Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sacrifice And The Nature Of Human Freedom

The word of God commands people to submit and surrender their wills to the will of God. This is inherent in the nature of sacrifice. Paul tells us to offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice. What does this mean?

My Pastor used to put it this way: “When our will comes in conflict with God’s will, our will dies.”
We can see a vivid illustration of this in the garden of Gethsemane where Christ says, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Here Christ surrendered His will to the will of the Father. This directly correlates to the cross and the impending sacrifice He would make there.

It seems to me that if we have no will of our own [i.e. no real control of our will], then it could not be considered sacrificial to surrender it to God. We would not even be capable of surrendering our will, because the nature of surrender implies that we have control over that thing which we surrender. If God ultimately controls our will, then it is nonsensical to speak of surrendering our wills to God. In other words, sacrifice implies the ability to surrender our will to God, and the ability to surrender our will implies that we have control over our wills. I think that self-determinism is also implied in the commands to deny self. We can only deny ourselves by surrendering our will to the will of God.

I think that the Arminian account of human will makes better sense of God’s commands to live sacrificially. I have a hard time understanding how we could truly surrender our wills to God if we understand human will within the Calvinistic context of determinism or compatibilism.

What do think?

63 comments:

Samuel said...

Are we not either a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness? I take that to mean that while our will is somewhat free it is always doing what is in its nature. If we took the idea that you are expounding here to its logical conclusion we would be forced to Pelagianism.

Nick Norelli said...

Ben,

You're onto something here. I'd like to see you develop these thoughts further.

Samuel,

Paul's teaching in Romans 6:16ff. is that we are slaves to to the one we yield (KJV) (or present, ESV) ourselves to. Without self-determinism this passage makes little to no sense. God sets us free from the bondage of sin but we choose freely to yield ourselves to God.

Also, the logical conclusion is not Pelagianism as Pelagius believed that one could keep the law of his own volition and ability and thus merit their salvation apart from God. As I understand it, what Ben is saying is that we can yield our wills to God in a manner of sacrificial love and this is more consistent within an Arminian framework of self-determinism.

Nick

Samuel said...

If we can yield our will to God as you say then we are already on the path to Pelaigianism at worst and/or Semi-Pelagianism at best.

kangeroodort said...

Hello Samuel,

Is this the first time visiting the blog?

Let me attempt to address your concerns. You wrote:

Are we not either a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness?

That depends on which one we surrender to, which was kinda my point.

"Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness." Rom. 6:16

This after Paul admonishes his readers to present themselves to God as instruments of righteousness rather than presenting the members of their body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness.

Paul seems to presuppose that we have the ability [albeit freed by grace] to choose which one we will submit to.

I take that to mean that while our will is somewhat free it is always doing what is in its nature.

Could you please define "somewhat free"?

You say that we must always choose according to our nature, but what if part of our nature is the ability to choose outside of our nature? Even so, are you suggesting that God's grace cannot be powerful enough to overcome our natures and enable us to choose outside of our natures?

What kind of nature did Adam have? When he chose to sin did he choose according to his nature?

If we took the idea that you are expounding here to its logical conclusion we would be forced to Pelagianism.

I never said that one could choose to surrender his or her will to God outside of God's gracious enabling. I am mainly concerned with how one could be said to surrender his or her will to God within the context of determinism; especially how such a surrendering could be considered an act of sacrifice in that context?

I am not, however, claiming that we can surrender our wills to God's will without respect to his gracious enabling.

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this. Do you hold to divine determinism? How then would you make sense of this?

God Bless,
Ben

kangeroodort said...

Sam,

If we can yield our will to God as you say then we are already on the path to Pelaigianism at worst and/or Semi-Pelagianism at best.

Not only is this a slippery slope without foundation, but you are putting yourself at odds with Paul's teaching in Rom. 6. Are you really willing to do that for the sake of some theological system?

Samuel said...

Who do you suppose Paul is talking to in Romans 6?

Adam's nature and our is different due to the fall.

I will stick with my original post, to follow what you wrote would lead to one form of Pelagianism.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Can you say 'slippery slope'?

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Oops, sorry, Ben already did say that.

Nick Norelli said...

"I will stick with my original post, to follow what you wrote would lead to one form of Pelagianism."

Yes, true enough. It would lead to the form of Pelagianism that isn't actually Pelagian but so often gets labeled Pelagian by Calvinists. Although the actual beliefs of these two forms of Pelagianism are worlds apart and bear not even the slightest resemblance to one another, the names are spelled only slightly differently... Say it with me:

A-R-M-I-N-I-A-N-I-S-M

See how much that looks like:

P-E-L-A-G-I-A-N-I-S-M

No? Well ok then, neither do I... :^P

Nick

J.C. Thibodaux said...

And of course we all know that Calvinism inevitably leads to Antinomianism...kidding, kidding...though it does often seem to lead to its proponents drawing odd conclusions about other beliefs.

Samuel said...

LOL Nick, u are a funny guy.

What Arminianism means to me is just a more dresses up form of Pelagianism that got all dressed up in her little red dress called... PREVENIENT GRACE.

hahaha

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Prevenient grace, which happens to defy the teachings of Pelagius altogether. So Arminianism by this logic is Pelagianism in the same way that I'm a Calvinist. I just believe in prevenient grace, conditional election, unlimited atonement, resistible grace, and the possibility of lapse from grace...but I'm still a Calvinist despite my wardrobe.

Samuel said...

Ah yes to put so much stock into this unscriptural formulation must be gratifying to man centered thinking. It seems rather silly to make declarations that you hold to the Bible when all you have done is subvert its teachings. At the very heart Arminianism is Pelagianism, all you have done to get around the label is prevenient grace. never mind that it has no Biblical basis to do what you say it does, but then that has never stopped man before in trying to put himself above God.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

What specific teachings are we 'subverting'?

kangeroodort said...

Sam,

I don't mind if you want to come over here and accuse me of being pelagian and mancentered. All that does is underscore your ignorance and immaturity. I am a little bothered, however, that you seem to think we owe you an explanation or are obligated to defend ourselves against your ridiculous statements when you have yet to address any of the questions I posed to you.

In response to your earlier comments:

Who do you suppose Paul is talking to in Romans 6?

I think he is talking to believers. Is that supposed to help your position? If you agree that Paul is speaking to believers in Rom. 6 then I guess you also agree that believers can yield to sin which will lead to spiritual death, correct?

Adam's nature and our is different due to the fall.

Exactly the point. Adam did not possess a sinful nature, so according to your theory he would be incapable of sin.

I will stick with my original post, to follow what you wrote would lead to one form of Pelagianism.

Which you have yet to demonstrate in any coherent manner.

Samuel said...

You subvert the whole by clinging to your man made doctrine of prevenient grace. Now the Arminian had to try and avoid the label of Pelagianism so as not to be branded a heretic from the outset, it was for this reason that they formulated their doctrine of prevenient grace. Now it is common and accepted fact that this concept as your side views it does not come from the Bible. It is painfully clear that it only came about to help the Arminian avoid the Pelagian label. Yet even after this sorry attempt to refute the word of God it is rather easy to see that it walks and talks like Pelagianism. You just use this prevenient grace to magically transform you into something other than the duck that you are.

Classical Arminianism said...

Kangeroos,

I hope Piper doesn't read this! LOL.

Good thoughts.

Billy

J.C. Thibodaux said...

When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. (Acts 18:27)

Viola. Grace that precedes faith. Biblical.

Nick Norelli said...

This Samuel character is obviously parodying Calvinists here. It's hard to imagine that anyone is actually like this.

Nick

Samuel said...

Ben,

U have made my point. Paul is talking to believers and the struggle that they encounter in their daily walk. Now unless you want to say that the unbeliever is also at war with his sinful nature I fail to see how you can not grasp that your post leads to Pelagianism if carried to its logical conclusion.

J.C.

As usual you fail to grasp the argument. of course grace can precede just not your made up grace that changes, maybe, kinda, sorta the nature of a man's spirit.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

"As usual?" Someone I know perhaps? To the contrary, where do you get the idea that the work of grace is irresistible?

Scripture teaches that men can and do resist the work of the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51), and Paul plainly states that men can turn away from God and His grace,

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

Samuel said...

It always comes to that doesn't it? Show me where I have said that the grace of God is not resistible? Of course it is mankind does it every minute of every day. Yet when God calls one of his children home it is always effectual. I like how you try to throw off the main point and that being that the prevenient grace that the Arminian doctrine hinges on is unbiblical and just a man made belief to get around being labeled a Pelagian. Huff and puff all you want about grace can be resisted because no one other than you is barking up that tree.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

But friend, if grace precedes salvation and is in fact resistible, then that is exactly what we mean when we say 'prevenient grace.'

Nowhere does scripture state that men cannot resist being saved, indeed it warns,

Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him.... (Hebrews 2:1-3)

Samuel said...

There is no disagreement that grace preceeds salvation, but your preveinient grace takes a dead spirit and asks it to bear righteous fruit. This can not be done, it is the Arminian's perveted use of this that is the issue.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Grace asks nothing of the dead of their own power, but through it, those that are spiritually dead may believe, and believing, have life through the name of Christ (John 20:31). Ben has also written an excellent post on the subject of regeneration after faith.

Arminian said...

Samuel,

Are you saying that God is not powerful enough to enable a soiritually dead sinner to believe without regenerating him? If so, it would seem that Arminianism simply has a higher view of God and his amazing grace.

Samuel said...

J.C.

Perhaps you could tell me where in John 20:31 you see him talking about regeneration? I take it that you believe when he writes "...that believing ye might have life...", but that would just be reading into the text. Would it not be reasonable to assume if he were talking about regeneration that he would write in the manner that he does in every other instance by using words like “begotten" or "born".

J.C. Thibodaux said...

It doesn't always express it as being born, but sometimes simply as being given life or brought to life.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. John 5:25

Samuel said...

J.C.

I wanted to take time before responding to your post with the hope that people reading it would take the time to open their Bible and read the sacred text. It is my belief that if they did and if the Holy Spirit guided them then they would hear what is being said and have life.

In my understanding it is clear that it is not talking of regeneration, but I will leave it to each reader to come to their own conclusion. If one gives an honest reading of John 5 then it will be obvious to them as well.

In fact, I believe that trying to salvage your distorted view of John 20:31 you have shown that you are in error in using it as you did. Pointing to John 5 only exasperated your predicament. I urge you and anyone else that may read this to go to the word of God and to those chapter's and read them with the guidance of the Spirit. Perhaps you can prove your doctrine with other texts, perhaps not, but it is clear that the texts that you have put forth here do not prove your point.

Samuel said...

Arminian,

What you want is for a dead spirit to perform living functions, faith in Christ and repentance, while at the same time being dead. You want the grace that will allow a dead spirit to actualize something that it can only do by having life and at the same time not bring that spirit to life. It would be like telling a man that died of a disease to take the medicine that you graciously put right next to his dead corpse and drink it, this then would bring him back to life. I would urge you to go to Scripture to see if that is possible.

Dawn said...

Samuel, if dead means dead in the sense that one is incapbale of accepting/believing or rejecting the gospel, then how does a Christian who is dead to sin continue to sin since he is, according to your definition, incapable of sinning?

Thanks.

Samuel said...

Dawn,

Because the regenerated Christian now has two natures within themselves; I take it that your position is that a person has 2 natures even before rebirth? Interesting, I will go to Scripture and see what it says and I would encourage you to do the same. After all, we do not want to just use our feeble reasoning skills to justify our position because we want it too:)

Arminian said...

Samuel said: "What you want is for a dead spirit to perform living functions, faith in Christ and repentance, while at the same time being dead. You want the grace that will allow a dead spirit to actualize something that it can only do by having life and at the same time not bring that spirit to life. It would be like telling a man that died of a disease to take the medicine that you graciously put right next to his dead corpse and drink it, this then would bring him back to life. I would urge you to go to Scripture to see if that is possible."

**Samuel,

What you are doing is concocting an inappropriate analogy that does not match what Scripture actually says about spiritual death, spiritual life, and how we receive spiritual life. In your illustation, you neglect to mention that the dead person actually considers your offer and decides if he wants to take the medicine or not, and then makes a decision about the offer, which completely undoes your illustration. And we know that spiritually dead people do consider the offer of the gospel and reject it often. Sometimes they accept it by God's grace.

The reral question is what Scripture actually says about these spiritual realities. When that is done, as Ben has been showing, it becomes clear that since spiritual life comes by faith, then so also does regeneration, the beginning of spiritual life. Indeed, Dawn has already begun to show how your argument does not square with Scripture's own use of the metaphor of death in relation to spiritual matters. Ben did some posts on the Bible's varying uses of death as a figure. It might do you well to look at them and how the Bible actually uses this image.

Again, let me urge you to actually go back to the Bible and see what it says about faith, regeneration, and spiritual life. You might try nteracting seriously with what Ben has said too. And consider this question: how is it that spiritual life can be given in any stage before faith when Scripture says that it is received by faith? An unbiased answer to that should usher you right into accepting the biblical affirmation that faith precedes regeneration.

Arminian said...

Oh, BTW, Samuel, I realized that I referred to Ben showing faith as preceding regeneration and referring to the point that since faith precedes spiritual life it must also precede regeneration which is the beginning of spiritual life. But I realized that that was not in connection with this post, though JC started to broach these issues in this thread and referred some to Ben's post. Sorry if that created any confusion. In any case, the points still stand.

God bless!

kangeroodort said...

Samuel,

Below are the links that “Arminian” referred to:

http://arminianperspectives.blogspot.com/2007/09/john-fletcher-on-being-dead-in-sin.html

http://arminianperspectives.blogspot.com/2007/09/fletcher-on-being-dead-in-sin-part-2.html

If you take the time to read them you will at least be able to better understand why Arminians do not come to the same conclusions you do with regards to the implications of spiritual death. You will also see that we do base our conclusions on what we consider to be an honest inquiry into the Biblical text. We are not just inventing some philosophical nonsense and trying to force God’s word to agree with us. Quite frankly, I think that the Calvinist interpretation is far guiltier of eisegesis.

I would also love for you to explain how you believe a just and holy God could rightly grant spiritual life to someone prior to justification. Do you believe that one can be justified without first being forgiven on the merits of Christ blood? If not, then do you believe that God can grant life to someone who has not yet been forgiven on the merits of Christ blood? It seems to me that you must affirm this if you believe that regeneration precedes faith since the Bible is quite clear that we are justified by faith.

Do you believe that one can experience regeneration outside of union with Jesus Christ? If not, then you must concede that faith precedes regeneration in light of Eph. 1:13 which teaches that we come to be in union with Christ through faith [listened --> believed --> sealed in Him]. Your doctrine teaches that one can have spiritual life outside of union with the source of life [John 1:4; 6:35; 11:25; 14:6; 1 Jn. 1:2; 5:11; Col. 3:4]. And you want us to believe that your view is the Biblical view?

I think you are also in error when you say that the believer has two natures. There is some truth in this but I think you do not understand it in a Biblical manner. The new nature is not inherent in us like our fleshly nature. Rather, we only share in the new nature through a union of faith with Jesus Christ [2 Pet. 1:4]. It is quite true that we are new creations, but we are only new creations “in Christ” [2 Cor. 5:17]. Your assertions are out of harmony with this basic Biblical truth. Your doctrine teaches that we can be new creatures outside of union with Christ Jesus. You need to carefully consider where your doctrines are leading you.

