The 3rd Rail: The Call to Believe is Not Without a Promise

sbc-open-forum-avatar2By Ken Hamrick

See all the posts in the series, ‘The 3rd Rail’

Imagine how sinners would react if the gospel offered no promise of eternal life to those who believe. If there were no amazing grace, no opportunity for forgiveness, no loving heavenly Father to welcome us into His family, no Savior who gave His life to save us, but only a proclamation that God ought to be worshipped for who He is, and that sin must be punished, would anyone come to God in faith? If only hell awaited—even for believers—would any be willing to pray, “Not my will but Thine be done?” No one would come.

Why does God always provide a promise to go with a call to believe? He does not merely command, “Believe in Me because it’s the right thing to do,” but instead, He implores us to “Be reconciled to God!” The promise that reconciliation can be ours is wrapped up in the call to believe. This is the gospel that He wants preached to all men—“… that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

Calvinists teach that the unregenerate man is so averse to God and so unable to do any good that not even God is capable of bringing him to freely surrender in repentant belief without first regenerating him from within. But yet, the gospel’s appeal is not to selfless ones who fully love God already. Rather, the gospel appeals to men by showing how it is in their own best interest to surrender their hearts and lives to God—that heaven and hell hang in the balance, that their sin and misery can be overcome by grace, that the insatiable spiritual hunger within them can be satisfied, and that their conscience can find peace.

Of course, no sinner can realize or comprehend these things on his own, but the question becomes, can the Holy Spirit bring this realization by coming alongside the sinner and speaking to him from without—or is God limited to a coercive regeneration from within? I contend that the conviction, revelation and persuasion of the Holy Spirit as He speaks to the sinner from without, in conjunction with the preaching of the gospel, can be sufficient to enlighten his mind and move his heart to do what is simultaneously the right thing and the thing that is in his own best interest.

When you do God’s will at the expense of your own self-interests, you do the right thing meritoriously. When you do your will at the expense of God’s will, then you sin. But when you do God’s will to the benefit of your own self-interests, you simply do the right thing unmeritoriously.

This prompts many other questions. In this series, “The 3rd Rail,” I plan to address such questions one at a time, and show the common-sense clarity that the middle view offers.

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10 Responses to The 3rd Rail: The Call to Believe is Not Without a Promise

  1. parsonsmike says:

    Ken,
    There is no merit in obeying God since as His creatures we owe Him our every moment of obedience. In fact, obeying God “at the expense of our own self interests” is a false way of looking at life. For the truth is that our best self interest is in obedience to Him. It is only those who consider their self interests more important than God’s interests who have to decide whose interests to seek after. Another word for those people is unbelievers.

    And that idea is what seems to separate your theology from mine.
    Unbelievers by definition do not believe that Jesus is the crucified risen Lord of all. Thus in order for them to grasp the truth of the promise of eternal life they must first become believers.
    They can’t guess at it as in “maybe its true so I’ll give it a try.”
    That won’t do.They have to believe it is true before they can from-the-heart choose towels in it. Or faith must be from the heart before we can make a godly choice.

    Another way to look at it is by reason. Can you reason a person into the Kingdom? Reason speaks to wisdom. The Bible speaks of two types of wisdom: from God or from the world. Which type does an unbeliever use? How does an unbeliever judge things but by worldly wisdom. How does he judge spiritual things? He cannot properly judge them. What are we told:

    “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”

    Been without the Spirit means the Spirit is apart from them. Even gently beside them fails to meet this definition. They do not understand spiritual truth because they do not think through the Spirit but only with earthly wisdom. The Gospel to them is foolishness. even as we read in another place:

    “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing…”

    So I ask you, how do you, Ken, know the truth of the Gospel?
    Blessings brother

    • Ken Hamrick says:

      Mike,

      You said, “There is no merit in obeying God since as His creatures we owe Him our every moment of obedience.” Was this true for the man, Jesus? As a man, was He incapable of meriting righteousness? In order to save us, He had to merit human righteousness–the human righteousness that we should have merited but could not, being fallen; and the human righteousness that Adam should have merited, but did not.
      You also said:

      In fact, obeying God “at the expense of our own self interests” is a false way of looking at life. For the truth is that our best self interest is in obedience to Him. It is only those who consider their self interests more important than God’s interests who have to decide whose interests to seek after. Another word for those people is unbelievers.

