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Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace (Part 19) - Joh 3:18; Joh 3:36; Joh 4:10

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For a paperback book in outline form which addresses over 150 difficult verses that Arminians use against Sovereign Grace, check out: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace: Rooting Arminianism Out of Every Verse.

For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace

37. Joh 3:18
A. "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (Joh 3:18)
B. Is this verse teaching that men are eternally condemned by their unbelief?
C. In order to understand what this verse is teaching, the terms must be defined.
i. Condemned ppl. - 1. a. Pronounced to be at fault or guilty; lying under condemnation.
ii. Condemnation - 1. The action of condemning or of pronouncing adverse judgement on; judicial conviction; expression of disapprobation or strong censure; the fact of being condemned: as in ‘your condemnation of me’, ‘my condemnation by you’.
iii. Because conj. - 1. For the reason that; inasmuch as, since.
a. A distinction has to be made between active and evidential causes.
b. Sometimes "because" is not meant to be understood in the sense of "as a result of," (active cause) but rather, "as evidenced by" (evidential cause).
c. For example, a paramedic could say of a man who was just hit by a bullet train, "He is dead because he is not breathing and he has no pulse".
d. In this case "because" is an evidential cause and is understood in the sense of "as evidenced by."
e. The active cause of his death was the train that hit him at 300 mph.
D. A person who believes in Jesus Christ is not pronounced to be at fault or guilty because (as evidenced by) they have believed in Christ and obeyed the gospel.
E. A person who does not believe in Jesus Christ is pronounced to be at fault and guilty because (as evidenced by) he doesn't believe in Jesus and has not obeyed the gospel.
i. Those who have not believed the record God gave of His Son make God a liar (1Jo 5:10).
ii. Those who deny that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh are condemned as liars (1Jo 2:22).
F. The condemnation is identified in the next three verses (Joh 3:19-21).
i. The condemnation is men's rejection of Christ.
ii. Jesus, the Light of the world, came into a dark sin-cursed world and shone in darkness and the darkness comprehended Him not (Joh 1:5).
iii. The world knew Him not (Joh 1:10).
iv. His own people, the Jews, received Him not (Joh 1:11).
v. Those who didn't believe in and receive Christ had judgment pronounced on them by Jesus (Joh 8:19-24).
vi. Sinners love the darkness and hate the light because it exposes them (Job 24:13-17).
G. According to the grammar of Joh 3:18, unbelief is the evidence, not the active cause of the condemnation.
i. "Believeth not" is present tense.
ii. "Is condemned already" is present perfect tense, denoting a past completed action in which the effect continues in the present.
iii. Therefore the condemnation precedes the unbelief.
a. The active cause of man's condemnation was Adam's sin (Rom 5:18).
b. Unbelief, like other sins men commit, is the evidential cause of man's condemnation (Rom 2:8-9; Rev 21:8).
c. In similar fashion, the active cause of man's salvation was Christ's work on the cross (Heb 10:14).
d. Man's belief in Christ is the evidential cause of his salvation (Joh 5:24) (See Joh 5:24 - Section III, 41).
iv. Those who don't believe in Christ show the evidence that the are dead in sins (Eph 2:1-3) and therefore love darkness rather than light and will not come to the light because they don't want to have their evil reproved (Joh 3:19-20).
H. In summary: Jesus was speaking of men in two classes, believers and unbelievers, both of which evidence their condemnation or lack thereof by their belief or lack thereof.

38. Joh 3:36
A. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (Joh 3:36)
B. Does this verse teach that a person gets eternal life by believing in Jesus and is eternally damned if he doesn't believe?
C. What the verse doesn't say:
i. The verse does not say "He that believeth on the Son GETS everlasting life", but rather he "HATH everlasting life".
ii. Neither does the verse say "he that believeth not the Son MAY GET everlasting life by believing", but rather that he "SHALL NOT see life".
D. This verse says that a believer HATH everlasting life.
i. He GOT everlasting life before he believed (Joh 5:24) (See Joh 5:24 - Section III, 41).
ii. It was God's grace, not his belief which GOT him everlasting life (2Ti 1:9).
iii. His belief shows that he HATH everlasting life (Joh 6:47).
E. As was the case with Joh 3:18 (see Joh 3:18 - Section III, 37), unbelief in Jesus Christ is the evidence that one is dead in sins and will not see life, but it is not the sole cause or guarantee of such.
i. If it were the cause and guarantee that one would not see life, then there is no hope for the unbeliever.
ii. There would be no point to preach the gospel since all unbelievers would never see life.
iii. Joh 3:36 is teaching that unbelief, like sin in general, is indicative that a person is eternally lost (Joh 5:28-29).
iv. The wrath of God abideth on those who don't believe on the Son of God (Joh 3:36).
a. Abide v. - 1. To remain in expectation, wait.
b. The wrath of God doesn't begin on those who hear the gospel and don't believe it; it abides (remains) on them.
c. Therefore, God's wrath was on them before they rejected the gospel, which rejection is the evidence of their eternal damnation.
d. Their rejection alone is not the cause of their eternal damnation because the wrath of God was on them before their rejection of Him.

39. Joh 4:10
A. "Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." (Joh 4:10)
B. Since the living water that Jesus was speaking of is connected with eternal life (Joh 4:14), was Jesus telling the Samaritan woman that He would give her eternal life if she would but ask for it?
C. The Holy Spirit is referred to as living waters which men can come unto Jesus and drink (Joh 7:37-39).
i. The Holy Spirit indwells God's elect.
a. He does this in regeneration (Rom 8:9-11; Gal 4:6).
b. This has been happening since God has been saving people, long before Jesus was glorified (Eze 36:26-27; Gal 4:28-29).
c. Regeneration is the sovereign act of God and is not according to our works (like asking for it) (Tit 3:5).
ii. But this manifestation of the Holy Spirit which Jesus spoke of in Joh 7:37-39 is not the indwelling of the Spirit through regeneration.
a. This is evident because this manifestation of the Holy Spirit was not yet given before Jesus was glorified (Joh 7:39).
b. This is also evident because the giving of the Holy Ghost was conditioned upon belief (Joh 7:38) which is a work (Joh 6:29).
iii. This manifestation of the Holy Ghost which Jesus spoke of in Joh 7:37-39 was the gift of the Holy Ghost which was given to the church after Jesus' resurrection beginning at Pentecost (Act 2:1-4,17).
iv. In the same conversation with the Samaritan woman, Jesus made reference to the forthcoming change in the worship of God which would be realized in the NT church which the Holy Ghost would indwell (Joh 4:20-24).
D. It was this gift of the Holy Ghost, the living water, which those who believed on Jesus would receive (Joh 7:37-39), that Jesus would have given to the Samaritan woman if she would have asked (Joh 4:10).

For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace