Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace (Part 32) - 1Co 1:18,21; 1Co 9:22; 1Co 10:33; 1Co 15:2Submitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Wednesday, October 29, 2014.
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 76. 1Co 1:18 A. "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." (1Co 1:18) B. This verse is only a "problem text" if one is using a perverted text such as the NIV or NKJV which changes the words "are saved" into "are being saved." i. In order for the gospel to be the power of God to a person, he must already be saved (eternally), else it is foolishness to him. ii. If a person has to already be saved eternally for the gospel to be the power of God to him, then the gospel is obviously not the power of God to eternal salvation, but to temporal salvation. iii. (See Rom 1:16-17, Section III) 77. 1Co 1:21 A. "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." (1Co 1:21) B. Does this verse teach that God save believers eternally by the preaching of the gospel? C. No it doesn't; preaching is something that a preacher does, and therefore it is a work. i. Preach v. - 1. a. intr. ‘To pronounce a public discourse upon sacred subjects’ (J.); to deliver a sermon or religious address (now usually from or on a text of Scripture). ii. Work n. - I. 1. Something that is or was done; what a person does or did; an act, deed, proceeding, business iii. Anyone who has ever preached knows that it is work, which is why it's called the work of the ministry (Eph 4:12 c/w Act 13:2). iv. Eternal salvation is by grace, not by works (2Ti 1:9; Tit 3:5). (See Section II,7,A on Eternal Salvation) D. Furthermore, a person must already be eternally saved for the gospel to have any positive effect on him and not be foolishness to him (1Co 1:18). (See 1Co 1:18, Section III and Rom 1:16-17, Section III) E. The preaching of the gospel saves a believer temporally by bringing life and immortality to light (2Ti 1:10). i. For the Jew, to whom in the past the preaching of Christ crucified was a stumbling block (1Co 1:23), but who has been effectually called to new spiritual life (regeneration) (1Co 1:24), the preaching of the gospel is the power of God which saves him from his ignorance of God's righteousness and from trying to establish his own righteousness (Rom 10:1-4,8-10). ii. For the Greek, to whom in the past the preaching of Christ crucified was foolishness (1Co 1:23), but who has been effectually called to new spiritual life (regeneration) (1Co 1:24), the preaching of the gospel enlightens the former worldly wise man to the simplicity which is in Christ (2Co 11:3), to the fact that in Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:3), and saves him from being spoiled through vain philosophy (Col 2:8). iii. The calling in 1Co 1:24 cannot refer to the gospel call (the preaching of the gospel). a. The gospel call is a stumbling block and foolishness to unsaved Jews and Gentiles (1Co 1:23 c/w 1Co 1:18). b. But the calling in 1Co 1:24 is the power of God and the wisdom of God to the Jews and Gentiles who receive it; therefore it is not the gospel call. c. It is the call of regeneration when the Spirit of God regenerates a person at the behest of Jesus Christ by His voice (Joh 5:25 c/w Tit 3:5; Rom 8:28-30). 78. 1Co 9:22 A. "To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." (1Co 9:22) B. Is this verse teaching that Paul became as the people to whom he preached with the hopes of giving them eternal life? C. Notice that the verse says that Paul is the one that would be doing the saving. i. This demands that the salvation under consideration cannot be eternal salvation because eternal salvation is by God's grace alone, and not of works (2Ti 1:9; Tit 3:5). (See Section II,7,A on Eternal Salvation) ii. A person is born spiritually of God, not of the will of man (like Paul's will) (Joh 1:13). iii. It is the Spirit of God who makes a man born again and He does it when He listeth (to wish, desire, like, choose), not when the preacher desires (Joh 3:8). iv. God's elective grace is not of him that runneth (Rom 9:16), including the preacher who runs with his beautiful feet which preach the gospel (Rom 10:15). D. So if Paul wasn't trying to save them eternally, what was he trying to save them from or to? E. He tells us why he did it in the next verse: for the gospel's sake and that he might be a partaker of the gospel with them (1Co 9:23). i. The purpose of the gospel is to bring life and immortality to light. (2Ti 1:10) ii. The purpose is to bring people into the church so that they can have fellowship with us and with Jesus Christ. (Act 2:41-42; 1Jo 1:3; Eph 3:7-9) iii. Partaker - 1. One who takes a part or share, a partner, participator, sharer. iv. Fellowship - 1. a. Partnership; membership of a society. b. Participation, sharing (in an action, condition, etc.); ‘something in common’, community of interest, sentiment, nature, etc. v. By being baptized into the church, people are saved from this untoward generation (Act 2:40). F. Paul did all he could to adapt himself to the customs and convictions of those to whom he witnessed so as not to offend them, with hopes of saving them temporally (1Co 9:22 c/w 1Co 10:32-33). G. In the case of 1Co 10:33, Paul's hope was to save them from their superstitious and idolatrous practices of eating food sacrificed to idols (1Co 10:23-33). i. If the unbeliever that bid you to a feast doesn't mention anything about the food you are about to eat being sacrificed to idols, then he doesn't have a conscience issue with it; so eat it, not asking any questions (1Co 10:27). ii. But if he tells you it was sacrificed to idols, he may be doing so because he has a question about it in his own conscience; and if you eat it knowing that, he may assume it's acceptable since a Christian did it; and therefore he could be emboldened to go against the questions in his conscience and continue to offer sacrifices to idols. In that situation, a Christian must not eat so as to not cause the unbeliever to go against his conscience. (1Co 10:28-29) iii. By doing that, a Christian can aid in the temporal salvation of an unbeliever (1Co 10:32-33). 79. 1Co 10:33 A. "Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved." (1Co 10:33) B. See 1Co 9:22, Section III. 80. 1Co 15:2 A. "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2) By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain." (1Co 15:1-2) B. Is this verse teaching that the Corinthians were given eternal life by the gospel, which (eternal life) they would have if they remembered what Paul preached to them and had not believed in vain? C. This verse is not teaching that the gospel gives people eternal life for the following reasons: i. The act of preaching of the gospel saves nobody eternally; if it did then all who heard it would have eternal life. ii. In order for the gospel to have any effect on a person, it has to be understood and believed; and for it to be understood and believed, the hearer must already be eternally saved, else all he hears is foolishness (1Co 1:18; 1Co 2:14; Joh 10:26-28). iii. Believing (Joh 6:28-29) and keeping in memory what was preached are both works, and eternal salvation is by grace, not by works (2Ti 1:9; Tit 3:5). (See Section II,7,A on Eternal Salvation) iv. If you don't think that keeping in memory what is preached is a work, then try to remember everything which was preached in this Bible study and see how hard you have to WORK to do so! v. The belief that is required to be saved in this verse cannot be belief in vain (to no effect or purpose) and therefore must be proven and demonstrated by works (1Co 15:2 c/w Jam 2:20). D. If these Corinthians were not eternally saved by believing the gospel, then what did the gospel save them from? i. While the gospel doesn't bring life and immortality to the child of God (God's grace does that - 2Ti 1:9), it does bring it to light (2Ti 1:10). ii. The gospel is the power of God to temporal salvation to regenerate children of God who believe it, such as salvation from ignorance, deception, fear of death, trying to save oneself, etc. (See Rom 1:16-17, Section III) iii. God's word will save a person from much evil when heard, heeded, and remembered (Pro 2:10-16). iv. By believing and remembering the gospel, the Corinthians were saved from living in, and returning to, the sinful lifestyles in which they lived prior to hearing the gospel of how Jesus Christ saved them from their sins (1Co 6:9-11). For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace