Is It God Plus Man or God Alone?

John Murray

“The denial of unconditional election strikes at the heart of the doctrine of the grace of God. The grace of God is absolutely sovereign and every failure to recognize and appreciate the absolute sovereignty of God in His saving grace is an expression of the pride of the human heart. It rests upon the demand that God can deal differently with men in the matter of salvation only because they have made themselves to differ. In its ultimate elements it means that the determining factor in salvation is what man himself does, and that is just tantamount to saying that it is not God who determines the salvation of men, but men determine their own salvation; it is not God who saves but man saves himself. This is precisely the issue.”

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John Macarthur –

“…modern easy believism has made faith itself a wholly human work. Why do I say that? Because it is fragile and temporary. It may or may not endure and that is not true of that which God gives. You see that? So that is a salvation by works which a man may do and then not do at his own whim. But if you believe that salvation is by God’s grace and that God grants that faith, then the faith that God grants is not temporary, it is enduring and it is not subject to a whim of a man. There is no more reason to believe that a man living the Christian life could cancel out his God-given faith than that a man could have generated it in the beginning to be saved. If it is from God, it is divine. If it is from God, it is enduring. And easy believism does not save the gospel from works, it becomes a work salvation by which a man gives and takes his faith at his own will. That’s not biblical faith. To say one may have it at the moment of salvation as a gift of God but chuck it anytime that he wants does not make sense. That denies God’s work, it denies that God is the one who gives and sustains the grace that makes faith endure.”

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Ezekiel 36:27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. ESV

John Hendryx –

“As evidenced by this passage, and many others, that it is by the Holy Spirit within us that we EVEN have the faith, or the strength to do, believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock; It reveals that the assistance of grace does not even depend on the humility or obedience of man since it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, … “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7), and, “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10). So Christ purchases, not only the opportunity for His people to be saved but makes certain they are saved by doing all for them that they are unable to do for themselves, including granting them understanding and the faith to take hold of the promises.”

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Charles Spurgeon –

“Remember this; or you may fall into error by fixing your minds so much upon the faith which is the channel of salvation as to forget the grace which is the fountain and source even of faith itself. Faith is the work of God’s grace in us. No man can say that Jesus is the Christ but by the Holy Ghost. “No man cometh unto me,” saith Jesus, “except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” ( John 6:44) So that faith, which is coming to Christ, is the result of divine drawing. Grace is the first and last moving cause of salvation; and faith, essential as it is, is only an important part of the machinery which grace employs. We are saved “through faith,” but salvation is “by grace.” Sound forth those words as with the archangel’s trumpet: “By grace are ye saved.” What glad tidings for the undeserving!”


When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this. I can recall the very day and hour when first I received those truths in my own soul – when they were as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron; and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown all of a sudden from a babe into a man – that I had made progress in scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, the clue to the truth of God … I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, I ascribe my change wholly to God. (Autobiography: 1, The Early Years, Banner of Truth, p. 164-165)


I will go as far as Martin Luther, where he says, “If any man ascribes anything of salvation, even the very least thing, to the free will of man, he knows nothing of grace, and he has not learned Jesus Christ rightly.” Sermons, Vol. 1, p.395

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Salvation is totally up to God:

Salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the Triune God. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.

Verses Salvation is God plus man:

Salvation is accomplished through the combined efforts of God (who takes the initiative) and man (who must respond) – man’s response being the determining factor. God has provided salvation for everyone, but His provision becomes effective only for those who, of their own free will, “choose” to cooperate with Him and accept His offer of grace. At the crucial point, man’s will plays a decisive role; thus man, not God, determines who will be recipients of the gift of salvation.

From A Comparison of Calvinism & Arminianism by David Steele and Curtis Thomas

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John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. ESV

John 6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. KJV

Romans 11:7-8
7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened,
8 as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.”
ESV

Ephesians 2:1-9
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
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.
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—
6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast
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ESV

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. ESV



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