Resurrection Torchlight wrote:However, there is a small thing called free will, that we as human beings have. We have the choice to follow the leading of the Spirit or not. At times we follow the flesh at other times we follow the Spirit, as we grow in Christ and mature as believers we learn to walk more and more according to the spirit. As we walk life's journey we often are beset by sin, we stumble, we fall... the Holy Spirit convicts, we repent and get back up and keep going. Wherever we are on the path to salvation- it doesn't matter- we are saved once we are on the path.
I personally think that the confusion is due to understanding when that path is truly embarked upon.
The parable of the sower sheds some light on this idea- the seed (the word of God) is planted in the four kinds of soil .The different kinds of soil represent the different responses that people have to the word of God.
The soil beside the road is hardened and the seed does not germinate at all, in reproductive terms it is a failure to conceive.
The seed that falls among the rocks does not receive enough nutrients to remain viable. This person receives the word and it begins to take root in their life. The "seed" begins to germinate, but because they suffer difficulty and persecution, and temptation they fall away. This in reproductive terms would be a miscarriage.
The seed that falls on the thorny soil is choked out by weeds- this person receives the word but the cares and worries of the world prove to be too much for the germinated seed to become a viable fruit bearing plant, this is in reproductive terms would be a still born birth.
The seed that falls on the good soil however- germinates and takes root and becomes a plant that can bear fruit. This person receives the word and perseveres, they hold fast. You see God brings the rain, God supplies, the nutrients, God shines forth the sun, so that photosynthesis can take place- He causes the growth. But the person must persevere and hold fast. This is what makes "good soil", this is what creates the conditions suitable for the reproductive cycle to proceed and perpetuate. God Himself creates the soil, other believers help cultivate it- fertilize it, pull weeds, prepare it for planting, others also plant the seeds, but the person who receives the seed of the word must respond by persevering, through temptation, through persecution and trials.
I am convinced that we have misunderstood what it means to be saved. It is not just simply responding to a simple prayer, it is more than just a mental assent, more than just believing, it is responding to the Holy Spirit's leading in our life- confessing Jesus as Lord, which is making and submitting to Him as Lord.
I tend to believe that when one hears the word and initially responds favorably to it, by assenting to it as being true, that they are not yet saved, they are in that precarious place of conception, but salvation has not yet been born in them. How they respond determines if they will embark on the path to salvation, if the seed of faith will be born in them as a viable plant.
RT, I think there is error here.
I think the issue of the Parable of the Sower is this
1) Is there soil or no soil? The wayside had no soil so there is no germination or new life. The others had soil. It is not a matter of good or bad soil among the three. The soil could all be good but one was shallow and another had weeds and thorns on the good soil. Therefore, it is an error to think of the first three having bad soil and only the last having good soil.
2) Is there new life or not? I am ok with your analogy with the human reproduction. Nevertheless, whether with the agriculture or human analogy, the issue is new life. The seed is dead and once there is roots and shoots, it is new life. Once there is conception, there is new life.
Jhn 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
I do not think a miscarriage or a still-birth negates a new life is born. There was germination. It was the growth that was the problem in the 2nd and 3rd group. But growth problem does not negate the fact that there was already new life.
Resurrection Torchlight wrote: I do not believe that God trumps free will
I agree. And that free will at one time received the gospel with joy. And what does God do? I believe He has no choice but to offer salvation to such despite knowing that he will fall away later. You see, you cannot punish someone for something that you know he would do, PRIOR to the act. We cannot punish our children prior to them telling lies even though as the sun rises from the east, they will tell lies. So God has to righteously give salvation to anyone who comes to Him sincerely. And once it is given, it is finished. It is done. And sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13; 4:30)
So once a person is saved, he is saved no matter what happens next.
So this person in his fallen state, may fall away and God as you say does not trump free will. What does God do? He can chastise. And what if he does not wake up or repent? Does God remove salvation from him? Well, you and I believe it is OSAS. Well, God can destroy him if He so wishes but His salvation is intact because he has already been born again. And if born again, the very child of God - and nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8)
And I think such is one of the reasons why people will be full of worship when they are given passes to heaven... we all who are undeserving in one way or another, by the marvellous grace of God, actually have a mansion there...
Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
πατερ δοξασον σου το ονομα
Father, glorify thy name.
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.