Calvinist Arminians and Arminian Calvinists

When Calvinism is contrasted with Arminianism, what first comes to mind is God’s role and man’s role in coming to faith. The Calvinist says that man plays no cooperative or contributive role in coming to faith, while the Arminian says that man cooperates with God in that man turns his heart to God, that is, exercises his will to come to faith. In Calvinism, God first regenerates the sinner and then gives the sinner the gift of faith, while in Arminianism, regeneration follows the sinner’s acceptance of God’s offer of salvation. Faith, for the Arminian is something the believer does, not something God gives, as Calvinism understands it. See John Wesley, Budding Calvinist, Naughty Arminian.

I use excerpts from Ephesians 2:1-10 to illustrate the contrast between Calvinism and Arminianism:

[2:1] And you were dead in the trespasses and sins…[4] But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, [5] even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ… [8] For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God…(Ephesians 2:8 ESV)(Ephesians 2:4-6 ESV).

Here is a table of the contrasting interpretations:

Ephesians 2 Arminianism Calvinism
[2:1] And you were dead in the trespasses and sins. …[4] But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, [5] even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ Dead” does NOT mean that the mind/heart/will is so darkened that it has no desire to choose “good,” namely, the Good News (the Gospel).Made alive” means made our spirit alive, not our wills. Our wills were always intact, that is, the Fall didn’t affect our ability to choose God/Christ. Dead DOES mean that the mind/heart/will is so darkened that it has no desire to choose “good,” namely, the Good News (the Gospel)Made alive” means made our spirit alive, where “spirit” subsumes the will.
[8] For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, God’s shines enough light (prevenient grace – the offer of salvation) into a corner of our darkened mind/heart. We can choose to follow the source of that light or to retreat into another dark corner of our mind/heart. Faith means “follow.” We have faith in God’s offer, and in that act of faith we are saved through God’s “saving grace,” which is the grace that follows prevenient grace “Faith” is something we (our wills) do. The “this” in And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” refers only to grace, because “faith” is your own doing (willing); and thus NOT a gift of God.” The gift of God is salvation – if you exercise your faith God regerates/makes alive the dead soul; in other words, he shines His light into the darkened a soul/spirit. That is what it means to be born again. “Prevenient grace” is a figment to those who have been brought back from the dead. The grace that is involved in salvation is “venient” (it comes) at God’s convenient time, and is efficient and sufficient to save. In the Greek original, “this” is in the neuter form, which means that in “And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” the “this” refers to BOTH grace AND “faith.”

See John Owen for a comprehensive description of the differences between “Scripture” (Calvinism) and Arminianism.

In general, one usually can distinguish an Arminian from a Calvinist. Many people, however, exhibit a bit of both Arminianism and Calvinism, leaning more towards one or to the other to produce either an Arminian-Calvinist or a Calvinist-Arminian – sandwich.

In the Calvinist-Arminian sandwich, the bread is Calvinism, and the much more substantial tasty middle is Arminianism. In the Arminian-Calvinist sandwich, the bread is Arminianism, and the much more substantial and tasty middle is Calvinism. What I’d like to do is to describe an Calvinist-Arminian sandwich, not because it is to my taste, but because it may help someone think more about what he puts into the mouth of his mind. Here is a picture of a Calvinist-Arminian sandwich.

Over the years, I have taken up the habit of writing down the sermons I’ve listened to in the different churches I attended. I came across a series of sermons on the beatitudes. Throughout the series of sermons – sometimes within the same sermon – we find: bottom slice of bread (beginning of sermon)– Calvinism; filling (bulk of the sermon) – Arminianism; top slice of bread (end of sermon) – Calvinism (which is often a recap of the beginning of the sermon).

In his first sermon in the series, the preacher made the – very Calvinistic, and biblical, therefore useful – observation that the term “blessed” in the beatitudes does not mean that salvation is conditional on whether one is poor in spirit, or merciful or pure in heart. Blessed” in the beatitudes (the preacher acknowledges Spurgeon as the source) means “fortunate are the poor in spirit,” where the preacher stresses that those whom Christ has previously saved/regenerated have received His character (righteousness). To use our sandwich analogy, the preacher has placed the first Calvinist slice of bread on the plate of his sermon.

