatting of the Greek. 

In Greek, pronouns must agree with their antecedent in gender and number.  English somewhat does this with pronouns like “he” and “she” but other pronouns like “they” and “it” are more difficult to determine. No so in Greek. All pronouns in Greek have gender and number, and they must always agree in gender and number to the noun they are pointing to, whether it is masculine, feminine, or neuter.

https://redeeminggod.com/bible-theology-topics/ephesians-28-9/

In the verse, “this” is neuter, meaning that it must connect two genders: Feminine, masculine, or neuter. Faith is a feminine word.  The word “this” would need to be written as feminine for it to refer to faith.  While interpretation 6 is quoted often, it can safely be ruled out.  Interpretations 5 & 6 can be ruled out for the same mismatched gender problem.  The remaining three interpretations are discussed by Piper and will be analyzed in the arguments below.

Faith Is Not From You

Timestamp: 4:41
Piper asks the why Paul didn’t simply write “for by grace you have been saved through faith, not from works, so that no one may boast” but also added “And this is not from you; is the gift of God“?  Piper asserts that the “And this is not from you; it is the gift of God” part is unnecessary unless Paul is attempting to respond to something specific. Therefore, Paul must be thinking ‘people are going to attribute faith to our own capacities as humans to create, when in fact [I] want to rule that out’.  Therefore, Paul must be writing that “grace” is not from you, “salvation” is not from you, “faith” is not from you.  The extra statement is in reference to each of the parts individually.  Paul must want to rule out boasting by saying ‘faith is a gift’.  He must be stressing that faith doesn’t boast because it didn’t come into existence on its own.  Piper is arguing for Interpretation #6.

Grammar Is A Sticky Wicket

The problem with this argument is that we simply cannot ignore the grammar Paul chose to employ. The grammatical structure of the verse contradicts Piper’s argument.  In order for “this” to mean each part individually, Paul MUST write in a plural form (i.e. these).  Paul did not, he wrote it as singular, which means that he is referencing one thing or concept.  In Greek, the gender and number must match.  Interpretation #6 violates this as it is mixing singular with plural.  You cannot exegetically interpret this passage as ‘each of the parts separately’.  As we are relying on Sola Scriptura, we can safely say that the words are inspired and that Paul didn’t accidently make a mistake.  Therefore, “this” does not mean each of the parts individually. 

The other problem is that it is “by grace” (means), “being saved” (result), and “through faith” (receiving method).  Under Piper’s assertion, he’d be saying that the method by which we receive grace is a gift.  In other words, the fact that God picked faith to receive grace vs animal sacrifice.  This does not communicate that faith itself is effectually given to us by God.  This would only indicate that the ability to receive grace through faith is a gift.  It wouldn’t mean that faith itself is given.

Why Didn’t Paul Just Say The Thing?

If Paul was concerned about anybody thinking that faith is something that you’re supposed to do, he would have simply written ‘faith is a gift’ somewhere in one of his many letters. Since Paul never wrote this, we cannot exegetically assume that this was his motivation. Paul could have said “these” to mean all three individually or he could have just added a sentence somewhere that clarified it. Claiming that this is what Paul was thinking or worried about is unsupported by any of his work.

Paul Wrote About Faith, Grace, Works, and Boasting Elsewhere

In order to make any claims about the motivations of Paul in regards to faith and boasting, we must take a close look at the other passages were Paul addresses these issues. As a matter of fact, several years before writing his letter to Ephesus, Paul wrote the letter to the Romans. In chapter 3 & 4, Paul goes into great detail about the relationship between salvation, grace, faith, works, and boasting. Since these chapters are much more explicit than Ephesians 2:8-9, we must incorporate them into our interpretation.  Here are some snippets of his writings, but go read these chapters for yourselves and then read Ephesians 2:8-9.

“the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith . . . It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law

Romans 3:24-25 ESV


What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh?  For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness. Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness

For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.  That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all

No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.””

Romans 4 ESV

Paul makes it extremely clear that his concern for boasting lies in who is the justifier of our salvation, who powers it, who does the work. Paul spends all of this time communicating that promise must “rest on grace” and that this is accomplished only through faith as the means. If we are the justifier through works, then God is not glorified. Nowhere in the long exposition of Romans does Paul say that ‘faith is a gift’.  Paul invalidates Piper’s argument by saying that our boasting from being justified by faith “is excluded.  By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law”. Using Piper’s own reasoning, Paul could have easily said “Boasting is excluded because faith is a gift”. But instead he says “Boasting is excluded because of faith” . Faith is non-meritorious and is not worthy of boasting. No one can exegetically claim that faith is a work. If faith is not worthy of boasting because it is not a work, where is Paul’s concern that we ‘create faith’? Why does Paul say that “Abraham believed God”? This seems like the perfect place to drop this supposed additional information about faith being effectually given or that you are unable to put faith in God. Nowhere in the entire Bible does it say that man is unable to believe, repent, or put their faith in God unless effectually given faith. This concept has to be read into the text. If putting faith in God is boast worthy, why didn’t Paul address it as clearly as he addresses faith not being a work?

Does faith rob God of his glory? Romans 4 says no. Abraham “grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God”. The text doesn’t say God made Abraham grow strong in faith. Instead, the text gives Abraham credit for his faith. If this was a concern of Paul’s in the slightest, why would Paul write it this way? Paul clearly writes that salvation through faith gives God all of the glory. Where is Paul’s concern? Piper’s argument that faith somehow takes glory from God is an attempt to turn faith into a work. One can only boast if it is under the law of works. Assuming that Paul holds this concern is completely unfounded by his work.

All Other Interpretations are Absurd

Timestamp: 8:32
Piper then takes a stab at creating an entire new class of Christians who interpret Ephesians 2:8-9 as saying that “faith” is not a part of the gift of God in any way and indeed they must exclude the “through faith” phrase in their interpretation. These Christians don’t know what to do with the “through faith” phrase and so they end up reading the passage something like “And through grace you have been saved, and this is not from you…”. I have never met these Christian exegetes and I’m quite confident you have not either. Even proponents of Interpretation #2 (The gift is “by grace you have been saved”) would acknowledge that faith is only possible if that gift is given. This seems to me a round about way for Piper to poison the well of opposing interpretations to make them sound as absurd as possible. And no one wants to sound absurd, so you might as well be a Calvinist.

He actually shoots his own interpretation in the foot by putting sarcastic parentheses around “through faith” [see below] as a way to say “see how absurd it is to portion out a phrase like this?” but indeed that’s exactly what a phrase is. It’s called a prepositional phrase and they are, unsarcastically, modifiers to the main sentence that ought to be treated that way. The prepositional phrase that Piper has so kindly marked out for us modifies the main subject-verb-object sentence “You have been saved”. The other prepositional phrase “by grace”, Piper strangely does not mark out in the same way.

He bookends this argument by giving his opinion that “I don’t think Paul would say something this obvious”. But wouldn’t he? Wouldn’t Paul need to be as straightforward and simple as possible with his explanations of the Gospel to a people and a culture in which the very concept of receiving a gracious gift through faith goes against both Roman and Hebrew religious thought and practice?

Paul, Captain Obvious

This also seems like a flawed assumption as Paul, in Romans 3, wrote super obvious again. Piper is arguing Paul must have something deeper in mind when he wrote Romans 3:24 because he should not have included “as a gift” when talking about being justified/saved by grace because that’s just too obvious.  The verse reads “[all] are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith”. In this passage, Piper’s exegetical pen drawings are in trouble because Paul specifically excludes “receiving by faith” from the gift, as he put faith at the very end of the sentence. Here the gift is solely about being justified/saved by grace. Romans uses the same structure of saved/justified by grace received through faith that is later found in Ephesians. 

Compare Romans and Ephesians using Interpretation #2 (The gift is “by grace you have been saved”)
Romans:             “[we] are justified by his grace as a gift… to be received by faith”
Ephesians:         
for you have been saved by grace [as a gift] through faith

If Paul specifically wrote the gift this way in his previous letter, why we would assume that his current letter is teaching something different?  Why would we assume that Paul has new concerns or new doctrine for his readers to consider?  Interpretation #2 matches grammatically with both gender and number, and is identical to Romans. It is valid and is the strongest of the available options.

Why Interpretation #1 Is Also Valid

The remaining option, Interpretation #1 (The gift is “by grace you have been saved through faith”), is where the entire package is the gift. This interpretation says that the way we are saved is the gift. God could have picked a different means by which we could receive grace, but He picked faith. He picked something that anybody could do. Faith isn’t the gift in this interpretation, but rather the gift is being able to receive grace through faith and thus being saved. The package wasn’t created by us and is not controlled by us.  This interpretation does not need for each item in it to be effectually caused by God. God could have said “for you have been saved by grace through [animal sacrifice]. And this is not of you, but is the gift of God”. The animal sacrifice would not have to be effectually given to us by God for the package to be from God.  In this interpretation, the path to salvation is the gift. This interpretation is very similar to #2. It is valid and strong, matching grammatically with gender and number, but it does change the focus of the gift from Romans 3. Under this interpretation, “being saved by grace” would still be a gift due to Romans 3. This means that Interpretation #2 is true even if #1 is also correct.

Interpretations #1 and #2 have absolutely no need for additional clarification about faith.  As explained in Romans 3 & 4, faith cannot be boasted about because of its very nature.  If Paul can credit Abraham for believing and growing in his faith, then we can assume that there is no conflict with faith being a part of this package.  In no way does it appear that Paul is attempting to teach or clarify doctrines of determinism or free will.  If we find ourselves reading these doctrines out of this text, it is likely because we are eisegeting them into the text.

