What Does John 3:16 Teach?

The following is part of the book I am writing, from a section on the gospel which is a necessary element of a biblical church. th

There are truths in God’s Word that rub our flesh the wrong way; predestination is one of them. I refer the reader to Appendix 5 for a biblical defense of this doctrine. We must embrace the truth of Scripture, even if it goes against what we’ve learned from me. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) God’s Word is sharp and, as wielded by the Holy Spirit, cuts like a scalpel, bringing healing to our broken souls. False teaching is seen as less threatening, like a butter knife. And it works the same way – tearing the flesh as it pierces, bringing destruction rather than healing. Good counsel presents the truth of Scripture; this is biblical love – even though our beloved traditions may have to be abandoned.

Many who disbelieve predestination run to John 3:16, as if this verse disproves it. Let us briefly examine this verse to see what its message truly is. Here’s the verse, from the King James: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. That settles it for many, who do not stop to see if the words may have had a different meaning when written 500 years ago than they do today; including Baptist preachers who ought to know better. But contrary to a popular hermeneutic which declares, “when the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense”, the plain sense of Scripture often contradicts the true meaning of Scripture and our common sense often makes no heavenly sense. The genre of the text we are reading will indicate how we are to read it – poetry and apocalyptic books cannot be taken literally, and even historical narratives are full of word pictures that must be interpreted rightly to get God’s view of His Scriptures. The Jews of the first century had common sense and they took certain prophecies in the plain sense. This caused them to look for a king like David – a man of war – and miss the true meaning of their own Scripture.

In regards to John 3:16, let’s examine a couple of key words upon which the meaning of this verse hang. In English, the word “so” can be either an adverb or an adjective. We see it in verse 14: And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up (KJV). Here, the word “so” is an adverb, meaning “in like manner” or “in the same way” – describing the nature of something. Many people think the word “so” is an adjective in verse 16 – describing the degree of the thing that follows: God loves the world SO much. The problem with this view is that the Greek word translated as “so” in English (houtos – Strong’s #3779) is rarely used as an adjective. Strong’s Greek and Hebrew dictionary defines it only as an adverb. Houtos shows up more than 200 places in the Greek New Testament. In only four occurrences it is definitely an adjective: Galatians 1:6; 3:3; Hebrews 12:21 (houto); and Revelation 16:18. In more than 97% of the uses the word houtos is an adverb. (http://www.brenthobbs.com/index_files/john_3_16.php accessed 25 May 2015) Now looking back John’s gospel, let’s read a little more for context:

John 3:14-16 (KJV) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Is there a compelling argument that John’s use of houtos changes from the common adverb in verse 14 to the extremely rare adjective in verse16? If its use in verse 16 is as an adjective, the Bible tells us God loved the world to a great degree that He sent Christ to die for the same world He said we are not to love (1 John 2:15). Since Jesus said Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35) we must interpret Scripture with Scripture and lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5), even if the plain sense makes common sense to us. Our common sense is our understanding, not God’s. I don’t have space here to examine “the world” and how it’s used; but since not everybody at all times in every nation, tribe, and tongue has been forgiven, it’s reasonable and in keeping with Christ’s high priestly prayer in John 17 that Jesus did not come to save the whole world in the comprehensive sense some assert. As noted in Ephesians 5:25, Jesus gave His life for the church, not everybody in the world. And since “the world” often means a region (Luke 2:1; John 12:19), or the system which lies under Satan’s rule (John 15:19; 17:13; 1 Corinthians 2:12), we have no reason to assume this term means everyone everywhere as regards salvation, as the Lamb of God died for the redeemed, not the damned.

The argument is not whether or not the death of Christ is sufficient to save everyone – His death is more than sufficient for the entire human race. The question is, did Christ die for all men – is the atonement universal? One English Bible translates this phrase, “in tasting death He should stand for us all” – those for whom Christ stands are the redeemed. The word, man, is not in the Greek text, meaning the original phrase would be “should taste death for the whole” – the whole body, the church for whom Christ gave Himself (Ephesians 5:25); Jesus died for every son God brings to glory. God the Father chooses only some to be saved – election is not universal. God the Spirit regenerates only some to bring them to new life, He only seals those who are born again – the Spirit’s work in saving and sealing is not universal. For Christ’s death to be universal, it would mean that some of His blood, some of His trials and suffering under the wrath of God the Father, was for those who are spending eternity under God’s wrath. Any blood or work done by Christ on their account would be wasted! And if the death of Christ was universal, it would put Him at odds with the Father and the Spirit, because their work in salvation is particular, not universal.

Let’s read the passage from John 3 in the Holman Christian Standard Bible:

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life. “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

This is more in line with the common use of the Greek and keeps consistency within the passage and with the whole teaching of the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus.

42 thoughts on “What Does John 3:16 Teach?

  1. Good note and analysis of John 3:16. Helpful to see the Holman rendering. Of course, it begs the question: now that we know what it does not mean, can we get a better idea what it does mean? Or next installment? Thank you.

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  2. I think the HCSB version is self-explanatory: God loved the world and demonstrated that by sending Christ to pay for the sins of those who would believe in Him, granting them eternal life.

    Now as to who can believe, run to Romans 10 but start at the first of that book.

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  3. World=Cosmos=Created Order. For God so loved His perfectly created order…IE that which was prior to the fall, and that which He shall restore to His perfectly created order.

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  5. No Bible believer disbelieves in predestination … just your definition. God didn’t predestine anyone to be saved. Predestination has to do with God’s plan for those who have been saved.

    John 3:16 clearly says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Whosoever believes has everlasting life. Since Jesus said Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35) we must interpret Scripture with Scripture and lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5), even if the plain sense makes common sense to us. Our common sense is our understanding, not God’s. Paul says God is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

    “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” (1 Timothy 4:10)

    In other words He is the Saviour of all men but it only applies to those that believe.

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  6. Craig – you are sadly mistaken about predestination. Revelation 13:8 and myriad other places in Scriptures show that God chose those whom He would save before the foundation of the world. Predestination is worthless if it not the perfect and personal choice by YHWH of who He would save. He is savior of men and women and children from all people groups. How could He be the savior of ALL men when most go to hell? Your view gives man the glory for choosing to be saved and it denigrates the sacrifice of Christ by claiming He died for countless people in hell.

    Jesus is called Messiah because He SHALL save people from their sin. Not might save, not make salvation possible – no! He SHALL, He WILL save His people. Read John 6 and Romans 9.

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  7. Revelation 13:8 doesn’t say anything about Jehovah predestinating anyone to salvation.

    If predestination has to do with Jehovah choosing who would be saved then it is worthless if He didn’t predestinate everyone to salvation. Based on your logic Jesus’ death, shed blood, and resurrection wasn’t sufficient to save everyone, but only a certain number.

    1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

    1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

    Those who are saved have only God to thank; those who are lost have only themselves to blame. God gets all the credit for man’s salvation; the unsaved man must take full blame and responsibility for his eternal damnation. The saved person thankfully says, “I’m in heaven because of God!” The lost person must truthfully say, “I’m in hell because of me!” Those who are damned will never be able to blame God or say, “I’m damned because God did not choose me.” Their damnation is based not upon God’s rejection of them but upon their rejection of God: “He that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thess. 2:12 and compare verse 10). “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40).

    Man does not contribute to his own salvation. It is the work of God, “not of works lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). God does not contribute to man’s unbelief. That is man’s work. God alone must do the saving. Man must do the believing. God must get all the glory and all the credit

    Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise

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  8. Craig, Election/predestination of the saints is what YHWH has done. As with foreknowledge, His choosing of those He will save is a choice of persons, not plans for groups. God’s foreknowledge is of persons, not their actions. Romans 8:29 says those whom he foreknew, Romans 11:2 confirms: God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. 1 Peter is addressed to those who are elect exiles … according to the foreknowledge of God.

    The blood of Christ IS sufficient to save everyone. If you had read the article, you would see that I have already stated that. But He died for the church (Eph 5). The fact that God saves us IN TIME does not nullify the fact that He chose us BEFORE time.

    John 3 tells us that whoever does not believe is condemned. People are by nature children of wrath – there is nothing in Scripture that says people are in good standing until they reject the gospel. All are born dead in sin and must be given life by the Holy Spirit before they can believe the gospel. YHWH has chosen who will be, in time, be given ears to hear and faith to believe. That’s predestination.