Let’s home in one on one of the sermons, which is on the sixth beatitude, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8). In the beginning of this sermon, the preacher goes straight to the Arminian fillng, but that’s ok, because if his listeners were observant they would’ve noticed that in his first sermon of the series he had placed the bottom slice of bread on the plate (recall the discussion on “Fortunate are the poor in spirit” of Spurgeon mentioned above).

Here are a few layers of the Arminian topping in the preacher’s own words with my comments in brackets:

How are we to be saved from our sins?” The answer, said the preacher is “Matthew 5:8.”

What must I do to be saved? I must have a pure heart.”

(This is the opposite of what the preacher said at the beginning of the series, namely, salvation produces a pure heart – not fully pure, of course).

Only the pure in heart will be saved.”

(The cause and the effect is the reverse of what the Bible says. The biblical – Calvinst – position is that when God saves you, He gives you a new (pure) heart. Cause – salvation; effect – pure heart).

God is looking for people who are pure.”

(No; God is looking for sinners whom he wants to make pure through the new birth. That’s the Bible; that’s Calvinism).

Before you can see God, there has to be a total change.”

(The Calvinist agrees but insists that it is God who brings about the total change, not you. “Total” has two meanings: 1. born again and 2. growing in holiness, which follows after God had given you a new nature, that is, after He has given you a “totally” new nature).

This beatitude is the process of salvation.”

(As long as does not make this beatitude a condition for God regenerating you and ultimately being brought into his heavenly kingdom.The are four senses of salvation in the Greek text: you will be saved (will bee born again through grace and faith) you have been saved (born again), you are being saved (sanctification) you will be saved (heaven).

That’s the end of the Arminian topping. The preacher then tops up the sandwich with this Calvinist slice.

The Lord “opens our eyes” and “then gives us the pure heart of Christ.”

(The Lord “opens our eyes.” This is a reversal of the Arminian doctrine that a person’s eyes must be open, that is, he must be able to see/understand that God is making him an offer of salvation, and it is up to him – his open eyes – to accept the offer. I must add, though, that many Arminians believe, as do Calvinists, in the doctrine of “total depravity” (radical corruption), which means that man needs God’s grace to enable him to come to Him (to believe in Him). The difference between the Arminian and the Calvinist is that the former believes in prevenient (“comes before” making a free choice) grace whereas the latter asserts that there is no such idea in the Bible.The Arminian’s prevenient grace is the grace that lifts man’s corrupt will to a neutral state, which enables him to decide whether He wants Christ to “quicken” him (make him alive) or prefers to remain dead (see Ephesians 2:1-10) to Christ.

Recall also that the preacher said previously “Only the pure in heart will be saved.” and “God is looking for people who are pure,” which is pure Arminianism. Having said that, it is indeed biblical that God opens our eyes and gives us the pure heart of Christ, but I don’t think there is a chronological sequence (as in “then gives us”). The two acts of God are simultaneous. Here is another example of this simultaneity:

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV).

Towards the end of the sermon, the preacher describes the five marks of a pure heart:

  1. Hunger for greater holiness.
  2. Sincerity.
  3. Hatred of sin.
  4. Love of others.
  5. Increased desire to know the Lord.

Arminians and Calvinists agree on that.

The sermon ends with Psalm 51:1 “Create in me a clean heart…”

From a Calvinist view, if one asks God to create in you a clean heart, he has already done it. What you should be asking God, if one understands that salvation is 100% of the Lord (that is, there is no human cooperation, no human contribution to your salvation) is: “Create in me a purer heart/increase the purity of the pure heart you have given me at the new birth.”

After the sermon I asked one of the church members which of these was the sermon about?

  1. If you have a pure heart you will be saved.
  2. If you are saved, God will give you a pure heart.

He said 1.

In this final section, I want to show that the Calvinist-Arminian preacher (whose stronger inclination, as I have described, is Arminianism) is in good company. Many, including myself, struggle with the difficulty of reconciling God’s predestination of His elect with man’s will. A prime example of this conflict is the “naughty Arminian,” John Wesley (see below). Another example is the naughty Calvinist, J.I Packer.

In his lecture series “The attributes of God,” J.I. Packer, in several places refers approvingly to C.S. Lewis’ theology. For example, in his “Immutibility and Impassibility” (21 minutes into the lecture), Packer refers to Lewis’ view of the reason why God rejects those who spurn Him, which, Packer says, is also what the Bible says in many places. Lewis’ view (in Packer’s words) is this: “God’s rejection of sinners is simply His ratifying their prior rejection of Him…Lewis went on to say that such rejection is God’s last act of respect to the self-determining free agency, Lewis says simply ‘free will,’ of the human creatures that He makes.”

Lewis is the perfect English gentleman: “God’s last act of respect to the self-determining free agency – man’s ‘free will'” I can’t see, however, where God’s “last act of respect” to man’s “free wil”l is – or can be inferred from – the Bible.

I wrote elsewhere that John Wesley’s Calvinist leanings threatened to turn him into “naughty Arminian.” Well, Packer’s commendation of Lewis’ Arminian view that God respects man’s “free will” – where the implication is that man is free to choose God or reject Him – makes Packer, who says he is a Calvinist, a naughty Calvinist, because in Calvinism man’s will is inwardly determined by his own radically corrupt heart, which is to reject God. The biblical reason why man isn’t a robot is not because he is able to choose God in his natural state; the reason is that man’s will is in bondage to his own heart. He, of course, thinks his will is autonomous (neutral) because he is following his own independent inner determinations, which are to reject God (the God of the Bible). Notice that Lewis doesn’t seem to believe in prevenient grace, that is, he believes that the Fall didn’t affect man’s will, and so, it has retained its neutral (autonomous) quality. That puts Lewis closer to Pelagianism than Arminianism, where the latter believes that man’s will is corrupt and needs Gods (prevenient) grace to bring it back to the neutral (autonomous) position.

Many are confused about Packer’s “Calvinism. Here is an example:

“I am a bit confused. I respect J.I. Packer immensely. He states he is a Calvinist, but also says he believes what CS Lewis has stated about life being a series of choices which either lead us to Christ or away from Christ; that each of us by our own actions either chooses what we know to be right or choose what seems to benefit us in the moment. When asked if each person controls their own destiny he answers “I think it is a true statement, but we don’t always know what we are choosing.” (from the youtube video:Does Each Person Choose Their Own Destiny? J.I. Packer ) This seems to line up better with Arminian thought. Could someone please explain.”

So, is Packer a Calvinist Arminian or an Arminian Calvinist. From what I know of Packer, I’d give him the benefit of the doubt and say he’s a kosherish Calvinist sandwiched between two slices of Arminian bread – he’s an Arminian Calvinist.


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16 thoughts on “Calvinist Arminians and Arminian Calvinists

  1. Can I make a suggestion, because these terms – Calvinian, Arminian.. etc.. – have never occurred to me in my walk with our Lord, Jesus Christ – i dont even know who Spurgeon is..(and im sure many others can say the same) – this kind of thing can just spread confusion with different followings..

    I’d suggest we continue to Humbly study the Word, and do what is commanded of us. That is to spread & teach the gospel; to continue to seek the Kingdom of God first; to ask Forgiveness & to repent of our sins… but all the time to remember that God sees & weighs up the heart – so whatever we do or say, may it be with an examined heart, or we could fall into a trap ourselves.

    2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? – NIV

    5Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? – King James Version

    Matthew 18:3
    And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

    Matthew 11:25
    At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.

