Is Jesus a Liar?

So I posed the question in the title, so let’s discuss, is Jesus a liar?  Let me put it another way, who is the liar, us or Jesus?  Ok, more specifically, do we have free will, or is Jesus a liar?  Some of you just became very angry, but today I am going to get on my soap box about the issue of free will.  Please read the entire blog before you shoot me, I can hear you loading.  Free will, that oh so popular belief that we as humans are free to choose whatever we wish.  God created us, put us on earth and told us to choose.  Many who believe in free will say that man is free to choose to do good or evil.  We can pick, we can be the good guy or the bad guy.  We can do right or wrong, right?  Well, Jesus says “no one is good except God”.  If we look in Luke 18:18, Jesus says it.  In Matthew 19 He says not to ask Him about WHAT is good, only God is good.  So, Jesus said “nope, no one good but God, not you.”

I know what you are saying, surely Jesus didn’t mean that NO one is good, just that guy, right?  After all, that guy Jesus was talking to was arrogant and sort of a jerk.  So, was Jesus lying to the guy?  He said “no one is good”, so does that mean that we can choose to be good, but Jesus lied to make a point?  Free will says I can be good, so who is lying?  Jesus or free will?

Maybe Jesus was talking about us being right with God, and no one can do that apart from Jesus, but we can still do good things right?  We can still choose to make the right choices, right?  In Romans 3, Paul says no, one one chooses good.  Well, maybe Paul just means that no one does good ALL the time, and we still do good sometimes, right?  What about our good deeds.  Paul calls those filthy rags, but that just means we can’t earn salvation, right?  We can still choose to do good, and ultimately we can choose God.  Right?  Maybe Paul was lying too.  Maybe they just don’t understand free will.

Am I being a little sarcastic?  Ya, I am, I know it’s bad and I’m sorry.  Let me tell you why I struggle so much with free will and why I think it’s the most deceptive tool Satan has come up with since he gave a lady of piece of fruit.  Free will has it’s roots in the enlightenment, the same starting point as psychoanalysis.  You know the names form school, guys like BF Skinner and Pavlov and his drooling dog.  There is one guy named Abraham Maslow who came up with a pyramid thing called the Hierarchy of Needs.  The theory was simple, people want to be the best they can be and obtain their highest potential and level of good, called Self Actualization.  The only thing that stops them is needs, either felt or perceived needs.  If they are hungry, they may steal.  If they feel unsafe, they might lie.  If their self esteem is low, they will do bad things.  If a child is ignored, they will act out for attention.

As a result, we stopped having “losers” and we stopped grading tests, we don’t spank anymore.  We have a host of social services life welfare, because if people have their needs met, they will achieve more, or so the theory goes.  If we meet the qualifications in the hierarchy of needs, people will do the right things.  Ultimately man has the ability to choose to do the right thing, as long as he is not pressured to do the wrong thing.

Secular Humanists have taught us that man is the highest of all creatures, that nothing forces us to do anything, and we have, of course, free will.  Satan whispers “you can choose to be like God, you have free will and you can be good if you’d like”.  Now the Bible calls us slaves.  We are either slaves to sin or to Christ, compelled by the flesh or by the Spirit.  We are not free to choose, but we convince ourselves we are free, more than that, we choose to think we are free to do good.  See what I did there?  Sorry.

The rich young ruler, he probably thought he was free to choose and that he chose to do all the right things.  He made the right choices and now he and God were good.  In the end, we are not free, and our wills are not free.  They are bound and we are bound and wrapped in feeble and weak flesh.  Most of our choices that we think we are making freely are made because we are selfish and ego driven.  Most of our fight to maintain our free will is driven by the fact we are ego driven and want to keep the ability to call our own shots.

Why do I say this is a trap?  Scores of people believe they are free to do good and will be in Heaven when they die because they are a good person.  They have equated sin to something they did on accident when they weren’t looking, but they said they were sorry and it’s ok.  They are free to do the right thing.  It’s a lie, you aren’t free, and as a believer you wouldn’t want to be.  If you are free and have free will, you are not under control of the Holy Spirit.  Having free will is direct disobedience to be controlled by the Spirit.  Of course, if you are not controlled by the Spirit, you go right back to be driven by the flesh.

Yes, this has salvation implications, no I have no desire to start another C vs T battle (which will probably happen anyway) but we have to stop saying things like “God gives you free will because He doesn’t want you to be a robot”.  We are not even free enough to realize that we have simply created two extreme categories, neither which are accurate.  We are not robots, we are sinful humans controlled by selfish flesh until Christ sets us free.  We must be set free from sin to have the freedom to be controlled by the Spirit.

In finishing up, I do want to say, and please listen WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO MAKE CHOICES.  I grow weary of the extremes that either we can do whatever we want or we are total robots.  We can choose to wear a red or blue shirt.  We are free to eat steak or fish or chicken.  We are free to do a lot of things, but those choices are still subject to the bondage of our flesh.  In our flesh, we cannot do good.  Good as God defines it, not good as society defines it.  Society does good things because it makes them feel good, thus making good things done for selfish reasons.  I digress, let’s make sure we don’t set out to make a liar out of Jesus and Paul and . . .well God since He wrote the book in the first place.  You are now free to comment.

Comments

  1. Debbie Kaufman says

    Dan: This is very well written and I can find nothing to disagree with. Well done.

  2. Don Johnson says

    Dan,

    I not sure what you’re trying to communicate. Are you saying man can’t do good, or man can’t always do good? Or both?

  3. Jim G. says

    Dan,

    I admire your attempt to debunk the extremes of the free-will/deterministic debate so popular today. However, I think you are overly simplistic in your attempt. You are operating in the same “either-or” logic you are trying to counteract. Let me try to illustrate.

    You begin with Jesus’ words that there is none good but God. Of course that is true. Only the one being of God – eternally existing in three distinct persons of Father, Son, and Spirit – is perfectly and fully good. But that does not imply that there is no good in humans. The Bible (not to mention human experience) is full of examples of real good in real people. We humans are created in the image of the good God, after all. The problem is that sin has entered our world, tainting us all so that we contain both good and bad.

    It is overly simplistic to say our choices are always selfish. Because human beings are created in the image of God, we have a vestige of God’s altruistic ways embedded in us. I know heathen who make choices that are quite other-centered in their orientation. Fallen man is not always selfish, because human nature is still a creation of God. It does not function as it should at all times, but it does sometimes.

    Human free will as a concept does not begin in the Enlightenment. Read the church Fathers! The only thing beginning in the Enlightenment is the rotten twist of human freedom called “autonomous” human freedom – the idea that we are absolutely free creatures apart from the reach of anything beyond ourselves or at least our material world. No thinking Christian of which I am aware buys into the autonomous variety of human freedom. True freedom exists in Christ, and in him we are free to be ourselves – more ourselves than we could ever be apart from him.

    The longer I study nature and grace, theological anthropology, and divine providence, the more I come to realize that it is all infinitely more complicated than our pithy statements or our simplistic models (determinism, open theism, etc.) can possibly contain.

    Jim G.

    • says

      I have to continue to disagree, since Paul says our good deeds are as filthy rags. Even the good things we do, we in the end do for a selfish reason. I maintain that apart from Christ, no one does anything that at some level does not benefit them. Even if that benefit is “helping people makes me feel good”, if there is no benefit to someone, they will not do something. Selfishness is at our core, so we do things that appear good, but I am very convinced that man in the flesh does not do good. The Bible says we are slaves to sin, so if I’m going to believe you or Romans, I pick Romans. It’s as simple (and black and white) as that.

  4. Don Johnson says

    Dan,

    Psalm 34:14 “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” Did God command to do good knowing man couldn’t? Can man also not depart from evil or seek peace?

    • andy says

      While I agree Dans article may be a bit too simplistic, I don’t think this line of reasoning is going to debunk it…I think its pretty clear that God repeatedly commands us to do things that, because of our sinful natures, we can’t possibly obey without his holy spirit’s aid: Do All To the glory of God…love your enemies,…keep your heart…in your anger do not sin…etc.

      • says

        Yes, Andy is right. The OT goes commands to follow the law and be perfect, which mankind showed that we cannot do, therefore God says “be perfect to get to Heaven” and then sends Jesus, because we can’t.

        • Debbie Kaufman says

          Look at our best deeds next to a Holy God, a God whose holiness turned Moses’ hair white.

          By human standards, there are good people, by God’s standards and compared to His holiness, it is as filthy rags the Bible says, even our good deeds. This is why Christ had to come and fulfill all that He did.

    • says

      Psalms 14:3
      The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man,
      to see if there are any who understand,
      who *seek after God.
      3 They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
      there is none who does good,
      not even one.

      Guess not.

  5. Jess says

    Dan, I love this article. Man is under the bondage of sin, and the only way to be free is by God’s calling through Jesus The Christ. The article is plain and simple, and yet speaks volumes.

    • Debbie Kaufman says

      there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. Romans 3:11.

  6. volfan007 says

    Yes, we all believe the verses that Dan and Debbie are quoting….even those of us, who believe that man does have a free will, and that God is so sovereign, that He would give man free will(choices and responsibility), and God can still carry forth His plans and purposes.

    David

    • says

      So what I hear you saying David is “even if there are verses that contradict what I choose to believe, I will choose to believe it anyway because the alternative is to believe something I don’t want to believe, besides, I can make the Bible contradict itself, so I can choose which one of the contradictions I would like to cling too, so I choose this free will side”.

      • Adam Blosser says

        Come on Dan. That isn’t going to accomplish anything. That might be what you heard him say, but that is not what he said.

        • says

          Strikes me as an alarming trend as people who claim to have theology that comes from the Word of God dismiss passages, interpret any way they want, find a verse to contradict a passage and then pick which one they want, and ignore passages all together. It’s little wonder why the world doesn’t take us seriously, we say we believe the Bible in inerrant and they we interpret it to contradict itself, and no one seems to care, no one is calling it out or standing up for inerrency anymore. We just have “verse shootouts”. It’s wrong.

          • volfan007 says

            Dan,

            So, are you saying that I don’t really believe the Bible, and that I’m being used of Satan to discredit the Bible? Is that what you’re saying? Because, it sure does sound like it.

            David

          • says

            You can take it personally if you want, but I don’t see how you can justify saying that you agree with the Bible but still believe something that contradicts. I’m not out to call you bad or wrong or evil. My goal is to point out something I believe is wrong and ask my brothers and sisters to consider what may be the gravity of the situation. As s brother, I feel I need to address what I see add an error. It’s an issue that causes me passion, and maybe I’ve worded it too strongly, but it’s a big deal in my mind.

          • Adam Blosser says

            Haha…you can take it personal if you want? How else is he supposed to take it?

          • says

            As I wrote it, that Satan uses tactics against believers. No one is immune. He also tempts us to attack and discredit each other. My last three blogs, I have had people simply directly insult me. I have never intended to insult an individual, simply point out what I see are theological errors. I can say I think you are wrong without calling you stupid or a horrible writer who uses bad grammar. If you disagree with me, I can live with that. You want to insult me, be a grown up and call me. 712-253-2995. We can discuss how immature and insignificant you believe me to be.

          • Adam Blosser says

            Woah, now. Correct me if I am wrong, but neither volfan nor I have insulted your for your grammar. I have not called you stupid either. Do not take your frustration with other commenters out on us. You may not have intended to insult volfan or Bart, but that is what you did. I am sorry you have been hurt, but try not to attack others in response.

          • says

            I was sarcastic, but I don’t think I said anything insulting, I am sorry if I did. I was making a general statement about being insults, and you have been as heavy with the sarcasm as I have, so no need to woah. I am pointing out that in the last few blogs I have written, I have been personally insulted, been marginalized, and told my posts are stupid (on this one) my grammar is bad (previously) and called out on the carpet while I am attempting to deal with issues. I said nothing personally about David or Bart, but I disagree with their theology. I did not say they were evil or bad, simply that I think they are incorrect. It not insulting to disagree.

          • Dave Miller says

            Dan, I’ve not read the entire stream, but I’ve not seen Adam insult you. He’s challenged you and the whole tone of the conversation in general has not been what we’d like.

          • says

            Adam is only guilty of the same sarcasm that I am guilty of. I am not upset with Adam, I am upset that many get a pass while others are hammered and held to a different standard. This last week on SBC Voices has not been the site I have previously written for. My use of humor, some sarcasm and some mostly playful banter has given way to a tone of hostility, those being judged if they take a stand. I apologize for insulting anyone, that was never my intent. I did not intend to be rude or hateful, just to promote thought. I never expected to be told that this is the dumbest post in the history of Voices. I’ll admit, right now I am flustered and frustrated. I have basically been told in private that my posts should be taken down because they are so poor.