In Conclusion

Most individuals claiming that this passage teaches ‘faith is a gift’ don’t understand how the gender and number works in Greek. They don’t understand that Greek pronouns must agree with their antecedent in gender and number. It is improper to interpret the passage as faith being the gift because of the gender mismatch. It is improper to interpret the gift as each of the parts individually due to the number mismatch. In this case, the Greek doesn’t translate well into English, because of the limitations of the English language. This makes Ephesians 2:8-9 easy to misunderstand and misuse. There are only two appropriate interpretations. The first interpretation is that the whole package is the gift. The first means that the process by which we are saved is a gift. The second interpretation is that being saved by grace is the gift. The second is consistent with Paul’s previous writings and is the strongest interpretation. 

Ephesians 2:8-9 does not plainly state whether “faith is our creation” or “faith is God’s creation and is effectually given”.  You can’t conclude that the gift of “by grace you have been saved through faith” is somehow teaching “faith is effectual” or even “faith is a choice”.  The point of the passage is not about determinism vs free will, it is about the Gospel. If Paul, or any inspired writer of the Bible, wanted us to believe that Faith is a gift, they would have written it plainly. Paul had plenty of opportunity to, as he wrote faith and grace, but he never did. Paul’s writing in Romans appears to completely contradict the majority of Piper’s assertions. Paul’s alleged concerns about boasting are invalidated by Romans 4. Paul explains that faith by its very nature isn’t something that can be boasted about. Claiming that Paul had a concern, when Paul already addressed his concerns about boasting, is improper and speculative.

If we are either given faith or passed over, then we have little hope. This belief assumes that there is absolutely nothing an individual can do to change their eternal destination. A person can no sooner change the color of their skin or eyes, then they can change whether they will go to heaven or hell. It would require a miracle for you to even be able to have faith. This position can be clearly heard by the now Reformed Atheist, Derrek Webb.  Derrek was previously the lead singer for the Calvinist band Caedmon’s Call. Webb’s conclusions are tragic, but appear to be supported by Piper’s assertions.

To claim that Piper’s arguments are proper exegesis of this text, that faith is an effectual gift, would be gravely inaccurate. These are simple arguments based on human logic and assumption, but are not read directly out of the text. They infer definitions and concepts into the text. The plain reading of the text says that God’s gift is the gift package, including the means of its’ reception, by which we are saved. This passage should not be used to teach “faith is a gift”. The passage should be used to teach that we are saved by God’s grace through faith, and that we could never receive this without Him. The simple reading of the passage should be the standard interpretation.

91 thoughts on “Is Faith an Effectual Gift in Eph 2:8-9?

  1. Hello and thank you for the article! Concerning your point “The main question is: What does ‘this’ refer to?” you say, “You’ll notice that the pronoun “this” [toutō, neuter, singular] does not match a single one of the previous nouns in question; neither “grace”, nor “saved”, nor “faith”.
    But I beg to differ.

    You list the gender and plurality of each noun, but it seems you may have neglected to consider the CASE of each word (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, ablative).

    When you take into consideration that the pronouns should agree with their antecedents in case, number, and gender, it becomes clear that the pronoun-word ‘this’ DOES indeed agree with one of the above words: SAVED. “Saved” is a “verb participle perfect passive nominative masculine plural” — And ‘this’ is a “pronoun demonstrative nominative neuter singular”. What’s important here is that BOTH ‘saved’ and ‘this’ are SUBJECTS, or NOMINATIVE case.

    Furthermore, the word ‘gift’ is also NOMINATIVE, which clarifies that it is SALVATION that is the gift, not faith.
    So we have THREE words that are in the subject or NOMINATIVE case, and they all agree together: saved, this, and gift. The GIFT of God is not faith — it is SALVATION.

    By taking case into consideration, it becomes clear that ‘this’ refers back to ‘saved’. Here is my translation of the verse: “For saved (nominative) you are by grace (genitive) through faith (genitive), and this (nominative) not from yourselves (genitive); the gift (nominative) of God ‘it is’.

    One more tidbit — the word ‘saved’ is a participle in the perfect tense, so the more accurate translation would be ‘you are saved AND THE RESULTS CONTINUE’ — as the perfect tense indicates something that occurred in the past but whose results continue into the present.

    1. Welcome Lisa, sorry for the delay in posting your question. Here is my personal response. Eph 2:8-9

      τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι διὰ τῆς πίστεως καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων ἵνα μή τις καυχήσηται.

      Word for word translation: For (by) the grace you are having-been-saved-ones through the faith, and that not out of you of God the gift not out of works, in order that not anyone should boast.

      The sentence is made up of three clauses. I placed commas to separate them. The first and last clauses have the main verbs – “are” and “should boast”. But the middle clause is a problem since it has no main verb or verbal idea. So an “is”/”was” or two must be added.

      Most grammarians seem to add two of them (“is”), actually breaking this middle clause into two clauses. I think “was” fits better – “that (was) not out of yourselves, the gift of God (was) not out of works”.

      But the main question becomes, what is the identity of the antecedent of “that”, which would also be the antecedent of “the gift”. Both “that” and “gift” are neuter gender. So the antecedent should be neuter gender. But since no noun in the first clause is neuter gender, the whole clause is assumed to be the antecedent of “that” and “gift”. Being saved by grace through faith is that gift, not faith alone.

      Another possibility to consider is that there is a noun idea in the participle – “having been saved ones”. That noun idea is also neuter gender, making it the inferred antecedent. It is the Greek substantival adjective – σωτήριον – “salvation”. Salvation is that gift, not faith alone.

      One final good choice for an antecedent is the neuter singular noun “riches” – πλοῦτον – in the phrase “riches of His grace” in verse 7, especially since verses 8 and 9 are explanatory of what Paul has just said in verses 4 through 7.

      The passage actually doesn’t clearly prove or disprove that personal faith was necessary before salvation or that personal faith was a gift or not. Both of those implications are grammatically possible, but that “the grace (was) through the faith” implies clearly that personal faith was necessary before being saved by grace, since saving grace goes through faith.

      Let me add that the phrase – “the gift of God (was) not out of works” – assumes that Paul has in mind another phrase that he uses elsewhere in opposition to the idea “not out of works”. That phrase is “out of faith” (Gal 2:16, 3:5). Paul is saying that Salvation is out of/through faith and not out of/through works.

      Personal faith must be in place first for saving grace to go “through” it and come “out of” it.

      Here’s a good 10min video that explains this also. https://youtu.be/rAYXqM-qT6k

      1. Thank you, Brian. I appreciate your thoughtful response. Love your precise translation of that participle!–‘having been saved ones’ — great handling of good ol’ Greek participles. I see what you mean RE the neuter genders of the various words, and the nominative cases.

        I agree that the entire clause could be the antecedent for ‘that’ and ‘gift’. Good points on the Galatians scriptures, too. And Paul seems to be making a clear point that salvation (through faith) is the gift, and that faith/trust/belief itself is not a ‘work’. (reiterated in Romans 4:4-5)

        Also, in the previous chapter, Paul also provides us with the ‘order of operations’ for salvation, as it were… Ephesians 1:13 — “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” —

        One HEARS the gospel, one TRUSTS/BELIEVES, and THEN one is sealed with the Holy Spirit as the ‘down-payment’ (having the H.S. = Salvation) “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Rom. 8:9

        Thanks again for your thorough and well-articulated response, and for the most-excellent video recommendation!

  2. “Paul, Captain Obvious” … Ha ha, that’s good.

    And it’s telling that Calvinists are not obvious, that they are so obscure, always looking for something deeper behind the obvious, some hidden meaning that takes a long time and a lot of study to supposedly figure out.

    And yet the gospel is so simple, so obvious, that even a child can understand it:

    “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

    For God so loved the world – you, me, all of us – that He gave His Son to die for us all so that we could believe in Him and be saved. The obvious implication is that this is an invitation, telling us the way to be saved, meaning that it’s possible for all of us to believe and be saved because Jesus died for us all.

    But Calvinists have turned it into something more obscure and convoluted, from an invitation and instructions on how to be saved to a mere description on how the elect are saved.

    They replace the what the Bible obviously says with their ideas of what God supposedly meant to say, based on their presuppositions. And as a result, they screw it all up and create so many problems and contradictions that they then need to write massive tomes on how to understand the gospel.

    When John 3:16 spells it all out in one obvious verse.

    That is very telling about if Calvinism is right or wrong. Oftentimes, the truth can be very easily stated; but lies and deception and error need lots and lots of pages and words to spin things to try to fix the problems it creates and to try to make the Bible says things it doesn’t say, in order to have the appearance of being right.

    And I think many good, well-meaning Christians fall for it because it’s human nature to want to think we know secrets that no one else knows, that we are so intelligent that we figured out “mysteries” that the average person couldn’t and that we are so “humble” that we will accept difficult teachings we don’t like or understand.

    But I will take my stand along all the other sinners of the world, believing that I am no better than anyone else, that Jesus died for every other person out there just as much as He did for me, that God loves them as much as me, and that they can all be saved just like I am if they will willingly choose to believe in Him too.

    I am no different than anyone else; I just opened up my hands and reached out and accepted the gift of salvation that God offers to all. And now I will live my life out of gratitude for what Jesus did for me, trying to help others know that God loves them too and Jesus died for them too and they can be saved. (Whereas Calvinist evangelism is only for the elect.)

    1. Oops, that should be “But I will take my stand alongside all the other sinners of the world …”

      I hate typos.

  3. I believe faith IS a work (John 6:28-29) it’s just not a work of the Law. Also, it is good to understand that just because I do “works” does not necessarily mean I have something to boast about. I have only done what was commanded of me to do! Jesus makes this fact quite clear in the following story:

    Luke 17:7 “And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’?

