If believing is not a simple act of the will...what should we appeal to unbelievers to do when sharing the gospel with them?
Matt: I answered this second service. Answer is recorded.
Is repentance a simple act of the will or is that too a miracle beyond the ability of fallen man?
Matt: Let me reframe this. Repentance is an act of the will. (No act of the will is simple…) AND (not or) it is something that is granted by God, and beyond the ability of man in his unregenerate state. (2 Timothy 2:25-26, Romans 3)
If man can't repent and believe unless God chooses to lift the veil..how can He still be just in condemning him to hell?
Excellent question. In fact, it shows that you are tracking with the theology of the scripture. Paul anticipates that his audience will ask that question if they are following him thus far in his letter in Romans. Romans 9:14-29 warns us to humility when we ponder this question, using an image of God as the potter, and we as His clay. When asking this question, we are to make sure that our heart is rightly postured toward God as creator, and we as creature, with The Creator having full right to do as He pleases with His creation.
However the Scriptures do not stop there in its answer to this question. A quick summary of the matter is this: all humans, exercising their free will, rebel against their loving creator. We, in our natural state, hate to not be in control. We hate not being our own master and commander. We hate the idea of God having full rights over us as a potter does over His clay. We are enemies of God. (Romans 5:10)
God is perfectly just in condemning any sinner to hell, because they have earned it by their willful action.
God is merciful to those whom He chooses to save (according to the council of His will, Ephesians 1:5). He has a good reason for choosing those whom He chooses, and not others. But we are only told that this is “according to His will…” and “...to the praise of His glorious grace.”
He is never unjust. We all rightfully deserve punishment in Hell for our rebellion. Those who do not receive it receive mercy. No one receives injustice.
I think this issue perplexes us because we have bought into the unbiblical notion that man is either inherently morally good, or at least morally neutral. This is not the case. We are morally corrupt and sinful.
These questions were asked following the third sermon in our series on The Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit and the New Birth. Feel free to e-mail the pastors with any other questions you have and we’ll do our best to respond to you either individually, or on the site if the question would be helpful to everyone.