Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A great old quote

From Augustus Toplady to John Wesley:
I do not expect to be treated by Mr. John Wesley with the candor of a gentleman, or the meekness of a Christian; but I wish him, for his reputation's sake, to write and act with the honesty of a heathen.
That Wesley we all worship... Hmmm.. Best to reconsider the record.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Snuffy grubby kid noses

How are the elect called? How is it made so plain a reasonable salvation to our veiled and stupid hearts? How is that dreaded wicked mankind shown the truth?
Answer: by the Spirit of God.
Well yes, that is true, but how exactly?
The answer again: He uses instruments, namely people. He makes Himself known by the spreading of the gospel- Romans 10:14 "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?"
So God, in choosing to call someone, sends them the gospel message, by someone else. We are active participants that God uses in His Holy glory to save others. Not that anything or everything depends on us, for God is the one who saves, but we are used by Him, we have the pleasure of participation.

This was all of the sudden clear to me by a facebook comment: "wiped sniffly noses today, tomorrow looks to be more of the same" And this verse came to mind-
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 "Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal."

Just as God works through the preacher reaching out, He works through the mother wiping up. God has put loving mothers who train their children up in a Godly way in the lives of the children to save them. Acts 17:26 "From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live"
How are these children elect? Because God has put a godly woman in their lives to take care of them. The small everyday ordinary burden of cleaning up after a bunch of unappreciative kids is actually becoming the gift of a heavy incredible supernatural eternal life to them. The love a mother shows them echos the love of God, and in seeing it in her, they see Him. They are elected and saved because she is tending to these ordinary daily chores.
These daily ordinary trials to mom are building up an eternal relationship with God and an eternal glory for her family. Glory be to God.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Acts 2:38-39

Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ
for the forgiveness of your sins.
And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The two wills of God?

The old scholars and theologians called it the two wills problem.
The first will is seen most clearly in verses like Deuteronomy 28:63 "Just as it pleased the LORD to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess." He shows mercy only to those he wants to Rom 9:18, makes non believers harden, 2 Thessalonians 2:11, Exodus 4:21, blinds eyes so people will not see Him John 12:39. this is talking about death and eternal destiny, not just for witholding blessings- Joshua 11:20 "For it was the LORD himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the LORD had commanded Moses. " 1 Samuel 2:25 "... for it was the LORD's will to put them to death."
vs
Will 2, which often looks like this: 1 Timothy 2:3-4 "This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. " John 3:16 For God so loved... and of Matthew 27:37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." and of course Ezekiel 18:23 "Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? "

Some might be tempted to think God's will is to save which is only thwarted by His greater will to condemn. God has two different wills in opposition, but somehow He is not schizophrenic. This is just not satisfactory enough. It doesn't have that ring of truth to it.
Likewise, we cannot go to the Arminians for help, because they are much worse off, asserting that Gods will is to save but never to condemn; He would never do anything against 'free will' so we are safe in minimizing all the passages in the first will. Write it off as a mystery.

Is there no hope to resolve this deadlock? I think the answer is in seeing the difference not between two near equal and opposite wills, but by realizing one is an expression of the character of God and the other the action of God. In fact you need both to see clearly.

Take the case of each working alone. Say for a moment we had insight into Gods actions but not His character. In that case we would not know what kind of God we worshipped. We would see Him damning the wicked and declaring that only some would get mercy, but we would think Him cruel and unapprochable. Certinally He could not be trusted to be loving like a father. If on the other hand we had a record of His character but not His actions He would be a weak powerless God. He would not be God at all.

Sure, at first it looks like a paradox at first glance, but notice that there is a difference between Gods nature, how He feels, and His actions. The difference is not between His permissive, persuasive, effectual, continual will, but it is better seen as the difference between His nature and His decrees. His feelings and His actions.
Romans 9:22-24 gives us the answer to why He would do this. "What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?"
He gives us insight into His character we never would have otherwise.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

For God so loved the...

What? World yes but what does that mean? Does that mean he died for every man? What else does John say about the world?
John 18:20 I have spoken openly to the world," Jesus replied. "I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret.
John 12:19 So the Pharisees said to one another, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!"
John 14:22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?"
John 7:4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world."

So the world clearly does not mean every individual, this is really obvious in John 12:19 because clearly everyone in the world did not go and follow Christ. So now what does the passage mean?