01 September 2010

Doctrines of Grace - Part "U" Follow-up

In re-reading my post from yesterday, I fear I didn't adequately articulate everything I was trying to say! Let me be clear that I am not denying that God's Word speaks of man's free will and choice to come to Him. I think it has been shown, however, how abundantly clear the Bible is that God also chooses us. So who chose whom? Speaking from experience, I know what I was like in my unregenerate state and I was not one who would have chosen God first. Surely He does choose us.

If we are to assume that it is entirely man's choice, completely separate from any work of God or the Holy Spirit, to choose Him, then we must look at what we are appealing to when we witness. We are either appealing to a.) man's reason or b.) man's emotions. Reason will never choose God because reason will discount the supernatural aspect of faith. Emotions may choose God for a season, but often we will find that these conversions are those rooted in the rocky soil. I must conclude, then, that God first does the choosing and the enabling by His Spirit for us to respond to His call and choose Him.

I am not denying that we respond to His effectual call. The Bible is clear that we must respond in faith and repentance in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. So we do not wake up one morning and POOF! we are suddenly Christians, it does require a choice to respond to God's effectual call in faith and repentance. But this response is not without the enabling of the Holy Spirit, as I showed in yesterday's post that even faith is a gift from God.

So what am I trying to say that I feel was not effectively communicated in my previous post? The Bible tells us that God chooses us. Plain and simple, this cannot be denied. The Bible also speaks of man's free will. They are both there. The Bible doesn't contradict itself, so what do we do? We believe and accept that there are some divine mysteries which God has chosen not to fully reveal to man. If it's in the Bible, I believe it. If that means that I cannot fully understand it, fine. I will not, however, deny a doctrine that is so clearly set forth in God's Word simply because it doesn't resonate with my fallen human reason. This isn't the only mystery that faces us. As I said in my discussion of man's inability, how was Jesus 100% God and 100% man? I don't know. But the Bible says it so I believe it. How do we understand the Trinity? We can't, not fully, and yet it's in the Bible and so we believe it. How was the Bible written by men but also written by God? Again, we cannot reason this out, but it's in Scripture and so we believe. How is it that God elects His children and yet we maintain our free will? I don't know, but it's in there and so I believe it! And I rest in the knowledge and truth that God's grace has saved me, because I could never do it on my own.

8 comments:

  1. You're still saying God chooses who will be saved and who will not be saved. Not a loving God. This is indeed the Calvinist false teachings.

    God chooses us - elects us - based on his foreknowledge that we will choose the way of salvation he offered. This is where Calvinism is confused - they confuse foreknowledge with foreordination.

    I know I will not convince a Calvinist of his error, but I just like to get my two cents in for anyone reading this who is in a confused state. I still suggest you get Dave Hunt's book, "What Love Is This," Norman Geisler's book, "Chosen But Free," "Grace, Faith, Free Will," by Robert E. Picirilli and "Why I Am Not A Calvinist," by Jerry L. Walls and Joseph R. Dongell.

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  2. Thank you so much for your blog! I have your site linked into our ministry and I must tell you that it has been a blessing for the hundreds of people who have access.
    I have been silently following Glenn's remarks and I believe that he is clearly the one who is confused. If God is dependent upon His foreknowledge of OUR decision to choose HIM, then doesn't that give us power OVER HIM? We are powerless to do anything. Our every breath is by His command. Did we choose to be born physically? No. We also do not CHOOSE to be born spiritually. God is God. He is in control of ALL things. NOTHING is done without His nod. That would also include our salvation. In His LOVE, He invites all to come to His Son which is the ONLY way to the Father. It is obvious that most do not choose to come. There is our free will. How do we compromise the two Biblical thoughts? I honestly don't know! God is the ONLY One who can explain that paradox and so far, He has not chosen to do that. In the meantime, I am thankful that He stamped "SAVED" on the bottom of my foot and in my heart. I trust that if indeed He was a mean God when He designed His creation, that He must also then be a liar because His Word speaks over and over of His love. Perhaps He knows something we don't know? Isn't that a novel thought? Perhaps He has His reasons for everything He does and we are not to question because after all, He is perfect and so are His choices. He doesn't make mistakes, although I look around at some of the people we share air with and I wonder! Seriously though, we can't always understand God's ways. He only gives us His Word. Both election and free will are threads throughout the Bible. I choose to go with the blog author and am just thankfully content to be one of those He chose to come to HIM. This is HIS sandbox...not ours. He gets to make the rules and if we want to change them or force OUR version of them onto someone else, well, I believe we will soon have the opportunity to tell Him exactly what we think about His choices! My guess is that He will have the last Word. In the meantime, I smile when I read Psalm 2:4.
    You've done your best EBenz! I love the way you always support your words with Scripture...which is something not all of your readers do. Blessings on your work! As you can see, we will be encountering more and more confused people as we continue to look up for our Lord's Return!
    P.S. Don't waste your time on the recommended books. I have found that the author with all the right answers is the One who wrote the Bible! All others are just men with opinions like all the rest of us!

