“When it comes to God, nothing is in our hands”



A portion of Pastor Mark’s class this past Sunday. He dealt with “free-will”, faith, and manipulating God to fit in with how “we do things”, down here.


– – –17 min.


…or the downloadable file:


click > Pastor’s class 8-25-13




Thank you, Pastor Mark.


And thanks to flickr, and zenitmanaic, for the photo.



4 Responses

  1. Marge (a voice in the background) raises an intriguing point – if, as Mark says ‘everyone’s sins are forgiven’, then why doesn’t everyone go to heaven? Marge assumes it is the co-necessity of faith but Mark rightly correctly says that faith is a gift

    So I repeat Marge’s point – if everyone’s sins are forgiven, then how can the Judge on Judgment Day go against his own earlier declaration to everyone that their sins are forgiven? Why would He not then just let them into heaven?

    Further to Marge’s point, Jesus often says ‘Your faith has saved you’ implying that it is the gift of faith, rather than the forgiveness of sins that determines salvation and entry into heaven

    Marge’s question is really about Limited Atonement – but not why God has the right to elect, but how we are to preach in that light. Can we really say to everyone ‘your sins are forgiven’ when that is not true of the reprobate? Or is ‘your sins are forgiven’ equivalent to an outer call that must be matched by the inner call? (in which case Marge would be right to say that something else is a co-necessity)

    I know Mark and Marge are both right! I am just unclear what we can say to people when evangelising. Should we just say ‘those who call on the Name of the Lord will be saved’ (rather than ‘your sins are forgiven’) although the former sounds a bit too ‘free-willy’

  2. Everyone’s sins are forgiven. He died for and forgave the whole world. Including his very murders who nailed Him to the cross (that is really ALL of us).

    But not all hear that gospel Word, and come to faith.

    So we can honestly tell people (everyone) that God loves them, and has forgiven them.

    After that, it is a mystery as to why some hear and come to a living faith. And why others do not.

    • I’m still not quite there in two respects – understanding the Doctrine and then how to Preach evangelistically in the light of that doctrine

      I do not think we have yet answered Marge’s question (But please note – I am not disputing that faith is a gift from God)


      1. If God has forgiven all, then surely all go to heaven and have eternal life – it is ‘only’ our sins that have broken the relationship of being in fellowship with God. But since we are not automatic universalists (Judas was doomed for destruction), something else is involved (alongside forgiveness) which you describe as hearing and coming to faith (and others might describe as being united with Christ). Now many hear the gospel preached (that’s what preachers do) but the ‘coming to faith’ depends on God – that is not disputed.

      2. But this was Marge’s point. she said ‘faith’ (or as you put it ‘coming to faith’) is also necessary, alongside forgiveness; she did not necessarily dispute that it was a gift from God, just that it was necessary for salvation IN ADDITION to everyone sins being forgiven. In other words, to be saved/have eternal life/ go to heaven, you need your sins forgiven (all men – universal atonement) AND ‘coming to faith’ (also God’s work). some people talk of this as Jesus’ atoning work being applied …

      3. I suspect that Reformed/Evangelical/Calvinists want to uphold the sufficiency of the forgiveness of sins, so they say that the sins of only some are forgiven – ie Limited Atonement – and those whose sins are forgiven are brought to a trusting faith in that fact. But if one maintains Universal Atonement, we must still give a name to the mysterious work of God that distinguishes the forgiven reprobate from the forgiven believer. Marge suggested it was ‘faith’ (even though a gift from God). But in that case, we must preach forgiveness AND the need for faith – which incidentally John 3 v16 does.


      4. If as you suggest we can honestly tell people (everyone) that God loves them, and has forgiven them, then they can take that at face value, turn on their heels and walk out without a living faith but believing that there is no hell and that everyone will be in heaven. In fact all the liberal churches and those preaching ‘God loves you’ are doing a version of this. Please note again – I am categorically not advocating any invitation/call/response/work from the hearer, but just that surely for us to say ‘your sins are forgiven’ is untrue and therefore dishonest unless we add ‘whoever believes’.

      Sorry to be so lengthy – I just don’t think we have hit the root of the issue yet – which is whether to mention faith in a sermon, and how to do so without it sounding like a work of man

  3. I’ll be brief as I’m just headed out the door to work;

    All are forgiven. All are died for. Scripture tells us that (plainly).

    But all will NOT go to heaven because all will NOT believe. All will not hear. All will not receive the gift of faith.

    Therein lies the mystery. Why do some hear (and not really hear)…and others hear and by God’s grace, come to faith.

    So we proclaim God’s Word the same to all people. Never worrying about what will happen afterward, but trusting that His Word will accomplish that for which it sets out to do.


    I’m off!

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