Saturday, 20 July 2013

Ephesians 1:11 and "All things"

It’s a wonderful verse full of wonderful truth, but oh how often it is misused:

Ephesians 1:11 (KJV) In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

First of all we have to accept that this verse is teaching that God does work out all things after the counsel of his own will. But the real question is this; what is the “counsel of his own will”?  Well the verse cannot mean that God causes absolutely all things and that this is the counsel of his own will, why? Well for a few reasons:
1)     The verse is all encompassing “all things” is used.
2)     It says that it is the counsel of his will. God’s will is that we do not sin, see John 9:31 (KJV): Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

So the “all things” being talked about here cannot be “all things in the universe that ever happen”, for if we took this conclusion then we turn God into the causation of all sins and all bad things, something we have seen already that God does not cause or desire in the life of anyone. Therefore Ephesians 1:11 isn’t an all encompassing verse that states that God causes absolutely all things in your life (and others) according to the counsel of His will, it means something else. What does it mean? Well I will leave you to do that research for yourself, it’s not a topic I want to cover in this blog post.

But it is not saying God causes absolutely all things, which is what people have imported onto the text and try to fit it into the text, this would contradict the scriptures that teach God does not cause or desire anyone to sin at all at absolutely any time. The following second of this blog post confirms this truth.

Does God cause all things (including sin)?
Think of a bad moment in life when someone has done something hurtful to you, or when you have done something hurtful to someone else. We ask things like “Why did that happen?”, and “why did God put me in this situation and then cause that person to do that?”. If the act that the person performed was a sin then God’s hand was not in it, if it was a good thing the person did that also does not necessarily mean God caused them to do it. God may have turned the heart to do something good to someone else; however God certainly did not turn the heart to do something sinful and negative. People try to avoid this by saying that God does everything he pleases in according to the council of his will (as Ephesians 1:11 above), therefore if a man’s heart is turned to sin it was because God causes it to happen for a specific reason. Let me tell you plain, no way! Do not even think about it, to quote the Apostle Paul; perish the thought! Consider the words of James carefully:

James 1 (KJV) 13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

The passage from James goes on to explain more regarding this, the passage is in direct contrast to the notion that God causes all things including man’s sin by turning peoples hearts that way to achieve something in his will. God’s will and desires never include causing man to sin, yes God can use sins committed by man to achieve His own desires, however God will not cause man to sin. There is a big difference. James makes it clear, don’t blame God for when you or someone else sins or when you (or someone else) make a bad choice or move in life.

So when someone says/asks “why did God cause that person to sin? It must be a sign to me from God”, forget about it! God didn’t turn that person’s heart or will to sin, they did it because of their own sinful nature. We all make mistakes, its part of being a sinner.


Ephesians 1:11 is not stating to us that God causes absolutely everything in the universe to occur which would include sin, by people interpreting this verse as a literal and all encompassing “all things” they make God out to be the cause of all sin and all disastrous events that God did not desire (Jeremiah 19:5). Why? Because the verse does say “all things”, therefore we know that this verse isn’t talking about absolutely “all things” but means something else, for if it meant absolutely everything it would mean we had no free will, it turns God into the author of our sin, and that God desires things He has stated already in His work that He does not desire. 

Thursday, 4 July 2013

How long does Eternal life last?

I guess the blog title question is a bit of a strange one really isn't it? I mean what sort of a question is it? Its like asking how many sides a circle possesses. However many 5 point Arminians will deny that the eternal life Jesus gives is actually eternal. I consider myself a sort of 4 point Arminian, though I do not like to go around saying such. Why? Because many immediately think "He doesn't believe in eternal life!", which of course it laughable! How can someone believe that everlasting (eternal) life has an end at some point? Not only is the logical faulty but the scriptures teach against such a false idea. The book of John was clearly written with the intention of telling believes how to be what we commonly call "saved", it is the book I recommend all new believers read first out of the four gospels. John 10 undoubtedly contains the strongest assertion of the eternal life of the believer, this particular text is what will be addressed in this particular blog post.

