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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Subtle Humanism of Arminianism

Why is it that so many people would describe themselves as Arminian in their theology?
Jacobus Arminius believed God's election was determined by the free will or choice of man.
He believed everyone was capable of choosing to believe.

Okay, so everyone likes the idea of choice.  Why?   Is it not because we want to feel we can control our destiny?  Is there not a bit of pride there to want to say that we did something to help effect salvation?
When the Bible talks about receiving, what do we focus on?  Is it us taking something, or is it God's giving something?
How are dead blind sinners able to receive anything?

Acts 16:14 God opened Lydia's heart to respond to what Paul spoke about.

Ephesians 5:2-10  Christians were formerly dead in their sins, and God made them alive.  
Can a dead person choose to make themselves alive?

Who is Sovereign in salvation?  Do you believe that God is all powerful, or do you believe that He is impotent to save anyone He chooses?  Do you really believe that God's power is dependent on your will?   

John 6:37 All that the Father gives to Jesus will come to Him.

John 3:3  To be saved you must be born again.  This is literally translated as "born from above."

Romans 9:16  So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. (ESV)
So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. (NASB)

If you truly believe that people can choose, then could not any and all of God's plans go wrong?
Do you really believe He only looked down the corridors of time and decided that He'd use the death of His Son for salvation without orchestrating it?  Do you believe God is Sovereign and omnipotent or not?   Do you believe God's omniscience is limited or controlled by what we do?
See, those who believe in the doctrines of grace do believe people do have responsibility within the nature they have.  A dead enslaved to sin person can choose to fulfill their sin nature.  It is what we all would do, if God didn't make some alive and to desire Him.

John 10:27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
It is God's sheep that hear His voice.

The crux of the matter is what we believe about God and His character.  
If we believe that we are sovereign in salvation, then that is not the Gospel I find in the Bible.

While many make "decisions" to be "Christians," true Christians will be known by their fruit.  
True Christians will repent and manifest a changed life.  It may be gradual, but if there is no evidence at all, there is no true saving faith.  When the root is there, the fruit will be there.   Still, we must be cautious, because think of Peter who denied Christ three times.  Paul did things that he didn't want to do.  So, as what you might call a Calvinist, I do believe that true Christians can struggle with unwanted sin at times. 
Sin should not be dominating the life or excused.   It isn't a matter of losing salvation.  It's a matter of whether one truly is a Christian or a counterfeit "Christian."

If we read the Bible looking for God, we see His choice and power everywhere.  That is the God I want to follow...not one that is limited by me and my choices.   I see a God who works His purposes even though people sin.  This is not a license to willfully sin.  May it never be!

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