What does it really mean to be “dead in trespasses and sins”?

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Colossians 2:12-20
(12) Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
(13) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him [Christ], having forgiven you all trespasses
(20) …therefore…ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world…

Ephesians 2:1-6
(1) And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins
(5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
(6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Romans 6:3-4 
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:5
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

The goal of this essay is to determine what it means to be “dead in trespasses and sins.” I am concerned that the popular spiritual death explanation ascribed to this phrase by many Christian leaders is misleading. From Romans 6:5 emerges a rule which tethers the words death and resurrection to each other in such a way that both words must be taken in the same sense—they are both either literal or figurative. No mixing of a figurative death (e.g. spiritual death) and a literal resurrection is therefore permitted. This point is important because in the passages of Ephesians 2:1-6 and Colossians 2:13-20, both the Romans 6:5 rule and the force of logic compel us to conclude that the Author is using the terms dead and quickened symmetrically.

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Will God Ensure that Everyone gets a Chance to Hear the Gospel—Even the Aborted Baby?

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Unless otherwise noted, all verses below are taken from the King James Version of the bible.


Election According to Foreknowledge is the Key!

Was the Gospel, as the Bible claims, really preached to every creature which is under heaven? Or should we, like many other Bible teachers, conclude that these words spoken by Paul are merely hyperbole? Curiously, one way to confirm the seriousness of this claim lies in one’s understanding of the doctrine of election. According to the Bible, before Christ created the world, He wrote down the names of several people in His [i.e. the Lamb’s] Book of Life (Revelation 13:8; 3:5; 17:8, 20:15; Luke 10:20, Ephesians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). It turns out that this book contains the names of all those who are considered ‘elect.’ Elect is a term which refers to those persons whom God has chosen ahead of time to inherit salvation. In Bible verses such as 1 Peter 1:2 and Romans 8:29, the Bible tells us that God’s choices about who to elect were based upon His foreknowledge or His knowledge-known-ahead-of-time. This is what is known as the doctrine of election.
(Also see What Does The Bible Mean By Election?Elect according to the foreknowledge of God & Fore knowledge is a Condition)

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (1 Peter 1:2)

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [i.e. elect] to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

But what exactly did God know ahead of time and how does this foreknowledge fit into God’s rationale for choosing one person but not another? The Bible tells us that God is not a respecter of persons (Deuteronomy 10:17; Romans 2:11, Acts 10:34) so we know that God’s foreknowledge has nothing to do with one’s physical appearance, nationality or one’s efforts of any sort. If Hebrews 11:6 is right regarding the claim that God rewards those who diligently seek Him, then the only logical and biblical conclusion regarding the criteria which God used when choosing His elect is faith (i.e. whether a person, if given the chance, would obey the gospel). Continue reading

Examining the Calvinist’s Fallacy of Equivocation/Amphibology in Romans 5:18

Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. (Romans 5:18)

Romans 5:18 is the conclusion of an argument that begins back in verse 12. In the King James Version of the bible, verses 13-17 are placed in parenthesis presumably to indicate that they form the exposition of verses 12 and 18. So, verse 12 contains four premises that form a syllogism, verses 13 through 17 are the details and development of these premises, and verse 18 is the conclusion of the argument.

In Romans 5:12, Paul reveals four premises/propositions:

  1. By one man sin entered into the world
  2. and death (entered into the world ) by sin
  3. so death passed upon all men,
  4. for that all (men) have sinned

All propositions come in one of four categories: All, None, Some and Some not. Putting the Romans 5:12 propositions into categorical form, one comes up with the following: Continue reading

Unconditional Election? News Flash: Foreknowledge is a Condition!

We are going to examine the following verses:

Romans 8:29
For whom he did foreknow [proginōskō], he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Romans 11:2
God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew [proginōskō]. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,

1 Peter 1:2
Elect according to the foreknowledge [prognōsis] of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

1 Peter 1:20
Who verily was foreordained [proginōskō] before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

Acts 2:23
Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge [prognōsis] of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

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If Christ died for all then how come some will end up in hell?

Isaiah 53:6
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him [Christ] the iniquity of us all.

A common question raised by the Calvinist is: If Christ died for all men then how come some men will end up in hell? Shouldn’t the fact that Christ died for all men mean that all men are saved?

My response to the Calvinist is: No!
Ultimately, to be saved means to attain a righteousness that is acceptable to God. The book of Romans, in the 10th chapter outlines only two such modes of righteousness:

(1) righteousness that comes by the law
– Righteousness by the law is a dead end since no one has ever kept the law without error (Ezekiel 33:13).

(2) righteousness which is by faith.
– The only way anyone attains to righteousness which is by faith is through belief in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross; this is what is meant by obeying the gospel (Romans 10:8-9).

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Elect according to the foreknowledge of God

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  (John 1:12-13)

God’s election (or selection) of the saved vs. the unsaved is solely based on His foreknowledge (1 Peter 1:2, Romans 8:29) of their obedience.

Examine the following verses:

Romans 8:29
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

1 Peter 1:2
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

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Limited Atonement Killers

All without exception or all with distinction? This is the question that I have for the Calvinist.

…Either Christ died for everyone or he didn’t die for everyone.  Either God wants everyone in heaven and offers full salvation freely to all who will believe and receive it, by his grace, from his hands through Christ or he does not want everyone to be saved and he has predestined multitudes from before the foundation of the world, before they were ever born, they were predestined to go to hell to be tormented forever and there’s nothing they can do about it, nothing you and I can do about it, because [it’s] no good to preach the gospel to them.  They can’t even believe the gospel.  They can’t even make a decision to receive Christ because they are totally depraved and God must regenerate them, miraculously, sovereignly regenerate them before they can even believe the gospel and receive Christ.  Now either God does not love all mankind; does not want everyone saved or he does…God’s mercy is over all of his creation.  He is merciful, long suffering, he pleads with Israel, “Repent I don’t want to judge you and yet he really wants to judge them?  And all the appeals in the scripture, “Choose you this day whom you will serve,” and so forth…all the expressions of God’s love and mercy are turned around to somehow explain it away.  For example, when it says he would have all men to be saved.  Well the Calvinist says well that doesn’t mean all without exception, it means all without distinction.  By that they mean, all kinds of men, some old, some rich, some poor, some Aborigines, some educated and so forth.  It doesn’t mean all without exception, it means all without distinction.
Okay.  If I have a store and I put a big ad in the paper, “all merchandise 50% off”, you come to my store and you want this piece of merchandise—no, no that’s not 50% off, that’s full price.  But you advertised ALL merchandise 50% off.  Well, I didn’t mean ALL without exception, I meant all without distinction.  I am not distinguishing between this item and some of this and some of that and some of that. – Dave Hunt (http://www.thebereancall.org/node/1082)

The following passages in scripture are presented with commentary to demonstrate the non-scriptural nature of the Limited Atonement Doctrine:

1)  Romans 5:18
Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

– In logic, when a term is used two different ways within an argument the author of the argument is charged with committing the fallacy of equivocation. In Romans 5:18, “all” cannot in the first proposition cannot refer to “everyone without exception”, while in the second proposition refer to “everyone without distinction”. The parallelism in this argument does not allow for Calvinists to redefine the word ‘all’ to mean ‘some.’ Since the condemnation came upon all individuals that are children of Adam then the free gift must also come upon all children of Adam for this verse to work as a literary structure.

2)  2 Peter 2:1
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

Interestingly, if someone argues election from 2 Peter 2, they inadvertently trample “limited atonement” (the “L” in T.U.L.I.P.). Verse 1, in context speaking of the false prophets, reads, “But there were false prophets also among the people…who…shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” So much for “limited atonement.” The price for redemption (the death of Jesus, who “bought them”) was paid even for those who would ultimately reject Him and His provision. – Dave Hunt (http://www.thebereancall.org/node/8778)

3)  1 Timothy 4:10
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.

– This verse makes no sense unless the reader understands that a distinction is made between all men (i.e. the whole world) and those that believe (i.e. the Christians). The remarkable point of this distinction is that Christ is the Savior of both groups and not just one. He is the Savior of all men in the sense that He has already paid the penalty for all of men’s sin. The only thing God requires is that men believe. Some will and some won’t but there is no longer an impediment to reaching God.

4)  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.

-Once again we see that a distinction is made between the sins of Christians (not for ours only) and the sins of the whole world. Also, again we see that Christ’s atoning sacrifice made it not only possible for the reconciliation of Christians but actually of the entire world.

5)  1 John 4:14
And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

– One cannot say that Christ is only the Savior of the elect (as the Calvinists assert) and also the Savior of the world as 1 John 4:14 asserts. This is a contradiction. Someone is in error and it isn’t the scriptures!

6)  2 Corinthians 5:14
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead

– I might add that if one died for all, then all are eligible to partake in the fruits of His death, namely, reconciliation with God at the bargain price of FREE. Christ thus died for all sins whether they be sins of the elect or sins of the condemned. If there was only one sinner living on earth wouldn’t Christ still have to die? So what’s the point of limited atonement?
A common counter question raised by the Calvinist is: If Christ died for all men then how come some men will end up in hell? Shouldn’t the fact that Christ died for all men mean that all men are saved? My response to the Calvinist is: No. To be saved means to attain a righteousness that is acceptable to God. The book of Romans, in the 10th chapter outlines only two modes of righteousness: (1) righteousness that comes by the law and (2) righteousness which is by faith. There is no third righteousness which comes by paying for one’s sins since it is impossible to do such; the bible states that we have nothing with which to pay with that is acceptable to God (Isaiah 64:6 – all of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags). Therefore, the fact that Christ paid for everyone’s sins doesn’t automatically make anyone righteous. Righteousness by the law is a dead end since no one has ever kept the law without error (Ezekiel 33:13). The only way anyone attains to righteousness which is by faith is through belief in Christ and the penalty He paid on the cross; this is what is meant by obeying the gospel.

7)  Titus 3:4-5
But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared

-Thus this kindness and love that God demonstrated on the cross has appeared to everyone and not just to the elect!

8)  1 Timothy 2:4,6
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

– All men period, not all types of men. Can you imagine how contrived verse 6 would sound if it read: Who gave himself a ransom for all types of men… ? Of course, if God really meant “all types of men” in verse 4 & 6, then we must conclude that He has a problem communicating His thoughts clearly; but, we know that God is not the Author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).

9)  Titus 2:11
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

– Not all types of men but rather ALL MEN. Amen

10)  Isaiah 45:21-22
21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. 22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

– Here, God compels everyone (all the ends of the earth) to look unto Him for salvation not just the elect.

11)  John 1:29
29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

– Christ can’t take away the sin of the world and only the sin of the elect at the same time.

12)  John 3:15-17
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 ¶ 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. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

– The world, through Christ’s sacrifice, are eligible for salvation. That is what these verse above say!

13)  Revelation 22:17
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

– The word ‘whosoever’ allows all men within its semantic range, not just all types of men.

14)  Luke 13:34
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!

Here we see God expressing a desire to save persons that have refused Him and that are going to hell. This doesn’t sound like a God who withholds saving grace from the non-elect to me?

15)  Hebrews 2:9
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man

– We see that Christ partook of death for EVERY MAN not every type of man!

16)  Hebrews 2:1-3
Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

– If it is possible to neglect the great salvation that Christ won for us on Calvary then at least two propositions follow from this premise:
(1) Christ’s atonement is not limited; for even non-believers can neglect it and in order to neglect it, salvation must be in scope and accessible
(2) The grace of God is not irresitable for here the scriptures posit that it is possible to neglect the great salvation that was offered by God’s grace

17)  John 6:51
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

– If Christ gives His flesh for the “life of the world” then it can hardly be said that His flesh was simultaneously sacrificed for only those that will believe

18)  John 12:32
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

– If Christ’s promise is to draw all men unto Himself then it follows that His sacrifice must have been meant for all men.

19)  Isaiah 53:6
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

– Despite the clear context, some Calvinist like to play word games with the Greek words for: world (kosmos) and all (pas); so, I have included an old testament verse in which the Hebrew word for all (kole, kole) does not allow for the Calvinistic interpretation (i.e. all types of men)

20)  Romans 3:21-23
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested…to all, and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

– There is a juxstaposition here between all persons and all persons that believe. This is followed by the declaration that there is no diffference between both groups in that all persons (whether believers or unbelievers) have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Consequently, we must conclude that the righteousness of God (which is by faith of Jesus Christ) has been manifested to both the elect and the lost.