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"Israel has sinned... That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction"...still chewing on our part of the deal in getting God's promises..Right now we too are at war...against our flesh and the devil but if we have sin in our lives we will be not "overcome the world"...the world is full of sin,if we're not in it then we shouldn't have any thing that belongs to the world yet is detestful to God(sin)...or else we'd be going into battle VERY poorly equiped(that's putting it lightly)....
Does that mean shut ourselves in church and not reach out to the world...nope...reach out to the world as Jesus did but still remain Holy as he did...The spies went to Rahab's place but didn't defile themselves but brought her out.Rahab lived among the Israelities but I'm pretty sure she gave up her ways and took up God's ways...
Music ...yep it has a way of just worming in a certain message...good or bad...I was crazy about linkin park about 3-4 years ago...I actually identified with their lyrics too...then I found fun christian music and somehow secular music just died out of my life...now and again certain songs still do cause a stir but I get over them quickly..There are other areas in my life I still struggle with though...but as God showed the Israelities their enemies and said destroy them....God is telling me now....destroy your attitudes...
God bless you all

The Commander of the Lord's army is definitely Christ. Anything else would mean there was treason that day. The Commander, after all, accepted worship from Joshua. No *regular* angel does that (See Rev). But that's not to say that Christ was incarnate, only that it was He who was there.

Here's what I found most interesting in the reading: the representative principle motif of the Bible. Rahab helped the spies, and her whole family was spared. Achan sinned, and dozens died in battle. Furthermore, as we'll read tomorrow, Achan's whole family gets stoned because of Achan's sin. Whenever Paul starts writing about how God is sovereign in salvation, people get in a tizzy. Yet when God demands that people are killed as a result of another's sin, they seem to have no problem with it. Why? Aren't the same objections present in both, for those who limit God's sovereignty? The same goes for the inhabitants of Jericho. If you'll notice, in our narrative all the way through Joshua we'll see how the Israelites are to take no prisoners and leave no survivors. Why is it that people who balk at God's sovereignty in the NT never blink at this sort of thing in the OT?

Along those same lines, in the NT we read today some incredibly encouraging words. Christ, the Shepherd, ensures the perpetual salvation of His sheep (*as the lost sheep is always a sheep, see John 10 for the significance). And how the Lord rejoices when a sinner comes home! Never did the prodigal lose his title as son, and as he approaches his father, it is joy that wins the day.

As to the rock and roll music I am with you there. I think of that old song "Just give me that old time rock and roll". As to whether you should throw it out, I think thats a personal decision, it depends on where your heart is or where it goes when you listen to it. Personally I would have trouble throwing out all of my secular stuff, course my secular stuff is the orginal cast of "My Fair Lady". I love old musicals but then I love music period, it doesn't matter what it is, I'll even listen for a little while to country western, but not too long cause I'm a snob too. ;) But the thought that all the angels in heaven rejoice when I repent, WOW, that got to me. Then God would run to me and put a brand new robe on me and celebrate when I repent. That's humbling, Thank you Jesus.

Shane,

Destruction and killings of those foreign people is in accordance with their sins. Some of these foreigners had very depraved lifestlyes such as child sacrifices, temple prostitution, debauchery and corruption like Gomorrah and Sodom. It was just that these places were destroyed.

God knows the hearts of men. When God destroyed Gomorrah and Sodom he knew there wont be even 10 righteous people in the city. But when he sends Jonah into Nineveh He knew there were thousands of people who had fear of lord in their hearts and would repent.

Wrath of God will strike sin but God will bless repentence and righteousness.

I don't know about anyone else but I feel 'tension' when reading Joshua. As much as I want to 'spiritualize' what I read, I see a kind of 'cleansing' going on of the 'evil people' in the land. Under orders from the Lord of Hosts, Joshua and the Israelites move in with a severity that can't even be matched in military circles today. I know I know that God is holy, just and sovereign. And I"m glad to see that He not only judged the people in Ai and Jericho, but He also judged His own people.

