Etikettarkiv | reformed

Leighton Flowers, and his misunderstanding about righteousness and the SIN nature

sinThe ordinary misconception about sin and righteousness

I can definitely recommend Dr. Leighton Flowers’ pod channel Soteriology 101 as well as his YouTube channel with the same name, because he has a great ability to humbly describe the downfalls and inconsistencies of Calvinism (although perhaps he is even a bit too humble at times). Especially Dr James White has a lot to learn from Leighton, when it comes to debating and highlighting proper exegesis. Please check out Leighton’s channel and subscribe if you want to learn more about the dark side of Calvinism and why it does not fit the scriptures.

Even though I am in awe about Leighton’s way of dealing with Calvinism and Calvinists, I would also like to point out some doctrines where I disagree with his rather common ”Baptist views”. He has correctly said that Calvinism seems to contain two types of free will, two types of love, two types of calling, etc, (or something to this effect) but he too makes a similar mistake when he claims that there are two types of righteousness in his own belief system. He is convinced that this is the only way to avoid Bible contradictions, but there is a better way without having to resort to two types of righteousness.

I am not making any exact quotes here (unless possible) because I usually listen to his podcasts while out running and not being able to take notes. Nevertheless, I have heard enough to know that he believes that there are saved sinning Christians, and that it is totally natural for Christians to sin – and abnormal if they do not. He has not said it in those exact words but that is the only conclusion one can make from his comments. I am not saying that he actively encourages Christians to sin, nor that God does not care if Christians sin (rather the contrary), but he nevertheless teaches that sinning is normal and unavoidable both for unbelievers and believers.

The issues I am thinking about are the following (I am disagreeing with all of them):

  • No one is righteous
  • We cannot stop sinning
  • We cannot obey the law of God
  • We are saved by faith alone
  • Repenting does not mean leaving all of ”the old sinning man” behind
  • Once saved always saved
  • We can get Jesus righteousness transferred into us (Jesus imputed righteousness)
  • We are born with a sinful nature due to Adam
  • Penal substitution
  • Speaking in tongues – always being understood (and not even in use)

No one is righteous – Romans 3:10

The first verse to mention is Rom. 3:10, because this verse, read in a vacuum, is often used as a proof text for other verses. It is the famous ”no one is righteous” verseThe only way to be labelled righteous in a world where no one can successfully stop sinning, is to have someone else’s righteousness transferred into himself – namely the righteousness of Jesus Christ. However, this is not what the text is saying. First of all, Paul who made this claim called himself righteous along with two of his friends, and this means that Paul believes there are in actual fact people who can call themselves righteous. I suspect that Leighton would not disagree with that, but perhaps he would add that they are only righteous because of the righteous blood of Jesus and not because they are righteous in themselves. Nevertheless, Paul claimed that he indeed lived a righteous life by his own actions (likely referring to his life as a saved believer in Jesus Christ). Paul said that the conduct of him and his friends was holy, righteous and blameless (1 Thess. 2:10) and that he had lived with a perfect conscience before God (Acts 23:1). A person cannot sin and have a perfect conscience. Jesus tells us to be perfect, which means we can.

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

When making the quote in Rom. 3:10, Paul starts off saying ”as it is written”, and it is of utmost importance to check this quote (see link above) in order to not misunderstand him. Paul is quoting from a couple of psalms where unrighteous people (the fools) are contrasted with righteous people (who do good and seek God). This means that even those quoted psalms claim in context that righteous people are non-existent, nor that it is impossible to seek God. Moreover, psalms are often mirroring the reality by using poetic expressions, which means that we should be careful to not take a verse from Psalms and make a doctrine out of it.

Since we have sinned, we must of course repent and be cleansed in the blood of Jesus. We have no authority to cleanse ourselves from our sins, but after having been born again the idea is that we must not revert back to our old life style but be led by the holy Spirit away from sin. We must DO righteousness! Peter, John, James and Paul say:

Acts 10:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and WORKETH righteousness, is accepted with him.

1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that DOETH righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

Ja. 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?—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.

Rom. 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. — 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. — 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? — 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jesus himself believes there are people who are righteous, and that those individuals therefore have no need to repent (unless they sin of course) because they have already done so. (Repentance is a requirement for salvation.) He did not come to call the righteous to repentance but the sinners.

Luke. 5:32 – I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. 

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.

Jesus contrasts the righteous with the sinners, where the aforementioned are saved and the latter ones are not. This is far from the idea of ”sinning saints”.

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

1 Cor. 6:9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

works of the lawWe cannot stop sinning? Yes, people could obey the law also in the Old Testament

Leighton and others seem to take for granted that God’s law can never be fully obeyed, and especially not when it comes to the Old Testament. The idea is often that ”this is the reason that Jesus died for us, because of our inability to obey the law!”. The Bible, however, does not say that God’s commandments are too hard for us to follow, or that we are created too weak to follow them. If we do not even have an ability to fully obey God, and God is aware of this, would it really be our fault if we sinned? If we can obey and does not do so, we are guilty. If we cannot obey of no fault of our own and therefore sin out of necessity, we are not guilty.

But if we could obey, why did Jesus die? Because we have sinned. Bad choice. We are guilty sinners precisely because we could have obeyed but chose not to.

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.

1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

Gen. 4:7 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.

Is. 55:6 Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Deut. 30:10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.—14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, THAT THOU MAYEST DO IT.15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; 

The Bible says we are NOT saved by faith alone

A lot of Christians should take the practice to repeat the following verse a few times a day:

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

Lots of people do not even believe this verse is in the Bible, but the fact is that faith without works is dead. Also demons have faith. It is true that Paul spends a lot of time trying to get the Jews to understand that they are not saved only because they are born Jews and because of any need to follow the 613 Jewish laws (including circumcision) but that is often labelled as ”works of the law” (the law of Moses). Paul makes a clear distinction between the law of Moses and the always existing Godly laws which have always applied throughout history:

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

We are not saved by faith alone.

Ja 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?—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.

Repenting – a requirement for salvation

Repenting requires turning away from sin (Acts 3:19; 26:20), and the Bible promises wrath for the impenitent (no matter their faith) and not mercy. Repenting is not one and the same as confessing sins, because also agnostics and atheists might choose to confess their sins. Spending your days sinning and confessing will not save you.

If the case is that Leighton believes that no one can confess their sins without the holy Spirit working in them first, there are Bible verses which speak against it. Sure, we are created to seek God and find him (Acts. 17:27) so in this way we are all ”drawn” to him and divinely created to come to him (if we so desire), but the Bible says that we get the holy Spirit after that we confess and repent (see verses below). Having the holy Spirit does not mean we will automatically obey him.

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

Acts 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.  

Act 26:20 – But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should REPENT and turn to God, and do WORKS meet for repentance.

Mar 6:12 – And they went out, and preached that men should repent.

Mat 4:17 – From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  

Gal. 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.— 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,21 Envyings, 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.

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.

osas 10Once saved always saved – the devil’s lie

It is not God’s responsibility to make sure that we endure to the end and do not fall back into sins. If anyone chooses to sin, perhaps by getting involved in adultery and lies, it is always and only his/her own fault and therefore not possible to blame God for not holding him tight enough or for not completing the salvation process all the way into eternity. It is very common to say that the person ”was not saved to begin with” if he gets involved in heavy sin, but the Bible (and real life) is full of examples with people who have died spiritually due to sin (like the prodigal son). Sure, some of them chose to repent and returned back to life, but it is not certain that everyone will choose to do this.

Leighton says: ”— God promises to complete the process of salvation in the believer into eternity. ” and ”We deny that this Holy Spirit-sealed relationship can ever be broken. We deny even the possibility of apostasy.”

It is the devil who taught ”Ye shall not surely die” to the God-believing Eve, but he lied. Sinning always has and always will cause spiritual death – unless the person repents. (Repenting means turning away from sin.) A branch in the vine (Jesus) can be cut off due to lack of fruit.

Rom. 6:21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is DEATH.— 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Acts 5:3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

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.

Rom. 11:20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

Also in the Old Testament we can read that a righteous person (someone who does righteousness) will not be aided by his previous righteousness if he sins again. He will rather die in his sins if he lives in sin.

Ez. 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.5 But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right,— Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God.—13 Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.14 Now, lo, if he beget a son, that seeth all his father’s sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like,—17 That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live.18 As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity.19 Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live.20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.25 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?26 When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.28 Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.29 Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Imputed righteousnessimputed righteousness

You will never read in the Bible that we can get Jesus righteousness imputed into us. Not even in Rom. 4. Yes, we can read about ”imputed” righteousness, but not from Jesus Christ. The word ”imputed” comes from the Greek word ”logizomai” (Strong’s 3049)  and does not mean ”transfer”, but rather ”reckoned” or ”counted as”. If we have repented from our sins, and become totally cleansed, we are reckoned as righteous because we are. This will last as long as we keep ourselves righteous and do not become dirty again. Remember that WE must do righteousness, and we are told to not be deceived about this. Do not let anyone tell you that you can be regarded as righteous in God’s eyes while still living in sin, or that you can combine righteousness with sin and still be ok.

But wait a minute – does not the Bible warn us from thinking we can trust in our own righteousness? (Rom. 10:3; Phil 3.9) Yes, but what does this really mean? It means that we should not believe that we can be saved because of a permanent good standing with God which can never be changed no matter what we do. We should not do as the Jews, who believed they were always acceptable in God’s eyes because they were born as Jews, were sons of Abraham, etc. If a righteous person trusts in his own righteousness and commits sin, he must forget about being right with God due to that sin. This is the message we can read in Ez. 33:13, and it is still applicable.

Ez. 33:13 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.

1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that DOETH righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

Read more about ”imputed” righteousness here.

The sinful nature

It is good news that Leighton does not believe that people are responsible for having inherited a nature inclined towards sin (which means they are without guilt), but I do not even believe we have inherited a sinful nature in the first place. If we have inherited a nature inclined towards sin, what is the huge difference between the disposition of Adam and Eve? Why did they sin? Did they too have a nature inclined towards sin since they in fact did sin? Apparently they could choose to sin just as easily as their descendants, and this is evidence of that our nature did not change, which explains why the Bible does not claim it. If our nature would have changed due to our forefathers’ sin, why does the Bible not say so considering that this is rather significant information? Romans 5 and Ephesians 2 do not say it, nor any psalms.

Leigthon says: ”— because of the fall of Adam, every person inherits a nature and environment inclined toward sin and that every person who is capable of moral action will sin.  — We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will or rendered any person guilty (?) before he has personally sinned.”

Penal substitution theory (originally from Anselm)

I believe that Jesus Christ died to REMOVE our sins, which is a big price to pay (his own life). I do not believe that Jesus paid for our sins, or that our sins somehow ended up in his body before they were eventually removed. Nor do I believe that Jesus took the penalty that we should have, on himself and instead of us. The punishment due to us is destruction and hell, which Jesus did not take on himself. Jesus did not die as a substitution in penalty but a substitution for penalty, under certain conditions. The atonement is a substitute for our penalty so that our penalty itself can be remitted in forgiveness by the mercy of God. If Jesus had paid for our sins, then our sins would be forgiven before we sinned and even long before were even born. Paid is paid. A breach of God’s law is either paid or forgiven – not both.

John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Speaking in tongues – ”no man understandeth him” (1 Cor. 14:2)

I am not exactly sure what Leighton’s view is about speaking in tongues or the spiritual gifts in general, but I have listened to a podcast which makes me suspect that he has the common ”baptist” view of the spiritual gifts – which means that he believes that spiritual tongues are always understood, and actually not even in use. A preacher such as Benny Hinn is unfortunately often used by non-charismatic preachers to represent churches which make use of the spiritual gifts.

1 Cor.12:13 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed:and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. —9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: — 28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?31 But COVET EARNESTLY the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

1 Cor. 14:1 Follow after charity, and DESIRE SPIRITUAL GIFTS, but rather that ye may prophesy.2 For he that speaketh in an UNKNOWN tongue speaketh not unto men, but UNTO GOD for NO MAN UNDERSTANDETH HIM; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. — 4 He that speaketh in an UNKNOWN TONGUE edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 5 I WOULD THAT YE ALL SPAKE WITH TONGUES but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. — 12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are ZEALOUS of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.14 For if I pray in an UNKNOWN TONGUE, my spirit prayeth, but MY UNDERSTANDING IS UNFRUITFUL.15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding ALSO: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. — 18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. — 28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

SO we should not forbid anyone to speak in tongues (so not discourage it), but we should DESIRE, COVET EARNESTLY and be ZEALOUS to speak in tongues – and even better; to do so when it comes to even better gifts like prophesying and healing (in order to edify even more people). The question is: Do we all obey this? Are we eager to get the gifts? Do we encourage others to get the gifts and explain to them what wonderful gifts which are awaiting them? If not, why not obeying Paul’s advice?

Some things we can learn from the above:

  • Paul explains the different parts of the body of the church, where prophesies, tongues, healing, etc, are some of the parts. He does not say that this body would  cease to exist within a few years.
  • There is such a thing called ”an unknown tongue”, which we are requested to eagerly seek. It means: no one understands.
  • We should desire the spiritual gifts (that is all of them, but especially those who can benefit the most people).
  • No one understands the tongues (unless they are interpreted).
  • Interpretation of the tongues is a separate gift, indicating that the original tongues must be interpreted if they are intended to be understood. 1 Cor. 14:13 is just one verse proving that it is not certain that a person who is able to speak in tongues automatically also has the gift of interpretation and able to know his/her own tongues.
  • Edification of oneself is a good thing (or else you must not pray for your own health, strength, wisdom, etc). Being able to edify even more people is of course even better.
  • Paul wished that all of the Christian Corinthians (and likely therefore all Christians) spoke in tongues, and he never added that this wish only applied for a certain time/generation.
  • If there is no interpreter available in church (which might be the case), then the person should pray in tongues to himself and to God. He is never told to forget about speaking in tongues because people are able to fake them.
  • We are asked to pray in two ways, we should pray/sing with the spirit (not understanding the words), or the opposite way which is praying/singing with our understanding and spirit. It depends on if you pray for yourself to God, or if you pray/speak edify other people.
  • Paul spends 3 chapter talking about speaking in tongues and other spiritual gifts, and he does not discourage it anywhere. He does the exact opposite and he wishes that everyone would speak in tongues.

Finally, a film by Torben Söndergaard. A Danish preacher who highlights both the importance of repentance and the fact that Christians should go out and preach the gospel, heal the sick, etc.

 

 

Why the need for Jesus to UPBRAID people if God’s will always happens?

Matt 11.jpgWhy UPBRAID someone who possesses no ability to disobey you?

”Upbraid” is a translation from the Greek verb ὀνειδίζω (oneidizō Strong’s 3579) and apart from upbraid it could hold the meaning of reproach, suffer reproach and revile. The verb occurs 11 times in the KJV, and it derives from the noun ὄνειδος (G3681). Examples of usage:

Matt. 11:19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

Above we can see a clear example of people and entire cities acting contrary to God’s will. Jesus upbraided people due to their refusal to repent! Jesus wanted them to repent and provided them ample opportunities to do so (showed them many miracles) and yet they chose not to. Sinning IS breaking the law, which means that sinning is acting against God’s will. This should be self-evident, but when it comes to our reformed friends, this is not always so. Calvinists normally have a problem with a God who is not sovereign in such a way that he predestines ALL things and ALL actions of men. Or else, they say, he is not sovereign. (”Sovereign” is not even a Biblical word in the KJV, so of course the term must be interpreted.) These verses suggest that things would have (and could have) turned out differently, if the people involved acted in a different way. This is evidence of that things do not take place because they are predestined by God. We can affect our future depending on our choices and actions, but why even pray if we can affect nothing?

Mark. 16:9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

Above we can yet again see Jesus upbraiding people, and this time due to their refusal to believe the message about him and due to their hardened hearts. This means it certainly was not Jesus (as God) who hardened their hearts so that they could not believe, because then Jesus would not need to upbraid them. They had the choice to believe in the testimonies of those who had seen Jesus risen (as he told them he would), and they also had the chance to believe that Jesus was the one the Scriptures were telling them about, but they choice to harden their hearts.

A few more examples:

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

Matt. 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Matt. 27:44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. 

Rom. 15:3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

James 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.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.6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. (the NIV translates ”without finding fault”)

If we sin, we have an advocate in Jesus so we are constantly forgiven? – 1 John 2:1

1 john 2.jpgMy little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1)

”Advocate” is a translation from the Greek noun Παράκλητον (Strong’s 3875), and apart from the above verse we can find this word also in John 14:15; 26, John 15:26 and John 16:7, with the meaning of either Comforter or Helper – which the holy Spirit is often called.

