Monday, January 19, 2009

solving predestination

Well, we've spent the last three weeks in the word talking about being chosen. Which always leads to (if you are carefully thinking through all the spiritual implication of choseness) to concern for the unchosen. There are Girgashites you know? People who are not chosen by God and who God commands his unchosen to take out (this in O.T. Promised Land history). This opens up a whole can of theological worms concerning God's foreknowledge, predestination, free will, etc... How can God be sovereign (big word for in control) over all and yet allow us to make choices that somehow play out in the equation? Of course Calvinists and Armenians have an answer to all of this (which am I? Neither, both guys who came up with these respective theologies were godly and intelligent men, but still just men. I believe everything the Bible teaches). But here's how I have solved these biblical truths in my mind:

First of all, I don't understand it and no one does. This is hard for those who want to have an explanation for everything about God, but the moment we can explain Him; we become as big and smart as He is and who wants a god like that?

Second understanding: Since i walk by faith and not by sight, I'm o.k. with not knowing. I believe that God is who he says He is and His written word is truth and so i trust everything there.

Thirdly (which I only use to irritate my jr. high english teacher who would say, "thirdly" isn't proper), there are only three truths we really need to know about our free will and God predestining us to be chosen. And here they are.
1. If you hear about Jesus you have a chance to believe in Him and therefore become chosen as heirs of the promise to Abraham through Jesus his "seed".
2. If you believe in Jesus (and I mean you follow him and trust him with your salvation and your life) then you are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise.
3. If you are worrying about Girgashites being eternally condemned (or any other people or people groups in the world that you feel aren't getting a fair shake in the chosen realm) you are worrying about something outside of your control or understanding. It is up to God to save people and he's passionate about it (sent his Son) and has a plan (the church - that's you if you are a Jesus' follower). We have to trust that God will be God. We can't.

So I can say with equal passion. I came to Jesus by faith, an act of my own free will (I remember giving the good confession as a 7 year old). I really chose to follow him (and still do everyday). And at the same time. He chose me before the foundation of the world to be one of his sons and daughters. How complex. How confusing. How wonderful to be chosen.

5 comments:

Tammy said...

Yesterday after church, I called my daughter (at school in Texas) to say "Thank you." She asked what for and I replied 'for Eastview'. While she was home over the holidays, I started coming to church with her. Listening to 'Chosen' has been a great way to start the New Year for me. Combining this with her Christmas present of "Believing God", is driving my faith to a new focus. Thank you!

Nancy said...

So, Logan and I were discussing the whole chosen thing.... it's a tough one to be sure. I believe that all people God gives His breath of life (i.e. anyone born to this world) is created with His desire that they choose to love Him. It is we that do not choose. Even though (here's the part we can't wrap our brains around) God already knows who will choose.

I guess Logan's question is why create them if they are going to disappoint God. Also, (Logan is sitting here with me) he would like to know your opinion or knowledge about why God created Satan?

Mike Baker said...

In answer to Logan's question, I believe Satan is another example of the ability to choose or not to choose. There is no way God could create an evil being - God does not create anything that is not good (see Genesis). So, Satan chose evil and so did many of the angels who followed his rebellion. Did God know that this beautiful angel would rebel? He knows everything. Did Satan choose it? Yes, God doesn't force us to love Him or hate him. Wow, the confusion continues. Can't wait to get to eternity and stop seeing through a glass dimly!

Tami said...

I just have a couple small observations. What good is love when it's "forced"? If we're forced to love God than it's of no value to Him. We have to choose to make it genuine.

Also I've always thought that Romans teaches that everyone has opportunity (Romans 1:18-20 and Romans 2:15-16). So there's no acceptable "I didn't know" excuse.

Kimberlie Henris said...

Mike,
I'm not a member of your church, but I was there on Sunday. I have to tell you that your sermon on "Worship" was mind-blowing and wonderful! By the end, I was in tears. I spent my entire day feeling the true wonder of God and everything He has given to us. It's a great feeling to still be wrapped in that awe and reverence as I wake up this morning. What a wonderful reminder of God's amazing Grace and all of the gifts He has bestowed upon us.

Thank you for such a powerful message. God was certainly working through you and I'll bet He was smiling too! I hope to make it back for the next 5 weeks of the series.