            I appreciate Adam’s contribution, and I apologize to David if he feels insulted. I said the same thing I said in the post, I feel Satan uses us to twist thing by using scripture to contradict scripture instead of using scripture to interpret scripture. Perhaps the will of those on Voices is in the future I keep my views to myself.

  7. Bart Barber says

    And a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man…

    New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Lk 23:50.

    • says

      So Bart, since you are procuring my all time favorite, find a verse to contradict a verse, which part of the Bible is lying? The part that said no one is good, or the verse that says Joseph is good, or is it perhaps that I am talking about natural man, and Joseph is a follower of Jesus and submitting to the spirit? It doesn’t do anything to my point, you basically just caused the Bible to have contradictory points. Another win for inerrancy?

      • Adam Blosser says

        Feisty tonight, huh? You proof-texted to make your point and then accused Bart of making God to be a liar when he did the same thing. Give me a break.

  8. Bart Barber says

    First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,
    2  for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
    3  This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
    4  who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

    New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), 1 Ti 2:1–4.

    So, can anyone choose to pray for other people? Can a lost person ever choose to pray for other people? If so, hasn’t that person chosen to do something that the Bible has defined as a good thing?

    • says

      I would say the only prayer that God honors from a lost person is that which is a lost person asking for mercy and forgiveness.

    • Debbie Kaufman says

      Bart: We are righteous and good because of what Christ has done, not what we have done. When the word righteous is used, it is not necessarily speaking of our works, but our standing in Christ. And Dan is right in that any good works we do is through the Father, not in ourselves.

  9. Adam Blosser says

    My understanding of Total Depravity does not preclude me from affirming that man is free to choose bad or good. However, I differ with my non-Calvinist brethren in that I would say the natural man will choose bad 100% of the time. This is why the new birth is essential. We are slaves to sin apart from Christ.

  10. dr. james willingham says

    Man’s will is free to choose as his nature allows or dictates; he can and does choose contrary to his nature at times – with predictable results. Just consider what happens, when he chooses to step off of high building in the belief that he can walk on air. What really brings home the issue, however, is the issue of choosing that which is so contrary to what we want, expect, and normally will. Choosing to do good is a sort of one time affair. To keep on choosing to do good puts a strain upon a nature that has contrary designs and ambitions. Only a change in nature from evil to good can and will enable a person to keep on choosing the good. Even then there is the problem of the old and new nature locked in mortal combat. An old king use to sentence those who had committed murder to have the body of the dead person strapped to the murderer’s body, face to face, so I have read. Imagine the stench, the diseases, the ostracism, the revulsion. That is a description of the born again person engaged in a terrible struggle with his or her old nature. Still our Lord speaks to the lost, the enslaved, the dead in trespasses and sins, calling upon such to do the impossible (cf. Mk.10 and the issue of the rich young ruler being asked to do the impossible as our Lord indicates in his conversation with Peter following that event. In Jn.5:25 our Lord speaks to those who are spiritually dead to come alive, and In jn.5:34, “these things I say, that ye might be saved.” He addresses lost sinners, dead and depraved sinners, disabled sinners. Like Paul says in Ephs. 5:14, “Wherefore he is saying, Awake you who are sleeping, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon you.” An old Puritan declared, “One might suppose that man is not very bad off, because it says he is sleeping. So one must take in the statement, arise from the dead. Again, one might think that since it states man is dead, that he is to be treated as sticks and stones. therefore one must take in the statement he is sleeping.” I forget whether it was Thomas Manton or Thomas Goodwin who made this statement, but it presents us with the fait accompli of paradoxical demands or therapeutic paradoxes or, as some of our writers would have it: It is an antinomy, but that is more philosophical term and, in my mind, after 50 years of thinking about the matter, the counseling terminology of the paradox fits the situation better. However, I should point out that Gordon Clarke and John Calvin would totally disagree with me, saying there are no such things as paradoxes, but then Calvin as well as Clarke were following an Aristotelian concept of logic (never a safe bet as history has shown in other respects). Calvin did not have the advantage of Peter Ramus and his take on logic, and I suppose Clarke never addressed the issue except to deny paradoxes exist.

    Such rigidity in thinking ignores the omniscient God’s work in verbal inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility, overlooking as it surely does a multi-tasking work which reflects in the depths of its wisdom that source in omniscience. The Bible is a book which demands that we learn to think outside the box of common ordinary scholarly learning; it challenges with profundity, new avenues of thought, perspectives that call us to think differently, and leads us to examine the bases our own thought processes as well as those who often form our whole approach to understanding mental processes. Cunning people backed by massive infusions of cash lie behind the present dominance of evolution in the public thinking, especially that promoted by the educational systems of our day. Paradigms are but patterns of thought, designed like the blinders on the horses bridles to keep thinkers within certain frame works of thought, lest they escape the restraints imposed upon them by some very smart folks.

    It is interesting to think that liberty comes out of the so-called Calvinistic type of thinking, a matter which George W. Truett summed up so well at Spurgeon’s Centennial in 1934, “Calvinism presses down on the brow of man the crown of responsibility.” One of the intellectual historians I studied over 40 years ago pointed out that some of the most responsible of people were the Puritans, and they attributed their sense of responsibility to the idea of a Sovereign God who would hold them accountable, all inability, etc., to the contrary not withstanding.

    What we are doing is going through a Divinely appointed process of being prepared for a Third Great Awakening, the one which reaches every soul on earth, beginning, hopefully, in this generation and continuing for a thousand generations (that’s anywhere from 20,000-900,000 years, depending on how long one allows for a generation)(I Chron.16:15: Dan.2, Rev.7:9, et. al.). Cheer up, brethren, things might get worse before they get better. After all, the darkest hour is just before the dawn. No matter how dark the night, joy cometh in the morning.

    • says

      Dr. JW

      Hold on my child, joy comes in the morning
      Weeping only last for the night.
      Hold on my child, joy comes in the morning
      The darkest hour means dawn is just in sight

      We both know about dark hours my brother. But dawns a-comin!!

  11. Don Johnson says

    Maybe someone can tell me what are some of the “good” things man can not do. Since some believe man can’t do any good, I wish they would share what that might be.

  12. Johnathan Pritchett says

    This is the dumbest thing I have read on this site. Sarcasm isn’t a pass when it stinks.

    No one is good or has done good according to the Bible. This is not a statement that no one is or does good in a relative sense, but only in the sense that no one is or does good, but God, in an absolute sense that merits anything from God.

    What all this has to do with free will escapes me, and anyone else who thinks. I find thinking clearly, exegeting properly, and keeping things in proper categories important, but different strokes I guess.

    The Church Fathers, some of whom were taught by the Apostles themselves, predate the Enlightenment by centuries, and affirmed libertarian free will again and again over against determinism. Swinburne proved this conclusively already. But who cares about history and research when there is bad sarcasm to be written?

    Isaiah was the one who said a DISOBEDIENT Israel’s works of righteousness were filthy rags. This doesn’t say all works in all times by all people are filthy rags. The obvious exception being the good works of Christians done in the Spirit, which are not filthy rags at all. They are the works that God himself has prepared beforehand for us to walk in and do since Christians themselves are God’s workmanship (Eph. 2:10) Certainly Isaiah isn’t saying that the works done that God has His people do empowered by the Spirit are filthy…But, if anyone wants to call those works filthy rags too, have at it.

    • says

      I disagree, the Bible teaches we are slaves to sin. Slavery is the opposite of free, so regardless of who wrote what, or how stupid you think my writing is, the Bible is clear. We are not free.

      • Johnathan Pritchett says

        Being a slave to sin does not entail philosophical determinism. It entails slavery to sin, not slavery from doing otherwise in any particular instance of sin.

        An unregenerate person will sin, it does not follow that the unregenerate can not choose to not commit a particular sin. An atheist can still honor his parents rather than not, and many choose to do so.

        That doesn’t mean they don’t commit any sin, it does mean that they are still free to do this or that sin, or not sin at all in any particular instance.

        Being a slave to sin does not damage the ability to choose things without external restraint, or chose otherwise.

        It only means they are enslaved from sin and need freed from that slavery. It is a categorical error to link volition to that metaphor. It is a false juxtaposition.

        Even the enslaved prisoner at war in a body of death can desire to do good and thank God for rescue in Jesus (Rom. 7).