    As far as I know, God does not direct us to try work out his plan or His logic – He said His ways are above our ways. Why even frustrate oneself in trying.. This is why I believe we are to receive the Lord like a child would.

    1 Corinthians 1:10-11
    10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas[b]”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

    ……
    ….“(Romans 9:15-16 ESV) – I think here, God is saying that He does as He pleases. Why try to analyze it all? God is not subject to any laws or rules.

    Using terms like Arminian & Calvinism is putting people in boxes – this is the thing the world does. We dont do this – because its putting man-made limits & assumptions up.

    I believe that God, in his sovereignity, does as He pleases. Has mercy on whom He pleases, gives understanding to whomever he wants at whatever time suits Him & his ultimate plan..

    I think that some understanding & having our eyes opened brings us to the point where we can do nothing but be humbled, quietened, moved by our God. A seeing person can only be effected & touched by what he sees. Maybe its like a person who is slowly gaining strength back in his/her legs… he can do more & more each day that his strength is renewed. But, that person with the weak legs has to go to the doctor first to get worked on.

    Jesus Christ didn’t just go to people & spontaneously heal them. The people came to & called on Him.

    These man-made terms and translations mean nothing to me personally – I wont be put into a box. Its like the rest of the world.. if you’re like this, you’re Aries or a Dragon.. Fill in these questions that our Well Learned Psycologists have put together and we will tell you Who you are and What Category you fit into….. harumph! No thanx..

    • Your
      “I’d suggest we continue to Humbly study the Word, and do what is commanded of us. That is to spread & teach the gospel; to continue to seek the Kingdom of God first; to ask Forgiveness & to repent of our sins… but all the time to remember that God sees & weighs up the heart – so whatever we do or say, may it be with an examined heart, or we could fall into a trap ourselves.”

      ALL THIS IS GOOD ADVICE. My question is” How are you going to teach the Gospel to enemies of the Gospel, which all human beings are until God does whatever He pleases with them, namely, to have mercy or not have mercy on them …. [YOUR“(Romans 9:15-16 ESV) – I think here, God is saying that He does as He pleases. Why try to analyze it all? God is not subject to any laws or rules].

      Why analyze it, you ask? The brutish fact of the matter is that you and I understand a key doctrine of scripture in opposite ways. “Analyse” means use your reason to give reasons for the faith that you have received, and defend the body of teachings (doctrines) that pertain to this faith. The Bible is clear: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” ( 1 Peter 3:15). There are many examples of Jesus and Paul reasoning (analysing) with their listeners. One important topic in this regard was the authenticity of the historical events in the scriptures. Paul was a master “Apologist” (defender) of the Gospel. “Apologetics” is a very important part of learning and teaching the faith.

  2. Ephesians 2
    1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
    DEAD – FOLLOWING THE WORLD & DISOBEDIENT (by choice?)

    All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6

    To Analyse:

    CHOICE OF SALVATION —– NO CHOICE-GOD DECIDES ALL
    Disobedient By nature, deserving of wrath
    Transgressions God made us alive through Christ
    Followed the ways

    Something that is Disobedient is in the first place Able to be Disobedient. If you build a robot & program it to do certain things, like Sit when you say ‘SIT’ – and it doesn’t, you dont say its Disobedient? Because, robots dont have choice… you would say, its broken – let me fix it….. The very nature of Disobedience, Transgression, following a way.. suggest choice, not so? SO, the way I understand it, and maybe from the sermon you mentioned, …. is NOT any Pre-conceived man-made category.. but just logically, humbly and in a searching kind of way, is like this…

    God made us in His image, given choice, able to build & destroy, to make decisions – to tend the land & look after its inhabitants. Then God allowed Man to make an important decision

    Man chose to Disobey God and fell from His grace & goodness. Sin entered the world through Man.

    Because God loves us, He sent His Son to make right what was wrong and to atone for our sins. (because He is a Just God, perfect and righteous)

    We are unable to save ourselves from sin – but God calls us, in our Sin, to Seek him, to Humble ourselves, to be Sincere, to Hate our Sin…. purity comes with the change that God makes in our hearts through our choice to come to Him for change, as I understand from the scriptures.

    Ephesians 4 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

    14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

    • Much of what you say is true but your robot analogy is not correct. As i said in reply to one of of your other responses, which is very relevant here:

      THIS BIT ANSWERS THE QUESTIONS IN YOUR OTHER RESPONSES.
      Ah you say, 13] For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Yes, the believer does indeed call (because s/he is no longer a prisoner of his/her corrupt heart). The crucial point is that God not only enables the believer to call (Calvinism) – as Eph 2:1-10 makes clear – but this enabling (drawing) is sufficient to bring the sinner to salvation: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44 ESV). So, if you’re drawn, you wil come; if you come, you will be raised up. “Come,” of course, can only mean “believe,” because only believers are raised up.

      You are truly free (no longer in bondage to the “natural man”) only after God has raised you (Eph 2).

    • Karen, your
      (My reply in CAPITALS)

      1. God made us in His image, given choice, able to build & destroy, to make decisions – to tend the land & look after its inhabitants. Then God allowed Man to make an important decision – YES

      2. Man chose to Disobey God and fell from His grace & goodness. Sin entered the world through Man. YES.

      3. Because God loves us, He sent His Son to make right what was wrong and to atone for our sins. (because He is a Just God, perfect and righteous). YES.

      4. We are unable to save ourselves from sin YES– but God calls us, in our Sin, to Seek him, to Humble ourselves, to be Sincere, to Hate our Sin…YES. Purity comes with the change that God makes in our hearts YES through our choice to come NO (IF YOU MEAN YOU MAKE THE (FINAL) DECISION TO BE BORN AGAIN (REGENERATED) to Him for change , as I understand from the scriptures.

      YOU THEN QUOTE EPH. 4. YOU SHOULD HAVE FIRST GONE TO EPH 2, WHICH YOU QUOTE IN ANOTHER RESPONSE.

      Karen, this answer of mine appears in other responses of yours, which relate to you 4, namely, “how we come to faith:
      THIS BIT ANSWERS THE QUESTIONS IN YOUR OTHER RESPONSES.
      Ah you say, 13] For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Yes, the believer does indeed call (because s/he is no longer a prisoner of his/her corrupt heart). The crucial point is that God not only enables the believer to call (Calvinism) – as Eph 2:1-10 makes clear – but this enabling (drawing) is sufficient to bring the sinner to salvation: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44 ESV). So, if you’re drawn, you wil come; if you come, you will be raised up. “Come,” of course, can only mean “believe,” because only believers are raised up.

      You are truly free (no longer in bondage to the “natural man”) only after God has raised you (Eph 2).

  3. We Cant save ourselves – we can humble ourselves, and seek God & His Kingdom then its up to God to have mercy and save us by His grace. God has promised us this…

    (I think the key thing to remember, as you also brought up Raphael, is to Whom the letter is addressed. In this case, its the church.. those who have already heeded Gods call. The WE is the church, that Paul is adressing)

    Hebrews 10: 5-7

    5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
    “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
    but a body you prepared for me;
    6 with burnt offerings and sin offerings
    you were not pleased.
    7 Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
    I have come to do your will, my God.’”[a]
    8 First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire,
    nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law.
    9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second.
    10 And by that will, WE have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
    11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same
    sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
    12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for
    sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,
    13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his
    footstool.
    14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
    15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
    16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
    after that time, says the Lord.
    I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds.”[b]
    17 Then he adds:
    “Their sins and lawless acts
    I will remember no more.”[c]

    • Karen I corrected your comment to include the part of Hebrews 5 you left out. Also, there is some repetition in your comments. I’ll edit and indicate with the word EDITED TO AVOID REPETITION.

  4. Karen,

    You wrote “We Cant save ourselves”. Before I share the Good News of Deut. 30:11 with you, I just want to ask you a little bit about yourself. What drew you to “One Daring Jew”? Are you Jewish? Or did you look straight past that sort of misnomer to the real religion that’s being peddled here, the Christianity? Just curious.

