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2 Beliefs about How God Ordained Salvation

  • Monergism—salvation is predetermined by God alone.
  • Synergism—human’s salvation is predetermined by God and is dependent on one’s faith.

FAQ

Questions about Predestination

What is the differences among predestination, election, and calling?
  • Predestination is God choosing who will be saved before we were born.
  • Election is predestination.
  • Calling is the action of God working in the heart of a man to bring Him to Jesus; this fulfills predestination.
Who does God predestine?
  • God predestined some people to be saved. This is because Jesus saves all those who the Father predestined. Because many are not saved, then many are not predestined.
    • Matthew 22:14— For many are called, but few are chosen.”
    • John 6:39— And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.
Who does God call?
  • God calls everyone to Himself, but a few are chosen based on faith.
    • Matthew 22:14— For many are called, but few are chosen.”
How does God predestine?
  • Conditional election—election is based on God’s foreknowledge of our faith in Christ through our free will.
  • Unconditional election—God elects people based on His sovereignty. He gives individuals the faith to believe in His Son.
    • Romans 9:11-23
Why does God predestine?
  • because of His love—Ephesians 1:4-5
  • for His pleasure—Ephesians 1:4-5
  • for the unknown purpose of His will—Ephesians 1:4-5
  • because we are to bear fruit—John 15:16
  • He does not predestine us because:
    • of man’s desire—Romans 9:16
    • of man’s effort—Romans 9:16
If most are not predestined, how can a loving God not give people a chance for salvation?
  • Conditional Election View
    • He did; God saw that they would or would not believe.
  • Unconditional Election View
    • God wants everyone to be saved; but because God gave us free will and we sin, no one can save themselves because no one chooses God. The few people who are saved are saved because God chose them, out of His perfect love.
      • Romans 3:11—no one understands; no one seeks for God.
      • John 15:16—You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
      • Ephesians 1:4-5—even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

Questions about Atonement

What is the difference between reconciliation and justification?
  • reconciliation—a human forming a relationship with God
  • justification—a human being made just before God
Who did Jesus die for?
  • Unlimited atonement (John 1:29; I Timothy 2:5-6; I John 2:2; II Peter 2:1)—Jesus died for believers and unbelievers.
    • How can a Christian say, “Christ died for you,” when He really didn’t?
    • If pas means “all people” and kosmos means “the whole world,” then John 3:16 states that God loved all believers and non-believers and gave His Son as a sacrifice so that anyone who believes can be saved.
    • quotes
      • John Calvin concerning John 1:29: “John Calvin says of this verse: “He uses the word sin in the singular number for any kind of iniquity; as if he had said that every kind of unrighteousness which alienates men from God is taken away by Christ. And when he says the sin of the world, he extends this favor indiscriminately to the whole human race.”
      • John Calvin concerning John 3:16: “He has employed the universal term whosoever, both to invite all indiscriminately to partake of life, and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers.”
    • Limited atonement (Matthew 20:28, 26:28; Hebrews 9:28; John 15:13-14)—Jesus died for believers only.
      • The Matthew and Hebrew verses all use “polus,” or many, to refer to Jesus giving His life and bearing the sins.
      • rebut: MANY people are going to hell, and FEW are going to heaven (Matthew 7: 13-14). If this is true, how could limited atonement be true if it claims that Jesus only was a sacrifice for the FEW when all 7 verses below talk about either salvation to MANY or ALL? Basically, limited atonement says that Christ was only the sacrifice for the FEW, but where in the Bible does it say this? It doesn’t say this in the below 7 verses, because these verses talk about salvation for polus (much or many) or kosmos (the whole world).
        • Verses that seem to support UNLIMITED ATONEMENT and use kosmos
          • John 1:29; I John 2:2
        • Verses that seem to support LIMITED ATONEMENT and use polus
          • Matthew 20:28, 26:28; Hebrews 9:28; John 15:13-14
          • Also, polus is used in Matthew 24:30 to describes God’s glory and in Ephesians 2:4 to describe God’s mercy. So instead of thinking as polus as some, few, or just a lot, think of it more as greatly greatly much.
If Jesus’ atonement was unlimited, why do people go to hell, if hell is also the punishment for sins?
  • Most people don’t accept Jesus’ atonement.

Questions about Human Nature

What is the natural state of the human soul, concerning sin?
  1. When Satan gained consciousness, he was spiritually alive and was given the freewill to choose to follow God’s will or not. He didn’t, and was removed from Heaven.
    1. Ezekiel 28:15-17— You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. 16 In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you,O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you.
    2. Isaiah 14:12-14— “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! 13 You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’
  2. God created Adam and Eve, also spiritually alive and with freewill. Satan tempted them to sin; so they became spiritually dead.
    1. Ephesians 2:1-3— And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
    2. Romans 3:11— no one understands; no one seeks for God.
    3. I Corinthians 2:14— The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
  3. Spiritually dead people cannot have a relationship with God; they have an eternal debt caused by the perfect crime—sin. But God, because of His love, sent His Son Jesus to die to make payment for our sins.
    1. Romans 6:23— For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    2. Romans 5:8—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  4. Without God’s influence, the natural state of the human soul can do good and will sin; but the good that they do is imperfect, because it isn’t done for God’s glory and doesn’t come from faith.
    1. Isaiah 64:6— We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
    2. Isaiah 57:12— I will declare your righteousness and your deeds, but they will not profit you.
    3. Romans 1:21— For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
  5. With God’s influence, the natural state of the human soul will be drawn to love who Jesus is, and accept Him as the Ruler of his own life. Then, the individual will become spiritually alive.
What role does the human will have in God’s call to salvation?
  • Resistible grace— We can resist God’s call to salvation.
    • Deuteronomy 30:19
    • Joshua 24:15
  • Irresistible grace—We cannot resist God’s call to salvation.
    • John 6:37,39
If we inherited sin from Adam, then aren’t we forced to sin?
  • Whether Adam sinned or not, we would have sinned, because God gave us free will. The only way for a human not to sin is if he wasn’t human anymore.
Why didn’t God create us with free will and the ability not to sin?
  • That’s a paradox. Free means that we can make any choice we want, including the ability to sin.
Why didn’t God create us with a nature that will only follow His will?
  • Because free will is better than a non-free will and because God is perfect, then He is obliged to give us free will.
How do we have free will if God predestines?
  • We had a completely free will when we were born; but for those whom God predestined, He purified their wills to seek after God. In the end, they lost the freedom to choose anything besides God; but, they still can sin because predestination still requires sanctification.

Questions about Good Works

Are humans saved by good works?
  • We are saved by the work of belief. If one truly believes, he will also have faith and trust.
    • John 6:28-29— Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
Why can’t salvation be based in good works outweighing bad?
  1. If doing good is our way to God, then that means we think doing good will save us from our sins.
  2. Problem 1: Trust
    1. If a person trusts that his good works will save him, then he trusts that he will save himself and no longer accepts God’s grace.
    2. If a person trusts in himself, then he doesn’t trust in God and becomes prideful.
      1. Habakkuk 2:4— “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.
    3. Problem 2: Not Perfect
      1. God is perfect; therefore, perfection can only be in the presence of perfection.
        1. If not, he wouldn’t be perfect anymore.
      2. Our works are not perfect.
      3. Nothing we can do on our own can make us perfect.