    Luke 17:8 “But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’?

    Luke 17:9 “Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not.

    Luke 17:10 “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ”

    The word for servant here is (doulos) meaning a “slave.” In other words, Christians are slaves. And, as a slave even when he has worked and worked and worked all day long – and done ALL that has been commanded of him to do, all he can say is, ‘I am an unprofitable slave, I have only done what I ought to have done.’

    So where is the boasting? It has no place even among to most faithful of slaves.

    1. Aiden: “I believe faith IS a work (John 6:28-29) it’s just not a work of the Law.”

      Well said! Faith is the one “work” God commands us to do to be saved.

      So how then can anyone be saved in Calvinism if they say that faith is something we can’t do, when the Bible says it’s what we must do?

      “Then they asked him, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’

      Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.'”

      To tell people that they can’t do the one thing God said we must do to be saved, the thing He gave us responsibility over and expects us to do, sounds nothing less than demonic to me.

      1. Thanks Heather, but I’m compelled to add that “faith” is not the only work God commands to be saved. In Luke 13:3 Jesus said, “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Therefore repentance is something all must do in order to be saved. Jesus adds to this in Luke 24 by saying, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24: 46-47). Notice that repentance is for the forgiveness of sins!

        Another thing that the repentant believer must do is to be baptized “for the forgiveness of sins.” Notice how Peter words it: “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Notice, they were told to — repent AND be baptized — FOR the forgiveness of your sins. In other words, they were told to do two things FOR the forgiveness of their sins, namely, repent AND be baptized in His name. What supports this is the fact that Paul, in Acts 22:16, was STILL in his sins until he was baptized. Note what Ananias tells Paul: ‘And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord’ (Acts 22:16).

        And what’s interesting about Paul as well, is that he had already believed in the Lord, and had already confessed Him and repented,(see Acts 9), yet we are told that he was STILL in his sins? Why is that? Because he had not yet been baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).

        So yes, we do need to believe to be saved. Because it has a purpose or function to cause us to want to repent, confess Jesus (Acts 8:37; Rom. 10:9-10), and be baptized FOR the forgiveness of our sins. I hope this helps you to see that I’m not trying to be combative, but felt compelled to tell you the truth for the sake of salvation.

        Kind regards,
        Aidan

      2. Hi Aiden, thanks for sharing that. Worth considering. I will share my understanding of this but can’t provide Bible verses right now because I don’t have time.

        In my thinking and study, repentance is not a separate action from believing, not something like listing off sins and asking forgiveness for them or anything like that. To repent is a change of mind, turning from yourself to God, and this happens when you believe and put your faith in Jesus. It’s not a separate action.

        And the baptism that’s required (the Bible says there is “one baptism”) is not an action we do, but a baptism by the Spirit (not the Pentacostal kind), which also happens when we believe. We, of course, encourage water baptism as a symbolic, public statement of becoming a believer, but it’s not something we do to be saved.

        In my thinking, both baptism by the Spirit and repentance are part and parcel of believing, of putting your faith in Jesus. Not separate actions. Just my two cents.

        You might want to check out videos on baptism by Kevin Thompson from Beyond the Fundamentals. He cautions against applying Acts too much to the Church because it was a transition time and because some of it has to do specifically with the Jews. Just a suggestion

      3. And I just want to thank you, Aiden, for your polite, respectful attitude. You don’t sound combative at all, but like a good conversationalist. 🙂

      4. Thanks Heather, and you sound like a very reasonable person to deal with. I will get back to you as soon as I have time.

        Aidan

      5. Aiden, I just want to add that this isn’t an issue I am sure I am right about. I don’t debate this the way I do Calvinism, but I am very open and teachable about it. This is just the way I lean right now.

        I’m not sure the required repentance and baptism are separate steps and that you won’t be saved until you do them, but I tend to think they happen when we believe.

        I do think, though, that repenting of sins and water baptism is important for the best relationship with God possible. I think it’s still important to encourage people to repent (such as in the sinner’s prayer, when we admit we are sinners and that we repent of our sins and ask God to forgive them) and to be baptized by water (I think it’s an important step and should be part of all believer’s journeys).

        I have a real problem with “free grace” people (or whatever they call it) who call people heretics and false teachers for calling others to repent and believe. They say “repentance” is adding to Scripture and that you are teaching a “false gospel”. They say the only thing required is believing, as if it can happen apart from repentance. But I don’t think that’s possible. I don’t think true belief is possible without repentance because I think repentance is turning from yourself to God (to put it simply).

        As I said, i don’t think (so far) that repentance and baptism are separate steps and that you won’t really be saved until you do them. What about the thief on the cross who didn’t have time for baptism and who, as far as we know, never said “I repent” or listed sins and asked forgiveness for them? What about a desperate person who cries out on their deathbed “God, I need you! I believe in you!”, but who dies before they can be baptized or before they say “I repent” or lists off sins they are sorry for? Would they not be saved because they couldn’t/didn’t do those things? (I’m not really asking you, Aiden, these questions. It’s things I’ve wondered about when exploring this issue.)

        Maybe it would help to define repentance and baptism? Is it physical/water baptism, sprinkling or full immersion, or a spiritual baptism? Is repentance listing sins, or saying “I repent”, or is it about consciously turning to God/Jesus?

        I tend to think the required repentance is about turning from yourself to God, and it happens when we believe. And I think the required baptism is baptism by the Spirit that happens when we believe, when the Spirit indwells us and seals us. (I am not talking about baptism in the Spirit the way those who talk in tongues do. I am not in that camp.). So when I say all we need to do is believe, I am necessarily including repentance and spiritual baptism.

        But I also think it’s important to be water baptized and to repent of known sins as we go, because I think we will miss out on the full benefits of a relationship with God if we refuse to do these things. I am just not sure we can’t be saved until we do these things.

        These are just my thoughts on it, but like I said, I am teachable in this and not sure I am right. Blessings on you as you explore this issue deeper. It’s great stuff to think about. Thanks for bringing it up. 🙂

      6. Hi, Heather, I will come back to you. I just need more time to respond to your posts because of its importance. Not to mention the fact that is after midnight here in Ireland 😎. Hopefully tomorrow evening!

        Aidan

      7. Hi Heather,
        I hope I can be as concise as possible in answering your post!
        The first question is, are the terms believe, repent, and be baptized separate commands in scripture to be obeyed? I would say yes they are.

        For example in James 2:14 he says, “What use is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?” And then in verse 19 goes on to say, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!”

        Notice that in verse 14 James uses the term “faith” but then uses the term “believe” in verse 19. So the terms faith and believe are synonymous here. And what we learn is that a person can actually “believe” and not have works. And that such faith cannot save. So, we can believe in God, and we can even believe in Jesus but not be saved. Unless we have the inclination to obey Him just like Abraham did in verses 21-23. Notice also in John 8:30-32 that it says some of the Jews “believed in Jesus.” But then rejected Him after He told them they needed to abide in His word to be set free! What’s interesting though is that they could have obeyed Him and being set free from their sin but chose not to! For He said, “if you abide in My word…the truth shall set you free.” We know they certainly couldn’t be saved until they obeyed this exhortation!

        So, what are these particular passages telling us then? They are telling us that “faith” can and does exist before works of obedience, and that none (except for the demons) will be saved until they act! They also tell us that believing does happen apart from repentance. For in John 8 the scripture says they “believed in Him” but did they repent? Certainly we would agree that they didn’t repent! Nor did those who had “faith without works” in James 2 repent! And we know that they could have repented, because they were being exhorted to a faith with action!

        There is a very good passage that I believe separates faith, repentance, and baptism in Acts 2:36-38.

        First there is the call for them to believe when Peter said:– “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36).

        They respond by asking “what shall we do” because they are convicted by Peter’s message, in other words, they believed! Notice:– “Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”(Acts 2:37).

        Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

        So, having being called to believe that this Jesus whom they had crucified was now the risen Lord and Christ at the right hand of God — they believed his message asking Peter what shall we do? So Peter tells them that they needed to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins and they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. If anything, the least we should learn from this passage is that faith, repentance, and water baptism, were all separate commands that they were called to obey that day. And that is my penny’s worth.

        But are there times we can use the terms “faith” or “believe” to describe one who obeys all of these commands? Again, I would say yes. But that is a talk for another day, I think this should be enough for now. Hopefully what I’ve tried to convey here will be clear in the way that I have put it. If not, I welcome whatever further questions or suggestions that you might have!

        Regards,
        Aidan

      8. Thank you, Aiden. I will definitely tuck what you said in the back of my mind as I continue to read the Bible to find the truth. Blessings to you. 🙂

      9. Thank you, Heather. It was a good, healthy conversation. It’s a great trait that you have in asking questions — for book , chapter, and verse, so to speak. Don’t lose that whatever you do!🙂 And if you ever come back with some answers to those questions you have, I’ll be happy to listen.

        Aidan

    2. Aidan,

      You are correct!

      James discusses what this works is in the example of what Abraham did. What did he do and why?

      His work was to sacrifice Issac.

      But why?

      Many people say it was to be OBEDIENT to God, because God told him to.

      Uh, no. He did it because he had faith in the promise of God, that his seed would continue thru Issac.

      That is why.

      He believed that in order for God to fulfill that promise, that God would have no choice but to resurrect him from the dead.

      Hebrews 11:17-19
      17  By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

      18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:

      19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

      In short, Abraham lived what he believed.

      That is works of faith.

  4. Excellent post, if I say so myself.

    One thing I might add is to biblically define what faith is, using Hebrews 11:1, and break each word down to the lowest common denominator.

