Tag Archive | believe

Believe in Jesus for the very works’ sake – healing can cause faith, John 14:11

”Believe in me for the very work’s sake”, says Jesus

John 14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

We are created to seek God and find him (Acts 17), but it also appears as though we can be even more influenced to do so by witnessing or experiencing the works of Jesus (or any Christian who uses this gift), such as healing and miracles. However, being healed will not automatically produce a change of mind and a decision to start following Jesus. The story of the ten lepers in Luke 17:11-19 shows this very clearly. For one of the lepers being healed also caused him to give glory to God and seek the advice of Jesus, but the others did not take this chance but went on with their current lives. In just about all other healing stories in the Bible the miracles caused a huge difference in people’s spiritual lives. Probably because those who seek to be healed by Jesus are also dispositioned to follow him because they believe he is divine, has all the power to heal the sick and will be the great Judge in the end of days.

Hebr. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

It works both ways; witnessing/experiencing the works of Jesus might produce faith (or greater faith), but great faith can also cause an openness to be healed – which in turn can produce even greater faith:

Acts 14:8 And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked:9 The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed,10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.

Matt. 8:13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

Mark. 6:5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

Lazarus who was a friend and a believer in Jesus (so spiritually alive) went from physical death to physical life thanks to being healed by Jesus. Jesus encourages us to believe in order to see the glory of God, and here we can also see that many Jews started to believe in Jesus precisely because of the things they had seen him doing:

John 11:40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?-–45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.

Thomas had a hard time believing Jesus was Lord and God, but after a meeting with Jesus he started to believe. It was of course something positive that Thomas changed his mind and started to believe, but Jesus also explains there are people who believe without this type of miraculous meeting – and they are therefore very blessed. It is not the normal process that each individual must first have a physical encounter with Jesus before they can believe he is the IAM and our Savior. This is how it worked for Thomas, but the word of God makes it clear we can seek him and find him without these types of meetings:

John 20:24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Below we can clearly see Jesus upbraiding cities due to the lack of faith within them. Mighty works were done in them, and people still did not believe! Jesus makes a comparison with Tyre and Sidon, because if such mighty works would have been done in their cities, they would have repented long ago. True repentance leads to life. Miracles such as casting out demons, and healing the sick, can therefore be very important tools to reach the lost. Not just regarding the temporary physical blessings here on earth, but for people’s eternal future – which is way more important.

Matt. 11:20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

+ Luke 10:13-37

People near Jesus realized that it is not likely that a devil would open the eyes of the blind. At least this is nothing that they had experienced before, and they started to believe that Jesus was truly divine. Also Jesus confirmed that the works that he performs in his Father’s name also bear witness of him. Due to the skeptics’ choice to doubt Jesus, they did not qualify to be his sheep. Because, who are the sheep of Jesus? They are the ones who choose to FOLLOW him according to John 10:27. Jesus explained that people had the chance here to believe in Jesus precisely due to the miraculous works he made – in combination with prophesies and the good fruit he displayed. Despite that the Jewish Torah should have made it clear for the Jews that Jesus is the one that the Scriptures talk about, and despite that John the Baptist spoke about Jesus as divine, the Jews still looked for reasons to not believe.

John 10:21 Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, BELIEVE THE WORKS: that ye may know, and BELIEVE, that the Father is in me, and I in him.41 And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.42 And many believed on him there.

It is a sad fact that people had the chance to be believers in Jesus but despite that he performed many miracles among them and influenced them to do so, they still did not believe:

John 12:36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.37 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:

More examples of healing which can cause much faith

Below are some more examples of where Jesus miracles caused people to believe that he tillbedjan-7is the one he has always claimed to be – being one with his Father, the son of God, God in flesh, etc. On the one hand Jesus definitely expects people to believe in him due to combination of the many prophesies being fulfilled in him, due to the good fruit he displays and due to the many miracles he performs (casting out demons, healing the sick, etc) thanks to power from above. On the other hand Jesus dislikes when people approach him with total lack of faith and place the burden of proof on him – or else he has failed to win them over. Our attitude should not be ”I give you a chance right here and right now to show me signs so that I can believe. If not, you have failed to persuade me which means you lost and I won”. We are the ones who can gain by coming to Jesus in faith.

The fact that the Bible tells us about many people who started to believe when they witnessed the miracles performed by Jesus and his apostles, is of course evidence for that people were not predestined to be elect and non-elect from the foundation of the world.

John 2:11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

John 2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, WHEN they saw the miracles which he did.

John 7:31 And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?

John 1:47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.

John 4:46 So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death.48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth.

John 6:30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

Acts 13:8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him.10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.12 Then the deputy, WHEN he saw what was done, BELIEVED, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.

Mark 15:32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

We are asked to continue on Jesus path. Casting out demons and healing the sick are still helpful tools to us. Below James is talking about the church settings, but we are also asked to go out in the world to evangalize to the lost and in such circumstances it is possible to perform the great works that Jesus has promised we would be able to do in his name.

Ja. 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Mark. 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

If such miracles and possibilities are supposed to have ceased after the time of the apostles, the word of God certainly forgot to mention it. Instead Christians all over the world have accepted the wonderful promises tied to believers and as a consequence people have been set free from demons and have become healed. A good preacher will encourage Christians to make use of the spiritual gifts which are for today. Praise you Lord!

Here you can read about speaking in tongues.

The holy Spirit is given after faith and repentance – not before

acts-10Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38)

Some Calvinist friends are of the opinion that God is the one selecting whom to save and provides the holy Spirit to the chosen individuals – and in this fashion enables them to believe (while he shows no courtesy to the others who are chosen to be non-elect before they are even born). The Bible, however, teaches that God does not want anyone to perish and that the holy Spirit is given to a person after he/she has repented (after having come to Christ and confessed his/her sins). You can read my article about regeneration (being born again after having been cleansed from sins) here.

Based on the Bible we can deduce that the presence of the holy Spirit (the holy Ghost) operates in different ways between the old and the new testaments (this deserves an article of its own). Suffice is to say that one could of course be saved also during the time of the old testament, before the time of Jesus Christ who later died, was resurrected and provided the holy Ghost as our individual Helper. Before his time, there was a lot of focus on the prophets of God who could provide extra light on the Torah. Faith leading to righteousness has always been required for salvation ever since the time of Adam.

2 Pet. 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:.13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Cornelius – faith and righteousness before the indwelling of the holy Spirit

The apostle Peter describes the truth about salvation ”in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him”. The ability to do this was available both in the old and the new testament, even if the holy Spirit operates in a different way today compared to the old times. One difference is that people did not speak in tongues in the old times, and miracles and healing were primarily connected to the prophets and holy men of God.

The story about Cornelius (Acts 10) is enough for us to understand that a person can believe in God, do many good works – before having been baptized in the holy Spirit.

Acts 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.—22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.—33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.—44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

Here is more evidence that faith precedes the indwelling of the holy Ghost:

Acts 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, WHICH THEY THAT BELIEVE ON HIM SHOULD RECEIVE: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Heb. 11 he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently SEEK him.

Acts 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us. —30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent

Acts 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness and pray God if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee

2 Tim 2:20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.21 IF a man therefore purges himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

Romans 12:2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded

Jeremiah 4:14 Wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved

Ezekiel 18:31 Make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die… 

Rev. 2:21 And I gave her SPACE TO REPENT of her fornication and she repented not. 22 Behold I will cast her into a bed and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation except they repent of their DEEDS

Notice below that the order of events is 1) enlightenment to every man who comes into John 1.jpgthe world, 2) reception and belief in Jesus Christ, 3) resulting in becoming the sons of God (thanks to being cleansed and pardoned):

John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name

Notice also that ”his own” did not receive him. If that would signify the chosen elect, it is strange why God did not enable them (predestine them) to believe in him. It rather seems like it is our own responsibility – to react on God’s calling. This is not the same as ”saving ourselves” without God. We do not have the authority to forgive ourselves for our own sins, and we cannot be born again without the grace of God and unless he provides the opportunity for us to have all of our sins erased.

He that COMETH to God must BELIEVE that he is – Hebr. 11:16

regeneration 3But without FAITH it is impossible to please him: for he that COMETH to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6

It is rather clear that God requires us to have faith in him and believe in him before we come to him (we would not come to him unless we believed in him). We must carry faith/belief with us when we come. Calvinists, however, believe in Total inability (as in T in TULIP), so they believe that all people are born with a natural inability to believe in God, and that God consequently must ”open their eyes” in order to make them believe. This results in God actually choosing whom to save and whom to damn (before we are even born), because God does not enable all to believe in him. Hebr. 11:6 does not suggest that God starts out making some of us believe. It is rather we who must make sure to believe and come to him. If we do, we have wonderful things in store for us! The Bible does not teach anything close to Calvinism. We are ALL given light when we come into this world and we are requested to believe and to follow him in order to not walk in darkness:

John. 1:4 In him was life; and the life was THE LIGHT OF MEN.—9 That was the true Light, WHICH LIGHTETH EVERY MAN THAT COMETH INTO THE WORLD.10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.12 But AS MANY AS RECEIVED HIM, TO THEM GAVE HE THE POWER TO BECOME THE SONS OF GODeven to them that BELIEVE on his name

John 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.

