The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

Posts Tagged ‘chosen’

The Pride of Life & Confidence in the Flesh

Posted by israeliteindeed on August 4, 2014

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (I Jn. 2:15-17)

I was considering this morning the following question:

Just what does “the world” have to seek after, if it is not seeking after Christ? The answer is always the lust of the flesh (pleasure), the lust of the eyes (covetousness for material gain), and the pride of life. The “pride of life” is the hardest for me to define. But I think the apostle Paul explained what the pride of life was for him:

For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Phil. 3:3-11)

The confidence Paul had in his life in the flesh prior to his conversion = the pride of life.

These were the things Paul once considered “gain” when his confidence was in his flesh–

1. Being circumcised (following religious code)
2. Being “of the stock of Israel” (Nationalism)
3. Being of the tribe of Benjamin (Pride in family)
4. Being considered a “Hebrew of Hebrews” (cream of the crop in his nation)
5. Being a Pharisee (religious leader)
6. Being zealous for his apostate religion against the church
7. Being “blameless” in his lawkeeping

But how did Paul view these things now that he was a follower of Jesus?–He viewed them all as “rubbish” compared to knowing and gaining Christ, and being found in Him. These things no longer had any value to him!

And look what Paul says just a few verses later:

Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (17-20)

Paul wanted the Philippians to walk just as he was walking, focused on gaining Christ, not glorying in the things of this world. He redefined “the circumcision” as those who worship God in the Spirit. Thus the Christian Philippians–though not circumcised in their flesh–were part of “the circumcision.” Paul wept over those who had their minds set on earthly things, and reminded the Philippians that our citizenship is in heaven! Those whose minds are set on earthly things are “enemies of the cross of Christ.” That wonderful, violent cross has forever broken down the wall of partition between men, and rendered as rubbish all the things in which they once gloried–things which are actually “their shame.”

It is heartbreaking to me to see so many professing Christians today glorying in earthly things. Is it not the pride of life to be “proud to be an American”? Or proud that our relatives have served in some war? Should we be proud that our relatives have helped destroy lives, or should we consider this our–and their–shame? I know this cuts into all that we have been taught since we were born. But the empty traditions handed us by our fathers were and are all leading to destruction anyway. It is high time to denounce them as the rubbish of the world and choose Christ. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God. (Lk. 16:15)

To become a Christian is to undergo a radical transformation in the way we think. When all things become new, our very understanding of life is fundamentally changed. The Sermon on the Mount redefines “blessing” for the follower of Jesus, and gives him a whole new way to behave. What the world views as logical and praiseworthy, the saint now abhors. And what the saint now sees as correct, by following the teaching and example of Christ, the world rejects (Jn. 15:18-20).

Where the world exalts pride, Jesus said the poor in spirit are blessed. Where the world promotes a search for constant laughter and “happiness,” Jesus says those who mourn are blessed. Where the world approves power over others by brute force, Jesus says it is the meek who will inherit all things. Where the world says “only the strong survive,” Jesus says the merciful will receive that mercy which will eternally sustain them. Where the world insists that greater aggression is the answer to man’s constant strivings against one another, Jesus said the peacemakers are “the sons of God.” Where the world teaches that we should avoid suffering at any cost, Jesus said persecution for His sake is a sure sign of God’s blessing.

Dear reader, let us be careful that we aren’t latched onto things that are “passing away,” or seeking blessings as defined by the world rather than God. This is very serious, for to love the world is to prove that the love of the Father is not in us. Let us not glory in our shame. If we are honest, there are many things in our nation’s–or family’s–history that should make us blush (wherever we are from.)

All the nations and families of the earth have fallen. When Paul penned the words, “All have sinned…”, he was in large part explaining to the Gentiles that his own Jewish nation had fallen short just as the Gentiles had. There is no national or familial “high ground” from which one group can glory over another group–unless we wish to lose Christ and pass away with this world. And any doctrine that provides such a “moral high ground” for any group of people on the earth, is a doctrine of devils sent to create enemies of the cross of Christ. Any doctrine that promotes the pride of life and confidence in the flesh, also promotes a departure from the Lord and a choosing of the curse. Be not deceived.

Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord.” (Jer. 17:5)

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The Works of Abraham

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 29, 2014

Jesus: “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.”

Unbelieving Jews: “Abraham is our father.”

Jesus: “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father.”

Unbelieving Jews: “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”

Jesus: If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” (Jn. 8:37-47)

This passage is powerful, but few are listening.

“Abraham’s children…do the works of Abraham.”

It doesn’t matter who calls themselves Abraham’s children. It doesn’t matter what race, religion, or location one possesses or professes. Abraham’s children do the works of Abraham. And those who don’t do the works of Abraham are NOT Abraham’s children. They are not blessed with faithful Abraham (Gal. 3:9). And what are Abraham’s works?

Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad. (Jn. 8:56)

Abraham gladly believed in the Messiah! Also:

By faith Abraham obeyed…(Heb. 11:8)

And:

By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. (Heb. 11:9-10)

Abraham looked upon “the land of promise” as a foreign country! He recognized that the promise was a heavenly city built by God.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. (Heb. 11:13-16)

Abraham did NOT receive the promise in this life! He saw it afar off, he rejoiced to see it, and he confessed he was a stranger and pilgrim on the earth. He desired the heavenly country. He did NOT fight over earthly country. What happened when Abraham and Lot had too many herds for the land?–He let Lot choose where he wanted to stay and he took the leftovers. No insisting that God had given the land to him. He waited for the promise of God to come about in God’s time, rejoicing to see “My day”–the day of Christ, when the kingdom of God would be established. And he “died in faith, not having received the promises.”

Is this what we see today in the Middle East? No, we see unbelievers fighting over land, just as was happening in the days Jesus walked the earth, when the Jews chafed under Roman occupation. Both the Jews and the Romans were sinful nations, and today, both the Jews and the Muslims belong to sinful nations. (Yet a remnant of each will be saved.)

Did Jesus rally the Jews to fight for land? Did He tell them the land was owed them? He never did. He wouldn’t even concede that they were children of Abraham! “He who is of God hears God’s Word…you do not hear because YOU ARE NOT OF GOD.” (Jn. 8:47)

How much plainer can it be? Jews who reject Jesus are NOT OF GOD.

They are not of God. It doesn’t matter how many false teachers say they are “God’s people” and we should support them. Please hear the Savior: They are not of God.

Supporting them and the things they do out of carnal ambitions is having fellowship with darkness. Did Jesus say we should have fellowship with them?

Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch. (Matt. 15:4) Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. (Lk. 12:21)

The apostle John was clear:

Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. (I Jn. 2:22) Every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ (the Messiah) has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. (I Jn. 4:3)

Every person that denies Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) is ANTICHRIST. Do you know what this means? This means thousands of deceived professing Christians are supporting and advancing the causes of antichrist. John recorded Jesus as saying, “I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.” (Rev. 2:9)

What fellowship is there between Christ and antichrist? What fellowship between the Church of Jesus Christ and the synagogue of satan?

No true child of Abraham (whether Jewish or Arabic or something else) is fighting over land. True children of Abraham do the works of Abraham.

Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. (Gal. 3:7)

ONLY! The flesh profits nothing!

Oh yes, the children of the flesh persecute the children of the Spirit, and insist upon their “rights.” Han Pappe, an Israeli historian, said, “Most zionists don’t believe God exists, but they do believe He promised them Palestine.” What a clever apostasy! This is worse apostasy than the one Jesus rebuked; even the Pharisees of His day–“children of the devil“–did not deny the existence of God. But the children of the flesh shall not prevail. They shall be cast out and cut off (Gal. 4:21-31). Jesus said, “I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.” (Rev. 3:9)

And who are the true Jews? Paul wrote, “He is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.” (Rom. 2:28-29)

These do the works of Abraham. These only are the children of Abraham. These only are blessed. These only are the apple of God’s eye. These only are citizens of the Heavenly Zion. These only are guarded and protected by God. And these only make up the Israel of God.

To the unbelieving Jew, I say this: Repent and believe the gospel. Then you too can be a child of Abraham and an heir of the promises.

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Those Who Are Called

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 4, 2014

For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (I Cor. 2:22-25)


Who are “those who are called”?

Does God only call a select few from among the Jews and Gentiles, and enable only them to answer the call? Does God then cause those select few whom He called to inherit eternal life? If you only read the following passage, you might think so:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Rom. 8:28-30)

Paul is referring to those who presently “love God.” “Those who are called” = “those who love God.” Those who love God are “the called according to His purpose,” because they are submitted to His purposes rather than their own. And these, Paul says, were “foreknown” by God, predestined to look like Jesus, called to follow Jesus, justified and glorified. Paul speaks of these things as having already been done in the past, but this does not mean that a calling guarantees the final glorification. We need to carefully weigh this passage with other passages before concluding that God only calls certain people, or that one who is called always inherits eternal life.

Remember, Peter acknowledged that some of Paul’s writings were “hard to understand,” and “untaught and unstable people” were twisting his writings to their own destruction. Then Peter warns, “THEREFORE…beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked.” (2 Pet. 3:15-17) So let us have a look at other Scriptures that speak of our being called.

The call can be ignored with terrible consequences.

Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, because you disdained all my counsel, and would have none of my rebuke, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes (Prov. 1:24-26)

This call of God to hear His wisdom and submit to it has gone out since the beginning to all simple ones, scorners and fools (1:20-22). This is a call to forsake our own wisdom and cleave to God’s Wisdom (Christ.) But many refuse to take God’s hand, disdain His counsel, and reject His rebuke. He called, but they refused. It is only those who turn at God’s rebuke who come to know His words (1:23). Many in Jesus’ day had already been ignoring God’s call; thus their hearts were ill-prepared to see the salvation of God (Psa. 50:23). They would not turn at His rebuke, so they were denied access to His Words.

The call comes through/in God’s Grace.

But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace… (Gal. 1:15)

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel. (Gal. 1:6)

This is the same grace that has appeared to all men and teaches them to live soberly, righteously and godly (Titus 2:11-12). When Jesus was lifted up, He drew all men to Himself. The ultimate display of God’s love should cause us to love Him and answer His call to be like Him. But there are some who count the blood of Christ a common thing and insult the Spirit of grace (Heb. 10:29).

The call comes by the gospel.

to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thess. 2:14)

And to whom are we commanded to give the gospel?–to every creature from every nation (Mk. 16:15; Col. 1:23).

The call includes a command to repent (Not everyone repents).

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:38-39

Peter is teaching that everyone who is called can receive the promise if they repent! The call itself does not necessarily mean eternal life is guaranteed.

The call is a call to leave darkness and come dwell in light.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (I Pet. 2:9)

The call is a call to follow Jesus.

Early in Jesus’ ministry, He began to call men to follow Him. We should wonder what made Him call certain people and not other people in those early days. Why did He call fishermen and a tax collector, for example, rather than esteemed leaders of the day. Wouldn’t more well-known people have had more influence? Paul explained this in I Cor. 1:26-31–

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

Notice:

1. The words “called” and “chosen” seem interchangeable in this passage. For example, “Not many wise…are called, but God has chosen the foolish.”

2. God purposely refrained from choosing that which had fleshly glory, so that no flesh could glory in His presence.

3. In so doing, He fulfilled His word in Psa. 18:27, 25:9; 147:6, 149:4; Prov. 3:34, etc., in which He promises to save and help the humble. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble!

Does this mean that someone who had an esteemed position among men could not be called, chosen, or saved?–No, for Paul was advanced in Judaism and his credentials did not keep him from being saved. Yet he had to humble himself and submit to Jesus, counting his credentials as rubbish (Phil. 3:8). Many who have the esteem of men will not risk losing it for Christ, as Paul did. Nicodemus also was a leader who was looking for truth, and Jesus responded to his search for understanding by teaching him.

The call is a call into the fellowship of Jesus.

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (I Cor. 1:9)

Is one who is called into this fellowship guaranteed to remain in this fellowship?

God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (I Jn. 1:5-7)

We must walk/remain in the light in order to remain in fellowship with Jesus.

The call to fellowship with Jesus is a call to suffer patiently.

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps I Pet. 2:21

that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death (Phil. 3:10).

not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. I Pet. 3:9

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. I Pet. 5:10

If we aren’t willing to suffer with Him, neither will we be glorified with Him (Rom. 8:17).

The call is a call to fight a good fight.

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (I Tim. 6:12)

The call is a call to be holy, obedient saints.

Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: (Rom. 1:5-7)

To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: (I Cor. 1:2)

but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct. (I Pet. 1:15)

The call is answered when someone obeys it by faith.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called… (Heb. 11:8)

The call must be followed by knowing the One who called us.

As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue. (2 Pet. 1:3)

that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Phil. 3:10-11)

We must walk worthy of the calling! (Some do not!)

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called. (Eph. 4:1)

We do this by putting off the old man with all of its ungodly behaviors, and being taught by Christ how to live in true righteousness and holiness (same chapter, vss. 17-32).

We must be diligent to make our calling and election sure, lest we stumble!

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble. (2 Pet. 1:10)

If you do these things you will never stumble“–the things mentioned in vss. 5-7. That is, we must add to our faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. If we do not do these things, our calling and election are still unsure.

We must go past being called to being sanctified and preserved in Jesus.

Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ. (Jude 1)

Those who are not sanctified are not doing God’s will (I Thess. 4:3). Only those who do God’s will and obey Christ’s teachings shall be saved (Matt. 7:21). We are sanctified and preserved as we abide in Jesus, the Word of God. Scripture is clear that those who don’t remain abiding in Jesus will be cut off the Vine because of their fruitlessness (Jn. 15:5-6).

We must go past being called to being chosen and faithful.

For many are called, but few are chosen. Matt. 22:14

Judas was called and even given supernatural power–

And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. (Matt. 10:1)

Judas was chosen

Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (Jn. 6:70)

But Judas was not faithful

This he [Judas] said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. (Jn. 12:6)

Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’ (Jn. 13:17-18)

Those with Jesus are called, chosen, and faithful:

These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” (Rev. 17:14)

In summary, the call of God goes out through the earth to all nations, to every creature. So in that sense, all men are called to come to Christ. Yet, “those who are called” in our original passage refers to those who have not ignored the call (in general, the humble), have not received God’s grace in vain, have repented, and have obeyed the gospel. These are following and fellowshiping with Jesus, are suffering patiently, are fighting the good fight, are being holy and obedient, are walking worthy of their calling, and are being sanctified by Jesus as they abide in Him. These will inherit eternal life if they are faithful to the end, and do not turn from the heavenly calling as Judas did.

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God Sees Your Sin, Pt. 2

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 21, 2011

In this post, I would like to present you with Old Testament Scriptures which demonstrate that God deals with people on a day-to-day basis. He makes conditional covenants (agreements) with people, but if the people violate the conditions for blessing and refuse to repent, God is not bound to bless them still. The covenant has essentially been broken. Though God is merciful and loves to forgive, He does not blind Himself to the future sins of His people, allowing them to sin all they want and still remain under His protection and grace.

Some will argue that the Old Testament has no bearing on the lives of New Covenant believers, but this is error. We must remember that Jesus and all the New Testament teachers taught new believers from the Old Testament! It is applicable because God changes not. His character in the Old Testament is still the character He has today. There is a newer and better covenant in place, with a greater High Priest and more precious promises, but God remains the same covenant God, whose conditions must be met if one is to remain in His favor.

The Old Testament Judaic law was a shadow of things to come (Heb. 10:1)–meaning it was a type, from which we can draw truth and parallels relating directly to the present gospel time. Paul wrote exactly that in I Cor. 10:1-12, warning Christians that although the Old Testament Israelites had exited Egypt (symbolically: separated from the world), lived under the cloud (symbolically: enjoyed the protection of God), were baptized in the cloud and the sea (symbolically: old man crucified in baptism, resurrection to a new life as God’s child), ate spiritual meat (symbolically: partook of the True Bread, Jesus), and drank of the Rock who is Christ (received living waters), most were still overthrown in the wilderness before reaching the Promised Land. Why? They lusted, committed idolatry, fornicated, tempted Christ, and murmured in continual complaint, being unthankful. All these things happened to them, and were carefully recorded for examples to us, according to Paul!!

Therefore, we under the New Covenant can be sure that if we do the same things the Old Covenant people did, we will suffer the same fate. Though we have at one time separated from the world, enjoyed God’s protection, been baptized in Jesus, and feasted at the table of God, it is possible that because of our future sins, we will not receive the promise.  For this reason, the writer of Hebrews admonishes us,

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (Heb. 10:36)

It is imperative for those of us who have faith in the promise of God to DO THE WILL OF GOD with PATIENCE–BEFORE we receive the promise!

Listen to the promise of God given to Israel in Deut. 31:8–

And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

Right after Moses delivered this wonderful promise to Israel, God gave him a snapshot of the future; Israel would “rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.” What would happen next? Would God overlook their future sin and “never forsake them”?–

Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? (Deut. 31:16, 17)

When Joshua’s men suffered defeat at Ai, he sought answers of the Lord. Hadn’t the Lord promised to be with them? Why was He not keeping His promise? The Lord’s answer:

Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.  Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. (Josh. 7:11, 12)

Clearly, God’s promise to be with Israel was conditioned upon their remaining separate from “accursed things.”  God’s present favor is not a promise of unconditional future favor, no matter what you do.

If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. (Josh. 24:20)

The same warning was given to Solomon, a man gifted with wisdom from God:

Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.  (I Chron. 28:9)

Azariah, speaking by the Spirit of God, said the following to King Asa, and the people of Judah and Benjamin:

The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. (2 Chron. 15:2)

Let us not forget David, the man after God’s own heart, the shepherd king chosen to replace the backsliding King Saul. When he took another man’s wife and had her husband killed, “the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.” (2 Sam. 11:27)  The Lord did not overlook the sins of the man He had chosen. Many people believe that David remained in a perfectly safe, “saved” condition during the long period of time before he repented, but the Bible does not make this claim–contrarily, it claims that unrepentant adulterers and murders will not inherit the Kingdom of God (I Cor. 6:9; Rev. 21:8). Certainly, God’s mercy was extended to David in that he did not die in an unrepentant state, and His hand was heavy on David leading him to repentance. David could have hardened his heart at Nathan’s rebuke; thankfully, he did not.  We should not conclude from this story that David was an adulterer who was saved (unbiblical), but that God saw David’s sin and expected repentance.

In Ezekiel 8, the prophet was encouraged by God to look upon the wicked abominations–and greater abominations than these–being committed in the house of God. Was this not the house that once had the glory of the Lord resting upon it? (I Kings 8:11) But now God was angry at what the people were doing, so angry that He said,

Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them. (Ezek. 8:18)

Dear reader, God judges the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day (Psa. 7:11).  He does not turn a blind eye to the future deeds of those who are presently considered “righteous.” In fact, He declared that if a righteous person turns from past righteousness  to future sin, none of his past righteousness will even be remembered! (Ezek. 3:20; 18:24-26; 33:12) A righteous person’s future sins are not invisible to God! Dare you say to the all-seeing God, “You can’t see what I’m doing”?

Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? (Isa. 29:15)

The Lord says to His chosen people that turn to sin, “I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins.” (Amos 5:12) Not only does He know them, but “God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Eccl. 12:14)  If you cover your sins (perhaps with unbiblical arguments like “God doesn’t see my sin”), you will NOT PROSPER, but if you confess AND FORSAKE them, you will have mercy (Prov. 28:13).

Although Israel had a covenant agreement with God whereby his sins could be covered and forgotten, his refusal to obey God’s voice, and his continuation in wickedness made his iniquity to be remembered (Ezek. 21:24). Because the people refused to restrain their wandering feet, the Lord no longer accepted them, but would now “remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.” (Jer. 4:10)

This doctrine that “God doesn’t see my sin” grieves the heart of God, who desires to heal backsliders of their ways if only they would “consider…in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face.” (Hos. 7:1-2)

Apostasy was so rampant when the prophet Jeremiah was preaching, that the Lord directly said to the people, “I will utterly forget you…I will forsake you…and cast you out of my presence.” (Jer. 23:39)  Because the people transgressed the covenant and “cast off the thing that is good,” counting the “great things” of His law “a strange thing,” the Lord would no longer accept them, but would remember their iniquity and send them back to Egypt! (Hos. 8:3, 12, 13)  Because the people went whoring away from the God who loved them, and insisted upon corrupting themselves, He would “drive them out of His house,” “love them no more,” and “cast them away.” (Hos. 9)

The Israelites were taught by God, through the Levitical system, how costly sin was by seeing their innocent beasts die for their sins. Whatever sins were remitted by the shedding of blood would not be remembered against them. It was not a one-time deal, but a lifestyle of obeying God’s voice, examining themselves, and making appropriate offerings to God while seeking His forgiveness and favor. A man who became careless with the things of God was “cut off from his people.” Although the blood of animals cannot take away sins, these things were written for examples to us, and for our admonition (I Cor. 10:11).  Our offering for sin is the blood of Jesus Christ (shed once for all time), but this does not negate the fact that we must live lifestyles of obeying God’s voice, heeding His correction, examining ourselves sincerely, confessing and forsaking sin while seeking the Lord’s forgiveness, and looking to the crucified & risen Lamb of God with faith in His blood.  Carelessness and callousness can still result in being “cut off.” I will discuss this same theme in New Testament Scriptures in the next post.

God bless you!

Go to Part 3

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Sovereignty and Free Will

Posted by israeliteindeed on February 1, 2010

Are Sovereignty and Free Will opposites?

Those who are trained to think of God’s sovereignty in the Calvinistic sense insist that men have no free will. To think a man can choose to repent and follow Christ negates God’s sovereignty, they think. They think if a man can choose one way or the other, then that man has control rather than God.

If God is completely all powerful (sovereign), is He not then able to apportion a measure of control to his human subjects? I say that to deny God’s right to do so is to attack the sovereignty of God; it is to say that He is not able to control a universe unless He micromanages every decision of His subjects. The truth is that God is more sovereign than Calvinists think.

There are many biblical truths illustrated in life for our learning, if we are observant and careful to compare everything to the Word of God (so that we don’t stray from it in our reasonings.)  In using parables, Jesus Himself often used natural things to teach spiritual principles.

I believe the tension between the sovereignty of God and the free will of man can be seen in two examples in nature: natural parental sovereignty, and the synergism between God and man in growing crops.

   

Natural Parental Sovereignty

Let’s say I have 10 children. I might say to my children, “I want you to get your chores done on time. Please be obedient. If you get your chores finished on time, you will have dessert. If you don’t get them done on time, you will be denied any dessert at all.”I am completely in control of whether they get dessert or not. If I decide to give them ice cream, they will enjoy some ice cream–and if I decide they get no dessert, there is nothing they can do about it. Since I have all the power on my side (sovereignty), I could even go back on my word and deny them dessert even after they finish their chores in time–but for the sake of argument, in our example I am a loving and just parent/ruler (as God also is), and I will always keep my word.

As a good parent, I have a high purpose in teaching them to do what is right with diligence–my rules are not arbitrary. They may not understand the importance of finishing their chores on time; nevertheless they have a choice to make, and an obedience to fulfill. They will reap exactly what they sow, and what they sow is THEIR choice, not mine. I am not going to force them to do their chores; neither will I hinder their efforts to obey. They have freedom to choose to disobey (which is contrary to my will). But they are not free to choose to have the dessert ANYWAY if they disobey. If they disobey me, I will keep my word and allow them no dessert. That part has been “predestined,” if you will, by their parent. They are free to choose, but their free-will is limited by my sovereignty.

Suppose a child were to say, “My parents are sovereign, and it is their sovereign choice whether or not I get dessert. There is nothing I can do to change my future one way or the other. There is no point in my doing chores or anything else; everything has been decided for me.”  Or suppose a child were to examine the history of his siblings, and notice that a few were routinely getting dessert, while others were routinely denied dessert. Should he then decide that his parents have predestined some for dessert and others to go without dessert completely apart from anything they might do? Hopefully you see the folly of such thinking. Yet this is exactly what the Calvinist view of God’s sovereignty declares about God’s relationship with men, and using this distorted view of sovereignty, many attempt to shirk the responsibilities God has given to men.

   

Application

God has made His will known–it is His will that all men repent of their sins and come to Him through faith in Jesus Christ. He desires men to love Him with all their hearts, and to love their neighbors as themselves (doing no evil to any man.) He has said that all men will be judged by their works (Matt. 16:27; Rev. 2:23; Rev. 20: 12-13), and will reap either death or everlasting life depending on what they “sow” in this life (Gal. 6:7-8).  We are free to choose whether we will sow to please our flesh or the Spirit of God (free will), but we are not free to choose a reward that is contrary to what we have sown–God  in His sovereignty will make absolutely sure that we reap according to how we have sown–He will not be mocked. We will get our just desserts.

 

Growing Crops

If a man plows his land, sows wheat, and is diligent to care for his fields; then provided no catastrophe happens, he will reap wheat. If he sows corn, he will reap corn. If he is lazy and sows nothing, he will reap nothing but weeds and thistles. God has given knowledge to man, and man knows how to grow food through hard work. But God does not force men to plow and sow, nor does He choose for man what type of seed should be sown.  God allows him to sow anything he wants, or to sow nothing at all in his garden. God allows him to give half-hearted attention, full devotion, or total negligence to his fields. That is free will

Nevertheless, God is the one who put life inside a seed. God is the one who sends rain, and the one who either sends or withholds bad weather. What happens beneath the soil is a wonderful miracle, and no farmer–no matter how brilliant or diligent–has control over what takes place there. No farmer can reap anything in a field God devastates by floods or other natural disasters. No farmer can grow anything apart from God, because God is in the process from beginning to end–He is the Author and Finisher. That is sovereignty.  

Now suppose a farmer were to say, “God is sovereign. It’s all up to God, so I will just sit here and watch good fruit appear in my garden all by itself.” We know that this would not happen–this foolish man would starve to death with his family! God has taught men to sow and expects them to do their part. “Doing their part” to cultivate the soil and plant good seed in no way steals glory from God; rather it honors God by properly stewarding the gifts God has given to men.  This is called synergism.    

 

Application:

In salvation, repentance is the plowing of the soil. Even good seed simply won’t grow in rocky, hard soil. Jesus said unless you repent you will perish (no repentance, no life). God does not command what a man has no power to do (that would make Him unjust.)

Faith in Jesus Christ is the receiving of the Good Seed (Jesus, the Word) into the soil.  Endurance or perseverance must happen next, as Jesus taught you must not only hear the Word, but keep it and “bring forth fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15)  

While God is both the Author and Finisher of Salvation/Eternal life (as He also is the creator of the life in the seed, and the one who controls the weather in our former example), He still commands our participation in the salvation He offers. He allows us to CHOOSE whether we will:  

-Repent (plow),
-Believe (receive the Seed), and 
-Endure (bring forth fruit with patience).  

We are told that we have a choice to sow to please the Spirit or sow to please the flesh (Gal. 6:7-9). Please note in this verse that the CONSEQUENCES of this sowing are out of our control, though the sowing itself is in our control. We will reap “destruction” or “life everlasting” depending on what we CHOOSE to sow. (Everlasting life is at stake here, friends, not just heavenly rewards.) We can choose to sow to our flesh, but we are not free to still reap everlasting life if we do so. “Be not deceived . God is not mocked. WHATEVER a man sows [by his own choice] that shall he also reap.”  

“Whatever a man sows…” denotes free will choice.
“That shall he also reap.” denotes God’s sovereign and predetermined decision to give to every man according to his works (Matt. 16:27; Rev. 2:23; Rev. 20: 12-13.)

God bless you!

  

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All that the Father Gives Me will Come to Me

Posted by israeliteindeed on December 5, 2009

In this paper, I would like to examine a favorite “proof text” for the false doctrine of unconditional election, John 6:37 and 44, in light of other Scriptures.

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.  John 6:37

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:44

Yes, Jesus taught that those who come to Him must be given Him or drawn by the Father.  Does this mean that God the Father arbitrarily chooses some for salvation and others for damnation, regardless of any choices a person might make in his life, as Calvinism teaches?

Calvinists build a false view of God, beginning right here in their misinterpretation of this passage and others.   By the time you follow their reasoning to its end, you are left to believe God callously pre-determines the fates of all human beings, a teaching which is a direct attack on the truth that the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men (Titus 2:11). I believe this passage has a very simple explanation that Calvinists completely miss because they are reading what they already believe into the Scriptures, and failing to note the context of what Jesus said.

The context is this:  Jesus was speaking to His critics and pointing out that they were backslidden from God although they were claiming to be the people of God. They assumed because their forefathers were God’s “chosen people,” that they too were automatically God’s “chosen people” simply because of their natural bloodline and historical heritage. Most were apostate from God!  The reason they rejected God’s messenger (Jesus) was because they had first rejected God Himself. God will not show His salvation to those who hate Him and disregard His commands.

To him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God. Psalm 50:23

Here we see that it is the conduct of a man–not a predetermined, arbitrary choosing on God’s part–that determines if God will show him His Salvation (Jesus).

Will God claim to offer salvation to “whosoever” (as He does in numerous Scriptures), and yet damn the majority through no fault of their own? Astonishingly, Calvinism accuses God of this very thing.

Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Gen. 18:25

The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. Eze. 18:20

Clearly, God testifies that each man is responsible for his own death, which he reaps by sowing his own sin.

Does God take pleasure when wicked men die?  It is “his pleasure,” says Calvin, for God to “doom to destruction” the wicked. Let God Himself prove Calvin a liar:

“Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?”  Eze. 18:23

‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ Eze. 33:11

God declares that He has NO PLEASURE in the death of the wicked, but rather desires all men to repent and be saved (Acts 17:30, 2 Peter 3:9).

If God desires and commands all men to repent and be saved, it follows that He has created man with the ability to repent and be saved; otherwise He is an evil tyrant, commanding what He has made impossible.  Even the soon-to-be-murderer Cain was told that if he did right, he would be accepted! (Gen. 4:7) Why then are some never saved? Why do so many refuse to come to Jesus for salvation? Why has the Father not “given” or “drawn” that person to Jesus?

But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. John 10:26

The Calvinist, well-trained in the interpretations of other men, reads this Scripture and quickly assumes that God has indiscriminately predetermined who His sheep will be. But was Jesus saying that?

Before the Word of God was made flesh and dwelt among us, those who were faithful to God—that is those who were right with God according to the provisions of the Old Covenant—were called God’s sheep:

Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Psalm 100:3

When Jesus said, “You are not of my sheep,” He was claiming ownership of God’s sheep! He was, in effect, claiming to be equal with God. He was also openly accusing His detractors of being apostate from God–no longer His sheep.

Those Jews who had remained faithful to God through the Old Covenant, or who had recognized their backslidden condition and repented at the preaching of John the Baptist and Jesus, were prepared to receive and follow Jesus.

The Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob, says the LORD.  Isa. 59:20

Those Jews who merely honored God with their lips, but kept their hearts far from Him, did not believe on Jesus when He came. A prime example of this is the Pharisees, as Jesus testified:

“Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” Matt. 15:7-9

The unbelieving Pharisees were not “God’s sheep” because they were not faithful to the Old Testament covenant, which was the light they had already been given. They were transgressing the commandments of God to carry out their traditions (Matt. 15:6); neglecting justice, mercy and faithfulness (Matt. 23:13); filled with extortion and self-indulgence on the inside (Matt. 23:25); and only appeared clean on the outside—inside they were full of dead man’s bones, uncleanness, hypocrisy, and iniquity (Matt. 23:27-28).

The Pharisees claimed to follow Moses, yet Moses had prophesied thus:

“The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, according to all you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’  “And the LORD said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good.  I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.  And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.” Deut. 18:15-19

The Pharisees and other unbelieving Jews had rejected the Prophet—Jesus—whom Moses said they must listen to, proving they did not truly love and obey God—nor even listen to Moses!  If they loved God, they would have recognized His Messiah/Prophet.  If they were faithful to the light they had received, God would have given them more light.

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.” John 8:42

“But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.” John 5:42

“It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.” John 6:45

Jesus was not saying, as Calvinists falsely claim, that God pre-picked—apart from any personal choices—who would come to Jesus and who would be damned.  Jesus was emphasizing that the unbelieving Jews were apostate—they had refused to hear and learn from the Father, even though they claimed to be God’s people.  He was telling them the reason why they did not receive Him—it was because they were so far from God that they could not receive anything from God, not even His own Son. (See the parable Jesus spoke concerning the Pharisees in Mark 12:1-12.)

Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.  If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.” John 7:16-17

Jesus taught that those who sincerely wanted to do God the Father’s will would be able to recognize that He Himself was true.  Those who had a teachable spirit toward God the Father would be pointed to Jesus Christ—the very Word of God—by God.  Those who accepted God’s witness through Moses, the law, and the prophets; would also accept Jesus Christ, since He Himself had come from God.  Those who were in rebellion against God the Father would naturally not listen to Jesus Christ any more than they listened to the earlier witnesses.  Jesus said of those who rejected the testimony of the earlier prophets,

“If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.”  Luke 16:31

Such needed to REPENT toward God first, and then He would draw them to the Son whom He had sent!

In Hosea 5:4, the backslidden people of Israel were thus accused:

They do not direct their deeds toward turning to their God, for the spirit of harlotry is in their midst, and they do not know the LORD.

Here we see that “directing our deeds toward turning to our God” is an important step toward salvation. This is repentance from evil deeds. Those who refuse to “direct their deeds toward turning to their God” will not “know the LORD,” just as many Jews did not know Him when He was standing right in front of them.

Does this principle apply only to the Jews, or does it apply to Gentiles also?

Concerning the gospel message, Paul said in Acts 20:20-21:

I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks,

#1—repentance toward God and

#2—faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Repentance toward GOD is here listed before faith toward the Lord Jesus! It is significant that both John the Baptist and Jesus began their ministries preaching repentance toward God.  In fact, Jesus claimed:

“Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:5

Without repentance, then, there is no salvation according to Jesus!  Trying to “receive Jesus” without first repenting of your sins is like trying to grow seed in rocky, weedy, untilled soil.

Again, Paul testified before Agrippa that he preached to everyone that “they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.” (Acts 26:20-21) Repentance is first!

Thus says the LORD: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. “ Isa. 56:1

Here, God was telling the Old Testament sheep to keep a clean slate with God because the Messiah was about to come!

God … now commands all men everywhere to repent. Acts 17:30

To him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God. Psalm 50:23

Who is the salvation of God whom God will show to the one who first orders his conduct aright?

Salvation is “in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 2:10). He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life through whom men can be saved (John 14:6).

Nor is there salvation in any other [than Jesus Christ], for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

While Jesus Christ is the only Way to be reconciled to God, it can also be said that repentance toward God is the way to Jesus Christ. A man still holding onto his sins does not yet realize how desperately vile they are, so how can he appreciate how much he needs Jesus Christ?  (The lack of repentance in today’s popular “gospel” message is a major reason why so many professors of Christianity are still in their sins! They remain unsaved.)

A wonderful illustration of the truth that God will show His salvation to the one who “orders his conduct aright”  is the story of the Gentile Cornelius in Acts 10. Cornelius was said to be “a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.” (vs. 2) This man was divinely instructed by an angel to seek out the apostle Peter, and to “hear words from him.” Those words included the testimony of Jesus Christ. After the Gentiles present heard those words, the Holy Spirit fell on them, showing that God’s salvation was for Gentiles as well as for Jews.  Peter testified:

In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.  But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. Acts 10:34-35

Who is accepted? The one who fears GOD and works righteousness (repents of evil deeds.) Cornelius feared God first, then God sent him to Peter so that Peter could teach him that “whoever believes in Him (Jesus) will receive remission of sins.” (vs. 43)  Would Cornelius have been open to this message of having his sins remitted through Jesus Christ if he had not feared God first?

The one who seeks God with the whole heart is promised to find Him. If you seek after God, God will make the Way to Himself open to you. He will lead you to Jesus Christ, through Whom you can be saved. If a man does not seek God, neither will he have any true regard for Jesus.  This is the message Jesus was relaying in John 6: 37, 44.

Those who reject the light they’ve already been given will lose whatever light they had.

Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you…While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light. John 12:35-36

Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him. Luke 8:18

Stephen–a man “full of the Holy Spirit”–testified to the unbelieving Jews that stoned him,

You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Acts 7:51

Did God indiscriminately keep the unbelieving Jews from Jesus, or were those Jews guilty of resisting the Holy Spirit of God? Friends, the truth is that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” but we reap what we sow.  (I Tim. 2:4, Gal. 6:7)

In Romans 1:18-25, we see the progression into error by those who reject what God has already revealed to them:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to 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, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.  Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Paul testified to the men of Athens:

And He [God] has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. Acts 17:26-27

Clearly, God WANTS all men to “grope for Him and find Him.” Unfortunately, many reject the light they already have—the dual witness of creation and their own conscience—and darkness overtakes them.

Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek Your statutes. Psalm 119:155

Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. John 12:35

There are many promises in Scripture that those who seek God with all their heart will find Him. The promise is open to everyone!

But from there [when you are in distress] you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deut. 4:29

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jer. 29:13

You who seek God, your hearts shall live. Psa. 69:32

Seek Me and live. Amos 5:4

I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me. Prov. 8:17

So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Luke 11:9-10

Friend, those who repent of sin and seek God with their whole heart will be led to place their faith in and follow the Word of God, who is Jesus!  Salvation is open to all who meet God’s requirements!

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. Rev. 22:17

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. Rom. 10:13

Whoever believes in Him [Jesus] will receive remission of sins. Acts 10:43

Come to Me [Jesus], all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matt. 11:28

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. Luke 9:23-24

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. Rom. 1:16

Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob; Israel shall blossom and bud and fill the face of the world with fruit. Isa 27:5

God bless you!

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