As mentioned in the introduction, I have been been discussing the differences between Calvinism and Provisionalism with a fellow blogger. One particular response grabbed my attention and I am trying to understand his position, by referring to his proof texts and logic.
This is the fourth portion of his response (in red), along with the corresponding verses he referred to. I shall seek to comment on the verses and find his argument within the verses he has provided.
He told the Pharisees you don’t believe because you aren’t my sheep John 10:26 He didn’t say you aren’t my sheep because you don’t believe That should kill the idea of free will on the spot. If you analyze the Garden of Eden account with Eve you will see the serpent was baiting Eve with free Will through the delusion of gaining the knowledge of good and evil which was a stone cold lie.
Let’s read the verse my friend offers for his argument.
John 10:26 – but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.
My friend offers a verse that makes his point, as he so humbly states. But in the middle of the argument, we always need to consider the context, audience and intent of the speaker.
The Jews were demanding Jesus reveal His identity!
John 10:24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
John 10:25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me,
It is interesting, that throughout Johns gospel, when he uses the concept of faith or belief, he occasionally uses the Present Active Indicative. I am not a grammar monkey, so I am fully open to correction on this stuff, but let’s see if we can find some insight from “da Greek”.
Below is a list from the Blue Letter Bible (BLB) website of the times John uses this particular verb. I find it interesting, challenging, (and above my pay grade) to understand all the implications, but alas, let us take a stab at it!
When the author uses present tense, I understand it to be continuous (check out BLB resource). It is not defining a past point in time when the action began, but the fact that the action is (or isn’t) “present” (sorry – bad pun!)
BLB describes the active voice as occurring “when the action of the verb is being performed by the subject.” As an example, “An ol’ man types on a keyboard”. This sentence tells you that I’m the one performing the action of typing on a keyboard.
The Indicative Mood:
Again, BLB describes this mood as “assertion or presentation of certainty.” I understand it to be a simple statement of fact.
So Carl, what is your point? I’m glad you asked.
It looks like Jesus isn’t telling us of the beginning of the faith of the Jews or of the sheep, just the existence of faith. The present tense is simply saying that the sheep got faith and that the Jew’s ain’t got faith (at that time) in the Messiah.
Could the verse be understood as saying, You do not presently have faith in Me, as evidenced by the fact you aren’t among My sheep, that is one that is acting as a believer. (Or – My sheep have a present visible faith!)
My apologies the the Apostle John for this ragged translation!
It seems to me that Jesus is telling the Jews that faith has a fruit, or is evidenced by a visible attitude towards the Master. An argumentative / demanding position (“Tell us plainly!”) does not reflect the nature of faith, at least not in the identification of the Messiah, which is the point in this passage.
One other issue that I will not labor, but would like the reader to consider, is that this believing in Jesus is in the active voice. Remember, the action of the verb “believing” is being performed by the subject, that is, the sheep. This particular passage describes the activity of faith as that of the sheep, not the Shepherd.
Given this foray into some grammar, it seems the grammar, if correctly understood, leans away from the proof text my friend has provided to support the claim that a particular point in time a sheep (one who is elect) will be given faith. This passage contains Jesus describing the continuous nature/attitude of His sheep at that time towards His claim of Messiahship.
I do hope you will continue with me as I seek to understand the verses he supplies and if the verses he supplied support his argument of fatalism/determinism which he speaks of.
Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.
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20 thoughts on “Calvin’s Concerns – Comment Response 12 – John 10:26”
You have articulated the point very well. You may find this article very helpful among others on the blog agrammatos.org “ Gospel Atonement “ and “ The Damnable Heresy of Arminianism “
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.” John 6:37-39 ESV
““I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have RECEIVED THEM and have COME TO KNOW IN TRUTH that I came from you; and they have BELIEVED THAT YOU SENT ME. I am praying for them. I AM NOT PRAYING FOR THE WORLD BUT FOR THOSE WHOM YOU HAVE GIVEN ME, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.” John 17:6-10 ESV (emphasis mine)
I’m going to have to side with doubleajwalk on this one. The scripture is clear, no one comes to the Son unless the Father draws Him. Not physically, not in mental assent, not in self-generated faith, and definitely not in spending 3.5 years with Him which ends in betrayal.
As for Judas, additional scriptures strongly indicate that although he was chosen to be with Jesus physically (for the purpose of betraying Him “that the scripture might be fulfilled”), he did not truly belong to Him. Certainly, his willingness to betray Jesus after spending 3.5 years witnessing miracle after miracle and hearing the very words of God from His mouth, also speaks volumes as to his true spiritual condition. Not to mention that his worldly remorse afterward that did not result in repentance.
I believe scripture as a whole supports the idea that God the Father draws those whom He chooses–for His purposes–and gives them to Jesus to be saved. John 17:9, “I am not praying for the world but for those whom You have given me” (above), taken with many other scriptures throughout the Bible, strongly supports the case that some are chosen and others are not. I don’t claim to understand or fully comprehend this, but it does seem to be the case. Having said that, it’s not our place to determine who may or may not be–as some seem determined to do. We need to be praying for all to come to know Him and be willing to share with those He brings across our path.
Your blog posts have prompted me to look into this subject further and I’m currently reading John Piper’s book “Does God Desire All To Be Saved”. It’s a free download on his site, if you’re interested: https://document.desiringgod.org/does-god-desire-all-to-be-saved-en.pdf?ts=1446647103
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John Piper in his book “ Does God desire all to be saved” has a sub title
“What Keeps God from Saving Whom He Desires to Save?”
The simple answer is nothing keeps God from saving whom He desires to save; He is God. One thing you need to focus on is letting scripture interpret scripture. Let the simple interpret what appears to be complex or contrary to your liking.
But He is in one mind,and who can turn Him? Yea, His soul desires, and He does it.
declaring the end from the beginning, and from the past those things which have not been done, saying, My counsel shall rise; and, I will do all My desire;
Nebuchadnezzar learned the hard way that God does what He wants to do, puts people in the places he wants them and fulfills all His desires
34¶And at the end of the days ,I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes to the heaven, and my understanding returned to me, and I blessed the Most High. And I praised and honored Him who lives forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom from generation and generation.
35 And all those living in the earth are counted as nothing. And He does according to His will among the army of Heaven, and among those living in the earth. And no one is able to strike His hand or say to Him, What are You doing?
You will then say to me, Why does He yet find fault? For who has resisted His will?
1 Timothy 2:4
who desires all men to be saved and to come to a full knowledge of truth.
Note: if God wanted every single individual to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth then every single individual would be saved; but we know from Revelation 7:9 that God saved All the Father gives to Jesus John 6:37 out of every nation, even tribes, peoples and languages which defines “ all men” in
1 Timothy 2:4
If you look at the context in 1 Timothy 2, The Apostle Paul is advocating the prayer for all men to be saved including Kings and all the (ones) in pre eminence which defines the “all men” as classes of men and points to the fact that God is not a respecter of persons. Acts 10:34
Explains that God wants to show His wrath and show forth His power on vessels fitted out by Him; so that His name might be publicized in all the earth in order that He make known the riches of His glory on vessels of mercy which He prepared beforehand for glory.
Romans 9 also reveals God has the right to do with His creation as He sees fit and He makes himself and forms himself both vessels of wrath fitted out for destruction and the vessels of mercy.
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Thanks for pointing that out about Piper’s book. I only skimmed the end and hadn’t read anything before then. Overall, it seems we’re on the same page except for the following…
Your comment: “One thing you need to focus on is letting scripture interpret scripture. Let the simple interpret what appears to be complex or contrary to your liking.”
My response: I let scripture interpret scripture and I don’t interpret scripture to suit my liking. I’m not here to argue with you or anyone else. I’m here sharing my thoughts just as you are. Neither you or I have all the answers, so please don’t treat me as if I’m below you in terms of intellect.
I’m really sorry I caused a misunderstanding with my wording my comment using “ one thing you need to focus on”was in no way directed at you. It was meant to be a plural “you” prompted by glancing over John Piper’s book; but I particularly noticed that subtitle referenced. I thought he was complicating the explanation which prompted my scriptural response. So, please know my comments were not directed because of anything you said or you personally.
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Thanks for clarifying. My apologies for the misunderstanding on my end, as well.
I stand by my comment that overall, it does seem we’re on the same page in this discussion. As for Piper, I’ve never been a big fan (he does tend to complicate things) but felt that the book brought up some good points at the end–which is the only part I looked at, unfortunately. I typically don’t recommend books I haven’t fully vetted and this is a great reminder to be more diligent about that going forward. So, thank you.
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Yes, it appears we are on the same Gospel track I’m not sure if you noticed my recommendation on prior comments of “ Gospel Atonement” and “ The Damnable Heresy of Arminianism” and I would like to add “ unconditional reprobation” all on blog; Agrammatos.org
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No, I hadn’t noticed. Thank you, I’ll check it out.
This whole interpretation on John 10:26 can be resolved very easily
John 6:37 All (sheep) that the Father gives will come
Note: they will never come without faith so it must be a gift
Why do they come? It is because He gave them the belief to come
You do not believe because you are not of my sheep
They aren’t His sheep given He just said they do not have belief in Him and consequently they don’t come. They weren’t given. The giving of The Father is first not faith The ones He gives will be given faith
So I’m back to the question. Do you believe they come on their self generated faith to Jesus, which means according to your view that the Father gives sheep according to their self generated faith? True or not true If not true please explain What it means in John 6:37
You have to answer in your world view He gave those people to Jesus conditionally based on their self worked or generated faith because you don’t believe faith is a sovereign gift to whomever He chooses to mercy. It is simple; one or the other.
The verses never say anything but “ All that the Father gives” It doesn’t All that have faith The Father gives to Jesus
My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.
Was the Father’s gift to Jesus conditional or unconditional?
Did the Father give those persons to Jesus because of their self generated faith?
Did the Father give Judas to the Son?
I think Jesus said something bout not loosing anyone except for the son of perdition.
Remember the emphasis of this passage is the Father and not the identification of ” them “.
I already answered this in one of your other posts
Don’t put your own context into the verse! Look at the whole chapter in John 6
The ones that the Father gives to Jesus aren’t lost; but Jesus gives them eternal life. He makes them alive they hear his voice. He knows who they are from before the foundation of the world. It isn’t a mystery to the Father.
No, Judas was not given to Jesus in order to give him eternal life He was a reprobate from before the foundation of the world. The Father isn’t confused.
Are you saying The Father didn’t know that Judas was a reprobate like Esau before creation? Does the Father give reprobates to Jesus; so He can give them eternal life. Shame on you for thinking that the Father didn’t know what He was doing ahead of time.
Judas was not given to Jesus to be given eternal life. He was chosen to give Him up for the crucifixion. The ones given equal those Jesus will save.
The Father gave 12 sinners to Jesus as followers. Jesus said one was lost that was given to Him.
Why is that so hard to read?
You force your understanding into every text, seemingly bending every passage to your predefined theology.
I find all your exceptions and clarifications very confusing.
All that the gives will not be lost ! John 6:37-44 Judas was lost; therefore he wasn’t given to Jesus
Just believe it That is what it says plainly !
If you only have those verses, the logic seems possible. There are other passages that should be considered. But you emphasize a few verses over the rest.
That has been obvious for many weeks now.
But you are debating over the meaning of John 10:26 I’m using the whole chapter John 6 from the beginning.
You are bringing in another verse from somewhere else which is fine with me; but the clarification of who is given is clear in chapter 6
The ones given by the father are those that are the same as though that are saved and not lost; that immediately disqualifies Judas as given for eternal life and defines “given by the father to Jesus “ eternal life” eliminates Judas from the given
Now answer the original question which you avoided
Did The Father give those persons to Jesus for eternal life conditionally or unconditionally?
Were those the Father gives given based on their self generated faith or not?
How can I answer the question when the terms are not defined. In your mind “those persons” are the elect. Not so with me. So I could answer based on your understanding but you don’t want to live in an echo chamber do you???
You can define the word condition anyway you want.
Did The Father give people to Jesus that Jesus would effectually give eternal life to based on their self generated faith ( condition) or did He give those people to Jesus (unconditionally) and their faith was a gift of Grace because He sovereignly chose to give those people to Jesus to be saved according to the counsel of His according to purpose?