        Moreover, the metaphor of slave has to be consistently applied. If you think slave to sin means no freedom in any sense to not sin, then to be consistent, you should embrace Wesleyan Perfectionism and believe that being a slave to righteousness means no freedom to do sin.

        Or, just realize you are applying the metaphor to the wrong category and move on.

        • says

          You are taking things to the extreme, I am not sure you read the entire post. I am not taking away choice, I am not limited the human ability to choose, and I never said that I was for determinism. The issue is you are putting things in my mouth based on your assumption without actually seeing what I wrote. I am not applying a metaphor, it’s not a metaphor, I disagree. The belief in libertarian free will is simply not comparable with biblical human identity because of the flesh of the unregenerate man is bound by sin. You can dismiss it by calling it a metaphor, but in the end, man does not and can not choose to be righteous. If libertarian free will is true, the ultimate expression is the man who can obtain righteousness through the law. The requires sin to be a taint apart from human action. The ultimate conclusion of libertarian free will is a passive God and a human capable of Heaven apart from Christ. There is no way around it.

          • Johnathan Pritchett says

            The opposite of libertarianism is determinism. Compatiblism is determinism, by the way. Ask Paul Helm.

            Anyway, I believe sinners are slaves to sin, dead in sin, of their Father the Devil. But that doesn’t make them not metaphors. Those who are slaves to sin are not literally slaves, anymore than those dead in sin, or dead to sin for that matter, are literally dead.

            “If libertarian free will is true, the ultimate expression is the man who can obtain righteousness through the law.”

            Yes, his name is Jesus. Of course, one must believe that Jesus was fully man as well as fully divine to believe this. Of course, reject these, and there is no basis for the active and passive obedience for Christ.

            “The belief in libertarian free will is simply not comparable with biblical human identity because of the flesh of the unregenerate man is bound by sin.”

            I already explained how this is not the case, and you provided no counterargument.

            “The ultimate conclusion of libertarian free will is a passive God and a human capable of Heaven apart from Christ. There is no way around it.”

            Again, bare assertion. Care to back that up? There is no reason to get around an absurdity such as this, since it has no merit or status whatsoever to my position to “get around” at all. The ultimate conclusion of libertarian free will is a God who is not the author of sin and evil. No sinner is capable of achieving heaven apart from Christ. It is a non-sequitur (fallacious) to assert that if man has libertarian freedom, he can therefore achieve heaven apart from Christ.

            Best thing to do is stop digging a hole for yourself in your (libertarian) willingness to argue anything just to disagree with a non-Calvinist.

          • Tarheel says

            Jonathon,

            Aren’t you here posing that the extreme positions are the only positions and there are non other?

            That’s what Dave’s recent article was rightly cautioning us about, was it not?

          • says

            You make an assumption that I’m a Calvinist, which is the first error. Your entire comment is colored by that. You are again taking extremes, if I’m not a libertarian, I’m a determinist. I’ll let you label me whatever you’d like. You again are making an assumption. To use Jesus as your example that all humans have libertarian free will is interesting. Jesus did have free will, as did Adam, so did Jesus also have a sin nature? The Bible is clear that man has a sin nature, and I don’t interpret that as a metaphor.

            As for your argument against man being a slave to sin, I don’t need an counterargument because I don’t agree with your statement that it’s a metaphor. I simply dismissed it.

            As for my point of the problem of a person in heaven without Christ, the question exists, if man has libertarian free will, can a man live his entire life without sinning? To say no is to deny libertarian free will. To say yes is to say that man can be sinless. On what grounds would he not go to Heaven if he has committed no sin? If it’s sin nature, then goes Jesus have a sin nature? If yes, then how did He atone yet a perfect man is rejected? If no, then your previous argument for Christ being the model of free will is invalid.

            Now, did God create evil? God created good, just as He created light and heat. The absence of those things, no light is dark and no heat is cold. They are not created, they are the absence of the created, this is the case with evil.

            You simply dismiss my points because you disagree, but you have to realize that from my perspective, your points are just as listless and invalid as you feel mine are. I feel we are at an impass.

        • says

          Dan, I get what you are saying. William Plumer said it well in a sermon “Without Divine Grace, Men Do Nothing but Sin”

          “Two things are required to make an action right. One is that it be lawful in itself. The other is that it be done with a right motive. If the thing done is itself wrong, no motives can make it right. To steal, or curse, or murder, or despise the poor, or hate the just–can never under any circumstances be right. To do evil that good may come, is the doctrine of none but devils, and the worst of men. On the other hand, the thing done may be right in itself, but the motive, which governs us, may be wrong, and so the act may be sinful because the motive is sinful. Bad motives in good actions are like dead flies in sweet ointments. They corrupt the whole. The motive of the heart is everything! Most unbelievers do many things which are very proper, but not from love to God. No man, who has not been born again, ever does anything with holy motives. His life is better than his heart. Indeed his heart is the worst part of him. It is all wrong. It is hard, and proud, and selfish, and unbelieving, and without any love to God. So far from pleasing God, all the unregenerate are continually offending him. Their very best works are but “splendid sins.””

  13. Dave Miller says

    Christian people can have a better conversation than this.

    Raise the level, gentlemen, or I shut it down.

  14. Johnathan Pritchett says

    No one is good or has done good according to the Bible. This is not a statement that no one is or does good in a relative sense, but only in the sense that no one is or does good, but God, in an absolute sense that merits anything from God.

    What all this has to do with free will escapes me. Free will has to do with choosing this or that without constraint and the ability to do this or that.
    None of which has to do with what the Bible means by doing good in the sense of meriting anything before God. People can still choose relative goods. An atheist can choose not to beat his wife, for instance, even though some Christians have even done that. That still merits the atheist nothing.

    The Church Fathers, some of whom were taught by the Apostles themselves, predate the Enlightenment by centuries, and affirmed libertarian free will again and again over against determinism. Swinburne proved this conclusively already.

    Isaiah was the one who said a DISOBEDIENT Israel’s works of righteousness were filthy rags. This doesn’t say all works in all times by all people are filthy rags. The obvious exception being the good works of Christians done in the Spirit, which are not filthy rags at all. They are the works that God himself has prepared beforehand for us to walk in and do since Christians themselves are God’s workmanship (Eph. 2:10) Certainly Isaiah isn’t saying that the works done that God has His people do empowered by the Spirit are filthy…

  15. Don Johnson says

    It seems there were many Old Testament saints who did good and they weren’t in the Spirit. Not only weren’t they in the Spirit, they weren’t even regenerate.

    • says

      I won’t disagree, but we know from Hebrews the good they did was “by faith” which is the only way to please God.

      In the end, an isolated case of an individual doing good, which I would argue is always through the work of God, does not mean that man has the innate ability to choose God, which is my basic premise. Man is slave to sin through the flesh.

      • Don Johnson says

        They were all in the flesh, none of them were born again. And yet at times God was pleased with them. How can this be?

    • Tarheel says

      DON, did I understand you correctly?

      OT saints weren’t regenerate?

      The Holy Spirit wasn’t existent/working in the OT?

    • says

      Further in Romans 8 it cannot be more plain:

      “5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

      Though an unregenerate person can help a little old lady across the street or show kindness to someone, their kindness comes from the law written on all man’s hearts…”4 For when Gentiles who do not have [m]the Law do [n]instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having [o]the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.”

      But is it the fruit of the Spirit kindness? Nay.

    • Debbie Kaufman says

      And yet I would disagree. There is not more than one way to heaven. If they were OT saints, they were indeed born again by the Spirit. They were regenerate.

      • Debbie Kaufman says

        Don: How very strongly I would disagree with you concerning the use of the words people of faith. They were regenerate, believing in Christ future. There is not more than one road to salvation either in the OT or the NT. It was the same. Faith in Christ alone. Sorry Don, but I’m appalled that you would believe the opposite or that this would every be preached or taught. It’s simply not true.

        • Don Johnson says

          Debbie,

          I don’t care what is preached or taught. I care what the Bible states.

          If you can show me something from Scripture to support your claims, I’ll change my mind.

  16. Alan House says

    Calvin, himself, could not face the logical implications of Unqualified Election with regard to the children of the elect. (He pronounced the children of the elect to be elect, themselves!) He was/is so plainly wrong about that, it follows that he certainly may be in error in some of his other opinions regarding scripture, right?

  17. Dave Miller says

    This does not seem to me to be a productive discussion. More of a Bible-verse slugfest.

    After I shut it down, please do not carry the discussion to other threads. Just let it die.