      And yet, even Jesus recognized that the Father’s interests must be put above His own human interests, when He prayed, “Not my will but thine be done.” Evidently, even He recognized that the difference between the two was real enough that a decision must be declared about which would take priority.

      You stated:

      And that idea is what seems to separate your theology from mine.
      Unbelievers by definition do not believe that Jesus is the crucified risen Lord of all. Thus in order for them to grasp the truth of the promise of eternal life they must first become believers.
      They can’t guess at it as in “maybe its true so I’ll give it a try.”
      That won’t do.They have to believe it is true before they can from-the-heart choose towels in it. Or faith must be from the heart before we can make a godly choice.

      Your problem is in wrongly equating grasping with believing. As A. W. Tozer said, the Holy Spirit has forever taken the salvation decision out of the realm of apologetics and made it only a matter of conscience. No one is ever lost because they could not grasp the truth about Christ or about God. The problem is not a failure to understand the truth. The problem by which any man perishes is the inner rejection of the truth and a refusal to listen to conscience and the Holy Spirit’s witness to truth. Those who do not “grasp” the truth are like those who are blind only for the hands that they hold over their eyes or are deaf due to their fingers in their ears.

      Belief is more than merely knowing that the gospel is true. True belief is an inner surrendering to the God of that truth. Without that surrendering, the Bible calls a man an unbeliever. He suppresses the truth of which God has shown him, does not want to retain it in his knowledge, claims he does not know it, claims it to be foolishness, and may even fight against it with all he has. But the God who looks on the heart is not fooled and no man is without excuse.

      We cannot reason people into the kingdom not because reason could not work if we were dealing with truly objective people, but rather, because we are dealing with those who irrationally reject the truth of God at all cost. Their is a spiritual rebellion blocking all such reasoning.

      The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing because that is how they react to that ring of truth within their heart that they hate and reject, by calling it foolishness. There is a more surface level at which they scorn the truth as foolishness, and tell themselves that it is foolishness and cannot be true; but at the deepest level, the truthfulness of it eats away at them. Spiritual truths must be understood spiritually–by the spirit of a man. If that spirit rejects that truth, then the mind will put up all sorts of constructed defenses by which that truth is made to look and seem as nonsense. All sorts of rationalizations and false arguments come from a mind owned by a spirit in rebellion to God. In order for the man to discern the truth, he must in his spirit embrace the truth—seek the truth from the heart. The Holy Spirit is necessary for this to happen. But again, the question becomes, can the Holy Spirit cause this from outside the man or must He indwell the man first?

  2. Mike White says:

    Ken,

    What if, one might say, the Spirit gives godly wisdom to an unbeliever? Doesn’t that wisdom bring understanding? Yes it does. Now some want ascribe to an unbeliever a moral ability to make a valid choices to the ‘words of the cross’. And thus when they fail to choose Jesus, its on them. They could have but didn’t want to. They assume that simply hearing the Gospel message means that it is understood as truth. Or in other words, they ascribe to the unbeliever a wisdom to discern spiritual truth. But then the unbeliever has to decide to accept as Lord this Jesus whom they know as Lord or reject Him.

    But these people fail to understand HOW we know things. As Christians, we KNOW Jesus is Lord by faith. Now if I choose to believe the moon is made of green cheese, who is my faith in? It is in me and my choice of knowing. I don’t know from experience what the moon is made of. I don’t know by reading scientific journals. The basis or foundation of my faith is in me and my choice. And to say my choice is really only to say it is in me.

    Now HOW do we know that Jesus is Lord?
    We know it by faith. Someday we will see Him face to face but until then we know it by faith. We are told that, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
    We know or to use the terminology in this verse, we are convinced that Jesus, who we do not see, is the crucified risen Lord.
    Since the OP is about the promise of God, let us also note the first part: faith is the assurance of things hoped for or in other words the assurance of the promise of eternal life. Without faith, there is no assurance of the promise.And without faith there is no conviction of who Jesus is and what He has done. So when you say that we are choosing Jesus to meet our own needs: the want of eternal life, you seem to be forgetting that the only way we can from-the-heartchoose Jesus is if we believe He is who He is claimed to be and that His promise is sure.

