Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Sovereignty And Will of God In Salvation #2

The first part of this study began with the quotation of two comments recently directed at a post and its subsequent common thread which I published on my Face Book page.
I would like to begin by “re-presenting” them here also;

“God is not willing that any man perish, so is it His sovereignty) that twists His own stated will?” (actually a question)
“Maybe God does not have a free will, since He is not willing that any should perish, yet they do.” 

In the previous study the issue of the mistranslated and paraphrased scripture passage, 2 Peter 3:9, was addressed. The inescapable conclusion being that scriptures do not directly state or even imply that it is God’s will that all men be saved. (Please, if you are going to bring up Romans 5 and 1 Timothy 2, do so in context, but that is another revealing study)
“God is not willing that any man perish, so is it His sovereignty that twists His own stated will?”

This implies that it is possible for a perfect, (in every way), and sovereign God to stand in opposition against His own will. ???!
Let that sink in for a while. Of course once again that contradictory conclusion is based on the inaccurate understanding of 2Peter 3:9. It also assumes that God is as flawed as we are. 

“Maybe God does not have a free will, since He is not willing that any should perish, yet they do.” 

The logical questions which arise are this; if it is God’s stated will that His purpose for every man is salvation in Christ, then why are not all men redeemed?
This second statement appears to say that God does not have a free will but men do. This is more than alarming. 
So why do many die in their sin?  Paul in Romans 9 answers this question with blunt force;

19  You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?"
20  But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?"

The understanding that both Paul, (and those to whom he wrote this letter), possessed is that no one can resist his will therefore men have little choice but to submit. Read the astounding prayer of the disciples (and David) found in Acts 4:24-30 (Psalm 2)
So what does the scripture have to say regarding God’s will in the redemption of men?

Job 42:
1  Then Job answered the LORD and said:
2  "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

Daniel 4:35  all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, "What have you done?"
(this by the way is
Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon speaking here, v34-37)

Isaiah 53:
10  Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11  Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.
12  Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of MANY, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Romans 9:
14  What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means!
15  For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."
16  So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
17  For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."
18  So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
19  You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?"
20  But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?"
21  Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?
22  What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
23  in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—

Ephesians 1:
3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
4  even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
5  he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
6  to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
7  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
8  which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight
9  making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ
10  as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11  In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
12  so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
13  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
14  who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

John 6:
37  All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
38  For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
39  And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.
40  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."
41  So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven."
42  They said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, 'I have come down from heaven'?"
43  Jesus answered them, "Do not grumble among yourselves.
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.
45  It is written in the Prophets, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—

 John 5:
37  And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen,
38  and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.
“It is WRITTEN in the Prophets, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—“

“It is written” is a phrase oft repeated by Christ (Matthew 4:1-11)                                  
The Father teaches His children through the scriptures, that is the written Word. This Word is not open to interpretation. Teachers do not interpret. They simply expound what is on the page. The Word speaks for itself. The foolish notion that we are unable to understand the scripture and therefore will never come to true knowledge of what they say makes the Son to be a liar, as He promised that the express purpose for the sending of the Holy Spirit to His saints was to lead them into ALL TRUTH, not so that they could perform ‘signs and wonders”. (a fact upon which the scriptures are clear; they can be counterfeited, and those lying signs and wonders are the means by which God brings delusion upon those who seek the circus maximus and not the Gospel. 2 Thess 2:9-13; Matthew 7:15-24)

He then prayed for His disciples, whom He made that promise to, and for all who would believe “based upon their word”. That would be all the generations of saints that came before and after His ascending to the throne, including US, and all those still to come until His return. (John 17!!)
There are many who discard the authority of Scripture for the “sake of unity”. The true unity the saints share in Christ is the unity in the Word which reveals Him, the Word made flesh. They are inextricably bound together forever. 

2Peter 3:
17  You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.
18  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Solus Christus
Sola Scriptura
Soli Deo Gloria

The Sovereignty and Will of God In Salvation #1

Here are two statements/questions I was recently confronted with in an interesting and sadly revealing “comment thread” in response to one of my recent posts on Face Book;

“God is not willing that any man perish, so is it His sovereignty that twists His own stated will?”
“Maybe God does not have a free will, since He is not willing that any should perish, yet they do.” 

These are the same erroneous conclusions that the “professing church” has been drawing for centuries.
The basis of the argument is a badly paraphrased, (i.e. misquoted), passage from Peter’s second letter (chapter 3:9)
This is the passage cited read as written in its actual context:

2Peter 3:

1  This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder,

2  that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles,

3  knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.

4  They will say, "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation."

5  For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God,

6  and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.

7  But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

8  But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

9  The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Peter had just finished warning the saints to whom he was writing that false teachers would come just as surely as the false prophets under the old covenantal system had come. This was laid out in great detail in chapter 2 of this letter.

Peter then segues into the concluding portion of the letter which addresses another issue confronting the church that being those scoffing and mocking concerning the return, (or rather the perceived non-return) of the Lord. The apostle then proceeds to counsel them as to how they should respond to these heathen.
The reply is that from the very beginning, (i.e. in the prior millennia) the heavens and the earth, that is, all creation is being kept for the day of judgment and destruction. This includes the ungodly scoffers as well as those for whom He died. (John 5:19-30)
The true response to the accusers is that this fact is proof that Lord is not slow in fulfilling His promised return, but rather patient toward all that are His elect saints, as His will in Christ is that none for whom the Son died should perish, but that they would never die.. This is not speaking of some sanctifying process of the redeemed, but rather the bringing in the entire harvest of the wheat.

John 17:

1  When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,

2  since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.

3  And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

4  I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.

5  And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

6  "I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.

7  Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you.

8  For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.

9   I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.

10  All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.

I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.”    (John 10: 24-30)

Peter uses the word hēmas, which is translated in the ESV as “toward you” in 2 Peter 3:9, it is also translated as, “to us-ward” in the KJV. This leaves no doubt that this verse applies only to the elect saints, and not any and all men in general. Peter is speaking and referring to “he and they”, that is he, and all those who were living when he wrote this letter to the church, and by default those who will believe in the age to come.

The proof once again is in the Lord’s own words, the actual “Lord’s prayer”;

John 17:

14  I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

15  I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.

16  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

17  Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

18  As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

19  And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

20  "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,

21  that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

The Son prayed only for those whom the Father had given Him, the disciples He walked the earth with in His initial advent, and all those to come who would believe based upon their word. He never prayed for the salvation of all mankind, but solely for those who belonged to the Father.

2 Peter then concludes his admonition, this “letter” with this;

13  But according to his promise WE are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

God has placed His Word in specific order and context, (both immediate and general context that is), for the benefit and understanding of the saints. To remove scripture from the context of the entirety of scripture in the fashioning of a “golden calf” is the worst kind of sin.
Exodus 32:4  And he (Aaron) received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
The second portion of this study will address the worst of the error proclaimed in the statements quoted above.