Monday, July 06, 2009

LIMITED ATONEMENT IN JOHN 10?

In the comments section of my previous article (Election, Salvation & God’s Purposes) I was asked the following (relating to John 10):

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I have a question; I am curious as to how non-Calvinists will understand a text that (I think) plainly teaches a distinction between those for whom Christ died for and whom he didn't die for. You claim that Jesus died for everyone in your post, so I suppose it is relevant.

How do you interpret the text from the Gospel of John where Jesus is recorded as saying the following:

22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter,
23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon.
24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me,
26 but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.
30 I and the Father are one.”

And prior to this Jesus claims that he lays his life down for the sheep.


Here he clearly, it seems to me, describes two different group of persons: the sheep, for whom he lays his life down, those whom the Father had given him, who will never die (because they have eternal life); the non-sheep, who don't believe in him because they are not a part of his flock, for whom he does not lay his life.

This text seems clear to me; it may not teach exactly what I understand it as teaching however.

What sense can you make of it?

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I see that the question above specifically relates to the Calvinist doctrine of “Limited Atonement” but a second Calvinist doctrine is also inferred due to its close relationship to the first. It is that of Unconditional Election: that God unconditionally elected some to be saved, and that Jesus laid down His life ONLY for those whom God had unconditionally elected for salvation.

Firstly, before considering the portion of scripture quoted, I again draw attention to the fact that scripture as a whole is a revelation of God and His purposes. Any interpretation of a PORTION of scripture MUST be compatible with the revelation contained in the rest of scripture. If an interpretation contradicts the clear meaning of the rest of scripture, that interpretation is clearly wrong.

The excerpt from John, taken in isolation, could be seen to give some support for the Calvinist doctrines that are alluded to in the question. However, should that inferred support lead us to ignore very CLEAR statements elsewhere in scripture that categorically say that God desires ALL to be saved and that he provided His Son to die for ALL and not a limited few?

“This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires ALL people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”(1Ti 2:3-4)

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that ALL should reach repentance.” (2Pe 3:9)

"For God so loved THE WORLD, that he gave his only Son, that WHOEVER believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that THE WORLD MIGHT BE SAVED through him. (John 3:16 -17)

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL people to myself." (Joh 12:32)

“For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on ALL.” (Rom 11:32)


Could any statements about God’s will be CLEARER than those? Are they in any way compatible with the view that God has already chosen an elect few to be saved, and by His will and His will alone has determined that the rest will be damned for eternity?

Therefore is it even remotely possible that John 10 is promoting those Calvinist doctrines of limited atonement and unconditional election when it is made blatantly clear elsewhere in scripture that He desires ALL to be saved and that he gave His Son for THE WORLD and not for a pre-elected minority?
Clearly not without some very creative redefining of what is meant by some very simple words such as ALL, the WORLD and WHOEVER.
Unfortunately, that is exactly the approach taken by those who choose to protect their theology from the exposing light of scripture. When scripture reads “ALL” the Calvinist sees “All of the elect”, and therefore changes the meaning of scripture to enable him to justify his theology.

So how do we reconcile John 10 with the broader view of scripture, as demonstrated above? Who are the sheep according to Jesus?

The answer is given half way through the excerpt from John 10.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)

His sheep are those who hear His voice and follow Him. Those who do not hear His voice and follow Him are not His sheep. We see elsewhere in scripture that there is a relationship between hearing Jesus’ word and faith.

Rom 10:17, tells us that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ”.
Within its context, this quote from Romans 10 addresses Israel’s disobedience to the word they have heard. They heard the word but remained disobedient and contrary. They heard the word but did not HEED the word.
Faith (belief) will not come to those who do not hear (give heed to) the word of Christ.

This is exactly the picture of those to who Jesus is speaking in John 10. They are people who have witnessed the miraculous works Jesus has done and have heard His teaching, and yet remain contrary in nature – refusing to accept the clear evidence readily available to them, they ask for more.
They refused to heed what Jesus had already said and done and therefore were not His sheep. They did not hear his words so they were denied the faith that comes through the word of Christ.

See another passage also loved by Calvinists that Calvinists assume limits the redeemed to a group specifically chosen and given to the Son by the Father.

Joh 6:37–39 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.

But the following verse adds the qualifying statement of :

Joh 6:40 “For this is the will of my Father, that EVERYONE who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."


EVERYONE who looks on the Son and believes in Him.

Compare with the famous John 3:16 (and especially note its context)

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. “

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (Joh 3:14-18)

In the wilderness everyone who LOOKED UPON the serpent were saved from the poison of the snakes. Those who chose not to look upon the serpent were not saved.

Likewise, it is the will of that Father that EVERYONE who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life. Those are the ones who the Father gives to Jesus, those who look upon Him and believe in Him.
Who are those able to believe in Him?

Those who hear and give heed to His word.

Rom 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes”


“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says…”


Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years.
Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, 'They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.'
As I swore in my wrath, 'They shall not enter my rest.'"
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.
But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.
As it is said, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion."
For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses?
And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?
And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient?
So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief. (Heb 3:7-19 )


Relationship with Jesus is conditional upon BELIEVING in Him. Belief (faith) in Him comes through hearing (giving heed to) His word and acting upon it.
Who are the sheep that are able to believe in Jesus? Those who give heed to his word and follow Him.

How can they give heed to his word? Because there is POWER to SAVE in HIS gospel.

So who are you going to hear and heed? Jesus and HIS word? Or the word of man's theology?

