God creates “ca·lam·i·ty?”

ca·lam·i·ty

noun
noun: calamity; plural noun: calamities
an event causing great and often sudden damage or distress; a disaster.

I know modern translations prefer to translate the Hebrew word “ra” as calamity…what do you say?

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Word Study Dictionary READS:

ra‛, ָרָעה

rā‛āh: An adjective meaning bad, evil. The basic meaning of this word displays ten or more various shades of the meaning of evil according to its contextual usage. It means bad in a moral and ethical sense and is used to describe, along with good, the entire spectrum of good and evil; hence, it depicts evil in an absolute, negative sense, as when it describes the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:9; Gen 3:5, Gen 3:22). It was necessary for a wise king to be able to discern the evil or the good in the actions of his people (Ecc 12:14); men and women are characterized as evil (1Sa 30:22; Est_7:6; Jer 2:33). The human heart is evil all day long (Gen 6:5) from childhood (Gen 8:21); yet the people of God are to purge evil from among them (Deu 17:7). The Lord is the final arbiter of whether something was good or evil; if something was evil in the eyes of the Lord, there is no further court of appeals (Deu 9:18; 1Ki 14:22). The day of the Lord’s judgment is called an evil day, a day of reckoning and condemnation (Amo 6:3). Jacob would have undergone grave evil (i.e., pain, misery, and ultimate disaster) if he had lost Benjamin (Gen 44:34). The word can refer to circumstances as evil, as when the Israelite foremen were placed in a grave situation (Exo 5:19; 2Ki 14:10).

The word takes on the aspect of something disagreeable, unwholesome, or harmful. Jacob evaluated his life as evil and destructive (Gen_47:9; Num_20:5); and the Israelites considered the wilderness as a threatening, terrifying place. The Canaanite women were evil in the eyes of Isaac (i.e., displeasing [Gen 28:8]). The rabble’s cry within Israel for meat was displeasing in the eyes of Moses (Num 11:10). This word describes the vicious animal that killed Joseph, so Jacob thought (Gen 37:33). The despondent countenances of persons can be described by this word; the baker’s and the butler’s faces were downcast because of their dreams (Gen 40:7). It can also describe one who is heavy in heart (Pro 25:20).

In a literal sense, the word depicts something that is of poor quality or even ugly in appearance. The weak, lean cows of Pharaoh’s dream were decrepit, ugly-looking (Gen 41:3, Gen 41:20, Gen 41:27); poisonous drinking water was described as bad (2Ki 2:19; 2Ki_4:41). From these observations, it is clear that the word can be used to attribute a negative aspect to nearly anything.

Used as a noun, the word indicates realities that are inherently evil, wicked, or bad; the psalmist feared no evil (Psa 23:4). The noun also depicts people of wickedness, that is, wicked people. Aaron characterized the people of Israel as inherently wicked in order to clear himself (Exo 32:22). Calamities, failures, and miseries are all connotations of this word when it is used as a noun. (end quote)

Scriptural Quotations to Consider:

hippo

Isaiah 45:7

KJV- I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

ESV- I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.

Lamentations 3:37-38

KJV- Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not? Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?

ESV- Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?

A Quotation from Gordon H. Clark:

The Scofield Bible is a good example of how Arminians try to escape from the plain meaning of the verse. Scofield says, “ra, translated ‘sorrow,’ ‘wretchedness,’ ‘adversity,’ ‘afflictions,’ ‘calamities,’ but never translated SIN. God created evil only in the sense that he made sorrow, wretchedness, etc., to be the sure fruits of sin.”

SCOFIELDNow the most remarkable point about Scofield’s note is that he told the truth when he said, “RA . . . [is] never translated sin.” How could he have made such a statement, knowing it was true? The only answer is that he must have examined every instance of RA in the Hebrew text and then he must have determined that in no case did the King James translate it sin. And this is absolutely true. But if he compared every instance of RA with its translation in every case, he could not have failed to note that RA in Genesis 6:5 and in a number of other places is translated WICKEDNESS. In fact RA is translated wickedness some fifty times. Scofield could not have failed to notice this; so he says with just truth, RA is never translated sin. Since Scofield favors the word EVIL, a partial list of verses in which this translation occurs will be given; and second there will be a partial list where WICKED or WICKEDNESS is used.

Going through the Bible, Scofield must have read as far as Genesis 2:9, 17; 3:5, 22; 6:5; 8:21; 44:4; 48:16; 50:15, 17, 20. “The knowledge of good and EVIL” is simply a knowledge of sorrow or calamity; it is primarily a knowledge of disobedience and sin. Similarly, Genesis 3:5, 22 refers as much to sin as to its punishment. In fact Genesis 3:22 hardly refers to punishment at all. True, Adam was banished from the garden; but the word EVIL in the verse refers to his disobedience and sin.

Whatever lame excuse can be given for excluding sin and retaining only punishment in the previous four verses, Genesis 6:5 is clearly and indisputably a reference to sin. God did not see “adversity” or “afflictions”; he saw sinful thoughts. RA, in this verse at any rate, means sin. The same is true of Genesis 8:21. In fact sin and its punishment are separated here. God will not again curse or smite, as he had just done, for man’s heart is evil. The flood was a punishment, but the evil was the sinful heart of man.

Toward the end of Genesis RA refers to an alleged theft, many sins from which the Angel had redeemed Jacob, and three times the brothers’ sin against Joseph. In 50:17 again the sin is easily distinguishable from the feared punishment.

Is it necessary to plod through all the Old Testament to show that RA often means sin as distinct from its punishment? It should not be necessary; but to show the pervasiveness of the doctrine and the perverseness of Arminianism, something from II Chronicles will be listed: 22:4; 29:6; 36:5, 9, 12. Ahab did EVIL in the sight of the Lord. Our fathers have trespassed and done evil in the eyes of the Lord. Manasseh did evil in the sight of the Lord. He wrought much evil in the sight of the Lord. Jehoiakim did evil in the sight of the Lord. . . .

ra strongs

Evil, RA, is not once TRANSLATED sin. Very strange, but true.

Then there is Isaiah 56:2; 57:1; 59:7, 15; 65:12; 66:4. All instances of RA, or EVIL.

Now, if Scofield knew that RA was never translated SIN, he must have known that it was often translated WICKEDNESS. WICKEDNESS or WICKED, as the translation of RA occurs in Genesis 6:5; 13:13; 38:7; 39:9. Also in Deuteronomy 13:11 and 17:2. Also in I Samuel 30:22 and II Samuel 3:39. I Kings 2:44; Nehemiah 9:35; Esther 7:6, 9, 25. And Proverbs 21:12; 26:23, 26. Nor are these the only instances.

Scofield told the literal truth when he said it is never translated SIN. But nothing could be more false than his statement, “ God created evil ONLY in the sense that he made sorrow, wretchedness, etc., to be the sure fruits of sin.”

The scriptural meaning of the word RA, has now been abundantly made clear. But there is another point too. If RA means simply external calamities, then the word PEACE, which God also creates, can mean only military peace. The phrases are parallel. But this interpretation reduces the verse, or THIS PART OF THE VERSE, to triviality. Even verse one can hardly be restricted to purely political matters. Verse three speaks of treasures of darkness, hidden riches, and the knowledge of God. Jacob my servant and Israel my elect are not phrases to be restricted to politics and economics. Verse 6 speaks of the extension of the knowledge of God throughout the world. Then comes “I make peace and create evil.” Merely military peace? Not peace with God? The next verse speaks of righteousness dropping down from heaven, not like dew, but like pouring rain. Bring forth salvation, let righteousness spring up together. I the Lord have created it.

O, Arminian, Arminian, thou that distortest the prophets and misinterpretest them that are sent unto thee; how often have I told your children the plain truth . . . and ye would not let them understand!

There is still more in this chapter from Isaiah. Once again we find the potter and the clay. It indicates that God is not responsible to man. Woe to the man who complains that God has made him or anyone else a vessel of dishonor. The clay has no ‘rights’ against the potter. Nor does it have any free will to decide what sort of a bowl or jug it shall be.

Gordon H. Clark, Predestination, Presbyterian & Reformed, 1987, pp. 185-188

That Soveraigne Drugge Arminianisme!

A post from ChristianForums.com that I wanted to blog so I didn’t lose the info and references with some slight edits to allow for ease of reading. PoperyCardinals

singlecandle writes:

This is what the Catholic Encyclopedia says about Arminius:

A leader was sure to rise from the Calvinistic ranks who should point out the baneful corollaries of the Genevan creed, and be listened to. Such a leader was Jacobus Arminius (Jakob Hermanzoon) professor at the University of Leyden.”

Arminius also spent some time in Rome studying under the Roman Catholic monk de Molinas.

According to Edward Hendrie’s book The Anti-Gospel, most Calvinists believe that it was this time that Arminius spent in Rome that the Jesuits recruited him to their point of view but that point cannot be proven. However, Luis de Molinas theology of “Molinism” was simply semi-pelagianism or just another form of pelaianism.

The Catholic Encyclopedia says of Molinism:

“Molinism is an influential system within Catholic theology for reconciling human free choice with God’s grace, providence, foreknowledge, and predestination. Originating within the Society of Jesus in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, it encountered stiff opposition from Bezian Thomists and from the self-styled Augustinian disciples of Michael Baius and Cornelius Jansen.” -Alfred J. Freddoso, Catholic professor at Notre Dame.”

Lastly, Hendries reveals in his book that the Jesuits admitted to “using” Arminius to promote their doctrine of semi-pelagianism (aka: arminianism). William Laud, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was working secretly with the Jesuits to infect the Church of England (Anglican Church) with Roman Catholic doctrine, including Arminianism.

In 1645, Laud was executed for treason against England. After his death, one of the papers found on his desk, as told by Augustus Toplady:toplady

“March, 1628. A Jesuit’s letter, sent to the Rector at Bruxels , about the ensuing Parliament. Father Rector, let not the damp of astonishment seize upon your ardent and zealous soul, in apprehending the sodaine and unexpected calling of a Parliament. We have now many strings to our bow. We have planted that soveraigne drugge Arminianisme, which we hope will purge the Protestants from their heresie; and it flourisheth and beares fruit in due season. For the better prevention of the Puritanes, the Arminians have already locked up the Duke’s(of Buckingham) eares; and we have those of our owne religion, which stand continually at the Duke’s chamber, to see who goes in and out: we cannot be too circumspect and careful in this regard. I am, at this time, transported with joy, to see how happily all instrument and means, as well great as lesser, co-operate unto our purposes. But, to return unto the maine fabricke:-OUR FOUNDATION IS ARMINIANISME. The Arminians and projectors, as it appeares in the premises, affect mutation. This we second and enforce by probable arguments.”

That letter was written by a high Jesuit agent reporting to his superior at Brussels.

You can read all this information that I gleaned from the book, The Anti-Gospel here.

Roger Olsen on Freemasonry

SOURCE

Going where angels fear to tread: Christianity and Freemasonry

One of my biggest culture shocks in moving to the South has been seeing all the enormous Masonic lodges and discovering that many, if not most, older Baptist (and other) men are members.  Where I come from originally (upper midwest), evangelical Christianity (including the majority of Baptists) and Freemasonry don’t mix.  They’re like oil and water.  In fact, some denominations divided over whether members could be Freemasons; the conservatives considered the drift toward allowing it a sign of liberal theology or worse (nominal Christianity).

A friend of mine was in line to succeed the retiring Fire Chief in his town of about 100,000.  Some city council members came to him and told him he would be Fire Chief if he joined the Masonic Lodge.  It was against his evangelical convictions, so he never became the city’s Fire Chief.

As I was growing up in the thick of evangelicalism (my uncle was on the national board of the National Association of Evangelicals) somehow I just knew one could not be both evangelical and a Mason.  None of my relatives were Masons; nobody in our church or denomination was a Mason.

The reasons given when I asked (probably in my late teens when I became aware of Masons through my high school friends who were joining DeMolay–the boys’ branch of Freemasonry) were that 1) Christians should not belong to secret societies and should devote their free time to the church and its mission rather than to an organization that is not specifically Christian, and 2) Freemasonry’s deep background, if not present reality, is inconsistent with evangelical Christianity.

I didn’t really think that much about it for quite a few years.  After all, there were no Masons in the evangelical circles I moved in (even after becoming a Baptist while attending an evangelical Baptist seminary).  The issue really first came to concern me when we made our first move to the South for me to pursue my Ph.D. at a major Southern secular research university.  I became youth pastor and Christian education director at a Presbyterian church and discovered that most of the older men of the congregation were Masons and were inviting the boys of the youth group to join DeMolay by suggesting they would get college scholarships.  They started attending DeMolay meetings INSTEAD of youth group meetings.  It was a struggle to hold on to them for the youth group and church.  I gradually realized that some of the men of the congregation were more invested in their Masonic relationships and activities than in the church.

One elder of the church invited me to lunch to discuss this problem.  I had made a little noise about it–mostly just by asking questions such as “Why are our men drawing our boys away from church to Masonry?”  And I asked some questions about Masonic beliefs and practices–most of which never received answers. The elder, who was a 32nd degree Mason, took me to lunch and said (direct quote seared into my mind): “If there is a conflict between Masonry and the Bible I’ll go with Masonry any day.”

Curious, I decided to do some reading about the history, dogma and rituals of Masonry.  Of course, that’s not easy.  So I looked for a book by a current (not former) Mason that would explain its basic beliefs.  What I found was The Meaning of Masonry by W. L. Wilmshurst, a Grand Master over a group of Masonic Lodges in Great Britain.  Wilmshurst was clearly NOT talking about his own branch of Masonry (whether York Rite or Scottish Rite or whatever); he was talking about the deep roots of Masonry in general.  According to Wilmshurst, an acknowledged authority on Masonic history and beliefs, Masonry necessarily has an esoteric side.  As he described it I recognized it as modern Gnosticism.

What am I saying?  That all Masons are Gnostics?  No.  Of course not.  But, if Wilmshurst (and many knowledgeable critics of Masonry) is right, even in the 20th century Freemasonry is rooted in a basically esoteric quasi-religious belief system that is incompatible with orthodox Christianity.  Do most Masons know that?  I don’t know.  But why would anyone join a group without knowing as much as possible about its history and beliefs–especially if that group requires an oath of secrecy and loyalty?

A few years ago an influential fundamentalist Southern Baptist “anti-cult” watcher led a crusade against Freemasonry especially among Southern Baptists and evangelical Christians in general.  He produced a book and a video attempting to expose Freemasonry as incompatible with Christianity.  He and some of his friends brought a resolution to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention that, if passed, would have asked Southern Baptists to avoid membership in Masonic Lodges.  It would probably also have made it unlikely that Southern Baptist churches allow Masonic ceremonies in them and at Southern Baptist led funerals.  (Masonic members who die are given a special ritual by their Masonic brothers.  One explanation I was given by a Mason is that they do not believe in the resurrection of the body but only in the immortality of the soul.)

The resolution was soundly defeated.

I came to the South again 12 years ago and right away noticed the presence of enormous Masonic Lodges in this relatively small city with over 100 Baptist churches.  I discovered that many, if not most, older Baptist men have at one time or another been inducted into Masonry.  I have been told that all but the most recent presidents of the university where I teach were Masons.  I haven’t asked, but I’m sure many of the older men in the congregation to which I belong are Masons.  It’s part of the fabric of Southern culture including Southern Baptist culture.

Now, let me make clear I am not “against Masonry.”  I know too little about it to be against it.  Rather, I’m perplexed.  First, I was raised to believe that the church is one’s extended family, the family of God, and that one’s energy should be devoted to its ministry and mission first and foremost.  Second, I was raised to believe that membership in secret societies is not compatible with biblical Christianity.  It would be like an early Christian belonging also to a mystery religion; it wasn’t encouraged (to say the least).  Third, I was raised to believe that Masonic Lodges were competitors with the churches even if many Masons also belonged to churches.