    The Gospel is presented. Some think it foolishness and reject it. Do these have the necessary wisdom and enlightenment to see it as the very truth their heart craves and longs for? Obviously not. They don’t believe Jesus has risen or that He is God.
    But others see the Gospel as the power of God unto salvation. Are they smarter or more worldly wise than the first group? More moral? More religious? What is there only boast?

    “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

    Their only boast is in Jesus. For God has chosen them to be in Christ. This nullifies any possible boast or way of salvation outside of God’s choosing.

    The Gospel is presented, but some are blind to its truth. They reject it. They can’t from the heart accept what they disbelieve in their head. They hear it and think it is foolishness.They judge it based on their own worldly wisdom. They are unable to discern spiritual truth. And so once were you and I. But God, in His mercy and love towards us, opened the eyes of our hearts to see His glory in the face of the crucified and risen Savior, our Lord Jesus the Christ. And seeing that wondrous sight, we desired Him. We gave up all for Him. How did we see that glory in the face of Jesus? We saw it by faith. There is no other way to see it this side of Heaven.

    We can’t open our blind eyes or we can’t have spiritual wisdom simply by hearing words, we need the Spirit to deliver those words to us in godly wisdom and understanding so that we might see the glory of God in Jesus. And those that see that glory are no longer blind. They no longer see the Gospel as foolishness but as the power of God that delivers them.

    • Ken Hamrick says:

      Mike,

      You stated:

      The Gospel is presented. Some think it foolishness and reject it. Do these have the necessary wisdom and enlightenment to see it as the very truth their heart craves and longs for? Obviously not. They don’t believe Jesus has risen or that He is God.
      But others see the Gospel as the power of God unto salvation. Are they smarter or more worldly wise than the first group? More moral? More religious? What is there only boast?

      You paint a picture of an unfortunate calamity by which sinners perish simply because they could not comprehend the gospel as true–through no fault of their own other than the fact that they are sinners. It seems eerily similar to the Gnostic salvation schemes by which only those fortunate enough to have the right knowledge (the right information) could be saved, while the ignorant masses perish. I’m sorry, Mike, but I do not find your picture to accord with the Biblical model of preaching the gospel to every creature “whereby we implore men, ‘Be reconciled to God!'” Would you really have us to believe that the reason that we implore men is so that those elect, who will be the only ones who actually understand what we’re saying, will repent and believe? That may fit with the philosophical demands of Calvinism, but it does not fit with the whole counsel of the word of God.

      Those who accept the gospel message are not wiser than the rest, but simply are those whom the Holy Spirit has pursued and wooed and convicted until they surrendered in repentant faith.

  3. Ken Hamrick says:

    Mike,
    You stated:

    As Christians, we KNOW Jesus is Lord by faith. Now if I choose to believe the moon is made of green cheese, who is my faith in? It is in me and my choice of knowing. I don’t know from experience what the moon is made of. I don’t know by reading scientific journals. The basis or foundation of my faith is in me and my choice. And to say my choice is really only to say it is in me.

    No one can “know by faith” that the moon is made of cheese, because it is not. The faith by which we know that Jesus is who the Bible says He is a faithful surrender to God’s truth. It is not merely a choice to believe what we cannot know as absolutely true.

    You stated:

    Since the OP is about the promise of God, let us also note the first part: faith is the assurance of things hoped for or in other words the assurance of the promise of eternal life. Without faith, there is no assurance of the promise. And without faith there is no conviction of who Jesus is and what He has done. So when you say that we are choosing Jesus to meet our own needs: the want of eternal life, you seem to be forgetting that the only way we can from-the-heartchoose Jesus is if we believe He is who He is claimed to be and that His promise is sure.

    I never doubt your good intentions, Mike, But you’re twisting this Scripture text to have it prove what it was not intended to prove. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen, because faith is the act or state of embracing the truth that God has revealed to us. By embracing that truth, we find all the substance and evidence that we need to fully know that which our faith is in. In no way was this intended to say that sinners cannot know that the gospel is true until they believe it. By rejecting faith, they reject the evidence of things unseen and the substance of things hoped for. Without the conviction that these things are true, no sinner would ever surrender in belief.

    • parsonsmike says:

      Ken,
      First: legitimate differences of Bible understandings should not bring accusations of twisting. If so, that would seem to mean that anyone and everyone who disagrees with you is twisting the Scriptures.

