About Me

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I am the Pastor/Teacher of Rivers of Joy Baptist Church in Minford, Ohio since August 2008.  I am married to Charity since June 14, 1969.  I have four grown children.   Having served in the local church for over forty years as Pastor/Teacher, Asso., Youth Pastor, Minister of Education, Building Upkeep, Camp Director, Sunday School Teacher, etc. Also I have worked in the public place for as many years as I have preached. Charity and her sister are co owner of Union Mills Conf. (Bakery) in West Portsmouth Ohio

Did Jesus Die For All Men

Did Christ Die for all Men or Only His elect?
 
The following is a written response to a brother with the following question about limited atonement (that Christ died only for the elect):




Could you please clarify the extent of the atonement, limited versus unlimited? Isn't limited atonement wrong and doesn't the Bible plainly teach unlimited atonement (that Christ died for the sins of all people in the world)?
This is a very good question and has remained an issue between believers through many centuries.

Many people popularly call themselves "four-point" Calvinists because they find the idea of a limited atonement loathsome, or believe somehow that the Bible does not teach it. What is meant by a four-point Calvinist? It is generally understood to mean that an individual claims to believe in total depravity, unconditional election, irresistible grace and perseverance of the saints but not limited atonement (dropping the "L" in limited atonement) in TULIP (TU-IP). What is interesting about this, however, is that everyone involved actually believes in a limited atonement since we can all agree that Christ did not actually redeem everyone who ever lived. There will be some who end up in the lake of fire according to both positions. The question, therefore, is not whether there is a "limit" to the extent of the atonement, but rather, what is the nature of the limit and who limits it? Is it limited by God's choice and design or by free human choices? Did God, from eternity, sovereignly determine to whom He would apply the benefits of the atonement, or did God leave it to man's will? This is why I generally like to call my position "particular redemption" rather than limited atonement since both sides ultimately limit the application of the atonement.

If you ask one of these brothers or sisters, "for whom did Christ die?" they will generally answer something like this: "the Bible plainly teaches that Christ’s death and His work of redemption was not only sufficient for the entire world, but that He actually died for the sins of all the world." They will back their position with this verse from 1 John 2:2 - "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." ...as well as John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (And leave it there as if this settles the argument).

Unfortunately this view leaves an island of righteousness in man to be able to believe the Gospel without the aid of the regenerating grace which Christ purchased on the cross. It follows that those who hold to an general atonement believe the one sin for which Christ did not die is rejection of His person and work (they will cite John 3:18,36). [Some readers have claimed that I am setting up a straw man here but this is actually the position (word for word) currently being taught by such institutions as Dallas Theological Seminary. Anyone wishing to take issue with me here I have evidence of this and will gladly provide it upon request.] So if, as they claim, that Christ did not die for our unbelief, then who did?



What many are, in fact, teaching is that Christ did not die for ALL THE SINS of the whole world, since they have excluded the sin of unbelief. In other words they claim that Christ died for our breaking of the 2nd through 10th commandments in the decalogue but not the first commandment. So, the obvious question to answer here is "who, then, dies for our sin of unbelief?" Do we atone for it ourselves? Does God overlook our former unbelief because the sincerity of our newly found faith makes up for our previous unbelief? Does the atonement for sins of unbelief kick in only after we unlock the door by "accepting Jesus into our hearts?" It is my contention that Christ died for all our sins including the sin of unbelief. If you agree with me yet believe in a universal atonement then why are there still people in hell? If all men's unbelief has been paid for then then all sin has been forgiven - there is nothing left to forgive and we would then have universalism. But 1 John 3:23 teaches "And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ." To disobey this command is a sin, and the greatest sin of all I might add. A question to ask yourself is did Christ pay for this sin or not?

