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Friday, August 11, 2006

Thoughts on personal election

I understand the scripture to declare that Jesus, having submitted to the will of God, offered Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world in order that the whole world, through Him, might be redeemed.

1st John 2

1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

1st Timothy 2

3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

I think many of us agree on how we are drawn by the Holy Spirit through Jesus to the Father. I suspect many would also agree that this is an act of God and not of man. It seems the greatest differences in our understanding concern the extent of the mercy of God toward all men, God’s will concerning all men and God’s determination regarding the necessity that a man must choose to believe God. I suspect the last of these the greatest point of contention.

I would interpret the scripture in 1st John and 1st Timothy to clearly indicate that it is the will of God that all men be saved. Knowing therefore that Jesus is that way and that He is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world I must ask as you do, if Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world and it is the will of God that all men be saved how can it be that there are those in danger of damnation? The answer I find is that God does not force his mercy on any man but instead He has made it available to all men and determined that it be within their will alone to accept it or reject it. God in His infinite mercy reveals to us our need for reconciliation and the way it is accomplished through belief in Jesus. He draws us to Him but He does not force us to reconcile, to accept His Word, to believe in Him. A compulsory act is not an act of faith. This would be akin to the “faith” that was produced as a consequence of the Strasbourg catechism and confession of faith as well as other similar acts such as the crusades. The missing essential element with a forced confession of faith is that there is no faith on the part of the confessor, only fear.

I consider the mercy of God beyond my comprehension just as I consider His power beyond anything my feeble mind could imagine. I suppose (even hope) that we could discuss both for eternity. I understand that His mercy is available to all through Jesus, however not all accept His mercy. With respect to the will of God I can only refer to the scripture as I assure you I have no secret revelation. The scripture I offer as the basis of my belief really is the only leg I have to stand on, and the only one I need. We can continue to examine each verse if you like. Where we seem to differ is in reconciling what the scripture says with our own perception of God, His will and His sovereignty. I pray I would never say or do anything to lead anyone to believe that God is any less than all mighty, omnipotent and sovereign in all things. I am equally as prayerful that I might never lead anyone to believe that God is any less than all merciful, all loving and all kind. I do not see a conflict in this apparent duality but rather a glimpse of perfection that goes far beyond my own ability to comprehend. In truth, I don’t think I am capable of fully understanding, let alone, describing all that God has done in order that we might be reconciled to Him. Still, when all is said and done we must all agree this fact remains:

John 3:36

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

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27 Comments:

Blogger Timothy said...

KC,
We've been down this road so many times... let's do it this way... you respond to the post by writing what you know I'm going to say, and I will respond to yours by writing what I know you will say... :)
Blessings

8/11/2006 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Pastor!

I can't believe you'd pass the chance to defend Calvin's position at Strasbourg! ;-)

8/11/2006 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

"Where we seem to differ is in reconciling what the scripture says with our own perception of God, His will and His sovereignty."


I absolutely agree, KC. But if perception comes from the belief system each person has within them, then why do so many Christians, those born of the Spirit, continue to have these different beliefs through out our lives here on earth?

This is what I think right now; We all read from the same word of God, but if we are not honest with ourselves in comparing what God is actually saying concerning Himself to what has already been established in our belief system apart from the word, then we have no choice(Adam would like that, hehe) but to relate to God by our perception of Him through our belief system already in place because of outside sources(parents, denomination, SEMINARY teachings, etc) apart from God's true revelation about His self.

An example, I think: I know some things are minor disagreements, but some are not.
Some of Calvin's teachings can only be adhered to by changing definitions or supposed meanings of words such as 'world' or 'all' to elminate clear contradictions between some of his teachings and scripture. Limited atonement, not being the least of the doctrines he teaches to glue his understanding of election being one side of a double predestination coin, is soundly disproved by "New Testament" scripture.

Calvin's commentary on the book of Hebrews which is horrendously biased to his doctrine of perseverance to good works if a person is "truly saved", does not even come close IMO of what the writer of Hebrews is trying to explain to his readers.

I probably shouldn't have included the last two paragraphs in my comment, but I did (I had no choice) hehehe

Anyway great post, let me know what you think. Like you I want to be as open as I can to change my beliefs on certain doctrines if I need to. But one thing no one can change is the verse in John you quoted. It means what it means, Praise God.

8/11/2006 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger Gordon Cloud said...

KC, you did a fine job of handling this topic. I have often wondered what God thinks, after sending His Son to die for the world, about those who want to try to decide whether or not God really wants to save everyone.

I enjoyed this.

8/11/2006 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Kris you do know that we are on the same cosmic plane, don't you? (grin)

My hope at present is to eventually point out that, more often than not, those who require theological agreement for fellowship have allowed their philosphy to inform their ecclesiology, rather than scripture. Calvin was a clear example of this problem as illustrated by his rejection of Luther. His theocracy was completely in line with Roman ecclisiology and directly opposed the teaching of Jesus (Matthew 20:25-28).

8/11/2006 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Thanks preacher. I really believe the subject of private/corporate election, among others, should not be a cause for divison among believers.

8/11/2006 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Timothy said...

KC,
I see you got my point. We've all been down this road so many times... our minds are made up... we are no longer convincing either to change our positions... all we can do is drop the occassional Calvinist/Armenian bombshell and hope to get a rise out of someone...

And since this is the case... I'm not going to use any bombs here, but say, that it's better to say: Let us love the brethen fervently! And press on!
Blessings

8/11/2006 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger Timothy said...

Really, I mean let's concede (See my post at my place on 500!), what good are we really doing here? We either tear down or build up. What shall it be? Those who we disagree with vehemently, we cannot build them up. And those we agree with, we can build up... but then again, should we...

I cannot even get the people in my congregation on board with me, the people God has given me to love and pastor, much less those in this cyberconversation, that I have not eye contact with, no voice, no inflection, no compassion... or the ability to show those things. So who are we anyway? Where is our ability at all if we have any at all. Just not sure it's there... not sure ... well, just some thoughts on the reality of influence... my sphere is really, really small... about the size of a 14 shoe on a roach, and then, only when the roach moves slow enough...

BTW, ever listen to the sound track from Finding Neverland? Some of the most beautiful music to be found...

I'm going home now, to shower my wife with love, and to love my son and hopefully influence and encourage them....

8/11/2006 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Keep it coming, Kc.

8/12/2006 04:32:00 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Excellent post, KC!

I really like this thought:
I pray I would never say or do anything to lead anyone to believe that God is any less than all mighty, omnipotent and sovereign in all things. I am equally as prayerful that I might never lead anyone to believe that God is any less than all merciful, all loving and all kind.

What a good balance that is missing in a lot of this "debate."

8/12/2006 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

It is a blessing to see the humility in which you have approached this and the willingness to hear your brethren out. I appreciate your closing thoughts and especially that last verse.

May God bless you. So glad that you believe the truth in a world where Christ is so hated.

Brian

8/14/2006 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Pia said...

hi, papu. i don't want to go without saying i'll miss you. it might take a while before i can go back to blogging. i don't have a computer at home. please do remember that you are in my prayers. i'll call you and mamu sometime.

God bless and much love. :)

8/15/2006 04:21:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

"I consider the mercy of God beyond my comprehension just as I consider His power beyond anything my feeble mind could imagine."

Wow! Would that we all could come to adopt this concept!

8/16/2006 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger curious servant said...

Some issues I feel I'm simply not wise enough to have an opinion or comment upon.

But I like to listen in on the grown-ups...

Thank you for the thought provoking dialogue.

8/16/2006 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger pecheur said...

Election. It sounds pretty personal to me.

HAHA. I love the title of this post.

8/16/2006 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger audrey` said...

Someone's birthday is approaching :)
God bless you, KC.

8/17/2006 05:11:00 AM  
Blogger Pia said...

advance happy birthday, papu! :)

8/17/2006 09:53:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Dear brethren all, thanks so much for your thoughts, well wishes and patience. I hope to be back to blogging soon.

8/19/2006 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Did I not comment? I mean to comment...

8/19/2006 11:37:00 PM  
Blogger audrey` said...

Happy Birthday, KC!
God bless you :)

8/20/2006 01:29:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Adam mi blog su blog. ;-)

Audrey, thank you so much for all your prayers and blessings and for all you do here in bloggerville. You are such a dear sweet sister.

8/20/2006 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger dorsey said...

I don't mind people who believe in election. It's the people who think they have the list that set me off.

8/21/2006 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Yes and sadly they won't just tell you if you're on it or not either! (grin)

8/21/2006 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger dorsey said...

Yet without fail, every one of them assumes they're on it. LOL

8/21/2006 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

I know the spirit you meant that with but when I read it I was overwhelmed with the thought that I pray to God that they are.

8/21/2006 01:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Danny Kaye said...

Kc...


I don't know if you know it or not. But the comments link isn't working on your "Only One" post.

Just so ya' know...

8/23/2006 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Jeff Antonio just posted. It may have been a temporary blogger thingy. Could you try again please? ;-)

8/23/2006 07:15:00 AM  

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