  5. Hi Anon, I was invited to this blog – Im not Jewish but would suggest that referring to ‘Jewish’ as a misnomer is incorrect. I dont interpret “Religion” as you may – but there is only one truth. Words are extremely powerful and have a way of changing society… the word “Religion” these days is associated with ‘tolerance’ and the word “tolerance” these days means that the Truth must be stifled if it means someone else’s “religion” would be insulted. … The Truth is the heart and that is what God judges. Jesus said, if you love me you will keep my commands.. Jesus said, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind. And you must love your neighbor as yourself.”-Luke 10:27

    … yes, Deut.30:11 illustrates again, the CHOICE that we had before us.

    “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” – Deut 30:19

    God is in nature Good and Just. I believe it would be Un-just to create Man without any choice or hope.

  6. incase you misunderstood when I said the ‘truth is the heart’ – well, truth is what is right, good, just. Its factual, logically and historically. When we have what is true in our hearts and believe it, and when we love the Lord our God with all our hearts, we will be saved. .. Anon, in that passage you quoted, Deut.30, vs.17, God warns about the consequences of being “Drawn” away to ‘other gods’.. albeit a different root word for ‘draw’ – the verse that ‘Calvin’-followers use to justify the ideology that Man has no choice in the matter is John6:44… But, then what do we make of John12:32-“Joh 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL men unto me” .. its the same root word. And we know that the Lord Jesus has been raised since then…I think that setting ones mind on issues like this is frivilous and dangerous; unproductful & unfruitful. .. i will tell you what worries me.. when someone stands up in Church and says they have a “Prophecy” for someone else – and the Prophecy is, yes you are doing great things and are so wonderful etc etc blah blah.. that is Wrong. God does not work with Flattery, and Prophecies from God are Specific and Accurate and can be proven to be true. .. anyway, there are alot of wrong things happening in the church and they all start with the hearts of people..hearts that have turned away from God become people who are led away from God.

    • Karen, here is J.C. Ryle on the Christian heart:
      1) A right heart is a NEW heart (Ezek. 36:26). It is not the heart with which a person is born—but another heart put in them by the Holy Spirit. It is a heart which has new tastes, new joys, new sorrows, new desires, new hopes, new fears, new likes, new dislikes. It has new views about the soul, sin, God, Christ, salvation, the Bible, prayer, heaven, hell, the world, and holiness. It is like a farm with a new and good tenant. “Old things are passed away. Behold all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).

      2) A right heart is a BROKEN and CONTRITE heart (Psalm 51:17). It is broken off from pride, self-conceit, and self-righteousness. Its former high thoughts of self are cracked, shattered, and shivered to atoms. It thinks itself guilty, unworthy, and corrupt. Its former stubbornness, heaviness, and insensibility have thawed, disappeared, and passed away. It no longer thinks lightly of offending God. It is tender, sensitive, and jealously fearful of running into sin (2 Kings 22:19). It is humble, lowly, and self-abased, and sees in itself no good thing.

      3) A right heart is a heart which BELIEVES on Christ alone for salvation, and in which Christ dwells by faith (Rom. 10:10; Eph. 3:17). It rests all its hopes of pardon and eternal life on Christ’s atonement, Christ’s mediation, and Christ’s intercession. It is sprinkled in Christ’s blood from an evil conscience (Heb. 10:22). It turns to Christ as the compass-needle turns to the north. It looks to Christ for daily peace, mercy, and grace—as the sun-flower looks to the sun. It feeds on Christ for its daily sustenance, as Israel fed on the manna in the wilderness. It sees in Christ a special fitness to supply all its needs and requirements. It leans on Him, hangs on Him, builds on Him, cleaves to Him, as its physician, guardian, husband, and friend.