John 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH ON ME should not abide in darkness.

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light OF THE WORLD: he that FOLLOWETH ME shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 3:21 But he that DOETH truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

2 Cor. 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them WHICH BELIEVE NOT, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Notice above that God chooses to blind the minds of them WHICH BELIEVE NOT. That is a similar story as in Rom. 1:18-32, where God in v. 28 is told to give people up to a reprobate mind because of their refusal to retain God in their knowledge.

Pay special attention to John 1:12 which says:

”But AS MANY AS RECEIVED HIM, TO THEM GAVE HE THE POWER TO BECOME THE SONS OF GODeven to them that BELIEVE on his name”

The order of events is 1) believe/receive him, leading to 2) becoming the sons of God. Not the other way around.

People who COME must believe, and they might not always DO the things of God or remain with him

Jesus asks:

Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and DO NOT the things which I say?

According to Calvinism I thought it was not even possible to NOT do the things which the Lord says? So why does Jesus imply that it is possible to act contrary to his requests? He continues:

47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and DOETH them, I will shew you to whom he is like: 48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.49 But he that heareth, and DOETH NOT, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

I thought all people everywhere always did the sayings of the Lord? Yet here we can see that some people COME to the Lord, HEAR his sayings and yet choose to NOT do the sayings of the Lord. It certainly does not seem like we always act as God would want us to act. The blame for ”not doing” is further on man and not on God. Notice that the parable is about men who builds something – their own houses – which means that their own choice of building construction will depend on

Ja. 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.–40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and BELIEVETH ON HIM, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.—51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if ANY MAN EAT of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.

Parable of the great banquet – where people are requested to COME and yet they do notvälja liv2

 Below we can see that the Master of the house asked his servant to go out and bid many to a great supper. The servant was asked to say to those who were bidden to ”COME, for all things are now ready”. The Master in this parable could be likened to God the Father, and as we can see in the parable people who were initially invited to come found excuses for not coming!

The servant was then asked to ”bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind”, which is something the servant had already done. It seems like these groups of people (rather unfortunate people here on earth due to their poverty and physical shortcomings) had an advantage here because they were singled out as specifically welcomed, but we are not told that every single one of them chose to come. Just that there was still room left also after these groups had been invited. (The case could also be that people who are poor and maimed have a higher tendency to seek God compared to people who have always lived in comfort and luxury.)

The Master became ANGRY when those who were initially bidden declined to come. The blame for not coming must be placed on them and not on the Master (God) because the Master truly wanted all invited to come – yet they did not. The Master said of those who declined to come: ”none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper”.

Luke 14:16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

After having told the parable, Jesus continues to explain that if we do come to him we must ”hate” our father and mother, which means that we should not act like the unwise people in the parable who offered up various excuses for not coming to the Supper, such as marriage, when they were compelled to come. Nothing should prevent us from coming to God if he calls us! Not even if it is about our father and mother. Naturally marriages,   parents, newly bought land, etc are important matters, but compared to God and his calling we must still prioritize correctly and place all other things in second place. A condition for being a disciple is to bear our cross and follow Jesus. He does not say that he will do this for us and instead of us so that we will not have to.

He goes on to explain that it is our job to count the cost before we choose to come! Do we have sufficient motivation to be his disciples? Will we be able to love God before anything/anyone else and carry our cross? If not, coming to Jesus will not save us if we are not prepared to forsake other things which might be in the way when we become his disciples. We must be eager to follow him and obey his commandments, which will truly show that we love him. It might seem like a difficult task, but we are not asked to cease living in this world or to avoid having families and possessions. We are just asked to be prepared to place God before anything else – and if we love him we obey him. The holy Spirit is our helper! Salt is good but even salt can lose its’ savor, which indicates that we are not unconditionally saved:

26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Parable of the wedding banquet – where people on the wedding invitation refuse to come

 There is one verse in the below parable which Calvinists often quote, and that is ”For many are called, but few are chosen”. This verse read in a vacuum might sound like God is the one choosing whom to save, but not only does the verse not say this, but the context shows that those who are called ”chosen” are those who accept to come to the King’s wedding feast for his son! This means that we can all end up in the great wedding feast if we choose to accept the invitation and also make sure to show up – dressed in proper clothes. It is our responsibility to go to the party that we have been invited to, and if we decline and/or do not show up it is our fault and certainly not God’s fault for not ”choosing” us. We can all be among the chosen, and God should not be blamed if we find ourselves on the outside.

Let us also remember that Israel was ”chosen”, but not all Israel will be saved. When we read about groups of people or individuals being ”chosen”, it does not necessarily mean ”chosen to believe”. In fact, there is not one such case in the Bible. This parable clearly shows that many people who had their names on the guest list for the wedding feast chose not to come, even though the King expected them to come and was angry when they gave excuses for not coming! God would want all people to be saved, but man has a free will and is responsible for his own decisions and actions. Good and bad people are invited to come, which means that also unrighteous people have a chance to enter the kingdom of God. The condition, however, is repentance in order to be forgiven and cleansed, and if we repent we will also get the proper wedding garments. 

Matt. 22:1 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and THEY WOULD NOT COME.4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

150 things we must DO to get saved, and the myth of salvation by FAITH ALONE

gräva”Ye see then how that BY WORKS a man is JUSTIFIED, and NOT by faith only” – Ja. 2:24

You will sometimes hear that we do not need to do anything at all to be saved apart from just having faith in God, because Jesus did all the rest for us. Some will even tell you that the salvation formula is ”Faith + nothing = salvation”.  The Bible, however, tells us that we must show our faith by doing good works – and without serving two masters. There is no salvation unless there is true REPENTANCE, which does not mean ”oops!”, but is a total change of heart where you confess your sins, make a complete u-turn and start walking in the light with Jesus. Faith without works is dead. Below are not really 150 different things we must do, but at least 150 verses which describe things we must do. All can be wrapped up in the one commandment ”love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself”. 

In order to be saved, the Bible tells you to … (NKJV if nothing else stated):

  1. ABIDE IN JESUS, to get eternal life – 1 John 2:24-25,28
  2. ABIDE IN JESUS, in order to not sin and to know him – 1 John 3:6
  3. ABIDE IN JESUS, so that he will abide in you, and you will not be thrown in the fire – John 15:4-7
  4. ABIDE IN THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST and do not transgress it, in order to have God – 2 John 1:9
  5. ABSTAIN FROM FLESHLY LUSTS, which war against the soul – 1 Pet 2:11
  6. AGREE WITH YOUR ADVERSARY quickly, lest he delivers you to the judge – Matt. 5:25
  7. ACKNOWLEDGE THE SON, to have the Father – 1 John 2:23
  8. BE A DOER OF THE LAW, to be justified – Rom. 2:13-14
  9. BE A DOER OF THE WORD AND NOT A HEARER ONLY, to not deceive yourself – Ja. 1:22
  10. BE A FAITHFUL SERVANT OF THE LORD, in order to enter into the joy of the Lord and not be cast into the outer darkness – Matt. 25:23,30
  11. BE A HOLY AND UNDEFILED TEMPLE, in order to not be destroyed – 1 Cor. 3:16-17
  12. BE A PEACEMAKER, in order to be called a child of God – Matt. 5:9
  13. BE A SLAVE TO GOD, to be set free from sin, and to get everlasting life – Rom. 6:22
  14. BE CONVERTED AND BECOME LIKE LITTLE CHILDREN, in order to enter the kingdom of heaven – Matt. 18:3
  15. BE DILIGENT, to present yourself approved to God – 2 Tim. 2:15
  16. BE DILIGENT TO ENTER THE REST, lest you fall due to disobedience – Hebr. 4:11
  17. BE DILIGENT TO MAKE YOUR ELECTION SURE, to get an entrance into the everlasting kingdom – 2 Pet. 1:10-11
  18. BE GENTLE TO ALL, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, to be granted repentance and be a servant of the Lord – 2 Tim. 2:24-25
  19. BE HUMBLE, to get grace – Ja. 4:6
  20. BE LED BY THE SPIRIT, in order to not be under the law – Gal. 5:18
  21. BE OBEDIENT TO GOD, in order to be righteous and a slave to God instead of sin – Rom. 6:16
  22. BE PATIENT AND AVOID THE MARK OF THE BEAST, to keep your name in the book of life – Rev. 16:2, Rev. 13:8-10
  23. BEAR GOOD FRUIT, to not be cut down and thrown in the fire – Matt. 7:19
  24. BEAR FRUIT WORTHY OF REPENTANCE, to not be thrown into the fire – Matt. 3:8-10, John 15:2
  25. BEAR ONE ANOTHER’S BURDENS, to fulfill the law of Christ – Gal. 6:2
  26. BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE ”I AM”, to not die in your sins – John 8:24-25, 28, 58
  27. BEWARE, LEST YOU ALSO FALL FROM YOUR OWN STEADFASTNESS, being led away with the error of the wicked – 2 Pet. 3:17
  28. BRIDLE YOUR TONGUE, to not deceive your heart and be in a useless religion – Ja. 1:26
  29. CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD, to be saved – Rom. 10:13
  30. CLEANSE YOURSELF, in order to be a vessel of honor and sanctified – 2 Tim. 2:21
  31. CONTINUE IN THE HOLY SCRIPTURES, which enables you to be wise for salvation – 2 Tim. 3:14-15
  32. CONTINUE IN THE FAITH, GROUNDED AND STEADFAST, so that Jesus will present you as holy and blameless in his sight – Col. 1:22-23
  33. CONFESS JESUS BEFORE MEN – so that Jesus will confess you before the Father – Matt. 10:32
  34. CONFESS THAT JESUS IS CHRIST AND HAS COME IN THE FLESH, in order to not be of Antichrist’s spirit and be a deceiver – 1 John 4:2-3, 2 John 1:7
  35. CONFESS THAT JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD, in order to abide in God – 1 John 4:15
  36. CONFESS WITH YOUR MOUTH the Lord Jesus, in order to be saved – Rom. 10:9-10
  37. COME TO THE LIGHT and expose your deeds, to be a person who does the truth – John 3:21
  38. COMPETE FOR THE PRIZE, to obtain an imperishable crown – 1 Cor. 9:25
  39. COMPETE ACCORDING TO THE RULES, in order to be crowned, and BE FIRST in order to partake of the crops – 2 Tim. 2:5-6
  40. CONTINUE IN GOD’S GOODNESS, in order to not be cut off from the olive tree – Rom. 11:2
  41. DENY YOURSELF, TAKE UP YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW JESUS, in order to come after him and be his disciple – Mark. 8:34, Luke 14:27
  42. DO ALL THINGS WITHOUT COMPLAINING AND DISPUTING, so that you may become blameless and a child of God without fault – Phil. 2:14-15
  43. DO NOT TAKE AWAY FROM THE BOOK OF THIS PROPHESY, or God will take away your part of the book of life and from the holy city – Rev. 22:18-19
  44. DO NOT LIVE IN AN UNRIGHTEOUS WAY, or you will be affected by God’s wrath – Rom. 1:18
  45. DO NOT TURN THE GRACE OF GOD INTO LEWDNESS, to not be condemned – Juda 1:4
  46. DO NOT BE a fornicator, an unclean person or covetous man, in order to inherit the kingdom of God – Eph. 5:5
  47. DO HIS COMMANDMENTS, to get the right to the tree of life and be able to enter through the gates into the city – Rev. 22:14
  48. DO GOOD, in order to be resurrected to life – John 5:29
  49. DO GOOD, be rich in good works, ready to give/share, that you may lay hold on eternal life – 1 Tim. 6:18-19
  50. DO GOOD DEEDS with patience, to get eternal life – Rom. 2:6-8
  51. DO GOOD WORKS, in order to be righteous/justified and not have a dead faith – Ja. 2:14-26
  52. DO GOOD WORKS and be righteous, in order to inherit the kingdom of God, like give food/drink, provide shelter for strangers, clothe the naked, visit the sick/prisoners, etc – Matt. 25:34-36
  53. DO THE THINGS THAT JESUS SAYS, in order to not fall – Matt. 7:24-27
  54. DO THE WILL OF GOD, to be Jesus’ brother, sister and mother – Matt. 12:50, Mark 3:35
  55. DO THE WILL OF THE FATHER, in order to enter the kingdom of heaven – Matt. 7:21
  56. DO THE WILL OF GOD, to receive the promise – Hebr. 10:36
  57. DO THE WILL OF GOD, in order to abide for ever – 1 John 2:17
  58. DO THE WILL OF GOD, in order to be heard by him – John 9:31
  59. DO TO OTHERS WHATEVER YOU WANT THEM TO DO TO YOU, in order to fulfill the Law – Matt. 7:12
  60. DO WHATEVER JESUS COMMANDS, in order to be his friend – John 15:14
  61. DISCIPLINE YOUR BODY AND BRING IT INTO SUBJECTION, lest you might become disqualified – 1 Cor. 9:27
  62. DEPART FROM INIQUITY, in order to be known by God – 2 Tim. 2:19
  63. DRINK OF THE WATER GIVEN BY JESUS, to store a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life – John 4:14
  64. EAT THE FLESH OF THE SON OF MAN AND DRINK HIS BLOOD, to be raised up at the last day and get eternal life – John 6:53-56
  65. ENDURE TO THE END, to be saved – Matt. 24:13, Matt. 10:22
  66. ENDURE, AND DO NOT DENY JESUS, in order to reign with him and to not be denied by him – 2 Tim. 2:12
  67. ENDURE TEMPTATION, in order to be approved and to get the crown of life – Ja. 1:12
  68. ENTER BY THE NARROW GATE , to avoid the way that leads to destruction – Matt. 7:13
  69. EXAMINE YOURSELF whether you are in the faith, in order to not be disqualified – 2 Cor. 13:5
  70. FEAR GOD AND WORK RIGHTEOUSNESS, in order to be accepted by him – Acts 10:35
  71. FEAR GOD AND DO NOT BE HAUGHTY, in order to be spared – Rom. 11:20-21
  72. FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT, and lay hold on eternal life – 1 Tim. 6:12
  73. FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT, FINISH THE RACE, KEEP THE FAITH and LOVE HIS APPEARING, to get the crown of righteousness – 2 Tim. 4:7-8
  74. FOLLOW JESUS, in order to get eternal life – John 10:27-28
  75. FORGIVE YOUR BROTHER, so that the Father will forgive you – Mark. 11:25, Matt. 6:14-15, Matt. 18:35
  76. GIVE THE MORE EARNEST HEED TO THE THINGS HEARD, lest you drift away – Hebr. 2:1
  77. HOLD STEADFAST TO THE END, to become partakers of Christ – Hebr. 3:14
  78. HOLD FAST TO THE WORD OF JESUS, in order to be saved and to not have believed in vain – 1 Cor. 15:2
  79. HOLD FAST WHAT YOU HAVE, so that no one may take your crown – Rev. 3:11
  80. HUMBLE YOURSELF IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD, and he will lift you up – Ja. 4:10
  81. HUMBLE YOURSELF UNDER GOD, to get grace and so that he may exalt you in due time – 1 Pet. 5:5-6
  82. IMITATE THOSE WHO THROUGH FAITH AND PATIENCE inherit the promises – Hebr. 6:12
  83. KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS AND LOVE EACH OTHER, in order to abide in God – 1 John 3:23-24
  84. KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS, (Jesus lists 7), in order to enter into life – Matt. 19:16-19
  85. KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS, in order to be loved by the Father – John 14:21
  86. KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS, in order to abide in the love of Jesus – John 15:10
  87. KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS, in order to not be liars but be in the truth – 1 John 2:3-5
  88. KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, in order to truly love God and overcome the world – 1 John 5:3-5
  89. KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS, to show that you love Jesus – John 14:15
  90. KNOW the only true God and Jesus Christ who is sent, to get eternal life – John 17:3
  91. LABOUR FOR THE FOOD, which endures to everlasting life – John 6:27
  92. LAY ASIDE ALL FILTHINESS, and receive the implanted word which is able to save your soul – Ja. 1:21
  93. LAY ASIDE all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, that you may grow in respect of salvation – 1 Pet. 2:1-2 NASB
  94. LET YOUR CONDUCT BE WORTHY THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST, to get salvation and avoid perdition – Phil. 1:27-29
  95. LET YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS EXCEED THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE PHARISEES, to enter the kingdom of heaven – Matt. 5:20
  96. LIVE IN HOLINESS and not uncleanness, because rejecting this is to reject God – 1 Thess. 4: 7-8
  97. LIVE RIGHTEOUSLY, in order to inherit the kingdom of God – 1 Cor. 6:9-11
  98. LIVE WITHOUT DEFILEMENT, or causing an abomination/lie, in order to have your name in the Lamb’s book of life – Rev. 21:27
  99. LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, do good to those who hate you, to be the Father’s son – Matt. 5:43-44
  100. LOVE JESUS MORE THAN FAMILY MEMBERS, to be worthy of Jesus – Matt. 10:37
  101. LOVE THE BRETHREN, to pass from death to life – 1 John 3:14
  102. LOVE IN DEED AND IN TRUTH, to remain in God’s love – 1 John 3:17-19, 1 John 2:10
  103. LOVE ONE ANOTHER, to be born of God and abide in him – 1 John 4:7-9, 12
  104. LOVE ONE ANOTHER, to fulfill the law (5 commandments listed summed up in 1) – Rom. 13:8-10
  105. LOVE YOUR BROTHER, in order to not be a liar and to obey God’s commandment – 1 John 4:20-21
  106. NOTE AND AVOID THOSE WHO CAUSE DIVISIONS AND OFFENSES contrary to the true doctrine, in order to not be deceived – Rom. 16:17-18
  107. OBEY JESUS, to get eternal salvation – Hebr. 5:9
  108. OBEY GOD IN FAITH, in order to enter the promised rest – Hebr. 3:18, Hebr. 11:8
  109. OBEY THE GOSPEL OF GOD, in order to be righteous and saved – 1 Pet. 4:17-18
  110. OBEY THE SON, in order to see life and avoid the wrath of God – John 3:36 NASB
  111. OBEY THE GOSPEL OF JESUS, in order to avoid everlasting destruction – 2 Thess. 1:8-9
  112. OBEY THE TRUTH, to not leaven the whole lump – Gal. 5:7-9
  113. OBEY THE TRUTH, in order to purify your soul – 1 Pet. 1:22
  114. OBEY THE TRUTH, in order to not be considered bewitched and having suffered things in vain – Gal. 3:1-4
  115. OPEN THE DOOR FOR JESUS WHEN HE KNOCKS, so that he will come in and dine with you – Rev. 3:20
  116. OVERCOME, in order to be dressed in white garments and not blotted out of the book of life – Rev. 3:5
  117. PRACTICE RIGHTEOUSNESS, to be considered born of Jesus – 1 John 2:29
  118. PRACTICE RIGHTEOUSNESS, to be righteous just like Jesus is righteous – 1 John 3:7
  119. PRACTICE RIGHTEOUSNESS, to be of God – 1 John 3:10
  120. PREACH THE UNPERVERTED GOSPEL, to not be accursed – Gal. 1:8-9
  121. PRESENT YOUR MEMBERS AS SLAVES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, to be holy– Rom. 6:19
  122. PRESS TOWARD THE GOAL, for the prize of the upward call of God – Phil. 3:14
  123. PUT TO DEATH YOUR MEMBERS, like fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness in order to not be affected by the wrath of God which is coming upon the sons of disobedience – Col 3:5-6
  124. PURGE OUT THE OLD LEAVEN, that you may be a new lump and saved on the day of the Lord – 1 Cor. 5:5-7
  125. PURSUE PEACE WITH ALL PEOPLE, AND HOLINESS, without which no one will see the Lord – Hebr. 12:14
  126. PUT OFF THE OLD MAN concerning your former conduct, to not be corrupt through deceitful lusts – Eph. 4:22
  127. PUT TO DEATH THE DEEDS OF THE BODY, in order to live and be a son of God – Rom. 8:13-14
  128. REPENT FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS, to be forgiven and not perish – Luke 3:3, Luke 13:3, Acts 2:38, Acts 11:18
  129. REPENT through godly sorrow, leading to salvation – 2 Cor. 7:10
  130. RUN IN THE RACE, to get the prize – 1 Cor. 9:24
  131. SERVE IN THE NEWNESS OF THE SPIRIT, to not bear fruit to death – Rom. 7:5-6
  132. SERVE GOD ALONE AND NOT MAMMON, to be loyal to God – Matt. 6:24
  133. SERVE THE LORD JESUS HEARTILY, to receive the reward of the inheritance – Col. 3:23-24
  134. SHOW GOOD WORKS, in order to prove that you do not deny God but know him – Titus 1:16
  135. SHOW MERCY, to get mercy on judgment day – Ja. 2:13
  136. SHOW MERCY TO YOUR NEIGHBOR, to inherit eternal life – Luke 10:25-28, 36-37
  137. SOW TO THE SPIRIT, to reap everlasting life – Gal. 6:8
  138. STAND FAST, in order to not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage and Christ will profit you nothing – Gal. 5:1-2
  139. STRIVE TO ENTER THROUGH THE NARROW GATE, to be known by God and be saved – Luke 13:23-24
  140. TAKE HEED if you think you stand, lest you fall – 1 Cor. 10:12
  141. TAKE HEED TO YOURSELF, TO THE DOCTRINE AND CONTINUE IN THEM, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you – 1 Tim. 4:16
  142. TAKE YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW JESUS, in order to be worthy – Matt. 10:38
  143. WAGE THE GOOD WARFARE with a good conscience, to not shipwreck your faith – 1 Tim. 1:18-19
  144. WAIT EAGERLY for the second return of Christ, for salvation – Hebr. 9:28
  145. WALK ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT,  to be in Christ, to fulfill the law and to not be condemned – Rom. 8:1-2, 4-6
  146. WALK ACCORDING TO HIS COMMANDMENTS, to have love – 2 John 1:6
  147. WALK IN THE LIGHT, to be cleansed from your sins – 1 John 1:7
  148. WATCH AND BE SOBER, in order to be prepared and obtain salvation – 1 Thess. 5:6-9
  149. WATCH AND DO NOT FORGET YOUR OIL, or else the son of man will not know you – Matt. 25:12-13
  150. WORK OUT YOUR SALVATION, with fear and trembling – Phil. 2:1

So there is at least some effort involved in order to be a child of God, and you should not trust those who try to make the cross that you must carry light as a feather. Apart from the above examples there are even more verses which tell us what we cannot afford to do if we want to remain saved. In summary these 150 requirements tell us one thing only:

”You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27)

If we believe in Jesus and truly love him, we also stay close to him and get help by the holy Spirit to overcome sin. God is merciful and will absolutely forgive you upon repentance, even if you are guilty of having disobeyed the entire list of requirements.

Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord REQUIRE of you But to DO JUSTLY,To LOVE mercy, And to WALK HUMBLY with your God?

”God has dealt to every man a measure of faith” – concerns spiritual gifts – Rom. 12:3

acts 17 27We are created with the ability to seek and find God

To start with we know from the Bible that God has created us with the ability to SEEK him and FIND him, even though he is not far from any one of us. It’s for this purpose that he has formed us. There is much joy in heaven for each person who repents, because this means that a person has gone from death to life and God doesn’t want anyone to perish.

Acts 17:26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 SO THAT THEY SHOULD SEEK THE LORD, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;30 Truly, these timso that they should seek the Lord,es of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands ALL MEN EVERYWHERE to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this TO ALL by raising Him from the dead.” (NKJV)

John 1:8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world

Ez. 33:11 Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’

2 Pet. 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

If we preach that ”faith is a gift”, there is a risk that people will understand this to mean that God gives ”faith” (faith to believe in God) to some and not to others, since all people evidently don’t have faith in God. This logically results in that people who don’t believe in God are innocent victims, because God did not provide them with enough ”faith” to repent and believe in him. They would have good reasons to be disappointed with God who prevented them from believing. Therefore it’s best to not express ourselves in a way that can easily be misunderstood. (Nevertheless, calvinists do believe that God predestines some to be saved and others to not be saved so they wouldn’t have any reasons to suggest they are misunderstood.)

Many people get healed thanks to THEIR faith

Some christians erroneously believe that the ”gift” spoken about in Eph. 2:8-9 is ”faith”, but in reality the Greek shows that it’s ”salvation” that is the gift as can be seen here. It’s certainly true that we don’t have to pay for our salvation, or that we can merit salvation by anything we do (or believe), because we would be hopelessly lost without the gift offered to us even though we don’t deserve it in the least. Some christians suggest that Rom. 12:3 indicates that God hands out the gift of faith (the ability to believe in God) to SOME people, leaving the rest in darkness, but if that were the case God alone must be blamed for people’s ”choice” to not believe in him since they in reality wouldn’t have any choice in the matter. Rom. 12: 3 actually says that God has dealt to ”every man” the measure of faith:

Rom. 12:3For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (KJV)

Note that not all ”faith” spoken about in the Bible is in relation to belief in God but it could also be in relation to a person’s faith in one or more of the spiritual gifts, and that is the topic of Rom. 12. Not all christians have a strong faith in that they can be healed (sometimes they get healed anyway), or that they can prophesy, speak in tongues, etc. Fortunately our faith can grow in this area. Here are some examples of where people’s faith plays an important role when it comes to healing (KJV and NKJV):

Mark 5:24 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.

Acts 14:9 This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked.

Luke 17:.17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: THY FAITH HATH MADE THEE WHOLE.

Matthew 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, GREAT IS THY FAITH: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Mark. 5:34 And he said unto her, Daughter, THY FAITH HATH MADE THEE WHOLE; go in peace, and be faith 3whole of thy plague.

Luke 18:41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: THY FAITH HATH SAVED THEE.43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.

Mark 6:4 But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” 5 Now HE COULD DO NO MIGHTY WORK THERE, EXCEPT THAT HE LAID HIS HANDS ON A FEW SICK PEOPLE AND HEALED THEM. 6 And He marveled because of their UNBELIEF. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching. 

Matthew 8:8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. —13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and AS THOU HAST BELIEVED, SO BE IT DONE UNTO THEE. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

Matt. 17:14 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.17 Then Jesus answered and said, O FAITHLESS AND PERVERSE GENERATION, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?20 And Jesus said unto them, BECAUSE OF YOUR UNEBELIEF: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

Also 1 Corinthians 12-14 concerns the spiritual gifts. Paul says ”There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit”. He says that the Spirit is distributing these gifts to each one has he wills, but he also tells us to COVET EARNESTLY the best gifts. Too many christians are of the opinion that the spiritual gifts have ceased, but some of them still concede that ”Sure, if God one day hits me with some of these gifts out of the blue, then who am I to object”? Meaning, they wait for God to take action despite of their disinterest and objections to the spiritual gifts, and by being so reluctant they disobey Paul who tells us to EARNESTLY DESIRE the best gifts. Instead of earnestly desire these gifts, they might choose to discourage others from having this type of desire by telling them that the gifts have passed and are not for today. Flee from a pastor who warns you and discourages you from seeking the gifts. Satan is thrilled each time he can disarm a christian person and make him weaker.

If healing, prophesying and speaking in tongues have ceased, then so have faith, wisdom, knowledge and ”discerning of the spirits”, which can be found on the same list. ”Faith” is here listed separately, and it could for instance concern the hopes and expectations that we have when we take the time to pray. If we believe that praying is a more or less a waste of time and that God either doesn’t hear our prayers or that everything is predetermined, then it’s a risk that become weak when we pray (if we pray at all). It could also concern our faith in relation to prophesies and dreams – that God is able to express himself through such means (this could be combined with discerning the spirits) – and that we are able to find ourselves in ”divine appointments” with other individuals in our daily lives which we should make use of. Another example could be when we are trusting in God for providing financial aid in a difficult situation, and there are numerous testimonies from christians who give account of miracles that they have experienced when they are being provided money precisely when needed in a very urgent situation which they have prayed about. If we have a strong faith in that God is able to lead us in our daily life, we have accomplished much and our faith can grow even further. We will understand the power of prayers and that we can be useful tools for others, just like other people can be used by God to enlighten and encourage us.

1 Cor. 12:8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

1 Cor. 12:30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But EARNESTLY DESIRE the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.

faith 4The context of Romans 12 – having faith in spiritual gifts

Romans 12 shows us how Paul beseeches the christians in Rome, and all of us, to live holy lives in order to be acceptable to God, and to be transformed by the renewing of our mind.

Rom. 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

Right after v. 3, where Paul mentioned ”as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith”, he explains further what he means by that:

FOR as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

As we can see, Paul has spiritual gifts in mind when he speaks about ”faith” in v. 3 (the previous verse). He says in v. 4  ”let us prophesy in proportion to our faith”, because the truth is that not everyone has the gift of prophesying – often because they don’t even believe in the spiritual gifts . Paul says ”Let us use them”, indicating that some of us are not using our gifts even though they are provided to us, and one reason might be lack of boldness. Which gifts we possess are dependent on our willingness to seek the gifts (as we are told) and which gifts the Spirit provides us (God’s grace). Apart from using faith in relation to prophesy, Paul also mentions ministering, teaching exhorting, giving, leading and being merciful. These are all areas where a strong faith is very useful, and the more we see what God can do, the more our faith can grow and we become more bold – fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. Not all of us are for instance teachers, but we can all do something for the Kingdom of God, depending on our personalities, talents, gifts and faith. We are all different members of the same body.

9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 

We will be judged by a righteous God – and he knows what we know…osas 10

A person can be healed through faith in his name (either from the one who heals, or the one getting healed, or both). The following verse is both about believing in Jesus, and believing in the power that extends from him  – so that we are able to expect a person getting healed.

Acts 3:16 And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

If we have a strong faith, we can better endure persecutions and tribulations, and we can better learn the power of a prayer. There is a risk that we might habitually pray but still lack faith in that God will respond. It’s like going in to a store and by the counter ask for a certain product, and when the salesperson says ”Sure, one moment please” and leaves the counter in order to get what you ask for, you stand there with doubts if this person is actually going to return with your product. ”Maybe the product is out of stock, or maybe the salesperson forgot about me or went for lunch?” So you just leave the store without getting the product that you asked for, even though you had the chance and should have endured. We can learn to grow in faith.

2 Thes. 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, 5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; 6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you,7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.

If God would hand out various amounts of ”faith” to us , as an ability to even believe in him, it wouldn’t make sense for Jesus to request us to believe in him if he is aware of that some of us lack the faith to do it.

 John 10:37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, BELIEVE THE WORKS: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

Matt. 14:28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

It’s not biblically sound to answer Jesus ”because you didn’t provide us with enough faith”. What must we do to be saved?

Acts 16:30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I DO to be saved?”31 So they said, “BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Paul and Silas didn’t answer ”There is nothing you can do to get saved, apart from hoping that God has given you enough faith to believe in him. Just wait and see”.

We will be judged based on our faith, what we know and learn, if we seek God’s wisdom, our fruit and our conscience:

Rom. 10:14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?—17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Rom. 2: 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves,15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.

Luke 10:13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.

Lydia was not chosen to BELIEVE since she was a worshiper already – Acts 16:14

lydiaAnd a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, WHICH WORSHIPPED GOD, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul (Acts 16:14)

Lydia was never hand-picked to be a believer. God doesn’t work in such a way that he randomly (or for unknown reasons) selects a few lucky people to give faith and salvation while he leaves the rest for damnation, despite being guilty of having prevented them from believing by not enabling them to believe. That would hardly be righteous actions worthy of the God of the Bible. We are saved by FAITH and not by ELECTION. If we refuse to believe, we should not blame God for this failure but only ourselves.

Lydia found Paul and some other christians down by the beach where they were praying. Since she was a worshiper of God already, she was probably intrigued by what she heard and stayed to listen to learn more. That was a good choice since she learned more about the kingdom of God.

13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, WHICH WORSHIPPED GOD, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

It’s true that it says ”whose heart the Lord opened”, but we already know God didn’t open hear heart to be able to believe or to be a worshiper of God since she was this already. Her faith was the reason she was compelled to approach them and listen to their message.This was her own decision in the same way that Jesus disciples decided to either stay with him and learn more of his teaching, or to leave altogether (as in John. 6:66) and therefore remain in darkness. The reason that God opened her heart even more was so that she could ”attend to the things spoken by Paul” (Young’s literal). So not ”to believe” in the first place but to be able to understand Paul’s advice – perhaps about the most fruitful way to live a christian life and to be a useful tool for others. The Holy Ghost can certainly work in us, but we are the ones who must make the decision to repent and seek the Lord before this can begin to happen. We are requested to repent (and be baptized for the remission of sins, which should be made right after repentance) and then we will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

What else does the same chapter say about Lydia and about having faith? – Acts 16

Churches increased in number daily due to the word that Paul and Silas spread. What would have happened if they did not spread the gospel? Would the result be the same?

4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

God wants us to spread the gospel since people might be saved through it. If we are saved by election (maybe from the creation of the world), spreading the gospel doesn’t seem to be important since it won’t make a difference:

9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

The Philippian jailer fell down before Paul and Silas, likely knowing they served the one true God who can perform amazing miracles – such as creating earth quakes at the right time and open prison doors. He asked them ”what must I DO to be saved?”.

27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I DO to be saved?

Paul and Silas did not answer: ”Absolutely NOTHING, since you have to hope for that God will possibly open your eyes so that you can believe. IF God works in you in such a way, then you know you’re one of the elect and you’ve been elect from birth and even from the creation of the world. You can’t possibly affect a decision about your destiny that has been made thousands of years ago. You can just relax and wait and see.”

Instead Paul and Silas answered his question with:

31 ”—BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

They did not promise automatic salvation for his entire household if only this jailer would take the path leading to salvation, because the same condition applied also to them. ”BELIEVE and thou shalt be saved!” Paul and Silas might also have figured out that this jailer likely would take the step to be saved since he had just witnessed a miracle and freely requested to know what he must do to be saved – showing his interest in his heart. If the man of the household gets born again, it’s likely that he will be able to affect his entire household with his new spiritual life, and especially if Paul and Silas evangelized to them too, which they did:

32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

The jailer’s family indeed ended up BELIEVING, so they were not saved only because the man of the household was a believer. Neither did Paul and Silas contradict James (in his letter) where James explained that faith without deeds is dead. Also demons believe and tremble, so ”faith” means nothing unless you show your faith with your deeds. Abraham didn’t just sit under a bush and believed without obeying God. No, he showed time and again that he had a strong faith by being obedient to God, even when it came down to offering up his own son.

33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

Paul and Silas left prison and stayed in the house of Lydia for a while.

39 And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city.40 And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.

Quotes from the old church fathers where they deny original sin / sinful nature

handpåläggningThe pre-Nicene church fathers did not believe in the sinful nature

It’s not enough to go back to Luther and Calvin to check the views of the early church, but we must go further back than that. If we do, we will soon notice that Luther and Calvin took impression of Augustine, and Augustine believed the contrary to the early church fathers before him when it comes to the issue of the sinful nature and a number of other subjects. Augustine must be blamed for the new unbiblical teachings which were brought into church due to him, and which today are considered truths in particularly the reformed church. We must therefore go back to the early church fathers before Augustine, and then we can see how their stance lines up perfectly with the Bible.

It’s true that Adam’s sin affected us a great deal, because the ground is cursed due to him and we can’t reach the tree of life due to him, which means that his sin brought physical death on all his posterior (including Jesus before he rose again). We’re bound by weakness, shame, fear, suffering and many natural shortcomings due to being related to Adam, but we certainly didn’t inherit his SIN. Romans 5:12 tells us that DEATH (not SIN) passed upon us BECAUSE all sinned. Not because Adam sinned. The physical death that we get due to Adam is not a punishment, but rather something that we get out of the mercy by the providence of God. The only other alternative would be to continue living on for ever without dying – in this present cursed world. That would be a cruel fate.

