Basis of "free will" from the Arminian perspective?

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by Oswyn, Feb 19, 2014.

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  1. Oswyn

    Oswyn Puritan Board Freshman

    Greetings, brothers and sisters in Christ. Forgive me ahead if the question I will pose has been asked and resolved already - I am new to the forum and have not yet explored the depths of its archives. I have not had the opportunity to pose this to a "learned" Arminian (that is, one who can make a half decent attempt to levy the scriptures in defense of their position, though to no avail), and I bring it to you all in case some here have.

    The crux of it is asking what the basis of free will is from the Arminian perspective. As I understand it, our choices are effects that have a cause - we can trace them back to various influences, from conception and throughout the course of our lives (i.e.: genetic predisposition, environmental influences, spiritual influences, etc.). How we think, and the decisions we make, have a basis. They do not come from thin air (as from nothing), or from an in-born sovereign and objective quality - correct me if I am wrong but I do not see an iota of Biblical evidence for either. Therefore they must proceed from something. So when the Arminian says they have a choice in whether to accept or reject Christ, and it is of their free will and not "forced" as they might put it (though we would not quite put it that way). So what is the basis of their free will? As they understand it, what in them determines what choice they will make? What is the best argument they could make on that without completely sinking their argument (on that note I have follow-ups which I will likely pose after this fundamental issue is vetted).

    Thank you for your time and consideration.
     
  2. Cymro

    Cymro Puritan Board Junior

    Free will necessitates no influence from external pressure. And as there is the
    bondage of the will, it is not possible for a soul to have liberty from its condition.
    It requires the supernatural power of God to raise from death to life. The Arminian
    cannot have a basis because his position is held under a misunderstanding. He does not
    recognise his total inability; nor the difference between free will and free choice. God
    alone having the only independent free will. Which thought is summarised in Phili2:13,
    and then free choice in Philip 2: 12. It boils down to a defective theological misunderstanding.
     
  3. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    As the basis of their argument, the Arminian will argue that God values the free will of His creatures so much that He will not interfere with this "free" will. That is their starting premise which is actually rooted in a denial of total depravity. I firmly believe that until one can demonstrate to the Arminian to acknowledge their total inability they will not see the error of these two starting positions. I usually start along these lines:

    Scripture teaches us that the lost...


    - is deceitful and desperately sick (Jer. 17:9);
    - is full of evil (Mark 7:21-23);
    - loves darkness rather than light (John 3:19);
    - is unrighteous, does not understand, does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12);
    - is helpless and ungodly (Rom. 5:6);
    - is dead in his trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1);
    - is by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3);
    - cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14); and
    - is a slave of sin (Rom. 6:16-20).

    A careful exegesis of the above should at least get the Arminian thinking more deeply about man's total inability. Or you could just set up a detailed group study on the topic with a more fuller collection of the Scripture's teachings on the matter (copy and paste for a Bible insert encouraged!):

    To me, the teachings of Scripture are absolutely and unmistakably clear about the fundamental aspects of our salvation:

    (1) sinners are utterly helpless to redeem themselves or to contribute anything meritorious toward their own salvation (Romans 8:7-8);
    (2) God is sovereign in the exercise of His saving will (Ephesians 1:4-5);
    (3) Jesus Christ's substitutionary death on behalf of His people bore the full weight of God's wrath on behalf of His people, and Jesus Christ's atoning work alone is efficacious for the salvation of His people (Isaiah 53:5);
    (4) the saving purpose of God cannot be thwarted (John 6:37), thus none of Jesus Christ's true sheep will ever be lost (John 10:27-29), because
    (5) the perseverance of Jesus Christ's elect are assured by God (Jude 24; Philemon 1:6; 1 Peter 1:5).


    TOTAL DEPRAVITY (Radical Corruption) - "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer 17:9)
    Man has a will and his will is in bondage to his nature. The will of man is free to choose according to the dictates of his nature, but it is not free to contradict his nature. From Adam's fall the nature of every man has been sinful. Therefore, every action of the unsaved man is sinful and rebellious; it is stained through and through by his sin nature. The unregenerate man cannot perform even one single righteous or pleasing work with respect to a holy God, for their actions are wrongly motivated, that is, not for the glory of God, and are but filthy rags in the eyes of God. More here.


