In the 9th chapter of Romans verses 9-19 there is a topic that I've heard discussed and am unsure of how to answer and would appreciate some input concerning this.
In this section it speaks of God choosing certain people from the womb to fulfill His purposes whether for good or bad (from a human standpoint that is) . Paul seems to be answering an accusation from someone that God was unjust because He was not even giving the people a chance for salvation before they were ever born (ie -Pharoh and Esau).
To answer this Paul quotes (in verse 15) that God told Moses "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy". Then in verse 19 Paul states the retorical question "Why does He (God) yet find fault? For who can resist His (God's) will ?
This 'seems' to imply that God arbitrarily dispenses mercy and therefore salvation is 'not' available for everyone. I hasten to add that there is no one who believes more in the absolute sovereignty of God so please do not think that I am accusing God of being'unjust'.
It's just that this is a difficult concept to explain in light of the scriptures that speak of salvation being available to everyone.
Again, I would greatly appreciate some input on this subject.
This is scary.... and just when I was beginning to have hope.
You have introduced an interesting subject here. Thank you.
First of all, I agree with Grace to you: God knows who will come to Him....and those who will not.
Jesus says in John 6:64, " But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him."
That brings us to the villain - Judas.
Jesus is talking again in John 6:70, " Jesus answered them, " Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?"
Judas had been living with the Lord for 3+ years.......seen all the miracles....heard all Jesus's words..... and yet rejected Him.....and stole from the treasury bag. These would be the type of persons that God will not give mercy to.
Charles, I agree with you....it is a difficult concept to come to terms with. However, no doubt in my mind that God knows who will, or won't come to Him through the Lord Jesus Christ, and has mercy accordingly.
Also, there is no doubt in my mind that there are people.....who for whatever reason.....just won't come......like Judas.
We probably will never understand.......but God does.
Grace and Peace.
I believe that your statement " We probably will never understand........but God does" maybe about the best we can do for now though anyone's additional input would be welcome.
The reason this came up was while I was researching scripture for a study on Micah 6:8 that I shared last Thursday at the church I attend I came across this. My main emphasis was on learning to 'love mercy' as Micah memtioned in this scripture. I believe that the more we learn about the love and mercy of God the more loving and merciful we will desire to be in our ownlives.
The scripture that really keeps me from questioning to deeply is in Isaiah 55 Where He states "My ways are not your ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts".
Anyhow, God bless you my friend.
wow. Thanks for posting Grace
In the Parable of the Vineyard Owner, Jesus tells us that God grants mercy and forgiveness to whomever God chooses. It is God who decides what's fair; not us.
Jesus tells this parable because he wants us to understand an important lesson about humanity's relationship to God: "Don't forget, you are not God. You don't make the rules, God does. Just be glad you're included in God's mercy and forgiveness!"
We must remember we are not God. This important truth is one that many in the 21st Century are failing to remember. Our whole civilization reeks of this memory loss. Whether it is the selfish narcissism of modern culture or the blind pride and jingoism of some of our political leaders, we are losing sight of the truth that we are not God.
We must remember that we are not God. God is sovereign. We are not. Grace is God’s property, not ours. God will bestow it on whomever God chooses. W e are not in the driver’s seat of the universe, God is. We can question how well God is driving, but God is still the driver.
With all my heart, I believe there's nothing wrong with humanity that the grace and mercy of God won't cure. But that cure only comes when we fall on our knees and remember that we are not God.
This is an important topic. I will pray on how and what to share tonight about it.
First let me say the following. My understanding of the topic is a bit different then our Coordinator's, LT. Who I love and respect deeply. He and I differ just a bit in how we interpret those verses in light of scripture, but we are in FULL agreement that our slight disagreements on the topic are secondary issues that need NOT divide us. There are God fearing Children of God who differ in how those verses are interpret and we usually don't get into the topic, because it tends to be a "HOT TOPIC," but hot topic, or not, we, the people of God need to learn how to discuss such topics in love and to also show our brothers and sisters around the world that such topics are secondary issues that need NOT Divide us.
I love you all very much. I will get back to you soon. :)
Yes, we differ on one main point, but I know that you and I can discuss it without digressing into the mud. I trust others will join in as well, but there will be a no "mud slinging allowed" sign posted :-)
I believe we confuse mercy and grace. God's grace was shown in sending Jesus to die for our sins so that ALL can come to repentance if they so choose and be saved. God's MERCY is something He reserves to give out...perhaps towards those He feel seek Him with all their heart? So because He gives mercy to whom He chooses, doesn't mean He didn't gives us all the grace to provide us with salvation. Salvation is clear, believe that Jesus is the son of God, accept Christ. Then we ask God to do things and He tell us to ask and we shall receive. But he follows that up with "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." If we're still having trouble doing to others right...walking in love, obeying God's law and commandments, God may choose to withhold what we ask...choose to withhold His mercy.
God accredited Abraham and others with righteousness before Christ. So He did not withhold the chance for salvation. He showed mercy on them based on their following His laws and loving Him. And since He knows all, as some have said, He knew ahead of time who would or wouldn't accept Him.
It goes along with how God hardened Pharaoh's heart. God knew Pharaoh wouldn't choose Him, but to harden His heart was to give him over to his own desires. Gotquestions has a good article on this: http://www.gotquestions.org/God-harden-Pharaoh-heart.html.
We long to know Him and all his ways because He is altogether lovely. There are matters that are beyond us and God's sovereignty and man's liberties do step into such territory, but there is also much that God has revealed to us through His revelation (His Word) of himself, about the topic. He has chosen to make his will and ways known to us. We know in part for now, but we know…
We long to know him more and more, because his word conformed us to the image of the one that saved us. Brothers and sisters whether we agree or not on the interpretation of these text NOTHING IN THIS WORLD CAN CHANGE THE FACT that you are my beloved, that we are family, family in Christ. I love you all very much. :)
Tozer said: What comes to our mind when we think of God is the most important thing in our lives; I agree with him. Nothing matters more than to know him. Paul said: "Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ" ha-ha that is simply beautiful. :)
The word of God did not have chapters and verses originally, it was meant to be read as a book or a letter. However I do agree that having chapters and verses is a blessing and God orchestrated, but let us go back a bit. Paul has been talking up to now of how everyone is fallen (1-3) and he goes on to explain how God can justify a person who is in such fallen state (3-5). He talks about our freedom in Christ and also of our struggle with the flesh and goes on to explain how to overcome in 8. Let’s pick up in 8: 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who ihave been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
29For those God foreknew he also predestined ...
What does it mean for God to foreknow someone? Does it mean that God knowing the end from the beginning knows who will one day repent and believe in him? Is that a biblical teaching? Is that the basis of his choosing? Not at all. That is never taught in scripture. When we study what it means for God to foreknow someone we see a love affair with that someone. A choice in the part of God. There are doctrines which we believe, that are not delineated in scripture step by step. We arrive at them by the conclusive and abundance of evidence through logical deduction and verses that indirectly make the case, but the belief that God chooses according to the knowledge He has of the creature, is not hinted in scripture. However we are told over and over again that God chooses according to his will and good pleasure, but we will have none of that, in our final analysis because it seems to at least in the mind of some, to do damage to the character of God.
We are told over and over, the reason why this is so, the prominent reason being God's sovereignty over his creation, but also redundantly we are told that we should not boast, for salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is entirely his so none can boast.
God's foreknowledge is always an active verb, yes God has all knowledge, but this foreknowledge is not just a knowing of events to come, but a love given to those He calls. I have gone into this in detail in other places, so this is all I will say about that for now, but we are establishing context. Paul goes on to talk about God's sovereign choice over the twins of Rebekah, Jacob and Esau. This speaks of both, God's choosing of nations, which are made of individuals and also of individuals.
Paul was a great apologist, the best, and he was ready to give an answer to those who would cry out, as they always did when he taught them about God's sovereignty over salvation, that that would make God unjust. Paul contended that that is not the case.
Let me stop here again and break down your statements Charles with hopes to shade some light.
>>In this section it speaks of God choosing certain people from the womb to fulfill His purposes whether for good or bad (from a human standpoint that is) . Paul seems to be answering an accusation from someone that God was unjust because He was not even giving the people a chance for salvation before they were ever born (ie -Pharoh and Esau).
God has chosen from eternity past who He would save according to his good pleasure and will, but in that choosing He does no damage to the will and liberty He himself has granted the creature. God made us intelligent, able to reason and with the ability to choose. We don't choose God, not because we cannot physically do it or intellectually do it or emotionally do it, we don't choose God because we love sin in our fallen state. In such we love to gratify the desires of the flesh and we neither can or want to submit to God for we are dead in trespasses and sins. God is not actively holding us back from himself, yet we will not come to be saved. We will have our sin instead. So in God choosing one and not the other, He is simply giving one grace, who deserves hell. God calls and commands everyone to repentance, but He effectually calls his sheep, with a calling that can be resisted and fought against, but God's Spirit prevails in breaking through our resistance. We all deserved hell, but God actively saves some and the others he calls, but they will not come to him to be save, unless God changes their heart. God has given the whole world a chance, by sending his son to die for them, but again we are too lost in our sin. Romans 1 state that thought they (creation/humans) know there is a God they rather worship the creation, than the creator. No not one has an excuse. No, not one seeks after God.
Jesus died for his Church, his sheep, for many, yes for the world, because his church is in within the tribes and people groups all around the world. Salvation is available to everyone, come you who are heavy leaden and He will give you rest. Come and swim in the river of his love. Come God the father says, come says Jesus and the Holy Spirit, come... whosoever... come... but they have all gone their own way, none seek God, not one. When Saint Aquinas was asked that there seem to be men seeking God he answer that indeed men seek the benefits of God, but not God.
We know that those that seek God do so because God has called them, for none can come to the Son unless the Father brings them.
Salvation is available to everyone, but dead men don't want it. It takes God's Grace and call for us to come. When Jesus resurrected Lazarus, Lazarus had no saying in the matter, He had no choice but to come forth and so do we when God effectually calls us and regenerates us.
God is not unjust - He is Holy and perfect, but He gives mercy, grace to whom He wants to. He does not owe it to anyone. God is glorify in giving Grace unto salvation as well as passing judgment over the rebellious creature, who does not choose God, not because it can't intellectually, emotionally or physically but because it is slaved to his own passions.
for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:13
Romans 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without
effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
Ephesians 1:5 …4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.…
Acts 13:48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Ephesians 1:11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,
13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
What does it mean for God to harden the heart of men? It doesn't mean that God places evil in the heart of man, for God cannot sin, it means that God retracts from the creature the convicting work of the Holy Spirit and allows that men to do what his heart desires. He hardens their heart by simply not interfering in their lives as he does in most. Always calling men to repentance is the work of the Spirit, directly by dealing with the creature or through his servants. God does not go into the heart of men to harden it, he simply allows that man to take more rope to continue to do his will. Our will kills us and hardens our heart. That IS WHY God intervenes in the heart of those Jesus died for, the Church.
We are in agreement with scripture. :) According to scripture every soul does get convicted by God. Every person receives light from God.
(9) The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.