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Puritan Catechism Question of the Week
Q 16. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
A. The fall brought mankind into a state of sin and misery.

Name: Mike
Location: California, United States
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Friday, December 02, 2005

John 3:16, 6 and 10

Interestingly, John 3:16 is one of the most often quoted passages to "refute" Calvinism. I suspect that at least part of the reason is due to biblical literacy. In any even, the passage states:
For God so loved the world that he gave is only begotten (or One and Only) son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.

It is amazing to me how different people will look at the same verse and notice completely different things. For some reason it seems that Arminians look at this passage and see some sort of Libertarian Free Will. However, is this what this passage teaches? Here are the affirmations that are made:
God Loved the world
God Gave his Son
Whoever believes will not perish
Whoever believes will have everlasting life.

"Whosoever believes" seems to be the key phrase that Arminians cling to. They have concluded that the word "whosoever" implies that Anyone can believe. However, is this what the verse says? Is this the intention of the verse? No! The verse simply teaches that whomever believes will be saved. There is nothing either way about who can and who cannot believe.

However, there is a passage in John that does explain who can come to Jesus. Sadly, this is not the passage that Arminians would like to quote. Nevertheless, in an attempt to convey what scripture truly does teach on the matter, we must look at John's words. An interesting syllogism presents itself when several verses are considered.

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” ( 6:37)
”… no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." ( 6:65)

As we did with John 3, let us consider the statements of these verses. For the sake of logical clarity, I will work backward.

No person can Come to Jesus unless it is Granted by the Father

Every person whom the Father does Grant will indeed come to Jesus.

Every person Who does Come to Jesus will never be cast out.

The Arminian is in a difficult position when he considers this text. What is the difference between people who believe and people who do not believe? It is not that some are more intelligent, some are more humble, some are more religiously inclined, etc. Rather, it is that some belief has been granted by the father and others have not.

John records Jesus teaching the same principle in Chapter 10:

25Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, 26but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. 27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

What is the stated reason for their lack of belief? Again, they are not part of Jesus' flock. Rather, those whom are his Sheep do hear his foice and they know Him and follow him. In return, Jesus gives them eternal life.

Am I trying to insinuate that We do not choose Jesus but Jesus chooses us? Absolutely. Consider Jesus' own words in John 15:
16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you."

Returning to John 3, is "whosoever believes" a suggestion that anyone may come to belief? Absolutely not. Rather, If we believe it is only because it has been granted to us becuase we were chosen:
7For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

All that we have, including our belief, comes from God (see also Eph 2:8-9. Rejoice in this great truth!

Eph 2
4But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved

In Christ alone,



Blogger pilgrim said...

I've had almost that sort of converstaion before.

And yet the non-calvinist wants to get bogged down with why "all means all & world means world" arguments, instead of looking at it from this perspective.

9:55 PM  

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