Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sovereignty of God

A "god' whose will is resisted, whose designs are frustrated, whose purpose is checkmated, possesses no title to Deity, and so far from being a fit object of worship, merits nought but contempt.

A.W. Pink

18 comments:

Jonathan said...

So, the question is "What is God's will?" Is it God's will that some should be saved, or all, 1 Tim 2. God expresses His will in different ways, see the book "Just Do Something" by Kevin DeYoung. I think you'd like it, really.

I had a thought today...faith comes by hearing the Word, and even calvinists believe evangelism is important. Why would a calvinist believe in evangelism if it had no impact on a person's salvation? A person hears a person makes a decision, a person comes to faith by hearing, then a person acts on that faith by believing.

I once said, during an Experiencing God Bible study, that it's absurd to say that I could frustrate the will of God. Dr. Blackaby tried to tell everyone that people could suffer for our lack of willingness to participate in His works, His will, His moving. If we failed to go on a mission someone might not get saved, if we failed to donate money, a project wouldn't be completed, etc. It's absurd to say that we can frustrate that which is important to God.

It's my belief and assertion that man has a free will to choose, but God will not fail to accomplish what needs to be according to His grand design. But in my view, salvation is on the side of man's free will, and not God's grand design. Jesus, on the other hand, was part of God's grand design, as was Abraham, Noah, etc. These characters needed to accomplish certain things for God's grand design to come to fruition. But that's not the case for every individual that ever existed. For the most part, God leaves us alone let's us choose.

It's easy to read the Bible and believe that God messes with people's lives just because He messed with a few key individuals, but that's quite an extrapolation, and a faulty one at that.

God's will can't be frustrated, unless it was never His will to begin with.

Wayne Dawg said...

The faulty position classic Arminianism always takes it that man’s free will has the ability to somehow recognize his own sinfulness (apart from the revelation of God) and somehow has the faith (apart from the dispensing from God) to come to God on his own terms.

Man, in his natural corrupt state, always and without exception, freely chooses evil. And he does this under his own free will. He does this because he is in bondage to sin.

Jonathan, you said,
“I had a thought today...faith comes by hearing the Word, and even calvinists believe evangelism is important. Why would a calvinist believe in evangelism if it had no impact on a person's salvation? A person hears a person makes a decision, a person comes to faith by hearing, then a person acts on that faith by believing.”

I believe, and practice, evangelism (the proclamation of the gospel).

Why?

Well, first and foremost Because God told us Christians to do so. And, secondly, because God, out of His sovereignty, uses us as His agent to proclaim the gospel. Rom 10.

Faith does indeed come by hearing. But how does that person receive the faith to hear?

God has to give it to them first. Eph 2:8

We get the faith to believe by hearing the Word of God Rom 10:17
A person does decide to follow Jesus, but what makes him decide to do so?

God does.

Ernest Reisinger says that, “God’s sovereign grace does not annihilate man’s will: it overcomes his unwillingness. It does not destroy his will but frees it from sin. It does not stifle or obliterate his conscience but sets it free from darkness. Grace regenerates and re-creates man in his entirety, and in renewing him, causes him to love and consecrate himself to God freely.”

Remember Jonathan, all have sinned. All are doomed to Hell. We all deserve it and nothing apart from God’s grace will stop anyone from going there.

Please read this from Ernest Reisnger called, “GOD’S WILL, MAN’S WILL, FREE, WILL”

http://www.johnbunyan.org/PDFs/gwmw.pdf

YBIC,

Wayne

ExPatMatt said...

So is it God's Will that I be saved, or not?

Or do you have to wait and see if I do get saved and then say that it was His will all along...and if I don't, then it wasn't?

Confused.

Steve Martin said...

God has done everything to save you (everyone).

Some hear this good news and believe it.

And others reject it (Him).

Why this is so is a mystery of the faith.

Jonathan said...

Wayne, you said, "A person does decide to follow Jesus, but what makes him decide to do so? God does."

So God "makes" me follow Him? Jesus said he no longer calls us servants, but friends. Calvinists say that God created some people who never had a chance at salvation or heaven, because God picks and chooses who to save. I'm not saying He doesn't have the power or the right to do with His creation whatever He will. I'm simply saying that His great love gives everyone a chance, but those who turn down his offer will never see the light of heaven.

There is no reason for us to evangelize, no purpose behind it, if it's simply because the Bible tells us to. But there is a reason and a purpose if one can take that knowledge and make a decision.

I'll check out the book. My wife just mailed me my first care package and sent me our new iPad. Maybe I can purchase it as an ebook.

By the way, I'm not posting on my blog as regularly as I used to, but I am still posting. I've posted a few pics from Iraq and will try to update regularly.

Wayne Dawg said...

Maybe my wording was wrong Jonathan -

How about this...

Before you were saved you were NOT WILLING to come to Christ. (Rom 3 - None seek after God)

When you heard the proclamation of the gospel, God gave you the faith through the preaching of the Word (Eph, Rom), you repented of your sins and put your trust in Christ to save you.

Your "will" was changed. You were no longer in bondage to your will to do evil (sin).

God stepped in and saved you from His wrath to come.

How awesome is that!

Wayne Dawg said...

