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MAKING SENSE OF GOD'S ELECTION: a Digest of the Essentials of the Work by Donald R. Shell - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/election/elmss920.s.htm
MAKING SENSE OF GOD'S ELECTION: a Digest of the Essentials of the Work by Donald R. Shell
Part II: Examining Scripture On The Will-Related Doctrines
Chapter V: Examining "Divine Efficacious Grace" Throughout Scripture (Concluded)
- If our definition of election holds God does not choose who will believe the Gospel, we appear to imply God does not effectually cause men to believe in Christ.
- Yet, this counters the Calvinistic belief the Holy Spirit authors faith (Ryrie, The Holy Spirit, p. 61).
- We thus study pertinent Scriptures CLAIMED to teach efficacious grace to see if this belief is true:
- 1 Corinthians 4:7
- Respected, scholarly and pro-Calvinist author, Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield cited Augustine's own words to show Augustine himself claimed he was moved primarily to hold salvation faith is authored by God from reading Paul's question in this verse which reads: "What do you have that you did not receive?" (Warfield, Calvin & Augustine, [reprint, 1956 by The Presb. & Ref. Pub. Co., 1974] p. 378)
- Yet, nowhere in the context does Paul allude to salvation faith as a gift, but he addresses the spiritual gifts God gives believers for service! (cf. also 1 Corinthians 12:9 and 2 Cor inthians 9:8)
- Thus, contrary to Augustine's conclusion, 1 Corinthians 4:7 does not prove efficacious grace exists!
- 2 Corinthians 4:3-4
- If (as this passage reveals) Satan has blinded the lost lest they be saved, is efficacious grace necessary?
- As the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin John 16:8ff, and this could offset Satan's blindness, efficacious grace could be unnecessary for faith. This passage does not prove efficacious grace exists.
- 2 Corinthians 4:9
- Paul here shifts his expression from Christians having known God to speak of their passively being known by God, a shift one might suggest reveals the existence of efficacious grace in salvation.
- However, Paul does not here signify who authors faith, so this shift may emphasize only God's grace.
- 2 Corinthians 9:15 - The gift from God here may be faith or it may be God's gift of Christ to men.
- Galatians 3:1-8 - The phrase "hearing of faith" may be a subjective genitive (faith producing the hearing) or an objective genitive (the hearing produces the faith). There is no proof here of efficacious grace.
- Ephesians 2:1-3
- As this passage shows the lost are spiritually "dead," is efficacious grace required to save them?
- Well, as Paul does not detail the role of man's will by the "death" involved, other passages are needed to clarify what man's depravity entails before saying this passage shows a need for efficacious grace.
- Ephesians 2:5-12
- One may debate if God's gift in this passage is the gift of (the feminine nouns) "grace"or of "faith."
- Since the pronoun, "that" which refers to God's gift is neuter in gender unlike these feminine nouns, the whole clause before the pronoun is its antecedent, so Paul taught God's salvation as a "concept" is His gift (cf. similar uses this pronoun in this form in Eph. 1:15; 3:1), Bib. Know. Com., N.T., p. 624.
- Thus, one needs to prove the existence of efficacious grace from some other passage(s).
- Philippians 1:6 - The work begun in believers here may refer to efficacious grace or only to justification.
- 2 Timothy 2:22-26
- Verse 25 may appear to teach God efficaciously gives repentance to the unsaved.
- Yet, Arndt & Gingrich assert in their N. T. Greek lexicon this passage along with Acts 5:31 and 11:18 picture the Heb. 12:17 state where Esau failed to find the (elliptical) opportunity to repent. (p. 513f)
- As in Philippians 1:29 already studied, such passages are not proof texts that efficacious grace exists.
- James 2:5 - Though one may claim this verse teaches God desires the poor to become rich in faith, an alleged allusion to efficacious grace, the faith here may only refer to the existence of faith in believers.
- 1 Peter 1:21
- People in this verse are said to believe in the Father by Christ, a possible allusion to efficacious grace.
- However, as we found in our inductive study, 1 Peter was written in part to Hebrew believers, people who may have believed in the Father prior to trusting the Son, cf. John 8:19 and 6:44-45 with 17:2-6.
- Again, other passages would be needed to prove the existence of efficacious grace.
- Conclusion on Efficacious Grace - All pertinent Scripture passages on "efficacious grace" ITSELF do not prove efficacious grace exists, so we must YET examine passages on God's call in the Gospel, on salvation faith and the depravity of man before concluding IF efficacious grace even EXISTS.