Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Questions from God

Do you trust me?  Will you bet your life on it?  Will you follow me as a result?

What God is after, why God made mankind the way he did, why things happen in historical time as they do is that God has a desire for mankind that requires the right answer to these kinds of questions from God. If one sincerely answers, "yes," God can share himself with that person. If one does not, he or she cannot be trusted with God's image, freedom, or even life itself, and will ultimately be contained and confined in a way not repulsive to God's omniscience.

The Bible demonstrates this from God's testing of Adam to Jesus' dealings with his disciples. God is looking for a response from people that demonstrates their "yes." What God is endeavoring to achieve is not the kind of thing that can avoid choices and the freedom to make them, for God's image cannot be God's image apart from freedom and choice. Within the Trinity, there is always a yes between the persons of the Godhead, there needs to be a yes between our persons and God's.

Calvinism is totally out to lunch when it comes to any understanding whatsoever about God's intents and purposes. The system doesn't begin to understand what we are here for, what God is trying to achieve or how. It is astonishing to me that it is considered intellectual in some corners when it is so fundamentally ignorant! On top of that, it assaults the character of God, making him out to be someone who cannot rise above the level of playing with toy soldiers.

God made mankind to know him, to walk with him, and to experience life along the the lines that he does. The agreement within the Trinity is a picture of what it takes for distinctive people to be able to do that. What must be understood and remembered is that as God puts the questions that matter to mankind, only faith in God can provide the answer he's always looking for.

12 comments:

  1. This post appears to again take the Arminian approach to make God out to be wringing His hands waiting and hoping that man will just see His desire and say "yes". In the Jeremiah 31 passage there is no "yes" by the Jews recorded. In fact I read the "yes" is coming from God as He initiates the covenant. And of course choices and freedom are incorporated in this covenant. God doesn't work with robots but He does change hearts such as Paul which lead to godly choices. I'm reminded as well that according to Romans 1-3 no one is able to say "yes" of their own natural ability. God has to regenerate the heart of a spiritual corpse.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Scooter,
    Don't read too much into this! I certainly do not see God as that nervous about things.

    How does Jeremiah 31:18-20:

    "I have surely heard Ephraim's moaning:'You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined. Restore me, and I will return, because you are the LORD my God. After I strayed, I repented; after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.'

    Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him," declares the LORD."

    fit into your framework?

    I absolutely agree with you that no one comes to God by his own natural ability. God must show up, convict and woo, but it is still left with mankind to respond. That is true for Cain, Noah, Abraham, Elijah, Isaiah, really anyone in the Bible, including the Apostles. You believe faith is a consequence of regeneration, I believe faith is a precursor. Both of us believe it is impossible without the intervention of God.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I agree with scooter. God has to plant the desire for Himself in the heart before we come. Men left in their dead state are unable of themselves to repent. They cannot change their nature.

    Jeremiah 13:23:

    Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.


    John 6:44

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

    John 6:65

    This is why I told you that no one CAN come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.

    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.

    Faith and repentence are gifts. We are regenerated, we repent, place our faith in Christ and then we are saved.

    Acts 16:14

    One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshipper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.

    Acts 18:27

    And when he wished to cross Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the desciples to welcom him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those WHO THROUGH GRACE HAD BELIEVED.

    Philippians 1:29

    For it has been GRANTED TO YOU that for the sake of Christ you should not only BELIEVE in Him but also suffer for His sake.

    2 Timothy 2:25-26

    God may perhaps GRANT them REPENTENCE leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

    As we can see faith and repentence are Gifts.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello Cole, welcome to the Sound.

    I make no argument that mankind is able to repent or believe on his own, by his own devices. What I do argue is that mankind has the ability always to reject and turn away from the efforts of God.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey SLW,

    I think that goes contrary to scripture when we are talking about saving grace. Consider this scripture:

    John 6:44

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


    Those that the Father draws will be raised up on the last day.

    God changes the heart of man and he repents. Those who reject God don't recieve His regenerating grace. God passes over them and allows them to perish.

    Good talking to you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Cole,
    That passage is not dealing with the possibilities of falling away, but the way in which everyone who ends up being raised to life by Christ will have gotten to that situation. For each and everyone who gets raised to life on the last day this will be true: God drew them, they came [and kept coming -Gk present; i.e. they stayed], they depended upon [ate] his flesh and blood, and Christ will raise them on the last day.

    No one can come [believe] without the drawing of God, if they stay with Christ in dependence on him they will be raised: this says nothing about those leaving (Heb 6:6, 10:35f; 2 Tim 2:12)

    ReplyDelete
  7. SLW,

    Those that leave were never truely saved.

    1 Jhn 2:19

    They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.


    You said:

    No one can come [believe] without the drawing of God, if they stay with Christ in dependence on him they will be raised: this says nothing about those leaving.


    But the scripture says:

    John 6:44

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


    All who are drawn WILL BE RAISED UP ON THE LAST DAY.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Cole,
    I could toss verse 54 at you in isolation and say, "No, you must eat the body and blood to be raised on the last day!" I suppose that would turn the argument on you, perhaps in a very Catholic way.

    Or maybe throw down John 15:5-8 and say everything is conditioned on remaining.

    You need to see what is being said within the whole context of John 6 and then the rest of scriptures. Coming to Christ is synonymous with putting faith in Christ (see vs 35 and 64). Faith in Christ can be lost, if it's not, the believer is raised in the last day.

    1 John 2 is talking about antichrists, not apostates, and certainly not about the run of the mill Christian.

    ReplyDelete
  9. SLW,

    1 John is referring to those who had the appeareance of being saved but fell away. The text clearly says that they were not truely converted.

    Notice what the text says about believing:

    John 6:44

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


    ALL WHO ARE DRAWN WILL BE RAISED UP ON THE LAST DAY. All who are truely saved.



    Hebrews 12:2


    Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

    Philippians 1:6

    And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.


    2 Timothy 4:18

    The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen

    Hebrews 10:14

    For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

    1 Peter 1:3-5

    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

    Jude 24-25

    Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Cole,
    I agree with you that all true believers will be raised on the last day. You would agree with me that means those who end their existence (by death or the rapture) here in faith?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Those who have true saving faith will persevere to the end of their life or until Christ comes back. They may slip and fall sometimes but God will restore them and bring them back opening the eyes of their hearts to see Christ and His teachings as lovely and beautiful. If they don't return then they never had true saving faith to begin with.

    For me conversion is a healing of the affections. It is when (by God's grace) I develope a loving attraction to the beauties of Christ in His humility and holiness. Just as He put God first in His life I do the same. I have a throbbing, yearning, desire for Christ. It's an erotic and powerful desire for union with Christ. It comes in different degrees and intensity. It's like a romantic attraction to holiness. A passionate desire for union with Christ. It's like when I was in love with my first love and I gazed upon her beauty and it intoxicated me with a warm love. I want to be absorbed with Christ. To become part of Him and to have His beauty become part of my soul. It's an erotic love for holiness that percieves, desires, and enjoys union with Someone of Supreme Value and Worth. I want to drink in this spiritual beauty and treasure it and enjoy it forever. I love it more than anything. To put it another way, I worship it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This post appears to again take the Arminian approach to make God out to be wringing His hands waiting and hoping that man will just see His desire and say "yes".

    Scooter, Arminians believe in the convicting power of the Holy Spirit which God sends out to all men. It's a Calvinist (hidden) assumption that God's sovereignty necessarily requires that all men obey the Spirit. It is sufficient that God requires that all men hear the Spirit, and make their own decision: the experience of Balaam shows how a man can receive visions of God and still can do his own thing. The mechanism by which the Spirit convicts people is merely a specialization of what we know the Spirit does when He brings wisdom to men in response to their asking him for it, as Solomon counseled in Proverbs. The Conviction of the Spirit is merely the Spirit informing the sinner of his true state and giving the excellent advice to choose life by choosing to believe in Jesus Christ.

    The pre-conversion heart is not as much changed as illuminated. Temporarily Made wise and enabled to see the falsehoods binding it and the potentials of the truth. See the Parable of the Sower for the excuses men use to reject this wisdom. What is irresistable is the illumination, not the decision.


    Believing that people can't say "no" to God when the Spirit convicts them is to reason from a flawed model of God's Sovereignty based on how men rule. A far better model to reference is Jesus, since "whoever sees me sees the Father".

    God doesn't work with robots but He does change hearts such as Paul which lead to godly choices.

    Sorry, Scooter, but even God cannot have His cake and eat it too, for the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, won't let Him lie to Himself about the reality of men being forced to love Him (sort of how McCullen forced the Baronness to love him in the B-movie "GI Joe" using nanites.)

    The example of Paul you cite actually contradicts your thesis: Saul simply did not believe that Jesus was the Christ, and acted out of ignorance and unbelief, believing he was rendering service to God. There is no mention that Jesus changed his heart outside of Damascus. It was the factual appearance of Jesus himself to him in a manner calculated to give Saul the true facts concerning Himself. Saul could have chosen to love the praise of his fellow Pharisees and the priests more than that of God, but he loved truth more than the praise of men, and so chose to follow Jesus (2 Thessalonians 2:10)

    Cole's comment immediately preceeding this one is an excellent example of the ideal God wants: someone who sincerely loves Him for Himself. I have that experience every night when I go to bed, when I read my bible in the Morning, and when I work on the essays for my website (www.logotech.org). I got to that point by saying "yes" to God's

    ReplyDelete

Any comment in ill taste or not germane to the post may be deleted without warning. I am under no obligation to give anyone an opportunity to call me names or impugn my motives or integrity. If you can't play nice, go somewhere else and play.