Etikettarkiv | people

Biblical examples of bad / unregenerate / spiritually dead people who seek God and do good

acts 17 27We are created to seek and find God

Our reformed friends often claim that we cannot seek God, repent or do good unless God monergistically ”regenerates” us, which is a term that they unfortunately interpret as God making us see and enabling us (actually forcing us) to seek him and come to him. The Bible, however, explains that we are all created to seek and find God, and that he is not far away from any of us:

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

Every single man (all people) has been given the light, and if we receive him and believe in him, God will give us the power to become the sons of God. It does not say the other way around; that God gives light to some people and gives them power so that they can believe in him.

John 1:9 That was the true Light, WHICH LIGHTETH EVERY MAN THAT COMETH INTO THE WORLD.10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name

Each time an atheist decides to not sin, it is surely a good thing. There are loads of atheists every day who do many good deeds by being helpful to complete strangers without expecting anything in return. This does not mean they are saved, but it shows that we can all do good. Seeking God and repent are good things which bad people are requested to do, and they are created by God to do so. If a person does not repent, the blame must be on him and not on God.

1. The prodigal son

The prodigal son came to his senses while living in deep sin away from his Father. He made a good decision to repent for his sins and return to his Father. He went from being alive, to being dead (due to sin), to being alive again:

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. 

The prodigal son was clearly dead while living with prostitutes (Luke 15:30). The below verse is a good description of his status and (unless he repented), his future would be corruption – which means spiritual death since it is contrasted with everlasting life:

Gal. 6:8 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.

2. Rahab, the harlot

Rahab rescued the Joshua’s men, which was a good thing to do. It is quite possible that she decided to rescue these strangers because she was aware of their God who was the God of both heaven and earth – which would include herself. She wanted them to swear by this Lord to return her kindness and letting her and her family stay alive. James says that she was justified by works (she combined faith and good deeds):

Josh. 2:9 And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.11 And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.12 Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token:13 And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.

Josh. 6:17 And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the Lord: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.

Ja 2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

3. Barbarian islanders of Malta

Barbarian inhabitants of Malta showed much kindness to Paul and his companions, and showed this compassion for them due to troublesome rain and cold. These islanders were not ”regenerated” because afterwards they thought that Paul was guilty of murder in his past and that he was justly bitten by a viper as a punishment for his past deeds (Acts 28:4).

Acts 28:1 And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita.And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.

4. Evil fathers

Also evil people can do good to the children (which surely is a good thing), and even give good gifts to them. It is definitely possible to find multiple atheists who are being nothing but kind to their children, and even towards relatives, friends as well as complete strangers. There are even non-believing soldiers at war who have even given their lives for other fighting men.

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

5. Everyone

Peter asks everyone to repent (that would be both good and bad). If they do so, they shall receive the gift of the holy Ghost. It is not the other way around; that God gives the holy Ghost to certain people and in that way they enabling them (and forcing them) to repent.

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

6. Cornelius was not certainly not a bad person, but before he (and his family and friends) received the holy Spirit he had faith and did good

Cornelius with all his house feared God, and he gave much alms to people and constantly prayed to God. His urgent prayers, fasting and alms-giving were noticed by God who sent an angel to him in a vision. Prior to Peter’s visit to his house Cornelius had collected family members and friends who were all waiting for Peter’s arrival. Peter came and explained that he believed that Cornelius (and maybe his company too since Peter addressed them all) already knew the word of God – the gospel about Jesus Christ. ”— Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)37 That word, I say, ye know”. This means that they had faith, and consequently had good deeds to go with their faith (faith without works is dead) before any of them had received the holy Ghost. 

Acts 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. 5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.—

22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.—24 And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and he had called together his kinsmen and near friends.

30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.32 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.— 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

8. Saul/Paul

Unlike Cornelius Paul was not a humble person but rather a dangerous pharisee. He saw Jesus in a vision on the way to Damascus, and fortunately he was not disobedient to the call that the vision involved. He obeyed the Lord Jesus and visited Ananias who was a child of God. Not until three days after the vision was Paul filled with the holy Ghost, with Ananias as a tool.

Acts 9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Acts 26:19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision

Other examplessin

I can also mention Lydia, who was already a God-fearing and worshipping woman when God opened he heart to attend the things spoken by Paul. (It does not say that God selected Lydia and opened her heart to believe.) She obviously already had the right mind and heart to hear and understand the deeper things of God presented by Paul. It is always a good choice to not be ”a natural man”. 

Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. 

Acts 16:14 and a certain woman, by name Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, worshipping God, was hearing, whose heart the Lord did open to attend to the things spoken by Paul (YLT)

People can also do bad things even though they are fully capable, and expected, to do good.

God expected Cain to rule over sin and naturally understood that he was created with this capacity. Still, Cain slew his brother against God’s will. Cain was already a sinner before this time, since he did not react well do God’s rejection of his offering (which makes one wonder about the condition the fruit since God rejected it).

Gen. 4:4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fellAnd the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

Do read my article about regeneration not preceding faith here.

Examples of righteous and holy people in the Bible

rättfärdig 3We can be upright, perfect, just, holy, blameless and RIGHTEOUS in this present world 

The above terms do not necessarily equal ”to never have been guilty of any sins”. All sinners have been given the opportunity to repent for their sins – to become holy, righteous and blameless – and when Jesus cleanses us from our sins we are completely clean because our old sins have been removed. We do not have to wait until we die before we can honor God by living holy and righteous lives and be faithful to him (Titus 2:11-12). On the other hand, we can not always expect to have perfect and complete physical bodies in this life, which includes Jesus as well. There is a difference between moral perfection and physical perfection.

Eccl.7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.

The below terms can be translated just, perfect, upright, unblameable, etc

The Hebrew word tsaddiq (Strong’s 6662)

The Greek word dikaios (Strong’s 1342) 

The Greek word teleios (Strong’s 5046) 

Examples of Biblical individuals who were righteous due to living righteous lives

I have used the three colors as per above to illustrate the meaning of the original words below. Simple black text means that the person’s righteousness is described without using any of the words above. The Bible certainly has no shortage of people who have lived holy and righteous lives. They may have sinned at least once, but they have repented for those sins and restored their salvation. If the same individuals would have mixed their righteous lives with sin, they would not have been considered righteous before God. A righteous person is someone who lives upright, after first having been cleansed from his former sins – which occurs upon repentance.

Noah

Gen. 6:9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

Gen. 7:1 And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. 

Abraham

Ja. 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23 And 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. 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Lot

Gen. 18:23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked 24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?

Gen. 19:15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.

2 Pet 2:7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: 10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

Job

Job 1:8 And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect (Strong’s 8535) and an upright (Strong’s 3477) man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 

Job. 32:1 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.—Job 42:7 And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.8 Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.

King David

Ps. 7:10 My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.12 If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready. 

Ps. 18:20 The Lord rewarded me according to MY righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God.22 For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me.23 I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity.24 Therefore hath the Lord recompensed me according to MY righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.25 With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright;26 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.

2 Samuel 22:21 The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.22 For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God.23 For all his judgments were before me: and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them. 24 I was also upright (Strong’s 8549) before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity.25 Therefore the Lord hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight.26 With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright (Strong’s 8549) man thou wilt shew thyself upright.27 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury.

1 King. 14:8 And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes;

1 King. 15:5 Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.

2 King. 14:3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David his father: he did according to all things as Joash his father did.

Acts 13:22 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

King Asa

1 King. 15:11 And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did David his father.—14 But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa’s heart was perfect (Strong’s 8003) with the Lord all his days. 

2 Chron. 14:2 And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God:3 For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves:4 And commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.

King Hezekiah

2 King. 18:1 Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.—3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did.4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.5 He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.6 For he clave to the Lord, and departed not from following him, but KEPT HIS COMMANDMENTS, WHICH THE LORD COMMANDED MOSES.

King Josiah

2 King. 22:1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath.2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.

2 King. 23:25 And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.

2 Chron. 34:1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years.2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left.

Enoch

Hebr. 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

Moses and all of Israel were told to be perfect (which means they could)

Deut.18:13 Thou shalt be perfect (Strong’s 8549) with the Lord thy God.

Satan

Ezekiel 28:15 Thou wast perfect (Strong’s 8549) in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

Abel and Zacharias

Matt. 23:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

Hebr. 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.

Joseph, Mary’s husband

Matt. 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

Joseph, the counsellor

Luk. 23:50 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: 

Cornelius

Acts 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. —22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.

John the Baptist

Mark. 6:20 For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.

Luke 1:17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Simeon

Luke 2:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

The Apostle Paul (after his conversion)

1 Thess. 2:10 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:

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.

The priest Zacharias and his wife Elisabeth

Luke 1:5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

Various verses concerning righteous people rättfärdig 2

Below you can read about the contrast between the unrighteous and the righteous, and the issue is obedience to God. You can also read here how we can know if we are the children of God.

Old testament

2 Sam. 4:(Is-Boset)11 How much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house upon his bed? shall I not therefore now require his blood of your hand, and take you away from the earth?

1 King. 8:31 If any man trespass against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house:32 Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness. (2 Chron. 6:23)

Ps. 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.—5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Proverbs 3:32 For the froward is abomination to the Lord: but his secret is with the righteous.33 The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.

Proverbs 10:11 The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.—16 The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.—20 The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.21 The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.—24 The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.25 As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.—28 The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.29 The way of the Lord is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.30 The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.31 The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.

Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.4 Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.5 The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.6 The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.7 When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.8 The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead.9 An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.—18 The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.19 As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.20 They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the Lord: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.23 The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.—27 He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.—30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.31 Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.

Proverbs 12:1 Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.2 A good man obtaineth favour of the Lord: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.3 A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.–5 The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.6 The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.7 The wicked are overthrown, and are not: but the house of the righteous shall stand.8 A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised.—10 A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. —.13 The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble.14 A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompence of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him.15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.—20 Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.—.22 Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are his delight.—26 The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: but the way of the wicked seduceth them.—.28 In the way of righteousness is life: and in the pathway thereof there is no death.

Proverbs 13:1 A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.—3 He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.—5 A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.6 Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.—9 The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.—13 Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.14 The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.—18 Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured. 

Proverbs 14:32 The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.33 Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

Proverbs 15:24 The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.—26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.27 He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.28 The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.29 The Lord is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.30 The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat.31 The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.32 He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.

Proverbs 20:7 The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.

Proverbs 21:3 To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.—6 The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.7 The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment.8 The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right..—10 The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.—16 The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.—21 He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.

Ezekiel 3:18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling-block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.

New Testament:rättfärdig

Matt. 10:41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.

Matt. 13:17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

Matt. 25:23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. —37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?—40 And 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.41 Then 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: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:.—45 Then 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.46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Matt. 13:49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,

Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

1 Peter. 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

1 John 2:29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

Rom. 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

Titus 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;

Hebr. 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Matt. 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

1 Cor. 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

Phil 3:15 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.

Ja. 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

You can read here about John 15 and the risk for a branch to be cut off the vine due to lack of fruit. God expects us to live righteous lives. 

Are you stiff-necked and resist the Holy Ghost against the will of God? – Acts 7:51

stiff-necked

Acts 7:51 Ye STIFFNECKED and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always RESIST THE HOLY GHOST: as your fathers did, so do ye.

sklérotrachélos (Greek): stiff-necked, stubborn, obstinate (Strong’s 4644)

oreph (Hebrew): back of the neck, neck (Strong’s 6203)

It’s apparent that we can resist the Holy Ghost by being stiff-necked and walking our own way, and if we take this route it’s obviously against God’s will. Still, there are some of our reformed friends who feel the need to stick to the notion that ”nothing that comes to pass happens against the will of God” so they are reluctant to accept the clear meaning of Acts 7:51 and prefer to believe that God has either predestined people to be stiff-necked and/or suggest they are born stiff-necked and will continue to be so until God perhaps decides to open their eyes to bring them out of this spell. If the idea is that nothing happens against God’s will, then people who are born stiff-necked are born that way according to God’s will, but then we are no longer talking about the God of the Bible. 

Stephen (who is talking in Acts 7) is making a reference to the fathers of the pharisees and claimed they too were stiff-necked and resisted the Holy Ghost, and we can see in the verses below how painfully true this statement has proven to be. The Bible is a book that describes how people throughout all of our history have turned their backs on God. Not every single individual of course, because there are also examples of some very righteous and just people who have lived in obedience to God, like Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Lot and Job.

Most cases in the Bible where ”stiff-necked” people are mentioned can be seen below.

Examples of stiff-necked people during the Exodus

People even made a golden calf to worship and this provoked God to anger, naturally because it was against his will. Israel didn’t get the promised land because they were particularly good people, but rather because the inhabitants were very evil, and because of the promise that God had given to Abraham before them.

Ex. 32:They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation

Ex. 33:1 And the Lord said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it:Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.For the Lord had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee.

Ex. 34:And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.

Deuteronomy 9:Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.Understand therefore, that the Lord thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the Lord thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the Lord.Also in Horeb ye provoked the Lord to wrath, so that the Lord was angry with you to have destroyed you.

2 Kings 17:12 For they served idols, whereof the Lord had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.13 Yet the Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.14 Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the Lord their God.15 And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them, that they should not do like them.16 And they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.17 And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.

Neh. 15 And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them.16 But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments,17 And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not.18 Yea, when they had made them a molten calf, and said, This is thy God that brought thee up out of Egypt, and had wrought great provocations

Jer. 7:22 For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices:23 But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.24 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.25 Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them:26 Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.27 Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee.28 But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the Lord their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth.

Being stiff-necked is something negative, and God tells his people to cease being stiff-neckedstiff-necked2

Clearly God wouldn’t want his people (or anyone) to rebel against him, refuse to hearken to him, turn their backs on him, transgress his laws, do evil, become corrupted, provoke him to anger, worship idols, harden their hearts, neglect to receive corrections, etc, but this is exactly what his people often did due to their stubborn and evil hearts. God’s will does not always happen and that is because he has given us free will – resulting in that we are responsible for our own actions and will be judged accordingly.

Deuteronomy 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.

Deut. 31:27 For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the Lord; and how much more after my death?28 Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them.29 For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.

Isaiah. 48:I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass.4 Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass;I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed it thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them.

2 Chronicles 29:And said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place.For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the Lord, and turned their backs.—.Wherefore the wrath of the Lord was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing, as ye see with your eyes.

2 Chronicles 30:8 Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the Lord, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you.

2 Chronicles 36:11 Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem.12 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the Lord.13 And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the Lord God of Israel.14 Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the Lord which he had hallowed in Jerusalem.

Neh. 9:28 But after they had rest, they did evil again before thee: therefore leftest thou them in the land of their enemies, so that they had the dominion over them: yet when they returned, and cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and many times didst thou deliver them according to thy mercies;29 And testifiedst against them, that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law: yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto thy commandments, but sinned against thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;) and withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck, and would not hear.30 Yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands.31 Nevertheless for thy great mercies’ sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them; for thou art a gracious and merciful God.

Jer. 2:26 As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets.27 Saying to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us.28 But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah.29 Wherefore will ye plead with me? ye all have transgressed against me, saith the Lord.30 In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion.

Jer. 17:22 Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.23 But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction.24 And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein

Jer. 19:15 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words.

Jer. 32:31 For this city hath been to me as a provocation of mine anger and of my fury from the day that they built it even unto this day; that I should remove it from before my face,32 Because of all the evil of the children of Israel and of the children of Judah, which they have done to provoke me to anger, they, their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets, and the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.33 And they have turned unto me the back, and not the face: though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction.34 But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it.35 And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

Proverbs. 29:1 He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

Read, Isaiah 5:1-7, Isaiah 63:10, Matthew 23:37, Luke 13:34, Romans 13:2 and Ephesians 4:30, for further examples of people who are stiff-necked and act against the will of God. 

ALL doesn’t ALWAYS mean ALL in the Bible, but we don’t get to choose when it doesn’t

alla4It’s absolutely true that the word ALL in the Bible doesn’t always mean ALL as in the entire world and 100% of the population even if it says ALL MEN, but it’s equally true that we don’t get to choose whether or not the word really means ALL ourselves. Sometimes ALL actually means ALL and the entire world and it’s the context that decides which one it is and not our own personal preferences. Maybe this is rather-self-evident but there are some people seem to reason:

”Since I can prove that ALL and ALL MEN do not always mean the whole world or all of the population of the earth, then I get to choose when ALL means ALL myself and I can do this as I see fit”.