    There is no predestination as you’ve described it – that’s not predestination; not sure what to call it.

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  9. According to the context, Romans 11:2 is referring to the Jews.

    The blood of Christ is sufficient to save everyone, but it only applies to those who believe. I never said people are in good standing until they reject the gospel. That’s something you inserted. All have sinned and stand guilty before God and will remain in a state of condemnation unless they believe the gospel (John 3:15, 16, 18, and 36, 5:24, 6:29, 40 and 47, 7:38 and 39, Acts 8:37, 10:43, 13:39, 13:48, 16:31, Romans 1:16, 3:22 and 26, 4:24, 10:4,9, 10, and 11 , 1 Corinthians 1:21, Galatians 2:16, 3:22, Ephesians 1:13, 1 Timothy 1:16, 1 John 5: 1 and 13).

    Biblical predestination has to do with God’s will for the believer. It has nothing to do with God’s plan for saving the lost. The idea that the blood of Jesus is sufficient to save all, but God only elects or predestines certain ones to salvation is totally foreign to scripture.

    “Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees” (Isaiah 10:1)

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  10. Craig – believe what you like, I’m done trying to explain to you what predestination is. I NEVER inserted people are condemned because they reject the Gospel or the Savior. Search this page and you will find the first mention of that concept in your first comment.

    God oversees everything, so His will for our lives is not outside His providential care, but predestination IS all about being chosen before time to be reconciled to Holy God.

    Good bye.

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  11. No Manfred. I did not say people are condemned because they reject the gospel. I clearly stated “All have sinned and stand guilty before God and will remain in a state of condemnation unless they believe the gospel”. I then provided over 20 verses stating salvation/ everlasting life/eternal life is for those who believe the gospel. You stated no verses that God predestines certain lost people to salvation.

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  12. In your first comment you said: “Their damnation is based not upon God’s rejection of them but upon their rejection of God” Rejection of the gospel or rejection of God is a difference without distinction.

    And I DID show you several passages that clearly show almighty God predestines the elect to salvation. Here’s one:

    Ephesians 1:3-6 (ESV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

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  13. It was certainly not my intention to go against the scriptural teaching that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God and that because all have sinned all stand guilty and condemned before God. All are already condemned because of their sin. If they believe the gospel they can be saved, but if they reject the gospel their fate is sealed because Jesus is the only way of salvation.

    “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18)

    “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36)
    “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” (John 5:39-40)
    In Ephesians 1:3-12 Paul is listing some of the spiritual blessings for those in Christ Jesus. Notice the blessings are in heavenly places in Christ. Verse 4 does not say God chose certain lost people to be in Christ. He made a choice and the choice had to do with those in Christ. He chose that they would be holy and blameless. He predestinated us unto the adoption of children We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins. In Him we have obtained an inheritance.

    The question of how one is placed in Christ is answered in verse 13.

    “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13)

    You trust Christ after you hear the word of truth. After you believe you are sealed with the holy Spirit of promise.

    “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:13)

    Salvation is based on your believing the gospel. When you believe you are placed into the body of Christ and you now become a recipient of all of the spiritual blessings in Christ.

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  14. Craig, the only argument I have with you is your lack of understanding of predestination. I’ve shown you several places wherein YHWH declares that He chose whom to save before there was time, that predestination is of specific persons chosen by God. The fact that spiritual blessings are described in a passage without detailing this doctrine does not disprove it. As this same Apostle described it just before and right after the passage in Ephesians you cited.

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  15. Manfred, with all due respect you haven’t shown a single passage that SAYS God elected/chose/predestined a single lost person to salvation. Look at what Ephesians 1:3-12 actually says. There’s nothing said about any lost person being predestined to salvation while there are several verses in the Bible that specifically say that belief in the gospel results in salvation or eternal life. What you have done is stated a theological position and then followed it up with a passage like Ephesians 1:4 that has the word chosen in it believing that based on your theological position that the word chosen must refer to God choosing certain lost people to salvation when that passage doesn’t say that at all. Most people (and I’m not talking about you) don’t read their Bibles so they assume that since they’ve been told that election/choosing/ predestination refers to God choosing certain individuals to salvation then that must be what a passage like Ephesians 1:4 is talking about. The first rule of all Bible study is what does the passage say. People get come up with all kinds of meanings, but it can only say one thing.

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  16. I have never heard this angle on john 3:16 before; interesting. Although; i dont see how the reading changing the meaning much. God loving the world “in this way”, speaking of sacrificing his only begotten son, sure seems like “he loved the world SO much”. Either reading conveys Gods Extreme measures of love for the world.

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  17. sterlingmmull – you should study more 🙂 It is a BIG difference, as the commonly accepted way of reading this text (with “so” being used as an adjective) tends to turn Creator God into a grandfather who is smitten with his children to such a degree that he would do anything for them. That is not the biblical message.

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  18. Manfred. Insults with a smiley face after them are not necessary. The grandfather comparison is of course simply your spin on the text. Loving the world enough to die for it would indeed be “SO much”. If anything dieing for the world is even more superlative than what “so much” would imply. The grammatical difference may be substantial but it does not substantially change the meaning; and after-all, the meaning is what matters most.

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  19. sterlinmmull – if you took that comment as an insult, you are misguided and suffer from a post-modern self-worship. Your philosophical argument for your view of John 3:16 shows a man-centered view of soteriology. The actual meaning is critical, your argument notwithstanding.

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  20. manfred – Ironic that you respond to my comment about your insulting me with another insult. Your comment was nothing but an ad hominem from beginning to end. Yes i get it, im in an idiot, unlearned, etc, etc; how about actually addressing my comment rather than attacking me. Would you propose that the statement. “He loved ice cream SO much that he died for it”, is materially different than. “he loved ice cream in this way, he died for it.” ? “houtos” would fit in the place of “so much” as an adjective, or “in this way” as an adverb.

    The two sentences are grammatically different yet convey very similar meanings. It is an interesting difference, and certainly matters, but it falls well into nit picking range.

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  21. You don’t know the meaning of words. You take offense at the drop of a hat – that is YOUR choice. You called yourself an idiot and other names – I did not.

    The two sentences do NOT convey similar meanings! Adverbs and adjective do different things in language. You cannot be true to the Scriptures if you do not embrace what the language YHWH has given us. You embrace a humanistic interpretation, not a biblical one.

    Take a look at Frank Page and his minions to get an idea of where your interpretation can take you.

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  22. “I’ve shown you several places wherein YHWH declares that He chose whom to save before there was time”

    Again you’ve not shown any verses where God (Jehovah) chose who He was going to be saved. The Bible does not contradict itself. There are too many verses that plainly state salvation belongs to those who believe and no verses that state or even hint that God chose who would be saved. The only way predestination could have anything to do with salvation is to say that all have sinned, stand guilty and condemned before God and are predestined for hell unless they believe the gospel.

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  23. Giddens, How would you then explain John 6:35-47? to be more specific :37 All that the Father gives me come to me…,39 that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me…44 NO ONE CAN COME..TO ME..UNLESS..THE FATHER WHO SENT ME…DRAWS HIM. ; AND I WILL RAISE UP AT THE LAST DAY. if everyone that is drawn is raised then everyone who was drawn believed and no one disbelieved. No unbelievers were drawn by Father and sent to Jesus. The logic is inescapable.

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  24. Craig, you are blind and ignorant if you think I’ve not shown you any such Scripture. I’ve had occasion to try and have conversation with wood a few times and I’ve just been reminded of how futile that it.

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  25. You’ve ignored much of what has been written here, so my observation is simply that. There is Scripture that can be brought to bear on this topic.

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  26. TI Miller
    The context of scripture is Jesus talking to the Jews. Jesus came as their long awaited Messiah and while the nation as a whole did not accept Him there were a few that did. The few that did accept Him were the ones the Father gave to Jesus because the cross was still future and no one at that time was born again, placed in the body of Christ and sealed with Spirit unto the day of redemption. There’s absolutely nothing in these passages about God, in eternity past, choosing certain ones to salvation. If that is the case the following make no sense.

    “he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (verse 35)
    “that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life” (verse 40)
    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” (verse 47)

    Sure it is true that no man can come to Jesus, except the Father draws them, but we’re told earlier in John that Jesus was that “true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9).

    If the drawing by God always results in salvation then why did Stephen tell the religious leaders “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye” (Acts 7:51) or Jesus’ words in Matthew 23; “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (Matthew 23:37)

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  27. Manfred

    I have looked carefully at those scriptures for years. Ephesians 1 does not speak of God choosing any lost people for anything. His choice was of those in Christ and He chose that those in Christ would be blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Nothing is said about how a person is saved until you get to verse 13.

    “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise”

    Salvation is for those who hear the word of truth and believe.

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  28. I’ve not ignored your passages, but you have ignored John 3:15, 16, 18, and 36, 5:24, 6:29, 40 and 47, 7:38 and 39, Acts 8:37, 10:43, 13:39, 13:48, 16:31, Romans 1:16, 3:22 and 26, 4:24, 10:4,9, 10, and 11 , 1 Corinthians 1:21, Galatians 2:16, 3:22, Ephesians 1:13, 1 Timothy 1:16, 1 John 5: 1 and 13.

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  29. Craig – this original article is on John 3:14 – 16. For to say I’ve ignored THAT passage is gross display of selective ignorance.

    I leave you with these and pray you will actually approach the Word of God with humility rather than your own agenda. Note this: These passages explicitly state that the names of those who will be saved were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life BEFORE THE WORLD WAS MADE. People, by name, predestined to salvation in time. THAT’S the WORD of GOD.

    Revelation 13:5-8 (ESV) And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.

    Revelation 17:6-8 (ESV) And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her, I marveled greatly. But the angel said to me, “Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.

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  30. Who did God not call in the following list? Noah, Abram, Isaac and Jacob. Moses and Aaron and the tribe of Levi and the artisans who built the Tabernacle.. All of the Judges and all of the prophets. Saul, David and Solomon and the line of David. At what point in his mothers womb did John the baptist choose God? Jesus said to His disciples that they did not choose Him. Are we greater than they? Lets not forget Saul of Tarsus. Do we or does the Holy Spirit select our primary spiritual gift we are born again?
    John 6 can be re-stated as follows: The Father draws and sends. All that that He draws and sends are received and raised by the Son. There is no if/then stated or implied.
    There appears to be a gigantic hermeneutical error at work here. There is no such thing a trump verse as in my verse trumps your verse. All scripture is God breathed thus all verses are of equal standing. God is not the author of confusion. To honor and glorify God all verses not only can be but must be harmoniously reconciled.
    God is non-contingent. He works all things after the council of His will. His will is not contingent nor submissive to mans will. Some would have us believe that God is not omniscient but has to wait and see who will answer the call. It is also necessary in this discussion to determine if mans will is compatible and within the limits of our fallen nature or is independent and liberated from our common fallen nature.
    I boast in Jesus Christ and him crucified. I boast that God seeks and saves the foolish the lost the blind and the sick not in my ability to choose Him.

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  31. Manfred
    Revelation 13:5-8 and 17:6-8 are certainly some challenging and difficult passages to chew on, but the first thing I notice is the context is the great tribulation. There will be things going on during this time unlike any time previously in history (Matthew 24:21). There is no cross reference of these verses in any of Paul’s writings to the church. Especially note there is no mention of God electing or predestinating anyone to salvation in these verses The people in mind here are those who take the mark of the beast and despite what the Seventh Day Adventists teach this is not something that can occur during the present church age, but will occur only in the tribulation period. Notice also in Revelation 3:5 that a name can be blotted out of the book of life. In light of the clear scriptural teaching that salvation is available to anyone who will believe the gospel I would be very hesitant to take passages from the book of Revelation and force them into salvation truths for the church age.

    As far as your article on John 3:14-16, you basically pummeled them with your TULIP to remove the plain clear teaching of these Bible verses that say salvation is for whosoever will believe.

    T.I. Miller
    That’s quite a list of names except nowhere in the Bible does it say God in eternity past elected and predestined any of them to salvation. Don’t pull out Ephesians 1:4 because with the exception of Paul none of those Old Testament characters were baptized into the body of Christ and sealed with the Spirit unto the day of redemption. Ephesians 1:4 only applies to those who have been saved through believing the gospel and are in Christ. Before the foundation of the world God chose that those in Christ would be holy and blameless along with all of the other spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. The gigantic hermeneutical error at work is you trying to make scripture fit your TULIP.

    Interestingly you left out the only individual in the Old Testament or the Bible for that matter that is referred to as the elect.

    Isaiah 42
    1. Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
    2. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
    3. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
    4. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.
    5. Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
    6. I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
    7. To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

    Compared with Matthew 12 we know this OT reference to the elect is talking about Jesus.

    Matthew 12
    14. Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.
    15. But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;
    16. And charged them that they should not make him known:
    17. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
    18. Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
    19. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.
    20 . A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.
    21. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.

    And we know He was God manifest in the flesh, in whom there was no sin so obviously He was not elected in eternity past to be saved.

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  32. Craig – if by “great tribulation” you are referring the mythical end times tale known as dispensationalism, your objection is meaningless. It’s meaningless at any rate. That text and many others show without doubt that God chose who would be save before He created anything. The passage you quoted showing that Jesus is the elect does not disprove my point any more than the passage declaring Him true Israel keeps Christians (His body) from also being true Israel.

    Your make many arguments but not much sense.

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  33. Speaking of Rom. 9:20 I will add 3 more names Job, Judas and the man born blind.
    Job and the man born blind have one thing in common. Neither were chosen by God to glorify Himself through them because of some deserving sin. They were both selected to endure trials.
    The actions of the man of perdition Judas was prophesied and therefore pre-ordained long before he had acted. Once foretold it had to come to pass. God had one plan to bring salvation through the incarnation of Jesus. This plan had to end with Jesus being crucified, it could not fail to come to pass. This plan required someone to betray Him as was foretold.
    God so loved the world that He could not He did not leave the betrayal and the trial and the crucifixion up to random chance of the whims of fallen man as you proclaim.
    Your only out is molinism which denies Gods omniscience. To deny omniscience is worship another God.

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  34. “That text and many others show without doubt that God chose who would be save before He created anything.”

    That text and all of the other texts you’ve mentioned say nothing about anyone being elected/chosen/predestinated in eternity past to salvation. What you have demonstrated is you are more loyal to TULIP than you are to “what saith the scripture” (Romans 4:3).

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  35. Judas’ actions were prophesied, but not pre-ordained (a word not in the Bible).

    The only person foreordained to anything was Jesus Christ.

    1 Peter 1
    18. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
    19. But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
    20. Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
    21. Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

    Judas was foreordained.

    “The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.” (Matthew 26:24)

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  36. “Judas’ actions were prophesied, but not pre-ordained (a word not in the Bible).”

    “What I meant to say was Judas was not foreordained to anything.”

    Read these:
    Acts 2:22-23 “22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”

    Acts 4:26-28 “26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.”

    Craig, explain to the world how biblical prophecy that have been fulfilled, and which are bound to be fulfilled, are not “pre-ordained” or foreordained (choose whichever word pleases you) but are left to the individual free-wills of those that fulfilled them in the end.

    When you have settled the quandary of your own interpretation, explain to us the meanings of “the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” and His “counsel (which He) determined before to be done.”

    By the way, you do not have to explain to us the meaning of God’s foreknowledge when God had already “determined” something to be done beforehand.

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  37. Manfred, I am wearied too, hence my response. It is one thing to keep shooting verses at random, but not getting to grips with the stark meaning of what the words say and their implications.

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  38. And my humble take on it… I thought EXACTLY like Craig when I was an immature and ungrounded Christian steeped in dispensationalism… They lasted over 20 years! I think that, sadly, these two (denying sovereignity ipf God in salvation and dispensationalism) go hand in hand together. The Lord by his mercy has delivered me from both! If Craig only seeked the truth with all his heart crying and begging the Lord for understanding instead of arguing and insisting on his man made ideas/doctrines, he too would be delivered from falsehood.

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  39. Jzy,

    Thank you for stopping by. However, may I suggest that there is a big difference between denying the sovereignty of God in salvation vs. dispensationalism. Knowing and having studied both Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism, I could not paint the picture that you are doing. There are many who staunchly believe in the sovereignty of God in salvation while still holding to some form of dispensationalism such as John MacArthur and Steve Lawson. Personally, I disagree with Covenant Theology and believe that many of the Reformers got several things wrong, just as I disagree with much of what is found in dispensationalism camps. That does not make everything in those camps false doctrine. Just some things to consider.

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