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  3. Well the author who wrote the Bible never says God made everyone a puppet with no free will, which is what Calvinism teaches. God has limited himself to allowing our choices, otherwise he would be forcing us to love him. THat isn't love. It is indeed in his foreknowledge that he chooses us, otherwise it would be only his fore-ordination - making robots.

    As for Scripture that says we have choice and that God commands us to seek him (which if we were unable to do would be a lie):
    Josh. 24:15; 2 Chron 15:2; Ezra 8:22; Ps. 10:4; Ps. 86:5; Jer. 29:13; Mark 16:16; John 1:12; John 3:16-17, 36: John 5:24; John 5:40; Acts 17:30, et al. If man has no choice, explain 1 Pet. 3:1.

    So does God creat people for whom he has no love, has given no free will and created solely for hell? God must have a reason for saving some and condemning others or else he would be acting unreasonably, which is out of his character. Is God loving and merciful to those he predestines to Hell? If God chooses who will be saved apart from their choice of him, then why does Satan have to blind those who are not saved to prevent them from believing? 2 Cor. 4:4

    I'll give you as much Scripture as you like. :oD

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  4. Sorry I haven't had time to jump into the comment conversation. Yes, I am still saying that God, in His sovereignty, chooses us first. I say that because there is far too much Scripture to deny that truth. I also acknowledge that Scripture speaks of man's volition, so I cannot deny that truth either. To deny one or the other or to twist it so that it fits into my human reason is to do injustice to God's Word, so I choose to accept it as one of God's mysteries. As I've said before, this is one more proof that God wrote the Bible! If necessary, I can offer more Scripture than has already been provided in my posts, but it's easy enough to see from the pages of Scripture that God chooses. Glenn has also offered Scripture that describes man's choice. Okay, so our tiny, fallen brains can't fully reconcile those two--why do we have to this side of Heaven? It's enough for me to believe that God is big enough to have comprehension and reason beyond my own and to accept His words as truth, no matter how hard that truth may sometimes be.

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  5. I think it is all very easy to reconcile when one understands that God is outside of time and he sees the end from the beginning. He knows what choices everyone will make. Through this foreknowledge he elects those who indeed choose him, but he does not fore-ordain their choice. Calvinist says the only way God can foreknow is if he fore-ordains, which really limits God!

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  6. I agree with Glenn and foreknowledge...Not
    sure how I would react to someone telling me my granddaughter's destiny is heaven or hell regardless if I shared Christ or not and that she had no choice,,,

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  7. I think that it's okay to disagree here, but since we're still talking about it...

    If salvation is entirely up to man, then what do we do with all of the verses that speak of God choosing us? As I said, I think this is something that cannot be reconciled because we cannot know the mind of God. I am not God (a fact for which I think we are all very thankful) and so I do not profess to understand fully how it is that both truths of man's volition and God's choice are clearly spelled out in the Bible. As for foreknowledge, 1 Peter also tells us that Christ was foreknown, but I think we can all agree that God didn't look into the future, see that Christ would die and THEN make the decision that He would be our Savior.

    Perhaps I've seen too clearly the sovereignty of God in my own life, which is why I simply cannot downgrade it in the matter of salvation.

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  8. It is indeed all up to man as to whether he chooses or rejects Christ. That does not override God's sovereignty because he gives us the free will choices. As noted, his foreknowledge that we will choose Christ is what leads him to elect us. But God would not elect us if we didn't choose Christ on our own. He does not force anyone to love him to choose Christ. That would be, as noted, making us nothing more than robots.

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