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Cornelius and Total Depravity

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Sparko View Post
    So no-one can come unless drawn, but once drawn, they still have free will to refuse.

    John 3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
    But not "may not come" but rather "will not come" here. This is not the best of verses to explain free will here--and you have not addressed my point from Scripture that all who are drawn will come.

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by mikewhitney View Post
      I will contribute a point, a conclusion, I have about Roman 3, which may show that Romans 3 does not refer to the total depravity of man .

      The discussion in the Rom 3:10-18 is used by Paul to counter the sense that, in verse 9, Jews are better than "us" (this pronoun referring to the Gentile audience and, figuratively, Paul).

      Paul was countering the general principle, as held by Jews, that Jews were superior to Gentiles or that the law was a superior way of making one righteous; this was the background theory that caused a problem in Rome. Paul wrote verses 10-18 to counter non-Christians among the Jews who had said that works of the law was needed to make a person into a decent person.

      Verses 10-18 show that the law actually did not establish righteousness for those who sought to be justified by it. The law that Paul presented in these verses shows that the law testified to their unrighteousness. The situation was like being in a deep pit and trying to climb out on a ladder that was sinking into quicksand. The ladder won't get you out of the hole.

      The passage was not saying that Jews were further away from enjoying the benefits in Christ. However, the law did not give the Jews (or the Christian gentiles in Rome) an advantage.

      So, Romans 3:10-18, in my reading, was not Paul's view that all humanity was totally depraved. Instead, he was showing that the law was not contributing to Jews' righteousness and thus the Gentiles should not seek works of the law. Nor should the Gentiles feel inferior because they are not relying on works of the law.

      Note: It will take me a long time to get the background material docuemented to undergird this reading.
      It is my understanding that Romans 1:18 - 3:20 constitutes one section and that 3:9-20 is the conclusion. Everyone is charged with sin, both Jew and Gentile.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by lee_merrill View Post
        I believe he was a believer, like Abraham, the example for us of saving faith. But he needed to put faith in Christ, just like the disciples of John the Baptist did. If they were truly believers, then they would take that step, I conclude.

        Blessings,
        Lee
        What was the content of his belief before he placed his faith in Christ?

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by lee_merrill View Post
          But not "may not come" but rather "will not come" here. This is not the best of verses to explain free will here--and you have not addressed my point from Scripture that all who are drawn will come.

          Blessings,
          Lee
          Yes I did. several times now. Nowhere in the bible does it say "all who are drawn will come"

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by Hornet View Post
            What was the content of his belief before he placed his faith in Christ?
            Faith in the God of Israel, praying to him for help, giving to others as an act of faith. Cornelius was a "God-fearer", a Gentile belonging to God through faith such as Abraham had, even before he was circumcised (Rom. 4:9-12).

            Blessings,
            Lee
            "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Sparko View Post
              Yes I did. several times now. Nowhere in the bible does it say "all who are drawn will come"
              Well, it's pretty clearly an implication of saying "I will raise him [who is drawn] up".

              Blessings,
              Lee
              "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by lee_merrill View Post
                Well, it's pretty clearly an implication of saying "I will raise him [who is drawn] up".

                Blessings,
                Lee
                If they accept. Not all do. That's clear from scripture and just from looking around you. There wouldn't be any atheists if you were correct.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                  If they accept. Not all do. That's clear from scripture and just from looking around you. There wouldn't be any atheists if you were correct.
                  Well, not all are drawn right now, is my conclusion. And "if they accept" is not in the verse I quoted, drawing is effectual...

                  "And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." (Rom. 8:30)

                  Blessings,
                  Lee
                  "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by lee_merrill View Post
                    Well, not all are drawn right now, is my conclusion. And "if they accept" is not in the verse I quoted, drawing is effectual...

                    "And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." (Rom. 8:30)

                    Blessings,
                    Lee
                    well that pretty much says that not everyone is called. Kinda like Paul talking about vessels created for destruction. You can't have it both ways.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                      well that pretty much says that not everyone is called. Kinda like Paul talking about vessels created for destruction. You can't have it both ways.
                      Well, all I'm after here is that drawing is effectual, all who are called are justified.

                      Blessings,
                      Lee
                      "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Hornet View Post
                        Some people say that before Cornelius became a Christian, he was a devout man and he feared God. They also say that God was pleased with prayers before he became a Christian. They would say that this disproves the total depravity of man. What do you think about this? Is Cornelius really a non-Christian in Acts 10:1-4? If he was a non-Christian, does the fact that he feared God disprove the total depravity of man?

                        Acts 10:1-4 states:
                        Now there was a man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually. About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in and said to him, “Cornelius!” And fixing his gaze on him and being much alarmed, he said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God.
                        My understanding of TD is, that good works before justification can be good, but not supernaturally good. On this theory, Cornelius would not be acting from a motive of saving/justifying/sanctifying faith, nor would he be animated by the supernatural virtues of Christian hope and Christian charity. But his works would still come from obedience to the graces and lights that God had given him, and so, although that obedience would not in itself justify him before God, it would prepare him for justification, and would dispose him to accept the grace of conversion to the true and living God revealed in Christ.

                        Cornelius would not need to be aware of God’s guidance & prompting - what is needful, is that God would guide and prompt him, graciously working for him, in him and through him so that Cornelius might be empowered to do good and to depart from evil, so that, once he heard the Gospel savingly preached, he might freely and willingly embrace it, and might be empowered to do good from a new, higher, better, more gracious motive, of communion with Christ through the sanctifying grace of the Spirit of Christ. Cornelius realised in his life the truth of the words: “For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away”. He did not have the grace of saving faith, but by God’s grace he was enabled to be faithful to what grace he did receive; and because he was lived in faithfulness to that grace, he was made able to believe in Christ.

                        I agree with the idea that TD means, not that the unjustified are totally evil in every way - I hold with those who say that to be totally evil is a metaphysical impossibility - but that the unjustified man is damaged in all his nature and faculties. I do not understand this to mean that every action of the unjustified is hateful to God; but rather, that their human goodness, good and real as it is, such as it is, falls short of the Boundless Uncreated Holy Goodness of God personified and modelled in Christ.

                        IOW human nature before justification is not valueless trash - God does not make trash; He makes men, and they cannot unmake His making of them - but is good insofar as it exists (because God Who Is Good created it). It it is comprehensively damaged, so that none of it functions as well as it should. Human nature has been “irradiated” and poisoned by sin, and if left to itself it is on the way to destruction. It is not wholly ruined; there is still good in it. But without renewal by Christ, it is done for. It is like a ball with a nick cut out, so that it cannot any longer run true. The nick may be small, but the whole ball, and also its ability to roll as it should, are damaged.

                        It is not connatural to human nature even purely as such, to love God in Christ; and we are talking of human nature damaged, deteriorated, and depraved, by sin. So a major work of repair, renovation, rebuilding, redirection, restoration and elevation is needed. Spotless purely human goodness free of all sin is not enough - the standard for goodness is not that, but the superabundant gracious Divine-human Goodness of Christ.
                        Last edited by Rushing Jaws; 09-02-2020, 10:56 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Hornet View Post
                          The total depravity of man consists of the following: 1. Human beings are sinful and sin has affected every part of their lives and 2. A person will not seek God unless God first draws him.

                          Some people say that before Cornelius became a Christian, he was a devout man and he feared God. They also say that God was pleased with prayers before he became a Christian. They would say that this disproves the total depravity of man. What do you think about this? Is Cornelius really a non-Christian in Acts 10:1-4? If he was a non-Christian, does the fact that he feared God disprove the total depravity of man?

                          Acts 10:1-4 states:

                          Now there was a man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually. About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in and said to him, “Cornelius!” And fixing his gaze on him and being much alarmed, he said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God.
                          You are conflating justification and becoming Christian. Justification is becoming recognised as a member of God's flocks. God has sheep of another flock, the Gentile flock, as opposed to the Jewish flock. Both are justified by faith as proved by Abraham. Cornelius was justified and became a sheep of the Gentile flock before he became a Christian. Now members of both Jewish and Gentile flocks must become Christian.

                          As for Total Depravity, you are enquiring about one aspect of it, that a person will not seek God unless God first draws him.

                          Scripture says that God places humans in circumstances that made them aware that things were wrong, so that they would look for answers:

                          Acts 17:26From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.

                          To prove this wrong, you must think of a circumstance where God did not put humans in that situation.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by lee_merrill View Post
                            I believe he was a believer, like Abraham, the example for us of saving faith. But he needed to put faith in Christ, just like the disciples of John the Baptist did. If they were truly believers, then they would take that step, I conclude.

                            Blessings,
                            Lee
                            John's disciples were Jews and justified, considered kosher, observant, by God, like the tax collector in the temple, by believing both the minor as well as the weightier rules of the law, justice, mercy and faithfulness, were to be followed. Giving your extra coat to your brother, etc.

                            Gentiles who observed the Law, even when they were without the Law, were considered circumcised, kosher, observant, by God, like Cornelius.

                            Justification, as correctly observed by the New Perspective, is not how you get into God’s People, or stayed in, but how others knew you were in, how God recognised you had access to table fellowship, observant, clean, could be given bread.

                            John told his disciples to obey Jesus's teachings, so when they learned what these were, and agreed, they were justified again, but this time recognised as members of Jesus's covenant, and received His bread.

                            Acts 19:5On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues b and prophesied.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by mikewhitney View Post
                              I will contribute a point, a conclusion, I have about Roman 3, which may show that Romans 3 does not refer to the total depravity of man .

                              The discussion in the Rom 3:10-18 is used by Paul to counter the sense that, in verse 9, Jews are better than "us" (this pronoun referring to the Gentile audience and, figuratively, Paul).

                              Paul was countering the general principle, as held by Jews, that Jews were superior to Gentiles or that the law was a superior way of making one righteous; this was the background theory that caused a problem in Rome. Paul wrote verses 10-18 to counter non-Christians among the Jews who had said that works of the law was needed to make a person into a decent person.

                              Verses 10-18 show that the law actually did not establish righteousness for those who sought to be justified by it. The law that Paul presented in these verses shows that the law testified to their unrighteousness. The situation was like being in a deep pit and trying to climb out on a ladder that was sinking into quicksand. The ladder won't get you out of the hole.

                              The passage was not saying that Jews were further away from enjoying the benefits in Christ. However, the law did not give the Jews (or the Christian gentiles in Rome) an advantage.

                              So, Romans 3:10-18, in my reading, was not Paul's view that all humanity was totally depraved. Instead, he was showing that the law was not contributing to Jews' righteousness and thus the Gentiles should not seek works of the law. Nor should the Gentiles feel inferior because they are not relying on works of the law.

                              Note: It will take me a long time to get the background material docuemented to undergird this reading.
                              Are we (Gentiles) better than they (Jews)?

                              Quote
                              All of the above explain why Paul wrote what he wrote to whom he wrote—except for chapters 9–11. Baur suggested that this was the heart of the epistle, while most today do not know what to do with it. Recently, Paul B. Fowler, formerly of Reformed Seminary, argued that “Paul’s primary purpose in writing Romans was to dispel anti-Semitism”5 He based his argument on (1) many internal clues (11:13ff., etc., where Gentile pride has cropped up; cf. the whole thrust of chs. 9–11); (2) one main external clue (the expulsion of the Jews from Rome by Claudius a few years earlier—which would certainly continue to have rippling effects, even within the church); and (3) a chiastic pattern unfolding some of the structure of the book (viz., in chapter 3 Paul asks five questions which are unfolded in reverse order throughout chapters 3–11). What is intriguing is that, concerning this last point (the chiastic structure), although Paul answers in brief the question of 3:1 (“What advantage has the Jew?”) in the next verse, he really expands on it in chapters 9–11.

                              https://bible.org/seriespage/6-roman...nt-and-outline

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by lee_merrill View Post
                                We might also add John 12:32:

                                "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."
                                Just as Rahab was drawn to God, when Joshua was rescued from death at the hands of the enemy army, both Jew and Gentile will be drawn to Jesus, when God rescues Him from the grave.

                                But not all are drawn at once:

                                "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day." (John 6:44)
                                The Father draws them with the teaching that those who are obedient to Jesus will not perish.

                                So all who are drawn are raised, but not all are raised.
                                John 6:37All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.

                                Comment

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