Augustine’s views about infants who die without water baptism

Unfortunately, Augustine only knew little Greek (unlike Pelagius who knew both Greek and Hebrew) and seems to have misunderstood the teaching of the Greek Fathers who lived before him, because he reached different conclusions than they did. The Manicheans were a gnostic cult Augustine originally belonged to and which advocated that the nature of man can be corrupt to the point that his will is powerless to obey God’s commands”. Chadwick p. 228(2)

Some quotes from and about Augustine:

But even the infants, not personally in their own life, but according to the common origin of the human race, have all broken God’s covenant in that on in whom all have sinned…Even the infants are, according to the true belief, born in sin, not actual but original, so that we confess they have need of grace for the remission of sins. (Augustine, City of God bk. 16 ch. 27)

As nothing else is done for children in baptism but their being incorporated into the church, that is, connected with the body and members of Christ, it follows, that when this is not done for them, they belong to perdition. / III. 4

such infants as quit the body without being baptized will be involved in the mildest condemnation of all. That person, therefore, greatly deceives both himself and others, who teaches that they will not be involved in condemnation; whereas the apostle says: ‘Judgment from one offence to condemnation’ (Romans 5:16), and again a little after: ‘By the offence of one upon all persons to condemnation’ (Romans 5:18). / On Merit and the Forgiveness of Sins, and the Baptism of Infants, ; cf. Study by the International Theological Commission

What is plainer than that the ancient divines, for three hundred years after Christ, those at least who flourished before St. Augustine, maintained the liberty of our will, or an indifference to two contrary things, free from all internal and external necessity! / Simon Episcopius (An Equal Check to Pharisaism and Antinomianism by John Fletcher, Volume Two, p. 209, Published by Carlton & Porter)

Augustine himself. (A wonderful saint! As full of pride, passion, bitterness, censoriousness, and as foul-mouthed to all that contradicted him… When Augustine’s passions were heated, his word is not worth a rush. And here is the secret: St. Augustine was angry at Pelagius: Hence he slandered and abused him, (as his manner was,) without either fear or shame. And St. Augustine was then in the Christian world, what Aristotle was afterwards: There needed no other proof of any assertion, than Ipse dixit: “St. Augustine said it.”/ John Wesley

The pre-Nicene church fathers all taught against the gnostic idea that we are born with a sinful nature

You will sometimes see quotes by old church fathers from Calvinists who suggest that they teach original sin, but if you scrutinize those quotes and also read them in context, you will see that they teach no such thing. We also get a clearer picture if we compare with other texts from the same church father, and obviously the church fathers don’t contradict themselves. It’s very common to misunderstand the consequences of Adam’s sin (physical death) thinking it’s about a forced nature. If an original sin is forced upon us, then naturally we would have the best excuse for sin there is, and Jesus (clearly without original sin) would have a great advantage over us.

Ignatius of Antioch, 35-107 AD Bishop of Antioch in Syria. A disciple of the Apostle John and appointed as Bishop of Antioch by the Apostle Peter.

I do not mean to say that there are two different human natures, but all humanity is made the same, sometimes belonging to God and sometimes to the devil. If anyone is truly spiritual they are a person of God; but if they are irreligious and not spiritual then they are a person of the devil, made such NOT by nature, but by their own choice. (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians chap 5, + Pg.61 vol. 1)

There is set before us life upon our observance [of God’s precepts], but death as the result of disobedience, and every one, according to the choice he makes, shall go to his own place, let us flee from death, and make choice of life. (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians chap 5)

Irenaeus of Lyon 120-202 AD. The Apostle John had a disciple named Polycarp, who had a disciple named Irenaeus.

Men are possessed with free will, and endowed with the faculty of making a choice. It is not true, therefore, that some are by nature good, and others bad. (Against Heresies, Book IV, Chapter XXXVII)

Man is endowed with the faculty of distinguishing good and evil; so that, without compulsion, he has the power, by his own will and choice, to perform God’s commandments. (Against Heresies, Book IV, Chapter XXXIX)

Those who do not do it [good] will receive the just judgment of God, because they had not worked good when they had it in their power to do so. But if some had been made by nature bad, and others good, these latter would not be deserving of praise for being good, for they were created that way, nor would the former be reprehensible, for that is how they were made. However, all men are of the same nature. They are all able to hold fast and to go what is good. On the other hand, they have the power to cast good from them and not to do it. (Against Heresies (Book IV, Chapter 37)

This expression, ‘How often would I have gathered thy children together, and thou wouldst not,’ set forth the ancient law of human liberty, because God made man a free (agent) from the beginning, possessing his own soul to obey the behests of God voluntarily, and not by compulsion of God. For there is no coercion with God, but a good will (toward us) is present with Him continually. And therefore does He give good counsel to all. And in man as well as in angels, He has placed the power of choice (for angels are rational beings), so that those who had yielded obedience might justly possess what is good, given indeed by God, but preserved by themselves…  (c. 180, Against Heresies 37; God’s Strategy In Human History, p. 246)

And to as many as continue in their love towards God, does He grant communion with Him. But communion with God is life and light, and the enjoyment of all the benefits which He has in store. But on as many as, according to their own choice, depart from God. He inflicts that separation from Himself which they have chosen of their own accord. But separation from God is death, and separation from light is darkness; and separation from God consists in the loss of all the benefits which He has in store. Those, therefore, who cast away by apostasy these forementioned things, being in fact destitute of all good, do experience every kind of punishment. God, however, does not punish them immediately of Himself, but that punishment falls upon them because they are destitute of all that is good. (Against Heresies, Book V, XXVII, 2)

Justin Martyr, 110-165 AD

For He fore-knows that some are to be saved by repentance, some even that are perhaps not yet born. In the beginning He made the human race with the power of thought and of choosing the truth and doing right, so that all men are without excuse before God; for they have been born rational and contemplative.And if any one disbelieves that God cares for these things, he will thereby either insinuate that God does not exist, or he will assert that though He exists He delights in vice, or exists like a stone, and that neither virtue nor vice are anything, but only in the opinion of men these things are reckoned good or evil. And this is the greatest profanity and wickedness. (Apology 1, Chapter 28)

But lest some suppose, from what has been said by us, that we say that whatever happens, happens by a fatal necessity, because it is foretold as known beforehand, this too we explain. We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishments, and chastisements, and good rewards, are rendered according to the merit of each man’s actions. Since if it be not so, but all things happen by fate, neither is anything at all in our own power. For if it be fated that this man, e.g., be good, and this other evil, neither is the former meritorious nor the latter to be blamed. And again, unless the human race have the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions, of whatever kind they be. But that it is by free choice they both walk uprightly and stumble, we thus demonstrate. We see the same man making a transition to opposite things. Now, if it had been fated that he were to be either good or bad, he could never have been capable of both the opposites, nor of so many transitions. But not even would some be good and others bad, since we thus make fate the cause of evil, and exhibit her as acting in opposition to herself; or that which has been already stated would seem to be true, that neither virtue nor vice is anything, but that things are only reckoned good or evil by opinion; which, as the true word shows, is the greatest impiety and wickedness. But this we assert is inevitable fate, that they who choose the good have worthy rewards, and they who choose the opposite have their merited awards. For not like other things, as trees and quadrupeds, which cannot act by choice, did God make man: for neither would he be worthy of reward or praise did he not of himself choose the good, but were created for this end; nor, if he were evil, would he be worthy of punishment, not being evil of himself, but being able to be nothing else than what he was made.” (Apology 1, ch. 43)

But neither do we affirm that it is by fate that men do what they do, or suffer what they suffer, but that each man by free choice acts rightly or sins; and that it is by the influence of the wicked demons that earnest men, such as Socrates and the like, suffer persecution and are in bonds, while Sardanapalus, Epicurus, and the like, seem to be blessed in abundance and glory. The Stoics, not observing this, maintained that all things take place according to the necessity of fate. But since God in the beginning made the race of angels and men with free-will, they will justly suffer in eternal fire the punishment of whatever sins they have committed. And this is the nature of all that is made, to be capable of vice and virtue. For neither would any of them be praiseworthy unless there were power to turn to both [virtue and vice]. And this also is shown by those men everywhere who have made laws and philosophized according to right reason, by their prescribing to do some things and refrain from others. Even the Stoic philosophers, in their doctrine of morals, steadily honour the same things, so that it is evident that they are not very felicitous in what they say about principles and incorporeal things. For if they say that human actions come to pass by fate, they will maintain either that God is nothing else than the things which are ever turning, and altering, and dissolving into the same things, and will appear to have had a comprehension only of things that are destructible, and to have looked on God Himself as emerging both in part and in whole in every wickedness; or that neither vice nor virtue is anything; which is contrary to every sound idea, reason, and sense.” /Apology 2 Ch.7 2 (+ The Anti-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I, p.354)

But as my discourse is not intended to touch on this point, but to prove to you that the Holy Ghost reproaches men because they were made like God, free from suffering and death, provided that they kept His commandments, and were deemed deserving of the name of His sons, and yet they, becoming like Adam and Eve, work out death for themselves; let the interpretation of the Psalm be held just as you wish, yet thereby it is demonstrated that all men are deemed worthy of becoming ”gods,” and of having power to become sons of the Highest; and shall be each by himself judged and condemned like Adam and Eve. Now I have proved at length that Christ is called God. / Dialogue:124

Now, we know that he did not go to the river because He stood in need of baptism, or of the descent of the Spirit like a dove; even as He submitted to be born and to be crucified, not because He needed such things, but because of the human race, which from Adam had fallen under the power of death and the guile of the serpent, and each one of which had committed personal transgression. For God, wishing both angels and men, who were endowed with freewill, and at their own disposal, to do whatever He had strengthened each to do, made them so, that if they chose the things acceptable to Himself, He would keep them free from death and from punishment; but that if they did evil, He would punish each as He sees fit./ Dialogue: 88

