Tag Archives: God
Our culture currently wants to elevate women above men. Men are viewed by many as nothing more than a problem to be corrected. There’s no celebration of our differences as men and women, and no teaching of how to properly exercise our God-given femininity and masculinity. Modern feminism has as its goal to elevate women above men rather than to seek true equality. Are we really going to change how we communicate our relationship with God to accommodate culture? Are we willing to alienate people with terrible mothers in order to make God “more inclusive” for people with terrible fathers?
It’s been observed that “there’s no atheists in foxholes.” This refers to the horrors of war and the men and women that bravely defend our country. When in the midst of life-threatening war, no atheists can be found as soldiers pray to God for safety. I think we could aptly apply this wisdom to hurricanes as well: “there’s no atheists in hurricane shelters.”
These two devastating forces of nature remind me of two immutable facts:
I have a friend that moved his family to Belize for the purpose of sharing the Gospel with the people there. One of the reasons he felt called to be there was that the people did not have a Bible in their native language. My friend wanted to go and help translate a Bible and use it to share the Gospel. People often comment about how incredible it is that my friend would make this decision.
But is it really a good thing?
R.C. Sproul is one of the world’s leading theologians, pastors, apologists, and evangelical authors. His podcast is listened to daily by people across the globe. His books are in house all over the world. He is a respected Christian that ahs dedicated his life to addressing the tough questions we often ask. Recently I was listening to one of his podcasts in which he was addressing the question of whether innocent people that have never heard the Gospel go to hell. Sproul says the question is loaded with presumptions, but the answer is very simple:
In these verses we come to understand that the will of man is bent on evil and rejection of God. There is no one that will, of his own free will, choose God (Rom. 3:10-19). In fact, the human will is so captive to sin that no man has any desire for God and prefers the darkness over the light (John 3:19). This means that the idea of free will is true. But it also means that if given a choice man will always choose sin, the darkness, and always choose to reject Christ.
When given the choice between sin and Christ, man will always choose sin.
Regarding salvation God’s sovereignty is a critical aspect that is misunderstood by many Christians. Some choose to reject the biblical doctrine of election because, in their words, “it’s not fair.” But, as we will see, the doctrine of election and God’s sovereignty cannot be divorced.
Concerning election and God’s sovereignty, we understand that God freely elects some to saving faith in Jesus while others are destined for eternal destruction. Paul writes in his letter to the Romans this way:
Many misconceptions about salvation exist today. Misconceptions such as “everyone can be saved” pave the way for massive evangelistic efforts that leave churches wondering, “what went wrong?” Other misconceptions, such as “man has no part in salvation” make it seem as though anyone that is saved is saved against their will. These misconceptions and others are creating confusion as to the nature of salvation and the part that God and man play in the process.
An article by John Reisinger at Monergism does an excellent job of explaining the process of salvation, including God’s part and man’s part in the process. I want to share it with you in the hopes of clearing up misconceptions and laying out the biblical process for salvation. The article starts by stating:
“God and man must both do something before a man can be saved. Hyper-Calvinism denies the necessity of human action, and Arminianism denies the true nature of the Divine action. The Bible clearly sets forth both the divine and human as essential in God’s plan of salvation. This is not to say, as Arminianism does, God’s part is to freely provide salvation for all men, and man’s part is to become willing to accept it. This is not what we said above, nor is it what the Bible teaches.”
And then there is the favorite Christian excuse: “well, if it leads one person to Jesus it’s okay with me.” What a cowardly, damnable position to take. I should know; I used to take that position. I used to be of the opinion that anything that could lead a person toward Jesus was a good thing. The problem is that when the thing you are using to lead people to Jesus doesn’t accurately reflect the truth of who Jesus is, you are leading people to a false Jesus, a false Gospel, and a lie. Furthermore, you are creating an idol. Anything, book, movie, or preacher that does not biblically represent Jesus is creating an idol for others to worship. For this reason, movies like The Shack are little more than heretical portrayals of God in need of rebuke by Christians, not support.
One of the biggest advantages of understanding the doctrine of election is that it makes sense of some of the most difficult passages in the Bible. Romans chapter 9 is no exception.
Romans chapter 9 is one of the most difficult passages in the Bible concerning election, salvation, and God’s purpose in it all. In this chapter we have a very difficult verse: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated” (v. 13). Making sense out of this verse is very difficult. How do we properly reconcile the God that loves all with a verse in the Bible that says God hated someone?
When taken as a stand-alone verse it doesn’t make much sense. That is proven by some of the terrible interpretations of the verse. Interpretations such as, “God loves the Jews but hates the Arabs.” Or, “God loved all the descendants of Jacob but hates all the descendants of Esau.” Or even, “God will bless the line of Jacob but will not bless the line of Esau.” All of these interpretations are wrong and do terrible violence to the text and its proper understanding.
When this verse is understood in proper context of the larger passage discussing God’s will, election, and salvation, it makes sense.
I will be the first to say that the doctrine of election and predestination is one that will require much wrestling. It is not a doctrine that you will one day wake up and fully accept. It is a doctrine that will take time, prayer, study, wrestling, and conversation. And, chances are, you will need to ask God some very difficult questions along the way. That’s ok, God doesn’t mind.
Let me first commend to you this article by Tim Keller. Pastor Keller is a highly respected pastor, theologian, and Bible teacher. Dr. Keller has written a short commentary on three of the most asked questions regarding the doctrine of election and predestination. I highly recommend you read the entire article. The questions Keller addresses are:
If you believe in election, doesn’t that leave you with the problem of why God doesn’t choose to save everyone?
But if everything is fixed and certain, why pray, evangelize, or do anything at all?
I believe the Bible and I see all the teaching about election, but why do I still dislike it?