John writes his letter to advise the recipients to avoid sinning (among other things), suggesting that they can avoid it (which also Titus 2:11-12 confirms). Unfortunately it is quite common that Christians with the reformed theology view understand this verse to mean that we really should not sin but if we do sin we still have no reason to worry because we always have an advocate in Jesus Christ who always forgives his elect no matter what they do.

That would be another way of saying that we have a license to sin, which of course the Bible does not teach. Just like in a secular court it is not certain that we will get an acquittal just because we have a defense attorney, or perhaps we should compare it with the idea that we will not even get a defense attorney unless we meet certain requirements (such as requesting one in the first place, and avoid making further crimes in the meantime). We will not be forgiven unless we REPENT. We will never be forgiven in the midst of our sins or if we have no intention of leaving the old man behind and live a new kind of life. For those who are in Christ (those who believe in him, follow him and obey him) can rest assured they have an advocate in Jesus Christ and that their past sins are forgiven. Their future sins are certainly not forgiven (that would be a license to sin) but they do not need to take an oath to never ever sin again.

1 John 2: 1-2 Being a propitiation for the sins of the whole world

Two verses after 1 John 2:1 (1 John 2:3) we can read how we can know that we know Jesus Christ. The answer is: ”if we keep his commandments”. If anyone claims to know him and does not keep his commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him. This is not legalism but the word of God. The teaching that we can successfully be faithful to God should never be labelled as legalism and something ugly. V. 5 mentions people who do keep his word, which means they truly exist and are not mere fantasies. We should walk as Jesus walked (v. 6), rather than hiding behind Jesus and pretend that our Father does not see our sins. We cannot fool God. The darkness should be in our past once the light has come into our life.

When reading 1 John 1-2 we can see that Jesus is the propitiation (an ”offer”) not only for a select group of people (like ”the elect), but he is the propitiation for the whole world. To be an offer for the sins of the whole world does not mean that the sins of the whole world will automatically be forgiven and forgotten (like the very minute that Jesus died on the cross). Just like in the old testament, during the animal sacrifice system, it was a requirement for the Israelites to confess their sins and repent for them while the priest offered up animals as a propitiation for their sins. Merely killing animals on an altar will not remove any sins – unless people also repent and understand the meaning of this process. We all have the opportunity to get all our sins erased, even the sins of the most vicious criminals, so it is a universal offer – albeit tied to conditions.

1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.3 And HEREBY WE DO KNOW THAT WE KNOW HIM, IF WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.– 10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 14 — I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. —17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF GOD ABIDETH FOR EVER. —24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that EVERY ONE THAT DOETH RIGHTEOUSNESS is born of him.

1 John 1:8 – the famous ”sin verse”

In the previous chapter (1 John 1) we find the famous 1 John 1:8, so commonly quoted by those who would like to normalize sins also among Christians, but 1 John 1:6 and 1:9 are sadly not quoted just as often. The whole context is important: We have all sinned. IF we confess our sins and start walking in the light (notice the conditions) Jesus Christ will cleanse us from our sins and we will be forgiven. 

1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Rom. 8:26 and Rom. 8:27 – intercessionrom. 8.jpg

Also Rom. 8:26 and 27 are often used as an attempt to support the idea that we can be saved in our sins, but such promise cannot be found there either. The holy Spirit is given to those who believe in Jesus and who have repented for their sins, and the focus of Rom. 8:26 is the content of our prayers and the holy Spirit as our Helper. Note that there are two different Greek words for ”make intercession” in Rom. 26 and 27.

Rom. 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

”Maketh intercession” above is a translation from the Greek verb συναντιλαμβάνομαι (Strong’s 4878) with the meaning of lend a hand along with, assist jointly to perform some task, cooperate with, help, etc. Apart from the above verse you will only find this word in Luke 10:40 (Martha’s desire to get cooperation from her sister when it comes to serving).

Rom. 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

”Makes intercession” above is a translation from the Greek verb ἐντυγχάνω (Strong’s 1793), and apart from the above two verses you can find this word also in Acts 25:24, Rom. 11:2 and Hebrews 7:25 – with the meaning of making a petition for something. Does Christ do this only when it comes to the saints? Well, yes, since the saints are those who have chosen to follow Christ and repented for their sins.

Read what else Rom. 8 says below. There is life to get IF we walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit (those who live this way are in Jesus Christ). Otherwise we must expect death, and that warning goes for Christians as well. We have a great Helper to accomplish this, and thankfully we get more than one chance to do what we successfully can be doing.

Rom. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.—4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his..13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God

God commands ALL MEN EVERYWHERE to REPENT – Acts 17:30

acts 17Acts 17 starts with the apostle Paul reasoning with the Jews in a synagogue in Thessalonica as his custom was, and he explained and demonstrated that Jesus is the Christ. Paul successfully managed to persuade some of them of this fact, indicating that our struggle and prayers for people’s souls can make a difference (i.e. people are not chosen to be elect/non-elect from the creation of the world). NKJV:

Acts 17:2 Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas. (NKJV)

Paul continued on to Berea where we can read how Luke (the author) is praising these Bereans for being fair-minded because they ”received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so”. (Note that they didn’t accept whatever Paul told them just because he was an apostle, but they compared Paul’s preaching with the scripture to check if Paul was on target.) For this reason (”therefore”) many of them believed – and since Paul’s main mission was to preach that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah of the scriptures, this is what these Berean apparently started to believe (among other things). We can again see that our efforts and Bible studies can make a difference.

Acts. 17:10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.

