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Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace (Part 20) - Joh 4:42; Joh 5:24; Joh 5:34; Joh 5:40

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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

40. Joh 4:42
A. "And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world." (Joh 4:42)
B. Does this verse teach that Jesus the Saviour of the entire human race?
C. (See Joh 1:29 - Section III, 35 and Joh 3:15-17 - Section III, 36)

41. Joh 5:24
A. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." (Joh 5:24)
B. Does this verse teach that hearing and believing the gospel is a condition for the acquisition of everlasting life?
C. The contrary is true: this verse is a proof text for the fact that the possession of eternal life precedes hearing and believing the gospel.
D. The doctrine is in the grammar. Consider the tense of the verbs in this verse:
i. Heareth (hears in today's English) - present tense
ii. Believeth (believes in today's English) - present tense
iii. Hath (has in today's English) - present tense
iv. Is passed (has passed in today's English) - present perfect tense
v. Present adj. - 7. Gram. Applied to that tense of a verb which denotes an action now going on or a condition now existing
vi. Present perfect adj. - A name for the tense denoting action that is completed at the present time (usually called simply perfect: see perfect a. 9b).
vii. Perfect adj. - 9. Gram. b. Applied to the tense which denotes a completed event or action viewed in relation to the present
E. The verb tenses in John 5:24 declare that a person who hears and believes the gospel has (not gets) everlasting life (heareth, believeth, and hath are all present tense).
F. The verb tenses in John 5:24 declare that a person who hears and believes the gospel in the present has passed from death unto life in the past prior to him presently hearing and believing.
i. Consider a sentence with identical verb construction:
ii. "A student who studies algebra II in school is passed from middle school unto high school."
iii. In this example studies is present tense (the student is currently studying algebra II), and is passed is present perfect tense (the passing from middle school to high school is completed at the time the student is studying algebra II).
iv. In this example, studying algebra II did not cause the student to pass from middle school to high school, but it is the evidence that he did.
v. In other words, he passed from middle school to high school before he studies algebra II.
G. This makes good sense and agrees with any other action in human life: life precedes action.
i. If a person is talking, it is because he is alive; talking doesn't cause him to become alive, it is rather the evidence that he is alive.
ii. If a child is told that his parents procreated him before the time of his birth and he believes them, his belief doesn't cause his procreation, it is rather the evidence of it.
H. A person must have passed from spiritual death unto spiritual life in order for him to have the ability to hear and believe the gospel.
i. Those that are not of God cannot hear God's words (Joh 8:47).
ii. The gospel is foolishness to those who are not saved (1Co 1:18) and it can't be received by a natural man (a man in his natural state of spiritual death) (1Co 2:14).
iii. God has to first give a person spiritual life before he can hear and believe the gospel.
iv. God gives a person a new heart and a new spirit which enables them to walk in His ways and keep His word (Eze 11:19-20).
I. John 5:24 is a verse Arminians would do well to not bring up in a debate on Sovereign Grace.

42. Joh 5:34
A. "But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved." (Joh 5:34)
B. Was Jesus speaking to these people so that they could get eternal life?
C. Jesus was speaking to people who sought to kill him because He healed a man on the Sabbath and because He said that God was His father, making Himself equal with God (Joh 5:16-18).
i. Jesus said these people didn't have the Father's word abiding in them (Joh 5:38).
a. The word is written in the heart in regeneration.
1. Based on the fact that they wanted to kill Jesus for saying God was His Father, and considering what else Jesus said to them (the next points), the word of God that was not abiding in them was the word written in the heart at the new birth (Heb 8:8-12).
2. In other words, they were not regenerate (born again).
3. This would be a good reason that they did not believe in Christ.
b. The scriptures.
1. It could also be concluded that the word not abiding in them was the scriptures.
2. They didn't know the scriptures which prophesied of the Messiah and therefore didn't believe in Jesus (Joh 5:38-39).
3. They didn't believe the law of Moses (Joh 5:46-47).
ii. Jesus said that these people would not come to him that they might have life (Joh 5:40).
a. Arminians will use this verse to try to prove that people by their freewill can come to Jesus to get eternal life.
b. This is a strange verse to use to prove that point since it says that "ye WILL NOT COME TO ME, that ye might have life."
c. No man will come to Jesus unless the Father draws him (Joh 6:44).
d. Draw v. - 1. a. trans. To cause (anything) to move toward oneself by the application of force; to pull.
e. Just as Jesus was not asking the Pharisees if they knew the how to escape the damnation of hell in Mat 23:33, neither was he giving them a formula to get eternal life in Joh 5:40.
f. He was simply stating a fact that they would not come to Him.
iii. Jesus said that these people didn't have the love of God in them (Joh 5:42).
a. They demonstrated by their not keeping His word that they didn't love God (1Jo 2:5; 1Jo 5:3).
b. They didn't seek the honour which came from God (Joh 5:44).
c. Their actions toward Jesus also gave evidence that God didn't love them (Psa 5:5).
iv. Jesus asked rhetorically how they could believe who received honor from men but didn't seek honor from God (Joh 5:44). The implication is that they couldn't believe.
v. Jesus said that these people didn't believe what Moses wrote of Christ (Joh 5:46-47).
D. Based on these points, it appears that the people to whom Jesus was speaking were not children of God.
E. Though they were likely not saved eternally, Jesus was not trying to get them eternal salvation by testifying of Himself to them.
i. Jesus gave eternal life to those whom God gave Him (Joh 10:27-28; Joh 17:2-4), not offers it if conditions are met.
ii. Salvation is by grace, not works (see section II,7,A,i).
F. Whether eternally saved and unsaved, there is a salvation that these Jews could have received by coming to Jesus in obedience, which Jesus was affording them.
i. In an effort to save them, Jesus gave them ample witnesses.
a. He gave them His own witness (Joh 8:14).
b. He gave them the Father's witness (Joh 8:18; Joh 5:32).
c. Though He didn't need it, Jesus also offered them John the Baptist's witness (Joh 5:33-35).
d. They were without excuse for not believing in Him.
ii. There is a future condemnation that those who believe shall escape (Joh 5:24) (See Joh 5:24 - Section III, 41).
a. Their belief doesn't save them from the wrath to come, but gives evidence that they shall be saved from it.
b. Faith and good fruit will give a person the assurance of their election and their future entrance into the heaven (2Pe 1:10-11).
iii. Repentance will save people from temporal destruction (Luk 13:2-5).
a. King Nebuchadnezzar was told that if he broke off his sins by repentance that it would be a lengthening of his tranquility (Dan 4:27).
b. Sodom and Gomorrah would have been spared temporal destruction if they would have repented (Mat 11:23).
iv. There was a coming destruction of Jerusalem that these Jews could have been spared if they would repented and came to Christ and not obstinately pressed on in rebellion against God (Mat 23:37-38).

43. Joh 5:40
A. "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." (Joh 5:40)
B. Was Jesus telling these people that if they would come to Him they would get eternal life?
C. No. (See Joh 5:34 - Section III, 42)

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