How are we saved..the same as Lydia..free-will choice..


#1

Everyone.
Although, I did not write this personally…I agree with the contents of this commentary.

Lydia became a Christian. She heard the gospel, the Lord opened her heart to heed the things she heard, and she was baptized. The account of her conversion must surely be consistent with other conversion accounts recorded in Acts. God is no respecter of persons; He shows no partiality in the matter of salvation (cf. Acts 10:34ff.). He did nothing to bring about the salvation of Lydia that He did not do for those on Pentecost, Simon the sorcerer, the Ethiopian eunuch, or the Philippian jailor. And He did nothing for them that He would not do for you or me.

This being true, one might well ask, “Does this mean the Lord will open the hearts of those outside of Christ today like He did in Lydia’s case?” Consistency would seem to demand it. If so, the fundamental issue involves determining what was done in Lydia’s case. We must ask, in what way was Lydia’s heart closed or what was her condition before the Lord opened her heart? What was the result of her heart being opened? And, exactly how did God do it? These are the basic questions. The Bible gives good, basic answers.

Lydia – a worshiper before her heart was opened

Lydia “worshipped God” before she met Paul. In the original language of the New Testament, the particular word translated “worshipped” (sebomene) was used to refer to “pagans who accepted the ethical monotheism of Judaism and attended the synagogue, but who did not obligate themselves to keep the whole Jewish law” (Ardnt & Gingrich, 1979, p. 746). However, they “worshipped the only true God” and did so “in specific acts” (Kittell & Friedrich, 1971, p. 172).

Whatever God did to Lydia’s heart, He did not have to force her to want to serve Him. She wanted that. She was already His worshiper, albeit in accordance with limited and outdated knowledge of His will. In Lydia’s case, God did not directly overwhelm a rank sinner who had no inclination to do right in order to force a change of heart. Those who claim He does so today have no basis for it from this conversion account.

  1. Lydia heard, then heeded.

God did not have to open Lydia’s heart to force her to listen to the evangelists’ message either. A careful reading of the text shows this plainly. The first phrase of Acts 16:14 is, “Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us.” This was before the Lord opened Lydia’s heart “to heed the things spoken by Paul.” Lydia “heard” the gospel before the Lord opened her heart in that she listened to the words spoken by Paul and gave them her mental attention. She did not “heed” or “attend to” what she heard until after the Lord opened her heart. There is obviously a difference in this text between hearing and heeding, or as the King James Version has it, hearing and attending. Appreciating this difference is crucial to understanding what God did and how He did it.

The words “heed” and “attend” accurately convey into English the sense of the word found in the ancient language of Acts (prosecho). These words (both English and Greek) sometimes mean simply “to hear,” “observe” or “give mental attention to”, while at other times they mean “to do” or tend to (cf. Wigram). For instance, Timothy was urged to command some in Ephesus not to “give heed to fables and endless genealogies which cause disputes…” (I Timothy 1:4). People should not give these things their “mental attention.” On the other hand, Hebrews 7:13 uses the same Greek word in reference to priests giving “attendance at the altar”; here it is obvious that to “attend” means “to do” service or “tend to”. In Lydia’s case, “heed” must also denote “to do,” because she had already “heard.”

  1. Lydia heeded as a result of her heart being opened.

Clearly, when the Lord opened her heart to “heed the things spoken by Paul,” Lydia was moved to respond to the gospel message – to do what she had heard she needed to do. She heeded the things spoken by Paul “when she and her household were baptized” (Acts 16:15). Some of the better modern English versions of the Bible do a good job of showing this. The New International Version reads, “The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message,” and the New American Standard Bible states, "And the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.

Conclusion…How did God open Lydia’s heart?

Many believe that God opened Lydia’s heart to hear Paul. We have shown that notion to be incorrect; God opened her heart “to heed.” However, those in error on the point typically have another erroneous concept – that God opened Lydia’s heart by a direct and immediate operation of the Holy Spirit – that He supernaturally altered Lydia’s emotional processes to compel her to hear and obey.