If God has predestined everything that takes place, there would be no reason for Paul to feel provoked by a city given over to idols, because then he would have praised God for arranging it that exact way. Instead Paul reasoned with the Jews to warn them about what was taking place in the city (as he often did) and also with the gentiles in their marketplace. Paul knew for a fact that his efforts could change the outcome of things and that everything was not set in stone from eternity past.

Acts 17:16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. 17 Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there.

We learn many interesting facts about God and his creation from Paul’s speech on Areopagus (Mars Hill):

Acts 17:26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 SO THAT THEY SHOULD SEEK THE LORD, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, THOUGH HE IS NOT FAR FROM EACH ONE OF US; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ 29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.30 Truly, these times of ignorance God OVERLOOKED, but now COMMANDS ALL MEN EVERYWHERE TO REPENT, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

  • We are all related to Adam and Eve (one blood) showing that Genesis seems to be a literal story.
  • He has ”determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings”, which likely means that he has set certain restrictions for us, such as maximum age and limits when it comes to our dwellings on earth.
  • God has created us in this way (perhaps referring to our ability to be aware of our mortality and also our ability to recognize that there is a God – which also Romans 1 confirms) in order to seek God, despite that Paul promises us that God is not far from anyone of us. It also says ”in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him”, and the reason Paul is not able to make any promises that we will absolutely find him (despite that he is always near each one of us) depends on our own sincerity when we seek him. Have we truly repented for our sins, and do we show him our love by what we do and by what we avoid doing? Some people might desire both God and their sins.
  • Paul calls us (human beings) the offspring of God, and he goes on to explain what we ”ought” to think about God. Not as tangible things such as gold, silver or stone (something shaped by man) but as something divine. He isn’t promising us that this is what we absolutely WILL do, but he is giving us good advice that we can be corrected by. As offspring of God, it wouldn’t make sense if some of his offspring were predestined to be wicked non-believers from the very start.
  • Apparently we have lived in times of ignorance, which is something that God has ”overlooked”, showing that our times of ignorance certainly haven’t been according to his will. He is, however, willing to forgive under certain conditions. Repentance!
  • God is willing to let go of our times of ignorance, but now he COMMANDS people to repent. He commands ALL MEN EVERYWHERE to repent. That indeed sounds like EVERY man in the entire world (so both men and women). Had Paul meant ”some” men (like a certain group of elect) there are a number of ways to express this. God is not the author of confusion, and he is able to explain things for us in a way that we can understand. It’s also natural for our God do make such commandment, because there is much JOY in heaven for each person who repents (Luke 15:7). Repenting signifies a person who has gone from spiritual death to spiritual life, and our merciful God doesn’t want anyone to perish (2 Pet. 3:9).
  • God commands all people to repent, but all people clearly do not repent. This is due to our free will which God has created us with, and if we choose to reject God WE are to be blamed and have to face the consequences for our choices. God is totally innocent of our unwise decisions. He doesn’t tempt anyone, much less cause people to rebel against him.

Thanks to Paul’s speech on the Areopagus, some people started to believe. Praise God for fishers of men! We have the right to become children of God if we prior to this 1) receive him, an 2) believe in his name. We are also requested to live righteous lives. The Holy Ghost is our Helper!

John 1:2 But as many as RECEIVED Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who BELIEVE in His name (NKJV)

1 John 10:3  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. (KJV)

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.

The order is 1) seek/believe, 2) confess sins, repent, 3) become cleansed/regenerated/born again when our sins are removed, 4) receive the Holy Ghost and become a child of God!

Varning alla pastorer! Kalvinistiska böcker skickas till er från REFORMEDIA!

calvinism 41Hjälp! Kalvinismen sprider sig till Sverige!

Är församlingar ens medvetna om detta? Vet folk vad kalvinismen innebär?

Vi läser i Dagen att:

”4 000 böcker om kristen tro ska skickas ut till 2 000 pastorer och kristna ledare i Sverige. Bakom initiativet står det nystartade förlaget Reformedia, som bland annat understöds av en amerikansk missionsorganisation.”

VI får vidare veta i Dagens artikel att den amerikanska organisationen som är understödjare heter The Gospel Coalition ,och när man studerar deras hemsida så får man reda på vad för slags organisation som det är frågan om. Hela organisationen är genomsyrad av KALVINISM! De två ledarna (president, och vice president) är också grundare för organisationen och de är båda två kalvinister – Tim Keller och Don Carson. De två böcker som nu sprids ut till Sveriges pastorer är också kalvinister – Mark Dever och Greg Gilbert.

Visserligen så kan vi läsa att en eller flera av ovan farbröder är pastorer (eller aktiva) i diverse baptistkyrkor, och det är kanske därför svenskarna slappnar av och tror att allt är frid och fröjd vad gäller deras teologi. I själva verket så finns det väldigt många baptistkyrkor som räknar sig som ”Reformed baptist”, och då handlar det om kalvinism eftersom man bygger sin lära på TULIP. Även presbyterianska kyrkor är byggda på den reformerta läran kalvinism. Sen kan förstås kyrkor vara mer eller mindre ivriga att förespråka kalvinistisk jargong. En icke-kalvinist kan ofta säga Amen till det mesta som lärs ut, men det ändrar inte på att kalvinismen som sådan är obiblisk och farlig.

Eftersom TULIP är en kontroversiell filosofisk idé så kan inte kalvinismen spridas om man är alltför öppen med alla dess doktriner, och därför måste kalvinism säljas SUBTILT – lite i taget mellan raderna. Predikanten Paul Washer är ett bra exempel på det. När man väl fått in en fot genom en hel del AMEN från lyssnarna, så har man redan lyckats plantera lite kalvinism i deras hjärtan, och flera återkommer för att lyssna mer och köper även böcker, läser artiklar och lyssnar på MP3 och youtubefilmer för att lära sig ännu mer från samma evangelist. Sedan kan man sakta men säkert bli en fullfjädrad kalvinist som sprider denna filosofi vidare till andra. Vi måste vara vaksamma och se vad som händer! Predikanter som lär ut 90% sanning och 10% gift är de allra farligaste.

