Etikettarkiv | faith alone

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?

Annonser

Demons BELIEVE and tremble – faith without deeds is dead

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Faith alone is not enough for salvation

When Paul told the Philippian jailor in Acts. 16 that he must BELIEVE to be saved, he didn’t have an empty faith in mind but a faith that is the same as ”loving God with all your heart and all your soul”. If we truly believe in Jesus and love him with all of our heart, then we would like to obey him and this is what saving faith means. We can read that Paul and Silas afterwards spoke with this jailor and those with him in his house, and at that point they likely explained the meaning of a prosperous life together with our savior Jesus Christ – who is son of God and God in flesh.

Acts. 16:27 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.—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?31 And they said, BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.-21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

What demons (devils/evil spirits) believe

James makes it clear that also demons (devils/evil spirits) believe (see verse further down below) so a faith without deeds is dead, which means that we can’t be saved without works. It’s true that angels and demons can’t be saved in the same way as human beings because they are messengers of God, but once upon a time Satan and 1/3 of his angels were expelled from heaven due to their behavior – and not due to lack of faith in the only true God. The point James is making is that demons don’t have good fruit to go with their faith, and he also gives examples of various DEEDS one is expected to do as a truly saved person. James is not impressed with a person who says he believes in God, unless the same person shows good fruit to go with his faith.

If you think you’re saved if you only

  • believe in Jesus Christ
  • believe he is the son of God
  • believe he is the Holy One of God
  • believe he is the Messiah (the Christ)
  • believe he is from Nazareth
  • believe he has power over heaven and earth, and tremble by this awareness
  • believe he is able to punish you for your actions
  • believe there is ONE God only
  • believe the first christians (like Paul, Silas, Luke, etc) were true servants of God and individuals who showed mankind the way of salvation (which they constantly claimed to be through Jesus Christ only)
  • fall down before Jesus
  • confess out loud that Jesus is the son of God and the promised Messiah
  • have good Bible knowledge

then you must keep in mind that also demons/devils also accomplish all those things on that list, as the below verses will show:

James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Mat. 8:28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

Mark 1:23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,24 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Yeshua of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

Mark 3:11 And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. 

Mark 5:7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Yeshua, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.

Luke 4:33 And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice,34 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.35 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.

Luke 4:41 And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Messiah the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ

Luke 8:27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.29 (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.

Acts. 16:16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

Matt. 4:And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Read more about James 2, and faith/works, in this blog article

James 2 says that we are justified by WORKS and not by faith alone

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only (James 2:24)

In order to avoid the implications of what this verse is saying – that we are not justified by faith alone – people suggest that we are justified by our works before PEOPLE, whereas we are justified by our faith (alone) before GOD. But does understanding hold up to scrutiny? Let’s see what James 2 is saying about Abraham:

James 2:21Was not Abraham our father justified by WORKS, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar22Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24Ye see then how that BY WORKS a man is justified, and NOT by faith only25Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26For as the body without the spirit is dead, so FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD ALSO.

Here is the incident where Abraham offered up his son Isaac:

Genesis 22:And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.And Abraham said unto his young men, ABIDE YE HERE WITH THE ASS; and I AND THE LAD WILL GO YONDER and worship, and come again to you.And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.—11 And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy“, he said. “Do not do anything to him. NOW I KNOW that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”—18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; BECAUSE thou hast obeyed my voice.19 So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.

If James 2:21-24 is supposed to show that christians are justified by works before people, then James couldn’t have chosen a worse example since there were NO people around to see Abraham nearly sacrificing his son which James described as ”Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?” Abraham was alone when he offered up his son, and not even his servants were around to see it (which is also confirmed by the secular history as per The Book of Jasher). We can read that God says ”Now I know” when he beheld Abraham offering his son. Clearly Abraham’s famous work which labelled him ”righteous” (the most famous example) was before GOD and not before people. We can get this established also here:

Romans 2:13 For not the hearers of the law are just BEFORE GOD, but the doers of the law shall be justified  

The passage earlier in James 2 says this:

James 2:14What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 

The context is about WORKS (and not about the constitution of God or angels). James compares faith without works with the faith that demons have, and even though he confirms that demons also have faith they don’t have the right fruit to go with it. Faith without works is dead, and works without faith is dead as well. We can’t merit salvation with our works, but works is still a condition for salvation and therefore needed. If we don’t show good fruit, Jesus promises we will be cut off the vine so it’s something very essential for our salvation. We know that sinning doesn’t mean reduced rewards in heaven, but our SOULS are at stake:

Rom 6:21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in DEATH!

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 obedience unto righteousness.

1 Pet 2:11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your SOUL.

Romans 8: 6For to be carnally minded is DEATH; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. —13For 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. 

John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son WILL NOT SEE LIFE, but the wrath of God abides on him.

Mark 9:47.And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into HELL

Matt. 7:21 Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who DOES the will of my Father who is in heaven.

1 Peter 4:18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and sinner?

1 Cor. 9.“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived…”

Matt. 16:24 Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up theircross and follow me.

Ephesians 2:8-9 doesn’t promise us that we can serve two masters and still be saved

The oft mentioned verses in Eph. 2:8-9 doesn’t speak against the above. We are either saved by the law OR by grace through faith (one or the other), and we know it could not be the former since that option requires 100% obedience at all times which we have not achieved. Thankfully God offers the gift of salvation by faith, but this doesn’t mean that obeying the MORAL law (the ten commandments) is from now on just ”optional” to obey, albeit ”good” if we manage to obey them. No, we are supposed to have these laws in our hearts and we are not under the law IF we live by the spirit. The ten commandments are just as important to obey today as they have always been (ever since the time of Adam) since iniquities continue to separate us from God. We are free from ceremonial laws but certainly not from the ten commandments. Being cleansed in the blood of Jesus doesn’t mean that we are still saved if we continue to get filthy in the future. See also how Paul on one hand says we are NOT under the law, but on the other hand lists numerous examples of sins which separate us from God.

Gal.5:18 BUT IF YE BE LED OF THE SPIRIT, YE ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21Envyings murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 

1 Corinthians 7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

Rom.3:30Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.31Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, We ESTABLISH THE LAW.

Justified by the works of the law?

God cannot lie so he cannot justify the wicked (Ex. 23:7; Deut. 25:1; Prov. 17:15; Nah. 1:3). While the law condemns the guilty, God has the authority to forgive and pardon the sinner. Justification by grace is when those who are guilty and deserve punishment are pardoned and forgiven. Justification by works of the law is merited and deserved, while justification by grace is unmerited and undeserved. Jesus used the word justification synonymous with forgiveness (Lk. 18:10-14). God will not set aside the penalty of a sinner who still plans on sinning. God says that it is an ”abomination” to ”justifieth the wicked”. (Prov. 17:15). God said ”I will not justify the wicked” (Ex. 23:7). God is ”angry with the wicked every day” (Ps. 7:11).  We  must give up our wickedness if we want to escape the anger of God and the punishment of hell.  ”Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:6-7). Those who are described as being ”justified” in the Scriptures are also described as being ”sanctified” and ”washed” (1 Cor. 6:11). Those who will inherit the kingdom of God are ”them which are sanctified”. (Acts 20:32)  When a sinner repents he actually becomes a holy saint. Without this repentance or moral transformation, there is no forgiveness or eternal life.

Jesus righteousness is not imputed into us

Are we cleansed in the blood of Christ upon repentance (resulting in our purification), or do we cover up our filth with an injection of the righteous blood of Jesus? If we need to get Jesus righteous blood into our veins, then we are saved by WORKS – namely the works that Jesus did for us when he obeyed the law perfectly. Those who repent and believe are justified by God’s grace through the atonement. Our new clean status will last as long as we keep ourselves clean, because God will not pretend that we are righteous when we in reality mix holy living with unholy living.

We do not earn our salvation by anything we do or believe since we have sinned.Justification by works of the law is when you are pronounced innocent because your record is perfect in the sight of the law. Justification by grace is when you are pronounced forgiven even though you have been guilty of sin in your life. Christ died for us but He did not obey for us.  We are imputed righteous through Christ, but we do not receive the imputed righteousness of Christ. Biblical imputed righteousness is when you are forgiven and treated as if you had always been righteous even though you haven’t been.

Paul quoted Psalms 31:1-2 when he said.

”Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, blessed are they whoses iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Rom. 4:5-8).

To be imputed righteous is when your sins are forgiven and covered, and after that moment we need to continue living in obedient faith. There is no way that God would declare us righteous and forgiven while we continue to practice unrighteousness. Abraham OBEYED God and THEREFORE his faith was credited (imputed) to him as RIGHTEOUSNESS. God did not have to pretend that he was righteous because his heart was upright and obedient in faith. It was his FAITH that was imputed as righteousness (Rom. 4:5), and it doesn’t state that it was Christ’s righteousness that was being imputed.

We can fall from grace, and grace is conditional – we must be HUMBLE

We can fall from GRACE

The word for ”grace” in Greek is charis and it can mean favor, kindness, mercy, etc. As always, it’s best to check the usage of this word in the rest of the Scriptures because lexicons might not get the true meaning. We can read here and there that the grace of God is endless, and this means that God is always a merciful and forgiving God ready to cleanse people from their sins, but it doesn’t say that he does this without conditions. Even if grace is unmerited, we certainly don’t get it unconditionally and no matter how we live our lives.

Unfortunately, there some who believe that Grace means that Jesus always covers our sin, or hides it from the Father, so that we can get some kind of a ”license to sin” even if they emphasize that we should still not ”misuse” Grace in that way. But they still believe that Jesus has taken our sins on himself and transferred his righteousness to us, so that we are always positionally righteous even if we sin – as long as we have faith in God. The truth is, however, that we are only righteous if we DO righteousness. We are indeed cleansed from our sins in the blood of Jesus IF we confess our sins and repent, but nowhere does it say ”once righteous, always righteous”.

The Biblical definition of Grace signifies obedience

Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, DENYING UNGODLINESS and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world

Col 1:6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth

1 Pet. 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

We can fall from Grace and we can get it in vain

Gal. 5:2-4 shows that we can fall from grace. 5:14 shows that those who were rising to fall were previously saved. They had believed and received the true gospel (3:2; 1:9); were deserting God and turning to a false gospel (1:6); had received the Spirit of God (3:2,5) and were initially running a good spiritual life (5:7); etc. Compare this to Acts 14:21-23 which shows that the Galatians who became disciples were in the Christian faith and placed their trust in the Lord. Paul was not upset with the Galatians for that they had the nerve to obey the ten commandments, but because they believed circumcision (the ceremonial law) was necessary for salvation. 

Gal 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

Galatians 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Gal. 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

Hebr. 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

1 Kor 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

2 Kor 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

Jona 2:8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy (forfeit the grace that could be theirs NIV)

Apg 13:43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

Hebr. 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Judas 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Sam 7:15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.

Jer 16:5 For thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the LORD, even lovingkindness and mercies.

Read the CONDITIONS stated below, and notice that being humble is one of the requirements

We cannot boast of grace because it appears before all men. Grace is a teacher that will instruct the humble to deny themselves and all sins. The grace of God appeared to all men, but only the humble receive of it.

James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the HUMBLE.

1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the HUMBLE.

Prov. 3:34 Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the LOWLY.

Deut. 5 Mos 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS to a thousand generations;

2 King 8:23 And he said, LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that WALK BEFORE THEE with all their heart:

2 Chron. 30:9 For if ye turn again unto the LORD, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, IF YE RETURN unto him.

Neh 1:5 And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that LOVE HIM AND OBSERVE HIS COMMANDMENTS

Ps 103:17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that FEAR HIM, and his righteousness unto children’s children;

Jer 3:12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, RETURN, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever.

Amos 5:15 HATE THE EVIL, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.

Either we can work ourselves up to a point of salvation OR we are saved by God’s grace and mercy. It’s one or the other. Since none of us have obeyed the law perfectly, we are saved by grace. But does the fact that God cleanses us from our sins mean it’s ok for us to continue in sin? Of course not. Then we would be defiled and unrighteous yet again.

Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

We are to be merciful the way our Father is merciful, but if he is only merciful to SOME (the elect), wouldn’t this mean that we too can choose to be merciful to SOME people? The Bible says that Jesus died for all of us and we should always be prepared to be merciful to our neighbors. This doesn’t mean we should throw pearls to swine because we too can set up conditions. God has mercy on who he will have mercy, but this should not be interpreted as though he does this unconditionally or arbitrarily. God can set up his own rules, and if God decides to show mercy on whoever believes in him and love him, he is entitled to enforce this rule. He can also decide to show NO mercy to an individual who shows no mercy himself.

Romans 9:18Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

The difference between the Sheep and the Goats in the parable, is what they DID and DIDN’T DO

Jesus says in John 5:29 that at the resurrection those who have done good will get LIFE and those who have done evil will get damnation. James, Paul, John and Peter say the same thing.

John. 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

James. 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

Rom 8:13 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.

John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

1 Pet 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the SOUL;

What we DO makes the difference whether we will be able to enter God’s kingdom or not (even if we of course must believe that Jesus is God who has come in the flesh and that he has died as a sin offering and cleansed us from our sins with his blood). The Bible is filled with commands that we must DO things to be saved (not lose salt, go through the narrow gate, endure to the end, carry our cross daily, etc) and this might be surprising for us in Scandinavia, because we have been influenced by Martin Luther to a great deal. He was a person who didn’t take much delight in the book of James (according to his own words) where he could read things such as:

James. 2:20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21Was not Abraham our fathered by faith alone” even though the Bible says we’re not saved by faith alone. 

We tend to believe that if we must DO anything at all to be saved, then it is ”works salvation” and the biggest theological error under the sun (and a sin). Naturally we can’t save ourselves, because we are all in need of cleansing in the blood of Jesus, and we can’t earn our salvation by anything we do or believe, but there are still conditions for our salvation and that is to believe, repent and obey God. This is something that we must DO. Matthew 25 contains three parables that all have the point that what we DO affect our final destination – heaven or hell. This might be referred to as heresy in the Church today, but the Bible disagrees. Read the parable between the sheep and the goats. Both the sheep and the goats believed in the one they communicated with – Jesus – and also demons accept that Jesus is the son of God and even confess this out loud! This won’t save them, which is James’ point. (Not that demons are angels and can’t be saved, because the subject in James 2 is ”Deeds”.) Faith without deeds is dead. 

The final judgment 

Matthew 25:31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42For I was an hungred, andye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43I was a stranger, andye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. 

The difference between the sheep and the goats is therefore what they DO. The sheep end up on the right side, and they are the ones that have done something good (righteousness), and the goats end up on the left side, and they are the ones that have neglected to do something good. They have NOT shown compassion and mercy. Lack of fruit can hinder us from entering the kingdom of God. We can read this in John 15 where the branches are cut off and thrown in the fire due to lack of fruit. We are not  saved by merely believing in a ”package”. We could compare with the angels in the beginning of the creation. I don’t believe they had a problem to ”believe in God”, or to accept him as their Creator. Still, we can read that 1/3 of them fell when they followed Lucifer on his wicked ways. It was once again what they DID which affected the continuation of the story – in the future they will be thrown in the lake of fire which was prepared for them from the beginning of the world, due to their deeds.

The other parables in Matthew 25 are the well known parables of the ten virgins and the one about the talents. All the ten virgins ”believed” in the bride groom and waited for his arrival. What they DID and DIDN’T DO made all the difference for what happened next. They all had lamps, but half of the girls had chosen to not bring any extra oil even though this might be needed. We can see that it probably concerned spare oil since the foolish girls said the lamps are ”gone out”. This means the lamps had previously given light, but they did not endure to the end due to lack of oil. We are told by Jesus that we must endure to the end to be saved! The wise girls had chosen to bring some spare oil with them which was a good choice. Our choices make the difference! Also the parable with the Talents shows that our choices and our actions affect the outcome of things, and also here we can see that it concerns eternal life (with various rewards) or eternal damnation.

I know that I write a lot about repentance and righteousness in my blog, and that is because these topics are neither that common, nor popular, despite that they are very important subjects because they concern our SOULS. The devil’s only goal is to make us SIN so that we won’t be able to enter God’s kingdom. He tempts us and tries to provide us with excuses to sin. I believe the devil wants to reassure us that we can be saved by faith alone with no deeds, and that sin will not separate us from God. Wouldn’t it be horrible if he managed to deceive us into thinking ”What a relief that God loves me just the way I am, and that he views me as righteous despite that I live unrighteously at times, and that it’s enough to BELIEVE in him to be saved” IF this is not true? Just imagine if we on Judgment Day would have to say…”Oops!”

1 Peter 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

Free will is Biblical, and the same as moral ability

MAN’S MORAL ABILITY AND THE RELATION IT HAS TO THE MORAL LAW
By Jesse Morrell (A section from the booklet “Free Will & Conscience”)

Moral ability and free will are synonymous terms, being identical in nature and meaning. Inability and free will are antonymous terms, being contrary in nature and meaning. Free will is the power of contrary choice. A man is able to do only what a man is free to do; and a man is free to do only what a man is able to do. Freedom speaks of the contingent, not of the necessitated, of that which was voluntarily chosen under liberty, and not that forced by necessity. A freewill choice is a choice that did not have to be chosen, but that was voluntarily chosen when the person could have chosen the opposite.

To be required or obligated to do better, and to be accountable or judged for failure to do better, one must be capable of doing better. To be capable of doing better, one must be free, or able, to do better. What a man is free to do, a man is capable, or able, of doing. If a man is not capable, then a man is not able or free, and if a man is not a free agent, then he is a necessitated agent who can no more have moral character than a puppet or a machine can have moral character. Moral character relates to voluntary or intentional choices commanded or condemned by the God-given intelligence, knowledge, revelation, or conscience, and moral accountability relates to moral character. Therefore, what a man is accountable for, he must not have been necessitated to do, but must have voluntarily committed.

A man is responsible only for that which he is intentionally the cause of, and a man is only the intentional cause of that which is voluntary, since what is voluntary is intentional, and what is intentional is voluntary. And since moral character consists only in free, voluntary, intentional choices, and moral accountability is according to moral character, a man is only accountable for his free, voluntary, intentional choices.

Thomas Chalmers said, “The morality of any act is with its willfulness.” And then again, “That an action then be the rightful object, either of moral censure, or approval, it must have had the consent of the will to go along with it. It must be the fruit of volition – else it is utterly beyond the scope, either of praise for its virtuousness or of blame for its criminality. If an action be involuntary, it is as unfit a subject for any moral reckoning, as are the pulsations of the wrist.”1

Respecting the moral government of God (Isa. 9:6-7), or the ruling and reigning of God in the realm of morality over moral agents (Lk. 17:21), in which God is the Governor (Matt. 2:6), the moral commandments of God never exceed the moral ability of men. The commands of God are directed to the ability of man, being instructions as to how a man is to use the liberty of his will, or how a man is to properly use his ability.

Since God’s moral commandments are directions for man’s moral ability, as to how to use this God-given ability, God’s moral requirements never exceed this God-given moral 3ability. Since God’s Moral Government is the governing of man’s moral agency (through persuasion and influence, not through force or necessity), God’s moral commandments never can, never do, and never will exceed man’s moral ability or moral agency. Because God’s commandments are directions to man, as to how a man is to use his ability, God’s commandments are in fact a declaration or a revelation of what man can do and what man should do.

The moral law of God’s Moral Government is: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matt. 22:37) and “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matt. 22:39). The moral law of God, in essence, is the law of love, love being the total and complete fulfillment of the whole of the law (Rom. 13:8, 10; Gal. 5:14; Jas. 2:8).

The law of love, or the life of love, is commanded, and the law of selfishness, or the life of selfishness, is condemned. Love is not an involuntary emotion or feeling, but it is a voluntary, impartial committal of the will towards the highest well-being of all (Jn. 3:16; 15:13); it is the intention of the heart, and is synonymous with “good will” (Lk.2:14; Eph. 6:7; Php. 1:15), and is the same as benevolence.

If love is truly love, it must of necessity manifest itself into action and conduct whenever possible and whenever necessary, performing the required means to secure the end of the well-being of others. The “readiness to will” results in the performance” or in the “doing” (2 Cor. 8:11). If the inside of the cup (inward intention) is first clean, then the outside of the cup (outward actions) will be clean as well (Matt. 23:26), because what is inside will manifest in what is outside whenever possible. A good tree can only produce good fruit, while a bad tree can only produce bad fruit (Matt. 7:17), because the heart, or intention, determines the outward life (Matt. 12:35; Lk. 6:45).

Love, good will, or benevolence satisfies the whole of the law (Rom. 13:8, 10; Gal. 5:14; Jas. 2:8), but selfishness or self-centeredness is a total and complete violation of the whole of the law (Jas. 2:10). To break one letter of the law is to break the whole spirit of the law; which the entire letter of the law is derived from. The letter of the law is derived from the spirit of the law; therefore, to break one letter of the law is to break the whole spirit of the law. He that breaks the one breaks the whole. Therefore, to “offend in one point” is to be “guilty of all” (Jas. 2:10).

Notice that God does not command that we love Him with faculties that we do not possess, but rather that we love Him with all that we currently possess, “with all thy,” as opposed to with that which is not currently yours. The commandments are  directions to man as to how he is to use his ability. The commandments of God are not impossible, demanding that we love Him with a heart, soul, mind and strength that we do not have. Rather, it is possible to keep the law of God, which demands that we love Him with all of what we do have, with all that we are capable of, to the very highest of our ability, no more and no less. It is possible to keep the law because we are capable, and we are capable because it is possible to keep the law; our God-given commandments and our God-given ability directly correspond with each other. The command of God is that we 4love to the very highest of our ability, no more and no less, and therefore we are able to keep the law of love; we are able to keep the commandments of Jesus (1 Jn. 2:3; 3:22; 5:2-3; Rev. 12:17; 14:12; 22:14). Obedience is always possible, and disobedience is never necessary or unavoidable. The highest that our ability is capable of is all that the law of God commands, no more and no less. The law of God is the law of our ability, to love Him supremely and our neighbor equally, according to our ability, with all of our ability, “with all thy.”

