Reformed Theology: God's Grace

JeffLogan's picture

This discussion will be limited to the discussion of God's grace as it pertains to Reformed Theology.

Barry writes,

I would like to suggest that we explore the topic of "God's Grace " as it relates specifically to the process of one's coming to salvation. I personally am particularly interested in the doctrine of "Prevenient Grace", however, at ElderDad's suggestion which points out our primary forum theme, addressing the RT position termed "Irresistible Grace" first is the more appropriate approach.

So, if this approach is acceptable, I would invite someone to begin this thread by first defining the term, then giving a brief re-cap of the history of "TULIP", and concluding with Scriptural references supporting the concept. That should get us rolling.

Barring objections, I would encourage someone in the Reformed camp to please begin.

Grace and peace to all.

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Suggested Structure: (Best if viewing options set: Threaded Collapsed | Oldest First | 200/page |)

(The first 3 headings are reserved for Reformed Theology Adherents ONLY)

Defining the terms (No opposing views here)
     Irresistible Grace
     Prevenient Grace
     etc...
Brief re-cap of the history of "TULIP" (No opposing views here)
     Early History
     Later History
     Unfolding History/Current Understanding
Scriptural references supporting the concept (No opposing views here)
     Irresistible Grace
     Prevenient Grace
     etc...
1st Discussion: Irresistible Grace
2nd Discussion: Prevenient Grace
3rd Discussion: etc...

bwarddvm's picture

Re: Jeff: Arminianish support

Hey, Jeff

Thanks very much for your response. That WAS a brief response by your standards. LOL My response to your response follows. I have mostly put my replies in all caps to distinguish mine from yours not as if I am shouting at you, but simply because I have not figured out to utilize bold print in this format. I type in bold print on word processor, but when I paste it here it comes out in regular print. (?)

Jeff, I would first point out your Scripture references from Ephesians and Romans employ passages that are addressed specifically to believers and are applicable to them only and not to unbelievers. Certainly unbelievers can and should be exposed to these teachings in the hopes that they would understand the things with which God specifically blesses those who believe (as well as the trials also, which many other Scriptures address). But in their unredeemed state people are not able to receive these on a spiritual level although certainly spiritual "seeds" can be planted in their minds which God will bring to fruition at a future time if they are among His elect.

In the Titus 2 passage: Titus 2: "11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches (US, NOT EVERYBODY) to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

BARRY: I suggest he term "all men" likely refers to men from all nations and tribes without regard to status, gender, or any other personal qualities. Titus himself was a Gentile convert.

Thus regarding your assessment of this reference, let me interject in parentheses proposed corrections or questions. Jeff: "That this saving grace teaches men (ALL MEN?) to act in a certain way strongly suggests that a learning process is occurring and as we know learning involves knowledge, comprehension, and homework. And to what end? That the will of man might come into line with God's will. (I AGREE WITH THE FOLLOWING CONCLUDING THOUGHTS BUT ONLY IN THE CONTEXT THAT 'WE' AND 'US' REFER TO BELIEVERS) As we strive to be like God from an intelligent appreciation of His character, and determine to be like Him because we love Him, our efforts are not in vain. God works through our will to conform us to His image. Living faith involves both belief and works. Without these works mentioned here in Titus, and again in 2 Peter 1, we would not receive effective benefit from the training. Discipleship involves discipline. Both correction and determined imitation. Like the man who found the buried treasure, we must put effort to obtain that which we recognize as being of great price"

Jeff: John 1: 10-13 sees "His own" as meaning the Elect. (I SUGGEST "HIS OWN" IS REFERRING TO THE JEWS, JESUS BEING A JEW HIMSELF, NOT A REFERENCE TO THE ELECT UNTO SALVATION) "That this saving grace teaches men to act in a certain way strongly suggests that a learning process is occurring and as we know learning involves knowledge, comprehension, and homework. And to what end? That the will of man might come into line with God's will. As we strive to be like God from an intelligent appreciation of His character, and determine to be like Him because we love Him, our efforts are not in vain. God works through our will to conform us to His image. Living faith involves both belief and works. Without these works mentioned here in Titus, and again in 2 Peter 1, we would not receive effective benefit from the training. Discipleship involves discipline. Both correction and determined imitation. Like the man who found the buried treasure, we must put effort to obtain that which we recognize as being of great price." (AGAIN YOUR 'WE' AND 'US' MUST REFER TO THE REDEEMED)

BARRY: "From death in Sin to Alive in Christ" your quotes from Romans 6 are Paul's words to roman Christians after they had been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and had received salvation by faith. Before that regeneration they could not comprehend the word on a spiritual level and, thus, would NOT have responded. We cannot take Scriptures directed to and applicable to young Christian believers and apply the to the unregenerate as being understandable beyond their natural intellectual abilities. As noted in 6:19 the Christian will always retain a remnant of his "natural mind" that will war against his the truths of his faith, but because he is regenerate and has believed he will see and spiritually comprehend those truths and be convicted of the errors (sins) of his old natural self.

Jeff: I am not sure how you can be confused on this point (how can one come from spiritual death to spiritual life so the he is enabled to believe) when you clearly understand that God can make this happen for His elect. It is all of God. But in my view God does not force His will upon us but He reasons with us presenting life and death. One of sound reasoning (BUT UNLESS REGENERATED ONE CANNOT POSSESS SOUND SPIRITUAL REASONING) would always choose life and that is the opening wedge(IF THERE IS A WEDGE, GOD HAD TO CREATE IT; DEAD FOLKS CAN'T WEDGE ANYTHING) by which Christ gains entrance into the heart. When the human (DEAD HUMAN??) opens the door, God's spirit begins an inner work. That does not mark new birth nor does it indicate that a new birth has already occurred. (THEN YOU AGREE THE HUMAN IS STILL SPIRITUALLY DEAD AT THIS POINT?) That spark is merely an attraction at this point which causes man to look more closely at this things he has encountered which entices his curiosity and appears to answer a deep inner desire.

The remaining are all Barry's comments:

Let me speak just a bit from a viewpoint of logic, Jeff. I know I have razzed you before for employing too much philosophy and human logic in your compositions, but I do believe a balance is needed so long as there is Scriptural basis for our logic. God has given us minds with varying degrees of intelligence which we are to employ with the aid of the Holy Spirit in comprehending the gist of His messages to us. You seem to be one blessed with abundant intelligence. So tell me if this scenario is logical and, if so, please point out where is it is both logical but inconsistent with Scripture.

Man is born in a condition of spiritual deadness. This produces the following: Spiritual things are foolishness to him. He and all others in their natural state are at enmity with God and never seek after Him.

Only God can bring such a man to spiritual life so that spiritual things no longer appear foolish to him and he then has at that point, at very least, an open curiosity to seek God. God, in His mercy and by His grace, sovereignly brings regeneration (spiritual life) to certain individuals termed His "elect". Once regenerated he is then free to embrace God, the things of God, see his sins for the terrible offense they are to God and seek forgiveness and redemption in Christ. He then is truly free to exercise his choice to choose to ask for God's forgiveness and redemption and to receive them on faith; a faith that is truly his and yet a free gift from God.

Here we have the basis for the Reformed belief that "regeneration must precede faith" for without regeneration it is not possible for one to exercise saving faith. Now, I ask you is this not a very logical progression that is consistent with Scripture? Can you not logically see that faith cannot produce regeneration (being born again) thus it cannot precede it? God is the only One who can regenerated thus the initiative and completion must be 100% from God as man is not able to participate whatsoever in his own rebirth because he is "dead". That is one of the foundational points that Reformed Theology tries to get across.

Thanks again, Jeff for your input!

Grace and peace,

Barry




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