    When you do that, then you discover what faith actually really is.

    Then you can finish reading all of Hebrews 11, where it states “By faith, so and so did this, By faith, so and so did that…”

    It’s clear that faith is not a gift.

    By faith. Caleb and Joshua said, “Hey, we can kick some________with these Caananites!”

    It’s because they had faith. A gift? No way.

    Then, define what works is. Be specific.

    Abraham believed God. To say that belief is a gift makes no sense at all.

    Ed Chapman.

  5. I hope that Roland, Troy, JTL and the other Calvinists that trot out Eph 2:8-9 are still looking on, cuz this article puts the stake in the heart of the Reformed misuse of this verse.

    So often they say, “So you are saving yourself with your faith, huh?” Nah.

    It is not a person’s faith that saves….. if so…. many Muslims, JW’s, Mormons, etc would be saved (cuz of their great faith in a god!!).

    It is Christ who saves. Faith in Him (the Chosen One). The following are mentioned in the Word as types of Christ’s offer on the cross:

    Passover in Egypt: The Lord provided the means of salvation: application of blood on the door

    Noah: The Lord provided the dimensions of the ark they had to build.

    Serpent-on-pole: The Lord provided but they had to believe, go, and look to live.

    Always the Lord provides….. then asks for faith in return.

    1. FOH,

      You had said that faith doesn’t save?

      What does through tell you?

      Through faith you get grace.

      So yes, faith saves.

      Abraham believed, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

      God gives the gift IF you believe. If you don’t believe, then you don’t get the gift.

      But if you do nothing once you believe, producing fruit, then what you believe is meaningless, negating out that faith, because you haven’t proven what you believe.

      Regarding JW’S Mormons, etc., they preach a different Jesus. False doctrines.

      So we can’t say that they have faith in OUR Jesus.

      They have faith in their Jesus.

      Ed Chapman

  6. “The passage should be used to teach that we are saved by God’s grace through faith, and that we could never receive this without Him.”

    This is supported elsewhere in Romans. Romans 10 tells us, “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Faith only comes through hearing the gospel. If a person does not hear the gospel, he cannot receive faith.

    Then, Romans 8, “those whom God called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” We know from Romans 5, that God justifies a person by faith. Thus, any person that God calls through the gospel will also receive faith and will be justified. Regardless whether we view faith as a gift, it is certain that those whom God calls will receive faith and will be justified. The key is that it begins with God’s call and that is by grace and that is a gift.

    There are people who cannot hear the gospel. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4, “if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ…” Satan veils the gospel to those who are perishing keeping them from seeing the gospel making it impossible to receive faith. Absent Satan’s veiling of the gospel, everyone would hear the gospel, receive faith and be saved. God removes Satan’s veiling of the gospel thereby enabling a person to hear the gospel, receive faith and be justified – that is by grace and that is a gift.

    1. rhutchin,

      You are under the delusion that faith is “given”. It’s not. Facts are given, such as the gospel. If you are convinced of the facts, then you believe the facts, and that is faith. Faith is not something that is given. Facts are.

      If you have a bus schedule in your hand, the bus schedule is the facts. If you believe the bus schedule, you will wait for the bus to arrive. Conclusion, you have faith in the bus schedule. If you didn’t have faith in the bus schedule, you would not wait for the bus at all.

      And that is what Hebrews 11:1 is all about.

      The only thing that is the gift is RIGHTEOUSNESS (which in context is the same as Grace).

      Abraham believed, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

      Good to see you back, by the way!

      Ed Chapman

    2. rhutchin,

      Oh, also, one thing that gets missed by everyone, and I do mean everyone in this debate, is that the book of Romans DISTINGUISHES the difference between Jew and Gentile.

      Your Romans 8 reference is about the Jews being “called”, “predestined”.

      And in that context, Jews are God followers THROUGH the Law of Moses, as COMMANDED by God THROUGH Moses.

      And it is God who “calls” those God followers of the Law of Moses to be Jesus followers instead of the law of Moses.

      So, Romans distinguishes the difference between Jews and Gentiles in that sense. But FEW people seem to notice that, thinking that “for there is no difference between Jew and Gentile”. Ahhhh, but there is indeed a difference. Gentiles were never under the law of Moses, and that should be the huge hint. But who notices? Not many.

      So, they (Calvinists especially) lump everyone in the same set of rules.

      Ed Chapman

      1. Ed Chapman, “Your Romans 8 reference is about the Jews being “called”, “predestined”.”

      2. Ed Chapman, “Your Romans 8 reference is about the Jews being “called”, “predestined”.”

        I agree. Paul’s point is that, even as God treated the Jews, so God will treat the gentiles. Thus, Paul writes, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?…Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.”

        Ed Chapman, “Romans distinguishes the difference between Jews and Gentiles in that sense.”

        At the same time, Paul writes, “we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin…we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.”

    3. rhutchin
      There are people who cannot hear the gospel.

      br.d
      John Calvin explains how this works in Calvinism

      John Calvin
      -quote
      The creatures…are so governed by the secret counsel of god, that NOTHING HAPPENS but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed. (Institutes, 1, Chp 16, Par. 3)

      John Calvin
      -quote
      individuals are born….doomed from the womb…..to glorify him by their destruction…….because his immutable decree had …doomed them to destruction. (Institutes 3.23.6)

      Calvin’s god essentially has 2 decrees.
      1) The decree of eternal torment in a lake of fire for his good pleasure
      This decree is for the vast majority of the creatures he creates.

      2) The decree that saves a FEW from the decree of eternal torment in a lake of fire for his good pleasure.

      So in Calvinism – what people are saved from – is Calvin’s god’s first decree.

      Calvinists are so blessed – because the MANY among them have the decree of eternal torment in the lake of fire as their personal gift!

    4. Rhutchin: “Faith only comes through hearing the gospel. If a person does not hear the gospel, he cannot receive faith.”

      Can you find a verse that shows Abraham hearing the gospel? Or Noah? Or Abel?

      And yet “All of these were still living by faith when they died.” (Hebrews 11:13)

      Where is the word “only” in the verse ““faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ”? Where does it say that faith is “received,” that it is instilled in/given to only certain preselected people? Where does it say that God gives the Holy Spirit to the elect BEFORE belief, in order to make them believe?

      Why would you quote only the end of Romans 8:30 (“those whom God called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified”) but skip Romans 8:29 where it says “For those God foreknew …”? (Why do Calvinists change “foreknew” to “fore-planned/caused”?)

      Rhutchin quotes from Romans 5 that God justifies a person by faith, but why not read on to see Romans 5:18 which says that Adam’s sin brought condemnation for ALL men but Jesus’s death brings justification for ALL men? Does the first ALL mean “all” but the second ALL mean “only the elect”? (Also note that Romans 5:17 specifies that we receive “God’s abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness,” not that we “receive FAITH,” as Calvinists claim. Is there any verse that says we “receive faith” as though it was something God instills in us to cause us to believe?)

      Why would you, Rhutchin, say “it is certain that those whom God calls will receive faith and will be justified” when the Bible shows people resisting Him: “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Hoy Spirit!” Acts 7:51. Resistance of the Holy Spirit is only possible because the Holy Spirit is calling. If He wasn’t calling, there wouldn’t be anything to “resist”.

      Rhutchin says: “There are people who cannot hear the gospel. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4, ‘… the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers…'” – making it sound as though they were blinded first, prevented from hearing/understanding the gospel or turning to God (because they were predestined to hell, of course, and never given a chance).

      But biblically, Satan does not blind preselected people to prevent them from hearing/believing the gospel, never giving them a chance to believe. He blinds those who first chose to reject God/the gospel.

      Note that the KJV says “blinded the minds of them which believe not.” They “believed not” first, and then he blinded them. Also note that the KJV does not call them “unbelievers,” a noun, as if that’s what they were created to be and can’t change it. It says they “believe not,” where belief is a verb, what we do or don’t do. Belief is an action, a choice. It’s not that we were created as “believer” or “unbeliever.” If we choose unbelief, to reject/resist God, then Satan blinds us to spiritual things. Not the other way around.

      Rom. 1:18,21,25,28: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people who suppress the truth by their wickedness… For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened… They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator… Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.”

      Clearly, they knew God, knew the truth, had the knowledge of God, but they chose to suppress/reject it, to exchange it for their own ideas … and because they chose this, God gave them over to their owns ideas, to their self-chosen blindness and hardness. Their rejection/resistance came before their hardness/blindness, not the other way around.

      Ephesians 4:17-19: “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.”

      Calvinists believe God hardens the non-elect, for hell, causing them to not want to believe in Him. But the concordance defines “hardening” in the above verse (“blindness” in the KJV) as being callous toward something, stemming from a word that describes Israelites who deliberately refused God’s ways/Will. The people hardened themselves to God first, deliberately refusing Him and His truth … and as a consequence, they became darkened in their understanding and insensitive to spiritual things. Not the other way around. God did not make them blind/ignorant at first, but they chose to be callous to Him, leading to their ignorance and insensitivity to Him.

      Also of note: “ignorance” in the above passage is not just “not knowing” or “being unaware, as if God never revealed Himself to them, never gave them a chance”. In the concordance, it’s a deliberate decision to be blind.

      Willfully blind. Deliberately ignorant. We bring hardness on ourselves by rejecting God; not “we reject God because He hardened us,” as Calvinists believe.

      Rhutchin said “God removes Satan’s veiling of the gospel thereby enabling a person to hear the gospel, receive faith and be justified.”

      Calvinists say God takes the veil off of elect people first to cause them to turn to Him.

      But 2 Cor. 2:16 says “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” When we turn to Him, AFTER we turn to Him, God takes the veil off so that we can understand. Our turning to Him comes first, just like the wicked people’s rejection of Him came first before they were blinded.

      Calvinism turns everything inside out and upside down. It’s no wonder there’s so many contradictions in it.

      1. br.d
        Asking Rhutchin a question is always an interesting prospect.

        One gets to observe the subtle art of pointing 10 fingers in 20 directions at the same time! ;-D

      2. Brd: “One gets to observe the subtle art of pointing 10 fingers in 20 directions at the same time! ;-D”

        And yet how simple the gospel is and is supposed to be. Should show us something is amiss with Calvinism.

      3. Heather, and everyone,

        You had referenced 2 Cor 3:16

        My response:

        13 And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:

        14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.

        15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.

        16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.
        —————————

        When you add verses 13 to 15 it, the Jews are the ones who are blind, due to the vail, which represented the Temple vail.

        This does not apply to Gentiles. This is why I keep harping about Jew vs. Gentile. We never had the Temple, and we never had the vail.

        Ed Chapman

      4. Ed: “You had referenced 2 Cor 3:16”

        Good catch. I got the chapter wrong. And I understand that many verses refer to the Jews, that we think refer to us all (which is part of why Calvinism gets things so wrong, especially in Romans). But I do think the concept still applies, that we decide whether to turn to God or not, and that God responds to our decision. If we turn to Him in faith, the Holy Spirit who indwells us (AFTER we believe) helps us understand spiritual things. But if we resist/reject Him and His truth, then we bring blindness/hardness on ourselves because we chose Satan over God.

      5. Heather,

        Absolutely. And you know, all this is actually simple common sense stuff that a 2 year old could understand. Well, OK, maybe 6. First Grade Elementary. But they put so much nonsense to it, that in order for THEM to understand it, they all need a 18 year college degree 6 years time how many degrees they want covering their “I Love Me” wall.

        They have no idea what faith even is, and that is why they try to pawn off the definition as a gift.

        Remember Pulp Fiction? All I will say is, “What Does Marsellus Wallace Look Like?”, “What?”

      6. Ed: “And you know, all this is actually simple common sense stuff that a 2 year old could understand. Well, OK, maybe 6. First Grade Elementary. But they put so much nonsense to it, that in order for THEM to understand it, they all need a 18 year college degree 6 years time how many degrees they want covering their “I Love Me” wall. They have no idea what faith even is, and that is why they try to pawn off the definition as a gift.”

        Exactly! 🙂

      7. Heather – “Can you find a verse that shows Abraham hearing the gospel? Or Noah? Or Abel?”

      8. Heather – “Can you find a verse that shows Abraham hearing the gospel? Or Noah? Or Abel?”

        Romans 4, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Technically, Paul said, “…hearing through the word of Christ.” In the NT and forward, that would be the gospel.

        Genesis 4, “In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering,…” That Abel knew to bring an offering tells us that he had heard the word of Christ.

        Genesis 6, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.” That Noah walked with God tells us that he had heard the word of Christ.

      9. Heather – “Where does it say that faith is “received,” that it is instilled in/given to only certain preselected people?”

      10. rhutchin
        Heather – “Where does it say that faith is “received,” that it is instilled in/given to only certain preselected people?”

        br.d
        Of course it says that in Calvinism – because every impulse that comes to pass within man’s brain is “received” in Calvinism. :-]

      11. Heather – “Where does it say that faith is “received,” that it is instilled in/given to only certain preselected people?”

        Paul wrote, “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” As faith comes from hearing, it is received when a person hears the gospel. Only those who hear the gospel receive faith.

        Heather – “Where does it say that God gives the Holy Spirit to the elect BEFORE belief, in order to make them believe?”

        The Holy Spirit is given after a person believes. Paul wrote, “In Christ you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,…

        Heather – ““For those God foreknew …”? (Why do Calvinists change “foreknew” to “fore-planned/caused”?)”

        I was not aware that Calvinists did this. generally, Calvinists say that foreknow does not mean cause, but foreknowledge would include a knowledge of the things that do cause.

        Heather – “Romans 5:18 which says that Adam’s sin brought condemnation for ALL men but Jesus’s death brings justification for ALL men?”

        17 – For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
        18 – Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

        From v17, death reigned through Adam, so v18, led to condemnation for all men through Adam. Those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness, so v18, leads to justification and life for all men who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness.

      12. rhutchin
        Heather – ““For those God foreknew …”? (Why do Calvinists change “foreknew” to “fore-planned/caused”?)”

        br.d
        Calvinist Paul Helm’s
        -quote
        His foreknowledge is simply his knowledge of what he has decreed.
        (Divine Foreknowledge – Four Views pg 12)

        Thus Calvin’s god knows every sinful evil impulse that will come into any human brain – simply because he FIRST CONCEIVES and then decrees every sinful evil impulse that will come to pass within any human brain.

        And no ALTERNATIVE impulse is permitted – because any ALTERNATIVE of that which is decreed would countervail the decree – which is not permitted.

      13. Heather – “Note that the KJV says “blinded the minds of them which believe not.” They “believed not” first, and then he blinded them.”

        Paul describes unbelievers in Romans 6, “the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” So, unbelievers:
        (1) have a mind that is set on the flesh;
        (2) are hostile to God;
        (3) do not, and cannot, submit to God’s law;
        (4) cannot please God. They have no faith per Hebrews 11.

        This is the condition of believers from birth and only changes when they hear the gospel and receive faith.

      14. rhutchin
        This is the condition of believers from birth and only changes when they hear the gospel and receive faith.

        br.d
        INTERPRETATION
        This is the condition Calvin’s god decreed to infallibly come to pass within humans- because in Calvinism – the state of man’s nature – at every nano-second in time – is 100% meticulously predestined.

        And since in man has no say in the matter of anything predestined
        And since in Calvinism everything without exception is predestined
        It follows – in Calvinism man has no say in the matter of anything.

      15. Heather – “Willfully blind. Deliberately ignorant. We bring hardness on ourselves by rejecting God; not “we reject God because He hardened us,” as Calvinists believe.”

        That is what Paul said in Romans 1, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up…”

        Heather – “Calvinists say God takes the veil off of elect people first to cause them to turn to Him.”

        God takes the veil off His elect enabling them to hear the gospel, receive faith and believe in Christ. The rest continue to be blinded by Satan and are perishing.

        Heather – “But 2 Cor. 2:16 says “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” When we turn to Him, AFTER we turn to Him, God takes the veil off so that we can understand.”

        2 Cor 3 addresses the Jews. Paul then begins chap 4, “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.” Paul’s ministry was to the gentiles so he expands the scope of what he is writing, “…the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers…” to all “unbelievers.”

      16. rhutchin
        God takes the veil off His elect enabling them to hear the gospel, receive faith and believe in Christ. The rest continue to be blinded by Satan and are perishing.

        br.d
        Calvin’s god upgrades a FEW bio-bots with a different program.

        Calvinist Robert R. McLaughlin explains:
        -quote
        “God merely *PROGRAMMED* into the divine decrees all our thoughts, motives, and actions”(The Doctrine of Divine Decree pg 4)

        The interesting thing in Calvinism however – is where Calvin’s god gives Calvinist believers a -quote “SENSE AS CAN BE FELT WITHOUT THE SPIRIT OF ADOPTION”

        Those Calvinist believers – don’t really have their program changed.
        The perceptions within their brains concerning their program changes.

        He gives the a FALSE PERCEPTION that their program has changed

        When they wake up in the lake of fire – for his good pleasure – then they’ll have a TRUE PERCEPTION of which program he gave them :-]

      17. I’m putting all these comments in one post.

        Rhutchin: “That Abel knew to bring an offering tells us that he had heard the word of Christ… That Noah walked with God tells us that he had heard the word of Christ.”

        Heather: So you said, the “word of Christ” is the gospel (“Paul said, “…hearing through the word of Christ.” In the NT and forward, that would be the gospel.”) And so you’re saying that Abel and Noah heard the gospel – that Jesus came to earth as a man to die for our sins so that we could be saved – BEFORE Jesus came to earth as a man to die for our sins so that we could be saved? Just wondering

        Rhutchin: “Heather – ‘Where does it say that faith is ‘received,’ that it is instilled in/given to only certain preselected people?’ Paul wrote, ‘faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.’ As faith comes from hearing, it is received when a person hears the gospel. Only those who hear the gospel receive faith.”

        Heather: So I guess merely repeating what you said earlier proves your case? Once again, where does it say “receive faith”? What you are doing is using Calvinist logic to read “receive faith” (as if faith were something injected into certain preselected people) into this verse. (And yet Calvinists shame non-Calvinists for using logic to understand verses!)

        Rhutchin: “The Holy Spirit is given after a person believes.”

        Heather: Exactly. He is given to those who choose to believe in Jesus, to put their faith in Him. But you might want to let the other Calvinists know that because time and time again, I hear Calvinists say that the Holy Spirit is given to the elect to regenerate them, to “wake them up spiritually,” so that they can hear/understand the gospel, believe in it and be saved, that He comes to them FIRST to give them faith to believe the gospel that they hear. (However, I’m sure that this debate would all center around what “is given” means. It would be like Bill Clinton’s “what is ‘is’?” nonsense.)

        Rhutchin: “I was not aware that Calvinists did this (changing “foreknew” to “fore-planned/caused”).”

        Heather: Well, now you are. And even if some Calvinists themselves don’t do it, Calvinism does.