Clemens of Alexandrinus said that the call of “the Divine word – requireth but that which is according to the ability and strength of every one.”2 Gordon Olson said, “The words -all thy’ express our obligation. It is the exertion of -thy’ personality and ability that is required – all’ this ability.”3 Charles Finney said, “Entire obedience is the entire consecration of the powers, as they are, to God. It does not imply any change in them, but simply the right use of them.”4 Again Finney said that the law “simply requires us to use what strength we have. They very wording of the law is proof conclusive, that it extents its demands only to the full amount of what strength we have. And this is true of every moral being, however great or small.”5 And Asa Mahan said, “the law, addressing men -requires them to love God with all their – mind and strength,’ that is -with the power they now actually possess.”6

God commands that you use “thy heart” and “thy soul” and “thy mind.” Clement of Alexandria said, “What the commandments direct are in our own power”7 The command of God is directed towards our current faculties, and it does not exceed the limits of those faculties. We are to love him with “all” of these faculties, not with less or with more than those faculties are capable of. Man is not responsible for more than he can perform, and so man is not accountable for more than he can perform. Man’s responsibility is in accordance with all of his ability, and man’s accountability is according to his responsibility. Therefore, man will not be accountable for that which was beyond his power because man is not accountable beyond his responsibility, and his responsibility is never beyond his ability.

Man’s moral ability is naturally and obviously limited by moral possibilities; therefore, God’s moral commandments never require moral impossibilities, for that which is morally impossible cannot be morally commanded. God cannot morally demand a moral impossibility. Augustine said, “God does not demand impossibilities.”8  Charles Finney said, “The law of God requires nothing more of any human being, than that which he is at present naturally able to perform, under the present circumstances of his being.”9

The extent of God’s commandments is the exact extent of man’s ability, and the extent of man’s ability is the extent of God’s commandments; each one establishes and determines the limitations and boundaries of the other, and since man will be judged by the commandments, the extent of man’s accountability will be the extent of man’s ability. A man will not be accountable for that which he was not capable of; he will not be judged for that which was outside of the realm of his control. 5

The law of God is therefore the law of our ability: to love Him supremely and our neighbor equally, according to our ability, with all of our ability, to the highest of our ability, no more and no less. There is, then, no inability in which a sinner can hide behind as an excuse, no commandment that a sinner can point to as tyrannical, since all the commandments of God can be kept, without exception.

All sin is, therefore, inexcusable since all sin is voluntary and avoidable; that which brings moral guilt is always voluntary and avoidable. What is unavoidable is excusable, but what is inexcusable must be avoidable. What is punishable must voluntary, and what is voluntary must be avoidable. What is punishable must be vice, and what is vice must be voluntary. Only sin can be punishable, and only what is voluntary and avoidable can be sin. Therefore, sin is inexcusable and punishable because sin is voluntary and avoidable, and it is voluntary and avoidable because God has given man free will.

Justin the Martyr said, “We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishment, chastisement, and rewards are rendered according to the merit of each man’s actions. Otherwise, if all things happen by fate, then nothing is ur own power. For if it is predestined that one man be good and another man evil, then the first is not deserving of praise and the other to be blamed. Unless humans have the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions – whatever they may be – for neither would a man be worthy of praise if he did not himself choose the good, but was merely created for that end. Likewise, if a man were evil, he would not deserve punishment, since he was not evil of himself, being unable to do anything else than what he was made for.”10

Charles Finney said, “Moral agency implies the possession of free-will. By freewill it is intended the power of choosing or refusing to choose, in every instance, in compliance with moral obligation. Free-will implies the power of originating and
deciding our own choices, and of exercising our own sovereignty, in every instance of choice upon moral questions, of deciding or choosing in conformity with duty or otherwise in all cases of moral obligation . . . unless the will is free, man has no freedom; and if he has no freedom he is not a moral agent, that is, he is incapable of moral action and also of moral character. Free-will then, in the above defined sense, must be a condition of moral agency, and, of course, of moral obligation.”11

Miner Raymond said, “It is axiomatic that that for which any agent is morally responsible must be within his control. If man be responsible for obedience or disobedience to the divine commands, then obedience and disobedience are both equally
within his power. Which of them shall result is not determined by any thing external to him. His own power of choice selects the one, it being at the same time a power equally adequate to select the other. That for which an agent is morally responsible must be an election; that is, a selection with an alternative.”12 L. D. McCabe said, “Accountability necessitates the origination of choice between obedience and disobedience.”13 And again, “A free, original, independent, conscious choice between good and evil, is the sine qua non [condition] of every act that involves morality.”14

A man is only accountable for his moral character. His moral character is his heart or intention (which necessarily manifests into action whenever possible). A man’s intention is within the realm of his control (or else it cannot be his). Intention must be voluntary, and what is voluntary must be avoidable.  Therefore, a man is only accountable for his intentional, voluntary, avoidable choices or intentions.

God holds men accountable to their responsibility. What God requires of man God expects from men, what God expects from men is possible for men, and what is possible for men is the same as what men are capable of. Accountability implies requirement, requirement implies expectation, expectation implies possibility, and possibility implies capability. Man is accountable for choosing sin only because he is capable of choosing righteousness over sin. A man is accountable for choosing darkness over the light onlybecause he is capable of choosing the light over darkness. A man is accountable for disobedience because he is capable of choosing obedience over disobedience.

A man is accountable for rejecting Jesus only because he is capable of following Jesus. A man is responsible and accountable according to that which is within his realm of control, according to that which is within his power. A man will be judged by his ability, no more and no less, since the commands of God require nothing more then that which is within man’s moral ability, that which is within the realm of moral possibilities.

Consider the great disappointment of God over mankind (Gen. 6:5-6, Ps. 81:13, Eze. 6:9). Now consider the logical implications of disappointment. Disappointment requires expectation, and reasonable expectation requires capabilities or potential.
Disappointment arises when failed expectations, which were based upon potential possibilities, occur. God’s great  disappointment with mankind is rooted in mankind’s great potential, moral capabilities, or open possibilities, which were given to mankind by God Himself. And if God’s disappointment comes from God’s expectations, and if God legislates according to His expectations, that is, if God’s requirements are the same thing as His expectations, then all of God’s requirements are perfectly matched by mankind’s capabilities or potential because God’s expectations are according to man’s capabilities or potential. Once again we clearly see that God’s requirements never exceed man’s capabilities. What God genuinely requires God must genuinely desire. And if God genuinely desires it, then God will enable man to do it.

Irenaeus said, “God made man free from the beginning, possessing his own power, even as he does his own soul, to obey the commandments of God voluntarily.”15 If God does not grant man the genuine ability to obey it must be because God does not
genuinely want man to obey. But if God genuinely wants to be obeyed it must be understood that God grants man the ability to genuinely obey. If God wants man to voluntarily obey, God must make it possible for man to voluntarily obey since it is in His
power to make this ability available to man. That which He requires He supplies the ability to achieve. If God commands the parting of the red sea, God will supply the power to do it (Ex. 14:26-27). If God commands moral perfection of heart from men (Gen. 17:1, 7Deut. 18:13, Matt. 5:48) God supplies the ability for it to be achieved (1 Cor. 10:13). Those whom God holds morally responsible and morally accountable are those whom God has made or created morally free, morally capable, or morally able with open possibilities and natural potential.

So man has a free will because man was made with one, because man was made in the image of God. Winkie Pratney said, “Free choice is a reality with man because it is a reality in God.”16 Gordon Olson said, “God designed man’s constitution, with its
profound abilities and reactions, to enable him to achieve great heights of comprehension and moral nobility in the imitation of his Creator.”17

*1 Thomas Chalmers; The Bridgewater Treatise by T. Chalmers, 1835 Edition, p. 272,
273, published by Corie, Lea, & Blanchard
*2 Clemens of Alexandrinus; An Equal Check to Pharisaism and Antinomianism by John
Fletcher, Volume Two, p. 204, published by Carlton & Porter
*3 Gordon Olson; The Kindness of God Our Savior, p. 10, published by Revival
Theology Promotion
*4 Charles Finney; Finney’s Systematic Theology, 1878 Edition, p. 129, published by
Bethany House
*5 Charles Finney; Finney’s Systematic Theology, 1878 Edition, p. 134, published by
Bethany House
*6 Asa Mahan; The Doctrine of the Will by Asa Mahan, p. 118, published by Truth in
Heart
*7 Clement of Alexandria; A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs by David Bercot, p.
295, published by Hendrickson Publishers
*8 Augustine; Joy and Strength, 1929 Edition, p. 192, published by Grosset & Dunlap
*9 Charles G. Finney; Lectures on Systematic Theology, 1851 Edition, p. 35
*10 Justin the Martyr, First Apology Chap. 43
*11 Charles G. Finney; Lectures on Systematic Theology, 1851 Edition, p. 46-47
*12 Miner Raymond; Systematic Theology, Volume One, 1877 Edition, p. 520-521,
published by Granston & Stowe
*13 L. D. McCabe; Divine Nescience of Future Contingencies a Necessity, p. 67
*14 L. D. McCabe; Divine Nescience of Future Contingencies a Necessity, p. 74
*15 Irenaeus; A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs by David Bercot, p. 286, published
by Hendrickson Publishers
*16 Winkie Pratney; The Nature and Character of God, 1988, p. 205, Bethany House
Publishing
17 Gordon Olson; The Kindness of God Our Savior, p. 61, published by Revival
Theology Promotion


Eyes that should not see and ears that should not hear Romans 11:8

According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear (Rom. 11:8)

God does not arbitrarily cause certain unfortunate people to be spiritually blind and deaf and neither does he turn around and punish them for not seeking him – which he prevented them to do in the first place. However, if PEOPLE reject him and rebel against him, he can give them over to a reprobate mind. IF God would be the one to  make people spiritually blind and deaf (for no reason at all), it must mean that they were NOT blind and deaf from the start – despite that they were adults and had been around for a while. (Something for reformed thinkers to think about, because they believe we were all blind and deaf before we are regenerated and able to believe and do good.)

When we check the passages in the Bible where we can read about God giving people over to blindness and deafness, we can see that this is their own fault due to hardening of their own hearts. We can also see that God EXPECTED Israel to see and hear due to the many miracles that he did before them, and he always has great anger towards people who refuse to give up their idols and other sins. In Romans 11:7-11 Paul is referring to Isaiah, so it’s essential that we study the context in Isaiah to understand why people’s eyes and ears have been shut.

Rom 11:What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. 8(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.9And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompence unto them: 10Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. 11I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

Isaiah 29:Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink.10 For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.11 And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:12 And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.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 44:9They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed.—17And the residue thereof  he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.18They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand.  19 And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?20 He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?

Ps. 69:22 Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.23 Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake.24 Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them.

Jesus encourages us to walk in the light, LEST darkness will come upon us. and IF we choose to believe in the light, we can become children of light. Despite that Jesus did many miracles, the pharisees still did not believe in him and that is because they had purposed in their hearts to not come to the light. A person who hates the light remains in darkness, and he is spiritually blind.

John 12:35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.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:38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

John. 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

John. 12:38 is a quote from this passage in the old testament:

Jesaja 6:And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.11 Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,12 And the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.

Compare with this passage where we can see that Paul is blaming people for not being able to see or hear. Paul did his utmost to persuade people to believe in Jesus, but if God is the one to make people spiritually blind and death, Paul would be wasting his time:

 Acts 28:23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.25And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, 26Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: 27For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have THEY closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 28Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.

Other verses in the same chapter (John 12) show man’s free will and responsibility to seek and come to God. Clearly God would not predestine people to NOT believe in him, follow him, confess him, receive him, abide in him, etc. God would not close the door for people, only to ask the same people why they have not seeked him. We can see that there is an option to reject Jesus, and that is of course against God’s will.

John 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.-46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.—-48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Below we can read about people who forsake God and who have eyes that don’t see and ears that don’t hear, and they are considered foolish by God. Naturally he wouldn’t create people to revolt against him and to have rebellious hearts. We can read that it’s their INIQUITIES which have caused themselves to be withheld from the good things of God:

Jer 5:19And it shall come to pass, when ye shall say, Wherefore doeth the LORD our God all these things unto us? then shalt thou answer them, Like as ye have forsaken me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not your’s. 20Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying, 21Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not: —23But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. 24Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. 25Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you26For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. 27As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich. 28They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. 29Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this30A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; 31The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?

Other verses which show that people have eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear – due to their own doingsöga2

Hes. 12:Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house3Therefore, thou son of man, prepare thee stuff for removing, and remove by day in their sight; and thou shalt remove from thy place to another place in their sight: it may be they will consider, though they be a rebellious house.

Zechariah 7:10 And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.11 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts.13 Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts:

Ps 135:15 The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands16They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; 17They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths. 18They that make them are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them.

Deut.29:2And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; 3The great temptations which thine eyes have seen,the signs, and those great miracles: 4Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.-–20 The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.— 24Even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of thisgreat anger? 25Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt: 26For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom he had not given unto them:

Mark 8:17And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? 18Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? 19When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve.

Verses that show that people can and should seek God in order to find him and get life

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

Isaiah 55: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: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

1 Chronicles 28: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 15:And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.

Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

Isaiah 65:1 I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.2 I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick

Isaiah 45:19 I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

It doesn’t say anywhere that God randomly selects people who he will cause to not see or hear. The reason why the farisees did not see or hear is that they chose not to follow Jesus to listen to his teaching and to get edified. Instead they came to him in order to mock him and/or find faults – if they even came to him at all. If people were chosen to be elect/non-elect before the world began, then of course Jesus wouldn’t have to speak in parables in order to hide his message, because the non-elect would be blind and deaf regardless.

Luke 8:10 — Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand

Jesus warns his disciples in the same chapter that they must HEAR in the right way and also DO it, which shows there is a risk they won’t.

Luke 8:18Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have. —21And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.

The Bible doesn’t anywhere that we first must be ”regenerated” before we can seek God. God calls us and we must respond, and if we do come to him we must believe that he is, and if we are willing to get to know him we will be revealed the DEEP things of God.

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.

1 Corinthians 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the DEEP things of God

Romans 1

There is no better passage than Romans 1:18-32 to show the reality of when people reject God even though they know better and have the opportunity to seek him and find him. For this reason God gives them over to reprobation.

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world 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 that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.