      It is not me, but the Word of God which says this:
      Ephesians 4:17-19 “So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. ”

      Note that the perishing are called darkened in their understanding and having an ignorance that is in them. Note that darkness directly implies no light in one’s understanding and ignorance directly implies no knowledge.
      As one reads the next verses note the comparison with the saved person:
      Ephesians 4:20-24 “But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

      Those saved are those who have learned Christ. This they are not ignorant any more nor is their understanding darkened. The Bible puts the saved and the unsaved in contrast in many places and ascribes differences between the two: ignorant versus learned, darkened in understanding versus enlightened, having only the wisdom of the world versus having the wisdom from above, having repentance that leads to death versus repentance that leads to life.
      And the Bible gives glory to God as being the One who brings understanding, knowledge, godly wisdom, and true repentance and other necessary things needed for salvation: like humility.

      Dear brother Ken, what you are doing is arguing from the effect not from the cause. You seem to ignore the Scriptures that speak to the cause of why a person has a changed heart and mind toward God and simply are adding earthly reasoning to the effect to form your theology.

      So you go like this: since God calls on men everywhere to repent, they must be able to. Or since we are to preach the Gospel to all, all must be able to receive it from the heart.

      And when the Scriptures plainly say men are condemned for their sins, you seem to want to add a layer to in a sense justify God for that condemnation.
      God does not have to make salvation available to all in order to be just or righteous. Since salvation is only through the hearing of the Gospel, if the above were true, God has failed since many die never hearing it.

      Now there is a wrong way to understand the Scriptures and a right way. The wrong way is to approach them with a preconceived idea and then find passages or verses that will support your idea IF it is true. That is what you are doing.
      The right way is to allow the Scriptures to speak for themselves and form ones theology based on how you understand them.

      Let us look deeper into this. Your said:
      “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen, because faith is the act or state of embracing the truth that God has revealed to us. ”

      Something revealed is either grasped by the senses, by reason, or by faith. The question should be asked: “How do you know this revealed thing?”
      Some replies could be: that I tasted it out felt it or saw it with my eyes, heard it with my ears, or figured it out using logic and reason. But none of those things, the senses or reason, can discern revelation from God.
      You say God revealed it and then one can (using faith as a verb, which by the way, it is not) can faith it or not faith it.
      You lack understanding as to how one even knows revelation. The conscience reveals righteousness and it is innately built into every human. But the Gospel is not: it has to be revealed. Thus there is a difference between these two lights that you are unwilling to consider.
      How do you know Jesus is the Christ? That He is the crucified risen Lord of all? And that He truly offers to all who believe in Him eternal life? How do you know these things?
      By faith. Not by embracing faith. We don’t embrace faith, we embrace Jesus. We embrace Him by faith. We know these truths by faith. And those without faith do not know these things as true. Period.

      Faith then is the mechanism, so to speak, that allows us to have spiritual understanding of spirotual things. By faith we understand that God formed the world. By faith we understand that Jesus is the Christ. By faith we grasp knowledge that leads us to make godly choices, see Hebrews 11.
      Continued

      • parsonsmike says:

        Ken,

        You said:
        “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen, because faith is the act or state of embracing the truth that God has revealed to us.
        By embracing that truth, we find all the substance and evidence that we need to fully know that which our faith is in. In no way was this intended to say that sinners cannot know that the gospel is true until they believe it”
        Logically, you are not making sense.
        If faith is the act of embracing revelation, and the result of that embracing (which you call faith) we then find all the substance and evidence we need to know what what our faith is in, then faith isn’t the substance or the evidence but what leads to it.
        Besides contradicting the very scripture you are writing about, you have faith being the embracing that leads us to know what we are embracing. But isn’t the revelation what we are embracing? And faith is the embracing order that revelation?
        If you let the Word speak for itself: faith is both evidence and conviction (nouns) or things that we have. Faith then is a thing we have like sight or hearing, or taste or sense, or reason. By it we understand spiritual truth: we grasp spiritual truth by faith. And it is also correct to say that God enlightens us to spiritual truth through faith. The act of faith is to believe. So by faith we believe. And to believe is to act on our faith by word thought or deed. To believe in Jesus means to have faith in Him and to act in obedience to Him. Faith without believing work is dead, or simply isn’t true faith. So we see this chain:
        Faith-> Believing-> godly choice.

