To be more specific, whom do you believe has the greater control when it comes to faith?
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Salvation is personal, paul said in phillipians 2:12 that we should work out our own salvation ,God on his own part has provided us every tools needed for our salvation, so it is our own part to make use of them and work out our salvation, the finished work of christ at the cross, the word of God which contain his commandment and the holy spirit which guid and teaches us all truth. First we must be ready to accept christ as our lord and personal saviour, then we forsake the devil and every actions that glorify him and we must be constantly hunger and taste for the word of God. Above all the love of God. All this God can not force us, it should be our personal decision. Deutronomy 30:19 19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
St. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." It is important to remember we come to Jesus for salvation only by he Holy Spirit's unction. Even with our best penitential efforts and by coming to Christ in great humility, unless the Lord is the one who quickens the heart of a person, our ability to repent is in vain. Our best efforts, our best abilities are not good enough. "We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away." (Isaiah 64:6) I am not
The only way anyone can believe and be saved is by the Lord opening our hearts and minds thus enabling us to understand the Gospel. Only by understanding can anyone believe. 1 Cor 2:7-14, John 14:17, Luk 18:34, Luk 24:45, Acts 16:14, Rom 11:8, 2 Cor 3:18, Isa 35:5, 1 John 5:20
No man can contribute to his salvation. Salvation belongs to God as explained in Titus 3:5-6. He saved us not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit for the regeneration Jesus did for us on the cross. He declared us not guilty because of His great kindness.
No doubt, it is God who has made the way for redemption and reconciliation, and that at a price no man could pay. However, each man must surrender his own will and destiny, in order to receive that which has been bought for him. This is man's part, and, hence, responsibility in entering into the new covenant. After all, for any covenant to be legally valid, it requires the agreement of both parties to enter into it by their own free will, not by compulsion or force or restraint. Although Paul clearly wrote of predestination, taken in their full context, I believe you will see he was not actually making an argument for predetermination. If he were, he would be contradicting other scriptures, and we know that all Scripture is ultimately harmonious and must be seen as such, in order to rightfully divide the truth in it. Consider the Gospel of John, chapter 3:16: "For God so loved the world.. that whosoever believeth in him would not perish, " and in chapter 12:32: "If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me." And then we have Peter, who wrote: "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promises, as some understand slowness. But, instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." In fact, Paul, himself, wrote in 1 Tim 3:16, that God "desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth," and this would be a contradiction to Paul's other words, had he not intended them in a different manner than predestination. I believe it is absolutely true that we cannot come to repentance and salvation without the Holy Spirit working in us, wooing us, drawing us near to him. Yet, at the same time, God has clearly given us a free will, which he will not violate. Through this free will of ours we choose to act either in disobedience or in accordance with the leading and direction of the Holy Spirit, and thereby settle once and for all our spiritual allegiance. It is as though God has made a way for every soul to right the wrong committed in the garden, so long ago, when Adam and Eve willingly believed the lie "when ye eat the fruit thereof... ye shall be as gods... " This can only be accomplished when one makes the choice to, as Jesus said, "deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me...." (Luke 9:23). Salvation will not come without the surrender of the will, but it is always available to "whosoever will." This is what God has predestined above every other thing, from the foundation of time. Jesus has finished the work of the Father, and sat down at His right side. His work is completed. And, although we have the Holy Spirit to lead, guide and empower us, it appears he has given us the right to control our own destiny.
Easy answer: God is totally in control. John 6:65 shows that people have no ability to come to God unless God does something first toward them. Then, an example of this is in Acts 16 where we see that Lydia's conversion happens only because God opened her heart first, before she could respond to the message. If God doesn't open her heart first, there is no response because of her inability to open her own heart to the message.
St. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." It is important to remember we come to Jesus for salvation only by he Holy Spirit's unction. Even with our best penitential efforts and with great humility; unless the Lord quickens the heart of a person, laying even the very words of repentance on, his or her mind and lips, that person's ability to repent is in vain. "We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away." (Isaiah 64:6) I am neither taking a position on predestination theology, pro or con, but from a position of love. How much God must love us, to make sure that in order for humanity to be saved... He directs and establishes the work of the cross so completely, that we will stand justified, without question to reap its benefits; as He is the one doing the work on our behalf. After all it is God's desire for us to be saved and to know Him. "3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus," (1st Timothy 2:3-5) Thanks be to God for the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ His Son our Lord...
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