Whether all that is true, I’m not sure.  But I continue to be perplexed about it.  How many Masons know that the first modern Masonic Lodges grew out of Rosicrucianism (an esoteric sect on the fringes of Christianity)?  How many know about the esoteric meanings of Masonic rituals?  How many are aware that, historically, Freemasonry denies the resurrection of the body and emphasizes the immortality of the soul instead?  Why would a Christian devote a hearty portion of his free time and energy to a secret society when that time and energy could be devoted to the work of Christ through the church?

These are questions I struggle with.  I’d love to hear real answers that carry some authority and weight from a knowledgeable Mason.  In the meantime I continue to suffer a bit of culture shock every time I drive by one of the several large Masonic Lodges in this region and realize that most of the members are probably Baptists.

“…draw all men unto me.” John 7.32

(First posted on Feileadh Mor 5 years ago.)

“It is most evident, that all men, that is, every individual of human nature, every son and daughter of Adam, have not faith, are not drawn, or enabled to come to Christ, and believe in him. There were many of the Jews who would not, and did not come to Christ, that, they might have life; who, instead of being drawn to him in this sense, when lifted up on the cross, vilified and reproached him; nay, at this time, here was a world spoken of in the preceding verse, whose judgment, or condemnation, was now come; and besides, there was then a multitude of souls in hell, who could not nor never will be drawn to Christ; and a greater number still there will be at the last day, to whom, instead of drawing to him in this gracious way and manner, he will say, Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity (Matthew 7:23, and 25:41). Christ died, indeed, for all men who are drawn unto him; but this is not true of all men that are, were, or shall be in the world. Add to this that the men is not in the Greek text; it is only panta, all; and some copies read panta, all things; so Austen read it formerly, and so it was in an ancient copy of Beza’s.

But not to insist on this;

By all men, is meant some of all sorts, all the elect of God, the children of God, that were scattered abroad; and particularly the Gentiles as well as the Jews, as Chrysostom and Theophylact interpret the words; which interpretation is perfectly agreeable with ancient prophecy; that when Shiloh was come (Gen. 49:10; Isa.11:10), to him should the gathering of the people, or Gentiles, be; and with the context, an occasion of these words, which was this; certain Greeks that were come up to worshiper the feast, desired to see Jesus; of which when he was apprised by his disciples, he answered, that the hour was come in which he should be glorified, and that as a corn of wheat falls into the ground and dies, so should he: and though he tacitly intimates, that it was not proper to admit these Greeks into his presence now, yet when he was lifted up from the earth, or after his death, his Gospel should be preached to them as well as to the Jews; and that large numbers of them should be drawn unto him, and brought to believe in him; agreeable to which sense of the words is Dr. Hammond’s paraphrase of them: “And I being crucified, will by that means, bring a great part of the whole world to believe on me, Gentiles as well as Jews.” – John Gill, Cause of God and Truth

The Christ of Arminianism

(First posted on Feileadh Mor 6 years ago.)

The Christ of Arminianism

Rev. Steven Houck

1. The Christ of Arminianism – loves every individual person in the world and sincerely desires their salvation.

The Christ of the Bible – earnestly loves and desires the salvation of only those whom God has unconditionally chosen to salvation. (Ps. 5:5, Ps. 7:11, Ps. 11:5, Matt. 11:27, John 17:9-10, Acts 2:47, Acts 13:48, Rom. 9:10-13, Rom. 9:21-24, Eph. 1:3-4)

2. The Christ of Arminianism – offers salvation to every sinner and does all in his power to bring them to salvation. His offer and work are often frustrated, for many refuse to come.

The Christ of the Bible – effectually calls to Himself only the elect and sovereignly brings them to salvation. Not one of them will be lost. (Isa. 55:11, John 5:21, John 6:37-40, John 10:25-30, John 17:2, Phil. 2:13)
3. The Christ of Arminianism – can not regenerate and save a sinner who does not first choose Christ with his own “free will.” All men have a “free will” by which they can either accept or reject Christ. That “free will” may not be violated by Christ.

The Christ of the Bible – sovereignly regenerates the elect sinner apart from his choice, for without regeneration the spiritually dead sinner can not choose Christ. Faith is not man’s contribution to salvation but the gift of Christ which He sovereignly imparts in regeneration. (John 3:3, John 6:44 & 65, John 15:16, Acts 11:18, Rom. 9:16, Eph. 2:1,Eph. 2:8-10, Phil. 1:29, Hebr. 12:2)

4. The Christ of Arminianism – died on the cross for every individual person and thereby made it possible for every person to be saved. His death, apart from the choice of man, was not able to actually save anyone for many for whom he died are lost.

The Christ of the Bible – died for only God’s elect people and thereby actually obtained salvation for all those for whom He died. His death was a substitutionary satisfaction which actually took away the guilt of His chosen people. (Luke 19:10, John 10:14-15 & 26, Acts 20:28, Rom. 5:10, Eph. 5:25, Hebr. 9:12, I Peter 3:18)
5. The Christ of Arminianism – loses many whom he has “saved” because they do not continue in faith. Even if he does give them “eternal security,” as some say, that security is not based upon his will or work but the choice which the sinner made when he accepted Christ.

The Christ of the Bible – preserves His chosen people so that they can not lose their salvation but persevere in the faith to the very end. He preserves them by the sovereign electing will of God, the power of His death, and the mighty working of His Spirit. (John 5:24, John 10:26-29, Rom. 8:29-30, Rom. 8:35-39, I Peter 1:2-5, Jude 24-25)

As you can see, although the Christ of Arminianism and the Christ of the Bible may at first seem to be the same, they are very different. One is a false Christ. The other is the true Christ. One is weak and helpless. He bows before the sovereign “free will” of man. The other is the reigning Lord Who wills what He pleases and sovereignly accomplishes all that He wills.

If you believe and serve the Christ of Arminianism, you must recognize the fact that you do not serve the Christ of the Bible. You have been deceived! Study the Scriptures and learn of the True Christ. Pray for grace to repent and trust Christ as your sovereign Savior.

Evangelical Grace

London Baptist Confession of Faith:

This saving repentance is an evangelical grace, whereby a person, being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by faith in Christ, humble himself for it with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrency, praying for pardon and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavour, by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto all well-pleasing in all things. ( Zechariah 12:10; Acts 11:18; Ezekiel 36:31; 2 Corinthians 7:11; Psalms 119:6; Psalms 119:128 ) chp. 15.3

John Gill:

Special faith in Christ is of the operation of the Spirit of God:
he produces it by his mighty power in the soul;
he enlightens the mind,
reveals the object,
brings near Christ, his righteousness and salvation, and
enables the sensible sinner to look unto him,
lay hold on him,
and receive his as his Savior and Redeemer;
hence he is called the Spirit of faith (2 Cor. 4:13);
because he is the author of it, who begins and carries on, and
will perform the work of faith with power:
the principal use of which grace is to receive all from Christ, and
give him the glory.

God has put this honor upon it, to constitute and appoint it to be the receiver-general of all the blessings of grace.

It receives Christ himself as the Father’s free-gift;
it receives out of the fulness of Christ,
even grace for grace,
or and abundance of it;
it receives the blessing of righteousness from the Lord of justification;
it receives the remission of sins through his blood, according to the gospel-declaration;
it receives the adoption of children,
in consequence of the way being opened for it through the redemption which is in Christ;
it receives the inheritance among them that are sanctified,
the right unto it, and the claim upon it; and to this post it is advanced,
that all the glory might redound to the grace of God; it is of faith, that it might be by grace (Rom. 4:16).

(FAITH IN GOD AND HIS WORD: HE ESTABLISHMENT AND PROSPERITY OF HIS PEOPLE: A Sermon, Preached at a Wednesday’s Evening Lecture, in GREAT EAST-CHEAP, Dec. 27, 1753.)

Again, The London Baptist Confession of 1689 reads;

ch.14

The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts,”

“By this faith a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word for the authority of God himself”

“and so is enabled to cast his soul upon the truth thus believed”

ch.15
“This saving repentance is an evangelical grace, whereby a person, being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin”

The idea that all men everywhere must repent is biblical, BUT, the repentance required of the reprobate is legal. All men are guilty of breaking God’s law and therefore must repent of their deeds and they never do. Sure, unsaved people feel guilt or regret over their sins but they still rage against the holy and living God. Only the elect are given the “evangelical grace” of repentance and faith that leads to eternal life.

John Gill’s comments on Acts 20.21 are useful in understanding this subject and so, I post them below.

Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks,…. To the Jews first in their synagogue, and then to both Jews and Greeks, or Gentiles, in the school of Tyrannus; opening and explaining to both the nature and use, urging and insisting upon, and proving by undeniable testimonies the necessity,

of repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ: the former of these is not a legal repentance, but an evangelical one; which flows from a sense of the love of God, and an application of pardoning grace and mercy, and is always attended with hope, at least of interest in it, and as here with faith in Christ Jesus:

it lies in a true sight and sense of sin, as exceeding sinful, being contrary to the nature and law of God, and a deformation of the image of God in man, as well as followed with dreadful and pernicious consequences; and in a godly sorrow for it, as it is committed against a God of infinite purity and holiness, and of love, grace, and mercy; and it shows itself in shame for sin, and blushing at it, and in an ingenious confession of it, and forsaking it: and the latter of these is not an historical faith, or an assent of the mind to whatsoever is true concerning the person, office, and grace of Christ; but is a spiritual act of the soul upon him;

it is a looking and going out to him, a laying hold and leaning on him, and trusting in him, for grace, righteousness, peace, pardon, life, and salvation. Now these two were the sum of the apostle’s ministry; this is a breviary or compendium of it; a form of sound words held fast and published by him: and as these two go together as doctrines in the ministry of the word, they go together as graces in the experience of the saints; where the one is, there the other is; they are wrought in the soul at one and the same time, by one and the same hand;

the one is not before the other in order of time, however it may be in order of working, or as to visible observation; repentance is mentioned before faith, not that it precedes it, though it may be discerned in its outward acts before it; yet faith as to its inward exercise on Christ is full as early, if not earlier; souls first look to Christ by faith, and then they mourn in tears of evangelical repentance, Zec 12:10 though the order of the Gospel ministry is very fitly here expressed, which is first to lay before sinners the evil of sin, and their danger by it, in order to convince of it, and bring to repentance for it; and then to direct and encourage them to faith in Christ Jesus, as in the case of the jailer, Ac 16:29 and this is, generally speaking, the order and method in which the Holy Spirit proceeds;

he is first a spirit of conviction and illumination, he shows to souls the exceeding sinfulness of sin, causes them to loath it and themselves for it, and humbles them under a sense of it; and then he is a spirit of faith, he reveals Christ unto them as God’s way or salvation, and works faith in them to believe in him. Moreover, these two, repentance and faith, were the two parts of Christ’s ministry, Mr 1:15 and are what, he would have published and insisted on, in the preaching of the word, Lu 24:47 so that the ministry of the apostle was very conformable to the mind and will of Christ. [end quote]

