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.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sovereign Election - objections pt 2

Sovereign Election – objections pt 2
-                     We hit a few objections below, but let’s analyze a couple more objections.
-                     God wills all to be saved
o      1 Timothy 2:4 is the most common verse cited for this objection, but also 2 Peter 3:9 and the “world” passages.
§       For the sake of argument, we will say the words “all” and “world” refers to every human being that ever lived.
·       This is what is commonly called the revealed will of God, which is for all people to be saved.
o      Acts 17:30 – God commands all men everywhere to repent.
·       This is in contrast though to his secretive will – God’s eternal decree.
§       Deuteronomy 29:29 nicely sums up the two wills of God found in scripture:
·       The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
o      God reveals or commands things for us to do, such as obeying His law and the gospel.
§       Then God in His sovereign, secret will works all things after the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11).
o      We will speak more about this when we look in depth at the sovereignty of God.
§       In sum, we have God’s revealed will for everyone to repent and be saved.
·       And God’s secret will to save only those who have been chosen.
o      Dr. Grudem answers the charge against God having two wills like this:
§       “While Arminian theologians sometimes object to the idea that God has a secret and a revealed will, ultimately they also must say that God wills something more strongly than he wills the salvation of all people, for in fact all are NOT saved.  Arminians claim that the reason why all are not saved is that God wills to preserve the free will of man more than he wills to save everyone. But this seems also to be making a distinction in two aspects of the will of God. On the one hand, God wills that all be saved.  But on the other hand, he wills to preserve man’s absolutely free choice.  In fact, he wills the second thing more than (emphasis mine) the first.”
·       Thus, the Arminian proclaims two wills of God, except it is totally unbiblical as shown.
-                     Election is unfair.
o      This may be the most common objection.  At the very least it certainly is the most emotional one.
§       Paul’s response in Romans 9:18-24 is not very flattering either.
·       The crux of it is found in vs 19-21:
·       19 You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault (emphasis added)? 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 honored use and another for dishonorable use?
o      After Job went through great tribulation and complained about his predicament, God answered him in this manner.
§       Job 40:1 "Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it."
o      These are not flattering answers, but they do challenge us to let God be God, and trust He will do what is right in infinite wisdom and power.
§       Paul does this in Romans 11:33-36 which comes after his great discourse on election and God’s sovereign purposes.
·       Romans 11:33-36 - Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?" 35 "Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?" 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
o      Something else to consider in light of our depravity.
§       Why should God save anybody?
·       We do NOT want God to be fair with us.
§       It would have been perfectly fair of God to send us all to hell for our rebellion and wickedness.
o      But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

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