42 comments:

Kevin Jackson said...

Hi Onesimus, Well said. Calvinists really rip this one out of context, don't they?

If you haven't seen it already, there's an excellent article on the SEA site that deals with the context of the John 10 passage: The Order of Faith and Election in John's Gospel by Robert Hamilton.

Specifically, Hamilton points out that the sheep in John 6, 10, 17 and other passages are God fearing Jews who were seeking the Father prior to the arrival of the Son. When Jesus came, all these believing Jews (and Gentiles Jn 10:16) were given over to the Son by the Father.

The context is a transfer of the flock - from the Father to the Son. So when Jesus speaks to the Pharisees in John 10 and says "you don't believe because you aren't my sheep" he is not promoting the idea of deterministic monergistic election. Rather, he is simply pointing out to the non-believing Jews that they don't believe him because they were not following the Father in the first place. If they had known the Father they would know him. This comports very well with the overall flow of John and parallels Jesus' prayer to the Father in John 17:6 (which comes at the completion of his earthly ministry).

"I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word."

Notice here at the completion of his ministry that Jesus speaks again of those who the father gave him. And here they are spoken of in the past tense - "those whom you gave me".

Going on further in John 17, verse 20 states:

"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message."

So Jesus clearly makes a distinction between the sheep in John 10 (the God fearing Jews whom the Father gave him), and those followers who come later (like us!).

And of course his followers are those who believe - which can be anyone.

Onesimus said...

Thanks Kevin.
I saw the article but have not read it yet.

I wanted to look at the text of John 10 itself and not be influenced by anything else in the preparation of my reply to the question.

I'll now be interested to go back and see what Robert Hamilton had to say.

Thanks again mate.

Tim

Onesimus said...

Kevin, in addition to my reply above.
The way I see it, if someone refuses to accept a clear and specific truth from scripture such as the fact that God desires ALL to be saved; then there is no way that they would accept the findings of a man in an article presented on an Arminian website.

Limited atonement is totally refuted by both Paul and Peter in the verses I quote in my article.
Therefore the whole argument that John 10 promotes that doctrine (through inference) is shown to have no foundation at all.

Considering that so many still cling to "Limited Atonement" it shows that they have more love for their theology than they have for the God who has revealed Himself through the truth of scripture.

Kevin Jackson said...

You're probably right. If someone is already committed to something that's clearly contrary to scripture, they are not likely to be convinced by an article like this one.

The way I see it, even if I don't understand a passage, it is better to leave the passage with unexplained tension than to attempt to interpret it to contradict an obviously taught truth (Like God loves the world).

Steven said...

Hello Onesimus! I am glad you got around to commenting on John 10 like I asked, that was very kind of you to listen to my request. I'll tell you what; if I wrote an actual response in your comment box here it would be very long and perhaps impractical. If you don't mind, I suppose I can write a blog post as a response with maybe some things for both of us to think about as we consider the topic.

Also, I have written a few blog posts which basically consist of an argument in favor of limited atonement over other views. If you'd like, I'd appreciate you reading over them and letting me know what you think. I think the arguments are persuasive and would definitely enjoy the dialog with you, as well as other Arminian brothers here in the blog world.

Steven said...

Hey onesimus... I replied.

Onesimus said...

Steven,
I’ve seen your reply to my answer to your question and have commented on your blog.
I’m not sure what benefit there is to continue discussion on this matter when your arguments continue to be based on your own reason. The arguments you present in support for limited atonement (on your blog) have no scriptural content at all. They are based on your own “logical” reasoning but ALL logic falls apart if your foundational premise is false.

On your blog you describe yourself as a “Calvinist” and “a philosophy major”. It is clear that the foundations of your beliefs start with Calvin and are justified through the application of philosophical reasoning.

I have also seen you take PART of my words and twist them to say the complete opposite to what they were saying in their context. This is exactly the same as the approach many Calvinists take to scripture. If you don’t take CONTEXT into consideration then you can make ANY written statement mean what YOU want it to mean.
Such an approach is a total abuse of the scriptures (or other writings) and will NOT lead to an understanding of the truth being revealed.

While I would hope to be wrong, I suspect you have more interest in defending your Calvinist beliefs than you have in discovering the truth. Therefore it is not likely that you will not heed my advice to devote yourself to the scriptures alone with the help of the Holy Spirit alone; instead of merely using parts of scripture to defend the doctrines promoted by the theology you have chosen

Steven said...

Hello again Onesimus

I'm not sure I understand your disdain and distrust of "logic" and such; if God wants us to know and understand him, it can't be that he tells us things that we are not true by way of other methods of knowledge. Do you disagree with the idea, for example, that it would be unfair to Christ for God to force him to die in the place of a person who was going to be damned anyway? If you had massive debts to the bank, let's say, would it be fair for the bank to take a payment from me in your place and then also take a payment from you too? Why then would it not also be unfair of God to punish Christ for Hitler's sins, or Pol Pot's sins (assuming they are damned)?

Also, you have not really interacted with anything that I wrote about John 10, particularly Jesus' teaching that being a sheep is prior to believing. Even if the distinction is between persons who supposedly were following the Father, that still means there are persons who can't and won't believe, and there are persons for whom Jesus does not die.

Onesimus said...

Steven,
I dealt with John 10 in my original article. I also dealt with the matter of the identity of the sheep and what distinguishes them as sheep. I also dealt with the relationship of faith and what part it plays in the Christian life; and how that faith comes into someone's life.

The sheep are those who hear His voice and follow Him. They are able to believe because they hear (more than a mere sensory experience) His word. His gospel is the power of God leading to salvation for those who believe.

I don't see the need to cover ground again that I have already been over.

As for logic, it is only of value if you start with the right foundation. That foundation is the word of God.

The personal examples you use are not based on scripture. They are based on your personal ideas of what may or may not be moral or what may or may not be fair.

Hitler and Pol Pot would be TOTALLY covered by the atonement if they fulfilled its conditions - of denying self and following Jesus. We can only assume that was not the case.
IF they repented, then they are just as saved as any of the apostles.

In fact I have heard that many of Hitler's generals and high ranking officers, who were executed after the war, repented and turned to Christ before their execution. They received the gospel from an American Lutheran minister who was assigned to them after their trials.

The atonement is available for EVERYONE but not everyone follows its conditions. God did not limit the atonement. WE are the only limiting factor. We have the responsibility of fulfilling the conditions so that we can receive its benefits.

Steven said...

Hello Onesimus,

Regarding Hitler and Pol Pot, what are they being punished for then? Is it for their sins that Christ died for? How is that fair to Christ, to punish him for sins that would be punished again anyway? If for other sins, then, what other sins? If not for any other sins, then why are they punished?

Thanks for your reply :)

Onesimus said...

Steven,
I've already said this how many times?

The benefits of the atonement are available through faith and repentance.

No faith and repentance. No atonement benefits.

Those are the primary conditions, ordained by God Himself and proclaimed in the preaching of Jesus and the apostles throughout the New Testament.

Are you going to continue to trust your own reasoning or are you going to trust the word of God?

Onesimus said...

As stated in the previous comment, the conditional aspect of the atonement has been addressed more than once.

Repeated questions and comments, ignoring what has been said several times before, will not be accepted.

Obed Omri said...

"When Jesus came, all these believing Jews (and Gentiles Jn 10:16) were given over to the Son by the Father." But also, "the sheep in John 6, 10, 17 and other passages are God fearing Jews who were seeking the Father prior to the arrival of the Son."

How inconsistent!

The sheep are believers who are given to the Son, even the Gentiles of v16, but the sheep in John 6, 10, 17 are only God-fearing Jews? What? "I have sheep that are not of this fold." Doesn't that mean that the sheep ARE NOT "only God-fearing Jews"?

The argument is inconsistent. Nonsensical, in context.

Christ was speaking of His fulfillment of prophecy--see Isa. 56:8; with allusion Ezek. 34:23; 37:24; but here Jesus applies it more broadly, as Jews and Gentiles will be united in one messianic community (cf. Matt. 28:18–20; Eph. 2:11–22).

"I lay down my life for the sheep." If you exclude the Gentiles, as you do by saying that the sheep here in these three chapters are only God-fearing Jews(contrary even to the words of the Lord in v16), then you exclude EVEN YOURSELF from the atonement! You say that you are not one of the sheep for which He lay down His life, for you say the sheep of which He spoke as given to Him were only Jews!

Obed Omri said...

And then say, "So Jesus clearly makes a distinction between the sheep in John 10 (the God fearing Jews whom the Father gave him), and those followers who come later (like us!)." What! No, no no no He did not! He said: "I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd."

"They will listen to my voice."

"And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left."--Isaiah 30:21. The internalized law of the New Covenant is foretold here (see also Jer. 31:31–34; Ezek. 36:25–27)
and also the internal guidance of the Holy Spirit--"For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God"--Romans 8:14.

Obed Omri said...

"they are spoken of in the past tense - 'those whom you gave me'"

Yes. Thus Paul wrote: "even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him." Chosen before the foundation of the world--now that is some "past tense"!!! And Peter wrote: "He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God..." Wow! See...the past tense of Christ's statements should lead us to praise and worship the One Who "was in the beginning with God"! It is to Him the believer was given by the Father "before the foundation of the world"! Praise God! Salvation belongs to the LORD!

The only way you can nod your head to this, Onesimus, is that it upholds your clear and present hatred and judgement of fellow believers who give all glory to God for their salvation and refuse to give any glory to the decisions of fallen man.

"The way I see it, if someone refuses to accept a clear and specific truth from scripture..." he is only arguing from his own blinded, Scripture-twisting, man-glorifying theology.

I know you won't post this. Doesn't matter.

Obed Omri said...

"...walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh"--Galatians 5:16; "if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law"--Gal. 5:18; "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit"--Gal. 5:25. And let us go backwards in a look at those last three verses, okay? In v25 a different verb than in v. 16, meaning “walk in line behind a leader” (Gk. stoicheō). In v18, the verb (Gk. agō) implies an active, personal involvement by the Holy Spirit in guiding Christians, and the present tense (“if you are being led . . .”) indicates his ongoing activity. (What did Jesus say is the ongoing activity of the blessed Holy Spirit?) V16, having contrasted the flesh with love (vv. 13–14), Paul now sets it against the Spirit. The only way to conquer the flesh is to yield to the Spirit. Walk by the Spirit implies both direction and empowerment; that is, making decisions and choices according to the Holy Spirit's guidance, and acting with the spiritual power that the Spirit supplies. To “walk” in Scripture regularly represents the pattern of conduct of all of one's life. The desires of the flesh would mean not just bodily cravings but all of the ordinary desires of fallen human nature--see vv 19-21: "the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." Oh, my! Works of the flesh means actions flowing out of fallen human nature and its desires. Apart from the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, these are the actions toward which sinful humans instinctively gravitate. Idolatry (which includes covetousness)--there goes the WOFfers, not to mention all who have more faith in their wallets and bank accounts and possessions than in the Giver of all things (o my); and what about envy--are you totally and always content with what you have, even in want? (o my); are you given to fits of anger which you might excuse as "righteous", but forgetting that "the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God"? (o my); and what about strife and rivalry and division? "Those who do such things." The present participle (Gk. prassontes, translated here as “do”) refers to those who “make a practice of doing” such things, as a pattern of life. Their outward conduct indicates their inward spiritual status: that they are not born of God, do not have the Holy Spirit within, and are not God's true children.