What makes me feel tension is that in reading Luke 15, we have Jesus teaching that the Father pursues and pursues until he finds the lost ones, and carries them home. Was ever a more beautiful picture written than the one of the Father and son embracing!!

For what I don't fully understand in God's dealings with the 'world' in Joshua, I always let Jesus have the last word in my understanding of how to connect to our/my world today. "You have heard that it was said, but I say to you...." Matt 5

As to music, I prefer we don't legislate music 'flavour's. There is so much secular music these days that is leading people to ask good questions as to the meaning of life and death, maybe that music is like the 'goads' spoken of in ecclesiastes. I think the key is to listen with discernment. For example, I am 52 but my son has introduced me to a band called Death Band Cutie. When I listen to this music it takes me right into reality of how things really are in life, whereas sometimes some 'Christian music' actually misleads me (not all just some). I have found myself listening to Death band cutie and then ended up praying for people and young people I know who are living those lyrics. I guess one way forward is to practice the spiritual discipline of discernment, and not just react defensively and hideaway in our holy huddles. If Luke 15 teaches us anything it teaches us that the Father is forever pushing us out of our holy huddles towards a needy and hurting people.

Joshua 5 (NKJV)
5
For all the people who came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness, on the way as they came out of Egypt, had not been circumcised.
6
For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people who were men of war, who came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they did not obey the voice of the LORD—to whom the LORD swore that He would not show them the land which the LORD had sworn to their fathers that He would give us, “a land flowing with milk and honey.”
7
Then Joshua circumcised their sons whom He raised up in their place; for they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way.
8
So it was, when they had finished circumcising all the people, that they stayed in their places in the camp till they were healed.
9
Then the LORD said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal [ Literally Rolling ] to this day.

NOTE:
There is so much meaning in circumcision.

1. FIRST POINT:
God told Abraham that He would give him a son, a son from his own loins. When Abraham, with an honest heart, asked God to answer the question "How will I know" -- God did not take offense. God answered His question.

HOW DID GOD ANSWER HIS QUESTION? (See Genesis 15)
a.
God asked Abraham to cut up animals in half and wait.
b.
A smoking firepot passed in between the cut pieces.

(The smoking firepot was a theophany -- a physicial representation of the living, true, invisible God whom no man can see with human eyes and live).

What does that have to do with circumcision?

Because circumcision is not only a cutting away of what is not wanted. It is also a very solemn blood covenant. God, in effect, was saying, "May what happened to these animals --death -- happen to me if I do not keep My terms of the covenant."

Look at how God views blood covenant, in Jeremiah 34 (Amplified):

18
And the men who have transgressed My covenant, who have not kept the terms of the covenant or solemn pledge which they had made before Me, I will make them [like] the [sacrificial] calf which they cut in two and then passed between its separated parts [solemnizing their pledge to Me]--I will make those men the calf!

~~~

2. SECOND POINT
Notice that God in Christ Himself took this a step further.

NOTE: Since Jesus claimed that He is God by saying "I and the Father are one", some people could ERRONEOUSLY say that God must have failed His promise to Abraham, and that is why Jesus died.

NOT SO!

In fact, the COMPLETE OPPOSITE is true! Jesus is the SUPREME EVIDENCE that God does, in fact, keep His word!

Jesus takes circumcision even further.

In Genesis 15, not only did God love us enough to walk in between the pieces of cut animals and bind mankind forever to Him in His love by showing His determination to bless the world through His people.

On the Cross, God INCLUDED YOU AND ME in circumcision. We were never able to "cut away" sin from ourselves or to truly separate ourselves from sin. As much as I tremendously respect the fasting and prayer of God-fearing people such as sincere and faithful adherents to Islam or any other faith belief... these things can NEVER save anyone from sin.

Only Jesus can save us! Look at what God did through Jesus FOR US on the Cross! THIS IS AMAZING!

Colossians 2 (NKJV)
11
In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, BY THE CIRCUMCISION OF CHRIST,
12
buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
13
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
14
having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
15
Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it, [i.e., the cross]

DID YOU SEE THAT? Verse 11 is SO AWESOME!

"In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, BY THE CIRCUMCISION OF CHRIST"

~~~
So what does that have to do with male circumcision? Male circumsion (man being the spiritual leader of his family and community) is a way for us to enter into the blood covenant. In effect, we are also saying, "May what happened to this dead piece of flesh happen to me if I do not keep the terms of the covenant."

Also, it is totally giving ourselves to the Lord, and completely separating ourselves from what is not pleasing to God.

** And when we feel we are unable to separate ourselves from sin (which we cannot in our own ability), then we go to the Lord Jesus and BY FAITH receive from Him our death to sin.

~~~
I KNOW THIS IS LONG, but this is a VERY KEY part of our Christian faith.

Finally, I like this about the meaning of the place where Joshua had the children of Israel circumcised, in Joshua 5, verse 9:

"Then the LORD said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal [ Literally Rolling ] to this day."

GOD HAS ROLLED OFF OF US THE REPROACH AND WICKENESS OF SIN! May we, then, EXPERIENCE that by rolling and casting every care every need onto the Lord.

Proverbs 16 (Amplified)
3
Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.

I Peter 5 (NKJV)
6
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
7
casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
9
Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

Vance

Luciano,

If you consider how evil, evil can be you will be thankful to God for its destruction. Truman Capote's book ''In cold blood'' that I only read lately made me realize the reality of evil. It will also be a painful book for Christians since you will see a noble,hard working, loving Christian family mudered brutally in a single night of evil and crime. Consider also the massacres in Rawanda and Sierra Leonne (whole villages plundered, men butchered, women raped and killed in most brutal ways.) Evil knows no good or compassion that's why God hates it. Satan will never repent that's why he will be destroyed with all evil.

No doubt Father pursues and pursues as it is the good will of Father to save all the world. Yet, some men keep on running away from the commands of God towards darkness and evil. In the end they run out of their chances:

''Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors.'' (Psalm 73:18)

By the way, for sure it sounds unfair to human judgement that evil still walks the earth with impunity. God has not turned His eyes from it. Only that its time has not yet come.

Regarding music and our approach to it, I honestly believe God likes all music...After all, he created it. It is so important that we realize that there is no such thing as secular or Christian music. Music is just music! Lyrics determine whether it is secular or Christian. So listen on to the music; just check out the lyrics...they'll get you every time.

No doubt music is divine and all music is pleasing.

Though, just a strange thought struck me on the mention of music so many times... Satan was originally the chief musician in the God's kingdom, well- versed in different kinds of musical instruments.

I wonder if this should serve as a warning not to be attracted to appealing music with ungodly lyrics ? It can also serve as an analogy, by the way. :-)

Ember you can try to explain away the killing of Jericho's inhabitants by their hearts being depraved. I agree.

But no such explanation can be made for Achan's wife.

She got killed 'cuz he got killed. Plain and simple. I'm not saying it's wrong; indeed, it's God's will. What I am saying is this: nobody objects to it, but they'll raise cain, so to speak, when talking about election. And isn't what we see in this chapter God saying, "I'm giving victory to My people, and destroying those who are not My people." And with Achan's wife, God says, "I'm killing you because I'm holding you accountable for your husband's sins." Why is that cool, but election not??

Emberglow: King David was also a music enthusiast. The book of Psalms contain many lyrics written by David. I believe that the book of Psalms offer a good preview of Christian music to come, and are some of our earliest Christian songs. Many Christian music artists today take their lyrics right out of Psalms and many other verses found in the bible.

Christian music does have a major impact on my life. I've promoted Christian music concerts at our church before. We invited Mitch McVicker to come once and were very blessed to have him. Some of you have probably heard of Rich Mullins, right? Well McVicker traveled with Rich and was his drummer. Mitch was in the SUV when Rich Mullins died in that accident many years ago. Mitch tours with another guy and they are very good. Mitch McVicker suffered a coma due to the accident and gives an amazing testimony when he sings. I helped arrange for Mitch to play at the Spirit West Coast music festival in Monterey CA back in 1999. I got to meet his family who came out to see him and take vacation. I love going to the music festival and have attended many of them. If anyone is out in Ca from August 3rd to 5th this year, I encourage you to check it out. It would be a good vacation get away. I think I might of mentioned this before in another post. Check out this web site: www.spiritwestcoast.org. Concert dates are May 26-28 in Del Mar (southern Ca) And in Monterey (Central Coast, northern) posted above in August. Music concerts appear all over the United States and in other parts of the world as well. There are Christian music cruises such as the one in the Mexican Riviera in Feb of 2007 www.christiantravelfinder.com. I'm not a promoter for them, so don't get me wrong. I believe that a lot of people come to Christ, as Mike said through concerts and Christian events such as these. Some of those people would never darken the doors of a church. If events such as these, get people to church, it has to be a good thing.

I promoted a youth concert that was lots of fun. We had the band Switchfoot play. They are surfers from southern Ca and are pastors son. Great group of guys.

Good study in Joshua today, I had forgotten about the part of Joshua encountering the angel who some believe was the Lord. Very neat stuff. Enjoyed todays reading. Blessings.... Laura

In regard to music: I have lots of secular lyrics/music...some just intrumental movie soundtracks (mostly about flying). I have some CD's by Vince Gill, Martina McBride, Celine Deon; Nat King Cole & lots of beautiful worship & praise music. AND...I will tell you this...the lyrics to 99.9% of secular music that I listen to brings no life at all. After I listen to it for a while...I have to stop listening to it & go back to Words of Life. It is all about what we put in our "ear" & "eye" gates...the pride of life & the lust of the eye that will tempt & get us every time. I watch less TV than I have in all my life & read more books (Christian nonfiction material) & read the Word daily. I can only listen to secular lyrics for so long & then the Holy Spirit woos me back to the "truth" & I leave the world behind once again.

jan

shane,

We agree on "election/predestination", so you will not see me rasing "cain" like you posted.

I can see how people would vary in their reactions to the situations of your post.

Most Christians when really questioned about it - would hold God is soverign in death. None of us are promised a day more than today. God decides our life span, and whether God is explicitly involved in "man's" physical death - the day is set.

Some Christians might feel uncomfortable with God calling for immediate death as a judgment, as in these Joshua passages. But maybe that is the revealing nature of the passages - that He can and does control life, and there is a consequence to disobeying the "direct" commands of the Lord. Afterall, God could have just made people drop dead of apparent natural causes without saying a word to Joshua. but then people being people could rationalize it away, instead of recognizing the deaths for what they were - 460 years of rejection of God by the Canaanites (April 10th post), and disobediance by Achan (which I have not read about yet).

Achan's family. They knew about the stolen items, and they knew the Lord's command. Family could have talked him out of it, or turned him in. If the punishment had not been so severe, then perhaps it starts happening at every battle, and Israelites start stealing from each other, assaulting and murdering for precious items, etc. We don't know the consequences of the punishment not being severe.

"Election" becomes another whole can of worms. While Christians can acknowledge God controls and is soverign over physical life and death. Eternal life becomes a contention point.

What I have heard from people who disbelieve the Doctrine of Election is bottom line: Man has the freewill to determine his salvation. That ultimately "Man" is the "straw that stirs the salvation drink". God can draw you, God can warn you, God can want you, but ultimately it is "man's" decision.

Forgetting Scripture for a moment. The above is hard for me to believe, since God has always had a perfect plan. If John Doe is desired and in God's plan, yet John Doe rejects Jesus and dies - then God has to adapt his plan. Well, if the plan was perfect, any change would make it less than perfect. By thinking that man has that kind of power to affect God's plan, one denigrates who God IS.

So, to sum up. One can have no problem with God's soverignty over physical life and death, and yet can believe that eternal life is "man's" choice, and thus get bothered with talk of soverignty in this area.

Personally, I would prefer to wait until after the Gospels to discuss this area of God's soverignty. Since you brought it up in a comparison with today's passages, I thought I might point out, right or wrong, why some people feel the way you described.

Music

I was raised on Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, and Beatles. Pre-salvation never collected music or listened to it at home - just on radio at various times, or in nightclubs.

Currently, I have just a few CD's, and all of them are arrangements of hymns with very few exceptions. I have grown to like that music since being saved. Could NOT stand it - Pre-salvation.

My only concern about modern Christian music is when the music (loudness)overcomes the lyrics, and when it becomes a "show" instead of worship.

I understand that contemporary Christian music is a draw to youth and appealing to a segment of Christianity in general, and that most often the lyrics are straight from scripture. If someone is saved at a concert or at a service where it is "showtime" I often wonder whether it was the emotion of the music (or moment) or a true "turning back to the Lord" and repenting of sins. However that is not my call, and in the end it is between God and that person.

For me, occassionally listening to CD's at home, singing mostly traditional hymns at Worship, and listening to hymns on traditional Christian radio network are my diet of music. As to CCM, I just pray that it can be used to glorify God.

John, I had just been having an email conversation with Ember regarding election, so it was on the brain when I was reading Joshua. Of course, it ties in with our Luke passages as well (I mean once you're already thinking about it) regarding the security of the coin, the sheep and the son.

Nevertheless, I don't normally wear my Calvinism on my sleeve, so I'll leave it 'til about the middle of John. ;)

Joshua 5-7:15

Vulnerability:

I am a person that does not like to show any vulnerability. I’m too afraid to let anyone see me sweat or to know that I am in pain or hurt and I know that this aversion is a BIG problem and hinders my receiving anything from God. So it is with great interest that I note Israel became vulnerable before her enemies, right outside the locked up city of Jericho.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalms 23:4 KJV)

Israel submitted herself to the protection of God while she waited for all the “fighting” men, who had not been circumcised while in the wilderness, who now were circumcised, to heal. The last time we read of a “mass” circumcision back in Genesis, in the thirty-eighth chapter, Shechem and father and the rest of the men of their little community wound up dead, killed by Jacob’s two boys-- Simeon and Levi. They were avenging the rape of their sister Dinah.


Is God on my side or am I on His, and which way should it be?

I have loved the following passage ever since I first read it years ago:

When Joshua was by Jericho, he looked up, and behold, a Man stood near him with His drawn sword in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, Are you for us or for our adversaries? And He said, No [neither], but as Prince of the Lord's host have I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, What says my Lord to His servant? (Joshua 5:13-14 AMP)

What I love about this is that it is a “slap” in the face to all of us who presumptuously feel that we are a special folk so God takes our side in any matter. God is never on man’s side, even here. Joshua is Moses’ successor; hand picked by God yet God is neither on Joshua’s side nor the enemies. The question is Joshua, are you on the Lord’s side. Of the many things that I am leery of and one is when people proclaim that because they are Christians, every step they make is Godly and God has their “back” because they are holy.

Identity Crises?

This entire incident with Ai and Achan, I believe identifies an identity problem Israel found herself facing. Who was she and where and with whom did her strength lie? Was it in the number of “fighting men?” Was Jericho defeated because there were so many of them compared to the number of Jericho’s troops? Her strength came from her relationship with God, He chose her and not she herself. Achan wasted the mercy and grace of God. The same issue, identification, can be found in the Prodigal Son(s). Each one found themselves “wasting,” what they thought was their right to have. The younger wasted the wealth given to him, and the older “wasted” the close relationship he had with his father, neither knew who he truly was.

Wasting one’s relationship, one’s wealth, one’s substance comes about because the “true” value of what you hold in your hands is not recognized. Achan thought the gold and silver was more valuable than the God who brought them into their Victory; the younger son, thought his value was in who he was apart from his father, the older valued what he did and what he attained “working” for his father, more than the relationship with his father. We will stop wasting when we understand what is valuable and what isn’t.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

Well, thing is once we truly believe in something we spend years confirming it with ''evidences'' and no matter what we find we use it to corroborate our views.

I am 100% for predestination and I would love to give God the driving seat of my life. But unfortunately it does not work this way. All through the Bible God asks His people to get up and do it! In NT God also wants us to spread His Word to the ends of the earth. Why can't God do it (spread His word and create faith) for us?

