Wednesday, May 31, 2006

17. A Foundation for Evaluation

.... Through a combination of initiatives described in the previous four sections, God will do everything that is necessary, in the life of each person, to bring them to a place of seeking Him in the hope of finding Him — though He is not far from each one of us (Acts 17:27). Yet we still know from the Scriptures that not everyone will be saved.
Therefore it is important to consider: God’s desire to see all men saved is apparently satisfied through the efforts He makes in Predestination Phase 1. He has truly done all that is necessary, and in fact His invitation remains open throughout our lifetime. He has also taken a further initiative to meet each one of us where we are at, in the circumstances of our lives, that He may draw us with cords of love. He may even do so again, and perhaps a third time, as we will discuss in Section 19. So if any of us fails to respond by the end of our lives, we will simply have no excuse for it. Through all this, a basis for evaluation has been formed:
.... To demonstrate this basis, let’s return to the dual testimonies described in Section 14, which pertained to the witness of creation (outward) and the enlightenment of Christ (inward), which we theorized would work together in their testimony of Jesus. God’s hope and intention was to stir our thoughts to seek Him. But conversely, for those who ignored this testimony, they will combine again to effectively condemn them:

.... "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse."
(Rom 1:20)
"And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
(John 3:19)
.... Furthermore, a basis for evaluation is promoted through the events that God predestines in our lives (which we described in Section 15). If we respond to them humbly and learn from them, He will ‘call’ us, and press on to ‘Predestination Phase 2’ in our lives, which will lead to our salvation. But even if we fail to respond, these efforts will not be wasted. They will still glorify God Himself in the Day of Judgment, which is His eternal purpose, and those who fail to respond will be justly condemned in this light. The underlying principle may be found in this passage:

.... "If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the LORD will reward you."

(Prov 25:21-22)

.... Through Predestination Phase 1, God’s hope and intention was that a good basis for evaluation would result. He doesn’t want to see anyone condemned (Ezek 33:11). But on His own side another threshold has been reached, through the same efforts, pertaining to His respect for His Son. The humility that Christ has shown on behalf of mankind calls for a humble response from each of us in return, if God is to proceed in our lives:

.... "You will save the humble people; but Your eyes are on the haughty, that You may bring them down."

(2 Sam 22:28)

.... In the next two sections we’ll discuss this criteria in greater detail:


* Thus, salvation is offered universally, as Arminianism would teach; God truly desires to see all men saved, and His love for man is fully vindicated in His efforts toward them, with the understanding that His love for Christ remains Supreme and cannot be disallowed. But beyond this phase, mention of God working universally among men toward their salvation disappears from Scriptural counsel (unless God repeats this phase in someone’s life, as in Job 33:28-30). Beyond ‘Phase 1’, the Bible speaks of predestination only in regard to specific individuals who are ‘called’ (Phases 2 & 3), and is more agreeable to Calvinism.


Post a Comment

<< Home