First of all, let us establish a very important point regarding Biblical exegesis. The "unclear" passages in the New Testament should always be interpreted in light of the crystal clear passages. For example when Paul sites passaged that seem to indicate we don't have eternal life (unending) then we need to realise this cannot be what Paul actually means, for Paul himself crystal clearly asserts in the eternal life of the believer as do the gospels. So now we turn to what is arguably the best proof text in the whole of the NT regarding the eternal security of the believer; OSAS (Once Saved Always Saved).

John 10:27-30 (KJV):
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
30 I and my Father are one.

Anyone reading this text as it is comes to only one conclusion; we sure are safe! Lets break it down verse by verse. Starting with verse 27.

Verse 27

Jesus here asserts that those who are the sheep are those that hear Jesus and they follow him. The Calvinist loves this verse because they assert that "See! You have to follow Jesus, that is continue to follow him to have everlasting life". This I admit could be a sound reading of verse 27, however it all hangs on this ideas of Calvinists that God from eternity past decided who was going to be saved, this is the Calvinist doctrine of unconditional election. The flip side of this doctrine of Calvinism is that those who God didn't elect are those doomed to hell from the very start, this sits uncomfortably with many clear passages of scripture! So we can forget the doctrine of unconditional election for this blog post, it will be dealt with another time on my blog. 

So what about the 5 point Arminians? Well they seem to have a leg to stand on at first, until you read all surrounding verses rather than just one in isolation. You see the Arminian can shout "You see! You have to follow Jesus (continually) in order to receive eternal life." But think about this for a second, this is how the 5 point Arminian logic goes when it comes to this text:
  1. We continue to believe and receive eternal life.
  2. So once we believe we are in a sense "continuing" to believe, this is how we receive eternal life.
  3. When we stop believing we stop receiving eternal life.
Now looking at those 3 point above the 5 point Arminian can assert "exactly!", but the problem is that the life you had whilst you "continued to believe" was not really eternal was it? For it had an end point. It ignores the fact that eternal life is eternal, it does not end!

So straight away we can see that the 5 point Arminian and the 5 point Calvinist interpretations cannot be correct, the latter due to the fact all points are inherently unbiblical, but Calvinism is far too large to address here. We can clearly see my fellow Arminians who actually believe the 5th point of Arminianism are wrong. But don't take my word for it, take the Saviours who clearly asserts that eternal life is NOT how the 5 point Arminian understands it, it is not a "continuing to be saved though continuing belief":

John 4:10-15 (NIV)
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

What is this passage teaching? Simply this:
  1. Jesus talks about living water that He provides.
  2. The woman asks where she can receive this.
  3. Jesus goes onto say that whoever drinks natural water (that you and I drink) will become thirsty again. He then creates a direct contrast saying whoever drinks the water Jesus provides never actually becomes thirsty again. In other words; they won't have to keep drinking for they will never thirst again.
  4. Jesus explains this with a welling up (eternal life), a person takes one drink and they will never thirst again. The well of eternal life inside them has now sprang up, they won't need to come back to drink.
So what's the problem for the 5 point Arminian? Well they clearly have to pretend that The Lord never actually spoke these words! For they claim you can be:
  1. Saved and then through unfaithful behaviour (and some add habitual sin) can become "unsaved", that is to say; lose one's salvation.
  2. One must be "born-again" yet again.
Jesus says in this passage that the person shall never thirst again, the 5 point Arminian says that they will indeed thirst again and will need to come back to drink once again. This is not what Jesus is saying.

Therefore the correct view is this; Jesus sheep hear him and they trust in him for eternal life and they instantaneously receive it as the passage in John 4 shows, they then possess eternal life for eternity. Thats what eternal life means!

Verse 28

Could the verse be any clearer? The Calvinists from this point onwards agree with everything that I will have to say (generally), it is just the interpretation of verse 27 where myself and my fellow brother and sister Calvinists part into separate directions. However the Calvinists and eternal securest Arminians (like myself) will no doubt unite in dispelling the false belief of 5 point Arminians, which is what I will be doing here in this section. Jesus says:
  1. He gives us eternal life (unending).
  2. We shall never perish (never perish spiritually)
  3. No one shall ever pluck us out of His hand (we cannot be plucked from his hand).
It is a clear cut 3 fold assertion from the Lord. So what does the Arminian do? Well if you're anything like well known heretical teacher (on this issue) David Pawson then its fairly easy what you do. You ignore the first 2 points, I have actually caught him doing this on a YouTube video regarding his address of "Once Saved Always Saved?". He says something along the lines of that we cannot be plucked out of God's hand but we can freely leave his hand. This is something I have heard quite commonly, presumably such individuals have learnt it from Pawson, or Pawson has learnt it from someone else. Problem is that of the 3 fold truths that are held in verse 28 he ignores the first 2 and skips to the last, but I wonder if he realises what he has done? He has denied that:
  1. Eternal means everlasting.
  2. We cannot perish.
Lets say for a moment that Pawson and his ilk could be right, that we could voluntary jump out of the Fathers hand (as Pawson asserts). Well they are left to refute the above 2 points that we can lose something everlasting and that we can perish. The text does not support such an assertion. So what is a better understanding of the term that we cannot be plucked from God's hand? Literally what it says! No one, that means you and all other people cannot jump out or be plucked from God's hand. For if we could we would perish and loose everlasting life, something the text speaks solidly against! 

Verse 29

The text here asserts something clear, the Father is greater than all, and that no man is able to pluck himself or someone else from the fathers hand. So what does the 5 point Arminian do? Well they assert, perhaps unwittingly that:
  1. They are greater than the Father!
  2. That when the text says that "no man" does not mean himself/herself. It only means other people.
But is that what the text says? Well obviously not! Go back and read verse 29 for yourself and listen to what the text is saying. It is saying that the Father is greater than all, and for someone to be taken from the Fathers hand they need to be greater than the father. Who is greater than the father? Are you or I, or anyone else greater than the Father? No, perish (ho-ho) the thought. 

So what does the 5 point Arminian have to assert here? Well I have already stated above, that they have to say ultimately that they as a limited and time bound human being are greater than the Father and that when the text says "no man" it does not include themselves. Whilst at the same time denying all the points of verse 28.

What Does Eternal Mean Anyway?

Simply using Google translate to translate the word and its meanings in English reveals what it actually means:
  1. Lasting or existing forever; without end or beginning.
  2. (of truths, values, or questions) Valid for all time; essentially unchanging.
These are the English definitions of the word "eternal", however we do need to understand what the Greek definitions of the word actually means! This is vitally important as the New Testament was written in Greek, it was not written in English. 

Go to the Online Greek Bible and look up John 10:28 and then click on the word "αἰώνιος" which is the Greek word used here that we translate as "eternal". It brings up a definition of what the word actually does mean. Here is the definition taken straight from the website:

αἰώνιος,a  \{ahee-o'-nee-os}
  1. without beginning and end, that which always has been and  always will be  
  2. without beginning  
  3. without end, never to cease, everlasting 

So we can see here we have 3 different definitions of the word. To understand which one is relevant to the text we need to consider the context of the passage itself. Definition 1 cannot be correct, why? Well because eternal life has a beginning, you receive it upon believing in Jesus. You did not have this eternal life before you believed, in essence; it has a beginning. Based upon this we can also dispel definition 2 given, as I have already stated that given the context of the passage we are given eternal life when we respond to God and accept the eternal life that He gives. So our eternal life has a beginning. So we are left with the final definition of the word eternal (3), that it is without end, never to cease, it is everlasting. This is the correct definition for the following reasons:
  1. Eternal life has a beginning, it begins the moment we believe. We did not have it "without beginning".
  2. Everlasting means that once we receive it (with beginning - when we are saved) then it does not end.
  3. This is why many call it "everlasting life", as its more clear. It had a beginning but it does not have an end. 
Note that in all the definitions of the word in the Greek not one of the three possible definitions ever has the suggestion that "eternal" can mean "with end" at absolutely any point. Two definitions stage that eternal can mean "without beginning" (how God is eternal), however both of these definitions never state that the word eternal means "with end". The reason? Eternal is never defined in the Greek as allowing for an "end". The context of the passage is clear, the definition of the Greek word "αἰώνιος" used in this passage is that of "everlasting", that is "without end", "never to cease", and "everlasting". 

The 5 point Arminian reading this post may try to escape this problem by taking definition 2 which says "without beginning" and note that it does not say "without end". Well no, because that would be the exact same as the first definition given! But lets say it could mean "with end", then we need to turn to the context of the passage that states we shall "never perish". The context makes it crystal clear that definition 2 cannot be held because eternal life does in fact have a beginning and the context of the passage makes it clear that it will not end. 


So what can we conclude from this wonderful passage of truth from the gospel of John? Well its simple; we have everlasting life without end. 

  1. God gives us eternal life.
  2. We shall never perish.
  3. No one (including yourself) can pluck yourself from the Fathers hand.
  4. You would have to be greater than the Father in order to pluck yourself from the Fathers hand.
So here are both texts used here in this blog post in the 5 point Arminian translation. First is John 10:27-30

John 10:27-30 (5 point ARMINIAN):
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they continue to always follow me:
28 And I give unto them temporal life; and they shall perish if they are faithless, no man can pluck them from my hand, unless its you, then you can pluck yourself out of my hand,
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all, but I am greater than the Father so I can jump out of his hand; and no man apart from himself is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
30 I and my Father are one.

Next is John 4:10-15, this one is good. Once again its 5 point Arminian translation:

John 4:10-15 (5 point ARMINIAN)
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will actually thirst again if he is faithless and needs to come back to take another drink. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to temporal life, until he needs to come back for another drink.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty again until I need to come back here again when I become thirsty again.”

The above are obviously not passages taken from the scriptures!

So if you want to be unsaved or lose your salvation I have some bad news, unless you are holding to the brand new 5 point Arminian scriptures you cannot lose or forfeit eternal life. Like you would want to anyway, praise God for your own salvation secure forever.

Blessings in Jesus name,

Andrew (an ex-conditional securest)

Coming Blog Posts

Welcome to my brand new blog!

As the title suggests; I am a free grace advocate, part of what I believe to be further and continuing reformation of the Protestant Reformation. What do I mean by this? I mean that we haven't reformed enough yet!

This blog will be about presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ and sharing the good news with all! It will also be about dispelling fairly commonly held but false beliefs. I have learnt over the past several years in my walk with The Lord that many people do hold false beliefs, the reason for this appear to vary. Some hold to these beliefs because they are comforting, others because they believe it is based upon sound scriptural exegesis. So the first few months of this blog will all be about dispelling false beliefs held by many Christians. 

Here are some topics that will be covered, the titles below represents the FALSE beliefs held by many. 

  • God predestines some to heaven, resulting in the remaining people being damned because they cannot choose God.
  • God in His sovereignty determines absolutely everything in the universe, including all our actions, steps, and breaths (as well as everyone elses). Aka Determinism (in all forms).
  • The Mosaic Law is still binding on the New Testament (NT) believer. 
  • God chooses for us a spouse/relationship partner.
  • Christians still have to obey the commandment regarding the Sabbath (Ten Commandments).
  • We can't know we are actually saved.
Plus many others, these are just some that I can think of right now at this moment in time. There will be thorough critique of Calvinism throughout as well as where I believe Arminians go wrong as well, plus there will no doubt be some thoughts on Molinism thrown in.