They might not be aware of that they are reasoning in this way, but it’s common that especially reformed believers try to refute the verses which say that Jesus died for ALL (which is painfully clear in the Bible), by suggesting that ”all doesn’t always mean all”, and this shows that they feel they can save their doctrine of Limited Atonement by narrowing down the word ALL to a certain group of people even though the context itself doesn’t call for this procedure. Yes, sometimes ALL means a certain group of people but not always, and again, we cannot determine this simply by resorting to personal preferences. That would be nothing else but picking and choosing, and you would end up with the invisible rule ”ALL means ALL except when it doesn’t fit the reformed doctrine because then it means ALL of a certain group”. 

The saying among reformed believers is that when Jesus died for ALL it means ”Jesus died for some of every kind of people from ALL  tribes, languages, people and nations”. And/or that it refers to ALL classes and conditions of people, and to all sorts of human beings without any distinction or exception. That is a convenient understanding if one wants to maintain that TULIP (calvinism) is what the Bible teaches, but if they get to choose this translation of the word ALL,  do I get to do the same whenever I don’t like that ALL means ALL as in every individual? What if I for instance don’t like that ALL people have sinned as Romans 3:23 seems to suggest.

Romans 3:23 For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God

Do I get to interpret the above verse as ”some  from all tribes, languages, people and nations have sinned”? No, because then reformed believers might say ”NO! It says ALL, and ALL means ALL! Don’t twist the verse and make it say something it doesn’t say! ALL is what it is!” It’s rather unfair that only the reformed believers get to use the ”some out of every tribe-idea” but no others.

Rom. 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and DEATH by sin; and so death passed upon all men, FOR that all have sinned

My claim is that babies cannot sin and Rom 5:12 doesn’t say that all people who have ever lived have sinned (which you can read more about in this blog article). We already know that Jesus has not sinned so this means that ALL couldn’t possibly mean the entire world with him included. (Jesus mother Mary was related to Adam and Eve just like the rest of us and she would have given Jesus a piece of her nature as well.) What qualifies ”all men” can be read in the context, and Paul is talking about individuals who have become enemies of God (v. 10) but how could babies possibly be enemies of God? Especially babies who are unborn? That is impossible, and Paul’s aim is not to convey that babies can be guilty of sin and rebellion. He is talking about ”men”, and that could mean 1) men 2) men and women, or 3) all mankind. We can’t decide to jump to No 3 and suggest it must mean every individual, at the same time as we refuse to do this in other verses which very clearly show that it means exactly that. That, again, is picking and choosing depending on our own preferences. All people who have the ability to sin have chosen to sin, except Jesus.

Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

The above verse is interesting because here reformed readers would like to interpret the first ”all men” as ALL individuals who have ever lived (so ALL means ALL), but the second ”all men” they prefer to interpret as ”SOME men” namely the elect – despite that the verse contains a clear parallel where Adam is compared with Jesus and where the two ”all men” MUST be understood in the same way. You can’t understand it one way in the first half of the sentence and in another way in the second half! Moreover, if ALL are automatically condemned through Adam then ALL must be automatically justified through Jesus, but that would lead to universalism which we know is not true. So the condemnation and the justification could not come about automatically, but they are dependant on whether a person disobeys or obeys, as the next verse says:

19 For as by one man‘s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Reformed believers often read the above verse as though it says  ”ALL were made sinners” by one man and ”MANY be made righteous”, but it says MANY in BOTH cases.

Examples where ALL couldn’t possibly mean the entire world

If a child comes home to his mother and says ”I had my sweater on backwards in school today, and everyone laughed at me”, then his mother  obviously wouldn’t ask her son ”Do you mean to tell me that everyone in the entire world laughed at you?” Clearly the mother would understand who ”everyone” is in this case, and we usually have no problem at all to understand who ALL and EVERYONE are when we speak to people on a daily basis or when we read the newspaper. Why then is there such a risk for misunderstandings when we read the Bible? Is the Bible not clear enough and is God the author of confusion? There will be a platform for misunderstandings if we insist on reading the Bible through a doctrine-filter that we have made up ourselves, and if we really want to avoid the notion that Jesus died for all as in every individual who has ever lived, then we might subconsciously try to change verses which declare that this is exactly what Jesus has done for us, in a way that suit our own theology. It’s almost like some christians believe they can escape the ”horrible” idea that Jesus actually laid down his life for every single person if they can only find examples where ALL doesn’t mean ALL. Anyway, here are some examples where ALL doesn’t mean ”every single person”, but it’s also rather obvious by the context so not confusing at all.

