Why should we know God's Word?

In our day and age where anti-intellectualism runs rampant in the visible church, it is not surprising to see poll after poll verify what students of scripture have known for many years. The visible church does not know much about the scriptures they profess to believe in. This is sad considering many saints during the Reformation period lost their lives for the sake of being able to read and study God's word. Not to mention the many passages in scripture that speak as such:

Isaiah 66:2 This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
John 8:31-32 Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Psalm 19:7-8 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Psalm 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
Psalm 119:11 I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.
Psalm 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
Psalm 119:162 I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.

The posts on this blog will address essential Biblical doctrines of the Christian faith. You can find much of the background for the posts here. My prayer for these posts is that the people who read them will be encouraged to open their Bibles and not just read a verse or two, but learn them and indeed, be transformed by them. As Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth." (John 17:17). This is my prayer as well.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sovereign Election – objections pt 1

Sovereign Election – objections pt 1
-                     Last time, we built a strong, Biblical case for sovereign election here and here.
o      Sovereign election is not a product of a theological system, but is the consistent testimony of scripture.
§       Although this is the case, this is a sensitive topic for many, and people frequently object to sovereign election.
o      As we will see, most of the objections are not based on scripture, but on emotional arguments.
§       And when people use scripture to make a point against sovereign election it is either bad exegesis or a misapplication of a text.
-                     What are the objections?
o      Two common ones are, it is fatalistic and mechanistic
§       Fatalistic – Our human choices and decisions do not make a difference
§       Mechanistic – Everything has been inflexibly determined by an impersonal force long ago.
·       Therefore, we are more like robots or machines than genuine persons.
o      These objections stem from an emotional reaction to election and are really leveled against the sovereignty of God.
§       People want to say God is sovereign, but when it comes to election they quickly back track.
o      When we look at the sovereignty of God sometime in the future, we will answer them more fully.
§       From the standpoint of election though, we answered them for the most part in our study of "How free is the will?" here, here and here.
o      God’s predestination is described as being done in love and very personal
§       Ephesian 1:5 - In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ.
§       1 John 4:19We love because he first loved us.
o      Our choices are certainly meaningful according to God as we do have to believe and repent.
§       God does not repent and believe for us but man has to repent and believe on his own.
·       Scripture does not see any problem with God's election and our responsibility to repent and believe.
·       We must believe in the Lord Jesus (Acts 16:31)
o      Faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9)
·       We must repent from our sins unto God (Acts 3:19)
o      Repentance is granted (2 Timothy 2:25)
-                     Predestination is based on foreknowledge of our faith.
o      This view of foreknowledge is no where found in scripture.
§       In fact, foreknowledge in scripture enforces sovereign election not the other way around
·       God foreknows persons NOT actions, decisions and faith.
§       Foreknow simply means to know beforehand or know in advance.
o      Romans 8:29 - For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…
§       It is poor interpretation or more accurately, eisegesis, to insert faith or a decision in Romans 8:29.
·       God foreknew “those” a reference to people, not their decisions.
§       Continue reading in Romans 8:30 and Paul continues talking about “those” being predestined, called, etc.
·       “Those” are God’s people and Paul called them the “elect” in vs 33.
o      Foreknowledge is God’s intimate knowledge of His people, which He had before the world began.
-                     Does scripture ever speak of faith or anything else as the basis for election?
o      No!  Romans 9:11-13 about Jacob and Esau.
§       Vs 11 – “…though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad…” The Lord chose Jacob over Esau.
o      See also Ephesians 1:5-6, which we talked about last week, how God chose us according to His will.
§       And 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 – God chose the foolish and weak so no ONE may boast before God.
o      There are many more things that could be said about this unbiblical, faulty view of foreknowledge but just realize this.
§       In our depravity, if God had not chosen to regenerate and redeem us, but left us to make the final decision then we would have ultimately rejected Him.
o      Praise be to God, in His love and mercy He did choose us, He did redeem us, He did regenerate and make us His beloved children.
§       As the great hymn writer exclaimed, “Amazing pity! Grace unknown! And love beyond degree!”

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