Sunday, May 10, 2015

Able Versus Ought

Thank you LR for your thoughtful, concerned comment regarding the Reformed (I, of course would say Biblical) position.  A great model for discussing these issues of disagreement I find in the relationship between Dr. Michael Brown (Arminian charismatic Messianic Jew) and Dr. James White (Reformed Baptist).  They continue to be brothers in the Lord, love each other, yet hold starkly different views (on what we call the "non-essentials") having debated them several times . . . yet also are able to work together as debating partners when going up against another team where they've defended the essentials of the faith.  Dr. Brown even just recently let White fill in as host on his radio show. 

Now . . . to your points.

Among other things you wrote:  "Can God command a man to do something he is not capable of? Nay, may God forbid such heresy!"

I'm hoping that you wrote this quickly without thinking it all the way through, or maybe misspoke.

For there appears to me nothing more obvious than that the whole crux of the Gospel, in fact, that Christ's sacrifice was made precisely BECAUSE man is not able to do what God has commanded him to do.  Right?

A well understood, long-established purpose of The Law was given essentially to prove the very point that man is not CAPABLE of obeying the Lord's commandments.

Not only could we not keep the 10 commandments . . . Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount made them all the more impossible to keep where He said that even our hearts were to be held to God's perfect standard whether we committed the transgression in action or not. 

God's commands perfection.  Surely you are not suggesting that you, me or anyone . . . is CAPABLE of obeying that standard.   This is the whole point of what Jesus had to die on the cross being the ONLY one capable of actually obeying what the Father had commanded . . . right?

So it looks more like a heresy to me to suggest that we are CAPABLE of keeping God's law . . . even in the slightest degree.  Talk about making "the cross a mere secondary link in the chain of Salvation" and "diminishing Christ's finished work(s)? on the cross"!

I pray you are not suggesting what such well known heretics as Jesse Morrell and Kerrigan Skelly arrogantly, delusionally and un-Biblically promote:  ie., that man is capable of not sinning, that regeneration is attained through human will power.  Morrell also teaches that God is not omniscient, does not know the future . . . that Christ did not really bear all our sins on the cross--was not punished for our sin, and that our salvation is based on our ability to maintain a constant state of sinless perfection!  Talk about heresy!  Talk about exalting man at the expense of the Savior!

God obviously commands many things that we OUGHT to do; but this should not be confused with what we are able to do.   God's perfect holy standard is there to reveal our sin and our utter and complete need FOR A SAVIOR--for One Who CAN live righteously and satisfy justice and the demands of the law.

According to God, speaking through Paul in Rom. 3:19, 20, God's divine imperatives are given to show us our inability.  They are put there to be our undoing--NOT to give us some false hope that we can actually achieve the standard of perfection or obedience.   "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."

"That every mouth may be stopped" says to someone like Jesse Morrell and any other "sinless perfection" advocates that they ought to zip it, shut up--what you teach is false.

Anyway, among the different issues you raised, this one leapt off the page the hardest and fastest.  Some of the others I also intend to address.  Indeed, I agree whole-heartedly.  God is not only the Savior of our souls but also of our reasoning.  I'm a big fan of logic and reason as I recognize them as the very attributes of God which gives us to share. 

But I certainly don't believe we are to reason TO God.  In our fallen, unregenerate state . . . we cannot.  It is only when we START with and from God . . . using His revelation as the base standard . . . that then are we able to correctly reason--reason FROM God.

Anyhow, I sure do appreciate you taking the time to challenge me and provide the opportunity to flesh out these issues more in depth.  I love how James White and Michael Brown can STRONGLY disagree and contend and "divide" The Word to make their cases, yet continue on as loving brothers in Christ.

1 comment:

Linda R said...

Good afternoon,

Yes, we are coming from different directions that have been discussed and debated for so very long. We seek, we want to know Him and we do this in love.

I feel if preachers (from any doctrinal bias) strip man of his God given free will ability to obey and DO what is right they totally negate repentance proven by deeds! Unless man is a free agent born with full capacity to recognize and choose between good and evil the commands in scripture make no sense whatsoever and must all be re-defined to clarify his lack of ability to obey.

MOST of scriptures is a comparison between good and evil, right and wrong. All throughout the Psalms and Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, elsewhere the vivid contrast between righteousness and wickedness is set before our eyes accompanied by the warning to CHOOSE LIFE! Obedience unto righteousness or sin unto death! BUT the so called Christians tell the world you CAN’T make a right choice or even obey God unless He does it for you.

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; Deut30:19-20

‘If you do well will you not be accepted? And if you do not well, sin lies at the door and its desire is for you but you should RULE OVER IT!’ Gen4:7

The fact that man is able to stop sinning and turn toward God in repentance is not ‘saving himself’ ….. or an attempt to be as ‘Perfect as God.’ God requires that each person love Him according to the strength of their mind, heart, and spirit and exercise such a faith in their daily walk. Sins cannot be forgiven in advance, only ‘Past sins are remitted in repentance,’ Rom3:25, so continuing to sin willfully against God’s Commandments means instant ‘disqualification from His Kingdom. (1Cor6:9-10, Gal5:19-21, Eph5:3-7, Rev21:8)

Justin Martyr said “In the beginning, He made the human race with the power of thought and of choosing truth and doing right, so that all men are without excuse before God.” (c.160, A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs by David Bercot, p. 271, published by Hendrickson Publishers)


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