How hard is it for the natural man to believe the gospel?



@TomFL Do all natural men have the ability to believe the gospel, but not the desire?
If by natural you mean the psychikos 1Co 2:14 the answer is no

for the psychikos only act according to the wisdom of the world

as long as they are in this mode they cannot

Further if having experienced and rejected previous revelation they have been hardened against belief


Well-known member
So God plays chess and we are the pieces?
I didn't say that. Paul says that God is the potter and we are the clay. He chooses some for wrath and some for mercy. This does offend.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”

Our wills are free to sin.


I didn't say that. Paul says that God is the potter and we are the clay. He chooses some for wrath and some for mercy. This does offend.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”

Our wills are free to sin.
Except that passage is not teaching God choses some for mercy and some for wrath from birth

Paul's interlocutor is a hardenerd Jew who believed he was deserving of righteousness

but Those who come by way of God's plan receive mercy and righteousness

those who oppose God's plan receive wrath

The Jews had rejected the plan of God for righteousness

Romans 9:27-32 (KJV)
27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:
28 For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.
29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.
30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law.
For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;

Romans 11:17-23 (KJV)
17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.
20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.

It was their own unbelief that cut them off

and they could be grafter back in if They remained not in unbelief

thus the Jews who were god's elect were hardened and used for the ignoble purpose of crucifying the messiah

If you read the original potter and clay passage in Jeremiah

Jeremiah 18:1-12 (KJV)
1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
2 Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.
3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.
7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;
8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.
9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;
10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.
11 Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.
12 And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.

you should notice these things

the clay was marred
The clay was the house of Israel

the clay rather than being controlled by God was actually rebellious again God and contrary to God's desire for them

Beloved Daughter

Super Member
1 Corinthians 1:18

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.

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.

I believe scripture says it is impossible for the natural man to believe the gospel.

Bingo. Only the elect can understand the gospel.

Only those who are drawn by God the Father can be saved.

John 6:37-39English Standard Version (ESV)

37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.

John 6:44English Standard Version (ESV)

44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

God Speed


Well-known member
I haven't said there is something I can do that others can't do.
But your teaching it. You believe before you were born again you were able to believe unto salvation. That’s a special ability. An ability that only you possess I seems.

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3.

Yet, by your beliefs and teaching, you were able to see the kingdom of God before you were born again. That’s quite a special ability.
That is your false narrative. I'm not trying to keep people away from God. That is your false narrative.
Not from the God your idol factory created.

Beloved Daughter

Super Member
I believe the natural man, after hearing the gospel can understand certain aspects of it, but can only reason through it with human wisdom and understanding. He can also express historical faith, which may agree, because it is recorded that the things mentioned in the gospel did happen.

But in the spiritual aspect, as you posted 1 Cor 2:14 and others, man cannot understand, since it is spiritually discerned, and one has to be born of the Spirit (regenerated) to have understanding.

Regeneration and the gift of the spirit happens below our conscience. So when we hear the gospel proclaimed we find ourselves believing. This is the power of God, this is grace.

Man does have a responsibility, God does not believe for us. As Romans 10 teaches, we believe in our heart and we confess Christ as Lord because we believe, not because we made a decision to believe.

Hence: the gospel is the power unto salvation to those who are believing YLT

A great response by Got Questions concerning regeneration.

Regeneration is the act of God by which a spiritually dead person becomes spiritually alive. Regeneration is the “born again” experience mentioned in John 3:3. The question is when regeneration occurs. Is regeneration a result of salvation or does regeneration result in salvation?

At first glance, this issue might seem to be inconsequential. But it is actually one of the key disagreements in the Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate. For a Calvinist, if God does not first regenerate people before they trust in Christ as Savior, that faith is something people produced on their own, making salvation dependent on them instead of on God. For an Arminian, if God must regenerate people in order for them to believe, there is no genuine free will, and the call to believe is pointless.

For the Calvinist, Ephesians 2:1 is key: “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins.” Without Christ, people are spiritually dead. Dead people cannot do anything. A spiritually dead person can no more do anything to remedy that situation than a physically dead person can climb out of a grave. Therefore, God must regenerate people, making them spiritually alive, before they can trust in Christ as Savior (John 3:8).

For the Arminian, all of the biblical calls to believe in Christ as Savior are key (e.g., John 3:16; Acts 16:31). If people are unable to believe without God first regenerating them, the biblical calls to believe are pointless. God does not command people to do what they are incapable of doing. Calling people to believe in Christ when they are incapable of doing so on their own, and then judging them for their lack of faith, would be unfair and unjust. Further, if God must regenerate people in order for them to have faith, essentially “installing” faith in people, God would essentially be forcing people into salvation.

So, does regeneration come before faith? John 6:44 says, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” Second Corinthians 4:4 declares, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” It is undeniable that God must do something to enable people to believe. At the very least, God must draw people to Christ and open their eyes.

The question still remains, however, must God regenerate people, i.e., save them, before they can believe? Is it possible that God could enable people to believe without regenerating them? Could God draw people, unblind their eyes, soften their hearts, and open their minds, making it possible for them to believe, without actually regenerating them? For the Arminian, the answer is yes, and this “spiritual awakening” is known as prevenient grace.

Again, for the Calvinist, Ephesians 2:1 is the deciding factor. It is impossible to draw, unblind, soften, or open the minds of dead people. God must make people alive, regenerate them, before they can believe. Arminians believe that Calvinists are taking the analogy between physically dead people and spiritually dead people too far. They claim that being spiritually dead only means that people cannot come to Christ on their own and that being spiritually dead is not 100 percent analogous to being a corpse.

This issue has been fiercely debated for hundreds of years. This article is not going to settle it. It is absolutely biblically clear that God must do a work in people before they can believe. The extent of that work is debatable. Calvinists perhaps overestimate what God must do before people can believe. Arminians perhaps underestimate what it means to be spiritually dead.

The key point is that God must do a miraculous work in people’s lives before they are able to believe in Christ unto salvation. As a result, all the glory belongs to God (Romans 11:36). On this, Calvinists and Arminians agree, even if they don’t think they do.

Beloved Daughter

Super Member
Rephrase. You're no different than those you claim God condemns.

So you're special? Why did God choose you and leave others just like you to rot in hell?

The scriptures tell us:

Romans 8:26-39

26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the [j]saints according to the will of God.

28 And we know that
[k]God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was [l]raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of [m]Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,

“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


The Scripture already shows the natural man cannot do anything to save itself. You're still arguing the natural man is able, contrary to what God has revealed. That's the entirety of your argument in a nutshell.
The so called "natural: man is the psychikos - the one who sees things and judges only from a human point of view

The passage concerns two kinds of wisdom worldly wisdom verse that which comes from God

Worldly wisdom is sensual it will not come to spiritual truth

but there is also truth which comes from God - The spirit revealed this truth to the ap0ostles. The apostles preached this and some respond to it

1 Corinthians 1:21 (KJV)
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Again worldly wisdom knows not God but the wisdom which from God preached reaaches some and they are saved by it

The problem with the Calvinist interpretation is it ignores context

not only the near context but even the more remote

Seventh God's word says/shows it is sufficient

John 20:31 (KJV 1900)

31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

This clearly presupposes the gospel may be understood

2 Timothy 3:15 (KJV 1900)

15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

presupposes Holy scriptures may be understood

Isaiah 55:11 (KJV 1900)

11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth:

It shall not return unto me void,

But it shall accomplish that which I please,

And it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

God’s word prospers in whatever it is set out to do

Psalm 19:7 (KJV 1900)

7 ………………………The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

Psalm 119:130 (KJV 1900)

130 The entrance of thy words giveth light;

It giveth understanding unto the simple.

Self explanitory

Romans 10:17 (KJV 1900)

17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

The word of God brings faith. It must be understood to do so

Acts 17:11 —KJV

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

This shows one can judge spiritual truth by the scriptures which must be understood to do so

Acts 18:28 —KJV

“For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.”

Presupposes spiritual truth explained can be understood

John 1:7 —KJV

“The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.”

Again presupposes spiritual truth explained can be understood

James 1:21 (KJV)
21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word,

which is able to save your souls.

Presupposes the word has power to save

Ephesians 3:4 (KJV)
4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

Presupposes reading sufficient to knowv spiritual truth

When God wanted Cornelius to receive the gospel he sent a preacher

Acts 11:13-14 (KJV)
13 And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and

call for Simon, whose surname is Peter;
14 Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.

The spirit sent Philip to preach the gosperl to the Ethiopian Eunuch

Acts 8:27-35 (KJV)
27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

in addition a number of verses demonstate an ability to believe

Men needed to be hardened so they could not believe

John 12:40 —KJV
“He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”

had men not hardened themselves they could have believed

Acts 28:27 —KJV
“For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”

Jesus spoke to men in parables to prevent their understanding

Matt. 13:10–14 —KJV
“And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:”

Why would the god of this world blind those who are incapable of sight

2 Corinthians 4:4 (KJV)
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Calvinist theology here cannot account for the whole of the biblical data

It has ripped a verse from its context and not harmonized itself with the whole of scripture