        Rhutchin: “Heather – “Romans 5:18 which says that Adam’s sin brought condemnation for ALL men but Jesus’s death brings justification for ALL men?” 17 – For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. 18 – Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. From v17, death reigned through Adam, so v18, led to condemnation for all men through Adam. Those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness, so v18, leads to justification and life for all men who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness.”

        Heather: No. These verses don’t limit justification to only those who receive grace/righteousness (the elect, in Calvinism). (And note: the KJV, in verse 18, does not say “one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.” It says “by the righteousness of one the free gift comes upon all men unto justification of life.”)

        Verse 18 says that Jesus’s death bestows the free gift of eternal life on all men. But verse 17 says that only those who receive the free gift will get that eternal life. (We choose to accept or reject it.) Nowhere does it say that justification and life were only made available to “the elect.”

        Rhutchin: “Paul describes unbelievers in Romans 6, “the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” … They have no faith per Hebrews 11. This is the condition of believers from birth and only changes when they hear the gospel and receive faith.”

        Heather: Once again, where does it say we “receive faith” (as if it were something God instills in certain people)? And what do you make of Isaiah 7:16 which talks about children reaching an age where they know right from wrong, to accept the good and reject the bad? How is it possible to know the difference between right and wrong and to know to reject the wrong if unbelievers cannot discern these things, not until they “receive faith”? Could it be that “accepting the wrong” comes before and leads to setting their minds on the flesh, instead of the other way around, as Calvinists would say?

        Rhutchin: “Heather – “Calvinists say God takes the veil off of elect people first to cause them to turn to Him.” God takes the veil off His elect enabling them to hear the gospel, receive faith and believe in Christ. The rest continue to be blinded by Satan and are perishing.”

        Heather: So then when do the elect “turn to God”: before or after the veil is lifted? Answer this question, not the one you wanted to answer about when they hear the gospel and receive faith. When do the elect “turn to God”: before or after the veil is lifted? (I know you can see the Catch-22 here, making a straight answer according to Calvinism impossible. Either you will contradict the Bible or you will contradict Calvinism.)

        This is all I have time for, gotta go to Bible study with a neighbor who is a new believer. Her aunt does it with us too.
        She left her church because of Calvinism also, so we have lots to talk about and lots of warning for the new believer about what to watch out for.

      18. And before a Calvinist accuses me of being a universalist for saying “These verses don’t limit justification to only those who receive grace/righteousness” … I am saying that they don’t limit the OFFER of justification/eternal life to the elect only, which is evident in what I wrote after that (but I know how Calvinists like to find one section of what we write and pull it out of context to set up a strawman argument). The offer is given to all because Jesus’s death covered all, but only those who accept it will get it.

      19. heather
        And before a Calvinist accuses me of being a universalist….

        br.d
        The irony about the Calvinist using universalism as a strawman – is the fact that Calvinism is much more closer to universalism than NON-Calvinism is.

        In both cases – a THEOS is the sole and exclusive determiner, humans are predestined for some eternal end – and have no say in the matter of that which is predestined.

        So that Calvinist tactic actually back-fires on him.
        He’s just to irrational a thinker to recognize it! :-]

    5. rhutchin,

      You had said:
      There are people who cannot hear the gospel.

      My response:

      Romans 15:21
      21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.

      1. Paul wrote, “if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ…”

        Those whom Satan blinds to the gospel cannot hear the gospel.

      2. rhutchin
        Those whom Satan blinds to the gospel cannot hear the gospel.

        br.d
        How that works in Calvinism:

        1) Calvin’s god decrees every impulse that will come to pass within Satan’s brain:
        John Calvin
        -quote
        The devil, and the whole train of the ungodly…..can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor how they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as he………..COMMANDS; …they are….FORCED to do Him service.” (Institutes I, 17, 11)

        2) Calvin’s god decrees every impulse that will come to pass within the human brain:
        John Calvin
        -quote
        The creatures…are so governed by the secret counsel of god, that NOTHING HAPPENS but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed. (Institutes, 1, Chp 16, Par. 3)

        Calvinist Paul Helm’s
        -quote
        Not only is every thought and desire kept in being by god, but EVERY TWIST AND TURN of each of these is under the DIRECT CONTROL of god (The Providence of God pg 22)

        And this includes the Calvinist brain – whom Calvin’s god designed as CHAFF:
        -quote
        The Lord….instills into their minds such A SENSE….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….strikes them with even greater blindness (Institutes 3.24.8)

        Calvinists are so blessed to have a god who determines every impulse that will come to pass in their brain.

        And especially blessed to be given a FALSE SENSE of salvation.

        Where can I sign up for that! 😀

  7. References to Romans 5 and 6 could provide additional reinforcement. Romans 6:23 – “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:17 speaks of ” the gift of righteousness.” which harmonizes with Rom 6:23 in that the gift of Christ’s righteousness makes one fit for eternal life.

  8. Heather: “so you’re saying that Abel and Noah heard the gospel”

    Paul tells us that faith comes through the word of Christ. So, Abel and Noah, and all OT believers heard the word of Christ expressed in some manner – perhaps directly through a communication from God or through the reading of the scriptures. In Hebrews, we read, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son,…” Today, the word of Christ is expressed in the gospel and the gospel is comprised of the totality of Scripture.
    +++

    Heather: So I guess merely repeating what you said earlier proves your case? Once again, where does it say “receive faith”?”

    Paul wrote, “the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in Christ will not be put to shame’…For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?…So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

    A person does not have faith and then faith comes to the person who hears the gospel (or hears about Christ). Because faith “comes” to the person we conclude that the person “receives” faith.
    +++

    Heather: But you might want to let the other Calvinists know that because time and time again, I hear Calvinists say that the Holy Spirit is given to the elect to regenerate them…”

    Jesus explains in John 3 that a person is born again by the Holy Spirit. The person who is born again is then able to see the kingdom of God and enter the kingdom of God (i.e., be saved). The Holy Spirit uses the gospel to bring about the new birth, as Peter tells us, “you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;” When the Calvinist says that the Holy Spirit is given to the elect to regenerate them, they should do mean that the Holy Spirit indwells them to accomplish this. They should mean that the Holy Spirit is the means by which a person is born again. A person must be born again and receive faith in order to be saved. Which comes first is the source of much discussion.
    +++

    Rhutchin: “I was not aware that Calvinists did this (changing “foreknew” to “fore-planned/caused”).”
    Heather: Well, now you are. And even if some Calvinists themselves don’t do it, Calvinism does.

    I think Calvinism says that God knows what He has ordained so that His plan, including all that He plans to do, is known to God from eternity past. I am pretty sure that Calvinism does not make “foreknowledge” to mean “cause.” God, who has foreknowledge of what He will do is the cause of the things He does.
    +++

    Heather: “Verse 18 says that Jesus’s death bestows the free gift of eternal life on all men. But verse 17 says that only those who receive the free gift will get that eternal life. (We choose to accept or reject it.) Nowhere does it say that justification and life were only made available to ‘the elect.’

    The verse says “so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.” Context from v17 says, “much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” Paul ties “those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness” in v17 to “justification and life for all men.” We know that “those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness” – the elect – also receive “justification and life.” How this transpires is not addressed in this verse, i.e., whether “We choose to accept or reject it.” The final outcome is that only the elect receive justification and life.
    +++

    Heather: “How is it possible to know the difference between right and wrong and to know to reject the wrong if unbelievers cannot discern these things, not until they “receive faith”?”

    I think that is Paul’s point. It is not possible. That is why Paul says in Romans 3, ““None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good, not even one.” In addition, Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” Man is born Totally Depraved – hostile to God and unable to keep His law – and it is impossible for any person to come to Christ without God drawing him to Christ.
    +++

    Heather: “So then when do the elect “turn to God”: before or after the veil is lifted? Answer this question, not the one you wanted to answer about when they hear the gospel and receive faith. When do the elect “turn to God”: before or after the veil is lifted?”

    Paul wrote, “In Christ you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit…”

    “heard the word of truth” precedes “believed in him.” In order to hear the word of truth, the veil must be lifted. So, the veil is lifted, the person hears the gospel, the person believes in Christ (i.e., turns to God).

    1. I’m letting Rhutchin have the last word. I’m too tired for this right now. So if someone else wants to jump in, feel free.

      1. rhutchin is doing what every Calvinist has the urgency to do

        Trying to force the square peg of EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM into the round hole of scripture. :-]

      2. Heather does ask a lot of questions. Responding to them can be exhausting especially when they lead to even more questions.

      3. Rhutchin: “Responding to them can be exhausting especially when they lead to even more questions.”

        This is exactly my point in asking the questions I do – to get you (and others) to think about things deeper, to explore it all more by asking more questions so that we can get deeper into the Bible to see what it really says and if it does or does not support Calvinism. If we stopped at the pat answers and the Bible verses Calvinists throw out, without questioning it or examining it closely to see if it holds up, then we will be easy pickings for errors and deception.

        Plus, the more a Calvinist answer questions, the more we can see the things they hid the first time around, the contradictions, and the errors in their logic. 😉

      4. Also, I just wanted to point out something about Rhutchin’s use of Romans 5:17-18. He clearly quotes the ESV which makes it seem like verse 17 flows right into verse 18. But in the KJV, there is a “closed parentheses” before verse 18. Verse 18 is not a continuation of verse 17, as the ESV makes it seem. The “therefore” in verse 18 is not referring to verse 17, but to verse 12, before the parenthetical verses in the KJV: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”

        Just wanted to point this out because Rhutchin is basing his understanding of verse 18 on verse 17, using verse 17’s “who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness” to determine who is included in the second “all men” in verse 18.

      5. Heather,

        The one thing that I always notice from Calvinists constant mention of Romans 5, is that they think that Romans 5 is about SPIRITUAL DEATH, rather than NATURAL DEATH.

        And to top that off, they don’t even consult 1 Corinthians 15:42-46, regarding the word “Sown” (Planted). If they did, they would realize that Adam was gonna die ANYWAY, and why? Not because of sin, but because he was made of DIRT, and he FAILED at eating of the tree of life in the garden.

        He was made WEAK, DISHONORABLE, with a DYING BODY (CORRUPTION)…and God called that GOOD.

        So, Genesis 2:17 is not discussing Romans 5, and Romans 5 is not discussing Genesis 2:17.

        There is a difference between spiritual death, and natural death.

        But Romans 2:14-16 tells us that God gave everyone a CONSCIENCE. Laws written in our hearts.

        The only thing we inherited from Adam was NATURAL DEATH, all because he did not eat of the tree of life.

        And guess what? He could have gotten eternal life in a fallen state, had God not blocked access to that tree. But the reason that God blocked access was because Adam was SPIRITUALLY DEAD.

        The only thing that gets us spiritual death is KNOWLEDGE OF THE LAW, hence the wording that Paul uses in Romans 7:7-9.

        And he, being a Jew, got that knowledge at Bar Mitzvah, age 13. So from Age zero to 13, Paul was spiritually alive, so therefore, no one is born spiritually dead.

        As a matter of fact, not everyone dies a spiritual death…BUT WE ALL DIE A NATURAL DEATH.

        So, anyone who believes in Original Sin has confused and conflated Romans 5 to say something that it doesn’t.

        Especially in light of verse 13, that no one references but me.

        Ed Chapman

      6. ““receive” in verse 17 is active in the Greek, not passive. The person reaches out and grabs ahold of the eternal life that is offered.”

        The active voice tells us who receives in v17, “they” receive. The passive voice would be “are received,” with no identification of the recipient. It has nothing to do with the manner in which something is received. Paul identifies “they” as “many be made righteous,” in v19.

        Thus, v18 tells us, “even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life,” and we know this is the “many be made righteous” in v19. Then, v17, even though in parenthesis, still identifies the “many” as “they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness.” Nothing in this passage tells us how the “many” receive grace. However, we know from Romans 10:17, that they are the ones who hear the gospel and receive faith. Romans 5, begins, “Therefore being justified by faith,…” so we know that the gift of righteousness is through faith.

      7. rhuthcin
        Nothing in this passage tells us how the “many” receive grace.

        br.d
        In Calvinism – that is simple

        Calvin’s god – at the foundation of the world – CONCEIVES in his mind – every person he will create/design – specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his good pleasure.

        In Calvinism – those people are “THE MANY”

        Those people whom Calvin’s god does not FIRST CONCEIVE in his mind for that purpose – are called “THE FEW”

        To get a picture of the proportions we simply take 100 objects and put them into a box – and ask ourselves – what the number of “A FEW” would represent.

        For most people – “A FEW” is probably going approximate something around the number of 10.

        So we can approximate that Calvin’s god CONCEIVES about 90% of human creatures specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire for his good pleasure.

      8. Also of note is that “receive” in verse 17 is active in the Greek, not passive. The person reaches out and grabs ahold of the eternal life that is offered. It’s not that God instills it in them while they passively sit there and let Him. Some will choose to grab ahold of the eternal life that God offers to all people, but the rest will choose to reject it even though they could have accepted it.

      9. Maybe I am misunderstanding your understanding of “receive” in the active voice, Rhutchin. But it seems to me that all you are doing is identifying the subject “they,” as if “they” have nothing to do with the action of receiving, as if it’s done to them, not by them, thereby turning it to the passive voice.

        But from everything I read, active voices mean that the subject is carrying out the verb, “they” do the action of “receiving.”. So yes, it does have to do with the manner of receiving.

        A passive voice would have the “receiving” being done to them. An active voice is about they themselves doing the receiving, which is confirmed in the concordance which says that “receive” is grabbing ahold of something that is offered. NOT having something injected into you, which is how Calvinists see things.

        Take this as you will. I know nothing will convince you to question your precious Calvinist views. And now, you may have the last word. I will be offline for awhile now that school is starting up again.

    2. Rhutchin,

      Genesis 4:26
      then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.

      Romans 10:13
      For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

      Calvinism really has a hard time defining what faith is. IF you think that faith is a gift of God, you might be a redneck!

      Ed Chapman

      1. EdChapman: “IF you think that faith is a gift of God, you might be a redneck!”

        Paul wrote, “those whom God called he also justified,…” We know from Romans 5, that a person is justified by faith. So, each and every person whom God calls to Christ just happens to receive faith by which God justifies him. Coincidence? or Brought about by God (a gift)?

      2. rhuthcin
        Coincidence? or Brought about by God (a gift)?

        br.d
        As well as the gift of FALSE faith – which Calvin’s god lovingly gives to the greater percentage of Calvinists – because he created/designed then to be CHAFF.

        John Calvin explains
        -quote
        But the Lord….instills INTO THEIR MINDS a SENSE….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….strikes them with even greater blindness (Institutes 3.24.8)

        Calvinists are so blessed to have that!!!

        I just can’t see why everyone doesn’t want that special loving gift of FALSE faith!! ;-D

    3. rhutchin,

      You had said:
      A person does not have faith and then faith comes to the person who hears the gospel (or hears about Christ). Because faith “comes” to the person we conclude that the person “receives” faith.

      My response:

      So, you have in your hand a bus schedule, and you are waiting at the bus stop. This is the very first time you have ever been to that bus stop. The schedule indicates that the bus will arrive in ten minutes. Do you believe the bus schedule?

      Do you have faith in the bus schedule if you are waiting for the bus? What does Hebrews 11:1 state?

      If so, who gave you that faith to wait? GOD?

      THINK, MAN, THINK!

      It came from your own intellect, not someone else’s.

      1. br.d
        One day in the life of a Calvinist:

        Calvin’s world – is a world in which NO impulse can come to pass within a human brain – unless that impulse is specifically decreed to infallibly and irresistibly come to pass within that specific human brain.

        Now – the magic trick the Calvinist magician is faced with – is how to make the square-peg of Calvin’s world fit into the round-hole of scripture!

        We cannot let people know that in Calvinism – no impulse can come to pass within the human brain without a specific decree – because they will surely know that is not coherent with scripture.

        This is going to require we OBFUSCATE the foundational core of our system!

        How to accomplish both of those tasks???

        Hmmm!
        This is definitely going to require some advanced magic!
        This is a test of the Calvinist magician!

        AH! I know!
        We will call the impulse of “Faith” a gift!
        And in the process – we will simply OBFUSCATE the fact that in Calvinism no impulse can come to pass within the human brain that is not specifically decreed.

        PRESTO!
        The impulse of “Faith” infallibly and irresistibly pops into the human brain!

        One day in the life of a Calvinist! ;-D

      2. EdChapman: “It came from your own intellect, not someone else’s.”

        I agree. Faith was triggered by you hearing the gospel. If you do not hear the gospel, you do not receive faith.

      3. rhutchin
        I agree. Faith was triggered by you hearing the gospel.

        br.d
        Notice how Calvin’s god infallibly decreeing whatsoever comes to pass (within the human brain) suddenly disappears like a magician’s disappearing rabbit trick! ;-D

        The impulse of “Faith” is triggered by something a person does
        Rather than by a decree which Calvin’s god does.

        When a Calvinist doesn’t want you to see the underlying foundation of his doctrine – he knows how to make it magically disappear! ;-D

  9. Hi. Forgive my ignorance, but why is option 3, the gift is “been saved through faith” ruled out? Thanks.

    1. Welcome Paul. I don’t think it was. Salvation by grace through faith is the gift. Actually I think the word “riches” (neuter singular) in verse 7, fits well as the antecedent. The “riches of His grace” is not of ourselves.

  10. Not random thoughts.

    Ephesians 2:8-10 is not separate from chapter 1 and all in chapter 2! ( And all the follows of course.)

    2:15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.

    “We”, together, have been given the ministry of reconciliation , having been reconciled . And “you”
    Ephesians is a great book to read back to back, twice through, with “you” as the 1 family and “you” the individual in the family, as “we” are related to the context.

    Word study reconciliation and reconcile with context: https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=Reconciliation+&version=ESV
    https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=reconcile&version=ESV

    Repeating 2:8-10 , I see a great correspondence to John 3.When those who are “condemned already” come to truly believe John 3:12-21/Numbers21:4-9 understand the masterpiece/workmanship/
    handiwork of God, they see the command of the good works God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. So, it is of the man who come to be born from above, yes, born again , a second time. The handiwork of God, the Spirit in the flesh, repeating their Savior, together, as O(o)ne: John 12:and*44-50*.

    God placed the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden. We think for a reason. Our ability to freely not refuse to love the truth was and is fully functioning . Like our parents we still can choose the good, not refusing God cover our shame . 2+2=4 was good truth, we cable of understanding after our parents sinned and after they did not refuse God’s skin covering.

    It is those who refuse to love the truth God then deludes. 2Thess&Romans1.

    When people define revealed details as if they are the revealed whole of the Word of God , from beginning to end, do they miss their choice to understand the Big Picture of God’s revelation, thereby, misrepresenting the biggest picture over the details?

    About details : Matthew18:5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,[a] it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

    Does God lie?
    Who was a murdered and liar from the beginning?

    John 8:44
    You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

    The Good News JesusChrist won 1Cor15/Rev 22:17/ Rev 22:20-21 /1Cor15 worth repeating . His living and active word, encouraging us who are reconciled together, as we are watching&waiting , singing Amen&Amen 💞👣🎶

    Rev 1:17-19 … As He walks among us until the end what assembly will not have its lampstand taken from them? Worth repating Rev 22:*17

    1. Hello Tammy and thank you for your post

      Just to let you know – we are having a little trouble with people posting links to other webs sites.
      So we are asking people to refrain from doing so.
      Your links were of course benine because they are simply links to Bible references
      However – we will have someone complain that we allowed you to post links while they were not.
      So we are simply asking all participants to refrain from posting links.

      Sincere thanks
      br.d

  11. Ephesians 2:4-9 NKJV with insertions in brackets:
    “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, [this occurred in their baptism, ( cf. Col. 2:12-13; Rom. 6:3-5)] that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith [Grace is God’s part, but faith is our part in obtaining salvation], and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God [even though faith is our part, whether it be the plan of salvation, or just salvation itself, it is not OF ourselves, it is the gift of God] not of works, lest anyone should boast [ And just like it is not OF ourselves, even though “ourselves” are involved, equally it is not OF works even though there are “conditions” involved such as repentance and baptism ( cf. verses 5-6).”

    Ephesians 2:10 NKJV
    “FOR we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” [Yes indeed, His workmanship not ours].

    Aidan

    1. Hi Aiden,
      In history on this sight we have covered our positions on baptism. As related to H2O baptism i will agree to disagree . While i support H2O baptism, according to the scriptures, my view here would related to the baptism of suffering.

      “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, [this occurred in their baptism, ( cf. Col. 2:12-13; Rom. 6:3-5)]

      But, i would definitely also draw attention to this verse in Ephesians 2 to support the context of 2:8-10 about God’s offered gift of unmerited/undeserved favor, through faith.
      I ‘do’ believe, living and active in The Faith He paid in full, not by my works and too , knowing, , so that no one can boast.
      Hebrews11:6

      Prepared in advance?Of foremost/1st importance that His bride shall proclaim/preach The Good News, even in a baptism of suffering( to include suffer false judgments) for the dead. 1Cor15/Mark 10:37-39

      Can a city set on a Hill be hidden? : Matthew 5:1-*16 ( John 3/Ephesians 2 , 6:10-18 to the End of the Chapter, being about the good works prepared in advance for us to do) May we continue to encourage each other Rev 22:17 as we Amen and Amen Rev 22:20-21. May our neighbors see&hear the love our Sovereign LORD sets before them that they may to come, not refusing to love the truth He paid in full and proved it in the resurrection and in accordance with the scriptures. 2Peter3:and*9

      1. Hi Tammy,

        I don’t think Ephesians 2:5-6 can be referring to a baptism of suffering as the language is pretty much parallel to Col. 2:12-13 which is also speaking about initial salvation. Only water baptism is associated with forgiveness of sins.

      2. Aidan,

        You had said:
        “Only water baptism is associated with forgiveness of sins.”

        My response:
        John baptized with water, and the purpose…repentance, not forgiveness.

        And if Cornelius got the Holy Spirit (the goal of Baptism) prior to taking a bath, then the water did what, exactly? He was already in the Family of God once he got the Holy Spirit, meaning, sins already forgiven. So what did that water really do?

        Ed Chapman

      3. Ed,

        I’ve got news for you, this is not about John’s baptism but baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.

        Secondly, if baptism in the Holy Spirit is for salvation, why were the apostles baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5, 2:1-4)? Try reading the context of Acts 2 and Acts 10 to see what the purpose of Holy Spirit baptism was for!

        Third, it is not the water that does anything when one is baptized, but rather, God who does the saving.

      4. Aidan,

        The Holy Spirit is GOD. Let’s not forget that.

        The Holy Spirit is GOD INSIDE YOU, aka BORN AGAIN, aka ETERNAL LIFE. And the Apostles got that long before Acts 2, when Jesus BREATHED on them after his resurrection. The rest of the disciples got it in Acts 2.

        Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the ONLY Baptism needed. The water does NOTHING MAGICAL.

        And yes,Cornelius got saved without that water.

        In addition, God only does the saving if you believe it. If you don’t, he won’t. Believing is indeed “OF YOURSELVES” in which you can boast. That’s allowed.

        And as far as HIS WORKMANSHIP…that is AFTER we are saved, not before.

        Ed Chapman

      5. Ed,

        No argument about who the Holy Spirit is and that He indwells those who are saved. But you really need to pay attention to the context of Acts 2 and Acts 10.

        Jesus tells the apostles in Acts 1:5 that THEY were going to be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now, aka, Pentecost. Try reading Acts 1 before you read Acts 2. Only the Apostles were baptized with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost — NOT BEFORE the day of Pentecost.

        You need to get it out of your head that the water does ANYTHING MAGICAL, it doesn’t.

        FOR (gar) we are His workmanship is an explanation of what was said before.

      6. Tammy,

        You had referenced 1 Cor 15, regarding baptism for the dead.

        I must disagree with you in regards to the actual context of the discussion.

        Paul was saying that some people don’t believe in an afterlife (resurrection of the dead).

        12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

        Therefore, they are following Jesus IN THIS LIFE only. They believe that when you die, that’s the end of the story.

        19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

        And it is in this context that Paul states:

        29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

        In other words, why waste your time being baptized if you don’t believe in resurrection of the dead?

        That’s the context. I had to find out about the real context, because when I studied a bit of Mormonism, I wanted to find out why they knock on people’s caskets. They site 1 Cor 15:29 as their authority to do so. But that’s not what it states at all, if you read the rest of the story.

        Ed Chapman

  12. Hi Ed,
    1Cor 15:

    29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on
    behalf
    of the dead?
    If the dead
    are not raised at all,
    why are people baptized on their behalf?
    30 Why are we in danger every hour?
    31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord,

    I die every day!

    32 What do I gain
    if, humanly speaking,

    I fought with beasts at Ephesus?
    If the dead are not raised,

    “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”[d]

    34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame. (See 1Cor11)

    Why are Paul and others willing to risk even their life , willing to be baptized for the dead, putting themselves in dangers way to proclaim and preach to gospel? Because JesusChrist was bodily resurrected from the dead, and those who come to believe will be bodily resurrected to Life, too.

    We have died and our life is hidden with Christ in God, whether in life or death.

    JesusChrist won and we have a peace that transcends understanding as we proclaim The Good News to our neighbor that they may come, too.
    —-
    2Cor2:

    14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives
    in
    Christ’s triumphal procession
    and uses us
    to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.

    15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those [those being the dead] who are being saved and those who are perishing.

    16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life.

    And who is equal to such a task?17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity,as those sent from God.

    —-

    We are God’s masterpiece/workmanship/handiwork, our foremost/1st importance work prepared in advance for us to do. ( 🙂 keeping the related focus on Ephesians 2:8-10 and the ministry of reconciliation.

    Your interpretation did not persuade me to change my interpretive position. If mine does not persuade you at the point we interpret 1Cor15 differently i am content to agree to disagree. I understand what you put forth.

    I would again bring forward Mark 10:37-39 to support Paul as speaking of a baptism ( his ) as being a baptism for the dead, as it relates to suffering, even death to reach out to the “dead” with The Good News over death.

    Persuaded?

    PS: For those who reach out to Mormons- i have seen the ‘light bulb’ go on when one sees what is simply spoken by Paul in the context ,and that baptism/baptize has a word meaning all its own and H2O in not always necessarily present.

    1. Ed, Small correction on my word communication : “as being a baptism for the dead,”

      To

      ‘as being a baptism on behalf of the dead’ i should have typed

      😊 Thanks

    2. Tammy,

      Nope, I am not persuaded in the least. I stand by what I said.

      Notice that your verse 29 states, “ON BEHALF OF THE DEAD”?

      Again, context is about those who are becoming Christians that don’t even believe in an afterlife. And that is the context of verse 29.

      The wording that your version chose to use is quite deceptive.

      Then you state:
      “Why are Paul and others willing to risk even their life , willing to be baptized for the dead…”

      My response:

      12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

      13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

      14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

      15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

      16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

      17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

      18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

      19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

      Again, the context is, is that if you don’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead, DON’T BOTHER BEING BAPTIZED AT ALL. You are wasting your time!

      Ed Chapman

      1. Hi Ed,
        I had sent this immediately after my post, before your last response.

        “TAMMY
        SEPTEMBER 10, 2022 AT 3:45 PM
        Ed, Small correction on my word communication : “as being a baptism for the dead,”

        To

        ‘as being a baptism on behalf of the dead’ i should have typed

        😊 Thanks”

        As to the translation i “chose”: i would have been content with any number of translations to express the same position.

        Note: The BSB does translate “for”:

        29If these things are not so, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them? 30And why do we endanger ourselves every hour? 31I face death every day, brothers, as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for human motives, what did I gain? If the dead are not raised,

        The inter-liner from greek to english, on bible hub , translates to “for”.

        The Strong’s concordance definitions:
        tion: over, beyond, on behalf of, for the sake of, concerning
        Usage: gen: in behalf of; acc: above.

        HELPS Word-studies
        5228 hypér (a preposition) – properly, beyond (above); (figuratively) to extend benefit (help) that reaches beyond the present situation.

        5228 /hypér (“beyond”) is usually best translated “for the betterment (advantage) of,” i.e. focusing on benefit. M. Vincent, “5228 (hypér) signifies something like ‘in the interests of the truth . . . concerning.’ J. B. Lightfoot (on Gal 1:4) . . . remarks that hypér has ‘a sense of interest in,’ which is wanting to peri” (WS).

        [5228 (hypér) naturally expresses conferring benefit, i.e. for the sake of “betterment” (improvement, extending benefit).]

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