Ofta kan man utföra en liten test för att se hur öppna dessa predikanter är för den helige Andens gåvor, och det visar sig snabbt att de allra flesta kalvinister (inte alla) är emot andens gåvor eftersom de menar att tungotal, helande, etc har upphört. Jag kollade även detta på TCG:s hemsida, och mycket riktigt så blev jag serverad en videofilm där det framkommer att tungotal alltid handlar om riktiga språk som folk kan förstå, samt att tungotal har upphört och inte förekommer idag. Predikanten menade vidare, att om man idag menar sig tala i tungor så tillför man något till Guds ord, vilket alltså är fel. Kan man vara frälst om man med flit tillför något till Guds ord, emot Guds vilja? Många kalvinister anser inte ens att pingstvänner med andens gåvor är frälsta. Fråga kalvinisten John MacArthur!

Det går inte att per automatik säga att ingen kalvinist är frälst, för det är upp till Gud att bedöma, men jag skulle personligen vara orolig inför Guds tron om jag varit ivrig att sprida en lära som faktiskt gör Gud till den som orsakar synd och faktiskt tvingade djävulen att falla. Detta är vad kalvinismens lära faktiskt leder till, genom att studera vad TULIP står för, MEN självfallet slår de flesta kalvinister ifrån sig och menar att vi misstolkat dem (en mycket vanlig protest). Sanningen är dock att det är de själva som inte inser vad deras predestinationslära leder till, och självfallet vill de hellre tala om de som är förpredestinerade att tro på Gud, i stället för de stackare som är förpredestinerade att INTE tro på Gud och alltså är födda utan chans till frälsning. Kalvinism är byggd på ett korthus av motsättningar och paradoxer.

Ett annat namn att lägga på minnet är John Piper, som är en mycket välkänd kalvinist, och som har en välkänd hemsida som heter ”Desiring God”. På den sidan kan man läsa den ena kalvinistvänliga artikeln efter den andra, och även Keller och Carson är skribenter på sidan. John Piper är en av de 79 pastorerna som innesluts i organisationen TGC, och förmodligen har även övriga skribenter i organisationen kopplingar till kalvinism som ibland kallas ”Doctrines of grace”. Även den välkände kalvinisten Mark Driscoll (som förtjänar en egen artikel med tanke på det sätt han styrt Mars Hill-kyrkan) var tidigare en styrelsemedlem i TGC, innan hans kontroversiella uttalanden blev för mycket och han avsade sig uppdraget.

Vad är så farligt med kalvinismen?

De säger sig alltså tro på TULIP, och denna lära handlar om att Gud utvalt några få att bli frälsta redan vid jordens början. Övriga har alltså ingen chans att bli frälsta och Jesus dog inte ens för dem. De tror inte heller på människans fria vilja, eftersom de tror på predestinationen och att det inte är möjligt att agera emot Guds vilja. Fast ingen kalvinist lyckas vara konsekvent med detta, och då menar jag INGEN (och jag har talat med många). De som är allra mest konsekventa med TULIP är förstås de som mer öppet säger att ”JA, Gud är den som orsakar att vi syndar, och ingenting kan någonsin ske emot Guds vilja för då hade han inte varit allsmäktig”. De som är mindre konsekventa är de som slår knut på sig själva när de ska försöka besvara frågan ”Syndar vi emot Guds vilja eller i enlighet med Guds vilja?”, för oavsett hur de svarar så avslöjar de bristerna med sin teologi.

Samtliga kalvinister (100%) uttrycker sig för det mesta som om de inte hade denna tro och som om människorna faktiskt har en helt fri vilja med chans att bli frälsta, och därför blir man ibland john piperförvånad när det uppdagas att de ”även” tror det motsatta. Ofta så inkluderas en hel del fluff och fina ord i kalvinisters texter, för att på ett smidigare sätt få fram att Gud förutbestämmer ALLT (inklusive synd), och att detta på något förunderligt sätt gör att Gud äras ännu mer.

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

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

 

Is it true that God GIVES the elect REPENTANCE as per 2 Tim. 2:25?

actsIn meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them REPENTANCE to the acknowledging of the truth. 2 Tim. 2:25 (KJV)

The word ”repent” is used multiple times throughout the Bible, but it’s the above verse that is the most popular one among the reformed believers since it might sound like we don’t have to do anything at all but just sit around and wait for GOD to perhaps inject us with a shot of ”repentance”. If the reformed position is true, it would be God’s fault that not everyone repents because apparently he doesn’t give everyone the possibility to do so. Only those he gives repentance can apparently repent…? This begs the question: Why does the Biblical teach ”repent or perish” if the elect can’t perish, and the non-elect can’t repent?

The Bible, however, tells us that God commands ALL MEN EVERY WHERE to repent (Acts 17:30), and not just ”the elect”.

Titus 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

 Here is the verse in NKJV:

25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will GRANT them repentance, so that they may know the truth (NKJV)

If God predestined people to be elect/non-elect from the creation of the world as calvinists teach, he would not place the elect among ”those who are in opposition”, but he would rather place the non-elect in the rebellious group. Yet we are told that it’s those in opposition who will perhaps be granted repentance. The uncertainty (the ”perhaps”) depends on if they have truly fled from iniquity or not. Apparently the others – those who in humility correct those who are in opposition – are already among Jesus’ sheep. This means that the winning team can expand even further if more people stay corrected. The verses prior to this verse explain what one must do to be among those who will have the chance to be granted repentance. Apart from purging oneself from sin, one is requested to: ”Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of ”a pure heart”. It’s the pure heart that God looks after, and which is judged when it comes to granting repentance or not.

