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Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace (Part 17) - Joh 1:7,9,12


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

32. Joh 1:7
A. "The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe." (Joh 1:7)
B. Does "all men" in this verse refer to the entire human race?
i. First of all, "all men" doesn't always refer to the entire human race (see section II,11,A).
ii. The "him" that all men might believe through is John the Baptist (Joh 1:6).
iii. That being the case, "all men" clearly doesn't refer to the entire human race as millions of them had died in the 4000 years prior to John's birth.
iv. The "all men" would also of necessity be those who are old enough and have the mental capacity to believe, and therefore it cannot refer to the entire human race, as many of them such as babies, toddlers, and the severely mentally challenged have not the mental capacity to believe.
v. The "all men" could also not include those who lived in remote parts of the world who never heard John bear witness of Christ.
vi. Even when narrowed down to only intellectually able people who lived during the days of John the Baptist in and near Judea where he preached, still many of them could not believe through him since natural men can't hear God's words (Joh 8:47), nor understand spiritual things (1Co 2:14) (see section II,2).
C. Having eliminated the impossible, the "all men" who "might believe" through John would have been at most regenerate people who were old enough to believe who lived in and around Judea during the days in which John ministered.
D. John was sent from God that all men "might" believe (Joh 1:7).
i. Might - past tense of "may"
ii. May v. - Expressing objective possibility, opportunity, or absence of prohibitive conditions; = CAN v.1 b. The pa. tense indicative in this sense (he might = ‘he had opportunity to’, ‘it was possible for him to’)
iii. God sent John as a messenger (Joh 1:6), as a voice crying in the wilderness to prepare the way of the Messiah (Joh 1:23), that all in Judea (Mar 1:5) would have opportunity to believe in the Messiah who had come.

33. Joh 1:9
A. "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." (Joh 1:9)
B. Does this verse teach universal redemption (that Jesus gave eternal life to the entire human race)?
C. Light is life (Joh 1:4).
i. Jesus is light (Joh 1:7-9; Joh 8:12; Joh 9:5).
ii. Jesus is life (Joh 14:6).
iii. Jesus is eternal life (1Jo 1:1-2; 1Jo 5:20).
iv. Jesus gave all those whom God have Him (the elect) eternal life (Joh 10:27-29; Joh 17:2-4).
v. Therefore to light a man is give eternal life to a man.
vi. This is also called being enlightened (Heb 6:4).
D. Did Jesus give eternal life to (lighten) the entire human race (every man)?
i. Whoever the "every man" is in the verse IS lightened by Jesus.
a. It doesn't say that He wanted to lighten every man.
b. It doesn't say that He tried to lighten every man.
c. It doesn't say that He made lightening possible for every man.
d. It says that He LIGHTETH every man.
e. Therefore, Jesus GAVE eternal life to "every man".
ii. "Every man" doesn't always mean the entire human race (ex: Mar 8:25) (see section II,11,B).
iii. Jesus only gave eternal life (light) to those whom the Father gave him (Joh 10:27-29; Joh 17:2-4).
iv. Jesus didn't give eternal life to the entire human race.
a. This is obvious because many people are and will be in hell (Jud 1:7; 2Th 1:8-9).
b. Those that are in hell never had eternal life since eternal life is eternal and therefore cannot be lost.
v. Therefore "every man" in this verse must refer to every man in a given context and not the entire human race.
E. If "every man" doesn't refer to the entire human race in this verse, then to whom does it refer?
i. Prior to the coming of Christ, God only dealt with the nation of Israel to the exclusion of all other nations (Rom 9:4-5; Psa 147:19-20; Deu 14:2).
ii. But Jesus was a light to lighten all nations not only Israel (Luk 2:30-32; Act 26:23).
iii. Jesus redeemed men out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation (Rev 5:9; 7:9).
iv. Jesus therefore lighted (gave eternal life to) every man whom He was given to save out of all nations.
F. Christians are the light of the world (Mat 5:14-16).
i. The gospel doesn't give eternal life, but it rather brings it to light (2Ti 1:10).
ii. Jesus came to give light to them that sat in darkness (Luk 1:79).
iii. When God's children believe in the light they show that they are the children of light (Joh 12:36).
iv. Those who believe in Christ will not abide in darkness (Joh 8:12; Joh 12:46).
v. Those who have been lightened by Christ should walk as children of light (Eph 5:8).

34. Joh 1:12
A. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" (Joh 1:12)
B. Does this verse say that belief makes one a son of God?
C. The first part of the verse says that to those who received (past tense) Christ, He gave (past tense) them power to become the sons of God.
i. Since both received and gave are past tense, it cannot be conclusively determined which one happened first by only examining the first part of the verse alone.
ii. The answer to this conundrum is as simple as reading the next verse which completes the sentence.
iii. "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (Joh 1:13)
iv. Verses 12-13 are one sentence that describes the relationship between belief and regeneration (becoming a son of God) in two different clauses which are equated by the word "even".
a. Even - 8. Prefixed to a subject, object, or predicate, or to the expression of a qualifying circumstance, to emphasize its identity. Obs. exc. arch. Also in 16–17th c. (hence still arch. after Bible use) serving to introduce an epexegesis; = ‘namely’, ‘that is to say’.
b. Therefore, "them that believe on his name: which were born...of God" are them who "received him" to whom "gave he power to become the sons of God".
v. Whereas "received" and "gave" are both past tense and don't in themselves state which happened first; "believe" is present tense and "were born" is a passive voice past participle construction, which means that they were born of God before they believed.
vi. Therefore, as many as received Christ were given the power to become the sons of God prior to receiving Him.
vii. This agrees perfectly with other scriptures which declare that regeneration / passing from death unto life / being born of God precedes belief (Joh 5:24; 1Jo 5:1).

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