Tuesday, July 08, 2008

...so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand

declaring the good news of the gospel of gracePlease read Alan Kurschner's excellent post; it is a powerful article under the title, "God Owes Us Nothing" - which, I believe, gives helpful insight to this post below.

is the antithesis to election and necessarily follows from it. If God does not elect a person, He rejects him. If God decides not to convert a sinner into a saint, He decides to let him remain a sinner (1). If God decides not to work in a man to will and to do according to God's will, He decides to leave the man to will and to do according to his own will. When God effectually operates upon the human will, it is election. When God does not effectually operate upon the human will, it is reprobation. Election is the expression of divine mercy; reprobation of divine justice. Paul teaches this in Romans 11:22, "Behold the goodness and severity of God (divine compassion and divine justice) on them which fell severity; but toward you goodness."

Reprobation relates to regenerating grace, not common grace. It is an error to suppose that the reprobate are entirely destitute of grace. All mankind enjoys common grace. There are no elect or reprobate in this refernece. Every human being experiences some degree of the ordinary influences of the Spirit of God. St. Paul teaches that God strives with man universally. He convicts him of sin and urges him to repent of it and forsake it (Roms. 1:19-20; 2:3-4; Acts 17:24-31).

Reprobation comprises preterition and condemnation of damnation. Preterition is a sovereign act; condemnation is a judicial act. God passes by or omits an individual in the bestowment of regenerating grace because of His sovereign good pleasure (eudokia). The reason of condemnation is known: sin is the reason. The reason for preterition is unknown: it is not sin, because the elect are as sinful as the nonelect. In preterition, God’s action is permissive; inaction rather than action. In condemnation God’s action is efficient and positive.

Preterition is “letting things stand” as they are. To omit or pretermit is to leave or let alone. The idea is found in Luke 17:34, “The one shall be taken, the other shall be left…”

Preterition in the bestowment of regenerating grace is plainly taught in Scripture (Isaiah 6:9-10*; Matt. 11:25-26; 13:11; 22:14; Luke 17:34; John 10:26; 12:39; Acts 1:16; 2 Thess. 2:11-12; 2 Tim. 2:20; 1 Peter 2:8; Rom. 9:17-22; Jude 1:4).

*Isaiah 6:9-10 is quoted more in the N.T. than any other O.T. text (4x’s in the gospels; 1x in Acts; and 1x in Romans). He said, "Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.' "Render the hearts of this people insensitive, their ears dull, and their eyes dim, otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return and be healed."

Source: William G.T. Shedd - "Dogmatic Theology"-third edition;

P&R Publishing, 2003 - p. 333-336

1. I don't think Shedd is not implying here that Christians are not any longer sinners. He is using the term to describe nature (unregenerate, sinner; regenerate, saint.) Saints are still sinners (Prov. 24:9) saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 4-6). Our old nature has been crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20-21; 2 Cor. 5:17). Though we have been completely delivered from the penalty of sin (salvation), we have not been delivered from the presence of sin (glorification) nor entirely from the practice of sin (sanctification) (Titus 2:12) until we are home with the Lord (Roms. 8:29-31; Titus 2:13). None of us have arrived to the fulness of our sanctification in this life... (Eph. 5:23-27; Rom. 12:1-2).

We all still struggle with sin and its desires (Rom. 7:7-10). But, as new creations in Christ, a genuine Christian will not be given over to the constant "practice of sin" without any repentance or sting of conscience (Gal. 5:16ff). We will be convicted of wrong actions and desire to please the Lord by ultimately turning from those things which do not honor Him. This is a struggle that even Paul faced in his own life (Rom. 7:14-20). When we do sin, our hope is that we have an adovate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous who intercedes for us (1 John 2:1-2). We are still sinners, that by God's grace are now made saints--His brethren (Heb. 2:11). We are new creatures but incarcerated in unredeemed flesh (Rom. 8:23) and there is the battle each day that we face in our daily walk in the Lord (Col. 3:1-14). And there is "no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus the Lord" (Rom. 8:1). I hope this helps clarify the distinction of what Shedd is saying here.

an encore presentation - retitled and updated
(originally posted 7/16/05)


loren said...

Hi Steve,

I appreciate the way you’ve been quoting others in your blog postings, because it leaves you greater freedom to field questions and respond. Shedd’s remarks portray a quandary that has faced the church for centuries. If certain persons are chosen to be saved, then those who were not chosen were destined to be condemned by default. That’s never a pleasant message to give.

Also, it leaves a question in evangelism. Those who were chosen were also predestined, so they will eventually believe anyway . . . so why preach? And those who were not chosen cannot be saved . . . not even by responding to the gospel? Ouch.

Calvinism is a formidable theology with very powerful, very weighty arguments. But I have dared to think that just maybe something is missing from it.

For example, let’s take the election in it’s most proper sense. I believe the election took place on the basis of absolute merit. As such, it resulted in the choosing of only one Person: Jesus Christ, the righteous:

“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.”
(Isaiah 42:1)

In this passage Jesus was chosen because He had a testimony that God delighted in Him. He was not called ‘one of the elect’, as though their were many, but the Elect One, which means the one and only (similar to the logic in Gal 3:16). In other words, He alone is the elect one of God, and election as it applies to us must stem from Him.

Thus, we would not be saved because we are elect; but rather, we would be elect in Him because we were saved:

“just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”
(Eph 1:4)

A suggestion like this would have a good motive, but it would start a chain reaction as well. How then would we view foreknowledge, predestination, perseverance, etc., under this perspective?

I do have an apprehension that both Calvinism and Armenianism are describing a ‘system’ at length, which almost sound as if those systems could stand on their own merit. I wonder if our ‘plan’ of salvation might not be better understood as a ‘person’ of salvation, as we simply believe in Christ and abide in Him.

I know that Calvin considered the election to be in Christ also, but I never heard where he went with that thought. I also believe that when we look for Christ in a teaching, if we make a mistake, God will understand our motive and reveal even this to us (Phil 3:14,15). So I hope this remark will be consider useful and thought provoking.

Bhedr said...

Hey Steve,

Good stuff and I agree. One more thing out of Romans 9 that I'd like all of us to consider on the love God feels toward the pre-damned.

"For I wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh...according to the flesh....according to the flesh.

You know the ones with the spirit of stupor and cannot see. The ones God hardened. Can anyone at least admit they don't understand this love Paul has in his heart? Is it possible that it comes from God? Is it possible that we haven't even begun to arrive at this point of wishing ourselves condemend to hellfire for the damned? And until we do should we not stay mute until we have the same heart Paul does? Is it possible that when hell literaly opens her mouth to feed on her souls and we see it...then we will.

My friends i wish I could somehow convince you of this. My friends I was on board the Iwo Jima when her boiler blew. I know hell is literal. I say this not to bragg, but to ask, "Have you seen men die?"

"Have you seen hell claim her own. Have you had nightmares and woke up in a cold sweat over it. Have you wept unbearably that when you as a Marine could do nothing but watch 10 sailors die in a boiler room that had Freddy Cruegers face painted in jest on the doorway? It never leaves you. The fact that you ran cowaring away from the 850 degree steam seeking life while 10 sailors embraced their death.Wondering if this was a coffin I was on. Why am I worthy to live even now while better men than I gave their lives for this country? For this country? Yes, the boiler had been repaired by Muslims in Bahrain. They put nuts on the bonnet to the valve that melted like ice as we left port. The investigation wrote it off as a mystery and foolishness; and decided against manslaughter charges since the inspectors didn't catch it before we left port and the experienced Muslim company played dumb. Oct 29, 1990

I believe in election but the wrath of God and the love of God leave a hole in my heart that causes me sometimes to tremble. I wish all men could be saved and delivered from the wrath to come; yet I have accepted the fact that I was chosen; not because there was anything good in my flesh or that I even seek him. I was saved at the age of six and until that day spent my life running, running from him and that day His seed opened up and bore understanding in me.

Having said all of that I still don't understand how both Moses and Paul could wish what they did. I embrace Jesus in my weekness and like the cowardly Joab who grabbed the horns on the altar. I don't want what I deserve and I want to know and explore this God who loves me so. He amazes me.

Moses prayed what Paul wished and only two at the end of the day..two mind you could see that God was good and that he would be with them wherever they went. The rest were bitter and envious always yearning for what was behind, angry at God for taking it away from them. God had to mete out their judgement according to how they saw him.

"Out of your own mouth I will judge you...." Luke 19:22

As He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it.-Luke 19:41

Brothers, I can't even begin to understand that; nor can I fit it into a tidy formula.

Perhaps we will one day when the end comes and we and the angels call out to a weeping God to tell Him He is just for doing what is so hard for Him to do.

"We know not what sprit we are of."

I encourage you to watch, "To End All Wars" and if you cannot do it then find a way to watch re-runs of 9/11. Imagine yourself in the building alongside those firefighters hearing the Splat! Splat! Splat! of men landing on the ground trying to fly away from the hell that was claiming them.
If you had been there and maybe some of you have, then you know it doesn't leave your mind and every breath you breathe and cup of cold water you drink causes you to tremble.

Please think of this at all roundtable discussions or blogs. I agree with this doctrine of election and God's selective love as a doctrine; but I don't even pretend to pontificate on the vast universe of it's scope. My finite and feeble mind cannot comprehend what God feels. You just can't inject that into the blueprint.

If you watch "To End All Wars" then think long and hard on the Scottish Argile at the end who had saught vengence on his Japanese persecutor and finished weeping over the man as he stabbed himself to end his life. Weeping and cradling him in his arms. I speak to you not of spineless emotional love, but of the volitional Love of God who weeps for all mankind.

Not on the point of man's need; but on the anguish in God's heart for unlovable man. His creation who is now a shattered image of what once was. The cup of wine he desired to drink from every morning in the Garden; yet knowing in this created state man could not know what love He had in His heart so He had to destroy him by putting Satan in the Garden. Destroy him and let him die so man could see the glory of God in the same way he let Lazarus die. He wept that day as well. This is the only way imaginable that we could ever know the Love of God. His re-creation now know it and he drinks deeply from that cup. A cup more beautiful and precious than the first. He now sups as He did that day after he raised Lazarus. Oh that all men could know this Love.
His Glory is His Agape.

Pray for the day that you wish yourself accursed so that all men may know of this Love. Sometimes I wonder if His choice partialy rests in how much we plead with Him to open eyes.

SJ Camp said...

Election is God's saving plan for man--not man's response to the gospel. It is all of grace; all of Him; and it does not depend upon us--at all. It is a comfort to know this truth and praise we should offer Him that we are not saved on our ability to understand Biblical evidence, by doing good works, or by a life given to religious practice. "He saved us..." (Titus 3:5). Soli Deo Gloria!!!

Why preach or share the gospel? For two reasons: The Lord commands we do (Matt. 28:18f); and it is our joy that He allows us to participate in His sovereign work (Rom. 10). That is why Paul says "I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory" (2 Tim. 2:10). Our methods and means or communicative skills do not add one jot or tittle of power or effectiveness to the gospel in changing lives--not one. (Rom. 1:16-17).

We call men to repentance (Acts 17:30) but the results are in the Lord's hands. Those who come to Christ (John 6:35-48) and remain in the faith (1 John 2:18-19) were granted salvation in "times past eternal" by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 1:9). It is this glorious doctrine that brings worship to our God...and humility to us, His creatures - amen?

Think of how this would change our evangelistic meetings and outreaches if we fully understood salvation and the call of the gospel from the point of view of sovereign grace rather than from the point of view of the "pragmatics of human ingenuity."

I am passionate about reaching lost souls. But I have the comfort in knowing that I don't need to manipulate or emotionally sway people for them to respond in repentance to confession of Christ as Lord for salvation (Rom. 10:9-10). My techniques mean nothing. my eloqunce means nothing; the beauty of my songs means nothing in the salvation of souls; yet they are tools in the hands of the Lord that I offer to Him to be used for His glory in any manner He deem worthy.

Is it anymore clear why Paul said to the wayward church at Corinth: "I sought to nothing among you than Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2).

In closing, listen to how Paul shared the gospel to the Stoic philosophers on Mars Hill--it is focused around the resurrection, repentance and the Sovereignty of God and then compare it with the trite "altar calls" of today's "evangelists":

"God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26And He has made from one blood[b] every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, "For we are also His offspring.' 29Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising. 30Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead." 32And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, "We will hear you again on this matter." 33So Paul departed from among them. 34However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them" (Acts 17:24-34)

Grace and peace,
Matthew 16:24-26

Jeremy Weaver said...

I agree with Steve (a common refrain in my comments)and would like to add a little,
The problem of Biblical Christianity is not why God lets people go to hell, since we are all deserving of hell and are running headlong in that direction, but why He lets anyone into heaven. The fact that anyone is saved is evidence of the love of God for His creation, and this love is shown to us very strongly in the doctrine of election. So great is God's love that He will not leave anything to chance, but He is active in our salvation from beginning to end. God formed us, knew us (and still loved us), chose us, predestined us, sent His
Son to die for us, called us, regenerated us, converted us, keeps us, and will present us faultless before Himself.

Bhedr said...

My point is not the need of man; but the fact that man unwittingly judges the anguish of God for all of his creation. And you are right Steve, there is nothing man can do to get any man to see this compartmentalization of the Love of God. It's obvious. The Spirit of God can only reveal it in His time.

The death of Lazarus was purely semetrical from our point of view; yet Jesus wept.

I can just imagine someone standing next to Him who already knows the formula saying, "Why are you getting all emotional over your glory?"

The opposite of Love is not hate; it is indifferance. It's like robbing a man of his tunic in dead of winter. only it is the anguish of God I implore men to see.

Loving others is the same as loving Him.

Paul wished himself accursed in place of his brethren. his anguish and love was so great.

If we would only meet Him in His anguish then the Fallow Ground that Keith always wished for would be broken up; only it wouldn't be with Finney's mindset nor would it be of the Calvanists.

"When our hearts are broken with grief at man's transgression we shall break other men's hearts."
-Charles Spurgeon

Psalms 126:5&6

What is Calvin to thee; follow the Lord.

SJ Camp said...

You wrote: "When our hearts are broken with grief at man's transgression; we shall break other men's hearts." -Charles Spurgeon

Excellent quote---thank you.

2Tal said...

Hello Steve,
I appreciate your ministry. You're broad sweeping knowledge and grasp of scripture I have always admired. You are truly a workman of the Word.I believe God will continue to use you mightily in His service. I enjoy sinking my teeth into this topic and the many others you have on this blog.
I would like to comment on what loren said. The fact that Christ is God's elect one and we are chosen in Him is a glorious truth. However, I find this is not the totality of what scripture teaches on this controversial issue. Some say that certain verses imply some contradiction to the doctrine of unconditional election. This may appear to be the case at first glance. However, I have found the more scripture I cover and the deeper I go into grappling with it's high volume of relevent content, being diligent in study to rightly divide it's meaning, that I eventuaully find no need to pit one verse against another. I know this is not what loren is doing. He's simply asking a question regarding what scripture is teaching here (as should we all). For me, after a span of quite a few years of study on this issue, scripture has now come together harmoniously in my understanding. I can truly say God alone is both author and perfector of my faith.
In Romans 9 Paul deals with the question of whether or not God's word has failed since his kinsmen according to the flesh are accursed, as Brain has already mentioned. (Those were good words brother! Very passionate and thought provoking!) These Jews are the ones whom Paul speaks of when he says that he could wish himself to be "accursed and cut off from Christ" in their place, "to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, service of God, and the promises".Rom 9:4 His answer to this dilema is "it is not as though God's word has failed, for they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, 'In Isacc your see shall be called.' That is, those who are children of the flesh these are not the children of God; but the children of promise are counted as seed." Rom.9:5-9
One reason as to why unconditional election is a glorious truth, (not to go too far into what Steve already said), might be found in Romans 9:14-16 referring to "God's pupose in election" and choosing Jacob over Esau before they were born "nor having done any good or evil in order that God's purpose in election might stand not of works but of him who calls".Rom 9:11. "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not. For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him who wills or runs but of God who shows mercy." Rom 9:14-16
I agree with Piper's intrepretation of this verse from his book "The Justification of God". Paul is quoting Exodus 33:19. Here we see God's verbal response first to Moses request that He would reveal His glory. "Then He said, 'I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." It may not seem right or fair to us that God would unconditionally elect whom He will have mercy upon and who will receive the justice in hardening they deserve. (See the next example of Pharoah for hardening. Rom 9:17-20) However, parahprasing Piper, in Paul's answer to the question "Is there unrighteousness with God?", quoting God's verbal response to Moses' request for a revelation of His glory, there is a strong emphasis here that God's sovereignty to act in perfect freedom, being unconstrained by anything outside of Himself and His own purpose, IS AT THE VERY CORE OF HIS GLORY. Therefore, when we feel compelled to ask the question of "Is there unrighteousness with God?" we should remember that it is righteous for God to 'proclaim the name Yaweh' in His glorious freedom of unconditional election. Why? Because as Piper put it, "This is what it means for God to be God."

loren said...

Hi 2Tal,

Well, I have thought about all of those things for a long time. I should be clear in saying that in raising questions, I'm not claiming to have all the answers. But if you'd like to hear some of the puzzles I've considered, I think these are some legitimate and helpful thoughts:

I agree that God chooses whom He will, and this does not depend on who we are or what we do. But this is not to say that He does not have a criteria in choosing us. In fact, 1 Cor 1:26-31 outlines this criteria. Or we might almost say, it is based on a lack of criteria on our part.

Paul explains God's reason for this (lack of) criteria in the form of it's goal, saying 'that no flesh should glory in His presence . . . he who glories let him glory in the Lord.' Basically, that Christ alone should be all and in all, which I'm sure we'd all agree on.

Why God chooses some people and not others has always been a mystery in a Calvinistic approach. Actually, I think this sheds some light on that area, without contradicting Calvinism in any way. And I also see another point to accompany it:

Jesus came into the world as the stone which the builders rejected, which became the chief cornerstone; He was rejected indeed by men yet chosen by God and precious. Peter says (I paraphrase) "you also, as living stones, were rejected just as He was, but now you have been chosen by God and are coming to Him . . ." (1 Pet 2:4-6).

So I see two helpful things in this. First, there is a reason behind God's criteria, and second, there is an identification with Christ behind that reason (and in saying this, I'm not excluding the fact that His work in our lives brought us to the point of this identification.) And again, I haven't seen anything about this that would clash with Calvanism in any way.

Another puzzle is similar to what Arminius saw. All of Calvinism can be logically derived for the doctrine of total depravity. But when we close the loop on that system, other verses seem to fall outside of that loop.

For instance, we know that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet 3:9). We also know that He predestines according to the counsel of His will (Eph 1:5). So this raises a touchy issue. Since His will is that none perish, wouldn't that mean that He predestines everyone to be saved?

Obviously that is not how it works in practice, but we may not need to shy away from that point entirely. Maybe God does predestine everyone in some sense, and He works with them, even if they are not saved in the end. We see an example of this in Romans 1:18-32, for example. He did work with the people mentioned here, and He revealed Himself to them, but when they hardened their hearts He gave them over to their disobedience.

This has made me wonder about the word 'predestination' itself. Maybe we need to understand this word more clearly. The Greek word is 'proorizo'. 'Pro' is the prefix for 'pre', and I believe 'orizo' is the root where we get our English word 'horizon' from. This makes me wonder if the word is talking about what must happen (destiny), or whether it's talking about what we are limited to.

As an illustration, I tend to think of Moses standing on Mt Pisgah and viewing the horizon of the promised land. As God described the borders, this is what they were limited to. It was the extent of their allowable destiny, though they never fulfilled all of it. It makes me wonder if predestination might be better understood in this light.

As I said, these are only thoughts and I am not dogmatic about them by any means. But I wonder if someone who is a Greek expert could find out more about that word?

Also, I appreciate everyone's passion and patience. I am really trying to see Jesus Himself in this subject, and I'm very teachable when it brings me closer to Him.

Bhedr said...

Hey tks bro 2tal glory to our Lord Yeshua. I am thinking of the 1970's Dallas Cowboys now. Ed 2 Tall Jones. What a player!


It is a tough subject indeed. Delight yourself in the knowledge that God thought of you and planned your salvation just like a surveyor plans a foundation. He has incredible love for you and chose you specificaly.
I once heard Mcgee state that a man that goes to a Romanian orphanage and decides on saving two boys out of many does not make him unrighteous but righteous for so doing. He could have chose all but for his own reasons he left behind many. It does not mean that his heart did not ache at leaving the others behind. I know its not a perfect analogy but it may help.

You could have been born in Tibet and been lost in the darkness of following the Dali Lama. This thought deeply makes me tremble. I decided to yeild to what scripture clearly says on election(immerse yourself in this Love in that his eye is specificaly on you. It is such a wonderful truth to rest on) and I must yeild to what scripture says on Love of all. Who can measure the Love of God or know his mind entirely.


loren said...

Hi Brian,

I am indeed thankful to the Lord that He has chosen me, because it’s true that we didn’t choose Him, but He chose us (John 15:16). That’s the side of the doctrine I’m okay with! But it makes me wonder about those on the other side of the question.

We know that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:4). but I don’t think the Calvinistic perspective adequately vindicates that desire in His heart. Somehow it’s too simplistic.

Also, this goes much further than a ‘desire’ on God’s part. Jesus has already offered Himself for the sins of every person (Heb 7:27; 9:12; 10:10), making Him the savior of all men (1 Tim 4:10). I know this is considered a mystery in Scripture, but it looks like Jesus has already paid for the sins of everyone, even if they never believe in Him. Thus we are now indebted to God, not for our sins, but for our lives:

”For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”
(2 Cor 5:14-15).

My real point is that God desires everyone to be saved, and Jesus was of the same mind and has already paid the full price, which shows that He is acting on the intention with the utmost commitment. He also obtained the needed result. So where’s the disconnect? I cannot see how He would go through all that, and then not claim them in any way. Jesus would even pick up the fragments that remained, that nothing be lost.

But of course, in the end, not everyone will be saved, so there must be another factor we’ve overlooked. Somehow we’re too simplistic; we’re still missing something. What does it mean that many are called but few are chosen, for example? I tend to think we understand predestination less perfectly than we might, and that the answer is that area.

Bhedr said...

Hey Loren,

I think you have good thoughts and I will meditate on them. The Calvanists make the soundest case in that it is all about the glory of God. I don't wish to step out of that realm either. This may indeed sound simplistic but unless He fashioned objects of wrath then His glory would not be made known to His elect. How would we even understand His glory if not?

He cannot save at the expensive of His glory. He is bound by His word.

I am blessed by your humility because in what you write I see that you understand that it is incumbent that every man understand that He is indeed loved by God.

I wish the Calvanist could see His grief in justice. Though he may be full of wrath it is in jealousy and hurt and in a heart that loves in the same way a man loves an unfaithful wife who leaves him.We are all like that wife but how many do you wish to strive with to bring to regeneration. We act as though this is a no sweat job for God."Oh wicked and perverse generation, how long will I continue to bear with you!", "This comes only by prayer and fasting." I think therin sleeps the answer. We were made after His image and I think to some extent we can understand how He can love and hate at the same time.

Are we too simplistic in regards to understanding Gods compassion and His thoughts. We are beyond simplistic in that. We are foolish.

In as far as his objects of wrath. I cringe at everyones criticism of MaCarthur because I think he understands there is history and a future complexity of understanding of his hatred. It is indeed rooted in the nature but you have to be honest that God remembers things that seem impractical and duplicious to us. Like the importance of Saul needing to kill the Amalekites for attacking Israel hundreds of years earlier. That alone does not make sense in our finite minds because the great grandchildren were killed for their sins. I'm sure that the hatred of Israel was still there though as it is today in many nations.

In fact I heard Piper say that if you think your saved and you hate Jews..your in big trouble man. In some sense that does raise your argument of Jesus since He(Yeshua-Yehovah-Self Existent One) is the seed of David. I understand your line of thinking; but I hesitate to step away from His Glory as being supreme. I have just talked in a circle. ha! I see your point.

I do think though that we as humans must just sit back and except two very simple and profound truths.

God elects and saves some on his own terms and not ours due to the upmost importance of His Glory; yet he loves all men and would see all men to come to repentance.

The apostle Paul told King Agrippa this as he tried to use his powerful gift of persuasion; yet fell short in convincing him. He wished that everyman listening to him might see and believe.

I think Stonewall Jackson reflects the heart of God when he held fast to his word and shot deserters even when he found out they were from his brigade. After shooting them He broke down and wept. Why did he weep? For everything one man said. We cannot understand the heart of God and I think it is foolish to break it down to our semetrical reasoning.

Hey I checked out your blog. My favorite Boston song is "It's been such a long time."

Visit my brothers website. He is a concert pianist. He was even nominated in the Grammy's several years ago. He has left all those dreams behind and now seeks Yeshua alone. He has a strong heart for Yisrael and weeps for them. I think you would love his music judging your tastes. His site:http:http://www.bradlee.com/

2Tal said...

I like what I'm reading. I think we are prone to put God in a neat little box even in saying He can't be put in a box because He is completely self-sufficent in His being and actions ("I am who I am", "I will be mericful to whom I will be merciful and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious." (John Piper gets credit for that last statement too.) If that were all we say fine. But we tend to draw conclusions that aren't necessarily true. Because God is a happy God in the fellowship of the trinity, He does not pity those whom He judges or feel sorrow toward the non-elect. Who says? Because He ordains everything then somehow we are not really worthy of damnation. Of course we would never say this out loud but the temptation to think this thought can certainly occur. Or because He hardens certain people then they must not really be hardening themselves. Oh really... We are so quick to draw conculsions in our minds (I include myself here) when all we really are is just little pots and pans telling our maker everything that makes Him tick. God is the creator and sustainer of everything. We should not draw conclusions that go beyond,or worse-) contradict scripture. God is good. His mercies extend over all his works even if some of His blessing as temporary. He told Adam "the day you sin you die." I'd say God at least temporarily saves everyone. "He is the Savior of all men but ESPECIALLY to those who believe." Therefore everything He does is good and loving in some indirect sense. Even His justice. God is love! We don't comprehend God because "His judgments are unsearchable." Faith is required here to let God be God. But when we get to heaven will see how bad we really were and how good God really was and any potential for boasting will be excluded. Sometimes God's glory seems dim in our minds from our perspective. But if we ever lose sight of how much He loves us and holds us and carries us in spite of all our folly, we will ALWAYS fully delight and be satisfied with Him in heaven.

Jus Divinum said...

I just want to point out that the definition of 'reprobation' provided by WGT Shedd here supports my contentions in my earlier dialogue with Breuss Wane. Shedd says:

"_Reprobation_ comprises _preterition_ and _condemnation of damnation_. _Preterition_ is a sovereign act; condemnation is a judicial act. God passes by or omits an individual in the bestowment of regenerating grace because of His sovereign good pleasure (eudokia). The reason of condemnation is known: _sin is the reason_. The reason for preterition is unknown: _it is not sin, because the elect are as sinful as the nonelect_. In preterition, God’s action is permissive; inaction rather than action. In condemnation God’s action is efficient and positive."

On Shedd's view of reprobation, condemnation is a judicial act _because of_ the sin of the sinner, while preterition is a sovereign and permissive act, "inaction rather than action". On Bress' view, the non-elect are unbelievers because of God's hatred of them. Not only is there no text of Scripture which teaches this, but it is out of accord with the views of representative Reformed theologians. Breuss says, "That the person is an unbeliever due to the decree is in itself the result of God's hatred." There are no Reformed theologians who teach this. None. In the Scriptures, divine hatred is always a response to sin. Shedd wisely leaves the cause of preterition a mystery, because he does not want to go beyond the Scriptures in this doctrine.

Lest I be misunderstood: I believe God hates the non-elect, and I believe that God ordains everything (even sin). But the Scriptures do not give us the _reason_ for preterition (such as saying it's hatred), and the reason for condemnation is sin. We'd be wise to leave it there, I think.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you are Keith Green with theology!!! Justification, sanctification and glorification!!! Past, present and future!!! Praise God for all three!

Bhedr said...

Were Keith alive today; he would be doing what Campi is. I'm almost convinced of it. He was in the process of grasping what Campi now has. Read his bio: NO COMPROMISE.

Nothing less except the grace of God by which I stand...

2Tal said...

In the past whenever this topic was covered it was always seemed to turn out to be polemical, aserbic debate. Maybe we're just more mature. I would like to comment though on loren's comment about "The Lord is not slack in His promise as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." MacArthur says the the word "us" in this passage is all the saved. The context of persecution and judgment thruout this passage supports that idea. God is patient toward His people waiting till He has gathered all His elect in the midst of all the blasphemy and Christ rejection. MacArthur does not interpret I Tim. 2:4 in a typical Calvinistic fashion however. He says "God desires all men to be saved" does in fact mean everyone and not just all classes of peoples. However, it is true many verses that use the terms "all men" or "world" are not used in a universal sense. Sproul says there are at least three different ways God wills. His preceptive will i.e. His commands and precepts, His decretive will which is immutable and fixed, and His will of disposition - "I take no delight in the death of the wicked". This refers to the kind intention of will when seeing things thru a "narrow lens" or in the here and now. However, this wish that all would repent and believe in the broad eternal scheme of things is a wish He has already decreed will ultimately not come to pass. However, God says to His people in the Old Testament if they do they remain unfaithful in keeping His commands He WILL take delight in destroying them utterly. This is one example of why we should not use certain scriptures to form our opinions but rather be ruled by the whole counsel of God. He cannot be put in a box.

Bhedr said...

Some good points in there 2tal.
What do you think of while reading the psalms? Do you see Davids heart in dealing with his enemies. It appears to me a mixture of emotions and resolve. This is all I am saying. Consider Davids mind toward Shimei and even his resolve in a gaurded position toward him; yet encouraging his son Solomon to deal with it in his wisdom. Solomon gives much opportunity to Shimei; yet shimei decides to leave his city of protection and is thus put to death.

In my observance of scripture I see this in the heart of God as well.

You can also not deny that in His final judgment of Israel(70 a.d) he precedes it with much weeping.

I simply cannot ignore this. To do so is to ignore clear teaching of scripture. The best comentary on the Bible and execution of judgment and mercy...is the Bible itself.

Read closely the book of psalms and take notice of the wrath of David as well as his mercy(sometimes all in the same sentence) He was a man very wired in mercy. Absalom...would that I have died for thee. It really seems to echo the heart of God.

Then there is his close friend whom he loved that killed Absalom and Davids hatred began to grow much later for the man. There is also a picture of Judas in their friendship. This is all I am saying and hope you will consider. I believe God is found in this more so than select verses that accomadate the angle we tend to gravitate toward.

Unknown said...

"VESSELS OF MERCY; VESSELS OF DESTRUCTION...so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand"
Hi Steve,
You have a very interesting web site. I lament that you are trapped in the false god of Reformation theology that adopts Aristotle’s god of destiny to the Bible. This is illustrated by your denial that God has a body in your Westminster Confession. The result is that you are defaming God in blaming Him for all the works of Satan. No one has ever been saved by the atonement as illustrated by the rulers who crucified Jesus who constantly followed the tradition in constantly offering the sacrifices of atonement. The atonement brings us to the Father. We are saved by contrite repentance in response to the light illuminating everyone as spoken by (John 1:9) who brings us into communion anew with God that brings joy that permits parting from sin. I John 3:6 The abiding in this communion “Rom 8:16” is the true definition of grace. Not the metaphysical power manipulating our free will, definition of grace, of Reformed theology derived from the “abstract idea” definition of God as the First Mover of Aquinas’ 5 ways.
Reformed Theologians are Vessels of Destruction. May God bless you to come to the true Living God before whom we are all naked in His sight. Heb 4:12-13.
Proud God defaming Reformed theologians in their spiritual abomination call anyone a heretic who literally believes the Bible. Anyone denying Rev. 22:4 is under the curse of Rev 22:14
My grandson has a studio en Franklin.
Willing to chat,
Wayne Searfoss 956 772 4222 wsearfos@hotmail.com