Oh, I almost forgot..

"There is no reason for us to evangelize, no purpose behind it, if it's simply because the Bible tells us to. But there is a reason and a purpose if one can take that knowledge and make a decision."

To say that is going against the biblical mandate from Jesus to go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

God said do it. That should be enough......but like I said, God uses the preaching of the gospel to awaken the sleeping sinner.

Lazarus...come forth!

Lazarus could not come forth until God called him to do so.

But that call...oh, that call! Praise God for that call!

ExPatMatt said...

Jonathan,

I didn't know you were in Iraq. All the best to you, my friend.

Matt.

Wayne Dawg said...

Jonathan - The link I provided is not a link to buy a book. That is a link to a free PDF on the web.

It's a very good read.

Thanks

Ike said...

"Whatever divides us emotionally from other Bible-believing, Christ-honoring Christians is a “plus” we’re adding to the gospel. It is the Galatian impulse of self-exaltation. It can even become a club with which we bash other Christians, at least in our thoughts, to punish, to exclude and to force into line with us.

What unifies the church is the gospel. What defines the gospel is the Bible. What interprets the Bible correctly is a hermeneutic centered on Jesus Christ crucified, the all-sufficient Savior of sinners, who gives himself away on terms of radical grace to all alike. What proves that that gospel hermeneutic has captured our hearts is that we are not looking down on other believers but lifting them up, not seeing ourselves as better but grateful for their contribution to the cause, not standing aloof but embracing them freely, not wishing they would become like us but serving them in love (Galatians 5:13).

My Reformed friend, can you move among other Christian groups and really enjoy them? Do you admire them? Even if you disagree with them in some ways, do you learn from them? What is the emotional tilt of your heart – toward them or away from them? If your Reformed theology has morphed functionally into Galatian sociology, the remedy is not to abandon your Reformed theology. The remedy is to take your Reformed theology to a deeper level. Let it reduce you to Jesus only. Let it humble you. Let this gracious doctrine make you a fun person to be around. The proof that we are Reformed will be all the wonderful Christians we discover around us who are not Reformed. Amazing people. Heroic people. Blood-bought people. People with whom we are eternally one – in Christ alone."

Jonathan said...

Wayne, thanks for the link. We've been back and forth on this for awhile. I appreciate our differences of opinion (Ike) and hope that my views are at least respected, as I cannot turn a blind eye to my conscience.

Ike, I'm not "reformed" in the modern sense, but my closest friends are, as are many pastors and theologians that I listen to and glean from. In the end we will all be shown how little we understand, and much of it won't matter. I agree with your quote that,

"What proves that that gospel hermeneutic has captured our hearts is that we are not looking down on other believers but lifting them up, not seeing ourselves as better but grateful for their contribution to the cause, not standing aloof but embracing them freely, not wishing they would become like us but serving them in love."

Because I surround myself with reformed theology and believers, it is not that they speak down to me, nor that I speak down to them, but that I engage them in conversation where they speak "truths" as they perceive them, and I counter with "truths" as I perceive them. I love you all and if I don't have the opportunity to meet you in this lifetime, then I hope the next.

Matt, thanks. It's not too bad at my location, but I'm anxious to get home to be with my wife and six children. I miss them a great deal.

Wayne Dawg said...

Great quote Ike.

Thank you.

Joe A. said...

Couldn't all of those things potentially come to pass to some extent if He has granted us free will?

Why should such a being be held in contempt according to Pink? Did he feel contempt for every man, woman, and child of the human race, too?

Wayne Dawg said...

Thanks Joe -

"Couldn't all of those things potentially come to pass to some extent if He has granted us free will?"

In a short answer, no.

Can God's will be resisted?

No.

Can God's designs be frustrated?
No

Can God's purpose be checkmated?

No.

Should such a "god" be fit to worship if such a god existed?

No.

"Why should such a being be held in contempt according to Pink?"

Because if you had a "god" such as the one outlined, and he demanded to be glorified, honored and his name hallowed above all names, making promise after promise but could no more deliver those promises than you or I could, then that god is a worthless idol no more deserving worship than a block of wood in the backyard.

"Did he feel contempt for every man, woman, and child of the human race, too?"

Are you speaking of Pink here?

Humans are not deities....nor would any sane person describe themselves as a deity.

Joe A. said...

Do human beings have free will?

Joe A. said...

I used the word being. If characteristics that you and Pink consider axiomatic to the definition of deity are stripped away, then obviously what I said in no way equates humanity to deity.

Wayne Dawg said...

Joe -

Let me point you to the same PDF that I gave to Jonathan to read.

http://www.johnbunyan.org/PDFs/gwmw.pdf

An even more important writing would be, "The bondage of the will" by Martin Luther found here:

http://www.truecovenanter.com/truelutheran/luther_bow.html

Ithink after reading these works you will have a better understanding of God's will, man's will and free will.

Steve Martin said...

Human beings have "free will", but not when it comes to choosing God.

We can choose who to marry, what job to take, what color socks to wear...but when it come sto choosing God, we have a 'bound will'.

We are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. Indeed, we do not want to be free from sin...we actually choose to sin.

But God loves us, and died for us, and forgives us, anyway.

Now that is an awesome God!