To GRANT someone repentance

The word that NKJV and many other Bible versions translate as ”grant” is a translation from the Greek word δίδωμι (didōmi Strong’s 1325), and apart from grant it can also mean give, permit, bestow, let have, extend, furnish, entrust, etc. Here are some examples where didōmi is translated ”grant”:

Acts 11:17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles GRANTED repentance unto life.

Above we can read that ”gentiles” are granted repentance unto life. We know that not all gentiles will be saved, but if we understand ”granting repentance” to mean what it says – as in granting, offering, extending repentance – then we avoid making this verse collide with many other verses which show us that we are all requested to repent. The verse suggests that all the gentiles will be granted (as in offered) the repentance that is unto life, but naturally only those who truly repent and truly love Jesus Christ will be forgiven.

We can compare it with the parable about the wedding banquet for the King’s son, which was offered to everyone. Those who were on the initial guest list chose not to come, but the invitation was extended to others and some of them chose to accept the invitation and arrived at the banquet. Those who chose to go to the banquet with proper wedding clothes were called ”chosen” – they are the special elect. We should not reinterpret the above verse to say ”giving repentance to the gentiles by force regardless of their behavior, and not giving them any opportunity to say no”. 

Mark 10:37 They said unto him, GRANT unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.

The disciples requested to get seats next to Jesus in his kingdom, and asked Jesus to grant them what they wished for. He replied that he had no authority to promise such a thing.

Rev. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.21 TO HIM THAT OVERCOMETH will I GRANT to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

IF any man opens the door when Jesus knocks on the door… This clearly shows that it’s up to us to listen to Jesus and open the door for him. IF we choose to do so, he will come in and eat with us. Here we can see that the condition for sitting with Jesus on his throne is to OVERCOME, just like Jesus overcame by accomplishing his mission on earth and held out to the end. ”And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved”, Matt. 10:22.

Acts 4:29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and GRANT unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.

The above is from a prayer by Peter and other disciples, and it’s not uncommon for christians to ask God in a prayer to grant them various benefits which could aid them in their daily lives or in their pursuit to spread the gospel. Praying in itself is of course useless in a world that God has predestined and orchestrated, but that would not be the God of the Bible.

Acts 14:3 Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and GRANTED signs and wonders to be done by their hands.4 But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.

God ”granted” them signs and wonders to be done by their hands. This doesn’t mean that he forced/predestined people to place their hands on people to heal and cast demons out of them, but he enabled them to have this power. We can read that part of the city was divided, because not all of them were on the apostles’ side. Clearly that would be against God’s will, because he would want everyone to be on the apostles’ side.

See also Rev. 19:8, 2 Ti 1:18, Eph. 3:16, Rom. 15:5 and Luke 1:74

If God no longer draws/calls people due to their choice to harden their hearts and turn their backs on him, then they will not be granted repentance. Repentance is commanded by God to ALL men everywhere, and it will be granted to truly repentant hearts  (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 17:30-31; 20:21; 26:20; Rom. 2:4; 2 Ti. 2:25; 2 Pe. 3:9).

I can grant someone permission to come to my house, and I can also require that certain conditions must be met before a person can actually enter my house. I might suggest that the person must first tell me if he/she is actually coming, and I might also require a certain dress code. Granting someone the permission to come doesn’t mean that there are no conditions involved. It only means that had it not been for my offer, the person would not have been able to come.

The rest of the same chapter – 2 Tim. 2 according to NKJVgrant

2 Tim. 2:5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

The word competing (”strive for masteries” in KJV) suggests that there is something that we must DO, and that we are also requested to work hard to achieve something that we won’t get unless we strive. We are also warned that we won’t get our crown unless we compete according to the RULES. This suggests that there is a condition that must be met before we can get our promised crown, and that is to make sure to work according to the set rules. Paul doesn’t simply inform Timothy (and the rest of us) that we are all predestined to always obey the rules, because if that were the case his serious warnings would be a waste of time. 

7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.—

Paul’s admonishments indicate that he hopes to direct Timothy on the straight path, which further means that Paul’s eager warnings might make a difference for Timothy’s life and that all things are not predestined to happen beforehand. We can still change the outcome by prayers and sincere warnings.

10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.—

If people were predestined to be elect from the creation of the world, Paul should know that it’s not really immensely important for him to ”endure all things” for their sake, since absolutely nothing will make them lose their status as chosen elect that will never lose their salvation no matter what.

12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

IF we endure? Yes, we are promised to reign with him IF IF IF we endure, and IF we deny him he will also deny us. It doesn’t say that he will deny us and therefore we have no other choice but to deny him since we are predestined to be among the non-elect who by nature always deny him. God is true to his words (including promises of judgments) because he cannot deny himself.

14 Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers.

Apparently hearers are not chosen to be elect/non-elect from the creation of the world, since our unwise talk can affect people to the extent that they can be totally ruined.

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

If we are not able to be approved of God, we are doomed. That’s why we should be diligent to present ourselves approved before God. WE are the ones that must do this. Jesus won’t do the job for us. We are not told here that we WILL be approved by God no matter what, but we are told ”BE DILIGENT…”.

16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 17 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, 18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some.

Hymenaeus and Philetus were two men who were overthrowing the faith of certain people due to the way they preached. This is evidence of that God in no way decided whom to save and whom to damn from the creation of the world, because then no one would be able to overthrow anyone’s faith in God. For the same reason, this verse is also evidence of that unconditional eternal salvation is not true.