Of course the God of heaven has many instruments at His disposal. We can imagine that He could choose to accomplish His will by many different means. The question is, what means has He chosen? How does He open the hearts of men and women to the obedience of faith? How did He open Lydia’s heart to respond to the gospel? Was it through a supernatural means not mentioned in the text or was it through the word of God spoken by Paul?

It is a plain fact that there is no mention in Acts 16:13-15 of the direct working of the Spirit of God. To assert that God used that means to prompt obedience from Lydia is to inject something into the scriptures that just isn’t there. What is there, plainly, is the gospel message “spoken by Paul.”

God used the preaching of Paul and his fellow evangelists as the instrument to open hearts to the obedience of faith. On one occasion, Paul and Barnabas recounted to the church in Antioch “all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27). In 2 Corinthians 5:20a Paul wrote, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us.”. The message of the gospel, proclaimed by God’s people, is His tool in the hearts of men.

Today, as it was with Lydia so long ago, the gospel is “the power of God to salvation” (Romans 1:16). Only when people hear it can their hearts be opened to faith and obedience (cf. Romans 10:17; 6:17).

Source: Steve Klein.


#2

Copy-pasting articles you have proven you don’t understand the implications of, is not really a way to have a discussion on this forum, BA. Especially after complaining, when someone points this out to you in detail, that this person has written more than a couple of paragraphs.

But if you insist:

Lydia, unfortunately, according to what you are teaching (elsewhere), could not even possibly have understood and received the message of the gospel proclaimed by God’s people: because, according to your own understanding, Lydia was entirely and completely incapable of understanding and receiving spiritual matters until after she had been born again. She might have been able (on your plan) to understand and receive some merely worldly notion of the gospel before then, but so what?–of what benefit would you say that a merely worldly understanding would be at all?

(Look, I can copy-paste paragraphs, too! And I actually wrote that one originally. Also all the technical discussion I provided in the thread I took that from. But I only copy-pasted one paragraph, from this comment here, so that you wouldn’t have to read very much at one time. :mrgreen: )


#3

Jason.

Please stop acting like I fell off the turnip truck…it is very insulting. This article hits the very heart of some on this discussion board that believe in a Calvinistic view of Lydia having her heart opened. Relax and let people read and respond. :wink:

Btw, I do not believe one has to be born again to believe the gospel. Please do not twist my understanding of 1 Cor 2:10-14. The only word from the bible that unbelievers are capable of understanding is the gospel message itself. That is all your supposed to teach and preach to unbelievers…Jesus Christ and him crucified…not teaching unbelievers the bible…that comes after they get saved. If you don’t believe that…fine…your entitled to your interpretation. I believe every word of this article…regardless what you think I believe… which is so arrogant.


#4

What is so insulting about falling off a turnip truck? I am sure there are many turnip farmers who would find the reference very insulting.


#5

BA, are your discussing the question of ‘freedom’ with respect to salvation because you think it has something to do with UR?

I can save you time IF you’re interested. Our being ‘free’ (in the libertarian sense) doesn’t really feed into your slate of proofs against UR. I think the vast majority of folks here are Reformed/Calvinistic when it comes to the determinism/free will and salvation question. However, I’m a died-in-the-wool libertarian AND a universalist (and an open theist, boy it just keeps piling up), and I know other universalists who don’t appeal to deterministic arguments to ground their confidence that all eventually make it. So you may be leaning your ladder against the wrong wall here.

Tom


#6

The opening line of BA’s initial post proves beyond doubt that the word Everybody doesn’t actually mean all readers of the posting. It contains scripture which li’l ole stoopid meee has a lotta trubbl unerstandin’ so it kidna ain’t ment fur stoopid mee

but evin li’l slow braynd JeffAhhhh cun seee sorta that evree buddy don’t nesss… nessusss… hav tuh meen ALL.


#7

As I think some other people have pointed out in recent weeks: most of your own posts involve acting, from the outset, like UR proponents just fell off the turnip truck. As you clearly understand, it is very insulting to be treated like that. :slight_smile:

And avoiding making any commentary on a long post purely on the ground of complaining that a post is too long, especially after you had previously complained about a lack of detail in other replies, right before doing no work at all yourself to post up a multi-paragraph post? :neutral_face: That isn’t something which will impress people with your intellectual competency on your positions. (Though I do appreciate you giving composition credit to someone else for something you didn’t actually write.)

Incidentally, if I really was treating you like you fell off a turnip truck, I wouldn’t bother spending significant amounts of my time and energy writing up detailed reports on topics you claim to want to talk about. There would be less than no point to my doing so.

Uh, no, I doubt it “hits their hearts” per se. Most people here are well aware of testimony like this, and already have an opinion on it within their established beliefs. Whether their own accountings for these passages are well grounded or not remains to be seen. It’s purely presumptuous to think that by mortar-firing an article you’re certainly hitting the hearts of anyone. (Frankly, it’s treating them like they just fell off a turnip truck. :wink: )

I say this, speaking as someone who does in fact spend considerable amounts of my own time and energy (i.e. writing what you dismissively call “novels”, not just copy-pasting articles) arguing against deterministically simplistic notions of God’s manipulation of people and in favor of something much more complex and nuanced.

That being said, I also know from very long experience that even the hardcore Calvs have some important contributions to make on this topic (as well as on others).

In what way? In a spiritual way, or in some worldly way?

(I asked you this before in that other thread; but you didn’t want to answer at that time I guess. So I’m going to keep giving you opportunities until I get tired of doing so. :mrgreen: )

If it’s in some spiritual way, how can that be if you deny that anyone can receive and understand spiritual things before being born again?

If it’s in some worldly way, I’ll ask you again as I’ve asked you already (a couple of times in that other thread, as well as elsewhere): of what good is a merely worldly belief (or even understanding) of the gospel? And what would you say is the content of a worldly belief in the gospel anyway? That someone named Jesus existed and was crucified, period? If you add that He, or he rather, claimed to be the Christ–so what? What does ‘Christ’ mean in a merely worldly fashion? A doctor’s assistant who places mustard plasters on sick patients? (Which is how Greco-Roman citizens would have guessed the term meant, since they didn’t have any spiritual meaning for the term yet. Lydia, a synagogue-attending God-fearer, might have heard her local Jews using the term in a more spiritual fashion–but so what, if she couldn’t receive and understand spiritual things?)

I demonstrated at length, using quotes you yourself had written (or at least which you yourself provided, and claimed to believe and understand) what your understanding of 1 Cor 2 amounts to; and it’s entirely consistent with this…

…which I have absolutely and demonstrably never said you didn’t believe. On the contrary, I have repeatedly treated you as though this is what you have claimed to be true–because this is in fact what you have repeatedly claimed to be true. :slight_smile:

Let’s check what you believe (and claim to understand) on this in another way.

Shortly after arriving on this forum for the first time, you created this thread for the purpose of posting this entry, which I will re-post here in full:

(In passing, I will note that either you didn’t understand what you wrote when you typed that there are two kinds of people in the world, those saved and those about to be, or you’re actually a universalist–since a non-universalist would include at least one more category. Which was pointed out to you at the time, too. But, be that as it may.)

Now, how is this only preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified? And which part of the bolded sinner’s prayer in the middle would you consider to be unspiritual, i.e. something an unbeliever would be able to receive and accept? All of it? Only some part which if they accept they’ll be able to accept the rest later?

“Father, forgive me of my sins.” – is this the unspiritual gospel you have repeatedly claimed we are supposed to restrict ourselves to preaching to unbelievers?

“Jesus come into my heart.” – what is the unspiritual meaning of this?

“Be my Lord.” – in what unspiritual way?

“Make me the person you want me to be.” – but not in spirit? Only physically or something (like with better muscles?)

“Thank you for saving me.” – what kind of unspiritual salvation is the unsaved unbeliever accepting here and thanking Jesus and/or God for unspiritually coming into the person’s unspiritual heart for?

How is the unbeliever supposed to understand and accept any or all of this in some unspiritual way? Can you be more precise? And how does accepting any or all of this unspiritually help the unbeliever in any way?

Also, I’m having trouble finding any reference to crucifixion in your preaching there. Can you underline it for us?


#8

:smiley: :smiley:


#9

Tom,

Not necessarily. He may just be aiming at those other guys over there. :slight_smile:

However: his hyper-Arminianistic stance does have the tactical advantage (notice) of making it maximally difficult (pun intended) for God to triumphantly save anyone (much moreso everyone) from sin.

But that’s beside the point. I don’t have to be a universalist to ping against the coherency of the missional theology involved here. Not only does BA’s understanding of 1 Cor 2 not add up (rather it undermines!) what he thinks those other portions of scripture exclusively testify to (Lydia’s conversion being presented as his example), but BA himself demonstrably throws away and denies what he insists 1 Cor 2 means, the moment he actually starts talking about or doing any practical evangelization.

Unless he’s prepared to go into detail answering those questions in favor of affirming and explicating the un-spiritual (or maybe non-spiritual would be a fairer description) quality of the evangelical methods he accepts.

Now, now, Jeff, don’t feel bad. BA gave you permission to speak on our forum, not long after he arrived here, remember? He just won’t reason with you; since you must be dirt ignorant and frankly incapable of understanding whatever in the hell (or the heaven) he’s talking about regarding salvation or any other spiritual matter. (As demonstrably proven with quote references earlier, BA does consider salvation to be a spiritual topic.) Because you aren’t saved and born again yet.

Or because you’re fallen away. I forget which he classifies you as. Some Arms would consider you fallen away and so your salvation is currently lost even though you once had it; others that you were never saved in the first place and so are still unsaved. But there are others who might believe you were really saved the first time, and so still really saved now, just fallen away temporarily for a while. He could be one of those; but, since he couldn’t possibly know for sure that you were really saved the first time, he would have to treat you as being incapable of understanding any of his superior spiritual talk–just to be safe. Understand? You don’t? Well, that would prove you were unspiritual and thus unsaved, I guess…

Anyway, here. Have a turnip. I engraved a crucifix onto it for you.

Because, y’know: Jesus, and Him crucified. Go Roman Catholics! :mrgreen:

I couldn’t figure out how to add the notion of “Christ” in any worldly manner, sorry. Hopefully that won’t be important. ACCEPT THIS GOSPEL I BESEECH YOU! BELIEVE THAT A GUY NAMED JESUS WAS HUNG ON A CROSS!!! That’s all you have to believe.

Do you feel the salvation yet?–try speaking in tongues, I hear that’s important for testing how well your belief in your salvation worked at convincing God to save you, or anyway at convincing Him to not not-save you… Wait, are you really believing some person named Jesus died on a cross once? Maybe you aren’t really believing it yet. BELIEVE HARDER! HARDER!! {shaking fist}{bellowing like Ricardo Montalban in Star Trek 2} FULL POWER!!!-DAMNNN YOUUU!!!

(It’s hard to represent how Khan briefly draws out that last phrase, using printed text. Sorry. Uh, pun not hardly intended, originally. :mrgreen: )


#10

Note: I haven’t found a jpg featuring a turnip carved with a crucifix, but I have left space for it anyway, in case any industrious reader wishes to supply one.

It must however be a crucifix (with Jesus on the cross, not only a cross). Otherwise my unspiritual evangelization of Jeff won’t be complete, giving him the best opportunity to be saved, or saved again, or whatever, and so to understand anything spiritual BA may be talking about.

Note 2: while an onion or piece of garlic would technically work, too, a mod or admin would have to go back to modify the joke slightly. So, please. Turnips only, for humor purposes.

Note 3: No, I have no reason to believe that an onion or piece of garlic carved with a crucifix would repel any forum members. Except me, since I’m allergic to onions and hate the taste and smell of garlic (cut straight anyway in any amount). But a photo wouldn’t have that property, so if you do want to send one anyway that’s okay. :slight_smile:


#11

I say we rename Jeff - BUBBA.

…quite an honor for a Welshman. Better than Brit - right, Bubba?


#12

Jason.

you said: If it’s in some spiritual way, how can that be if you deny that anyone can receive and understand spiritual things before being born again?

Born Again: Again, the gospel is the only word in the bible unbelievers can understand. Today, as it was with Lydia so long ago, the gospel is “the power of God to salvation” (Romans 1:16). Only when people hear it can their hearts be opened to faith and obedience (cf. Romans 10:17; 6:17). Not the opposite. God does not open our hearts…then hear the gospel to faith and obedience.


#13

So you are saying that the Father did not draw them in the first place to the Gospel, but rather they came willingly?

John 6:44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…

So you are saying that the Gospel is not spiritual, right BA?


#14

Craig.

No, Craig. The gospel is what the Father draws people with. Only when people hear it can their hearts be open to faith and obedience.


#15

So the Gospel is not spiritual in order for those who are not spiritual can understand it?


#16

Jason - :smiley: you are a diamond.

Ran Ran - :laughing: my shrimp company is yours.


#17

Jason

The chapel that I was baptised in (full body immersion as a 15 year old) was of the once-saved-always-saved branch of Arminianism. As you rightly point out their only concern would be that my conversion was not real in the first place.

BA, in getting testy about whether I am really an unbeliever or not, is sadly using the complex experiences of an orphan hounded by ECT believing relatives into a confession of faith and baptism to justify his own unwillingness to engage with arguments damaging to his cause. His selfishness in wanting my position to be whatever benefits his stance here and his railing against my perceived dithering (when God (if he exists) alone knows what that state is) I find hurtful - I wouldn’t wish the nightmares I still occasionally suffer on any of you - not even you BA. I sign as agnostic because I just don’t know. As many people before me have said who on earth would want to spend eternity with certain types of Christian?

As someone else once said ‘…yet if I have not Love I am as a clanging bell’

I leave interpretation of this to others more qualified than myself.


#18

Jason.

God saves people in more ways than we know.( in this life) I refuse to put God in a evangelistic box.

My bible says that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.(Rom 10:13) Calling on the name of the Lord comes in many ways. My salvation invitation is just a method of many God uses to bring salvation.

How many people have you led to the Lord ? How many people have you set free by laying your hands on the sick and seeing them recover? Did you know that laying hands on the sick in Jesus name is preaching the gospel?( Mark 16:18) People experience Jesus’ healing power and believe. The kingdom of God was never to be in word only, but in POWER! ( 1 Cor 4:20) How much power do you walk in, Mr. Articulate, or just arrogant words? ( 1Cor 4:19)


#19

Oh so this is a powerfest :cry:

Well many will say Lord! we did x, y and z in your name and still get zorched (thank you for that word Jason). :smiley:

Funny how Jesus refused all those temptations from the devil to display his power - I wonder why he did that? But my li’l ole brayun be a-hurtin now - gosh I say chaps we Brits just don’t have the accent for sounding dumb do we :wink: Toodle pip! what ho! and yoiks!


#20

You aren’t yet answering the questions posed to you, BA.

Does this mean you no longer (after my comment) put God in an evangelistic box after doing so before? Because you were pretty emphatic about the restriction before. (I can quote you on that, if you’ve forgotten. :wink: )

Between the two of us, I am pretty sure that I (among other universalists) was not the one putting God in an evangelistic box. Even your parenthetical disqualifier “(in this life)” involves boxing in the evangelistic efficiency and methods of God.

I could quote you (with links) earlier trying to say that there is no point trying to teach unbelievers the Bible at all. But, leaving that aside: as Craig has pointed out, you are still avoiding answering the question of whether this gospel is supposed to be spiritual or unspiritual.

Which can also be said this way: that the power of God to salvation is itself the gospel. But, leaving that grammatic issue aside as well–would you say that this is a spiritual or an unspiritual power of God to salvation?

Rather than write you a book on the topic of whether scripture says that God does open our hearts so that we can then hear the gospel to faith and obedience (since you have already indicated you will by no means read extensive evidence due to its extensiveness :unamused: ), I will only point out that you have prooftexted Romans 10:17 without any context. When Paul is saying that “faith is out of tidings, yet the tidings are through a declaration of Christ”, he means that Christ is chiefly the one doing the declaring!–which is the only basis for why anyone else would have ambassadorial authority to join with Christ so that through and with us Christ may be beseeching “Be reconciled to God!!” (As for example 2 Cor 5:20, which I know you are aware of, having quoted it yourself in the past.)

This is why Paul in exactly the same chapter, and immediately at hand to that verse, can quote Psalm 19 (in the very next verse, 10:18) where David testifies that God speaks through His creation to all people everywhere–without needing human ambassadors to do so. And again nearby, Paul quotes Isaiah 65 where God declares that He becomes manifest to those who did not ask for Him (as in fact had happened to Paul himself!–a point I know I have mentioned to you before on this topic, in one of those novels you decided to ignore :wink: ) And again nearby, Paul quotes Isaiah 52, where YHWH is the only One in view Who is declaring the good news of salvation. (It is worth keeping in mind that even non-Christian rabbis have tended to teach as an ancient tradition, that the beautiful feet on the mountaintop belong first and foremost to the Messiah.)

And again, same chapter, when Paul describes the word of faith that he and other evangelists are proclaiming, it is absolutely impossible (by context) that he should mean that only by such human preachers can the word of faith be given. For he immediately precedes this by saying, “Yet the righteousness out of faith is saying thus: you may not be saying in your heart, ‘Who at all will ascend into heaven?!’–that is, to bring Christ down–or, ‘Who at all will descend into the submerged chaos?!’–that is, to bring Christ up from out of the dead. But what at all is it saying? Near to you is the declaration, in your mouth and in your heart.” That is the declaration of faith which we are supposed to be preaching.

And that by this Paul means Christ Himself is operating first in evangelism, can be seen by the fact that he is applying Deut 30:11-14 there in Rom 10:5-8. Deuteronomy reports Moses there as speaking for God in saying, “For this commandment which I (YHWH ADNY) command you today, is not too difficult for you, nor is it far away.” Why? Because “It is not in heaven, so that you will have to say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you will have to say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’” Where is this commandment or declaration, then?! “But the Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.” St. Paul certainly does not mean the mere commandment, as he makes abundantly clear throughout chapter 10 (as well as elsewhere in Romans, and in his epistles). He means Christ Himself, the Logos of God. (Although by using the term ‘declaration’ instead of ‘word’, Paul would thereby be making a double-entendre application.)

No one has to go up to heaven for us to get Christ for us and make us hear Him, that we may observe Him; and no one has to go down into the swirling chaos (i.e. into hell!) for us to get Christ for us and make us hear Him, that we may observe Him. Why? Because Christ comes down for us first; and Christ comes up for us first; and Christ Himself comes first into our hearts, before we confess His Lordship, to lead us to confess and believe in Him.

This is also strongly connected to one of the Jewish declarations of deity shared by some of the Greeks, as Paul was able to testify concerning God for the philosophers at the Mars Hill forum: “For to be sure He inheres not far from each one of us, for in Him we are living and moving and exist altogether, as some of your poets have also declared.” Acts 17:27-28. Part of the point to this, as will be seen by anyone reading the first part of v.27 and its lead-in, is that Paul is affirming that God can be found by any who search for Him because He makes Himself available to all of us. This has more than a little bearing to that other verse you tried to reference, too, back in chapter 1! :wink:

Is Paul denying human evangelism? By no means!–he affirms that, too, in all those places. But he does not put God thereby in an evangelistic box. :slight_smile: Absolutely the contrary; God’s evangelism precedes ours and exceeds ours and prepares for our cooperation in evangelizing with Him.

(I will note also in passing that Rom 6:17, though certainly talking about the importance of obedience, has nothing at all to do with people hearing and receiving the gospel first and then having been first obedient in some unspiritual fashion their hearts were afterward opened by God to faith and obedience. But possibly you mistyped and meant some other chapter.)

So, now that I have bothered (again) to comment on things you bring up, will you answer the questions I have asked previously?

Certainly! Did you know that such a witness is spiritual, not unspiritual? (Apparently not. :slight_smile: )

That is for God to testify to, not me. But if you challenge us on various things, you have only yourself to blame if some of us answer articulately instead of inarticulately. :smiley:

(As to whether you are to blame for challenging us inarticulately in the first place, that is not for me to decide. But generally I expect you are not to blame for that. :slight_smile: Whether you are to blame for avoiding any responsibility to articulate yourself better, is another matter; but again, not my place to judge on.)