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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
William

John 3:16 and Man’s Ability to Choose God

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35 minutes ago, atpollard said:
4 hours ago, Solas said:

Would you say, 'they would not because they could not due to their depravity?

That's a hard question to answer.

Should all people believe that there is a CREATOR?  Does creation itself provide sufficient evidence that some sort of 'god' must exist?

So are atheists guilty of 'would not' believe in God or 'could not' believe in God?

Is belief in a God really impossible, or are atheists simply unwilling to believe.

That is a hair too fine for me to split ... "above my pay grade", as they say.

 

I believe the handiwork of creation leaves man without excuse but not necessarily reveals God himself.At least it is sufficient to show there is something much greater than man involved.

 

39 minutes ago, atpollard said:

The very fact that God forgives the sins of any (since none deserve it) and damns others for eternity (which all sinners deserve) when in fact many of the sins forgiven are far worse than most of the sins left unforgiven ... shows effectual favoritism. 

Everyone living in the Americas before 1492 did not have the same opportunity to hear the gospel and have their sins forgiven as the Europeans and middle eastern peoples who had possessed the Gospel since AD 100.  That shows effectual favoritism.

 

I think that we just have to come to grips with the fact that God does show favoritism.

... which is a hard thing to accept.  (That must be a human perspective flaw).

In those periods of times there may also have been more obstacles to believing even though there was increased access to the Gospel. Like today...Gospel in abundance...secular humanism in abundance, but yes, his grace is sufficient. 

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On 4/16/2019 at 8:40 PM, William said:

The inward call is a direct call through the Spirit. The Holy Spirit takes the preached gospel and opening the heart of the sinner (Acts 16:14), applies the word to the heart in regenerating power. 

I had to take a 2nd look at what at first seemed to be a persuasive verse only to notice...


[14] A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. Acts 16:14 NASB

 

...that Lydia was already a worshiper of God, so she was already a believer and needed no regeneration but only the hearing of 'a more excellent way'...or were old testament saints not born again/regenerated? (An interesting discussion in and of itself)

 

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According to Acts 10:2, Cornelius also prayed to God continually, but he still wasn't yet saved (Acts 11:14).

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14 minutes ago, Solas said:

I had to take a 2nd look at what at first seemed to be a persuasive verse only to notice...


[14] A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. Acts 16:14 NASB

John Calvin on Acts 16:14:

14.A woman named Lydia. If they had been heard of a few women, yet this had been to enter in, as it were, by a strait chink; but now whereas one only heareth attentively and with fruit, might it not have seemed that the way was stopt before Christ? − (184) But afterward there sprung a noble Church of that one small graft, which Paul setteth out with many excellent commendations; yet it may be that Lydia had some companions, whereof there is no mention made, because she did far excel them all. And Luke doth not assign that for the cause why this one woman did show herself apt to be taught, because she was more witty − (185) than the rest, or because she had some preparation of herself; but he saith that the Lord opened her heart that she might give ear and take heed to the speech of Paul. He had of late commended her godliness; and yet he showeth that she could not comprehend the doctrine of the gospel, save only through the illumination of the Spirit. Wherefore, we see that not faith alone, but all understanding and knowledge of spiritual things, is the peculiar gift of God, and that the ministers do no good by teaching and speaking unless the inward calling of God be thereunto added. −


By the word heart, the Scripture meaneth sometimes the mind, as when Moses saith, “God hath not given thee hitherto a heart to understand.” So likewise in this place, Luke doth not only signify unto us that Lydia was brought by the inspiration of the Spirit, with affection of heart to embrace the gospel, but that her mind was lightened, that she might understand it. By this let us learn that such is the blockishness, such is the blindness of men, that in seeing they see not, in hearing they hear not, until such time as God doth give them new eyes and new ears. But we must note the speech, that the heart of Lydia was opened was opened that she might give ear to the external voice of the teacher. For as preaching alone is nothing else but the dead letter, so we must beware lest a false imagination, or a show of secret illumination, lead us away from the word whereupon faith dependeth, and wherein it resteth. For many, to the end they may amplify the grace of the Spirit, feign to themselves certain inspired persons, − (186) that they may leave no use of the external word. But the Scripture doth not suffer any such divorce to be made which joineth the ministry of men with the secret inspiration of the Spirit. Unless the mind of Lydia had been opened, Paul’s preaching should have been only literal; − (187) and yet the Lord doth not inspire her with bare revelations only, but he giveth her the reverence of his word, so that the voice of man, which might otherwise have been uttered in vain, doth pierce into a mind endued with heavenly light. −


Therefore, let those brain-sick fellows be packing, [begone,] who, under color [pretext] of the Spirit, refuse external doctrine. For we must note the temperature of moderation which Luke setteth down here, that we can have or obtain nothing by the hearing of the word alone, without the grace of the Spirit; and that the Spirit is given us, not that he may bring contempt of the word, but rather that he may dip [instill] into our minds into our minds, and write in our hearts the faith thereof. −


Now, if the cause be demanded why the Lord opened one woman’s heart alone, we must return unto that principle, that so many believe as we are ordained − (188) to life. For the fear of God, which went before the plain and manifest knowledge of Christ in Lydia, was also a fruit of free election. The describers of situations of places − (189) say, that Thyratira is a city of Lydia situate upon the side of the river called Hermus, and that it was sometimes called Pelopia; but some there be who attribute it to Phrygia, some to Mysia. −

(184) −
“ Obstructos esse Christo ingressus,” that the entrance of Christ was hindered.
(185) −
“ Acutiori ingenio,” of acutor intellect.
(186) −
“[ Ενθουσιασμους ],” inspirations.
(187) −
“ Literalis,” literal, (gone no farther than the letter.)
(188) −
“ Praeordinati,” preordained.
(189) −
“ Geographi,” geographers.

 

14 minutes ago, Solas said:

...that Lydia was already a worshiper of God, so she was already a believer and needed no regeneration but only the hearing of 'a more excellent way'...or were old testament saints not born again/regenerated? (An interesting discussion in and of itself)

The Ordo Salutis is the same both OT and NT.

 

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50 minutes ago, Faber said:

According to Acts 10:2, Cornelius also prayed to God continually, but he still wasn't yet saved (Acts 11:14).

Just pointing out that one can pray or worship God and still be ignorant of or reject one Person in the Trinity such as the Son.

 

Obviously our act of praying or even worshiping does not save us.

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Understood William.

 

 My previous post was in response to Solas who asked if Lydia was saved in that the Bible teaches she was a worshiper of God.

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9 hours ago, Solas said:

[14] A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. Acts 16:14 NASB

Did she open her heart? 

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1 hour ago, Becky said:

Did she open her heart? 

Opponents be like:

 

Opponents.jpg.447d3dc0423c0f386cc43b2d689e2d64.jpg

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11 hours ago, William said:

Therefore, let those brain-sick fellows be packing, [begone,] who, under color [pretext] of the Spirit, refuse external doctrine. For we must note the temperature of moderation which Luke setteth down here, that we can have or obtain nothing by the hearing of the word alone, without the grace of the Spirit; and that the Spirit is given us, not that he may bring contempt of the word, but rather that he may dip [instill] into our minds into our minds, and write in our hearts the faith thereof. −

Amen to that!

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1 hour ago, Becky said:

Did she open her heart? 

Nope. The Lord continually opens the hearts and eyes of our understanding as believers.

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