Questions about Faith

Why is salvation based in faith?
  1. God is perfect; therefore, perfection can only be in the presence of perfection.
    1. If not, he wouldn’t be perfect anymore.
  2. Only a perfect sacrifice can be enough to pay for our sins.
  3. Because Jesus willingly sacrificed Himself on the cross and was resurrected, our sins are atoned, or paid for, and true disciples of Christ are considered perfect in the eyes of God.
  4. When God looks at us after we accept perfection (Jesus), he doesn’t remember our imperfection—sin.
Why does God care about our faith?
  1. Complete wisdom, knowing that God exists, and having all of one’s needs met doesn’t mean that one will worship God. Satan used to be spiritually alive and had everything besides the power of God, and he wanted that, too. This means that to stay spiritually alive in heaven, we must be given the opportunity to accept Him as Lord—have faith in Him.
  2. Without complete faith in God, that means we somewhat believe He’s not completely righteous, holy, or perfect.
What happens to those who haven’t heard of Jesus?
  1. Those who haven’t heard of Jesus are judged both by the Mosaic Law and the Natural Law.
  2. Those who haven’t heard of the Mosaic Law are still judged by it, because the Israelites, knowing the law, couldn’t keep it. This proves that no one can keep it.
    1. Romans 3:19— Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.
  3. Everyone is also judged by the Natural Law. This is because they have a conscience which is based on both what can be sensed in nature and their conflicting thoughts of good and evil.
    1. Romans 1:19-21— For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
    2. Romans 2:12-16— For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
    3. Isaiah 64:6— We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
    4. Isaiah 57:12— I will declare your righteousness and your deeds, but they will not profit you.
  4. For one to be saved without hearing about Jesus, one must live by faith in God the Father. Otherwise, one will automatically become proud because he trusts in himself. God the Father, though called Jehovah in the Old Testament, also reveals himself to different cultures.
    1. Habakkuk 2:4— “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.
    2. Hebrews 11:1-2— Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation.
    3. Matthew 2:1-3—Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;
      1. They weren’t wise men but instead astrologers, unfamiliar with Judean culture.
      2. They received divine revelation to have faith in Jesus.
    4. In addition, people will be judged according to their knowledge of God.
      1. Luke 12:47-48— And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
Why is Christianity the only way to God?
  • Jesus was the only person to raise or be raised from death. Christianity is the only religion to have proven to conquer the greatest evil.
  • Christianity is the only religion that doesn’t rely on saving oneself through good deeds.
    • See “Salvation from Faith or Good Works”
Why does not accepting Jesus deserve eternal torture?
  1. If one truly cared to know about God, then he will always be led to Jesus. If one doesn’t accept Jesus, that means he doesn’t care about God, who is perfect.
  2. If one doesn’t care about a perfect God, complete in perfect love and holiness, then he earns the perfect punishment—Hell.

Other Questions

Is there security in one’s salvation?
  • Conditional salvation— Believers can lose their salvation.
  • Eternal security (Perseverance of the Saints)—If one truly is a believer, he can’t lose his salvation
    • John 10:28
    • Ephesians 1:13
Does God directly cause or direct sin?
  • He directs it.
    • God directed Jesus to be crucified on a cross.
    • God directed other nations to hate His people.—Psalms 105:25

 

Bible Verses about Salvation (ESV)

  • Humanity
    • We don’t believe because we aren’t His sheep.
      • John 10:26-27—but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
    • We are spiritually dead because of our sins.
      • Ephesians 2:1-5—And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–
      • Romans 3:11—no one understands; no one seeks for God.
      • I Corinthians 2:14—The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
    • The Father’s Perfect Will
      • God desires everyone to be saved.
        • I Timothy 2:3-4—This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
        • II Peter 3:9—The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
      • The Father’s Sovereign Will
        • People cannot have eternal life without the Father drawing and giving them to Jesus.
          • John 6:37—All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
          • John 6:44—No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
          • John 6:64-65—But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
        • He predestines out of love, His pleasure, and His will.
          • Ephesians 1:4-5—even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
        • Before Jacob or Esau did any good or evil, God elected the Israelites but not the Edomites.
          • Romans 9:8-13—This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.”10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac,11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad–in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls–12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
            • These verses are talking about the Israelites and Edomites because the person Esau never physically served his younger brother Jacob, but the Edomites did serve the Israelites.
          • Genesis 25:23—And the LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.”
        • God’s mercy is not dependent on a human’s will or effort.
          • Romans 9:16-23—So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—
        • Jesus’ Will
          • Jesus chooses people to bear fruit. We do not choose Jesus.
            • John 15:16—You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
          • Jesus gives eternal life to whomever He wants to.
            • John 5:21—For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.
          • Paul’s Mission
            • Paul endured trials for those chosen, that they may obtain salvation.
              • II Timothy 2:10—Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Notes

  • Arminianism (named after Jacob Arminius in 1560-1609)
  1. Partial depravity (classic Arminianism holds closer to Calvinistic total depravity)
  2. Conditional election
  3. Unlimited atonement
  4. Resistible grace
  5. Conditional salvation (Many Arminianists believe in eternal security.)
  • Calvinism (named after John Calvin; started in 1519)
  1. Total depravity
  2. Unconditional election
  3. Limited atonement
  4. Irresistible grace
  5. Perseverance of the saints

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