      4) A right heart is a PURIFIED heart (Acts 15:9; Matt. 5:8). It loves holiness, and hates sin. It strives daily to cleanse itself from all filthiness of flesh and spirit (2 Cor. 7:1). It abhors that which is evil, and cleaves to that which is good. It delights in the law of God, and has that law engraved on it, that it may not forget it (Psalm 119:11). It longs to keep the law more perfectly, and takes pleasure in those who love the law. It loves God and people. Its affections are set on things above. It never feels so light and happy as when it is most holy; and it looks forward to heaven with joy, as the place where perfect holiness will at length be attained.

      5) A right heart is a PRAYING heart. It has within it “the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba Father” (Rom. 8:15). Its daily feeling is, “Your face, Lord, will I seek” (Psalm 27:8). It is drawn by an habitual inclination to speak to God about spiritual things—weakly, feebly, and imperfectly perhaps—but speak it must. It finds it necessary to pour out itself before God, as before a friend, and to spread before Him all its needs and desires. It tells Him all its secrets. It keeps back nothing from Him. You might as well try to persuade a person to live without breathing, as to persuade the possessor of a right heart to live without praying.

      6) A right heart is a heart that feels CONFLICT within it (Gal. 5:17). It finds within itself two opposing principles contending for the mastery—the flesh lusting against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh. It knows by experience what Paul means when he says, “I see a law in my members warring against the law of my mind” (Rom. 7:23). The wrong heart knows nothing of this strife. The strong man armed keeps the wrong heart as their palace, and their goods are at peace (Luke 11:21). But when the rightful King takes possession of the heart, a struggle begins which never ends until death. The right heart may be known by its warfare, quite as much as by its peace.

      7) A right heart is HONEST, UNDIVIDED, and TRUE (Luke 8:15;1 Chron. 12:33; Heb. 10:22). There is nothing about it of falsehood, hypocrisy, or image-acting. It is not double or divided. It really is what it professes to be, feels what it professes to feel, and believes what it professes to believe. Its faith may be feeble. Its obedience may be very imperfect. But one thing will always distinguish the right heart. Its religion will be real, genuine, thorough, and sincere.

      ► Summary:

      A heart such as that which I have now described, has always been the possession of all true Christians of every name, nation, people and tongue. They have differed from one another on many subjects—but they have all been of a right heart. Some of them have fallen, for a season, like David and Peter—but their hearts have never entirely departed from the Lord. They have often proved themselves to be men and women laden with infirmities—but their hearts have been right in the sight of God. They have understood one another on earth. They have found that their experience was everywhere one and the same. They will understand each other even better in the world to come. All that have had right hearts upon earth, will find that they have one heart when they enter heaven.
      http://jcrylequotes.com/2011/04/16/7-marks-of-a-right-heart-before-god/

  7. Raphael, yes yes and yes. .. we must also remember that some of us are babes in Christ (1Co 3:1; Ga 4:19; He 5: 12-13 ) – we sincerely need to be very gentle in dealing with these people. … let me give you an example. A christian lady, very fired up for the Lord – sincere and passionate, was chatting the otherday about how she had been led to financially help people using her credit card, indebting herself. .. I gently reminded her that the Work of the kingdom of God is not the financial assistance, but may be the spiritual connotation attached to it, which would be the example of charity and caring that the gave to these families. Further – i reflected later, that God said not to let the one hand know what the other is doing when we give to people (If God gives me the opportunity, Ill GENTLY refer her to that passage, or pray that God will reveal that to her) .. . As Paul said, when we are babes in Christ, we tend to still see things through the eyes of the world. Looking for acceptance from others. .. but, in 1Cor3:1, Paul said ” when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in the Christian life.” … when one talks to an infant, one doesnt expect the infant to understand what an adult understands.. instead one gently teaches the infant. One cant get upset when the infant gets it wrong sometimes… I think/know we’re all still in various growing stages. Even though, none of us can boast either because its so easy to fall. Think of it.. its the Heart that falls, sometimes without us even realizing it. .. How many times I have fallen in my heart..

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