determine the opinions, faith is a moral act and men are responsible for not believing.
<430318> John 3:18-20 ? ?He that believeth on him is not judged: he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light and cometh not to the light lest his works should be reproved? 5:40 ? ?ye will not come to me, that ye may have life?; 16:8, 9 ? ?And he, when he is come, will convict the world in respect of sin.. . of sin, because they believe not on me?; <660221>Revelation 2:21 ? ?she willeth not to repent.? Notice that the Revised Version very frequently substitutes the voluntary and active terms ?disobedience? and ?disobedient? for the ?unbelief? and ?unbelieving? of the Authorized Version, as in <451531>Romans 15:31; <580318>Hebrews 3:18; 4:6, 11; 11:31. See Park, Discourses, 45, 46.
Savages do not know that they are responsible for their physical appetites, or that there is any right and wrong in matters of sense, until they come under the influence of Christianity. In like manner, even men of science can declare that the intellectual sphere has no part in man?s probation and that we are no more responsible for our opinions and beliefs than we are for the color of our skin. But faith is not a merely intellectual act, the affections and will give it quality. There is no moral quality in the belief that 2+2 = 4, because we can not help that belief. But in believing on Christ there is moral quality because there is the element of choice. Indeed it may be questioned whether, in every judgment upon moral things, there is not an act of will.
Hence on <430717>John 7:17 ? ?If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from myself.? F. L. Patton calls attention to the two common errors.
(1) That obedience will certify doctrine, which is untrue because obedience is the result of faith, not vice versa.
(2) That personal experience is the ultimate test of faith, which is untrue, because the Bible is the only rule of faith, and it is one thing to receive truth through the feelings, but quite another to test truth by the feelings. The text really means, that if any man is willing to do God?s will, he shall know whether it be of God and there are two lessons to be drawn. (1) The gospel needs no additional evidence and 2) the Holy Ghost is the hope of the world. On responsibility for opinions and beliefs, see Mozley, on Blanco White, in
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