Saturday, June 16, 2018

Does Romans 3:10-18 and 1 Corinthians 2:14 Support Calvinistic Total Inability?

  • Discussion:
           -There is no denying that Calvinism can be extremely controversial subject matter among professing Christians today. This is true especially of the doctrines of unconditional election and limited atonement. Quite simply, the purpose of this short article is to answer Calvinists who believe that the texts of Romans 3:10-18 and 1 Corinthians 2:14 substantiate their understanding of total depravity.

           Romans 3 simply tells us that we cannot merit salvation on the basis of good deeds. We are all unrighteous according to God's Law. The passage from Romans says plainly that the lost cannot please God, but it does not affirm the inability of us accepting or rejecting the gospel. While man by nature is depraved to the core, we can still accept the means by which God regenerates our hearts. We obtain righteousness by His grace through faith (Galatians 3:1-6).

           As for 1 Corinthians 2:14, the distinction should not be viewed as saint verses sinner. Rather, the contrast should be drawn between the wisdom of God and the wisdom of man. The "spiritual" person can discern the things of God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, whereas the "natural" man cannot understand the things of God because he tries to do so by means of his mere intellect (discernment is to be rooted in Scripture along with the Holy Spirit aiding our understanding). This text is speaking of divine inspiration (1 Corinthians 2:13). It is speaking of God revealing the truths of the gospel, which has already been done through the apostles (Ephesians 3:3-5). Divine revelation is powerful enough to convert the lost soul to Christ (John 20:31; 2 Timothy 3:15). Carnal people cannot understand the things of God because they simply do not want to. They naturally refuse. The Apostle Paul's point in 1 Corinthians 2:14 is that a person who uses human wisdom to interpret spiritual truths will only come to view the cross as foolish and consequently die spiritually. In short, this text has nothing to do with Calvinism.

2 comments:

  1. Jesse, I agree with everything else in the article. I don't agree with this:

    "Romans 3 simply tells us that we cannot merit salvation on the basis of good deeds."

    No where does the Bible say that we can't merit salvation.

    The Bible merely tells us that we are not the judges of merit. God alone is the judge of our merit.

    Here is what Romans 2 says:

    Romans 2:6-13 King James Version (KJV)

    6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

    7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

    8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

    9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

    10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

    11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

    12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

    13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.


    Notice these words, "render to every man according to his deeds".

    EVERY man will be judged according to his deeds.

    To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

    ETERNAL LIFE to those who continually do good.

    Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil

    Punishment to EVERY soul that does evil.

    In other words, God only saves those who do good. Only those who do good can please God. God judges the merit of every soul, according to his works.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. De Maria,

      I'd love to respond thoroughly, but cannot. It is far beyond the scope of this article to refute your misinterpretations of Scripture. Also, much of what I would have to say would be repetition from previous discussions. In short, the "doers" of the law are "justified" because their hearts have been changed (Romans 2:14-15). God looks at our works in judgement because they are the evidence of our faithfulness to Him. The conclusion of Paul's entire argument is that works cannot save us (Romans 3:27-28). So it is evident that you have misapplied Scripture.

      Delete