Etikettarkiv | dead

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and things shall be added to you – Matt. 6:33

seekBut SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33) 

In the reformed church you will often hear the teaching that man is not able to seek or come to God unless God first decides to ”wake him up” (something they incorrectly call ”regeneration”) and in this way enables a person to seek and come. They also believe (if they are consistent Calvinists) that God does not show this mercy to everyone but only to those he has decided to save already from the foundation of the world (the elect). In their view, Jesus did not even die for the rest of the people. The Bible however, teaches that God created all men precisely in order TO SEEK HIM, and the promise is that he is not far away from any of us if we should decide to do so. God does not want anyone to perish, and he will forgive us for our past ignorance, provided that we repent from our sins – all men everywhere:

Acts 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;—;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:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto ALL MEN, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Acts 15:13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:17 THAT THE RESIDUE OF MEN MIGHT SEEK AFTER THE LORD, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

Those who seek him and come to him must start out believing that he exists, and that he does respond to our actions and rewards those who choose to seek him:

Hebrews 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.

Luke 12:31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

God stands knocking at the door. IF any man open the door, he will come in and provides a wonderful relationship. This is a promise to all of us:

Rev. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Matt. 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

John 1:7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that ALL MEN through him MIGHT BELIEVE.

We have no excuse for not seeking him, since we CAN:

Rom. 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.24 THEREFORE God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.26 FOR THIS REASON God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting (NKJV)

The below is a psalm, and psalms often contain poetic descriptions, or hyperbolic expressions. If Acts 17 claims that God created us to seek him and no one seeks him, then we have a problem. Does he want us to seek him or not? If he prevents people from seeking him, then our disbelief is not our fault but his fault and we would have an excellent excuse for not turning to God. Psalm 14 also mentions that ”no one” seeks God, but on the other hand the psalm contrasts such people with people who DO seek him!

Psalm 14:2 The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

You can read more about such psalms quoted by Paul in Rom. 3:10 (”no one seeks God”) in this article.

Other psalms which urge us to seek him:

Psalm 9:10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

Psalm 10:4 The WICKED, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after seek GodGod: God is not in all his thoughts.

Psalm 105:4 Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

Proverbs 28:5 Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the Lord understand all things.

We can read about an instance where people do seek God and yet he has withdrawn himself from them, but this is part of a prophetic warning to the house of Israel which would not need to come true if Israel would cease with its pride and start obeying the Lord. Sin often produces serious consequences and it is not certain that God will step in to block such consequences from happening even if people have repented. For instance, King David repented from his serious sin and by doing so restored his life, but his child died anyway.

Hosea 5:6 They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the Lord; but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them.

Hosea 7:10 And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the Lord their God, nor seek him for all this.

Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

In the Old Testament

Here are some more verses which show God’s expectations on us – that we should seek him. In 2 Chronicles 14:4 we can see that God specifically commands all Judah to seek him (and obey his commandments) and we know that all of them did not always do that. This shows our free will, and our ability to obey or disobey.

Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart 

Isaiah 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.

1 Chronicles 16:10 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord. 11 Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.

1 Chronicles 22:19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of the LORD.

1 Chronicles 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

2 Chronicles 11:16 And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers.

1 Chronicles 12:14 And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord.

2 Chronicles 14:4 And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment

 2 Chronicles 15:4 But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them.— 12 And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; 13That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

2 Chronicles 19:3 Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.

2 Chronicles 20:3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4 And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.

2 Chronicles 30:19 That prepareth his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.

2 Chronicles 31:21 And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.

Isaiah 51:1 Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.

Isaiah 56:6 Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near

Isaiah 58:2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.

Lamentation 3:25 The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

Daniel 9:3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:

Ezra 6:21 And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the LORD God of Israel, did eat,

Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

Ezra 8:21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.22 For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.

Amos 5:4 For thus saith the Lord unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:-–6 Seek the Lord, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.—8 Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The Lord is his name:—14 Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.

Zephaniah 2:3 Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.

We can clearly see that we both have the ability and responsibility to seek God rather than the temptations of the world:

Numbers 15:39 And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:

Numbers 24:1 And when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness.

Isaiah 9:13 For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of hosts.

Isaiah 29:15 Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?

Isaiah 31:1 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!

Zechariah 8:21 And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also.22 Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord.

Annonser

God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit raised JESUS up from the dead – quickening

trinity 4

Water, ice, steam, fog, dew – several forms of the same essence

The godhead (God) which is ONE contains three persons (God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit), but Jesus Christ has expressed himself through two natures – a divine nature and a human nature. While Christ’s body was dead, he remained alive since God cannot die. The Bible does not say that God the Father alone raised Jesus from the dead, but rather that each one of God the Father, Jesus the son and the Holy Spirit rose Jesus up from the dead. Either God is a God of confusion, or the trinity is true.