Mark 1:And there went out unto him ALL the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were ALL baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.

John 8:And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and ALL the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.

Acts 22:15 For thou [Paul] shalt be his witness unto ALL MEN of what thou hast seen and heard.

Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of ALL MEN for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

John 3:26 And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and ALL MEN come to him.

Matthew 21:26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for ALL hold John as a prophet.

2 Corinthians 3:2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of  ALL MEN

Romans 12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of ALL MEN.18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with ALL MEN.

Romans 16:19 For your obedience is come abroad unto ALL MEN. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.

Acts 21:28 Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth ALL MEN EVERY WHERE against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.

2 Timothy 3:9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto ALL MEN, as their’s also was.

2 Timothy 4:16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but ALL MEN forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.

1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for ALL MEN

3 John 1:12 Demetrius hath good report of ALL MEN, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.

Acts 4:21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for ALL MEN glorified God for that which was done.

Acts 2:45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to ALL MEN, as every man had need.

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.

Examples where ALL must mean ALL – as in every individualalla

There ARE cases where ALL means every single person, and this is also rather clear in the Bible.

Hebrews 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of ALL, and to the spirits of just men made perfect

Acts 17:25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to ALL life, and breath, and all things 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

Acts 1:24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of ALL MEN, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,

John 2:24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew ALL MEN

1 Corinthians 7:7 For I would that ALL MEN were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

Should we be kind and honor ALL MEN (everyone) or just some? Perhaps we should be kind and gentle only to those we like? I vote for that we should be pleasant to ALL men – whoever we might encounter.

1 Peter 2:17 Honour ALL MEN. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with ALL MEN, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

Titus 3:2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto ALL MEN.

Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto ALL MEN, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

2 Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto ALL MEN, apt to teach, patient,

1 Thessalonians 3:12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward ALL MEN, even as we do toward you

1 Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward ALL MEN.15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to ALL MEN.

So if people agree with me that the Paul and Peter above try to convey that we should be kind and gentle to everyone, then this section can remain under the topic ALL means ALL – as in every individual

Verses which are in dispute by those who don’t accept that Jesus died for everyone (leading to that reformed believers feel they get to use the ”died for some out of every tribe-card” for these verses)

Did Jesus die for ALL? The Bible is clear that he did this in numerous ways:

He died for ALL (1 Tim. 2:6).
He died for ALL MEN (Rom. 5:18; 1 Tim. 4:10).
He died for US ALL, for ALL OF US (Isa. 53:6).
He died for the UNGODLY (Rom. 5:6).
He died for CHRIST-DENIERS (2 Peter 2:1).
He died for SINNERS (Rom. 5:8).
He died for EVERY MAN (Heb. 2:9).
He died for MANY (Matthew 20:28).
He died for the WORLD (John 6:33,51; John 1:29 and John 3:16).
He died for the WHOLE WORLD (1 John 2:2).
He died for the WHOLE NATION of Israel (John 11:50-51).
He died for the CHURCH (Eph. 5:25).
He died for His SHEEP (John 10:11).
He died for ME (Gal. 2:20)

Here are some examples where we can read that Jesus died for ALL – or ALL MEN.

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to ALL MEN liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that ANY should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance.

Acts 17:30 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.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to ALL MEN,

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

1 Timothy 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of ALL MEN, specially of those that believe.

1 Timothy 2:4 Who will have ALL MEN to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Philippians 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto ALL MEN. The Lord is at hand.

Ephesians 3:Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;9 And to make ALL MEN see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL MEN unto me.

John 5:22 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.alla5

Paul seems to believe that he (Paul) can save some people (naturally through Jesus) if he becomes weak for the weak. If Paul was reformed he would know that he can’t change the outcome of anything for anyone and that all things were written in stone before the foundation of the world.

1 Corinthians 9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some

We have a big King with a big heart, and Jesus Christ did not shut the door for anyone but died for the whole world. Why then are not all saved? Because some refuse to seek God and come to him to get life. God’s will does not always happen.

John 5:40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

Miracles in Moscow – 40-50 people got healed in a shopping mall

Torben shows that there is no requirement to use expensive computer equipment to explain the gospel for a large crowd of people. A few paper mugs from KFC and a tray work just fine. 🙂

And people get healed!

Sometimes the most simple ways are the better ways…

All glory to God, and we can only pray for more workers like Torben and his team who are so willing to explain the gospel to people on the streets – including the important truth that sin separate us from God whether we are non-believers or not.

God did not hate Esau before he was born – Romans 9:13

As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated (Rom 9:13)

The question then becomes, did Esau behave the way he did because God hated him, or did God hate him because of the way Esau chose to behave?

Jacob and Esau are not only individuals but they are also PEOPLE and/or NATIONS. This is important to remember in order to not read things into Romans 9 which are not stated. Romans 9 is not about individuals being elected TO BELIEVE, but it’s about a people who has sprung up from individuals, and it’s the line of Jacob which is chosen (for good reasons) to bring forth the Messiah. Most importantly it’s about a person who rejected his birthright and still expected to get it when it was time to receive the blessing. Paul made the comparison with the jews – which Romans 9 is about – who expected to inherit the Kingdom because they are born jews. We can also read from the context that God did NOT arbitrarily hate one of the twin brothers for no reason at all.

The LORD said to her, ”Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.” (Gen. 25:23)

There is no indication of anything good or bad about either of the children at this point. The nations arising from each will be separated, and one of these nations will be stronger than the other. The nation arising from the older of the two children will at some point end up serving the nation arising from the younger. The individual Esau never served the younger. Also note that God did not hate Esau before he was born, or while he was a child. Children are neutral and they can’t choose between good and bad. Paul says that they are not all Israel which are Israel, and by that he means that children of Abraham are those who BELIEVE like he did and who don’t live as the children of the flesh, and it was also the seed of Abraham which would bring forth the Messiah through Isaac. A person is not saved just because he is born a jew and has the law, but due to his choice to trust God and show fruit.

Rom 9:6Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

According to Paul, babies are neutral and can’t do either good or bad, and Paul speaks about ”election” (which is not an election ”to believe”) and highlights that the jews should not believe that the law (works) can save them since they in that case must never break one single commandment. It’s accepting the call of God that saves a person.

Rom 9:11(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

Gen. 25:27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. 28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.

Hebrews 12 15Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; 16Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright17For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

Above in Hebrews we can see that Paul is warning people for not making the right decision when it comes to their lives styles, LEST they might fail of the grace of God, LEST they might be defiled and LEST they might end up like Esau who made a VERY bad choice to, among other things sold his birthright for a meal. We can see why Esau was rejected, and that is because ”he found no place of repentance”, indicating that something wasn’t right in his heart, and maybe he didn’t regret his choice to sell his birthright until he realized what was at stake and that it would slip out of his hands. Esau knew better than that but he had to accept the consequences of his actions. Esau was also known as Edom. There is a book called Obadiah and the focus of Obadiah is on Edom/Esau, and the reason God hated Esau is stated here:

Pride of heart, v. 3
Because of the violence against Jacob, v. 10
For not intervening on behalf of Jacob when that people was under attack, v. 11
For looking down on his brother in the day of his misfortune, v. 12
For entering the destroyed city and participating in the ransacking, v. 13
For ambushing their fugitives, v. 14

Obadiah 1: 8Shall I not in that day, saith the LORD, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau? 9And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter. 10For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.

Romans 9:13 refers back to Malachi and there we can read:

Mal 1:2I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, 3And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. 4Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever.5And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel.

”They”. The entire people that came from Esau are being spoken of as being hated. Thus, when Paul quotes Malachi in Romans 9, he is referring to what happened to the people, not to the individual sons. The quote ”Jacob I have loved but Esau have I hated” has to do with the nations that came from the brothers. In Obadiah, the reasons for this hatred from God are clearly shown. Did God hate Esau personally? He very well may have, and the despising of the birthright is used in Hebrews as evidence of his godlessness. This godlessness, and his marriage to pagan wives, would have affected not only his children, but their children and the children after them as well, in agreement with what we read in

Ex. 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them [idols], nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me

Amos 6:8 The Lord GOD has sworn by himself, says the LORD the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces: therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is in it.