But neither shall the father perish for the son, nor the son for the father; but every one for his own sin, and each shall be saved for his own righteousness.—Furthermore, I have proved in what has preceded,” that those who were foreknown to be unrighteous, whether men or angels, are not made wicked by God’s fault, but each man by his own fault is what he will appear to be./ Dialogue: 140Neither do we maintain that it is by fate that men do what they do, or suffer what they suffer. Rather, we maintain that each man acts rightly or sins BY HIS FREE CHOICE….Since God in the beginning MADE THE RACE OF ANGELS AND MEN WITH FREE WILL, they will justly suffer in eternal fire the punishment of whatever sins they have committed. (c. 160, E), 1:190

God, wishing men and angels to follow His will, resolved to create them free to do righteousness. But if the word of God foretells that some angels and men shall certainly be punished, it did so because it foreknew that they would be unchangeably (wicked), but not because God created them so. So if they repent all who wish for it can obtain mercy from God. / Dialogue cxli

Clement 2nd, 80-140 ADThe first Apostolic Father of the Church. (According to Tertullian, Clement was consecrated by Saint Peter. Early church lists place him as the second or third bishop of Rome after Saint Peter. In Philippians 4:3 Clement is mentioned whose name was written “in the book of life”. Although known as 2 Clement, this document is in actuality an anonymous homily of the mid-second century. The author quotes from some document for the sayings of Jesus.)

Thus although we are born neither good nor bad, we become on or the other and having formed habits, we are with difficulty drawn from them. Pg 273 vol.8

He who is good by his own choice is really good; but he who is made good by another under necessity is not really good, because he is not what he is by his own choice… 

So, brothers and sisters, if we have done the will of the Father and have kept the flesh pure and have observed the commandments of the Lord, we will receive eternal life (2 Clement 8:4)

Clement of Alexandria (Titus Flavius Clemens) 150–215 AD. A theologian who taught at the Catechetical School of Alexandria. Among his pupils were Origen and Alexander of Jerusalem.

Neither promises nor apprehensions, rewards, no punishments are just if the soul has not the power of choosing and abstaining; if evil is involuntary. (c. 195, Vol. 2, p.319)

Their estrangement is the result of free choice. (c. 195, Vol. 2, p. 426)

Tatian the Assyrian 120–180 AD Theologianjesus

Our free will has destroyed us. We who were free have become slaves. We have been sold through sin. Nothing evil has been created by God. We ourselves have manifested wickedness. But we, who have manifested it, are able to reject it again.” (c. 160, Vol. 2, pp. 69-70)

Each of these two orders of creatures [men and angels] was made free to act as it pleased. They did not have the nature of good, which again is with God alone. However, it is brought to perfection in men through their freedom of choice. In this manner, the bad man can be justly punished, having become depraved through his own fault. Likewise, the just man can be deservedly praised for his virtuous deeds, since in the exercise of his free choice, he refrained from transgressing the will of God. (c. 160, Vol. 2, p. 67)

Tertullian 160-225 AD

I find, then, that man was constituted free by God. He was master of his own will and powerFor a law would not be imposed upon one who did not have it in his power to render that obedience which is due to law. Nor again, would the penalty of death be threatened against sin, if a contempt of the law were impossible to man in the liberty of his will…Man is free, with a will either for obedience of resistance. (c. 207, Vol. 3, pp. 300-301)

No reward can be justly bestowed, no punishment can be justly inflicted, upon him who is good or bad by necessity, and not by his own choice.  (c. 207) (Doctrine of the Will by Asa Mahan, p. 61, published by Truth in Heart)

Athenagorus of Athens, 133-190 AD Apologist

Just as with men who have freedom of choice as to bother virtue and vice (for you would not either honor the good or punish the bad; unless vice and virtue were in their own power, and some are diligent in the matters entrusted to them and others faithless), so is it among the angels. (c. 177, Embassy for Christians; God’s Strategy in Human History, p. 247)

Aristides of Athens, 134 AD (Marcianus Aristides)

 

Theophilus of Antioch, –185 (Succeeded Eros c. 169)

Neither, then, immortal nor yet mortal did He make him, but, as we have said above, capable of both; so that if he should incline to the things of immortality, keeping the commandment of God, he should receive as reward from Him immortality, and should become God; but If, on the other hand, he would turn to the things of death, disobeying God, he would himself be the cause of death to himself. For God made man free, and with power of himself. (Apology to Autolycus, ch. XXVII.—The nature of man. c.180, Vol. 2, p. 105)

Hyppolytus of Rome, 170 – 235 AD theologian

God, who created [the world], did not nor does not, make evil….Now, man (who was brought into existence) was a creature endowed with a capacity of self-determination, yet he did not possess a sovereign intellect….Man, from the fact of his possessing a capacity for self-determination, brings forth evil….Since man has free will, a law has been given him by God, for a good purpose. For a law will not be laid down for an animal devoid of reason.Only a bridle and whip will be given it. In contrast, man has been given a commandment to perform, coupled with a penalty.” (c. 225, Vol. 5, p.151)

Hoodwinking multitudes, [Marcus, the Gnostic heretic] deceived many persons of this description who had become his disciples. He taught them that they were prone, no doubt, to sin. However, he said that they were beyond the reach of danger because they belonged to the perfect power.—Subsequent to baptism, these [heretics] promise another, which they call Redemption. And by this, they wickedly subvert those who remain with them in expectation of redemption. (Ante Nicene Fathers, Volume 5, pg.92)

Origen (Adamantius) 185 – 253 AD Scholar, theologian

The Scriptures emphasize the freedom of the will. They condemn those who sin, and approve those who do right. We are responsible for being bad and worthy of being cast outside. FOR IT IS NOT THE NATURE IN US THAT IS THE CAUSE OF THE EVIL; rather, it is the VOLUNTARY CHOICE that works evil” (A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs by David Bercot, p. 289, Published by Hendrickson Publishers)

the heretics introduce the doctrine of different natures (A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs by David Bercot, p. 291, Published by Hendrickson Publishers)

The soul does not incline to either part out of necessity, for then neither vice nor virtue could be ascribed to it; nor would its choice of virtue deserve reward; nor its declination to vice punishment.” Again, “How could God require that of man which he [man] had not power to offer Him?” (Doctrine of the Will by Asa Mahan, p. 62, published by Truth in Heart)

Certain ones of those [Gnostic’s] who hold different opinions misuse these passages.They essentially destroy free will by introducing RUINED NATURES incapable of salvation and by introducing others as being saved in such a way that they cannot be lost. (Ante Nicene Fathers, Volume 3, p. 308)

Cyprian, 200-258 AD Bishop of Carthage

The liberty of believing or not believing is placed in free choice. In Deuteronomy, it says, ‘Look! I have set before your face life and death, good and evil. Choose for yourself life, that you may live. (c. 250, Vol. 5, p. 547)

Novatian, (Novatus) 200–258 AD Scholar, priest, theologian and antipope

When he had given man all things for his service, he willed that man alone should be free. And lest an unbounded freedom would lead man into peril, He had laid down a command, in which man was taught that there was no evil in the fruit of the tree. Rather, he was forewarned that evil would arise if man were to exercise his free will in contempt of the law that had been given him….As a result, he could receive either worthy rewards or a just punishment. For he had in his own power that which he might choose to do. (c. 235, Vol. 5, p. 612)

Lactantius 240-320 AD

We should be free from vices and sin. For no one is born sinful, but if our affections are given to that direction they can become vices and sinful, but if we use our affections well they become virtues. (Ch. 16 bk 4 Divine Inst.)

Eusebius, 263 – 233 AD Bishop of Caesarea

The Creator of all things has impressed a natural law upon the soul of every man, as an assistant and ally in his conduct, pointing out to him the right way by this law; but, by the free liberty with which he is endowed, making the choice of what is best worthy of praise and acceptance, because he has acted rightly, not by force, but from his own free-will, when he had it in his power to act otherwise, As, again,making him who chooses what is worst, deserving of blame and punishment, as having by his own motion neglected the natural law, and becoming the origin and fountain of wickedness, and misusing himself, not from any extraneous necessity, but from free will and judgment. The fault is in him who chooses, not in God. For God is has not made nature or the substance of the soul bad; for he who is good can make nothing but what is good. Everything is good which is according to nature. Every rational soul has naturally a good free-will, formed for the choice of what is good. But when a man acts wrongly, nature is not to be blamed; for what is wrong, takes place not according to nature, but contrary to nature, it being the work of choice, and not of nature! / The Christian Examiner, Volume One, Published by James Miller, 1824 Edition, p. 66)

Methodius, 260-312 AD Bishop of Olympus

Now those [pagans] who decide that man is not possessed of free will, and affirm that he is governed by the unavoidable necessities of fate…are guilty of impiety toward God Himself, making Him out to be the cause or author of human evils. (c. 190, The Banquet of the Ten Virgins 16; God’s Strategy In Human History, p. 252)

There is nothing evil by nature, but it is by use that evil things become such. So I say, says he, that man was made with free-will, not as if there were already evil in existence, which he had the power of choosing if he wished, but on account of his capacity of obeying or disobeying God. For this was the meaning of the gift of free will? and this alone is evil, namely, disobedience./ The Sacred Writings of Saint Methodius

For man received power, and enslaved himselfnot because he was overpowered by irresistible tendencies of his nature, nor because the capacity with which he was gifted deprived him of what was better for him…I say therefore, that God purposing thus to honor man…has given him the power of being able to do what he wishes,and commends the employment of his power for better things; not that he deprives him again of free will, but wishes to point out the better way. For the power is present with him and he receives the commandment; but God exhorts him to turn his power of choice to better things./ The Sacred Writings of Saint Methodius + The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume Six, Published by BRCCD, p. 746

I say that God – purposing to honor man in this manner and to grant him an understanding of better things has given man the power of being able to do what he wishes. He commends the use of his power for better things. However, it is not that God deprives man again of free will. Rather, He wishes to point out the better way. For the power is present with man, and he receives the commandment. But God exhorts him to turn his power of choice to better things. (c. 290, Vol. 6, p. 362)

I do not think that God urges man to obey His commandments, but then deprives him of the power to obey or disobey…. He does not give a command in order to take way the power that he has given. Rather, He gives it in order to bestow a better gift…in return for his rendered obedience to God. For man had power to withhold it. I say that man was made with free will. (c. 290, Vol. 6, p. 362)

If then, any are evil, they are evil in accordance with the wants and desires of their minds, and not by necessity. They perish self-destroyed, by their own fault.’For a man is not spoken of as ‘murderer’ but by committing it he receives the derived name of murderer. Evil is not a substance, but by practicing any evil it can be called evil…for a man is evil only in consequences of his actions. For he is said to be evil because he is a doer of evil. It is a persons actions that gives them the title of evil. Men produce the evil and are the authors of them. It is through actions that evil exists. Each man is evil in consequences of what they practice. It all has a beginning.The Sacred Writings of Saint Methodius

The Divine Being is not by nature implicated in evils. Therefore our birth is not the cause of these things. (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume Six, Published by BRCCD, p. 696)

Arnobius of Sicca, –330 AD

Does He not free all alike who invites all alike? Or does He thrust back or repel any one from the kindness of the supreme, who gives to all alike the power of coming to Him. To all, He says, the fountain of like is open, and no one is kept back or hindered from drinking. If you are so fastidious as to spurn the kindly offered gift… why should he keep on inviting you, while His only duty is to make the enjoyment of His bounty depend on your own free choice. Book 2 ,64

Cyril of Jerusalem, 312-386

Lecture IV 18″Know also that thou hast a soul self governed, the noblest work of God, made after the image of its Creator, immortal because of God that gives it immortality, a living being rational, imperishable, because of Him that bestowed these gifts: having free power to do what it willeth.”20″There is not a class of souls sinning by nature and a class of souls practising righteousness by nature; but both act from choice, the substance of their souls being of one kind only and alike in all.”21″The soul is self-governed: and though the Devil can suggest, he has not the power to compel against the will. He pictures to thee the thought of fornication: if thou wilt, thou rejectest. For if thou wert a fornicator of necessity then for what cause did God prepare hell? If thou wert a doer of righteousness by nature and not by will, wherefore did God prepare crowns of ineffable glory? The sheep is gentle, but never was it crowned for its gentleness; since its gentle quality belongs to it not from choice but by nature.” / Lecture IV 18, God’s Strategy in Human History by Roger T Forster & V Paul Marston

Learn this also, that before it came into this world, your soul had committed no sin, but we come into the world unblemished, and, being here, sin of our own choice. Do not listen, I say, to anyone who expounds ‘If then I do that which I would not’ in the wrong sense, but remember who says, ‘If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat of the good land; but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword,’ and what follows.” (Catechetical Lectures IV . 19)

And you must know your soul to be endowed with free-will, and to be God’s fairest work in the image of himself. It is immortal in as far as God grants it immortality. It is a rational living creature not subject to decay, because these qualities have been bestowed by God upon it. And it has the power to do what it chooses. For you do not sin because you were born that way, nor if you fornicate is it by chance. And do not take any notice of what some people say, that the conjunctions of the stars compel you to fall into unclean living. Why should you avoid acknowledging that you have done wrong by blaming it onto the stars that had nothing to do with it? (Catechetical Lectures IV . 18 (109)

John Crysostom, 347-407 AD Archbishop of Constantinoplesamvete

All is in God’s power, but so that our free-will is not lost . . . It depends therefore on us and on Him. We must first choose the good, and then He adds what belongs to Him. He does not precede our willing, that our free-will may not suffer. But when we have chosen, then He affords us much help . . . It is ours to choose beforehand and to will, but God’s to perfect and bring to the end./On Hebrews, Homily 12, God’s Strategy in Human History by Roger T Forster & V Paul Marston

Jerome, 347 – 420 AD, Priest, historian, theologian

God has bestowed us with free will. We are not necessarily drawn either to virtue or vice. For when necessity rules, there is no room left either for damnation or the crown (Doctrine of the Will by Asa Mahan, p. 62, published by Truth in Heart)

Pelagius, 360 – 420, British monk and theologian (with knowledge in Greek, unlike Augustine). Notice below how he is in agreement with all the early church fathers about man’s free will and that we have not inherited Adam’s sin. Pelagius wrote ”On Nature” and ”Defense Of The Freedom Of The Will”, and in these he suggests that Augustine has been affected by Manicheanism (Augustine was a former gnostic) by mixing christianity with pagan fatalism. Manicheanism teaches that the spirit is God-created, while the flesh is corrupt since it had not been created directly by God. Augustine is the great heretic and has brought in many heresies into church, and Pelagius continues to be wrongly attacked by christians, despite that he was both Biblical and taught the same things as all the church fathers before him.

Whenever I have to speak on the subject of moral instruction and conduct of a holy life, it is my practice first to demonstrate the power and quality of human nature and to show what it is capable of achieving, and then to go on to encourage the mind of my listener to consider the idea of different kinds of virtues, in case it may be of little or no profit to him to be summoned to pursue ends which he has perhaps assumed hitherto to be beyond his reach; for we can never end upon the path of virtue unless we have hope as our guide and compassion…any good of which human nature is capable has to be revealed, since what is shown to be practicable must be put into practice. (The Letters of Pelagius and his Followers by B. R. Rees, pg 36-37, published by The Boydell Press)

It was because God wished to bestow on the rational creature the gift of doing good of his own free will and the capacity to exercise free choice, by implanting in man the possibility of choosing either alternative...he could do either quite naturally and then bend his will in the other direction too. He could not claim to possess the good of his own volition, unless he was the kind of creature that could also have possessed evil. Our most excellent creature wished us to be able to do either but actually to do only one, that is, good, which he also commanded, giving us the capacity to do evil only so that we might do His will by exercising our own. That being so, this very capacity to do evil is also good – good, I say, because it makes the good part better by making it voluntary and independent, not bound by necessity but free to decide for itself. (The Letters of Pelagius and his Followers by B. R. Rees, pg 38, published by The Boydell Press)

Those who are unwilling to correct their own way of life appear to want to correct nature itself instead. (The Letters of Pelagius and his Followers by B. R. Rees, pg 39, published by The Boydell Press)

And lest, on the other hand, it should be thought to be nature’s fault that some have been unrighteous, I shall use the evidence of the scripture, which everywhere lay upon sinners the heavy weight of the charge of having used their own will and do not excuse them for having acted only under constraint of nature. (The Letters of Pelagius and his Followers by B. R. Rees, pg 43, published by The Boydell Press)

Yet we do not defend the good of nature to such an extent that we claim that it cannot do evil, since we undoubtedly declare also that it is capable of good and evil; we merely try to protect it from an unjust charge, so that we may not seem to be forced to do evil through a fault of our nature, when, in fact, we do neither good nor evil without the exercise of our will and always have the freedom to do one of the two, being always able to do either. (The Letters of Pelagius and his Followers by B. R. Rees, pg 43, published by The Boydell Press)

Nothing impossible has been commanded by the God of justice and majesty…Why do we indulge in pointless evasions, advancing the frailty of our own nature as an objection to the one who commands us? No one knows better the true measure of our strength than he who has given it to us nor does anyone understand better how much we are able to do than he who has given us this very capacity of ours to be able; nor has he who is just wished to command anything impossible or he who is good intended to condemn a man for doing what he could not avoid doing. (The Letters of Pelagius and his Followers by B. R. Rees, pg 53-54, published by The Boydell Press)

Grace indeed freely discharges sins, but with the consent and choice of the believer. (The Letters of Pelagius and his Followers by B. R. Rees, pg 92, published by The Boydell Press)

Obedience results from a decision of the mind, not the substance of the body. (The Letters of Pelagius and his Followers by B. R. Rees, pg 90, published by The Boydell Press)

I verily believe, the real heresy of Pelagius was neither more nor less than this: The holding that Christians may, by the grace of God, (not without it; that I take to be a mere slander,) ‘go on to perfection;’ or, in other words, ‘fulfill the law of Christ.’ John Wesley

Here is a good video when it comes to the topic of Augustine’s corruption of the church: