Daniel’s Righteousness versus Total Depravity
By David Cox
The second element of a single individual Christian or believer stands apart from the crowd with a devote and holy life before God is what God points out to us.
Again the examples of the Bible is to live holy and devout lives of sacrifice and obedience before God even though or especially when you are in an atmosphere of total ungodliness. God calls us to this, and this is something that the individual HAS TO DECIDE WITHIN HIMSELF. While God provides strength (ability) and a long list of other things (patience, compassion, love, energy, endurance, etc.), everything is hinged on your deciding and doing this.
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Dan 1:8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
Total Depravity and the Life of Daniel
We need to take a step back and look at the presentation of the life of Daniel. Why does God present us with this person’s life? Was Daniel’s holiness and righteousness purely a matter of God’s election? Did God preprogram Daniel to be holy? Whatever God does “behind the scenes” should stay there. We should not hypothesize or conjecture about it. Simply put Daniel’s “purpose in this heart” (attributing it to Daniel not to God forcing Daniel) is what is in the spotlight of God’s Word here. We should also note God does not say, “Daniel was holy because I forced him to be holy not matter what his will was beforehand.” God attributes to the person, intellect, desire, heart, etc. of Daniel what caused Daniel’s holiness.
This does not detract from God’s working holiness in us, but rather it is an effect of God’s working in us. The Calvinist is right in putting that point together. But it is God’s working in us, and our responding by our own will. This is what Total Depravity negates, that there is any participation on our part in this holiness thing.
Somehow, by Calvinistic “magic”, if we accept Total Depravity, it will make us immediately holy. How? On what basis? No. Holiness is the example and will of God, and that is put forth to us so that we can obey it or reject it. Rejection or neglect is the same as not being saved.
Within Calvinism, there is this spiritual apathy that comes from this helplessness thought, because THERE IS NOTHING I CAN DO THAT CAN PLEASE GOD, BECAUSE I BELIEVE TOTAL DEPRAVITY IS BIBLICAL. This is what is wrong with Calvinism, it is Satan’s instrument to decapacitate Christians from believing that their participation is immaterial to their salvation, their Christian life, their holiness, etc. This also reveals why Calvinism hate with a passion people like Methodists and Holiness people, because they take the exact opposite position, that our holiness is based on our own personal participation. A Methodist is somebody who focuses on the method of how to become holy.
While Calvinists accuse Methodists of having a works salvation, the Calvinists have a “workless” salvation. They are saved by their divine election, and so they minimally participate in their salvation, and because they, like the Jew, believe God has providentially blessed them without cause nor reason, they don’t have to produce good works.
Both sides are in error, because we do participate in our salvation and holiness, and if a Methodist believes that by their good works they are saved, then they are wrong. Most Methodists would refuse that they believe in that by the way.
Col 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
Every child that obeys their parents are pleasing in the sight of God. How did we get to the point where we would accept that “NOTHING WHATSOEVER WE DO PLEASES GOD”? Scripture screams with things we need to do, that when we do them, we are pleasing God. How did we get knee-jerk against any good work that we may do being evil and unholy before God? How did we get so twisted and perversely opposite of Scripture? Calvinism in their teaching of Total Depravity.
1John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
God conditions answered prayer on the life of the person praying, he must do what he commands (obedience) and we do things in our life that are pleasing in his sight. This is a basic principle in the principle of prayer, and the Calvinist who claims he believes in and is biblical Total Depravity is simply never going to get his prayers answered like he would like. His theological doctrine and haughtiness in Calvinism is going to “short-circuit” his power in prayer. This is so obvious because Calvinism is against Scripture, and Scripture against Calvinism, but they will insist that only true Calvinists are mighty in prayer.
Let me say that those who resign to a set eternal destiny for everybody and everything, where nothing can change because everything is predetermined by God are destined to not work as hard as they could for the Lord. Their theology guts their spiritual power.
As I understand Scripture, God is “outside of time”, specifically God the Father whose will we are to follow, and God being outside of time is both in time, before time, and after time, so he can work in ways which we cannot even begin to understand. If in that position, unlimited by time, above time, beyond time, in a reality alternate to time, God elects and determines, then so be it.
But we are not dwelling there with God in that place, not yet. Therefore God speaks through Jesus, the Spirit, the prophets as though everything was not predetermined, and we should work to change things so that God’s will is done. Our prayer life is to make our situation on earth as it is in heaven, i.e. God’s will is done.
We must contend with the reality before us, and that means that if we witness, a person can get saved, or if we pray, we can change things. That is how God presents our reality. We should accept it as such, and stop trying to be God, and see things as God has not given to us to see them.