That's how I look at it as I have mentioned in my emails to shane. If God's love is perfect there has to be human free will within God's Will. That explains away how we can break God's heart and incur His Wrath (mentioned all over OT) by going awry and leaning our will towards Satan's Will of destruction and ruin of mankind.

"I am 100% for predestination and I would love to give God the driving seat of my life. But unfortunately it does not work this way."

Pretty weak God who can't sit in the driver's seat of a blogger's life.

"If God's love is perfect there has to be human free will within God's Will."

Too bad there's not Bible verse for that one.

Want one with the word predestination in it? ;)

Oh, and by the way, how is it that you know Satan has a will of destruction? Is his will not free? Is it not subject to change?

And what of God, Himself? How can you be sure that you ever go awry, to use your term, of God's will? Is His will not free, and therefore subject to change? Freedom, after all, is the freedom to be wrong.

Is your will free and God's not? Do you demand freedoms that God Himself doesn't possess? You must if you demand a will that is free.

Must be nice, by the way, to have a free will. A will free from a nature of sin--a will free from conviction of the Holy Spirit. A will free to act outside the bounds of your nature. I bet it's an interesting life you lead, what with your will being free and all.

Funny thing, though, about people who believe they have "free" will: they're all still sinners. Seems like one of those fellas with a will that's free would have overcome that by now. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," isn't Paul merely citing to a census statistic, you know.

A bit of a haughty view of yourself, I'd say. After all, the one who, of his own free will, makes the right choice in salvation need only look in the mirror to find the person to thank. Personally, I'd rather thank God for saving me, rather than thank myself for outsmarting the wide-gate crowd. But that's just me.

lol. That's twisting my words. My eyes are fixed on the cross and God is always in the driver's seat. But I get to hold the steering wheel of my life too ! Because God made me more than a robot. That's how the relationship develops.

Anywayz, here are Bible verses that you are bound to ignore, because you are so PREDESTINED.

''I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore CHOOSE life, that both thou and thy seed may live.'' (KJV) Deutronomy 30:19

The discourse of Joshua is also worth noting in all of chapter 24 (Joshua also makes it clear that they cannot serve (in the human sense) God because God is holy yet they are to make a choice because He is a JEALOUS God ( Joshua 24:19)


''And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, CHOOSE this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.'' Joshua 24:15

Also focus on the word COVENANT mentioned throughout the Bible. Why make a covenant when our decisions are already made? Covenant involves more than one party. It's very basic, isn't it ?

Satan was so beloved of God. God gave him so many powers, gifts and Free Will. He went bad because he wanted to replace God. God can check Satan but won't transform him. Because it's his (Satan's) choice. He is a rebel and a traitor and moves only in the direction of evil. God won't change his heart using His will but judge Satan and destroy him. Compare Satan, his evil angels (demons) who chose to be with him and the good angels that rejected Satan.

By the way, if you think God totally dictates the will of its creation (without giving them the gift of free will and conscience) you are also suggesting that God and Satan are one.?

Ember, this is neither the time, nor the place. But let me say this, and then I'll be done with this conversation until we get to an appropriate verse.

I am NOT arguing that man doesn't choose. I am stating that the Bible says that man is incapable of choosing unless God does something to him first.

Why do I say that, Oh I don't know, maybe 'cuz this guy named Jesus said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father."

This other guy named John said that when we are born again, we are born were born, "not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

Do we choose? Of course, but our natural selves "love darkness rather than light." So something must happen. Remember that "without faith it is impossible to please God," and the apostle Paul seemed to think (wrongly according to you) that faith was a gift of God. He says to the Philipians that it was given to us to believe, and to the Ephesians that "it is by grace you are saved, through faith, which is a GIFT FROM GOD."

Oh, we choose. We choose wrongly, just as those people in Joshua chose wrongly, until God chooses us, like He did with Joshua.

You have a schoolboy's argument: you say that anything other than free will is robot. Is that true? If I give a child a bowl of ice cream and a bowl of asparagus, which will he choose? Well, he'll choose the ice cream. Why? Because his will to choose is fettered to his nature--he's a child, therefore he likes ice cream more than asparagus. People love sin more than grace. God must change such a mindset. "You did not choose me, but I chose you," Christ said to the apostles. Well, in a sense they did choose to go with Christ, but in the eternal sense the were appointed by God.

You can have your free will, sir. And you may keep it. I serve a God "who works out all things according to the counsel of His will," and who "declares the end from the beginning, ancient times and things yet to come.... His purpose will stand."

It is pride, and pride alone, that says your will is free. Anybody who gives an OBJECTIVE look to the nature of the will knows that people's wills are not free. Paul thought so, "the things I DO NOT WANT TO DO that I find myself DOING." That doesn't sound like freedom.

You're a "slave to sin" or a "slave to righteousness" according to Paul.

And your covenant argument????


You don't think you entered that covenant do you?

Grace is a covenant between Christ and the Father. The Father gives people to Christ, and Christ redeems them and makes everlasting intercession for them. See John 6.

Did I choose to be saved? Yup, immediately upon the act of regeneration by the Holy Spirit. He changed my nature, which altered my will. "For it is God who works in you, both to ACT and to WILL according to His good purpose."

Free will is the folly of the prideful. Especially those adherents that still believe all men sin.

Oh, and you seem quite confident of Satan's evilness. I agree. But why can't Satan change? You say he has free will, then isn't he free to change?

Oh, I see, only we have free will. Satan had free will for a while, according to you, and now is just evil.

What a silly argument.

Lol. Once again you're twisting my words. Satan had free will and he misused it. Was he not made good with a free will ? He turned bad... too bad. Was he not soooo happy, admired and loved in God's kingdom? But he chose to rebel (many other angels did not). That's what most people in OT did (rebelled) though God loved them so.BUT NOTE: Many also CHOSE to follow God (like Joshua did)

Don't apply Christ's words to apostles to all human race. Here Christ is talking about God's direct intercession to choose few people (largely for leadership roles) for His purposes. I do believe Jesus also chose Judas (foreknowing his depravity) to betray Him.

Nope. Free will is not pride though it can certainly lead to pride and destruction if we ignore our wonderful God and his commands.Free will truly glorifies the love of God and His relationship with human beings. Please tell me why is God heart-broken when His people reject him...it's all over OT. Christians can be assured that those who choose to reject God and be masters of their own fate will see destruction.

Nothing is wrong with those verses you cite as far as human free will is concerned. My Free Will does not save me at all. But it is still there. When I choose to respond to God's love, God gives me more faith, grace, affirmation and continues to bless me, listens to my prayers... and the relationship grows deeper.God loves me, blesses me, saves me.

God does something in the hearts of all men. Even most evil people and recidivists do get the calls of God and pricks of conscience.. but they choose to reject time and again. Even in modern day, I have noticed atheists cursing God and saying they are cool. I have also seen them in their fearful and guilty moments. God does talk to them too. They ignore. Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.. wisdom BEGINS from there.

When we love our Father will he deny us His love? Would He throw us back to Satan and say... ''NOPE UR NOT THE ELECT.. GO READ Calvin!'' How silly can this get ? You're underestimating the love of God by stating he predestines people to perish in hell. I am saying this because this guy called Jesus tells us what God would say to us if we turn to Him:

''For EVERYONE who who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?...how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those WHO ASK HIM!'' Matt 7:8-11

Are you predestined to ignore above words of our Lord ? Or maybe suggest he is talking of the ELECT? Why doesnt He specify then? Truth is all who turn to God are the Elect and God knows that (so it is not wrong for God to say He saves them!). And finally, it is between man and God, neither Calvin nor you nor I decides God's Will. I am saying it using my free will that God gave me. I might be wrong.

You also write, ''Free will is the folly of the prideful. Especially those adherents that still believe all men sin.'' Are you suggesting some men don't sin? Are those the Elect ? Noah, Abraham, Lot, Moses, Aaaron, Peter, Thomas and even Paul sinned. Where was the regeneration and freedom from sins ??? Luther wasn't wrong when he said we do sin as long as we are here. I wonder which special ones don't sin....? What can be more prideful than to assert that some are ELECT (whereas others are the REJECT) and moreover the ELECT dont Sin!

This is what God has revealed to me and I affirmed it from many other sources including BIBLE. Yet, I never once said I fully support Arminianism just because it condemns Calvinism. I have a mind of my own. Why can't you get out of Calvinism? God doesn't work in 'Isms'.

That Christ rejects no one who chooses Him in no way contradicts with what JESUS said about who has the ability to do so. "Those whom the Father has given Me."

Who comes to Christ? The sheep. Christ says, "You do not believe BECAUSE you're not My sheep." You apparently would have Christ say, "You're not my sheep because you don't believe."

Once again, I'm not saying we don't choose. I'm only saying regeneration must take place first. I don't see why that's so controversial. Paul says that grace was given to us "before the foundation of the world."

You have NO IDEA how to use the English language, by the way. When a person predestines something, that person makes a decision. That's far different than RATIFICATION. What you describe as predestination would rightly be called ratification, because it's merely God ratifying the decisions of men.

And your Satan argument is dumb. Satan may have had free will, I don't know. Bible doesn't say, frankly. But if he did, does he still? And if he has free will, then why is it necessary that he always be evil? If his will is free, then it's still free right? So it's free to change and be good, and follow God.

But you know that can't happen, don't you.

Did I not use the word ''affirmation''? But honestly, Predestination in the theological sense overlaps various senses (including those us humans cannot understand fully) And God predestinates lots other phenomena that I cannot even begin to imagine.... star formations, supernovas, blackholes, meteors etc. but I must assert unlike us stars don't have a free will and God does not love them in the sense He loves us.

Please read my comments on Satan again. Satan does not want to be good because he thinks he is TOO GOOD. He thinks he is better than God.

It's good to make conscientious decisions. It is remarkable how many things denominations disagree or differ on.And There are variations. Even Bible has the same story of Christ told by 4 gospels.

We all must be wrong in some degrees and right too. But it's good and healthy to express an opinion. I personally, have no wish to lead Free will crusade. I have learnt lots even from those I disagree with. In the end we are responsible to God not to creeeds or doctrines.

I think we can close this debate at this point for now. But shall continue as stuff comes up in this Bible reading.

Emberglow,

"Well, thing is once we truly believe in something we spend years confirming it with ''evidences'' and no matter what we find we use it to corroborate our views."

O.K. this is the second time I remember you posting something like this in a post.

Let's agree to stay away from these kind of statements. First, there is no reason to denigrate someone elses belief. Second, you would have no clue as to how someone comes to their belief without spending a great deal of time with that person. Third, if someone wanted to make an uninformed opinion about your posts - they might say the very same thing about you.

This goes beyond denigrating a statement in support of a belief - (which is also offensive) to an overall view on the person and how they came to that belief.
======================================================
Shane,

I would also ask you to refrain from saying an argument is "dumb" and "use of English Language", etc.

Let's keep the discussion on a higher plain. There are plenty of topics that cause exasperation on both sides. Plenty of Godly men are positioned on either side of the current topic you have chosen to discuss. No need to play "nanny-nanny-pooh-pooh" (the way little kids argue) with each other.

Make your points and move on.

Of course, this is just my opinion, and I do not manage the board, but I felt the need to say something regarding if nothing else - board etiquette and respect for each other.

[Yes, yes, I know I have had trouble with this in the past, but I think I have tried to change since the early blog discussions.]


John,

You're absolutely right. I would like to make clear though, that I was only saying the argument was dumb, and not ascribing that quality to the one making it.

John,
Hmmm... I don't think we were awfully wrong in our arguements. I would rather have a discussion honest than veiled. As I said previously, sometimes we have said the same thing from differnet angles. But there are things human beings can't exactly agree.

But I stand by what you quoted from my post.There always is a horrible danger whatever people may cull from Bible and make a religion out of it.

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