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Grace PLUS “something” equals nothing. Ephesians 2:8,9 & Romans 9:16

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

Ephesians 2:8,9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

This biggest misconception the non-cal, arminians, free will bunch labels us with is that God forces salvation on us, and that we do not advocate choosing Christ in the salvation of sinners. Nothing could be further from the truth, in my opinion. It’s just that we view the salvation process differently, that’s all. The opposing view has regeneration as the end result of God adding sinners into the family of God, whereas, we view regeneration as the start of this process. Let’s look at some passages that will support my view. I will not start with those in the title of this blogpost, but will go to other verses/passags.

Here’s a passage in John 3 that supports our view:

John 3:1-7

1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Before a man can see the Kingdom of God he must FIRST be born again/born from above. But what must he be born again/born from above with? Let’s appeal to the scriptures to prove what does this.

1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Now, you may state that I am holding to gospel regeneration, when in fact, I am not. I do believe in gospel conversion, but not gospel regeneration. If it took hearing the word of God to be regenerated, then all those who are deaf have no chance whatsoever. It takes the Spirit regenerating a man so that he can truly hear what the gospel means. Jesus stated things such as “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear”(Matthew 13:9), “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear”(Matthew 11:15), “And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear”(Mark 4:9), “And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear”(Luke 8:8), & “It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear”(Luke 14:35). Not everyone who hears the gospel preached “has ears to hear with”. Even the sheep, in their unregenerate state do not have these ears to hear with. It is once God has regenerated them, has given them eyes to see with(Deuteronomy 29:4 & Revelation 3:18), a new fleshly heart, removing the stony one(Ezekiel 11:19 & 36:26), new ears to hear with(see the verses I already post from Matthew, Mark, & Luke), that the gospel takes root in their heart(Matthew 13:3-8{parable of the seed sower}). God first removes the stony heart because it can not receive the seed, the word preached. But the fleshly heart can, and does receive it. And others will come along and water it and it will produce fruit unto conversion/salvation.

You see, when God regenerates a man, it truly causes him to see how vile, how wicked, how ungodly they truly are. It shows them how deserving they are of eternal torment, and causes them to come to Him, seeking His grace, mercy and love. The unregenerate does not think they will go to hell, let alone deserve it. They rest on their works, much like the pharisee in the parable Jesus spoke concerning the pharisee and publican(Luke 18:10-14). Look at all the hollywood stars and what they do. Anytime a natural disaster occurs, most seem ready to lend a helping hand, and this is a good thing to do. But good works coming from a bad tree produce bad fruit. Their “good” deeds are marred with sin, therefore, rendering them evil in the sight of God.

Now onto those verses I have in this blog’s title, before I stray off on a tangent.

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

Where is man’s participation in this? This isn’t referring to conversion, but rather, regeneration. Conversion is not regeneration, and vice versa. However, regeneration leads to conversion. Once God has begun this work, it causes us to come to Him. The preaching of the gospel comes to life(John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life”), and we can now understand what it is that we must do in order to be saved. In Acts 16, the Phillipian jailer came to Paul & Silas after the ground shook and woke him from his sleep. He came trembling to them and asked them this; “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”(vs. 30). This same man had beaten them earlier and had placed them in prison and was watching over them. Yet, when God had regenerated him, he came to them trembling, wanting to be saved. In actuality, he was saved in that God had begun the process, and would finish it as well(1 Thess. 5:24 & Phipp. 1:6). This same man who had beaten them, then washed their stripes, the stripes that he probably put there to begin with. God had crushed his stony heart, swept out the fragments, and put in a fleshly heart, a heart of love.

Now, in Ephesians 2, it states this in verses 8 & 9:

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Look at the words “and that not of yourselves” very closely. How then can anyone say that synergistic salvation is biblical? Sure, we come seeking after Him, but not before He has first begun a work within us. God just doesn’t do this to everyone. The goats have no desire to come to Him. They are content with their sin, and they will refuse to come to the Light to be saved, all the way up unto being placed in their grave.

In John 3, Jesus spoke this to Nicodemus;

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Those who don’t believe are already condemned. Jesus did not come to condemn the world, it already was. Jesus came to fulfill the Law, and by doing so, He would call His sheep out from amongst the goats. The goats will not come to the Light because all it does is show them their faults, and they hate the Light just for doing that. The sheep come to the Light because it shows that God has already began doing a work that only He can, and it shows that they are His works and His alone. Jesus stated in John 10 that the good Shepherd would lay His life down for His sheep. In John 17, He stated He did not pray for the world, but for those the Father had given Him to redeem, those that were given to Him from the foundation of the world(Ephesians 1:4 & Revelation 17:8). So, eventhough this may not be my best blogpost, I pray that there is enough scriptures to show you my beliefs and where I get them from.

I will close with these verses:

Deuteronomy 32:10 He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.

Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

Jeremiah 31:18 I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the Lord my God.

2 Thess. 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

Hebrews 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

May God richly bless you in accordance to His will is my humble prayer.

Willis Fletcher, Jr.

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