        You finished:
        “By rejecting faith, they reject the evidence of things unseen and the substance of things hoped for. Without the conviction that these things are true, no sinner would ever surrender in belief.”

        People don’t reject faith. What does the word say they reject:
        1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

        They Reject the Gospel. They are not enlightened by revelation but rather consider what is being preached as foolishness.
        No where in Scripture will you find them understanding the Gospel and rejecting faith. Not one place. Rather the Word speaks of them as being ignorant and boots of spirotual understanding. We read in speaking of those who have false gods:
        Isaiah 44:18-20 They do not know, nor do they understand, for He has smeared over their eyes so that they cannot see and their hearts so that they cannot comprehend. No one recalls, nor is there knowledge or understanding to say, “I have burned half of it in the fire and also have baked bread over its coals. I roast meat and eat it. Then I make the rest of it into an abomination, I fall down before a block of wood!” He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside. And he cannot deliver himself, nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

        To fully are those who wish to change the Word so that the word cannot must mean ‘will not’, bit the context here and elsewhere speaks against that. The man has a deceived heart. And on top of that God has smeared over their eyes and heart so that they cannot know and/or understand. This is called a judicial hardening because there are consequences to willful sin? And the only remedy is found in the mercy of God as God Himself decided to have that mercy and enlighten even as we read:
        2 Corinthians 4:3-6 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

        Thus these passages and many more LEAD me to my theology. They speak directly to the matter at hand.
        Do you care to share which passages leaf you to you theology?

    • parsonsmike says:

      Ken,

      I stated:
      As Christians, we KNOW Jesus is Lord by faith. Now if I choose to believe the moon is made of green cheese, who is my faith in? It is in me and my choice of knowing. I don’t know from experience what the moon is made of. I don’t know by reading scientific journals. The basis or foundation of my faith is in me and my choice. And to say my choice is really only to say it is in me.

      You replied
      No one can “know by faith” that the moon is made of cheese, because it is not. The faith by which we know that Jesus is who the Bible says He is a faithful surrender to God’s truth. It is not merely a choice to believe what we cannot know as absolutely true.

      Several things.
      One, no one can know what isn’t.
      Thus that has nothing to do with the matter at hand since we both believe and know the truth of who Jesus is.

      Second, the point is not what we are knowing [since as just noted, we agree on who Jesus is]. The point is on HOW we know.
      How then can you faithfully surrender to what you don’t know?
      So then the question us: How do you know?

      Third, the Word says that faith is the evidence, not that faith gives us the evidence. As long as you see faith as a choice to be made based on what you know, you are avoiding the basic definitions and understandings. For it is: How do you know? You know by faith.

      Now faith is more than evidence, it is a trust. Note that I didn’t say it was trust but that it is A trust. I seek to stress that faith is a noun, something you have, not a verb, something you do.

      In salvation, we surrender ourselves to the Lord. WE confess Jesus as Lord. We repent of our sinful ways. We get baptized. We seek to walk in obedience to Jesus as the Word instructs us. These are all done BY faith, They are acts of faith. They are evidences of our faith. They are us believing. Because we have faith, we believe and it is evidenced by those things.

      We choose to do those things because we believe. And we believe because we have faith. We choose to do those things because we have faith.

      What you speak of is somewhat different for you speak of choosing to have faith. And the basis for that choice, according to you is your own will.
      Right?
      You said: “The faith by which we know that Jesus is who the Bible says He is a faithful surrender to God’s truth”

      Maybe you mean something different though because the sentence may be missing a word or two.

      So let me try and explain what I think you are saying:

      [a]A person hears the Gospel and by the revelation of the Spirit knows it is true.
      [b]The person either rejects the Gospel claim
      [c]or through the persuasion of the Spirit willfully accepts the Gospel claim and willfully surrenders to it.

      Is that right?
      Assuming it is for the sake of discussion, let me critique this and then give you my understanding, which you probably already know.

      [a] Here we have a major point of disagreement. I am asking you HOW one knows. You seem to be saying “by revelation”. I am saying that we know revelation by faith. Faith isn’t yet in your order, it doesn’t appear until [c].

      [b] Simple. People hear the Gospel and reject it, But our difference here is that you have them rejecting it DESPITE them knowing that it is true because God has revealed it to them: they have had a revelation from God of its truthfulness.

      So lets back up to [a] again: “A person hears the Gospel”. They hear the Gospel like they hear anything and thus they know the content and they know its claims: that Jesus is the crucified risen Lord of all and that only by trusting in Him can one attain everlasting life. You say that by revelation they know that the Gospel is true. I say no they don’t [unless God is saving them]

      So back to [b]. So you say the rejecters know its true and I say they do not. How do you know they know? What Scriptures can you give that say this? That give rise to this understanding?

      On to [c]. You: Some do not reject it because the Spirit persuades them to willfully accept it as true. Or all those who accept it do so because of the Holy Spirit’s persuasion. Here you have a big problem. It turns out all you are saying is that since my understanding of revelation is wrong we move the act of God in saving from revelation-brings-faith [me] to Spirit-persuading-brings-faith [you]. And in the middle between those points, you have the un-based idea that everyone who hears the Gospel knows its veracity.

      On that idea: that everyone who hears the Gospel knows its veracity, or the [a] above, let me explain to you what I mean by the revelation of the Gospel truth to the sinner includes: Besides the [1] veracity of the Gospel, it also reveals [2] the holiness of God and thus His hatred of sin, and [3] it reveals the love of God FOR that person [the one who is receiving the revelation] especially as demonstrated by the cross. Do you include [2] and [3] in how you see that revelation of the Gospel to every sinner who hears it?

      They hear that God does the world and sent Jesus to die for sin so that if they believe they will have eternal life but do they also experience [what a revelation is- an experience] God’s love for them personally, and glimpse His awesome Holiness as well as an intimate knowledge of the truth of the cross and resurrection?

      Because if they do wouldn’t they have to be somewhat insane not to desire God and thus surrender to Jesus? And if they don’t, why should they believe the revelation is from God?

      Persuade definition: 1. to move by argument, entreaty, or expostulation to a belief, position, or course of action. 2:  to plead with

      Which definition of persuade are you using? 1. or 2. ?
      First one: to move by argument, entreaty, or expostulation to a belief, position, or course of action.
      Is this what you mean? God moves a person to choice to have faith.
      Does He always succeed? Always? What then is your definition of free will?
      Second definition: to plead with. Does He always win His case? Again, what is your definition of free will?

      Lets go back to the [a] [b] and [c]. Now I know that those might not be how you see it, and I am not trying to skew your position. Two scenarios I. and II.:
      I.
      [a] Sinner only gets [1] veracity of Gospel not [2] and [3], holiness and love of God. He is not persuaded by the truth that he has experienced. He knows that he is headed for hell but, what?, doesn’t care. Thus he [b] rejects Jesus. Or [c] he is moved by God to accept Jesus and so chooses faith and surrender. [Maybe using [2] and [3]?]
      Seems like if your goal is to vindicate God and claim His love for all people and thus His Son’s death for all people that the above scenario fails short.

      OR…
      II.
      [a]Sinner not only experiences that the Gospel is true but he knows and feels the love of God and sees His holiness and [b] still rejects the Gospel.
      Or [c] God adds to His above persuasive revelation and persuades the sinner with other things or ideas to get hi to accept the Gospel.

      What greater persuasion is there than the holiness and love of God?
      If a million dollars isn’t enough, how about I throw in my used sofa?

      But of course neither of those scenarios tell us how the sinner who hears the Gospel knows the truth of it since you claim he doesn’t know it by faith.
      The scripture tells us:
      14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”
      16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

      But you seem to be saying that faith comes by the persuasion the Spirit. That hearing isn’t enough unless there is persuasion. And me? Faith comes by hearing and hearing is just physical but includes in those being saved, spiritual. For we read in John 5:
      25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

      .And we who are dead in our trespasses and sins who hear that voice do live. Because we hear more than human mouths telling us the Gospel, but we hear the Son calling us home. John 10:
      24 The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying 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, these testify of Me. 26 But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

      .And those that are His do hear His voice and live because on hearing His voice we follow Him and receive eternal life. And those who are not His do not recognize who He is because they are not of His flock. They reject His Gospel and think it foolishness. They are blind to its truth. They are those that will perish.

      Many blessings to you Ken.

  4. parsonsmike says:

    Amend:
    “hearing is just physical” should read: hearing isn’t just physical

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