Tag Archive: Election


bible-verses-about-loveEvery born again believer who has been saved for any length of time is most likely familiar with Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” The question, especially for a person influenced by Calvinism, is why is Romans 3:23 where it is in the Bible? It might seem pretty obvious why a verse explaining that everyone has fallen short of God’s glory is both in the Bible and in Romans 3, however, as we know, every Scripture must be read and understood in context of the verses before and after it.

Let’s first consider verses 21-22. “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference…” All Christians, regardless of their Calvinistic predilections, would agree that the “all” in verse 23 means all. But as verses 21 and 22 explain, the whole reason verse 23 is where it is in the Bible is to support verse 22. Verse 23 deals with all having sinned which is the foundation for verse 22’s claim that all have the opportunity to at least believe the Gospel for there is NO DIFFERENCE for ALL have sinned. Again, the “all” in verse 23 means all to support the all in verse 22 meaning all. It might be just as well said, “If all had not sinned, then the righteousness of God would not be available to all who believe.”

When the reader allows Scripture, not man’s teachings, to define Scripture, then he is left with only one conclusion here. The righteousness of God is not attainable through the works of the law, but is only accessible by placing his faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. The person who desires to be righteous must believe in Jesus Christ. Who qualifies for such an invitation? Sinners. How many sinners qualify? All sinners. Why? Because there is no difference for ALL HAVE SINNED.  At least that is what these verses say.

But then one might argue, “If men can actually believe, then they can boast in their work of belief.” Again, what does Romans 3 conclude?  Verses 27-28 say, “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

Side Note: These last verses speak of the law of faith, not grace. Why? Because this portion of Scripture is focused on mankind’s need to believe. We are not justified here by so-called “irresistible grace”, rather by Jesus, in Whom all sinners can at least direct their belief/faith, hence the law of faith. Interestingly, Calvinism’s T.U.L.I.P. has no room for the this crucial law.

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God-Write-the-Bible“Turn to your Bible and read for yourself in the only two chapters in which this word predestinate or predestinated is found. The first is Romans 8:29-30, the other chapter is Ephesians 1:5 and 11. You will note that there is no reference in these four verses to either heaven or hell but to Christ-likeness eventually. Nowhere are we told in scripture that God predestinated one man to be saved and another to be lost. Men are to be saved or lost eternally because of their attitude towards the Lord Jesus Christ. Predestination means that someday all the redeemed shall become just like the Lord Jesus”

“D.L. Moody used to put it very simply the elect are the ‘whosoever wills’ the non-elect ‘whosoever wont’s’. This is exactly what scripture teaches, the invitation is to all, those who accept it are the elect. Remember, we are never told that Christ died for the elect”.

“Whosoever means, whosoever.” Only a biased theologian, with an axe to grind, could ever think that it meant only the elect.”    ~H.A. Ironside

Interestingly, men are able to respond to a variety of invitations:  birthday parties, weddings, funerals, and even Facebook.  So why is it that so many believe that men are completely incapable of at least responding to God’s invitation of full and free forgiveness through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection?

Too often people have believed that men are so dead in their sins that they are literally unable to even receive the Gospel.  They will say that the Bible teaches that men cannot submit to God’s law. Yet submitting to God’s law is not the same as accepting the Gospel/good news that Jesus died for their sins.

An Excuse: To say that mankind is unable to do anything but sin sounds a bit like an excuse for sinning.  Yes we are bound in our sins and trespasses, and it is true that some sins have such a hold over us that we, at times, are owned by our sinful lusts and passions, but to simply say we are unable to choose anything else takes our own decisions and accountability out of the picture.

A Few Questions:

  1. If we had no other choice than to say yes to sin, then why don’t all men sin in the same ways?  If we are really nothing more than “yes men” to sin’s desires, then why do some choose not to murder, steal, etc.?
  2. Also, if men are really so dead they can choose to do nothing but sin, aren’t we forgetting that dead men don’t choose anything?  Yes, dead men are unable to choose to do good, but they would also be unable to do wrong either.
  3. If we are totally unable to receive the invitation of God’s pardon from our sins, then why did Jesus bother to spend so much time calling, inviting, declaring, and appealing to men while He was here?

To say men are unable to receive the Gospel is simply and biblically unfounded, but to say we are unwilling to hear and follow the Lord God is a another story altogether.  Many who believe in the “deadness” of man, equating it to “inability”, attempt to use Romans 8 as a chapter to validate their doctrine.

Romans 8: Two Laws

The contrast in Romans 8 is the two laws – the law of the Spirit of God and the law of sin and death (verse 2). The law of God is death to the carnal minded man, but brought to life by the Spirit of God for those who receive God’s forgiveness in Christ alone. Once men are born again, they receive the power to become submissive to the law of God. The carnal man who is under the law of sin is clearly not willing to be “subject” to the law of God since he has not been born again.

Romans 8:7, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” isn’t dealing with salvation, rather it’s laying the foundation for the spiritual reality of the old, carnal man which then sets a precedent for the necessity of the new birth in Christ Jesus.

Interestingly, one of the only insights in Romans 8 as to “how” a man is born again is found in verse 15, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Emphasis mine)

Just because the carnal mind is at enmity with God doesn’t mean he is incapable of at least receiving the Gospel of God.  If we are capable of rebelling, we are also capable of asking God for forgiveness. This is plainly revealed throughout the entire Word of God.

(This is part of a larger overview of some of the major Calvinistic teachings being presented today.  For a more in depth look at Calvinism and its unbiblical teachings, go to:  “Calvinism in Light of God’s Word: A Variety of Resources” 

There are many young pastors and congregations that continue to be influenced by the doctrines of Calvinism from many of today’s most popular pulpit teachers. It is crucial that we guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus! One way of doing this is to understand some of the major lies attempting to be fed to the flock of God.  See below for more in depth resources examining Calvinism in light of God’s Word.

 

Jesus said to them, “If any man wills [desires] do [God’s] will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” John 7:17

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