19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

We know that a seal can be broken (like the stone that was ”sealed” before Jesus’ grave), and the ”seal” spoken about here is the assurance that God knows those who are his (and his sheep are those who decide to follow Jesus), and that those who mention Christ’s name should depart from iniquity. Being engaged in iniquity is always against God’s will.

20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore IF ANYONE CLEANSES HIMSELF from the latter, he will be a vessel for HONOR, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. 22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Above we can see that we are asked to cleanse ourselves (from iniquity), and if we do we will be vessels of honor. This is an opportunity for all of us. Naturally we don’t have the authority to forgive ourselves our sins, but the request to cleanse ourselves means that we must confess our sins, repent from an earnest heart and thus be cleansed/regenerated by God. We are the ones who get the ball rolling. IF we ”cleanse ourselves” we will be sanctified, useful and prepared for every good work. We are requested to pursue righteousness, which means that we are not simply promised that we will be injected  with some of Jesus’ righteousness, but we are actually asked to flee ”youthful lusts” and live righteous lives ourselves. WE are requested to have a pure heart, because we can’t hide behind Jesus.

25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

We have already covered v. 25. Young’s Literal says in v. 26 ”having been caught by him at his will”. This means that Satan’s will is a force to count on, and Paul also says elsewhere that we are slaves to the one we obey. If we obey sin, we actually obey Satan because he is the one who wants us to feel comfortable in our sins. This again shows that God’s will doesn’t always happen, unless we believe that Satan and God work together to ensnare people in sin. Fortunately, we are told that we can escape the snare of the devil, and we have the chance to be granted repentance – if we let ourselves be corrected, if we truly ”cleanse ourselves” and if we call on God from a ”pure heart”, as per the verses just before.

Repentance means that our PAST sins are forgiven, and obviously not our present and/or future sins

2 Pet 1:9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been CLEANSED FROM HIS PAST SINS. 

Romans 3:24, 25 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS THAT ARE PAST, through the forbearance of God.

We are asked to repent (and be baptized) for the remission of sins and AFTER that we will be given the Holy Spirit 

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

True repentance is a way to get  SALVATION

Our own godly sorrow might lead to repentance:

2 Cor 7:9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance LEADING TO salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces DEATH. 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

Also christians might choose to sin and even choose to not forgive a brother. If he/she does and refuses to repent, our Father in heaven will not forgive them:

Mat 6:14,15 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But IF you do not forgive men their sins, YOUR FATHER WILL NOT FORGIVE YOUR SINS. 

Mat 18:32-35 Then the master called the servant in. You wicked servant, he said, I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you? In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. —This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart. 

Also christians might choose to disown Jesus before men, and if they refuse to repent they will be disowned by their Father in heaven. If a person naturally disowns Jesus, it might be an indication of that this person has not repented since he isn’t able to endure hardship. We are not able to be Jesus disciples unless we take up our cross and carry it, and disowning Jesus means that we don’t carry our cross.

Mat 10:33 But whoever disowns me before men, I WILL DISOWN HIM before my Father in heaven.–Mat 26:69-75Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

2 Chron. 15:2 The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, HE WILL FORSAKE YOU.

Jesus started out to preach the necessity to 1) repent, and 2) believe the gospel. He also told his disciples to preach the same thing. Why? So people would heed the warnings and not PERISH!perish

Mark 1:15 And saying The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand REPENT ye and believe the gospel

Luke 13:3 + 5 I tell you Nay but EXCEPT YE REPENT ye shall all likewise PERISH

Mark 6:12 And they went out and preached that men should REPENT

Acts 20:19 Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:—21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, REPENTANCE TOWARD GOD, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 26:15 — I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, THAT THEY SHOULD REPENT AND TURN TO GOD, AND DO WORKS MEET FOR REPENTANCE.

If we are not forgiven we are not saved. We need to be repent in order to get our sins blotted out and be FORGIVEN

Apparently the rich man who said this had NOT repented before he ended up in hell:

Luke 16:30 And he said Nay father Abraham but if one went unto them from the dead they will repent 

Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore and be converted THAT YOUR SINS MAY BE BLOTTED OUT when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lorddd

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

1 John 1:9 IF we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us OUR SINS, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness

Isaiah 55:7 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.

Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and FORSAKETH them shall have mercy

Luke 17:3 Take heed to yourselves If thy brother trespass against thee rebuke him and if he repent forgive him 4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day and seven times in a day turn again to thee saying I repent thou shalt forgive him

2 Cor. 12:21 And lest when I come again my God will humble me among you and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed

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”—10 Likewise I say unto you there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth—32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

Rev. 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen and repent and do the first WORKS or else I will come unto thee quickly and will REMOVE thy candlestick out of his place except thou repent

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

Rev. 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard and hold fast and REPENT. If therefore thou shalt not watch I will come on thee as a thief and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee

Rev 3:19 As many as __ I love I rebuke and chasten BE ZEALOUS THEREFORE AND REPENT. 

Rev. 16:9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. 10And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, 11And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their DEEDS.

Rev. 2:16 REPENT or else I will come unto thee quickly and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth

 Early  church fathers

1 Clement 7:5 Let us review all the generations in turn, and learn how from generation to generation the Master hath given a place for repentance unto them that desire to turn to Him.

Justin Martyr, The first apology, Chapter 28 For He fore-knows that some are to be saved by repentance, some even that are perhaps not yet born. In the beginning He made the human race with the power of thought and of choosing the truth and doing right, so that all men are without excuse before God; for they have been born rational and contemplative.