That is Scripture, brothers. Sounds like more might be involved in salvation than a "decision of the carnal free-will", an alter call under emotional duress, and any holding up of ourselves to some imperfect human moral code consisting of "you have your hang-ups and I have mine". Can you really say you saved yourself with your wise decision? WOW! Only the True Light can expose the depth of human carnal darkness. And if that has not happened for you...

Obed Omri said...

"While I would hope to be wrong, I suspect you have more interest in defending your Calvinist beliefs than you have in discovering the truth."

Are you any less guilty of defending your pelagian/semi-pelagian/arminian/inconsistencies?

Such arrogance from one who considers himself so enlightened! Who made you so...oh yeah, it was your decision!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Obed Omri said...

The proud heart of man is very anxious to have a hand in the justification of the soul before God; preparations for Christ are dreamed of, humblings and repentings are trusted in, good works are cried up, natural ability is much vaunted, and by all means the attempt is made to lift up human tools upon the divine altar. It were well if sinners would remember that so far from perfecting the Saviour’s work, their carnal confidences only pollute and dishonor it. The Lord alone must be exalted in the work of atonement, and not a single mark of man’s chisel or hammer will be endured.

Onesimus said...

Obed Omri.

I had no idea of Calvinist belief until maybe 5 years ago. When I heard what Calvinist doctrine entailed I found it hard to comprehend that anyone calling themselves Christian could believe and promote such God-maligning theology.

And it has only been in the last year that I came across the terms "pelagian, semi-pelagian and arminian" and that was when Calvinists started calling me those things.

I suppose such ignorance of human theological labelling comes from relying on SCRIPTURE rather than man's doctrines. From trusting God's word rather than man's word.

Yes I spent enough years early in my Christian life being indoctrinated by the teaching of men. All because I was too lazy to search the scriptures for myself.

Yes it is VERY easy to let some other "theologian" do the work for you and to interpret a few prooftexts through the filter of that theology.

I have now spent over 20 years away from all of the rubbish that marked my early Christian years. In the last couple of those early years I was foolishly caught up with WOF teachings.

I see that those WOF teaching experiences were no different to the observations I've made of Calvinism.
Both doctrinal systems are false and both are supported by adhering to a few out of context proof texts.

I suggest you repent of your human theology and turn to God instead of man.
Turn from the false teachers who have indoctrinated you, and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you the truth from the word He inspired. From the WHOLE word and not from the condensed Calvinist "proof text" version.

Yes I've heard all of the Calvinist arguments and have seen the same handul of verses trotted out to prove their God-maligning doctrines.

And for the record, it is doubtful that your long string of other comments will be allowed on this blog so you were right with your comment: "I know you won't post this. Doesn't matter".

I've come across more than enough ignorant hate filled ranting in recent years so I don't see the need to give any place to it here.

Obed Omri said...

Ah, Tim, that was so deceptive of you. Ignorant hate filled ranting? From one who fills his blog with ignorant hate-filled ranting? No, I just showed you and your friend were ignorant of Scripture, and you were too dishonest and puffed up to post it and reply. Live happily in your inconsistencies and ignorance of the truth. You even admit your ignorance of what you are arguing against (and it DOES show). And, Tim, it is the height of arrogance to claim "me and my Bible alone." Did not God ordain teaching as a means of grace?

Obed Omri said...

"then there is no way that they would accept the findings of a man in an article presented on an Arminian website"

"I suggest you repent of your human theology and turn to God instead of man.
Turn from the false teachers who have indoctrinated you, and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you the truth from the word He inspired. From the WHOLE word and not from the condensed Calvinist "proof text" version."

Tim, you are so happily inconsistent. What a hypocrite! Are you so blind? Are you so arrogant as to be beyond reproof? What do you know of humility? What then do you know of Christlike character? This is not just an argument for one "ism" or another...do you really not get that?

Obed Omri said...

In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.

Where is your focus drawn to in this verse?

Obed Omri said...

"How can they give heed to his word? Because there is POWER to SAVE in HIS gospel."

How can those who are dead in sin and trespasses hear? Through their power, or His?

Look at Phil 1:6. The foundation for spiritual growth is recognizing that it is God who began a good work in you and He will bring it to completion. Genuine spiritual progress is rooted in what God has done, is doing, and will do.

So, what is your foundation? What is your root? By your own words, it is not what He has done, but your own doing. You have made a false christ of your "decision", a false christ of your "faith".

What do you see when you read 2 Thess 2:13,14? Romans 8:29,30? Do you see the truth of Divine election, or have you bought the antichrist's lie (1John 4:6)?

Obed Omri said...

In the words of A.W. Tozer, Christ is being “courted with a familiarity that reveals a total ignorance of who He is. It is not the reverent intimacy of the adoring saint but the impudent familiarity of a carnal lover.”

Onesimus said...

As you can see, after considering the matter I decided to allow your comments after all.

Good to see you like quoting Tozer.
How about this one?

"God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. If in His absolute freedom God has willed to give man limited freedom, who is there to stay His hand or say, “What doest thou?” Man’s will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so. "

A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, chapter 22 "The Sovereignty of God".

Onesimus said...

Obed Omri said:
And, Tim, it is the height of arrogance to claim "me and my Bible alone." Did not God ordain teaching as a means of grace?

--------

Have I claimed “me and my Bible alone”?

Isn’t it amazing how often Calvinists will start an argument with a “quote” that they have personally manufactured and present in such a way that it seems to be attributed to the person they are arguing against? I come across that technique far too often.

Yes God gave us teachers – but He also provided us with His word so we could search the scriptures like the Bereans did so we could see whether we were being taught the truth or not. But most of us have been too lazy to actually SEARCH the scriptures and we remain content to look up the few references that the teacher provides. If the referenced verse is there we accept whatever the teacher has told us. WHETHER THAT VERSE IS USED IN ITS CORRECT CONTEXT OR NOT.

This practice is made VERY evident by the constant use of the same collection of proof texts by every Calvinist that I’ve come across. Even some obscure verses are regular trotted out to prove a point. Just as common as this practice is the reality that these verses are used TOTALLY out of their intended context and they are NOT saying what the proof-texter is making them mean.

At the end of the day we are all personally responsible for assessing the teaching we have been subjected to. So do we lap it up without question? Most do. For many years I did.
Then when I started to search the scriptures for myself I started to see a few contradictions. Scripture did NOT support some of the teaching I was being given but it took a long time before I became confident enough to heed the reservations I was getting about those contradictory teachings.*

One thing that gave me confidence was when I came across a couple of teachers who were addressing the very same issues that had been on my mind. Through those teachers I received confirmation that I wasn’t on the wrong track.
I have also received valuable teaching and encouragement from “everyday” Christians who don’t have a recognised “teaching ministry”. THAT is how it should be – but at the very foundation our doctrine MUST be based securely on the revelation of scripture; scripture IN CONTEXT and scripture as a WHOLE. We should not put our trust in a handful of isolated “texts” that are used to prove a point whether their context supports that point or not.


*see 21 Things my bible didnt teach me

Obed Omri said...

You did not have to post the stuff. Thanks. But all you managed to do was deflect, and go back to arguing along party lines. I tried to get you to address the inconsistencies in the teachings of another poster here to which you nodded your head in agreement. Not meant to be a Reformed vs. Remonstrant bout. This is not about proof-texting. At least read that first post you allowed on here from me, and please tell me how it is "Calvinist". I really don't get it. I'm not arguing along party lines there.

"The argument is inconsistent. Nonsensical, in context.

Christ was speaking of His fulfillment of prophecy--see Isa. 56:8; with allusion Ezek. 34:23; 37:24; but here Jesus applies it more broadly, as Jews and Gentiles will be united in one messianic community (cf. Matt. 28:18–20; Eph. 2:11–22)."

That's Calvinist?

"We should not put our trust in a handful of isolated “texts” that are used to prove a point whether their context supports that point or not."

Absolutely. But that is exactly what Kevin did to support your theological divisiveness, and was thus applauded. That is hypocrisy.
"Yes it is VERY easy to let some other "theologian" do the work for you and to interpret a few prooftexts through the filter of that theology." That is very arrogant of you, to suppose that I have not read the Word myself, and been drawn to truth revealed there by the Holy Spirit's work in my own heart. I put no man before Him.

Obed Omri said...

Is this proof-texting? or does it just make you uncomfortable? Don't post it again, just read it, please...

"...walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh"--Galatians 5:16; "if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law"--Gal. 5:18; "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit"--Gal. 5:25. And let us go backwards in a look at those last three verses, okay? In v25 a different verb than in v. 16, meaning “walk in line behind a leader” (Gk. stoicheō). In v18, the verb (Gk. agō) implies an active, personal involvement by the Holy Spirit in guiding Christians, and the present tense (“if you are being led . . .”) indicates his ongoing activity. (What did Jesus say is the ongoing activity of the blessed Holy Spirit?) V16, having contrasted the flesh with love (vv. 13–14), Paul now sets it against the Spirit. The only way to conquer the flesh is to yield to the Spirit. Walk by the Spirit implies both direction and empowerment; that is, making decisions and choices according to the Holy Spirit's guidance, and acting with the spiritual power that the Spirit supplies. To “walk” in Scripture regularly represents the pattern of conduct of all of one's life. The desires of the flesh would mean not just bodily cravings but all of the ordinary desires of fallen human nature--see vv 19-21: "the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." Oh, my! Works of the flesh means actions flowing out of fallen human nature and its desires. Apart from the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, these are the actions toward which sinful humans instinctively gravitate. Idolatry (which includes covetousness)--there goes the WOFfers, not to mention all who have more faith in their wallets and bank accounts and possessions than in the Giver of all things (o my); and what about envy--are you totally and always content with what you have, even in want? (o my); are you given to fits of anger which you might excuse as "righteous", but forgetting that "the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God"? (o my); and what about strife and rivalry and division? "Those who do such things." The present participle (Gk. prassontes, translated here as “do”) refers to those who “make a practice of doing” such things, as a pattern of life. Their outward conduct indicates their inward spiritual status: that they are not born of God, do not have the Holy Spirit within, and are not God's true children.

That is Scripture, brothers. Sounds like more might be involved in salvation than a "decision of the carnal free-will", an alter call under emotional duress, and any holding up of ourselves to some imperfect human moral code consisting of "you have your hang-ups and I have mine". Can you really say you saved yourself with your wise decision? WOW! Only the True Light can expose the depth of human carnal darkness. And if that has not happened for you...

Obed Omri said...

"Limited atonement is totally refuted by both Paul and Peter in the verses I quote in my article."

Is that not proof-texting? And it is also very twisted, for you imply that the Apostles supported universal salvation--and they surely did not. They limited the atonement to believers, the chosen, beloved elect. Do you really not see that? Why?
------------
Do you limit the atonement to believers? Or do you promote universal atonement--all saved? You trip over the word "world" in the Bible, not seeing that the atonement of Christ Jesus has implications for the whole world, but that does not mean that each and every person will be saved. You actually diminish and devalue the full impact and power of the atonement. Christ accomplished what He set out to accomplish. Maybe you are just confused about what the doctrine of limited atonement really teaches? And did you know that it is not unique to Calvinism? Even historic Arminianism repudiates universalism, limiting the atonement to believers. The atonement of Christ Jesus is sufficient for all men. There is no limit to the sacrifice He made. No debate about that. Understand? Both you and I also hold that the atonement was particular--efficient for believers. (At least I do not think you are saying that non-believers are saved, and thus atoned for.) We get that far and we see that the believers must be the elect, holding to Biblical language. So the elect are believers.

So here comes the rub. What do you boast in? Your self-willed decision to be saved, or the LORD who drew you, a sinner, to His Son for salvation?

That is what it comes down to. And that is not about one "ism" or another. The answer reveals much about a man's heart. Not head knowledge, but near-the-Light knowledge of his own heart, and what has been revealed to him of the intense holiness and majesty of the True and Living God.

Onesimus said...

Obed said: "I tried to get you to address the inconsistencies in the teachings of another poster here to which you nodded your head in agreement. "

Obed, I'm really NOT sure how my saying:

"I saw the article but have not read it yet."

Can be nodding my head in agreement.

Onesimus said...

I said:
"Limited atonement is totally refuted by both Paul and Peter in the verses I quote in my article."

Obed replied:
“Is that not proof-texting? And it is also very twisted, for you imply that the Apostles supported universal salvation--and they surely did not. They limited the atonement to believers, the chosen, beloved elect. Do you really not see that? Why?”

I do NOT imply that the apostles supported universal salvation. That is a total lie (regarding the apostles teaching and also your accusation of what I’m implying.)

I am categorically stating that the atonement is universal in its intent, but its application (leading to salvation) is conditional upon the response to the gospel. God has made the benefits of the atonement available to ALL but only those who respond in faith will receive what God has given to them.

Your usage of the terms “believers, the chosen, beloved elect” perhaps gives a much better picture of those who will benefit from the atonement than the ACTUAL Calvinist order of “beloved elect, chosen, believers”. It is through BELIEVEING that a person becomes part of the “chosen” and “beloved elect” and not vice versa. Election and predestination are IN HIM and THROUGH CHRIST. And it is through faith that we are placed IN HIM and receive THROUGH CHRIST.

As for the “proof texting” charge – I much prefer NOT to quote scripture in such a way. I am a firm believer in scripture being a WHOLE revelation of God and His ways. And through that WHOLE revelation I do NOT see an arbitrary God who manipulates mankind’s every move and every decision. Scripture reveals a God who has a particular purpose in mind: that is a new heaven and a new earth populated by His people, a WILLING people who have demonstrated faith in Him rather than themselves.
I have quoted those texts that make God’s desires absolutely clear in both their immediate and wider contexts. And I have quoted those texts because people have been conditioned by their teachers to think of “scriptural proof” as being found in isolated texts. In my use of those texts I have not added any inferences to their meaning.

Your continued derogatory references to people saving themselves through decisions of their will are a total nonsense. No one is making such a suggestion. Those accusations are typical Calvinist misrepresentations.

No one can save themselves. No one can decide to be saved. But they CAN respond to the offer of salvation that God has mercifully made available to ALL.

People are convicted by the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the gospel and can therefore act upon that conviction, either through repentance and turning to God – or through resisting the conviction and remaining in their rebellion. God has given that freedom of choice to all because He wants a WILLING people to be part of His new creation.
God is neither a Calvinist nor a Universalist and does not force anyone into a salvation they have not desired.

The God of scripture is far more glorious and far more secure in His sovereignty than a god who needs to force people to follow him through the application of a mythical “irresistible grace”.

Obed Omri said...

Are all people convicted by the Holy Spirit through hearing the gospel? Is that what the Bible says, or is it just what you say?

"And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed." Acts 13:48

Throughout Acts, Luke affirms the sovereignty of God over all of life while at the same time affirming the significance of human activity, as evidenced by the remarkable human effort and sacrifice involved in proclaiming the gospel. Thus Luke, without contradiction, maintains a dual emphasis on divine election (“appointed”) and on human response (“believed”). The emphasis here is on the way in which divine sovereignty (appointment) results in the belief of the Gentiles, demonstrating that their belief was due to God's grace alone.

That is not Calvinism, nor is it reading "inferences" into Scripture. It is plain to any with eyes to see. (And no axe to grind.)

Paul said, "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." Do you make the mistake of applying this only to "other" people, and not to yourself? Were you not ever dead in your sins and trangressions in which you once walked? Again, are all natural men convicted? No, I say, with Scripture and truth as it is in life behind me, not all are convicted, for they hear and it is foolishness to them. Only the Holy Spirit can render the message of the cross truly comprehensible to someone. This is the "prevenient grace" that has been misapplied by the masses to the hearts even of natural men who are "not able to understand." So many confuse common grace with prevenient grace. Prevenient grace is the work of the Holy Spirit in drawing the elect to saving faith in Christ Jesus before there are any outworkings in the heart of man towards God. Faith is not the cause, but the FRUIT. And it is immediate fruit, just as the light of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus cast abroad in the heart of the penitent sinner is immediate.

Obed Omri said...

"For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot." The mind of natural man is UNABLE to submit; it CANNOT. Those who are in the flesh behave as sons and daughters of sinful Adam and are hostile to God. They do not keep God's law, and indeed they are unable to keep it because they are slaves to sin.
Were you never a son of the first Adam? Were you never a slave to sin? What do you hear in these words: "We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin." WE were natural men, enslaved to sin. Romans 6:17--"you who were once slaves of sin"; and v19 "you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness"; and v20 "For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness."
Is that "you" not YOU?

Context. You and I were not free men. Not our flesh, not our hearts, not our minds, not our wills. We were not free, but to sin we were enslaved.

You say, "God has made the benefits of the atonement available to ALL but only those who respond in faith will receive what God has given to them." But I say that only those who receive what God wills to give to them will respond in faith. There is truth in both, but God acts first, for He must, for the glory of salvation belongs to Him alone, not to any man for his decision. And if He not be first to fulfill His word and cleanse a man's heart and place His Spirit within him, then deluded man, captivated and in bondage to sin, will only continue his course bound to the idols and superstitions of his heart, deceiving himself even in matters of religion.

Onesimus said...

Obed said:
"But I say that only those who receive what God wills to give to them will respond in faith. There is truth in both, but God acts first..."

---
Of course God acts first. And He HAS acted in the giving of His Son, so that WHOEVER believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life.

I have already drawn attention to the fact that God desires ALL to be saved and that Jesus was given as a ransom for ALL.

God's will HAS been made known and God's way to fulfil that will has also been made known.

Calvinism starts from the (wrong) assumptions that God does not desire all to be saved and that He is withholding salvation from the majority of mankind. Those wrong assumptions lead to some of the most God-maligning beliefs being perpetuated today.

Onesimus said...

Obed wrote:

"And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed." Acts 13:48

Throughout Acts, Luke affirms the sovereignty of God over all of life while at the same time affirming the significance of human activity, as evidenced by the remarkable human effort and sacrifice involved in proclaiming the gospel. Thus Luke, without contradiction, maintains a dual emphasis on divine election (“appointed”) and on human response (“believed”).

-------

I recently received the following in an email:

“The Greek word translated as “appointed” by the NASB does not mean predestined, does not mean ordained, the Greek word was a military term meaning ‘to set up’ or ‘to dispose towards’.”

This passage therefore is NOT about a predetermined group following a destiny that had been imposed upon them. It could more rightly be seen as describing the way in which the Holy Spirit disposed them towards the message of salvation. The word translated as “appointed” has NOTHING to do with divine “election”.

William Birch also addresses this verse in his articles found here:
http://classicalarminianism.blogspot.com/2009/01/as-many-as-had-been-apointed-to-eternal.html
and
http://classicalarminianism.blogspot.com/2009/01/as-many-as-had-been-apointed-to-eternal_29.html

In the relevant section Birch writes:

“The word order in the Greek text reads: And believed as many as were appointed to life eternal. My (Amyraldian, four-point Calvinist) pastor demonstrated that when an author wanted to emphasize a concept, thought, or word in the New Testament, he would put the word or phrase at the beginning of the sentence. Thus the word emphasized in Acts 13:48 is believed. The primary focus is on the faith of the Gentiles, not on unconditional election, as is assumed by Calvinists. By believing the gospel the Gentiles were set, established, put in order or line for eternal life.”

Obed Omri said...

"It could more rightly be seen as describing the way in which the Holy Spirit disposed them towards the message of salvation."

Yes. So it was not their "free-will", but His drawing them to Christ.

But then He did not dispose ALL towards the message of salvation.

But He does dispose the ELECT towards the message of salvation.

If God so desired to do so, could He not dispose ALL?

Not according to your theology of an impotent little god that can only wring his hands hoping some sinners might look towards what he hopes for them but cannot accomplish.

Onesimus said...

Obed,
I suggest you get to know God and His purposes as He has revealed in His word instead of projecting your Calvinist theology into scripture.

You said:
“Not according to your theology of an impotent little god that can only wring his hands hoping some sinners might look towards what he hopes for them but cannot accomplish."

This clearly demonstrates that you have no idea of who God is or what He desires from His creation.

When you know God and His purposes you will be better equipped to understand how He goes about those purposes and you will be better equipped to understand the identity of “the elect”.
The elect are those who are IN CHRIST. The only way to become part of the elect is THROUGH CHRIST. Election is IN HIM and THROUGH HIM and it is obtained through faith.

Election is not the result of some pre-creation decision made solely by God.

The TRUE sovereign and Almighty God is not so pathetic that He can only gain followers by forcing people into a salvation they have not desired through a mythical “Irresistible Grace”.

Let me ask: which God is the most “impotent”? One who is secure enough to give man some choice and responsibility regarding his own salvation, or a “god” who is so uncertain that he could obtain any followers that he has to deny anyone any part in their eternal destiny. A God who desires a willing and responsible people? Or a God who is satisfied with a choice less people who have been forced into following Him.
A God who wants a loving family? Or a God who wants mindless drones.

Onesimus said...

Obed,
I have deleted your multiple comments (about five each day) because I see no need to give room for views that malign God. Your continued promotion of Calvinism shows that you have little knowledge of God, God’s character or God’s purposes. Until you repent of your false theology and turn to God you can only sink deeper into error.

Move away from your proof texts and get to know the God who has revealed Himself through the WHOLE of scripture.

Put side YOUR theology and receive what GOD has shown of Himself. Find out who God is, what He is like and what He desires BEFORE you try to understand God's ways. Until you understand the nature and purposes of God you can never understand his desires and intentions for mankind.

Onesimus said...

http://onefiles.blogspot.com/2009/08/pathetic-and-impotent-god.html

Obed Omri said...

Prooftexts?

You cry out, "context! context!" Yet you do not apply this to your own searching out of prooftexts which you twist to give glory not to God for His decisions but to man for his--and this from a man whose own free-will has lead him to sit at the feet of liars and mammon-worshipers for a decade; still you hold up the natural ability of man to discern spiritual things! And this, which is totally contrary to the whole of Scripture!

You could not answer to the Scriptural proofs of the natural man's INABILITY--written after Christ's ascension, written after the coming of the Holy Spirit as a pledge in the hearts of those with saving faith--showing that man remains in that INABILITY and that salvation is by the grace of God alone.

You think you know, but know nothing; and saying you see, prove yourself blind.

You lie, Tim. You know that I did not repeat any posts. You simply could not uphold your man-centered wisdom against the Truth of Scripture. Instead you turn to deceitful practices and slander, so as to protect your view. That is a sign of an enlightened, humble, and contrite man? Knowing nothing of your true nature, you can know nothing of the glory of God.

I knock the dust off my feet, and take leave. Get thee behind me, Satan, I am not ignorant of your schemes.

Obed Omri said...

Consider these thirteen spiritual things an unsaved person cannot do:

1. HE CANNOT THINK AS GOD DOES:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)

2. HE CANNOT UNDERSTAND GOD:

". . . thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself . . ." (Psalm 50:21)

"Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know?" (Job 11:7-8)

3. HE CANNOT SEE SPIRITUAL THINGS:

"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." (John 3:3)

4. HE CANNOT KNOW HIS OWN HEART:

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)

5. HE CANNOT PROPERLY DIRECT HIS OWN PATHS:

"O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." (Jeremiah 10:23)

"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12)

6. HE CANNOT FREE HIMSELF FROM THE CURSE OF THE LAW:

"For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." (Galatians 3:10)

7. HE CANNOT RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT:

"Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not . . ." (John 14:17)

8. HE CANNOT HEAR (receive & understand) GOD'S WORDS:

"He that is of God heareth God's words; ye therefore hear them not because ye are not of God." (John 8:47)

"But the natural (unsaved) man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned." (1Corinthians 2:14)

9. HE CANNOT BIRTH HIMSELF INTO THE FAMILY OF GOD:

"Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man but of God." (John 1:13)

"For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." (Romans 9:15-16)

10. HE CANNOT PRODUCE REPENTANCE AND FAITH IN CHRIST:

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

". . . for all men have not faith." (2 Thessalonians 3:2)

"For unto you it is given . . . to believe on him . . ." (Philippians 1:29)

". . . if God peradventure will give them repentance . . ." (2 Timothy 2:25)

". . . to them that have obtained like precious faith with us . . ." (2 Peter 1:1)

11. HE CANNOT COME TO CHRIST:

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him . . . Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father." (John 6:44, 65)

12. HE CANNOT BELIEVE ON CHRIST:

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

13. HE CANNOT PLEASE GOD:

"For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. . . . So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Romans 8:5, 8, 9)

SO THEN, MANKIND IS SHUT UP TO THE FACT OF HIS OWN TOTAL INABILITY TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT HIS LOST CONDITION.

Onesimus said...

Obed said:
“You lie, Tim. You know that I did not repeat any posts.”

And Obed, I didn’t say you repeated posts, I said you made MULTIPLE posts. Please try to read what is ACTUALLY said, and read it in CONTEXT before you make accusations of lying.

And maybe that approach would also be valuable if you applied it to scripture. Read what is ACTUALLY said and read it in CONTEXT.


Obed said: “I knock the dust off my feet, and take leave. Get thee behind me, Satan, I am not ignorant of your schemes. “

And may God bless you too Obed, by opening your eyes and freeing you from the many lies of Calvinism. May you come to know HIM instead of the false god promoted by your favoured theology.

As for your 13 points, they are a mixture of truth and lie and in total promote heresy and make God a liar.
Repent, turn to God and believe in Him instead of your Calvinist lies.


Obed finally said:
“SO THEN, MANKIND IS SHUT UP TO THE FACT OF HIS OWN TOTAL INABILITY TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT HIS LOST CONDITION”

Yes mankind is TOTALLY unable to do anything about His lost condition; but God has already done what is necessary to make it possible for WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM to have eternal life. God provided all that was necessary in the giving of His Son as a ransom for ALL, and His gospel is His power of salvation to ALL who believe.