Sunday, November 20, 2016

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment