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Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace (Part 39) - Phi 3:9; Col 1:21-23; 1Th 1:4-5

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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

99. Phi 3:9
A. "And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:" (Phi 3:9)
B. Is this verse saying that we obtain righteousness through our faith?
i. No; if you're reading a KJV, the verse says that our righteousness is through the faith of Christ (Christ's faith), not our faith.
ii. The modern perversions of the Bible say "through faith in Christ", making it our faith, not Christ's.
C. A person is made righteous by the justifying work of God.
i. Jesus justified us by His grace (Rom 3:24) and blood (Rom 5:9).
ii. Jesus also justified us (made us righteous) by His faith (Gal 2:16).
iii. Justification n. - 4. Theol. The action whereby man is justified, or freed from the penalty of sin, and accounted or made righteous by God; the fact or condition of being so justified.
iv. Justified ppl. - Made just or right; made or accounted righteous;
v. The righteousness of God is by the faith of Jesus Christ (Rom 3:22).
D. A man doesn't obtain the righteousness of God by his own faith because his faith is a work of the law (Mat 23:23 c/w Phi 3:9).

100. Col 1:21-23
A. "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22) In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23) If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;" (Col 1:21-23)
B. Does this verse teach that our reconciliation to God is dependent on us continuing in the faith?
C. As is often the case, examining the grammar is essential to understanding the verse.
D. Verse 21 states that God hath reconciled those to whom Paul was writing (Col 1:21).
i. Reconcile v. - 1. a. trans. To bring (a person) again into friendly relations to or with (oneself or another) after an estrangement.
ii. Hath reconciled in the phrase "You...hath he reconciled" is a present perfect verb tense.
iii. "The present perfect tense denotes being or action barely finished in the recent past and conceivably having effects that flow into the present." (Charles H. Vivian and Bernetta M. Jackson, English Composition, p. 268)
iv. Therefore, the people to whom Paul wrote were reconciled by Christ's death on the cross (2Co 5:18-19,21; Rom 5:10).
v. Being reconciled, they would be (shall be) saved by Christ's life (Rom 5:10) because they were passed (is passed) from death unto life, and therefore would not (shall not) come into condemnation (Joh 5:24).
vi. When Christ entered into the holy place, he did so having obtained eternal redemption for those for whom He died (like the Colossians to whom Paul wrote) (Heb 9:12).
vii. Eternal adj - 3. a. Infinite in future duration; that always will exist; everlasting, endless. ┬ÂThe New Testament expressions eternal life, death, punishment, etc. are here referred to sense 3, this being the sense in which the adj. in such contexts is ordinarily taken.
E. Why then does verse 23 say that God hath reconciled them if they continue in the faith? (Col 1:23)
i. Because their faith was the evidence, not the cause of their reconciliation (See Joh 5:24 - Section III).
ii. If they continued in the faith, they would show the evidence that they were some of them whom God hath reconciled.
iii. Whoso believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born (not gets born) of God (1Jo 5:1).
F. The scripture elsewhere shows that our future obedience is the evidence, not the cause, of our spiritual state.
i. We are (completed action) Christ's house if we hold fast our confidence to the end (Heb 3:6).
ii. We are made (completed action) partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end (Heb 3:14).
G. Paul was exhorting the brethren to make their calling and election sure by continuing in the faith (2Pe 1:10; 1Jo 2:5; 2Jo 1:9).

101. 1Th 1:4-5
A. "Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. 5) For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake." (1Th 1:4-5)
B. Does this verse teach that we elect (choose) God?
i. The phrase "your election of God" can be understood in either the objective genitive or the subjective genitive.
a. If used in the objective genitive, God is elected.
b. If used in the subjective genitive, God elects.
ii. In order to know which genitive is being used, we must compare this verse with other scripture to see who elects who.
a. The definition of the word will shed some light also.
b. Election - 1. a. The formal choosing of a person for an office, dignity, or position of any kind; 3. Theol. a. The exercise of God's sovereign will in choosing some of His creatures in preference to others for blessings temporal or spiritual, esp. for eternal salvation.
iii. Scripture teaches that it is God who chooses His elect, not they who elect Him (Mar 13:20).
iv. The election of God happened before men were even born, making it obvious Who elects who (Rom 9:11).
v. In fact, God chose His people before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4).
vi. Scripture is clear that it is God who elects His children; therefore the phrase "your election of God" (1Th 1:4) is written in the subjective genitive, meaning God elected the beloved brethren in Thessalonica.
C. Does this verse teach that God elected the saints in Thessalonica because (as a result of) the gospel came to them not in word only, but in power?
i. No; remember, election precedes a person's response to the gospel (Rom 9:11; Eph 1:4).
ii. In 1Th 1:4, Paul, Silvanus, and Timotheus were writing to the brethren and telling them that they (Paul, etc.) knew that God had elected them (the brethren) (1Th 1:1-5).
iii. How did Paul know that God had elected them?
a. Paul knew it because the gospel came to them not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance (1Th 1:5).
b. The gospel only comes in power to them who are saved (1Co 1:18).
c. Those who believe show the evidence that they are justified (Act 13:39).
d. Election precedes justification (Rom 8:29-30).
iv. Faith and godly works give a person assurance of their calling and election (2Pe 1:5-10).
a. Sure adj. - III. Subjectively certain. 8. Certain in mind; having no doubt; assured, confident; = certain a. 4, secure a. 2. Also, convinced, persuaded, morally certain.
b. The Thessalonians' reception of the gospel gave them much assurance of their election (1Th 1:5).
v. Therefore, Paul knew that God had elected them because their faith gave the evidence of it (Heb 11:1).

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