Archive for February, 2009

The Doctrine of Salvation
Greg Brandenburg
Grace Community Church Tyler
February 8, 15, 22 and March 1, 2009

I. The Biblical view of providence avoid four common errors in this area: (Grudem – Bible Doctrine)

  • (1) deism – God created the world and then essentially abandoned it

  • (2)pantheism – the creation does not have a real, distinct existence in itself, but is only part of God

  • (3) events in creation are not determined by chance or randomness

  • (4) events in creation are not determined by fate or determinism

  • The Order of Salvation

    The Order of Decrees from

    Supralapsarian Infralapsarian Amyraldian Arminian Semi-Pelagian Pelagian
    To create mankind
    To elect some toeternal life and the rest to eternal separation To permit the fall of man To permit the fall of man – physical and moral deterioration Gift of free willwhereby each may do all that is required of him
    To permit the fall of man To elect some to eternal life, leaving the rest to their just deserts The atonement of Christ – where all men are made savable, with salvationconditioned on individual faith. The atonement of Christ – where satisfaction is made for all men and all are given sufficient grace to believe, if they will The atonement of Christ – to make possible the gift of sufficient grace and give this grace to all Gift of the law andgospel to illuminate the way and persuade men to walk in it.
    The atonement of Christ – where satisfaction is made for the elect thus securing their redemption To elect some to receive moral ability and the necessary grace to believe To predestine to eternal life those whom He foresaw would believe of their own free will Salvation of all who freely cooperate with this grace Gift of Christ to (expiate past sinand) set a good example
    The gift of the Holy Spirit to regenerate and sanctify the redeemed The gift of the Holy Spirit to sanctify believers Sanctification of all who cooperate with the sufficient grace Sanctification by cooperation with God‘s grace Acceptance of all who walk in the right way

    Explanation of Election

    An act of God before creation in which he chooses some people to be saved, not on account of any foreseen merit in them, but only because of his sovereign good pleasure.

    New Testament passages

    Acts 13:48 – When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honoured the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.

    Rom.8:28-30 – 8:28 And we know that all things work together 32 for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, 8:29 because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son 33 would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 34 8:30 And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.

    Rom.9:11-13 – 9:11 even before they were born or had done anything good or bad (so that God’s purpose in election 23 would stand, not by works but by 24 his calling)25 9:12 26 it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger,” 27 9:13 just as it is written: “Jacob I lovedbut Esau I hated.” 28

    Eph.1:4-6 – 1:4 For 8 he chose us in Christ 9 before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished 10 in his sight 11 in love. 12 1:5 He did this by predestining 13 us to adoption as his 14 sons 15 through Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure 16 of his will – 1:6 to the praise of the glory of his grace 17 that he has freely bestowed on us in his dearly loved Son.

    2 Tim.1:9 – who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,

How Are We To Respond To Election? (Grudem)
It is a comfort – Rom 8:28-30 – God acts for the good of the elect
A reason to praise God – Eph.1:5-6
A motivation for evangelism – 2 Tim.2:10; Acts 18:9-11

What Election Is Not:
A. Fatalistic/Mechanistic
God destined us in love – Eph.1:5
Somehow it is still our decision and we are responsible – John 3:18

B. Based on Foreknowledge That We Would Believe
Not even God can know the future if the future is not determined.
(Open Theism)
Choice is not based on something that we do or will do – Rom.9:11-13
Election is Unconditional – not based on anything other than God’s choice

We do not have a choice

God causes us to choose Christ voluntarily
Must a choice be absolutely free? Is any choice absolutely free?
When you chose your spouse, was that a free choice? You had a limited pool of available and willing people.

Unbelievers have no chance

Unbelief is always the responsibility of the unbeliever – Jn.8:43-44; Rom.1:20

Election is unfair

If God saves one He has to save all to be fair?
It would be fair not to save anyone – ask an angel (2 Pet.2:4)
The objection is handled by Paul in Rom.9:19-24

God desires that all are saved – 1Tim.2:5-6; 2 Pet.3:9

Revealed will vs. secret will
All meaning all the elect
Christ’s death is sufficient for all but effective for some

Electing some means damning others

Jude 4; Rom.9:17-22; 11:7; 1 Pet.2:8
The cause of condemnation is always attributed to man
Election is from grace, condemnation is from justice

Whosoever Passages
Acts 10:13 states For whosover shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Rev. 22:17 whosover will let him take the water of life freely
Acts 2:21 states whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved
John 3:16
John 6:37

John 6 gives a perspective of man and God when it comes to election

The purpose of miracles was to confirm the message and messenger – see v.14
When John asked “are you the one” Jesus pointed to His miracles – Mt. 11:7ff
Is it okay that they might be expecting miracles? – Isaiah 35
What is Jesus response to them when they begin to follow Him around? – v.26ff
What is their question in v.28? What must we DO?
What is the answer in v.29? Believe. Is this a work? Are we saved by works?
Look what they ask for in v.30 – show us a sign. What had He just done? But they couldn’t see.
Jesus points this out in v.36
Then He explains it in v.37
In this context, who is everyone in v.40?

It becomes more clear in v.44. This elaborates on His statement in v.37.
Mixed into this discourse are simple statements of salvation
v.47 is a clear statement on salvation – he who believes
v.51 – anyone

Why does He start talking about eating flesh and drinking blood? Because they were looking at Moses Manna as a real miracle of God in providing for their needs. Jesus makes the point that it isn’t about the bread – they ate and died anyway (v.58). But His miracles are about the Bread of Life

Answer: John 6:65 – So Jesus added, 110 “Because of this I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has allowed him to come.”


The choices of man are not free. They are constrained by the sovereignty of God. No one can exercise his will apart from God or God is no longer God. God sovereignly directs our will in two ways: 1 – directly through providence (see Pharoah in Rom.9) 2 – indirectly through the constraints of human nature. On the latter, God has given man a nature that constrains him to act accordingly. Our physical nature constrains us to breathe air, drink and eat regularly, our maximum speed on foot is less than 22 mph. We can’t fly or breathe under water because it is not our nature. We may attempt it but the results are usually not good.

Similarly, our moral nature is constrained. Even in a perfect state, man had constraint on his will. At creation, man did not know good from evil. This doesn’t mean right from wrong but indicates that God placed limits on man’s choice by leaving him in ignorance of certain things. After the fall, man’s nature is constrained by sin and can only act in accordance with self-interest. As psychologists will tell you, “the greatest predictor of future behavior is past behavior.”

Probably the most common definition of free will is the “ability to make choices without any prior prejudice, inclination, or disposition,”[1] and specifically that these “free will” choices are not ultimately predestined by God.

According to the Bible, however, the choices of man are not only ultimately determined by the sovereignty of God, but morally determined by one’s nature. Man is indeed a free moral agent and freely makes choices, but in his natural state he necessarily acts in accordance with his fallen nature. Man willingly makes choices that flow from the heart, and sin is also always attributed to the desires of the heart (James 1:13-15). When a person turns to Christ, he does so not because of his own “free will”, but because God has supernaturally enabled and moved him to do so through regeneration. God never coerces man’s will, rather God makes him willing to believe through the work of the Holy Spirit.

This is a doctrinal distinction between the theologies of Calvinism and Arminianism: In Arminianism, God saves those who believe of their own free will. In Calvinism, God saves those who willingly believed because he sovereignly brought them to faith through the regenerating work of the Spirit.

Rather than man’s will being free, Jesus tells us that, “everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin,” (John 8:34). The heart, until born again, is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). God saw in man that “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him and I will raise him up on the last day,” (John 6:44).

Man is most free in heaven, where he is morally unable to sin. True freedom isn’t freedom to sin, but freedom from sin.


Audio Files

Education quote from M. Scott Peck

Posted: February 11, 2009 in Education

From the blog

Then there was this rather sobering reflection on the state of education today from Richard Peck:

You can teach children, or you can fear their parents, but you can’t do both.

So true. When teachers pander to parents, children lose. They become spoiled, weak, vain, self-indulgent. Parents can’t always demand enough from their children — we are too close, too sympathetic. A good teacher will take a child and force them to do better than they thought they could. And it will cost the child. It will be hard. It will make them work, think, cry even. But it will make them grow.