    See: Genesis 6:5, Genesis 8.21, Jeremiah 17:9, Psalm 22:29, Psalm 51:5, Psalm 58:3, Psalm 130:3, Psalm 143:2, Proverbs 20:9, Job 14:4, Job 15:14-16, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Ecclesiastes 7:29, Ecclesiastes 9:3, Isaiah 53:6, Isaiah 64:6-7, Jeremiah 13:23, Jeremiah 17:9, 2 Chronicles 6:36, John 3:3, John 3:19, John 6:44, John 6:65, John 8:44, Romans 3:9-18, Romans 5:12, Romans 5:18-19, Romans 6:20, Romans 7:18, Romans 7:23-24, Romans 8:7-8, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Ephesians 2:1-3, Ephesians 4:18, 2 Timothy 2:26-26, 1 John 3:4, 1 John 3:10, 1 John 5:19, Titus 3:3


    UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION (Sovereign Election) - "... though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls..” (Rom 9:11)
    God’s election is truly unconditional. The foreknowledge of God is based upon His decree, plan, and purpose; it is the expression of His will and good pleasure, not a response to man's free-will choices. Election is the sovereign act of God the Father choosing specific individuals out from the entire body of condemned and fallen humanity. These individuals were chosen before the foundations of the universe and not as a result of any foreseen merit or activity or decision on their part. These chosen or elect individuals are purposed to become monuments to the Father's love for all of eternity. In this regard it is understood election is an example of God’s "love before time." More here.


    See: Deuteronomy 7:6-8, Deuteronomy 10:14-15, Lamentations 5:21, Isaiah 55:11, Amos 3:2, Jeremiah 1:5, Matthew 7:23, Matthew 24:22-24, Matthew 24:31, Luke 12:6-7, John 6:37-39, John 6:44, John 6:65, John 15:16, John 17:19, Acts 2:23, Acts 11:18, Acts 13:48, Acts 17:26, Acts 18:27, Romans 8:28-39, Romans 9:11-16, Romans 11:5, 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, 1 Corinthians 8:3, Ephesians 1:1-14, Ephesians 2:4-10, 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5, 1 Thessalonians 5:9, 2 Thessalonians 2:13–14, Philippians 1:29, Philippians 2:12-13, 1 Timothy 5:21, 2 Timothy 1:9-10, 2 Timothy 2:19, 2 Timothy 2:25, 1 Peter 1:1-2, 1 Peter 1:4-5, 1 Peter 1:20, 2 Peter 1:5-11


    LIMITED ATONEMENT (Particular Redemption) - "...you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." (Matt 1:21)
    In order to accomplish the specific will of the Father, Christ took to the Cross the sins of the elect. Christ died for the sins of men without distinction as to race or nationality (that is, Jew or Gentile) that no man can number. He provided a complete and effectual atonement for their sins. Those whom Christ redeemed, Christ really and truly redeemed (actual not potential). Though infinite in value, Christ's atoning work was specific in its design. Some prefer to call this "definite atonement" or "particular redemption". The death of Christ at Calvary does not make men savable, but rather it saves men completely. The Cross is a completed, successful work that requires no assistance from man. Christ died for all of the sins of the elect. Other views of the scope of the atonement must avoid the idea of all the sins lest these views proclaim a universal salvation. For, if Christ died for all of the sins of all men without exception, upon what basis would any man be denied heaven? Remember, unbelief is a sin and therefore a sin for which Christ died if He has truly died for all the sins of all men without exception. More here.


    See: Psalm 34:22, Isaiah 53:8, Matthew 1:21, Matthew 20:28, Matthew 26:28, Luke 1:68, Luke 2:1-2, Luke 19:10, John 3:16 (the Father gave His Son for whom? - according to this verse the Son was given for whoever believes in Him (the believing ones) not for the ones not believing in Him), John 5:13, John 6:35-40, John 10:11, John 10:14 -18, John 10:24-29, John 12:32, John 17:1-11, John 17:20, John 17:24-26, Acts 20:28, Romans 5:8-10, Romans 5:18, Romans 8:32-34, Galatians 3:13, Ephesians 1:3-4, Ephesians 1:7, Ephesians 1:13, Ephesians 2:15-16, Ephesians 5:25-27, Hebrews 2:9, Hebrews 2:17, Hebrews 3:1, Hebrews 9:12, Hebrews 9:28, Hebrews 10:14, Colossians 1:21-22, 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, 1 Timothy 1:15, 2 Timothy 2:4-6, 2 Peter 3:9, 1 John 2:1-2, 1 John 4:14, Titus 2:14, Revelation 5:9.