It is not quite apparent to me why the text of John 3:16 should be an argument against limited atonement. The passage does not say Jesus died for everyone, but only that the Father gave his Son for ALL THOSE WHO WOULD BELIEVE. It says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES in HIM shall not perish but have eternal life." Right? Don't we all believe this? That is why the consistent biblical Calvinists, when presenting the gospel to unbelievers, simply teach that Christ died for "all who would believe", which is actually closer to the meaning of this text than the erroneous position that He died for all in a general kind of way, and yet for no individual in particular. Instead, we believe that the benefits of the atonement will apply only to who will be believers, so he did not die for any person who would remain steadfast in their unbelief. So I would argue that John 3:16 actually supports the definite atonement position better than the indefinite position. They are reading into the text that Christ's death only potentially will save someone if they believe without the help and grace of the cross to do so. So in actuality, Christ died for no one in particular this scheme. His affection was only cast forth in a general impersonal kind of way rather then actually coming for His people who He set his affection on from eternity.

In fact, this teaching comes full circle and devastates all of the other doctrines of grace. Although claiming to believe in Total Depravity, the teaching of the so-called four-point Calvinists is really that man still has the moral ability to turn to God on his own without regenerating grace (a grace purchased on the cross) effectively destroying total depravity, even though the Bible plainly teaches that no one seeks God unless first born again (1 John 5:1; John 6:37, 39, 44, 63-65; Rom 3:11. 1 Cor 2:14, John 1:13; John 3). That is to say, natural fallen man has the ability and desire (in some cases) to believe in Christ without regenerating grace. It is teaching a "conditional" election since it depends completely on God's foreknowledge of whether or not we will have faith, even though the Bible plainly teaches that election is not conditioned on something God sees in us and that faith is a divine gift (Eph 2:5-8). So in effect WE end up choosing God with our autonomous free will in this scheme, not the other way around. Those who deny limited atonement are also surreptitiously semi-pelagian in all the other doctrines of grace as well. Salvation becomes the work of man, rather than a monergistic divine work of grace. Some may argue that God's grace works together with man, but the problem with this is that it still leaves the final decision for salvation in the hands of man. Faith, apart from Christ's work on the cross, precedes saving grace in this view, contrary to everything the Bible teaches (ROM 9:16; John 1:13). God's grace would take us part of the way to salvation leaving man's will to make the final decision. So, according to those who claim that the atonement is unlimited (indefinite) there is no divine election in the final analysis, but only humans electing God even though we all know that it is God that chooses us (John 15:16).

The biblical teaching is that God, before the foundation of the world in His eternal counsels, knew and determined to whom He would apply the benefits of the atonement? (2 Timothy 1 9, Titus 1:2; Eph 1:4,5)

"This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day." John 6:39 (emphasis mine)



What does "that of all He has given Me I lose nothing" mean except that God, in His eternal councils had already determined who would be written in the book of life and that Jesus Christ came to earth in time to carry out their eternal redemption. Is Jesus' purpose not in sync with God the Fathers' and God the Holy Spirits'? God the Father elects certain individuals and the Holy Spirit regenerates them. Does the Son have a different redemptive agenda? No, the three Persons of the Trinity are always consistent with one another. If you believe in election, which you do unless you have torn out almost every page of your Bible, then you must believe that that Christ came to redeem His elect, and the Holy Spirit applied the benefits of the atonement only on those the Father had "given" Christ. It means that He will infallibly bring His own into His eternal kingdom. I hear someone say "but that's not fair" ... does God owe you anything my friend? Is He your debtor? The only debt He owes you is His just wrath. His choosing of you is an act of His mercy, an act of His divine good pleasure (Eph 1:4,5).

Before we get to 1 John 2:2 lets familiarize ourselves with some other biblical texts on this crucial issue:



First Take a look at these passages of Scripture:



"Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation." Revelation 5:9 (emphasis mine)
my comment: did Christ redeem everybody by His blood in this passage? the entire world or a limited number? Doesn't it say that He purchased men FROM every tribe???

"...and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption." Heb 9:12
my comment: was everybody's redemption eternal? through His blood He obtained eternal redemption - for whom? all men? then why aren't they all saved? If all men's redemption is eternal then we must become universalists.

"...who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds." Titus 2:14
My question: IN this passage did Christ redeem all men from iniquity or just some? the second half of the verse also narrows the redemption to a particular people, not all people.

v.5 "...But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.... v. 8 He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? v.11... By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. v.12 ...Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors." Isaiah 53:5,8,11-12
my comment: Are the sins of the whole world "healed" by Christ's scourging in this passage? If they are, then why isn't everyone saved? What meaning does healing have then if it is unlimited? Are the words "my people" referring to all mankind or the many whom He would justify that the Father had "given" Him? (see John 17:9) Since He "bore the sin of many" this certainly is not including the reprobate but a particular people purchased out of the world.



Now we come to the famous text that our "four-point" brothers put all their weight upon as teaching an unlimited atonement:


"He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." 1 John 2:2



At first glance I must admit that this appears to be a pretty good text to back up their argument but upon closer examination, it falls apart. The problem is that if the four-pointers read this verse the way they intend to then we must also conclude that the whole world's sins have already been atoned for (believers and unbelievers) and thus all will be saved (universalism). If Christ is a propitiation or atonement for all men's sins, paying for all sins ever committed, then why isn't everyone in the whole world saved???? So the verse actually proves to much. The verse simply means, (and there is no doubt this is what Paul meant), Christ did not die for every person without exception but every person without distinction. . All kinds of people everywhere, is what is meant. We see this elsewhere when the Scriptures say, Christ "purchased for God with [His] blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation." (Revelation 5:9). Many will argue that He didn't die for our unbelief, which I believe I thoroughly discredited in my argument above. John is speaking, rather, of sins for people throughout the whole world, not each and every person's sins. There are too many problems with saying that the text includes all men (believers and unbelievers) and, as I have shown, this leads to an unbiblical universalism. Saying Christ died for the sins of the whole world is similar in the use of language in many other passages in Scripture such as Mark 1:5 which says, "And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem." If you think the "all in this passage means every single person without exception, you have missed the point, it means large numbers of people; all persons without distinction, but not all persons without exception.

Christ died for all of the sins of His elect, including their previous sin of unbelief. Belief in the Gospel does not make up for our previous sin of unbelief. Belief (faith) is the witness that God has already wrought grace in our hearts, the inevitable response to His work of regeneration in our souls. (John 3:21) Christ clearly came to lay down His life for His sheep (John 10:11) and some people are not his sheep: "...but you do not believe because you are not my sheep." (John 10:26) Jesus prayed for His own but he would not pray for those the Father had NOT given him: "I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours." Emphasis mine (John 17:9).



This teaching does have great practical value; specifically that our prayers for the lost will be effectual. As we go out to do missions, to reach the lost, we can have confidence that we go not in vain but that we carry with us the Word of God which has the power to raise the dead to life. We don't just go in the hope that maybe someone will be saved; or that Christ died for no one in particular. But rather that He died for a particular people to make them His own. If my hope was based solely on whether someone would respond to the Gospel message by their own free will then I would despair because no one would respond (ROM 3:11. 1 Cor 2:14)... but because God has an eternal plan, a bride he has chosen for His Son, I can rejoice in the knowledge that God's word proclaimed will effectually bring home those whom he delivers the inward call. (ROM 8:28-30)

Finally, remember that it is not a question of whether or not Christ's redemption was able to cleanse the sins of all men, as we know it clearly could have if this is what He so desired. The question is what does the Bible teach about the divine intent with regard to the atonement, which I hope this short paper has answered.

Soli Deo Gloria
John Hendryx

P.S. Historically many of the greatest minds the church has produced were 5 pointers, not four. Some of the more well known ones were Jonathan Edwards, C.H. Spurgeon, A.A. Hodge, Charles Hodge, John Owen, John Calvin, George Whitfield, Thomas Goodwin and more recently, J.I. Packer, R.C Sproul, John Piper, Iain Murray, Michael Horton, James Boice and John Murray

Further Studies:
A QUEST FOR GODLINESS The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life by J. I. Packer
2 Peter 2:1 and Universal Redemption By Simon Escobedo III Must Read!
Definite Atonement by R. Scott Clark
Limited Atonement by Loraine Boettner
12 Examples from Spurgeon on Particular Redemption compiled by Colin Maxwell
Christ’s Limited Atonement by Charles Spurgeon

Total Inability in Salvation



Total Depravity Verse List
 
The doctrine of total depravity (or total inability) says that all men, as a consequence of the Fall, are born morally corrupt, enslaved to sin, at enmity with God, and unable to please Him or even of themselves to turn to Christ for salvation. (Thus the necessity of a gracious, unconditional election.) Here is a sweeping survey of the biblical support for the doctrine.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



Is man basically good or basically evil?
 
 
Ecclesiastes 7:29 - "See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes."
Romans 5:7-8 - For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:12,19 - sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned… by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners

c.f. Job 15:14-16, 25:4-6; Ecclesiastes 9:3



All men? Are there any exceptions?
 
 
Psalm 143:2 - Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.
Romans 11:32 - For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. (c.f. Galatians 3:22)
Romans 3:23 - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
2 Chronicles 6:36 - "there is no one who does not sin"
Isaiah 53:6 - All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way
Micah 7:2-4 - The godly has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among mankind; they all lie in wait for blood, and each hunts the other with a net. Their hands are on what is evil, to do it well; the prince and the judge ask for a bribe, and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul; thus they weave it together. The best of them is like a brier, the most upright of them a thorn hedge.
Romans 3:9-12 - What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." (c.f. Psalm 14:1-3, 53:1-3)
1 John 1:8,10 - If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we say we have not sinned, we make [God] a liar, and his word is not in us.
Mark 10:18/Luke 18:19 - And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone."

c.f. 1 Kings 8:46; 116:11, 130:3, 143:2; Proverbs 20:9; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Jeremiah 2:29; Micah 7:2-4, Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19; Romans 5:12-14; 1 Corinthians 5:9-10; James 3:2; etc., etc.



Are people good deep down?
 
 
Mark 7:21-23 - "For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person." (c.f. Matthew 15:19)
Psalm 5:9 - For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.



Are men totally depraved? Is every faculty of the person corrupted?

Heart/Mind (Deceitful)
 
Jeremiah 17:9 - "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?"
Titus 1:15-16 - to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.
Ecclesiastes 9:3 - Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.
Romans 1:28-31 - And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were… foolish
Ephesians 4:17-18 - you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.
Jeremiah 10:7-8,14 - among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you. They are both stupid and foolish… Every man is stupid and without knowledge
Matthew 15:19 - "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander." (c.f. Mark 7:21-23)
Genesis 6:5 & 8:21 - The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually… from his youth.
Proverbs 10:20 - the heart of the wicked is of little worth.
Proverbs 28:26 - Whoever trusts in his own [heart] is a fool

c.f. Deuteronomy 29:2-4; Psalm 10:4, 36:1-2, 58:4-5, 94:11; Proverbs 10:20; Ecclesiastes 8:11; Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26; Matthew 13:14; Mark 7:21-23; Romans 8:7; Ephesians 4:17-18, 23



Will/Choosing (Enslaved)
 
 
John 8:34 - Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin."
2 Peter 2:19 - They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.
Titus 3:3 - For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.
Galatians 4:8-9 - Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?
Romans 6:6,16,17,19,20 - We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey…? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed… For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
Romans 7:14 - For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.
2 Timothy 2:25-26 - God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

c.f. Isaiah 42:6-7; Psalm 51:12; John 8:31-32,36; 2 Corinthians 3:17



Affections/Desires (Perverted)
 
 
Romans 1:24-27 - Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Ephesians 2:3 - we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Proverbs 21:10 - The soul of the wicked desires evil
John 3:19 - And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
John 8:44 - "You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires."

c.f. Genesis 3:16; Psalm 4:2, 52:3-4 140:8; Proverbs 10:23; 2 Timothy 3:2-4; 2 Peter 2:13



et al (Utter Ruin)
 
 
Titus 1:15-16 - to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.
Romans 7:18 - For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.
Isaiah 1:5-6 - The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and raw wounds; they are not pressed out or bound up or softened with oil.



Can men change themselves or still do good when they want to?
 
 
Jeremiah 13:23 - Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.
1 Samuel 24:13 - "As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness.’"
Matthew 7:18 - "A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit." (c.f. Luke 6:43)
Matthew 12:34-35 - "How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil."
Romans 8:7 - For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
Genesis 6:5 & 8:21 - The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually… from youth.
Titus 1:15-16 - to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

c.f. Job 14:4; Matthew 12:34; John 15:5; Romans 14:23; Philippians 1:11; 1 John 5:18-19



Are men at least born pure? What about the "tabula rasa"?
 
 
Psalm 51:5 - Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Genesis 8:21 - the Lord said in his heart, "I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth."
Psalm 58:3 - The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.
John 3:6 - "That which is born of the flesh is flesh"

c.f. Proverbs 22:15



What is the natural disposition of man toward God?
 
 
John 3:20 - "For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed."
Romans 8:7-8 - For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God
Colossians 1:21 - And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds

c.f. Romans 1:28-30; James 4:4



What is man’s relationship to God?
 
 
Psalm 58:3 - The wicked are estranged from the womb;
Ephesians 2:12-13 - remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2:3 - among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

c.f. Isaiah 59:2



Can man then do anything to please God?
 
 
Proverbs 15:9 - The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord
Proverbs 15:8 - The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord (c.f. Proverbs 21:27)
Proverbs 28:9 - If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.
Isaiah 64:6 - We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
Hebrews 11:6 - And without faith it is impossible to please [God]
Romans 8:7-8 - Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

c.f. Psalm 50:16; Proverbs 21:4; Isaiah 1:10-15; Amos 5:21-24



Are men at least seeking God?
 
 
Psalm 10:4 - In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, "There is no God."
John 3:20 - "For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed."
Isaiah 65:1 - "I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.
Isaiah 64:7 - There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.
Romans 3:10-12 - "no one seeks for God."

c.f. Romans 10:20



Can the natural man comprehend the gospel or come to saving knowledge of God on his own?
 
 
1 Corinthians 2:14 - The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 - our gospel is veiled… to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18,21-24 - For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles
Deuteronomy 29:2-4 - And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: "You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear."
Matthew 11:27 - "no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."

c.f. Psalm 119:18; Proverbs 4:19; Isaiah 42:6-7; Hosea 14:9; Matthew 16:17; John 8:43; Acts 22:14, 26:18; Ephesians 4:17-19; 2 Corinthians 2:15-16; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; 1 John 5:20



Can men of themselves accept God’s gift of salvation? Do men choose God or come to Him on their own?
 
 
John 3:27 - John answered, "A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven."
John 14:16-17 - "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him."
John 1:12-13 - But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 6:44,65 - "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day." And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."
Romans 9:16 - So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
Romans 11:35-36 - "Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?" For from him and through him and to him are all things.
1 Corinthians 1:30 - And because of him you are in Christ Jesus
Philippians 2:13 - for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

c.f. Jonah 2:9; Zephaniah 3:9; John 15:16; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Philippians 1:6; James 1:18



Who supplies faith/belief/repentance?
 
 
Acts 16:14 - One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.
1 Corinthians 3:6 - I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
Acts 5:31 - "God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins."
Acts 11:18 - When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, "Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life."
Philippians 1:29 - For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should… believe in him
Acts 18:27 - When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed
Ephesians 2:8-9 - For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Romans 12:3 - For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
2 Timothy 2:24-25 - And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, [etc.]… God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth
1 Corinthians 12:3 - no one can say "Jesus is Lord" except in the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:3 - His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence
Romans 11:36 - For from him and through him and to him are all things.
1 Corinthians 4:7 - For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
John 3:6, 6:63 - "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all."

c.f. 1 Chronicles 29:14; John 5:44; Acts 3:16; Romans 1:8, 12:3; Ephesians 6:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:2



Can men do anything to help themselves?
 
 
Colossians 2:13 - And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses
Ephesians 2:1-2, 4-5 - And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked… But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved

c.f. Psalm 49:7-9; Jeremiah 2:22; Ezekiel 16:6, 37:1-3; Romans 5:6



Then what becomes of our boasting?
 
 
Romans 3:27 - It is excluded.

c.f. 1 Corinthians 1:28-29, 4:7; Ephesians 2:9-9



Recommended Reading
 
 
Pink, A.W. Our Accountability to God (formerly Gleanings From the Scriptures: Man’s Total Depravity).
Boettner, Lorraine. Total Inability. In The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination.
Boston, Thomas. The State of Nature. In Human Nature in its Fourfold State.
Calvin, John. Book 2, Chapters 1-5. In Institutes of the Christian Religion.
Luther, Martin. The Bondage of the Will.
Edwards, Jonathan. Freedom of the Will (The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 1).