Sovereign Election, and Man’s Volition.

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God is omniscient. He knows everything. He cannot learn. He has always known who He would save, and who He would not. He did not have to look down the corridors of time to see who would choose Him. He knew before He made them. It is not evil for God to save only the elect. We cannot judge God. He is the infinite, transcendent Creator. We are small, finite, creatures, with limited faculties as creatures, then add on to that the noetic effect of our sin natures inherited from the fall of original sin. In Adam all die. The wages of sin is death. All of us, even the newborn, deserve death and Hell, but God in His mercy saves some. If there are two doctrines that are seemingly at odds, in your understanding, it is not the truth of God that is wrong. If the Bible says we have a volition, make choices, and suffer the consequence, or reap the rewards of those choices, then it is true. If it says that God has determined, or ordained all things to come to pass according to His will, then that is also true. Just because someone can’t justify the two ideas in their small, finite, creaturely, sin sick minds doesn’t negate the truth of God.

We are limited to an existence in space/time. We only experience life in a linear progression through unfolding time, in space. We see our lives as a series of instances, and of choices, and outcomes. Eternity is not like that. God is bigger than space/time. He transcends His creation. He sees all things, perfectly, as the actually are, forever. God made the construct of this material world for us to live in, and for His story to be experienced in. He made it for His glory.

The Bible, the Gospel of Christ, are theocentric, not anthropocentric. In Eternity, God sovereignly chose who would respond to their sin, and the gospel, with repentance and faith. He grants repentance and faith, to those whom He chose. This does not negate our culpability. He says as much in Romans. It doesn’t mean that we don’t experience choices and the outcomes of those choices. Let God be true.

You can read that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, Israel was chosen, Aaron, and Moses were chosen, Hosea, and Gomer were chosen, even the pagans were chosen to work God’s will in their wickedness they were used to punish Israel when they strayed. Christ chose His Apostles. Paul was chosen, and we see that on the road to Damascus. Romans 9, Ephesians 1, God’s sovereign choices are all over the old and new Testaments. We can’t ignore it, or interpret in a way that makes it anthropocentric. Our purpose is to glorify God, not man.

Sanctification is about being conformed to the Word of God and His likeness. A Christian would love for His sinful will in the unredeemed flesh to be gone. It is one of the things we look forward to in eternity, is being in a glorified body, that no longer desires to sin, but entirely desires to do God’s will only. People make the accusation that God wouldn’t make a bunch of mindless robots, but I would love it if I no longer sinned or were tempted to sin. It doesn’t mean that I would be mindless. Election, and man’s volition are both true. Before a man is saved, his will is enslaved to his sinful nature. After he is saved, it is enslaved to the Christ Jesus His Lord and Savior, who died for his sins.

White Privilege?

WHITE PRIVILEGE

I saw a video on a friends facebook wall. The link is at the bottom of the article.  It was disturbing to me that so many Americans feel ashamed of their, “privilege” and don’t thank God for it, and His providence. We are not entitled to good things just because we are here. Here is my take on the video.
Let’s reason together. Now that we have had emotional reactions it is time to put this sentiment into its proper perspective. Leave the white, black, and hispanic, “underprivileged” American kids on the field. Replace all the other kids with some Somalian kids. (Could have just as easily used anyone one of these classes of children;children who are in wheelchairs, have down syndrome, or were aborted.) Now ask a set of questions that will be certain to demonstrate how much improved the lives of the American kids are without those other setbacks are. What you are seeing here is a direct attempt at emotional manipulation by someone who does not care about original sin, individual sin, theodicy, God, His sovereignty, or His providence. Listen, you should thank God for being born in this country, to the parents you had, the color of skin, the air you breath, the clean water and abundant food. You should thank Him for everything. You should feel compassion for your fellow man, but don’t allow it to cloud your reason. A man goes to an orphanage to adopt a child. He looks among all of the children, finds the most pathetic looking one he can, adopts him, nobody would call that man a sinner for not adopting all of the children. He would get a pat on the back for changing just one of their lives. Every last one of us are guilty sinners. Each one of us deserve, suffering here on Earth, painful drawn out deaths, and an eternity in Hell, because of our sinful natures, our rebellion against God, our individual sins, and our hatred of Him before our conversions. He is under no moral obligation to save anyone, or give them a comfortable, “fair” life. We are not morally obligated either. If you buy into the left’s logic, we must ensure that everyone starts our with, and continues to have, all of the same opportunities and privileges. Who do you think would enforce that? How would they enforce it? I’ll tell you what it would look like, it would look like the USSR. People would be marched off at gunpoint to concrete block houses. The government would become your god. They would enforce mutual oppression of everyone, or kill those who dissented. One of the wonderful things about our founding documents is that we have the right to pursue happiness. We are created equal by our Creator, God. We are not made equal by government. What we do with our lives is up to us. You can blame other classes of people, who under God’s sovereign providence had a more comfortable life, but that does not mitigate your condemned condition before the Lord of glory. What if, God only saves the elect whom He predestined in eternity? Are you going to blame Him, and call Him immoral, or a fool?
Romans 9:14-24 “14What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” 18So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
19You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”
Let those who have been given new natures by God, and are born again, have compassion on the less fortunate. We will minister to their needs out of the excess of love that Christ has demonstrated on the cross towards us. Don’t rob us of that blessing. Don’t reduce the less fortunate to wards of the state, and welfare which is a nameless faceless benefactor with no compassion. Let them instead seek mercy from the Lord and His elect so that they will see His kindness in them, to them, and from them. Let them see that they must come to God with nothing, entitled to only suffering and Hell, just as we did. Beggars of divine grace, filthy, defiled, hands. They aren’t just empty hands after all… They have been tools of the enemy full of perversion, sin, and unrighteousness.

What is Meant by the Aseity of God?

 The word aseity is an archaic English word that comes from the Latin words, “a” which means, “from” and, “se” which means, “one’s self.” The definition of the English word, “aseity” means, “Existence originating from and having no source other than itself.” Simply put when we ascribe this word to our theology we mean that God has no creator or other source for His being. We know that in God’s word He says that He is the only God and there are none before Him or to come after Him. There are no Gods anywhere besides Him. He is omnipresent, so if there were He would be with them. He is omniscient, so if there were He would know of them. 1

God made everything there is and has perfect knowledge of all He has made.2 He was not diminished through or by creating. If He created everything and has perfect knowledge of all He created then He would know if He had created another being like Himself. An eternal being that is the source of all things could not create another like itself because the created thing lacks aseity, thus rendering it a mere creation rather than the truth. God has always existed in trinity, complete and holy, in perfect communion with Himself.

Tozer quotes Novatian, “”God has no origin,” said Novatian and it is precisely this concept of no-origin which distinguishes That-which-is-God from whatever is not God.” A. W. Tozer. This notion means that God is holy. He is completely transcendent or, “other than.” It is understandable that we would wrestle with this idea. It is contra mundum, in the sense that nature does not function this way. We observe causation for everything. To have an uncaused causation or an original originator sends us into a loop of, “How can it be?” However, if we are logical we must admit that this is the only way that it could be. This one original originator started the entirety of creation in motion and keeps it moving by the power of His sovereign decree. In this we should take comfort that He is God and we are not. We require and depend wholly and completely on His aseity and providence for our existence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Deut 32:39, 1 Tim 1:17, 2:5, Isa 40:28, 43:11, 44:6, Jude 1:25, Col 1:16,

2. 1 John 3:20, Matt 10:29-30, Psalm 139:4,

Freewill?

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Why don’t we have a problem when God chooses people in some scriptures, but when it comes to salvation we say, “God is a gentleman and would never force us to choose Him against our freewill!”

For instance in Acts 40 we don’t have a problem with God choosing who would see Him after the resurrection.  “39“We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. 40“God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, 41not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.”  (Acts 10:39-41)

But, in Ephesians 1:3-5 when Paul tells us how God chose who would be saved by Jesus before He made the world everybody gets all offended about having their precious sinful, I mean ahem, “freewill” getting violated.  Excuse me, but I’d much rather have a divine intervention and go to Heaven than have a, “freewill” any day.  That is because I understand that before regeneration and justification my will is a sinful will, a curse from the fall, a will that is enslaved to do nothing but evil continuously.  After all aren’t we supposed to pray that the will of the Father be done?  Aren’t we supposed to become more like Jesus and less like ourselves?  Aren’t we supposed to die to ourselves daily and take up the cross of Christ?  It sure seems like our wills should be replaced with God’s will.

I think the problem lies in the sin of pride.  People think to highly of themselves and their abilities to please God, they don’t see how sinful their sin is, and they definitely don’t contrast it with the holiness and righteousness of God.  They need to see God as completely transcendent, totally other, instead they have to elevate man and lower God to protect their notion of freedom.  We should magnify God and humble ourselves.

I’m not saying that we are not responsible for our sin either.  People try to say that it is a mutually exclusive statement.  They say if you don’t have our brand of freewill then God can’t hold you responsible for your sin.  It seems to make sense.  Of course you would have to lower God and elevate man.  We are still morally culpable for sin because we are born sinners and choose it continuously because of our state of being dead in our sins and being slaves to our sin natures.  When God saves someone of His grace and mercy it is exactly that way.  He saves them by His grace (unmerited favor).  They did nothing to deserve salvation.  Matter of fact, everything they have done has come from a corrupted heart.  If God planned it this way then we as creatures have no right to judge Him or His plan.  He owns us and has all rights to us.  He would be just in destroying all of us whenever He wants to.  The fact that He saves any of us is wonderful news.

We make choices that are consistent with our natures.  God is consistent with His attributes.  God cannot be unjust, or evil, or untrue.  In the same way a sinner cannot be desirous of God while yet a slave to their sinful nature.  (Romans 5:8) “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  In their sinful nature they make all kinds of choices that are consistent with that nature.  These choices are allowed by God in His sovereign will to be used by Him for good in accordance with His will.   I would remind you that the problem is pride and how we see God, ourselves, and sin.  He ultimately has ownership rights over all of us as Creator and can do with us as He sees fit.

19You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. (Romans 9:19-24)

Joel Osteen, “WHERE’S THE GOSPEL?”

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Some of us are old enough to remember the funny Wendy’s commercial with the, “where’s the beef?” lady.

 

Just like how most fast food chains can leave you unsatisfied and wondering just, “Where is, the beef?”  The prosperity gospel and life enhancement version of Christianity leaves people unsatisfied and lacking the appropriate knowledge.  They are spiritually malnutritioned and existing as the walking dead.  They drone on through life never getting it.  One can only wonder how long people will continue to pay this man to hear his silky smooth distracting messages delivered through his 10,000 watt smile.

Many folks get angry when you mention any wrong doing of Joel and his ilk.  I have been surprised at how many Christian brothers and sisters have gotten down right perturbed at me for besmirching their golden cow.  Joel is not any better than any of us.  He certainly is not educated and rooted in the word, like many genuine theologians and Pastors.  Joel is firmly in the, “Word of Faith” movement.  He teaches that your words have power and if you have faith when you speak you can declare prosperity for yourself and God will provide it.  How messed up is that?  “Say, I think I’ll twist the arm of the sovereign Creator of everything into giving me a better house and car with my, “less than a mustard seed of faith.”  It is men like him who give good unsung Pastors a bad name.

Think about all of the times you have listened to him on television or the books of his you have read.  Can you recall anything that he has done that looks anything like, “You were once a vile sinner.  You were under the condemnation of sin.  You were going to be cast into Hell for eternity, but you repented of your sins and believed in the atoning work of Christ Jesus on the cross.  He paid the price of your sin debt.  He satisfied the justice of God through His propitiation.  Now go and be holy for God is holy.”

Joel isn’t a Pastor, he is a self-help guru with a Christianesque guile.  He is the burger with fillers and washed in ammonia.  He is not the real deal.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying he is not saved.  I don’t know that.  I am saying he isn’t qualified to be a Preacher of God’s word.  He is not a Preacher of the gospel.  He has this humungous platform to do something really great for the kingdom of God, but instead he backs away from boldly proclaiming the gospel and preaching the word.  Why is that?  What sort of Preacher does that?  I haven’t even really addressed his teachings here.  That wasn’t my goal for today.  I simply wanted to draw attention to the lack of good, God centered, gospel proclaiming, life giving, preaching of God’s word.  Now I declare, go read your Bible Joel and repent.  Use that television platform, and mega-church for the right use.

If you love Joel ask him to preach the gospel every Sunday.  Ask him for clear and correct teaching instead of the prosperity life enhancement fluff.  Who knows, maybe he’ll listen.

 

Climate Change, the new approach.

It is God's planet and He will destroy it when He wants.
It is God’s planet and He will destroy it when He wants.

Climate change was called, “global warming” back before everything started to freeze up again. When I was a kid in the 80’s we were taught that we were headed into another ice age, because of the hole in the ozone layer. Fear mongering is a tool of the enemy. The only good fear is the healthy fear of the Lord, because the Bible calls it the beginning of wisdom.

For many of us with a Christian worldview we don’t fear climate change. We know that God will destroy the planet according to His word like it says in Revelation. For those of you who don’t read your Bibles enough I didn’t make a typo when I wrote, “Revelation.” There is no, “s” on the end of that book title. If you don’t believe me, get your Bibles out and check, I’ll wait right here. OK now that is settled let’s move on. If the Bible is true then we don’t have to be fearful. God has sovereignly ordained the end of our home planet. He will destroy it. Here read this, Revelation 21:1-2 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.”

Now our secular friends on the other hand have much to be afraid of including their own shadows and wet noodles. We need to understand that what is going on is the result of original sin. The curse of the fall puts us in a world destined to die away. We are not causing the temperature to change. God is causing it. Even if we were the mechanism of climate change, ultimately it would be the Sovereign of all things ordaining it to happen. After God had destroyed the Earth the first time with water He told this to Noah, ““While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22”

Many people have made the environment into an idol. It’s pretty darn arrogant and egotistical to think that we are going to destroy what God made. We might have the means, but what right do we have to try it? These people are being used by other more powerful people who seek to capitalize on climate change. Carbon offset credits will be a new global currency that will be used to cause worldwide oppression under the guise of creating a homeostasis in the qualities of living across the globe. People who aren’t developed or educated will receive credits to remain that way. While wealthy, industrialized nations will pay the guilt away.

They will use the useful idiots as Lenin called them, to sway the secular minded masses into voting for oppression. They will vote our rights away. The enemy will win without firing a shot. This is all because of Biblical ignorance. If people ultimately knew what the Bible said, they wouldn’t fall prey to these schemes, but hey! That is exactly why the left has orchestrated Biblical ignorance and this false separation of Church and state. When the populace is a slave to sin they will be mastered by masters of sinning. We need to be mastered by the Master of righteousness.

Climate change is just another tactic being used by the enemy to gain control over us. Oppression often comes gift-wrapped and it is just as often warmly received. We just need to look further back in the past than our own childhoods. Trust God for your salvation, life, and future, whatever He has in store for you, even if it is martyrdom. Unlike Joel Osteen we know our best life isn’t now. So until next time, speak in truth, be the salt and light, in a bland dreary world.

The theology of prayer, and an omnipotent, sovereign God.

We tend to think of prayer as having an effect on God and His decision making process. It is sort of like petitioning a parent for something desired. If God is sovereign and omniscient, how can we change His mind on anything? He already knows what we are going to pray about before the situation even occurred, before we realized we were going to pray, before we were born, before the Earth was made He knew what we would be praying for and had already determined whether or not He would answer the prayer with a yes, no, or wait. Since this is true, we might ask, “Why should I even pray?” Simply put, we should pray because we are told to be in prayer without ceasing. So the short answer is that we do it to be obedient to God.

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We are going to look at some deeper reasons to pray. Just like a child who understands to obey out of knowledge of punishment matures into obedience out of love and respect so too should mature Christians obey. We move on to deeper understandings. I think that prayer is a blessing, grace, and it is sanctifying. We are blessed because of the work of Christ He made it possible for us to pray directly to God with Him as our intercessor instead of a human priest in a temple. Christ hears us because the Holy Spirit has made our prayers acceptable to God. It is a grace, because in prayer we sense the relationship with God and feel closer to Him. It is something He has given us to involve us in the carrying out of His will. It is sanctifying because as we are conformed to His word and will we pray for the things that our new natures desire. This also ties into the grace of prayer. Through prayer we express the desires of the new person. We show and see our new love. We can start to understand how God is using us in His sovereignty to accomplish His will when we pray. It is a sweet moment to come to God in prayer for any reason when we know we are being obedient to Him in our prayers. Our obedience is worship.

We are free to think our thoughts, feel our feelings, and do our deeds, but only in the will of the Creator in as much as He has ordained. We could go our entire lives without ever being enlightened to this reality. Many people do go on feeling, thinking, and doing without ever knowing the reasons behind it. Their lives remain a mystery to them. It is like a big uncertain, unfolding story where they are the unqualified masters of their own destinies. We could go on believing we are the masters of our own destinies. Matter of fact, Hollywood loves to promote this ideology. (A very good reason to be suspicious) A cast die does not land, a bird doesn’t fall dead from the sky, and man doesn’t direct his steps, God has determined all things. This doesn’t diminish our experiences or dull our feelings. If anything it should give us great peace as we go on about our days. “…And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose…” The two ideas do not conflict. They are not mutually exclusive. Just because we might not understand exactly how this works doesn’t mean that it doesn’t. So I encourage you to go on praying out of obedience and love towards God. After all it is for our good to do what He has willed.