Below is a reply that I made to an email that I received a few months ago. I have deleted some at the beginning, because it was just idle chit-chat and a little brief personal history that doesn’t really have to do with the gist of the letter. I was asked 2 questions. The first was if I believed there was a difference between being quickened and being converted. And the second question dealt with sin. I hope you will find it edifying and a blessing to your spirit! – TA
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The reason I told you this is kind of three-fold. One, I just thought you might be interested, two is to point out that we kind of have a similar background and three to try and answer your first question. I believe that there is a difference in when God quickens us and when our conversion occurs. I have written something on it, if you want to look further into it. Here is the link: Salvation
The world would classify me as a hypercalvinist. I believe that our conversion occurs when the Lord has given us understanding of who He is and who we are. That is why we are told to proclaim the gospel. It is not to save anyone! What it is for is to confirm the truth that the Lord has already given them understanding for. Scripture calls it being born again. When we are conceived, we are not immediately born into the world. There is approximately 9 months that we grow in our mother’s womb. That is kind of the difference between quickening and conversion. But, when a baby is conceived, it is still a living being. Just like when one of God’s children are quickened, that starts the reality of being one of God’s children. Now ultimately, if you are one of God’s children, then you were “saved” when Christ died on the cross. But, each of his children experience that in their life times as a reality. With me, I look at my time in the charismatic/Arminian church as dung. But, I do believe that the Lord quickened me sometime in there and used that time to teach me of His grace and His truth. But, I don’t believe my conversion came until He brought me to realize His truth, which we outline with the Doctrines of Grace.
Now on to #2 which is a doozy!
You are absolutely correct in saying that there is “nothing outside of His control.” To answer this, let me give you an example from Scripture. In Jesus’s human lineage, we see Bathsheba in there. Now we must conclude that it is not by any accident that she is in there but by God’s sovereign hand. But, then we need to look at how she was included in that lineage. It was by David’s sin. Did God force David to sin? No! Absolutely not! But, God had to have decreed for it to happen or else it would not have happened. When confronted with the sin, did David blame God? No! He felt remorse and knew he was accountable for that sin, because he was the one that committed it. Just like us, the Lord has decreed for everything to happen to us in this lifetime. It is all for our good and all for His glory, even though at the time it is happening, it might not seem like it.
Another example is in the garden of Eden. When God is speaking to Adam and telling him not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, pay close attention to what He says. Let me quote it. Genesis 2:17 “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Notice that there are no “ifs” in there at all. But it says, “IN the day that thou eatest...” and then couple that with in Revelation, Christ is referred to as the “Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world.” Adam’s sin was decreed and all part of God’s purpose and plan. Did Adam have a choice? I don’t believe that he did and yet I do believe that he was accountable for that sin, because it was he who committed it. Just like us, we commit sins multiple times on a daily basis. All of them have been decreed by God for our good and is purpose and yet, there is no way that I can blame God for anything nor would even dream of blaming him because I am the one committing them.
I work in dispatch for the State Patrol. I have heard all kinds of stories. There are numerous times when a drunk driver has killed someone on the road. Now, being drunk is a sin and because of that sin, that person he/she hit was killed. But, in Ecclesiastes it makes it very clear that there is a time to die and also in Job it says that no one will go beyond their allotted time and that includes the unregenerate. I firmly believe that each of us have a specific time that we will die and leave this earth and also that it is in a specific way. The Lord by no means sins in anything that He does, and yet He uses sin to fulfill His purpose and plan.
The Lord is the first cause of EVERYTHING. Yet most of the time He uses secondary causes to accomplish His will with. By that I mean for example, our tastes and desires. They are secondary causes that govern what we eat and watch or listen to. We think in our finite mind that we are making choices and yet ultimately, we are just doing what God has decreed for us to do.
I hope that this hasn’t caused more questions or confusion for you. My hope is that it helped at least a little bit in your understanding. I do thank you for your kind comments concerning the site. It has been a pleasure and privilege to be enabled to put it together. You mentioned also, that you wanted to write more. If I haven’t scared you away, please do write more.
I look forward to hearing from you again.
P.S. I never did hear from this person again.