Sovereignty, Free Will, and Salvation - God's Sovereignty over Salvation Part 3

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This is part three of a presentation on reconciling God's sovereignty and the process of salvation.

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Sovereignty, Free Will, and Salvation - God's Sovereignty over Salvation Part 3

  1. 1. Sovereignty Free Will & Salvation
  2. 2. God’s Sovereignty and Salvation Part 3
  3. 3. Review from Last Time• Why does God predestine some for salvation?• It is in accordance to his own good pleasure.• What stance on predestination appears most tenable?• Between the prescient, Molinist, and Augustinian positions, the Augustinian/Reformed stance appears more reasonable from a Biblical standpoint.• But doesn‟t God desire all to be saved?• Answering requires that we understand the various „wills‟ in God. The full answer to this question will be given now.
  4. 4. The “Big Two” Verses “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3–4)“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) www.confidentchristians.org
  5. 5. So What is God’s Higher Purpose?Respect for human freedom or God‟s glory and purpose? www.confidentchristians.org
  6. 6. What Does the Bible Say? In Romans 9, we find the same dilemma posed in 1 Timothy 2:4:“I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christaccording to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; ” (Romans 9:1–6) www.confidentchristians.org
  7. 7. “The question posed for the apostle is: how can the covenant promise of God be regarded as inviolate when the mass of those who belong to Israel . . . have remained in unbelief and come short of the covenant promises? His answer would fail if it were simply an appeal to the collective, inclusive theocratic election of Israel. . . . This means, in terms ofthe stage of discussion at which we have no arrived, „they are not all elect, who are of elect Israel.” Murray and Weber Commentary on Romans www.confidentchristians.org
  8. 8. What Does the Bible Say? In Romans 9, we find the answer to the problem: “Nor are they all children because they are Abraham‟s descendants, but: “through Isaac your descendants will be named.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son. And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so thatGod‟s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that Myname might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. ” (Romans 9:10–18) www.confidentchristians.org
  9. 9. Exegesis of Romans 9:10-13 “And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anythinggood or bad, so that God‟s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because ofworks but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” ” (Romans 9:10–13) If there was ever a place for Paul to put in that God looked down through history andchose people based on His foreknowledge of what they would do, it would be here. Doing “good” would be choosing God as the Arminians say happens. But instead Paul takes the example of identical twins and states specifically God‟s choice was made before they had done anything in this life. It was all based on God‟s purpose/effective call. www.confidentchristians.org
  10. 10. Called according to His purpose“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (2 Timothy 1:8–9) www.confidentchristians.org
  11. 11. Exegesis of Romans 9:14-16 “What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion onwhom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. ” (Romans 9:14–16)Why, if God‟s election is based on a person‟s individual choice would anyone charge God with injustice? If God merely looks down through history and selects those who will selectHim, what injustice is that? Paul anticipates the reader‟s response and answers it ahead oftime. God‟s choice is not limited by a person‟s decision or their will; Paul specifically says it is not based on a person‟s will or work, but on God who has mercy on certain individuals that He chooses for His own reasons. www.confidentchristians.org
  12. 12. John Agrees with Paul… “But as many as received Him, to them He gavethe right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. ” (John 1:12–13) www.confidentchristians.org
  13. 13. Jesus agrees with John who Agrees with Paul…“Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. ” (Matthew 15:13) www.confidentchristians.org
  14. 14. Does God Treat Everyone Equally?• God chose Abraham out of all the other pagan individuals• God appeared to Moses in a way He did not to others• God gave Israel blessings He didn‟t give to Greece• God appeared to Paul in a way He didn‟t to Herod God has mercy on whom He has mercy… www.confidentchristians.org
  15. 15. “The interpretation which tries to restrict this predestination or unconditional election to nations rather than individuals or tohistorical tasks rather than eternaldestinies must ignore or distort the problem posed in Rom. 9:1-5, the individualism of 9:6b, thevocabulary and logical structure of9:6b-8, the closely analogous texts elsewhere in Paul, and the implications of 9:14-23. Theposition is exegetically untenable.” - John Piper www.confidentchristians.org
  16. 16. Exegesis of Romans 9:17-18“For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimedthroughout the whole earth.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. ” (Romans 9:17–18)Why did God harden Pharaoh‟s heart? The Scripture says it was so that God could demonstrate His power in overcoming evil and that His name would beexalted in the whole earth. Paul then shows clearly how God is not limited by a person‟s individual will – He has mercy on whom He desires and He hardens whom He desires. www.confidentchristians.org
  17. 17. Exegesis of Romans 9:19-21“You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thingmolded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? ” (Romans 9:19–21) “Who resists His will?” Answer: No one! Paul‟s answer to the question he poses seemsharsh, but it reiterates the sovereignty of God over all creation including each individual.But remember one important thing: the „clay‟ the potter is working with is fallen clay. One receives mercy and the other is used for other purposes. www.confidentchristians.org
  18. 18. Exegesis of Romans 9:22-24“What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy,which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.” (Romans 9:22–24) Here is the final answer to the question: it is for God‟s glory that He does not save all.He shows His mercy to some and His justice to others. And He is just and right in doing so. And remember – the vessels of wrath like being vessels of wrath and don‟t desire orchoose to be anything else. Lastly, note that the called are from both Jews and Gentiles, so once again, individuals are in view and not nations. www.confidentchristians.org
  19. 19. “God addresses Pharaoh through Moses: „Let my people go.‟ This corresponds tothe kindness and long-suffering of pointing the way to repentance (Rom. 2:4).Nevertheless, God has already told Moses that he is going to harden Pharaoh‟s heart so that he will not let the people go. This corresponds to the intention of God expressed in 9:22 to show his wrath precisely by means of enduring in much long-suffering vessels of wrath. If God‟s command to Pharaoh can be thwarted by God‟s own decree to harden Pharaoh‟sheart, then in the same way God‟s commandto men to repent and the time he gives themto obey can also be thwarted in the case of the vessels of wrath by God‟s decree to harden whom He wills and thus show His wrath on the day of judgment.” - John Piper www.confidentchristians.org
  20. 20. What of Unbelievers? “The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil. ” (Proverbs 16:4) “This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve,“The stone which the builders rejected, This became the very corner stone,” and, “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. ” (1 Peter 2:7–8) www.confidentchristians.org
  21. 21. That‟s not Fair…!
  22. 22. “The mention of that nation [Israel] turns our attention to one of thosefeatures in the Christian story which is repulsive to the modern mind. To be quite frank, we do not at all like the idea of a „chosen people‟. Democrats by birth and education, we should prefer to think that all nations and individuals start level in the search for God, or even that all religions are equally true. It must be admitted at once that Christianity makes no concessions to this point of view. It does not tell of a human search for God at all, but of something done by God for, to, and about, Man. And the way in which it is done is selective, undemocratic, to the highest degree.” C . S. Lewis www.confidentchristians.org
  23. 23. “After the knowledge of God had been universally lost or obscured, one manfrom the whole earth (Abraham)is pickedout. He is separated (miserable enough, we may supposed) from his natural surroundings, sent into a strange country, and made the ancestor of anation who are to carry the knowledge ofthe true God. Within this nation there is further selection: some die in the desert, some remain behind in Babylon. There is further selection still. The process grows narrower and narrower, sharpensat last into one small bright point like the head of a spear. It is a Jewish girl at herprayers. All humanity (so far as concerns its redemption) has narrowed to that.” C . S. Lewis www.confidentchristians.org
  24. 24. Mercy, Justice, and Election All of humanity are born sinners and deserve justice God chooses some for salvation; these receive mercy God allows some to continue in their sin; these receive justice
  25. 25. Mercy, Justice, and Election“What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! ” (Romans 9:14)We get into trouble when we believe God owes us mercy. Mercy and justice differ. There is no injustice in God giving some mercy and allowing others to experience justice.
  26. 26. 1 Timothy 2:3-4 – Another Interpretation “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are inauthority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness anddignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. ” (1 Timothy 2:3–4) . Paul is asking for prayers for all kinds of people including even theruthless and godless kings who were reigning over them (e.g. Nero). Paulthen goes on to say that God desires that no one class of people be left out of His salvation plan; all “kinds” of people will be saved. www.confidentchristians.org
  27. 27. 2 Peter 3:9 – A Closer Look “This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles. Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintainthis, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. ” (2 Peter 3:1–9) www.confidentchristians.org
  28. 28. 2 Peter 3:9 – A Closer Look“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. ” (2 Peter 3:9)Who is “you”? These are the Christians that Peter is writing to. What/who does the term“any” refer to? Grammatically it refers back toward “you”. The statement then is one that says God has no desire to see any of those He has chosen for salvation to perish and iswaiting for them to come to repentance. This would be the decretive will of God as He isthe One who grants repentance. “The Lord‟s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those whoare in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, ” (2 Timothy 2:24–25) www.confidentchristians.org
  29. 29. “Who are these of whom the apostlespeaks, to whom he writes? Such as had received “great and precious promises” (2. Pet. 3:1); whom he opposeth to the“scoffers” of the “last days” (2 Pet. 3:3); to whom the Lord hath respect in the disposal of these days; who are said to be “elect” (Matt. 24:22), Now, truly, to argue that because God would havenone of those to perish, but all of them to come to repentance, therefore he hath the same will and mind towards all and every one in the world (even those to whom he never makes known his will, nor ever calls to repentance, if they neveronce hear of this way of salvation), comes not much short of extreme madness and folly.” - John Owen www.confidentchristians.org
  30. 30. So does God choose some for Heaven and some for Hell?
  31. 31. Double Predestination?Double predestination refers to God actively choosing some for salvation and choosing others for Hell. This is not what the Reformed view holds. The Reformed view says that God actively/positively chooses the elect for salvation, but passes over the others in apassive/negative fashion leaving them in their sin. This is sometimes referred to as „abandonment wrath‟: “And just as they did not see fit toacknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, ” (Romans 1:28)
  32. 32. Double Predestination? “God then did manifest Himself such as He is: that is to say, merciful and just: merciful, since He delivers and preserves from this perdition all whom He in His eternal and unchangeablecounsel of mere goodness has electedin Christ Jesus our Lord, without any respect to their works; just, in leavingothers in the fall and perdition wherein they have involved themselves.” - Belgic Confession of Faith
  33. 33. Much of the issues of God‟s sovereignty,humanity‟s free will, and salvation comes down to thequestion of whether God gives grace to everyone so all have the chance to make a free-will decision to choose God.
  34. 34. Two Possible Answers1. Prevenient Grace2. Irresistible or Effectual Grace www.confidentchristians.org
  35. 35. What is Prevenient Grace? John Wesley believed in humanity‟s total depravity. He wrote: “I believe that Adam,before his fall, had such freedom of will, that he might choose either good or evil; but that,since the fall no child of man has a natural power to chooseanything that is truly good. Yet I know (and who does not?) that man has still freedom of will in things of indifferent nature.” www.confidentchristians.org
  36. 36. What is Prevenient Grace?If humanity was unable to choose God, then how is man saved? According toWesley, God issues forth a prevenient(„coming before‟; „antecedent‟ grace) to all of humanity that restores each person‟s ability to choose God. From the Wesleyan Church website: www.confidentchristians.org
  37. 37. “Wherein may we come to the very edge of Calvinism? In ascribing all good to the free grace of God. In denying all natural free-will, and all power antecedent to grace. And in excluding all merit from man;even for what he has or does by the grace of God.” - John Wesley www.confidentchristians.org
  38. 38. What is Effectual Grace? “All those whom God has predestined unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart offlesh; renewing their wills, and, by His almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ: yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.”
  39. 39. So which is it…?
  40. 40. Prevenient or Effectual Grace? We‟ll have to tackle this in the next lesson… www.confidentchristians.org
  41. 41. Conclusions• If God desires all to be saved, why aren‟t all saved?• Paul shows us in Romans 9 that God elects some to salvation based on His mercy.• Isn‟t that unfair?• No, some receive grace and some receive righteous justice• How do the unsaved come to salvation if no person seeks God?• The two most plausible possibilities are prevenient and effectual grace.
  42. 42. God’s Sovereignty and Salvation Part 3

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