Yours in the Lord,

jm

Is “Calvinism” Biblical? (Final Post)

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT SIN IN SUMMARY:

This is where we need to begin…again. We must understand what it cost God to send His son to die in our place. Sin is not something that makes you sick but kills you. It murders and is murderous. We cannot allow Arminian tradition to downplay how devastating sin actually is. So, to summarize the biblical teaching we must understand that the same death Adam experienced passes upon us all (Romans 5:12) making it necessary for God to quicken us (Ephesians 2:1-3), to make us alive (Colossians 2:13) because the thoughts of our hearts are evil continually (Genesis 6:5). Like David we are sinners from our conception (Psalm 51:5), wicked from birth (Psalm 58:3) and continue in evil (Genesis 8:21, Ecclesiates 9:3). For this reason it is necessary to receive the gift of regeneration from God the Holy Spirit to even see the spiritual offer of the Gospel (John 3:5-6). Don’t trust the traditions of man or the inclinations of your own heart (Jeremiah 17:9) for all evil comes from a depraved heart (Mark 7:21-23). Humanity loves darkness rather than light (John 3:19), for in the flesh, the natural mind is at enmity (that means extremely hostile to) toward God (Romans 8:7-8). I cannot emphasis this enough, the unregenerate cannot understand spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:14) due to their sin making them total unable to understand (Ephesians 4:17-19). All of us were once in this state (Ephesians 5:8) and performed the devil’s will (John 8:44), willingly following the him. (Titus 1:15). Therefore Doctrines of Grace aka “Calvinism” is in fact the correct exegesis of scripture.

I would like to finish up this series of posts with a word to those who have not heard the Gospel or have not had the Gospel presented clearly.

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THE BIBLICAL GOSPEL

Jesus answered them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.”

We have many ideas about what a person has to do to get to heaven. Some believe we must follow the “Golden Rule,” and do good deeds which will eventually outweigh the bad we have done, tipping the scales in our favour….after all, we are all basically good people…right?

If we assume we are good people we are also assuming a standard for what we consider good. Since we assume there is an absolute standard for what is good there must be an absolute standard giver. The Bible repeatedly states that God has given mankind a holy, universal Law, that is written on our hearts and our conscience bears witness to this Law. This Law is revealed and summarized in the Ten Commandments. When we look at God’s Law, we must understand that we have all sinned in some way or another; remember, you don’t have to break all Ten to be guilty of breaking the Law. The Bible warns, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”

“… it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” Hebrews 9:27

Let’s look at a few of the Commandments and see how we fare:

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” Have you ever taken God’s name in vain? If you have, you are a blasphemer and can not enter the Kingdom of God.

“Honour your father and mother.” Have you always honoured your parents in a respectful manner? In a way that God would consider honouring?

“You shall not steal.” Have you ever taken something that didn’t belong to you (irrespective of its value)? What do you call someone who takes something that doesn’t belong to them? A thief – You cannot enter God’s Kingdom.

“You shall not bear false witness.” Have you ever told a lie? Just one? What do you call someone who told a lie? A liar. The Bible warns that all liars will have their part in the Lake of Fire.

You and I are guilty of sinning against God by breaking His Law, and because we have a conscience, we have sinned “with knowledge.” Isn’t it true that when you steal, lie, etc. you know that it’s wrong? Does the fact that you have sinned against God bother you? The punishment for breaking God’s Law is Hell. Eternal Death.

“Almost every natural man that hears of hell, flatters himself that he shall escape it; he depends upon himself for his own security; he flatters himself in what he has done, in what he is now doing, or what he intends to do. Every one lays out matters in his own mind how he shall avoid damnation, and flatters himself that he contrives well for himself, and that his schemes will not fail. [from a sermon by Jonathan Edwards titled, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God]

WHAT MUST YOU DO TO BE SAVED FROM THE PENALTY OF BREAKING GOD’S LAW?

There is good news, there is a GOSPEL. God the Father has given us a mediator in Jesus Christ who is the incarnation of God. Jesus took upon Himself man’s nature, becoming subject to the Law of God, and perfectly obeying the Law in thought and deed for His entire lifetime on earth. While on earth Christ took the sins of His people upon Himself, and suffering the punishment due to all their sins paid the penalty by dying on the Cross, “…for the wages of sin is death.”

By dying in place of His people Jesus Christ became the mediator between God and man and revived in His people the righteousness, holiness and true knowledge lost as a consequence of sin.

As we find ourselves before a holy God we are convicted for breaking His righteous Law. The Holy Spirit moves in the soul to bring us to acknowledge our guilt and brokenness before God and His righteousness. We come to hate sin and find Jesus Christ precious. The Holy Spirit convinces the broken sinner of the shamefulness of sin and then brings the offender to a place where they can, “repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”

If you feel the weight of sin on your heart and have come to see the blackness of your soul in the light of God’s Law…if you have been brought to a place where you dread the judgement of the trice holy God, BELIEVE THE GOSPEL! If you believe that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sins the Bible assures us that, “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

Yours in Christ,

j

Is “Calvinism” Biblical? (pt 12)

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT REPROBATION:

Webster’s Dictionary of 1828 defines reprobation thusly;

REPROBA”TION, n.  [L. reprobatio.]

1.  The act of disallowing with detestation, or of expressing extreme dislike.

2.  The act of abandoning or state of being abandoned to eternal destruction.

When a sinner is so hardened as to feel no remorse or misgiving of conscience, it is considered as a sign of reprobation.

3.  A condemnatory sentence; rejection.

Set a brand of reprobation on clipped poetry and false coin.

Biblically speaking, reprobation should be understood as the justice of God toward the wicked, keeping in mind that all we are ever owed is justice. Salvation is a free gift to the undeserving sinner. The only acceptance we have with God is in Christ Jesus. Outside of Christ there is no salvation, no offering for our sin and no mediator between God and mankind. Those who God shows mercy to will be saved from their just penalty. 

God’s determination to destroy the wicked.

And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. (Gen 6:5-7)

God’s justice toward wicked sinners due to their sin.

For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it. (Gen 19:13)

God raised up Pharaoh with the purpose of destroying him, God showing His power over the wicked, so that it would be “declared throughout all the earth.”

And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. (Exo 9:16)

Without Christ the continued wickedness of sinners sparks God’s righteous anger toward them.

Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? (Deu 31:17)

God only forgives those who belong to Him through Jesus Christ our covenant head. Eli’s house was not to be forgiven even if they followed the Law.

And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever. (1Sa 3:14)

Those in Christ, the “Lamb slain before the foundation of world,” are not viewed as wicked sinners. Their sins have been forgiven because of Jesus Christ who is our surety. Surety means our “security or safety.” (Websters 1828)

God is angry with the reprobate.

God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. (Psa 7:11)

Pharaoh was created with a purpose to “to show my power” that it would be declared all over the world. We see the “wicked” were “made” for the “day of evil.”

The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. (Pro 16:4)

The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. (Psa 11:5)

God owes us nothing. That is the foundation of Gospel grace. The best we can expect is justice and for those who the “Son chooses to reveal himself” will received grace because of Jesus Christ. Those who remain in the flesh will be “destroyed.”

Because they regard not the works of the LORD, nor the operation of his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up. (Psa 28:5)

We often forget how the Gospel, not only saves, but hardens the hearts of reprobate sinners. This is the case in Isaiah 6 where the Prophet is sent to “make the heart of this people fat” to condemn them “lest they see with their eyes, and hear” and be “converted and be healed.” Isaiah is preaching to them for their continued reprobation.

And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, (Isa 6:9-11)

The Lord lead Egypt astray. This is divine reprobation.

The LORD hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit. (Isa 19)

Those Lord actively set out to close the eye of those He rejected. The “Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes.”

Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. (Isa 29:9-12)

The Lord our God does in fact reject people for salvation.

Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the LORD hath rejected them. (Jer 6:30)

The Prophet gives instructions not to pray for the reprobation. This supports my interpretation of 1 Tim 2 offered in a previous post and exposes the Arminian free will understanding. We are not to pray for “all men everywhere” as if God is hoping to save them, no, we are to pray for all kinds of people including those in authority

Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee. (Jer 7:16)

Christ approves of the ministry of Isaiah and continues in the same vain, preaching the Gospel to call the elect while also reprobating and hardening the hearts of the rest of humanity.

And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. (Mat 13:14-15)

Not everyone who hears the Gospel is given the ability to understanding it. The result is a further hardening of the sinner against God.

And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. (Luk 8:10)

The reprobate will not understand the Gospel only Christ’s sheep will believe.

But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. (Joh 10:26)

God is described in the Old and New Testaments as the divine potter who does what He likes with His creation. The Bible teaches that God created “vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.” That is divine reprobation.

Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: (Rom 9:21-22)

The elect will obtain salvation in Christ by the power and work of the Holy Spirit. The rest will be “blinded.” Literally this means the “rest” were literally hardened against God.

What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (Rom 11:7)

The biblical text teaches that God will “send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” Believing this lie was to make sure they were “damned.” This echoes the events that took place in Isaiah 19 where God lead Egypt astray.

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2Th 2:11-12)

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

Divine reprobation is biblical doctrine, albeit, a difficult one. All doctrine should humble us and make us look to Jesus Christ alone for salvation bringing to light our helplessness and hopelessness without Him.

Yours it the Lord,

jm

Is “Calvinism” Biblical? (pt 11)

 THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT SALVATION IS GIVEN BY OUR SOVEREIGN GOD:

Whatever God commands, wills and ordains will be accomplished. If God seeks to save that which was lost, have faith, He will save them.

So shall my word be that  goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it  shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing  whereto I sent it. (Isa 55:11)

The Arminian free will tradition teaches that we are to “get saved” by conceding to the truth of the Gospel which leads to our spiritual regeneration. This is often called “decisional regeneration,” where the creatures faith acts as the key ingredient to kick start our salvation. Salvation is given through Jesus Christ alone, based on the love of God and His mercy toward us, and not gained through our actions. John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. (Joh 3:27)

The modern Evangelical tradition supporting free will believes that Christ desperately wants to save all of humanity but is not able to do so because of libertarian free will. Christ was sent to “seek and save that which was lost” and will accomplish what He sets out to do for He has “power over all flesh” and will give freely to “as many as” God the Father “hast given him.”

As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. (John 17:2)

Salvation is freely given and not based on the will of man.

So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. (Rom 9:16)

I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. (1 Cor 3:6-7)

It is God who makes the difference.

For  who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou  didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as  if thou hadst not received it? (1 Cor 4)

Even our good works after spiritual regeneration find their beginning in God.

Wherefore,  my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but  now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and  trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Phil 2:12-13)

We are born again, begat by the word of truth, it is given to us and not gained by our actions.

Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (Jam 1:18)

We have an understanding of spiritual things because it was “given” to us.

And  we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an  understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that  is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and  eternal life. (1 Joh 5:20)

Yours in the Lord,

jm

Is “Calvinism” Biblical? (pt 10)

THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT FAITH AND REPENTANCE ARE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:

 Him hath God exalted with  his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to  Israel, and forgiveness of sins. (Acts 5)

“granted repentance unto life”

When they heard these  things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God  also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. (Acts 11)

Lydia, dead in sin and unable to respond to the spiritual offer of the Gospel was granted repentance. The revealed word of God demonstrates in Acts 5 that Israel was also “given” repentance. By post #10 it should be apparent that I seek to give a consistent witness to the Doctrines of Grace/Calvinism using both the Old and New Testaments. A consistent doctrine cannot be maintained by the Arminian free will tradition.

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

 Due to sin we are called by Christ and “believed through grace:”

And  when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting  the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: (Acts 18)

Look at any Greek grammar and you’ll find that “grace” and “faith” are summed up by “and that not of yourselves.” Both grace and faith are given by God.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Eph 2)

We are given grace and faith on behalf of Christ and Christ alone.

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; (Phil 1:29)

Repentance is given by God.

In  meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (2 Tim 2)

THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT CALLS A SINNER IT IS EFFECTUAL:

Saints are called” by God.

Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: To  all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you  and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ro 1)

Predestined” and “called” by God.

Moreover whom he did  predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also  justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (Ro 8)

And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? (Ro 9)

A biblical pattern can be established, just as Paul was “called with a purpose,” so are we.

Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother. Unto  the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in  Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call  upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s:

Christ’s sheep hear His voice…

God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Cor 1)

But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But  God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise;  and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things  which are mighty; And  base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God  chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that  are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (Gal 1)

The Saints are “called by his grace.” Those who are not called are not Christ’s sheep.

But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: (1 Cor 1)

Called by God…

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (Eph 4:4)

Our calling is not based on something within us but “according to his own purpose.”

Who hath saved us, and  called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but  according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ  Jesus before the world began, (2 Tim 1:9)

And for this cause he is  the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the  redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament,  they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. (Heb 9:15)

Jude was “called.” Those who are called will believe.

Jude, the servant of Jesus  Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the  Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: (Jude 1)

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; (1 Peter 1)

But ye are a chosen  generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that  ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of  darkness into his marvellous light; (1 Pet 2:9)

But  the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by  Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect,  stablish, strengthen, settle you. (1 Pet 5)

The calling is not according to our will power as the free will proponent would have us believe but according to “divine power.”

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and  godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and  virtue: (2 Pet 1:3)

Those that are “called, and chosen, and faithful” will overcome in Christ Jesus. Amen.

These  shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he  is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are  called, and chosen, and faithful. (Rev 17)

One  of the errors Arminians cling to is known as “prevenient  grace.”  This form of grace is thought to prepare the sinner by assisting them to believe binding total libertarian free will with the scriptural idea of salvation by Christ alone through faith, but it creates other problems. The Arminian notion was predated in Romanism and stated at the Council of Trent (session 6, canon 5) as “stimulating” and “assisting” grace. This idea runs contrary to scripture, for example, we read that Lydia’s “heart was opened”  (Acts 16) before she could attend unto the things  Paul spoke of. The Papist and Arminian believes this is a prime example of God attempting, trying His hardest to offer the Gospel to someone by giving them a measure of  “assisting” grace. The person receiving this so-called grace is given the chance to accept or reject the Gospel. Unfortunately not everyone has the chance to even hear the Gospel, let alone reject it, so any idea of God sending preparing grace is not worth debating. It’s a weak attempt to avoid a biblical conclusion. If grace is not given to all equally the free will works religion falls apart, for a mass of humanity has never had a chance to even have the Gospel preached to them. The point is inconsistent with scripture as I have shown above and throughout these posts. I only mention the idea because, I believe,  predestination is still contained within the concept for God only  gives “prevenient  grace” to  those who hear the Gospel and the Gospel is not preached to everyone everywhere. The free will notion of prevenient grace is still limited. Clearly, the experience Lydia had was  foretold in Eze. 36 and was in reference to the new birth, “A new heart  also will I  give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will  take away  the stony heart out of your flesh, and  I will give you an heart of  flesh.” (see also Hebrews 8) This is regeneration by the Holy Spirit and not “assisting” grace. 

Yours in the Lord,

jm