By: Paul Franco

Calvinists, Arminians and middle of the road non-denominational denominations would all answer yes to this question. We would also agree that putting one’s faith in Christ for salvation is well pleasing to the Father. However, the Calvinist does not see eye to eye when answering the question, why one person believes in Christ and another does not. The Arminian and the middle of the roader answer this question by saying man’s “free will” is the deciding factor. They both agree that the unregenerate will of man has the ability and is capable of choosing or rejecting Christ. Both are able to produce various Bible passages that refer to man choosing to serve God, but they fail to understand “why” one is choosing to serve God.

The Calvinist or reformed, will agree that man does choose to put his faith in Christ, but it is the act of God’s saving grace which precedes personal faith that is the determining factor. The unregenerate stony heart has no ability to believe in Christ because he does not accept the things of the Spirit of God (1 Cor 2:14). God first regenerates the heart of the rebel sinner, then he is able to bow the knee and confess Christ as his personal savior (Eze 36:26; Tit 3:4-7; Rom 10:9-10). Let us examine this in the light of Scripture as we exegete Romans 8:8 where Apostle Paul says, “those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” We immediately see that the “will” of the unbeliever is not able to please God. Paul establishes the point in Romans 8:9b that anyone void of the Holy Spirit cannot please God because they do not belong to Him.
READ MORE

{ 0 comments }

The “Free-Will” of Man

by Paul Franco on February 10, 2011

Apostle Paul establishes in Romans 3:9 that every human being both Jew and Gentile is under the reign of sin and prior to conversion he is enslaved to sin which results in death (Rom 3:9; Rom 6:6; Rom 6:16). The unbeliever presents himself “willingly” of his own “free will” as an obedient slave to his master King-Sin, “do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey” (Rom 6:16). Sin is personified as a reigning king who exerts his power and dominion over the unbeliever (Rom 5:21; Rom 6:14). Here is the glaring example of every man, woman, and child walking up to serve his master-sin and presenting himself as an obedient slave (Rom 3:10-18). The “natural man” obeys sin’s lusts in his mortal body and the tentacles of sin’s grip ensures that the sinner departs in his behavior from God’s standard of uprightness (Rom 6:12).

Sin’s dominance over the unbeliever controls the will to the point of servitude whereby the sinner is rendered powerless and he conducts himself in direct disobedience to God’s divine law. Sin is willing and able to rule over those who are living in unbelief or “living in the flesh” (Rom 7:5). Cain was “living in the flesh” and God said “sin is crouching at the door and its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Cain did not rule over sin but sin ruled and reigned over Cain. The point is that there was an inability within Cain to rule over sin. The will of Cain was sold under sin and thereby controlled by his master. The passage does not state that Cain was able to do that which was pleasing to God but that he was “in the flesh” and was not able to please God (Rom 8:8). The “will of man” should never be thought of as “free” outside of Christ’s redemption, “for everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin,” “so if the Son (Jesus) sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:34, 36). But you will say, “Man has a free-will to choose Christ.” I respond with a question, “What controls the will of man?” To this I answer, “It is the most powerful motivating force which compels it to act.” In Pauline theology “the will of man” is “under sin,” and sin is the influence and controller of it. For this reason Paul says the believer has “been set free from sin” “so that he would no longer be enslaved to sin” “but he has become a slave of God” (Rom 6:18, 6, 22). If man has a “free-will” then it would follow that there would be no need for Christ to set it free, for he would be able to please God without the Holy Spirit.

READ MORE

{ 0 comments }

The unbeliever lives out his life in the worthlessness of his own mind, having a darkened understanding and excluded from the life of God because of his own ignorance and hardness of heart (Eph 4:17-18). People do not consider what life is really about and if they do, they are deceiving themselves and are not honestly seeking truth. Apostle Paul describes man’s mind as useless and seeking after meaningless thought. The natural condition of man’s mind is empty and frivolous. He describes the mind of man as “darkness.” When a person is in darkness he cannot discern objects accurately. He cannot noticeably tell the difference between the night stand and the dresser. Man’s faculties for properly understanding his existence in this life do not work. Just as ones’ eye cannot see in the dark so one’s understanding, if darkened, cannot function properly. Lastly, Paul explains that people are separated (alienated) from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them. He describes man’s mind as void of any light, a place full of ignorance. Paul does not mean that people do not have the ability to increase in knowledge in such things as – music, math, computers, engineering, etc..- but that they are ignorant about LIGHT- truth vs. falsehood, right vs. wrong, wisdom vs. folly, good vs. evil, and God vs. satan.

If we could encounter God’s mind and thoughts, we would be submerged with light, but if we walk in man’s mind we would be stumbling around in a dark place.

1Jn 1:5 “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.”

God is light and in Him is no darkness at all, whereas man is darkness and in him is no light at all. Jesus said He is the “truth” and “the Light of the world” (Jn 14:6, Jn 8:12).

READ MORE

{ 0 comments }

Romans 3:24 “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”

There is truly nothing more wonderful in the world than these words penned by Apostle Paul. The glorious Gospel of God’s free choice to justify the ungodly by His grace alone, in Christ alone! I live off of these words and if Paul would not have explained it so plainly I would never have believed it. Praise to the glory of God for this “Good News.”

1. Justification is an act performed by God on behalf of the believing sinner.

It is something that God does for us. He is the one acting, not us. We do not justify ourselves, nor does anyone else justify us. The church cannot justify us, and we cannot justify ourselves. God is the one that performs this transaction between Himself and the sinner, with no intermediaries. God is the one that justifies us, to demonstrate His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Rom 3:26). God is the one working and justifying the ungodly, the believer does no work at all and his faith is accounted to him for righteousness (Rom 4:5). And again we read that God is the one who predestines, He is the one who calls, and He is the one who justifies (Rom 8:30). It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing (John 6:63).

READ MORE

{ 0 comments }

Holy! Holy! Holy! is the LORD of Hosts

November 8, 2010

Isaiah 6:1-5 The Seraphim do not walk or stand in the immediate vicinity of the Holy one in His temple, for they have been created with two wings by which they hover and fly while in His presence. They cannot bear to look at His majesty, for God has endowed them with two wings by […]

Read the full article →

Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

September 20, 2010

As we study all of the bible together as a whole, we realize that the Lord carefully prepared the way for His son. And He prepared that way for over a millennium. The Lord spent nearly 1,500 years on types and shadows, sacrifices, blood, prophets, priests, redemption’s, and temples, laying that foundation, so that when […]

Read the full article →

Universalistic Statements

August 23, 2010

There are many Scriptures that directly state or imply for whom Christ died that stress a universal generalization. The point of these universalistic texts is to ensure the readership does NOT limit the death of Christ to an outlook which is smaller than it actually was. Here are various texts which can be included into […]

Read the full article →

The Dark Guest

August 11, 2010

O LORD, Bend my hands and cut them off, for I have often struck thee with a wayward will, when these fingers should embrace thee by faith. I am not yet weaned from all created glory, honour, wisdom, and esteem of others, for I have a secret motive to eye my name in all I […]

Read the full article →