God is able to be in a burning bush (or in the shape of a pillar of fire, or a pillar of cloud) at the same time as he remains in heaven and at the same time as he is elsewhere viewing and sometimes even participating in people’s actions. In such cases we would not be talking about several Yahwehs being all over the place, but we would rather suggest it’s the same Yahweh being in multiple places at the same time. Three piles of sand can easily become one pile of sand.

JESUS gave up his own life and raised himself up from the dead

John 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?21 But he spake of the temple of his body.22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

The Holy Spirit raised Jesus up from the dead

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Romans 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

God the Father raised Jesus up from the dead

Gal. 1:1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)

Eph. 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 

1 Pet. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

God raised Jesus up from the dead

Acts 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.—32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

Acts 3:26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

1 Thessalonians 1:9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

+ Acts 3:15,26, 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30, 33, 34, 37, Rom. 4:24; 6:4, 10:9; 1 Cor. 6:14Col. 2:12, 1 Pet. 1:21

God quickens ALL THINGS, and yet we read that the son also quickensjohn 5

Do you honor God the Father as the supreme being, Mighty God, the Creator of the world, the Lord of Lords, the only one to worship, the beginning and the end, etc? You are requested to honor the son in the same way according to John 5:23. The Jews wanted to kill Jesus for a reason, and that reason is that he made himself equal to God.

John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, MAKING HIMSELF EQUAL WITH GOD.19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so THE SON QUICKENETH whom he will.22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

Notice above how the son quickens whom he wills, just like his Father quickens whom he wills. If it’s God who quickens whom he wills in both cases (both when it comes to himself and his son), then it wouldn’t make any sense to even mention that the son quickens whom he wills if it’s really God the Father who alone has this power and authority. Also the Holy Spirit is able to quicken dead souls. If God really quickens ALL THINGS as the verse below claims, then there shouldn’t be any mentioning of anyone else doing any quickening when it comes to bringing someone (back) to life, UNLESS of course God is a trinity. The trinity alone can get rid of Bible contradictions in relation to God.

1 Tim. 6:13 I give thee charge in the sight of GOD, who quickeneth ALL THINGS, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;

Rom. 8:11 But if the SPIRIT of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies BY HIS SPIRIT that dwelleth in you.

1 Pet. 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by THE SPIRIT.

Rom. 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

1 Cor. 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

Col. 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

QUOTES about EVIL and SIN, from preachers who are CALVINISTS

john piperCalvinists often take refuge behind the curtains of ”God’s ways are higher than our ways” and “it’s a mystery!” whenever they are faced with Bible contradictions, but if they would just start accepting the fact that man has free will, and that God’s will doesn’t always happen (which doesn’t reduce his sovereignty) then all their contradictions would disappear at once. In order to be consistent with calvinism, one must believe that even evil happens according to Gods will, whereas freewillers believe that evil is merely allowed by God and always happens against his will.

Plainly it was God’s will that sin should enter this world, otherwise it would not have, for nothing happens except what God has eternally decreed. Moreover, there was more than a simple permission, for God only permits things that fulfill his purpose./-A.W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, 2009, 162

So when I say that everything that exists — including evil — is ordained by an infinitely holy and all-wise God to make the glory of Christ shine more brightly, I mean that, one way or the other, God sees to it that all things serve to glorify his Son.”/ John Piper, Spectacular Sins: And Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ, 44

God is able without blameworthy ‘tempting’ to see to it that a person does what God ordains for him to do even if it involves evil./ John Piper,  Spectacular Sins: And Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ, 24

Moral evil we usually refer to as sin: murder, lying, adultery, stealing, all the ways that people fail to love each other. So what we are considering here is that God rules the world in such a way that all calamities and all sin remain in his ultimate control and therefore within his ultimate DESIGN and PURPOSE. / John Piper on his website 1 July 1998

The death of Jesus offers another example of how God’s sovereign will ORDAINS that a SINFUL ACT COME TO PASS  /John Piper on his website 1 July 1998These specific examples (which could be multiplied by many more instances) where God purposefully GOVERNS the sinful choices of people are generalized in several passages. — Therefore I conclude with [Jonathan] Edwards, ”God decrees all things, even all sins.” /John Piper

God may hate a thing as it is in itself, and considered simply as evil, and yet . . . it may be his will it should come to pass, considering all consequences. . . . God doesn’t will sin as sin or for the sake of anything evil; though it be his pleasure so to order things, that he permitting, sin will come to pass; for the sake of the great good that by his disposal shall be the consequence. His willing to order things so that evil should come to pass, for the sake of the contrary good, is no argument that he doesn’t hate evil, as evil: and if so, then it is no reason why he may not reasonably forbid evil as evil, and punish it as such. /  The Works of Jonathan Edwards, A.M.: With an Essay on His Genius …, Volym 2

So evil is necessary, in order to the highest happiness of the creature, and the completeness of that communication of God, for which he made the world; because the creature’s happiness consists in the knowledge of God, and the sense of his love. And if the knowledge of him be imperfect, the happiness of the creature must be proportionably imperfect. / The Works of Jonathan Edwards, A.M.: With an Essay on His Genius …, Volym 2

We sin out of a kind of MORAL NECESSITY because we act according to our fallen nature./ R.C. Sproul, What is Reformed Theology?: Understanding the Basics

God wills all things that come to pass…God desired for man to fall into sin. I am not accusing God of sinning; I am suggesting that God created sin. / R.C. Sproul, Jr. Almighty Over All 

If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God’s sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled. / R.C. Sproul.

I wish very frankly and pointedly to assert that if a man gets drunk and shoots his family, it was the will of God that he should do it…”+ Let it be unequivocally said that this view certainly makes God the cause of sin… / Gordon Clark, Religion, Reason, and Revelation, (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian & Reformed), 1961, 221

Sin is one of the ‘whatsoevers’ that have ‘come to pass’, all of which are ‘ordained’…Nothing comes to pass contrary to His decree. Nothing happens by chance.Even moral evil, which He abhors and forbids, occurs by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God… man’s inability to explain how God can make things certain, but not compulsory… is no reason to deny that [God] can do it or that he has done it./ W.G.T. Shedd, Calvinism: Pure and Mixed, 32-33, 38-39

Foreordination means God’s sovereign plan, whereby He decides all that is to happen in the entire universe. Nothing in this world happens by chance. God is in back of everything. He decides and causes all things to happen that do happen. He is not sitting on the sidelines wondering and perhaps fearing what is going to happen next. No, He has foreordained everything ‘after the counsel of his will’ (Eph. 1:11): the moving of a finger, the beating of a heart, the laughter of a girl, the mistake of a typist –even sin…Although sin and unbelief are contrary to what God commands…God has included them in his sovereign decree (ordained them, caused them to certainly come to pass) / Edwin. H. Palmer, The Five Points of Calvinism, 24-25

Yes, someone says, but can’t Christians put themselves outside God’s grace? What about those who commit ABOMINABLE SINS? Don’t they nullify the work of redemption in themselves? Don’t they forfeit the love of God? CERTAINLY NOT …. it’s preposterous to think that we can forfeit it [salvation] BY ANYTHING WE DO / John MacArthurThe God Who Loves: He Will Do Whatever It Takes To Draw Us To Him

God controls everything that is and everything that happens. There is not one thing that happens that he has not actively decreed – not even a single thought in the mind of man. Since this is true, it follows that God has decreed the existence of evil, he has not merely permitted it, as if anything can originate and happen apart from his will and power. Since we have shown that no creature can make completely independent decisions, evil could never have started without God’s active decree, and it cannot continue for one moment longer apart from God’s will. God decreed evil ultimately for his own glory, although it is not necessary to know or to state this reason to defend Christianity from the problem evil. / Vincent Cheung – Problem of evil 

Those who see that it is impossible to altogether disassociate God from the origination and continuation of evil nevertheless try to distance God from evil by saying that God merely “permits” evil, and that he does not cause any of it. However, since Scripture itself states that God actively decrees everything, and that nothing can happen apart from his will and power, it makes no sense to say that he merely permits something –nothing happens by God’s mere permission. / Vincent Cheung – Problem of evil 

Here they have recourse to the distinction between will and permission. By this they would maintain that the wicked perish because God permits it, not because he so wills. But why shall we say “permission” unless it is because God so wills? Still, it is not in itself likely that man brought destruction upon himself through himself, by God’s mere permission and without any ordaining. As if God did not establish the condition in which he wills the chief of his creatures to be! I shall not hesitate, then, simply to confess with Augustine that “the will of God is the necessity of things,” and that what he has willed will of necessity come to pass. / John Calvin, Calvin’s Institutes (III, xxiii, 8 & II, iv., 3)

James White (in a debate with Hank Hannegraaf and George Bryson) was asked,”When a child is raped, is God responsible and did He decree that rape?” His reply:

”Yes, because if not then it‟s meaningless and purposeless and though God knew it was going to happen he created without a purpose…and God is responsible for the creation of despair. If [God] didn‟t [decree child rape] then that rape is an (sic) element of meaningless evil that has no purpose.”/ James White.

Charles Spurgeon did not believe that Jesus died for all men, or that God even desired to save all men. His words also show what damage the satisfaction theory has done to us, since Spurgeon and others start with this unbiblical falsehood and try to build their case on it – which leads them in the wrong direction. Can a person be saved who is engaged in the most monstrous, horrible and repulsive iniquity, and worse than diabolical deities could think of perform? That is what Spurgeon call those who believe that Jesus died for all:

Once again, if it was Christ’s intention to save all men, how deplorably has He been disappointed, for we have His own testimony that there is a lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, and into that pit of woe have been cast some of the very persons who, according to the theory of universal redemption, were bought with His blood. That seems to me a conception a thousand times more repulsive than any of those consequences which are said to be associated with the Calvinistic and Christian doctrine of special and particular redemption. To think that my Saviour died for men who were or are in hell, seems a supposition too horrible for me to entertain. To imagine for a moment that He was the Substitute for all the sons of men, and that God, having first punished the Substitute, afterwards punished the sinners themselves, seems to conflict with all my ideas of Divine justice. That Christ should offer an atonement and satisfaction for the sins of all men, and that afterwards some of those very men should be punished for the sins for which Christ had already atoned, appears to me to be the most monstrous iniquity that could ever have been imputed to Saturn, to Janus, to the goddess of the Thugs, or to the most diabolical heathen deities. / Charles H. Spurgeon

Can a person be saved if he/she refuses to believe in the true gospel but rather believes in heresies? If Spurgeon is correct here, only calvinists can be saved:

And what is the heresy of Arminianism but the addition of something to the work of the Redeemer? Every heresy, if brought to the touchstone, will discover itself here. I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified,unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else / The Autobiography of Charles H. Spurgeon, Curts and Jennings, Cincinnati – Chicago – St. Louis, 1898, Vol. I., Page 172.

“Some of the sermons on sex were R-rated, and we gave warnings to parents and sometimes saw whole visiting youth groups walk out blushing halfway through the sermon.  On other occasions, people walked out during the sermon and flipped me off on their way out, a trend that has continued.”  /Mark Driscoll (Confessions of a Reformission Rev. p.134)

“Pastor James continues to lead our monthly film and theology class, at which attendance rises to more than two hundred people depending on the film.  He continues to show an occasional unedited R-rated movie to train our people to think critically about the themes preached through film, which is the new cultural form of preaching.”  / Mark Driscoll  (Confessions of a Reformission Rev., p.157)

“This season [at church] was messy and I sinned and cussed a lot, but God somehow drew a straight line with my crooked Philistine stick.” / Mark Driscoll  (Confessions of a Reformission Rev p.130)

I do believe God does cause people to think they are saved just to damn them but to call that grace is crazy. / a Calvinist

Also free-willers can of course be in error about sin, even if it’s not built into their doctrine by necessity the way calvinism is (I’m not claiming that calvinists therefore sin more than others, but I’m talking about the necessary outcome of their doctrines IF they want to be consistent with what they teach):

Paul wrote most of his epistles to correct error in the church. But he doesn’t say that even the most carnal Corinthians are not saved. /Dave Hunt The Berean Call, January 2007, p. 5.)

Some of you are weak and sickly and some of you sleep. Some of you died because God just brought judgment upon you for the way you have conducted yourselves … there are some sins that are so heinous … and God takes them home for that./ Dave Hunt

The Bible does not teach that we are born DEAD in trespasses and sins

grav2To base an entire philosophy/theological doctrine on the idea that man is born naturally depraved and unable to seek God or make morally good decisions, is risky to say the least. If we are BORN dead and depraved, then this should have been stated in the Bible, and in a very clear language, but we find the opposite to be true.

The words ”depraved” and ”depravity” are not even Biblical words (KJV) so we must first figure out what reformed believers might mean with those words when they claim we all start out naturally depraved, and we must also figure out if we have an obligation to side with their particular interpretation. Note that I’m not saying that something cannot be true only because the words are not present in the Bible, but if neither the words nor the concept can be found in the Bible, then it’s likely not something we must believe is true. Maybe it’s better to focus on the word ”dead” since we can find this word in the Bible, and in that way get a clue what it means to be spiritually dead.

Reformed believers often say we can’t do ANYTHING if we are dead, because ”dead is dead” and ”dead and not wounded”, but a physically dead person can’t do anything bad either. He is dead! If a spiritually dead person can’t do anything at all, then he wouldn’t be able to sin either but for some reason the ”reformed” God allows all people (or rather predestines them) to be born into sin and bound by darkness, whereas he only enables some of them to escape this darkness and do good. This doesn’t make any sense at all. Why would a loving God who hates sin prevent most people from seeking him and be morally upright individuals? (And why would he turn around and show wrath towards those who remain in their sins, when he is well aware of that they have no other option?)

Lazarus – a spiritually alive man who died

It’s very common to make a comparison with Jesus’ friend Lazarus’ resurrection that is described in John 11, and suggest that he is a good example of that a dead person must get divine help to come alive and do good. However, if this incident is supposed to show that spiritually dead people can’t do anything at all (and particularly not any good things) then we must ask ourselves why such a good man like Lazarus is selected to be an example, considering that he wasn’t spiritually dead at all but spiritually alive, and a close friend of  Jesus and much loved by him. Also his sisters Martha and Mary were believers of Jesus, which they showed both in words and in actions. It’s interesting that Jesus claims that Lazarus, despite being dead, is only sleeping (v. 11).

John 11:11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.

John 11:15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not thereTHAT YOU MAY BELIEVE. Nevertheless let us go to him.” (NKJV)

John 11:40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

John 11:42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, THAT THEY MAY BELIEVE THAT THOU HAST SENT ME .43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.

John 11:45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and HAD SEEN THE THINGS WHICH JESUS DID, believed on him.

John 11:48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

John 11:53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.54 Jesus THEREFORE walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.

Jesus acted (as per v. 40) as though he expected Martha to believe and understand ALL the things that Jesus had previously explained to her, and not only the fact that Jesus is the Messiah and divinely sent by God. However, it looks like Martha had misunderstood certain things that Jesus had told her. Moreover, if people were predestined to believe/not believe (resulting in heaven or hell) before the beginning of the world, then nothing that Jesus would have chosen to say or not say would change the outcome of what is already determined to occur. Yet, we can read that one reason for bringing Lazarus back to life is so that people may BELIEVE in him (Jesus), which turned out to be a successful procedure because many jews did end up believing in Jesus – precisely due to what they SAW with their own eyes. It doesn’t say they started to believe due to having been chosen to believe. Nevertheless, other jews plotted to kill Jesus and THEREFORE Jesus no longer walked openly among them. However, if people are predestined to always act according to God’s will, then there wouldn’t be any reason to take such measures to avoid the jews because it’s not possible to thwart God’s plans in a world where ”predestination” is a rule. If God would have predestined someone to kill Jesus, then this would be the result whether Jesus walked openly among the jews or not.

Dead in trespasses and sins?

It’s always a bad idea to sin and thus be dead in trespasses and sins. Satan LIED and said that sinning will NOT cause spiritual death (which he said to Eve in Eden), but the truth is that trespassing the law – which is sinning – WILL separate us from God and cause spiritual death. We have the opportunity to repent of course.

Sin is the transgression of the law, John says, so that means we are not sinners due to having the nerve to be born but rather the moment we choose to break the law and SIN. If we are sinners already from birth, then John must be incorrect for suggesting that we are not sinners until we break the law of God, and the law of God doesn’t say that it’s a sin to be conceived or to be born into this world. It’s hardly our choice to be born, and why would that be a sin or against God’s will?

1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Some christians suggest that we are BORN ”dead in trespasses and sins”, but that is not what the Bible says.

Ephesians 2:1: And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Paul explains that the Ephesians in time PAST walked in sin, but he doesn’t expect them to continue like that. Also note that in order to commit the sins that Paul lists, you must at least be an ADULT. Babies are not aware of the law and they are unable to:

  • have a need or reason to be ”quickened”
  • perform TRESPASSES and SINS and through them be dead
  • walk according to the world
  • walk according to Satan (the prince of the power of the air)
  • be disobedient through following Satan
  • walk in the lusts of their flesh
  • fulfill the desires of their flesh
  • fulfill the desires of their mind

We can be labelled either children of God or children of Satan depending on our life styles. We can also read that the ”children of wrath” are also called ”children of disobedience” so it’s clear that in order to fit the bill you must be able to DISOBEY – which is something that babies cannot do. Eph. 2 doesn’t suggest we are BORN as children of wrath, but it provides details for how we can BECOME children of wrath by the way we live. Even the Ephesians WERE dead due to their choice to sin, but thanks to the blood of Jesus, and through their own repentance of their sins, they were restored. Paul says”hath raised us up together”, but that is a picture of our future with Christ, because he continues the sentence with ”in the ages to COME”. We haven’t been elevated yet. Moreover, in Romans 2 we can read about people who obey the law ”by nature”, so apparently we are not born with a sinful nature. You can read more about the gnostic idea of the sinful nature in this blog article.

Col. 2:And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.—13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross

Paul warns the Colossians (and all of us) extensively because there is always a huge risk that we will fall from our salvation due to sin. If we could never risk to go from being spiritually alive to being spiritually dead, then there wouldn’t be any reason to warn true believers the way Paul does. We can become cleansed, regenerated and righteous by confessing our sins and repenting, because then our sins will be blotted out.

Sins/iniquities/transgression of God’s law (same things) have always separated us from God ever since Adam, and continue to do sodeath3

If we sin, we are dead (in trespasses and sins), and then we must seek God, come to him, confess our sins and repent in order to be cleansed and regenerated. Then we become ”born again”, because we are no more spiritually dead.

Daniel 9:11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him

Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Gal. 6:Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, IF we faint not.

The prodigal son is an excellent example of a person who was LOST and DEAD (according to the words of his own Father who is a picture of God the Father), and still capable of making an excellent decision to repent, return to his Father and confess his sins before him. Loads of people say ”but he never ceased to be a son!”, but what does it matter to be a physical son of someone when he is still LOST and DEAD? And quite obviously a person who lives together with prostitutes in unrepentant sin is (during this time) nothing but 100% lost and dead, unless we must believe that heaven will be a place full of unrepentant sinners.

Luke 15: 24 For this my son WAS DEAD, and is ALIVE AGAIN; he WAS LOST, and IS FOUND. And they began to be merry.—30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.—32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was DEAD, and is ALIVE AGAIN AGAIN; and was LOST, and is FOUND.

Again, to base an entire doctrine on something that the Bible doesn’t say is extremely unwise, and especially if this false doctrine necessitates that we erect other false doctrines to save that first one, and which in the end makes God to be the author of sin and very illogical. Are we born depraved and with a sinful nature that makes us sin ACCORDING to God’s will or AGAINST his will?

CALVINISM – the teaching that God is the author of sin and that even babies are sinners

babyCalvinism makes God to be the author of sin, if the calvinist would like to be consistent with his own doctrines. Some in fact do try to be consistent and claim that the most hideous deeds you could ever think of are still predestined by God because ”nothing happens against the will of God”. To be consistent they must also believe that 1 month old babies can sin, and even unborn babies!

Thanks to Jesse Morell for the below

Calvinism grieves my heart and it disturbs me to see so many Calvinistic posts on Facebook and Calvinistic materials and preachers being so popular in our day. Scriptural problems I have with Calvinism:

1. Calvinism says that God decreed all sin when the Bible says sin breaks the heart of God and wills holiness and obedience from His subjects.

2. Calvinism says that men are under the wrath of God for the sin of Adam when the Bible says that the son does not bear the iniquity of the father and we will all give an account for our own deeds.

3. Calvinism says that man’s free will was lost by Adam’s original sin when the Bible never says this but instead continues to appeal to man’s free moral agency after Adam’s fall.

4. Calvinism says that all men inherit a sinful nature from Adam when the Bible never even says that Adam’s nature was sinful but instead asserts that God forms our nature in the womb.

5. Calvinism says that all events are the eternal will of God when the Bible represents God as grieved, disappointed, and surprised over many events that have occurred.

6. Calvinism says that God has irresistibly decreed all events from eternity past, when the Bible says that God has canceled and reversed some of His own prophecies and teaches that the future is not yet entirely fixed and settled.

7. Calvinism says that God has given man a moral law which He is incapable of keeping when the Bible says that God is just, never allows us to be tempted above our ability, and only obligates us to love Him with all of our ability.

8. Calvinism says that Jesus Christ came and took our punishment when the Bible says that our punishment is eternal hell.

9. Calvinism says that Jesus Christ came and paid our debt when the Bible says that God forgives us our debt.

10. Calvinism says that Jesus Christ took the punishment of our sins when the Bible says that God forgives us our sins.

11. Calvinism says that Jesus Christ came and took the wrath of God when the Bible says that God still has wrath after the atonement, that sinners are not saved from God’s wrath until conversion, that the atonement was instead a justification of His mercy, and that believers who return to their sins return to the wrath of God.

12. Calvinism says that Jesus Christ became sinful and guilty on the cross when the Bible says He died the just for the unjust and offered Himself without spot or blemish to God.

13. Calvinism says that those for whom Christ died can never perish when the Bible warns that those for whom Christ died can perish.

14. Calvinism says that Christ only died for a few elect when the Bible says that Jesus died for the world and all men.

15. Calvinism says that God wants most sinners to remain in their sins and die and go to hell, to somehow glorify His justice, when the Bible says God wants all men to repent and be saved.

16. Calvinism says that men cannot repent and believe when the Bible commands men to repent and believe and blames them if they do not.

17. Calvinism says that men cannot repent and believe because they are born spiritually dead because of Adam when the Bible says that men are dead or alienated from God because of their own trespasses and sins and says the prodigal son was able to return to the father even though he was dead to the father.

18. Calvinism says that God predestined individuals for heaven or hell when the Bible says that God has chosen to offer salvation to the Jews and the Gentiles, grafting in some and cutting off others based upon their faith or unbelief.

19. Calvinism says that God predestined some for Heaven and most for hell according to the pleasure of His will, when the Bible says that God sent Jesus to die for all, commands all men to repent and believe, is drawing all men unto Himself, is not willing that any should perish, and takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.

20. Calvinism says that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to believers when the Bible says that our faith is imputed as righteousness.

21. Calvinism says that God doesn’t see believers if they sin, but see’s imputed righteousness instead, when the Bible says God is omniscient and nothing is hide from His eyes.

22. Calvinism says that true believers will persevere unto the end when the Bible exhorts believers to persevere, warns of damnation if they do not, and speaks of some who have departed from the faith.

My list can go on and on but these are just some of the major points.

Do read this article how calvinism can creep into our church unnoticed

Born not of blood but OF GOD, and not unconditionally (John 1:13)

välja liv

John. 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but OF GOD

This emphasizes God’s role in our spiritual rebirth and it does not say that God unconditionally makes a person born again without this person’s consent and neither does it show man’s inability to seek and find God. We can only speculate what those things mean that we are NOT born of. ”Blood” could mean human ancestry (such as being jews) or it could refer to the blood atonement of animals that became history due to the advent of Christ. ”The will of the flesh and the will of man” could mean that it’s not in human physical power, nor by enough works effort, nor by man’s desirous intent, nor by wishful thinking that we are able to be born of God and end up as his children – and eventually inherit his kingdom. If we remove what man is not ”born of” according to this verse, what is left? We remove ”blood””the will of the flesh” and ”the will of man”, and then we have ”which were born OF GOD”. The Bible says elsewhere that we must be born again (which can only happen thanks to God) in order to have life:

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God

MAN cannot make his past sins go away and be cleansed and born again by himself, but GOD can accomplish this  – but under certain conditions.  How do we get born again? Example in short:

  • We seek God and come to him to get life
  • We acknowledge that we deserve death due to our sins, and that we are completely lost without Jesus
  • We confess our known sins
  • We repent from our old sinful life style
  • We make a decision to from now on walk in obedience with Christ, with the AIM to be faithful
  • THEN we are cleansed from our old sins by the mercy of God!
  • We are now righteous, justified and born again and completely new persons!
  • We acknowledge that God does not promise us ”once cleansed always cleansed”

So WE cannot make ourselves become born again and new persons – no matter our will – because we simply don’t have the power to cleanse ourselves and be free from our old sin debt. Only GOD can help us with this, so we must come to him to make this happen. Even if we would live the rest of our lives without sin, we could still not arrange so that our past sins were removed. Thanks to the blood of Jesus that he shed for us the cross, we can be made righteous! Peter says that in obeying the truth we have purified our souls and, as previously mentioned, we can only do this by coming to God to be cleansed. This is how we get eternal life!

1 Peter 1:22 Seeing YE have purified your souls in OBEYING the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

In the immediate context prior to John 1:13, we can read that those who had the right to become the children of God were selected on the basis of who ”received” and ”believed” Christ. Is God forcing man or is man accepting in this verse?

John. 1:11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name 

We can also read about Jesus 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

Everyone has been given enough light to be able to believe in Jesus

Finally, we can read in another place in the NT where it’s actually possible to be born ”after the flesh”, and this concerns the bondmaid Hagar who got a planned child together with Abraham (Ishmael). The birth of Isaac (Abraham’s and Sara’s child) is in contrast to the previous birth and is stated to be ”by promise”.

Gal. 4:22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.

Paul was not the chief of sinners and holy, righteous and BLAMELESS at the same time

Paul said: 

Romans 7:14 But I am carnal, sold under sin

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is DEATH 

Hmm, was Paul BOTH carnal and not carnal at the same time, or is he saying the he is carnal and therefore spiritually dead OR is he saying that he was FORMERLY carnal and sold under sin? I’d say the latter.  Paul also said:

 I Cor. 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and SIN NOT 

1 Thess. 2:10 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how HOLILY and JUSTLY and UNBLAMEABLY WE BEHAVED OURSELVES among you that believe:11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory

Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of SIN UNTO DEATH, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Paul is saying that if you obey sin it leads to DEATH (and naturally spiritual death since all people will die physically whether they sin or not). If Paul was the chief of sinners while writing Romans, it must mean he obeyed SIN and served two masters! The Bible is clear about that  sinning and serving two masters will send a person to hell. So Paul wasn’t saved while writing Romans? How can a person be the chief of sinners and BLAMELESS (which Paul says he is) at the same time? To me that is a Bible contradiction. Paul identified himself as a sinner but the context reveals he was talking about his life BEFORE he came to salvation.

1 Tim. 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. (1 Tim. 1:12-16).

When Paul wrote ”I was before a blasphemer and a persecutor” it shows he is writing about the time when he was unsaved in his past. He also said ”I acted ignorantly in unbelief”. Paul is not speaking of the normal Christian life and when comparing with context it’s apparent that Paul didn’t keep on doing those sinful things, as he frequently taught against.

Just a few verses later Paul warned Timoty to have a GOOD CONSCIENCE. He said 18This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck”. If Paul was the chief of sinners also as a born again christian, then how could he possibly have a good conscience, and how could he possibly expect Timothy to have a good conscience if he fails himself? Can someone be a chief of sinners with a good conscience before God?

Acts 23:1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.

Acts. 24:16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men.

Rom. 9:1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost

2 Cor. 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

2 Tim. 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day

Would Paul exhort others to stop sinning when he himself was carnal and sold under sin? Paul says sin dwells in him (Romans 7:17, 20) and he says he is a wretched man (Romans 7:24). Can a person have sin dwelling in him at the same time as he is free of sin? Wouldn’t this be a clear contradiction? Did the chief of sinners write the major part of the NT and ask his readers to stop sinning and to not be hypocrites at the same time as HE was the biggest hypocrite? Paul’s desire is to find someone who can free him from his sins which lead to death (Rom 7:24), and he makes it clear in Rom. 8:2 that the fight he had in the flesh belonged to his former life.  Right after he describes his bondage to sin and the law before he was saved, he says, ”There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” He also said ”IF YE LIVE AFTER THE FLESH YE SHALL DIE”. Based on Paul’s own words a person who sins is SPIRITUALLY DEAD, so clearly Paul could not have been the chief of sinners when saying this.

He is speaking in the present tense, but at which present time? Paul is using a mechanism of literature called, Past Perfect with Present Perfect tense. It is when you speak of past events as if it were present tense. There is a transition by first speaking of the past, transferring in present perfect tense, then shifting it back to the actual present.

Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Rom 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.—:That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.—12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Paul says that we are either slaves to sin OR slaves to righteousness.  If Paul was a slave to sin (chief of sinners) then he would be spiritually DEAD by his own admission. We can’t serve two masters. So again, Paul was not describing himself from a christian perspective in Romans. 7. Paul’s behavior agreed with what he taught all the churches:

Eph. 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.Be not ye therefore partakers with them.For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Col. 3:Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds

1 Thess. 4:For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

1 Cor. 4:17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.

Phil. 4:9Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, DO: and the God of peace shall be with you.

1 Cor 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

2 Cor 10:5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ 

So in conclusion, either Paul was exactly so holy, blameless, righteous and pure as he claimed to be or he was the biggest hypocrite in the Bible, and maybe in history. Make your choice but you can’t have it both ways.

Paul was also not chosen to believe, and no one is forced to believe and obey God. Paul however did believe and obey God:

So then, King Agrippa, I WAS NOT DISOBEDIENT to the vision from heaven (Acts 26:19)

Neither can we take Phil. 3:12-13 as support for that Paul couldn’t stop sinning. Also v. 10 must be taken into account.

Phil. 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before—20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Clearly the above concerns another type of perfection than the moral perfection since it talks about the resurrection when we will get new bodies and become perfect individuals in a physical sense. As long as we live on earth we will have to cope with our fragile bodies which sometimes give us pain. That’s another matter than being able to live obedient to God. Naturally Paul believed it was achievable to reach a moral perfection while on earth, before we die physically. He even speaks about ”as many as are perfect” just a couple of verses later:

15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

Not even Jesus was ”perfected” before his resurrection:

Luk 13:32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected