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Friday, September 21, 2007

Prevenient grace and the ability to resist it

Alot of Hard Augustinians (Hard Determinists, as well as compatabalists) believe everyone who had the eyes of their heart opened by God's saving grace will never resist or fall away.

I will use John chapter 12 as well as other texts to show why they can.;&version=49;

John 12:35

"35So Jesus said to them, "For a little while longer the Light is among you Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes."

This verse is very important for alot of Reasons. It shows that the Light of Christ is able to make the blind see. It is presented in scripture that "Light" can make people see, Because it is the darkness that blinds them.

As seen in 1st John 2:11

"But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes."

So when Light comes, the darkness is taken away.

As seen in John 12:35 as well as Isaiah 9:22

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned."

We know from scripture that Jesus is the "True Light" that gives light to every man.

As seen in John 1:9

"That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world."

So the Prevenient grace of God illumines people so that they can make a choice to either believe or not believe. It allows them to be drawn to the Regenerating water of Baptism.

"36"While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light " These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them."

The words "you may be" is "ginomai" and it's mood is "Subjunctive"And according to the blue letter Bible it says:

"The subjunctive mood is the mood of possibility andpotentiality. The action described may or may not occur,depending upon circumstances. Conditional sentences of the third class ("ean" + the subjunctive) are all of this type, aswell as many commands following conditional purpose clauses, such as those beginning with "hina."

This shows the "potential" of being saved. It is a possibility. This also shows that the Light "can" be resisted."

37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, 38 so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”39 Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, 40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them. 41Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him.”

When we reject the Light givin to us the Darkness returns thus leaving us blind again. Those who are blind can't believe because they rejected the Light givin to them.

42Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him.

Those who rejected as well as those who accepted both had the light. The very same light!!! Scripture doesn't tell us that God has an efficatious call and a sterile call. The same call/Light that some rejected was the very same call/Light that others accepted. So we can't blame God for some not believing. God gave the same grace to both groups of people. The difference is the Choices they made.

Now this is where things get interesting for a Calvinist would assume that the people in verse 42 were Regenerated. They believe the regenerated can't ultimately resist and fall away.

But what does the text say about the people who believed in verse 42?

"42Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43for they loved praise from men more than praise from God."

The Bible would seem to lean towards the idea that the people who believed in verse 42 were on rocky ground. Or at least in danger of falling away.

Matthew 10:32-33

32Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
33But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Also the passage about the parable of the sower sheds some light to the topic at hand.

Matthew 13:18-23

18"Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. 22The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."

To assume that the Bible doesn't present a resistance from anyone who had the eyes of their heart opened is a claim many Calvinists make but it's not a strong claim at all. Also when one looks at the Parable of the sower they will see the Disciples had their eyes, ears, and hearts openned......yet one of them was a devil.

Last but not least Jesus says

46I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

The believing is a continual belief. Not a one time thing in the past.



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