    IRRESISTIBLE GRACE (Effectual Election) - "...those whom he called he also justified…" (Rom 8:30)
    The Holy Spirit, in agreement with the electing will of the Father and the atoning work of the Son, does in the fullness of time quicken the dead spirit of a man and give to him the gift of saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The logical order of salvation is regeneration first, followed by faith/believing. Since dead men do not respond, God must make them alive first (Ephesians 2:4-5); regeneration, of necessity, precedes any action or activity on the part of man, including faith and repentance. Hence, every single individual upon whom the Spirit of God moves savingly is regenerated, born again, adopted, grafted in, and saved eternally. This calling of His people by God is not those coming who have been unbidden and not merely being invited, but authoritatively and effectually summoned. Moreover this saving grace is not coercion. Rather, by transforming the heart, this grace makes the believer wholly willing to trust and obey. More here.


    See: Deuteronomy 30:6, Isaiah 55:7, Ezekiel 11:19-20, Ezekiel 18:23, Ezekiel 36:26-27, John 1:12-13 but of God, John 1:12-13, John 3:3-8, John 5:21, John 5:24 - the perfect tense verb reads has already passed from death unto life, John 6:37-39, John 6:38, John 10:16, John 11:14-15, John 11:25, John 11:38-44 , John 17:2, Acts 2:38, Acts 5:31, Acts 11:18, Acts 13:48, Acts 16:14, Acts 17:30, Acts 18:27, Romans 8:8, Romans 8:28-30, Romans 8:32, Romans 9:16, Galatians 6:15, Ephesians 1:3, Ephesians 1:7, Ephesians 1:13, Ephesians 2:1-10, Philippians 1:29, Philippians 2:12-13, 1 Corinthians 4:7, 1 Corinthians 6:11, 1 Corinthians 12:3, 2 Corinthians 3:6, 2 Corinthians 3:17, 2 Corinthians 5:17-18, Colossians 2:13, James 1:18, 2 Timothy 2:25, Titus 3:5, 1 Peter 1:2-3, 1 Peter 1:23, 1 John 5:1 - a perfect tense verb used here and reads has already been born of God, 1 John 3:7, 1 John 5:4.


    PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS (The Preservation of The Saints) - "...those whom he justified he also glorified." (Rom 8:30)
    Since God is the Author and Finisher of our faith, man cannot fall away from eternal salvation. Once a man has been born-again he cannot be unborn-again. Furthermore, the elect of God will definitely manifest evidences of their salvation by means of good works. The elect shall, by the grace of God and without exception, ultimately persevere in righteousness. The eternal security of the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is demonstrated by the persevering faith and righteousness wrought by the grace of God in His little begotten ones. More here.


    See: Isaiah 43:1-3, Jeremiah 32:40, John 3:16, John 3:36, John 5:24, John 6:35-40, John 6:47, John 6:51, John 10:27-30, John 11:25, John 14:21, John 15:1-11, John 17:12, John 17:15, Romans 8:29-30, Romans 8:35-39, Ephesians 1:5, Ephesians 1:13-14, Ephesians 2:10 God’s workmanship, Ephesians 4:30, Hebrews 5:11-6:12, Philippians 1:6, Philippians 2:12-13, Philippians 3:12-15, 1 Corinthians 1:8 , 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, 2 Timothy 1:12, 2 Timothy 4:18, 1 Peter 1:3-5, 1 Peter 1:23, 1 Peter 5:10, 2 Peter 2:10, 1 John 2:19, 1 John 2:25, 1 John 3:9, 1 John 5:13, 1 John 5:18, Jude 24-25.
     
  4. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    The sense I always got when I had to attend a church for a few years with this doctrine was two fold: that if God made man with an ability to choose, than it would be a great violation of that creation to "impose" His will on man. The second part has to do with responsibility: if man is unable on his own to choose God, how can God hold him responsible in judgment? Both of these are emotionally-based arguments and really can't be found in scripture. Other doctrine took a beating as a result. The character and ability of God are greatly reduced in this perspective as is the recognition of the terrible effects of the fall.
     
  5. Gforce9

    Gforce9 Puritan Board Junior

    In addition, the latter of these two is also nearly verbatim of the British monk, Pelagius, in the early 5th century. His views were reviewed several times as heresy, though are popular and mainstream these days. All of this thinking, whether Roman Catholic or garden variety Protestant evangelicalism, is just repackaged Pelagian thought........homo mensura.
     
  6. Toasty

    Toasty Puritan Board Sophomore

    This reminds me of what Luther said in his book, The Bondage of the Will. He said that one cannot deduce an indicative from an imperative. Ought does not imply can.
     
  7. Frank

    Frank Puritan Board Freshman

    Or to add what Spurgeon said so concisely: Free will I have often heard of, but I have never seen it. I have met with will, and plenty of it, but it has either been led captive by sin or held in blessed bonds of grace.

    Spurgeon, C. H. (1879). The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons (Vol. 25, p. 374). London: Passmore & Alabaster.
     
  8. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    You can always count on Herr Luther to say/write something well.
     
  9. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    I'm sorry if this is off topic, but by the phrase, "the full weight of God's wrath," are you suggesting that the eternal wrath of God was comprised into the temporal suffering of Christ on the cross? I thought it was the worth of Christ that greatly decreased the penalty He had to suffer. Otherwise, He would still have to be suffering the wrath of God for us.
     
  10. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    If Christ did not suffer the full weight of God's wrath, who will endure the remainder so that we can be saved? Is there a co-redeemer?
     
  11. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Indeed.

    With a tip of the hat to Rev. Winzer:

    "The gift is valued according to the altar on which it is presented. Christ offered Hims
    elf through the eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14), that is to say, He offered His human nature on the altar of His divine nature. His divine nature being eternal, His offering possesses an eternal quality. Hence, although Christ did not sacrifice Himself eternally, He nevertheless offered an eternal sacrifice to satisfy divine justice."

    Those three hours offered up by the God-man satisfied the eternity of punishment that was due those for whom He made said sacrifice.
     
  12. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    I'm still a bit confused. It may be because a finite creature like myself is trying to grasp that which is eternal. I cannot see how making eternal punishment temporal does not make the amount of God's wrath differ between Christ on the Cross and the sinner in hell.

    It seems like you are saying that Christ had to endure the full and exact punishment due to the elect sinners, but Christ's eternal worth made the eternal duration of the punishment temporal. The only way I can see the punishment could still be regarded as full is by comprising the eternal into temporal, resulting in an eternally greater intensity of the punishment.
     
  13. KGP

    KGP Puritan Board Freshman

    The more I considered this question yesterday, the more I came to the conclusion that all the Arminian defenses I have encountered in person or in written material all are rooted in misunderstanding, a false interpretation of biblical data, and emotional appeal.

    reading others responses; we seem to have some consensus:

    All three of these observations are totally correct, and together they are the best defense the Arminian has. This is especially true with the emotions. All sorts of ridiculous caricatures of God are posited by emotional responses to the biblical truth on free will. But as soon as one begins thoughtfully looking at scripture and giving weight to the specific words being utilized by the authors, these defenses crumble fast.

    I have found that perhaps the biggest obstacle is a failure to distinguish free will in relation to everyday choices from free will in choosing Christ. "What do you mean you don't believe in free will?! I am choosing to have this conversation with you, and I can stop whenever I want!". The key therefore is to AVOID the more practical matters of choice (career path, buying a car, what to eat for supper tonight, etc.) and focus squarely on the point of the new birth, justification by faith, union with Christ, regeneration, etc. Anything that pertains to eternal life, salvation, or bearing fruit pleasing unto God will do, because it is in those instances that scriptures are dead clear.

    The bad tree cannot bring forth good fruit
    The wild branch cannot join itself to the natural tree
    The dead twig cannot climb up the tree and graft itself in
    The spiritual stone cannot build itself into the house
    The dead cannot bring themselves to life
    The leopard cannot change his spots
    The earthly cannot produce the heavenly
    The flesh cannot produce that which is spirit
    All of these are so very plain, and are right there in scripture!


    One I've thought much on these days is Romans 8:7 - the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

    Listen, arminian! The carnal mind is not simply in a state of enmity, it IS enmity! It EQUALS enmity against God! The whole of its existence is war against the Creator! Not one part of it is neutral, nor is it a neutral entity that is merely ill affected. Feed it whatever divine information you will, whatever revelation you please, it will do a great many things with it: twist it, ignore it, suppress it, replace it, revile it; but it will not, it cannot submit to it which is the only way of peace with God. Do you want to see what war against God looks like? Look no further than the natural human mind.

    So then if the carnal mind in not subject to the law of God, and cannot be, then how will it subject itself to, let alone even comprehend rightly, he who is the perfect fulfillment of the law of God? There will be peace in the middle east an eternity before it would ever happen; it is impossible.

    Which is why it is critical that the sinner is acted upon by a power outside of us; and that necessarily without consent! This is why Romans 5 says people are reconciled while being enemies! God does not wait for the sinner to drop his arms before he makes peace with him. But rather when the Spirit comes in power and reveals to the sinner that the reign of sin has ended in the death of the representative; only then will he drop his arms in surrender, because he sees the war is over; God and his Christ have already won the victory. He was reconciled to God in Christ, as a sinner, as an enemy, before he ever had a right thought in his head or motive in his heart. This is the love that disarms the sinners enmity. Every one of God's elect will receive this revelation.

    All the salvation language in scripture describes a passive sinner and an active God:

    God blessed us with every spiritual blessing
    God translated us from the kingdom of darkness
    God seated us with Christ
    it is because of God you are in Christ
    the gospel came to you not in word only, but in power and full conviction.

    it's all over the new testament writings; the active God and the passive sinner.

    Lastly, a right understanding of penal substitutionary atonement destroys any notion of salvation dependent on the free will of the sinner. If Christ actually bore the sins of his people, then no one since the crucifixion has had a say in the matter of their salvation, other than to say "My Savior, thank you!"

    I mean think of it?
    With whom did God consult before he laid on him the iniquity of us all? You? Me?
    Of whom did he inquire before he made him to be sin for us? No one.
    Did Jesus ask anyone's input before he was made to be a curse for us? The disciples would have been the most likely candidates for a say in the matter; but we all know what they thought about going up to Jerusalem!

    And there are just so many verses!
    Thy people will be willing in the day of thy power. Is the will of man then free, or dependent on the power of God?
    Will Christ see the travail of his soul and be satisfied? Or will he see the good choices of his people and be satisfied?

    At any rate; I wrote all this and more yesterday before I closed my browser by accident. :banghead: I'll digress here.



    Oh, i forgot one other "basis" for free will: Prevenient grace: God restores fallen sinners to a point where they are able to freely choose for or against Christ, with natural consequences to follow. It is a pretty important element free willers sometimes employ as it is necessary to help the system to stay afloat, at least a bit longer. It's like the bucket they bail water with.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014
  14. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    The Westminster Confession of Faith devotes a whole chapter to Free Will, its existence and nature:

    Because God is sovereign over all things and omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, He can maintain Man's liberty of the will, and responsibility, from a metaphysical perspective. If it wasn't for God's sovereignty, chance and fate would exist, and man's will would be at the whim of chance and fate. The most consistent atheists, e.g. Marxists, are hard determinists.

    On the other hand, because of sin, the unsaved man's will is ethically bound. He does what he wants but he will never want to do the one living and true God's will, until he is regenerated by God and his will set free to do good.
     
  15. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    God's full wrath against His people for their sin was satisfied (or propitiated) by Christ's life and death. It was unnecessary for Christ to experience Hell forever for God's wrath to be satisfied because of the value of Christ's sacrifice.

    Christ's blood is called the blood of God:
    Although the intention of Christ's sacrifice was for the salvation of the elect, the value of His sacrifice, being the blood of God, is such that it could save everyone who ever lived, and more.

    Christ's sacrifice is sufficient for everyone who hears the Gospel, and more than that, but only efficient for those who obey the Gospel, that is, the elect.
     
  16. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    So, Christ satisfied the full wrath of God although He did not endure it all?
     
  17. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    He - more accurately - satisfied God's justice by enduring God's wrath. Being the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, He didn't need to spend an eternity in Hell to do this.

    Sent from my HTC Wildfire using Tapatalk 2
     
  18. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    :lol: I thought I would let you do this in your response, but since you're not getting to the heart of the issue, I'll do it myself. Clearly, the question here is how God's wrath can be satisfied, and it seems that God's wrath was not satisfied by mere suffering of Christ, but also His worth (a mixture of both). This resulted in Christ not having to bear the full weight of God's wrath which would necessarily have taken an eternity, yet Christ could satisfy an eternity of God's wrath against the elect in a short time because of His worth.
     
  19. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Can you elaborate a wee bit more here? Why is it necessary that an eternity is required for the full weight of God's wrath? It seems you are making an exception in Christ's case when a metaphysical case can be made that our Lord indeed bore the full wrath of God even if the duration of His wrath comprised less than an eternity.
     
  20. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    Until now, I've assumed everyone here would agree that the wrath of God is a punishment for sin and a punishment has a set duration. If 1 hour of torture is the full punishment, then half an hour cannot be the full punishment, unless the eternal is not comprised into temporal making the suffering more intense, OR unless there is another propitiatory factor, namely, the worth of the punished one. It seems, then, that Christ did not suffer the full punishment (i.e., an eternity of God's wrath), but what was lacking in the punishment as regards His suffering was compensated by His worth.
     
  21. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    Charles, I'm very sorry for creating this off topic discussion on your thread. I'm just very concerned of my understanding of God's wrath and the satisfaction of it in the Atonement of Christ. If you wish for me to make a new thread, I will do so. You can also publicly ask moderators to delete this off topic discussion.
     
  22. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    By the way, is there a possibility that Christ actually suffered the eternal wrath of God on those three hours on the Cross? What I mean is that those three hours would have been like an eternity to Him. Every second would have felt like millions of years -- of course here we run into the problem of comparing time and eternity.
     
  23. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Christ's divine nature provided worth and efficacy to His sacrifice such that He could suffer a temporary punishment where another man would have required eternal torment for even just his own sins. There is a helpful treatment of this in the Larger Catechism. I still think, as I mentioned in another thread, that you are searching for an unhealthy quantitative focus in the atonement. It is enough to know that Christ suffered and died for His elect - the wages of sin being death - with each nature playing it's own important role in the sacrifice. To go beyond this simple picture into speculations about magnitudes of felt anguish is, in my opinion, to pry into these things further than is warranted by revelation.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
  24. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    I understand. So, can I state as I've done above that Christ satisfied the full weight of God's wrath by His worth and sufferings, although He did not suffer the full weight of God's wrath. If not, then can you show me Biblical proof that Christ suffered it all?
     
  25. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Perhaps the difference between substance and circumstances can be of some assistance here. Our Saviour obviously did not suffer torment, or weeping and gnashing of teeth, or spiritual darkness, or the like. Substantially, however, He suffered the infinite and eternal wrath of God against the sinner, and bore the whole weight of it in the place and for the good of His chosen, so that there is now no charge which law and justice can bring against them.
     
  26. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    He did not?!? Now I'm confused above measure. Wasn't Christ tormented by the wrath of God and did He not cry, "Father, why hast thou forsaken me?!", wasn't it natural for the human nature of Christ to weep and gnash His teeth through suffering?
     
  27. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    These are obviously the result of sinful disposition suffering punishment. They are not the punishment itself. Our Saviour was separate from sinners even in the bearing of punishment. While feeling the excruciating sense of being forsaken He continued to cry, My God, My God, and faith retained its integrity as the exercise of a perfectly holy person. Psalm 86:2.
     
  28. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    In your mind, does the substance of the infinite and eternal wrath of God consist only of a "sense of being forsaken" by God? Wasn't there also a sense of being attacked by God?
     
  29. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    We could enumerate various characteristics of these sufferings. I wasn't using "forsaken" as an exclusive term. However one describes the suffering, it was borne with holy faith and patience. The circumstances which attach to the sufferings of the wicked did not enter into the experience of our Lord. It suffices to say that He suffered the punishment itself. When that is recognised it should be easier to see that He bore substantially the same punishment which sinners deserve.
     
  30. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    Are you saying that suffering is experienced differently depending on the person suffering? I'd really like to know the substance of the wrath of God in as much detail as possible. Does John Owen treat this in his book on the death of Christ?
     
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