You have also failed to address how Adam, whose nature was declared by God to be “good”, was capable of choosing contrary to that nature. This simple fact completely undermines the philosophical foundation of your claim that we can only make decisions in accord with our natures. Do you believe, then, that Satan somehow first changed Adam’s good nature to a depraved nature so that he could then be capable of sinning against God?

Can you not see the numerous absurdities your doctrine leads to and is based on?

Samuel said...

Ben,

I was unaware that regeneration is synonymous with justification. I will read your posts and I will also read the Bible. I will of course go with what the Bible says and I am sure that you would agree with that:)

kangeroodort said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kangeroodort said...

Sam,

I in no way correlated justification with regeneration. What I said was that justification is logically prior to regeneration. I believe that forgiveness on the merits of Christ's blood is inherent in justification. I also believe that God cannot grant life to a sinner without first forgiving him or her of sin. The sin problem must be dealt with before God can grant spiritual life. Here are a few simple syllogisms that may help you undersatnd what I am saying:

1) We cannot experience life (regeneration) while still in our sins.
2) We remain in our sins until we are justified on the merits of Christ's blood.
3) We are justified by faith.
4) Therefore, faith precedes regeneration.

and...

1) One cannot experience justification or regeneration apart from union with Christ.
2) We come to be in union with Christ by faith.
3) Therefore, faith precedes justification and regeneration.

I admire the fact that you are willing to investigate this matter further and consider what we are saying in light of Biblical revelation. May God bless you as you seek His truth.

Ben

Samuel said...

Ben,

While thinking on some of these things the Lord brought me to Ezekiel 37, you know the story of the dead bones, and I wondered what you would make of it? Our Lord says that when he has brought them out of the grave and put His Spirit in them and made them live it is then that they will know that He is the Lord.

J.C. Thibodaux said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J.C. Thibodaux said...

Samuel, how exactly do you contend that John 5:25 isn't talking about regeneration?

Dawn said...

Ben, you said, "Because the regenerated Christian now has two natures within themselves..."

So, what does it mean to be dead to sin?

Dawn said...

Oooops! I meant to Samuel, not Ben. Sorry!

Anonymous said...

Dawn

In one you are dead IN sin and in the other you are dead TO sin.

If Samuel comes back he could clarify it more for you.

Dawn said...

Anonymous, no need to wait for Samuel if you are capable of explaining it further. If not, then I shall wait on Samuel.

Anonymous said...

Dawn,

There is a difference in being dead IN and being dead TO sin. No idea if that helps you in anyway, but to me being dead to sin means that sin no longer has control over me in the sense where I am a slave to it.

While I was dead in sin, I was a slave to sin and unable to respond to the gospel in a saving way. In order for me to discern the things of the spirit I needed to have my eyes opened, my ears unplugged and my heart of stone replaced with a heart of flesh. It is this action then that allowed me to discern the gospel message and brought me to repentance and faith.

I do not know Samuel and do not wish to speak for him or to what he said, seeing as I have no idea what he was thinking or trying to get at. So if this does not help or worse confuse you more than I would say wait for him to respond.

kangeroodort said...

Anonymous,

You wrote:

There is a difference in being dead IN and being dead TO sin. No idea if that helps you in anyway, but to me being dead to sin means that sin no longer has control over me in the sense where I am a slave to it.

On what basis do you say that there is a difference in meaning here? Dawn is actually on to something which demonstrates that the Calvinist understanding of "dead in sin" is strained in light of Paul's diliberate comparisons in Rom. 6.

Here is a quote from a previous post dealing with the issue of a proper understanding of these Biblical terms:

The Scripture speaks of the believer as being "dead to sin" and a "slave to righteousness" while acknowledging that those who are so dead are still capable of sinning. Paul draws a strict parallel between being "slaves to sin" and "slaves to righteousness" and being "dead in sin" and "dead to sin" in Rom. 6:12-23. Since the believer who is "dead to sin" and a "slave to righteousness" can still yield to the influences of the sinful nature, the world, and Satan, there is no reason to believe that one who is "dead in sin" and a "slave to sin" is incapable of responding to the gracious working of the Holy Spirit without first being regenerated. The Spirit of God bridges the gap of deathly separation and enables the sinner to yield to Christ.

The point being that the Calvinist has no Biblical basis for understanding "dead in sin" to be analogous with the helplessness of a physical corpse. That Paul draws parallels between "dead in sin" and "dead to sin" gives strong evidence that the Calvinist understanding of "dead in sin" is inaccurate.

So when Calvinist say that "there is a difference" it would seem that Paul would disagree with you.

God Bless,
Ben

Anonymous said...

Kangeroodort,

At one time you were an enemy to God, you could not discern spiritual teachings, in fact it was so bad that in your pre-reborn state you could not even say that Jesus is Lord. If I did not know better I would say that you are trying to get out of total depravity. If you do not see that there is a difference when saying IN and TO then that is your issue. It is obvious that you are secure in your belief and that I am in mine, I was just clarifying something to Dawn, upon further review I should of just stayed out of it:)

kangeroodort said...

At one time you were an enemy to God, you could not discern spiritual teachings, in fact it was so bad that in your pre-reborn state you could not even say that Jesus is Lord.

I agree with this.

If I did not know better I would say that you are trying to get out of total depravity.

I am not trying to get out of "total depravity"; I am only saying that we need to allow the Bible to define the extent to which we should understand Biblical terms [like "dead in sin"] without reading our theology into them.

What I am saying is that the Calvinist insistance that we should understand "dead in sin" the same way we understand physical death is without Biblical foundation. It is predicated on a theological system which necessitates such an understanding. In other words, the Calvinist understanding of "dead in sin" is not exegetically driven, but theologically driven.

If you do not see that there is a difference when saying IN and TO then that is your issue.

It is your issue as well if you desire to base your understanding on Biblical teaching.

It is obvious that you are secure in your belief and that I am in mine, I was just clarifying something to Dawn, upon further review I should of just stayed out of it:)

I mean no offense in challenging you on this. If you want to stay out of it, then that is fine as well.

God Bless,
Ben

Daniel said...

There is nothing new under the sun.

This link addresses the point rather well and should clear up any confusion for Ben, Dawn, Samuel, and Anonymous.

I would recommend that you read the whole piece.

http://www.pbministries.org/articles/payson/the_works_vol_2/sermon_16.htm

Daniel said...

http://www.pbministries.org/articles/payson/
the_works_vol_2/sermon_16.htm

Anonymous said...

That was a great link Daniel, thanks for providing it to us. and yes, i agree that it does speak to this discussion.

kangeroodort said...

Daniel,

Thanks for furnishing us with a perfect example of what I described earlier:

The Calvinist understanding of "dead in sin" is not exegetically driven, but theologically driven.

Your link confirms this brilliantly.

Thanks,
Ben

Daniel said...

Kanga,

LOL, hard to get a blind man to see.

This will spell it our more for you though, hopefully your eyes will clear up to see the simple truth.

http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/
articles/onsite/render_count.html


Again, nothing new under the sun. This little discussion has already been had and answered fully.

kangeroodort said...

LOL, hard to get a blind man to see.

Guess I will just have to wait till God sovereignly decides to cause me to embrace Calvinism.

This will spell it our more for you though, hopefully your eyes will clear up to see the simple truth.

I will assume that you don't mean to insult my intelligence by claiming I am incapable of grasping "simple truth".

Again, nothing new under the sun. This little discussion has already been had and answered fully.

Yes, of course. If someone wants to understand Scripture all they need to do is consult a Calvinist. Thanks for the help.

God Bless,
Ben

Daniel said...

Ben,

I am not suggesting that you can not grasp "simple" truths; I assume that you are somewhat intelligent :)

As for consulting a Calvinist (I guess it wouldn't hurt, lol), but no that is not needed just look to the word of God and you will be fine.

I did think though that the second link that I provided was spot on in this discussion that you guys and gals are having at this time. I take it that you did not agree with the response? I particularly liked how the author pointed out the reckon yourself dead to be rather enlightened.

Oh well, there really isn't anything new under the sun and surely you would agree with that... maybe lol

Take care my friend and God Bless you as well!

kangeroodort said...

Thanks Daniel,

I will check it out when I get the chance.

Dawn said...

Ben, this is an excellent exegesis of the scriptures pertaining to being "dead in" and "dead to" sin. It is the correct interpretation and it bears repeating. I hope Daniel and Anonymous will re-read it and explain to us, in their own words, where you have gone wrong in your exegesis.

"The Scripture speaks of the believer as being "dead to sin" and a "slave to righteousness" while acknowledging that those who are so dead are still capable of sinning. Paul draws a strict parallel between being "slaves to sin" and "slaves to righteousness" and being "dead in sin" and "dead to sin" in Rom. 6:12-23. Since the believer who is "dead to sin" and a "slave to righteousness" can still yield to the influences of the sinful nature, the world, and Satan, there is no reason to believe that one who is "dead in sin" and a "slave to sin" is incapable of responding to the gracious working of the Holy Spirit without first being regenerated. The Spirit of God bridges the gap of deathly separation and enables the sinner to yield to Christ.

The point being that the Calvinist has no Biblical basis for understanding "dead in sin" to be analogous with the helplessness of a physical corpse. That Paul draws parallels between "dead in sin" and "dead to sin" gives strong evidence that the Calvinist understanding of "dead in sin" is inaccurate.

So when Calvinist say that "there is a difference" it would seem that Paul would disagree with you.
(all emphasis added)

Dawn said...

Daniel and Anonymous, at what stage in your salvation did you become Calvinists?

Daniel said...

Dawn,

Speaking only for me I will ask if you have read my second link?

The reason I ask is because it is very simple to see that the same question that you are asking and the same difficulty is addressed. Now if you have not read it, then I would recomment that you do. If after having read it you still do not understand then feel free to ask me what you are unclear about.

For your benefit I will include the link again.

http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/
articles/onsite/render_count.html

kangeroodort said...

Daniel,

I read the link. John misses the mark in my opinion and creates more problems for his position then he solves. I will do a post addressing his points sometime in the near future. Thanks for bringing the article to my attention.

God Bless,
Ben

Arminian said...

Perhaps it is worth mentioning that there is no word for "in" in the Greek of the phrase translated "dead in sins" in Ephesians 2:1 and no word for "to" in the Greek of the phrase "dead to sin" in Romans 6. The text does not make any grammatical distinction between the two phrases that weds the death metaphor to the word "to" in one instance and the word "in" in another. That is derived from context, leaving the metaphor of death to be a flexible figure that cannot rightly be used by Calvinists to insist that the figure itself must apply the physical reality of death to the spiritual realm. As Ben said, "the Calvinist has no Biblical basis for understanding "dead in sin" to be analogous with the helplessness of a physical corpse. That Paul draws parallels between "dead in sin" and "dead to sin" gives strong evidence that the Calvinist understanding of "dead in sin" is inaccurate."

As for the "positional" argument, that is unconvincing as well. But I will let Ben deal with that since he has indicated he will address the article you cite.

Bonnie said...

Our wills are in a state of bondage to sin and Satan, both of which are more powerful than us.
Thank God there is one more powerful than all! And that when this Almighty One steps in and reveals Himself to us, slaves in bondage to sin, we can but surrender. This is an unconditional surrender-there is no alternative to it. Only the blind whom God has not revealed Himself to can fight against holiness. For when God shows Himself, we are liberated.
God bless you all!
AJ