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      "I Believe in 'Free-will' So I Can Boast Myself."
      ( "Common Grace" Refuted; Regeneration Precedes Faith)

      Saturday, January 24, 2009

      Many of us have had the following exchange. You ask someone why they are saved and their neighbor down the street isn't. They say "free-will". You say, "Ok, so do you believe that people go to hell?" They reply, "Yes." Then you ask, "Ok, well do you believe that everyone has free will?" They reply, "Yes." Then you reply, "Ok, so if you believe that people are going to hell, you believe that everyone has free will, and you believe that the reason someone is saved is because of free will, how can you reconcile your contradictory position? How can everyone have free will which saves someone and still there be people going to hell? At this point, they usually say, "Well, it's because they didn't choose." Then you ask, "Well, why did you choose?" 95% of my experiences at this point involve the other party saying, "Well, it's because of free will." accompanied by an ad hominem about being prideful or something because I'm a Calvinist.

      Folks, if you believe in free will theology, you have no answer to the question 'Why do you believe and so and so doesn't?' other than you are somehow inherently better than someone else whether that be you are more spiritually sensitive than them, you were smarter, you were better looking, you sing better, you attend church more regularly, you wear nicer clothes to church, you drive a better car, you use better toothpaste, you speak in tongues, you help old ladies, you like the Cosby Show, etc. If everyone has the same amount of grace, then what makes a man differ from another in terms of salvation is that man himself. That, folks, leaves the door wide open for a man to boast. There is no reason at that point for the man not to boast himself and believe he is better than someone else, because if common grace is true, we're all on the same playing field, and what makes one man differ from another is something that man did, then believing that you are better than someone else, in that system, is required for salvation. How could it not be if that part of you that was better than someone who is supposedly on the same level as you is the reason you're saved and they are not.

      Ephesians 2:8-9 says, 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.

      However, the person who believes in free-will by necessity has to say, "Nuh-uh-uh... the reason I'm saved is because of my work (whether that be their sinner's prayer, trip down the aisle, raising hand when every head is bowed and every eye is shut... name whatever act of faith you'd like at this point)." The notions of free-will and common grace throw grace on it's head and exalts the pride of the creature by saying that the reason someone is saved is because of something they did thus faith preceding regeneration is justification by a work.


      "The doctrine of justification itself, as preached by an Arminian, is nothing but the doctrine of salvation by works...

      I do not serve the god of the Arminians at all; I have nothing to do with him, and I do not bow down before the Baal they have set up; he is not my God, nor shall he ever be; I fear him not, nor tremble at his presence...The God that saith today and denieth tomorrow, that justifieth today and condemns the next...is no relation to my God in the least degree. He may be a relation of Ashtaroth or Baal, but Jehovah never was or can be his name."

      - C.H. Spurgeon





      This is part of the DVD called How God Converts the Human Soul. I highly recommend it.
      You can get it at http://www.crosstv.com and 1-877-CROSSTV.

      4 comments:

      BrianB. said...

      Folks, if you believe in free will theology, you have no answer to the question 'Why do you believe and so and so doesn't?' other than you are somehow inherently better than someone else whether that be you are more spiritually sensitive than them, you were smarter, you were better looking, you sing better, you attend church more regularly, you wear nicer clothes to church, you drive a better car, you use better toothpaste, you speak in tongues, you help old ladies, you like the Cosby Show, etc. If everyone has the same amount of grace, then what makes a man differ from another in terms of salvation is that man himself. That, folks, leaves the door wide open for a man to boast. There is no reason at that point for the man not to boast himself and believe he is better than someone else, because if common grace is true, we're all on the same playing field, and what makes one man differ from another is something that man did. Believing that you are better than someone else in that system is required for salvation. How could it not be if that part of you that was better than someone who is supposedly on the same level as you is the reason you're saved and they are not.

      Great comments!

      Betsy Markman said...

      Amen! There's a great deal of pride behind the modern gospel.

      We hate believing that our own salvation doesn't rest in our own hands. Oh, if we're evangelical, we say we believe that we're saved by grace through faith, apart from works (Eph. 2:8-9). But lurking in many an evangelical soul is the belief that we saved ourselves through our faith. We look at the unsaved and wonder "what's wrong with them, why can't they simply believe like I do?"

      If the faith that we have is the kind of faith that anyone should be able to "just do," then our faith is merely human.

      Nothing human can save us.

      JM Vergara said...

      This reminds me of that transcript of a discussion you posted basically talking about this very same thing.

      It's just a fact, the arminian thought would not and cannot be consistent in the matters of soteriology. Unless God opens blind eyes and unstops deaf ears they never will, and they never will truly understand the Biblical doctrine of God's free and sovereign grace.

      P.S. Maybe what you are referring to is "Prevenient Grace"? Because there really is such thing as Common Grace in Scripture, but is not salvific in itself. Common Grace just means God's providential grace to all His creatures. i.e. "rain on the good and the evil"

      Lane Chaplin said...

      Right, JM. That's a great example of what this post is speaking of.

      You're right, too, about "prevenient grace." The problem today is that there is an equivocation on the term "common grace" these days. It's true that God shines the sun on the evil and good, etc. which is a form of common grace (in this sense), but there are also people who use it in the sense which basically means "prevenient grace" (like I've used in this post) as you've rightly pointed out.

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