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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Predestination

Many Calvinists see in the next 5 texts proof of a damnation and salvation that are beyond the control of the fallen human recipient.
 
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” (Eph. 1:5).
 
“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” (Rom. 8:29,30).
 
“If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.” (2Cor. 4:3).
 
“All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” (Matt. 11:27).
 
“It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” (Matt. 13:11).
 
These texts sound firmly decreed by a heavenly Dictator. Does God not have a Congress or a Parliament? Did He not set up 24 elders for backup mediation after His Son, after which example David appointed 24 priests under Zadok and Ahimelech (see 1 Chronicles 24:3-9)?
 
Yet, the above texts appear to show that it is by God’s arbitrary act alone that we are saved or lost. These verses make God look like a totalitarian despot who keeps creature choice and consequence on the sidelines while He calls all the shots regardless of their desire to live with Him forever. Similar to how the NIV says, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says… This is what the Sovereign Lord says… This is what the Sovereign Lord says…”
 
Nothing at first appears to lean toward cause and effect. Does God’s creation have a part in causing Him to act? Do we have a part in our salvation or damnation? Does the law of cause and effect apply to salvation and damnation, so that “righteousness by faith” (Gal. 5:5) means by our faith? “The just shall live by his faith.” (Hab. 2:4). Thus by our faith God can make us righteous, and without our faith He cannot. By our faith we are entered into the Lamb’s book of life; and by our permanent loss of faith we are blotted out of the book. Faith is at least part of the cause; and the righteous life is the effect.
 
We see cause and effect in our world. We demand cause and effect among ourselves. How can any physician heal a disease without first finding the root cause of it? Without that knowledge, a faulty diagnosis will probably be determined and faulty prognosis given. And no patient would accept such a diagnosis and prognosis; he would get a second opinion. To believe that there is no cause means the disease is predetermined, and that death is inevitable and unavoidable. This falsehood has left many infirmed from a wrong habit, and they died needlessly because either the doctor was trained wrong or the patient refused to hear the cause and to fight his sinful self-indulgence that craved to remain untouched. But, the self-indulgence must go, or the wages of sin is death. The effect is death and the cause is sinful self-indulgence.
 
The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever” (Isa. 32:17).
 
“If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” (Rom. 8:13).
 
“As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.” (Prov. 26:2).
 
“And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the LORD, he delivered them into thine hand. For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” (2Chron. 16:7-9).
 
The effect upon King Asa was God lifting His leadership and protection; and the cause was King Asa not relying on the God of heaven, but rather his reliance on the god of this world for protection and security.
 
“Because” meant the cause was lack of reliance on the Lord; “Therefore” meant the effect was Syria escaping. “Herein” meant “because the king knew true reliance on God when attacked by the Ethiopians and the Lubims”; “Therefore” meant the effect in wars for the rest of his life.
 
“He that hath received His testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.” (John 3:33). This statement means that only the person who has decided that God is true can receive the testimony of Christ. God and His Law is the Schoolmaster that, once submitted to, can bring us to Christ for His justification.
 
Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My name.” (Ps. 91:14). Obvious cause and effect here.
 
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). God’s love caused Him to give us His only-Begotten.
 
“We love Him, because He first loved us.” (1Jn 4:19). The effect of our love to God is caused by His love for us.
 
But, everyone who the Father and Son haven’t called to repentance doesn’t like the principle of cause and effect. They know their need of right standing before God, but they don’t want the correction and reproof that go with it. They don’t like to be judged—even by God. They don’t want to change their habits, or their desires and wants. To rid their characters of those habits will require stern battles against self. And not many are willing to make that kind of sacrifice—even for health and life. They have not yet learned the principle of the gospel, that by the cause—not of our willpower or our behavior—but of setting our love upon Jesus, the effect till be His deliverance and our victory over the sins that so easily beset us. It’s all cause and effect, but it must be the right cause—faith, which gives us the victory.
 
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” (Tit. 3:5).  Yet, Paul in another place stated that God’s mercy and salvation requires our faith. “By grace are ye saved through faith…” (Eph. 2:8).
 
From the beginning there had been a cause for the effects of sin. Sin is not arbitrary in the cause of its inception or its existence. Sin resisted much wrestling and many appeals by God and His angels to Lucifer’s heart.
 
So long as all created beings acknowledged the allegiance of love, there was perfect harmony throughout the universe of God. It was the joy of the heavenly host to fulfill the purpose of their Creator.… But a change came over this happy state. There was one who perverted the freedom that God had granted to His creatures. Sin originated with him… 
 
“Little by little Lucifer came to indulge the desire for self-exaltation.… 
 
“In heavenly council the angels pleaded with Lucifer. The Son of God presented before him the greatness, the goodness, and the justice of the Creator, and the sacred, unchanging nature of His law.… But the warning, given in infinite love and mercy, only aroused a spirit of resistance. Lucifer allowed his jealousy of Christ to prevail, and became the more determined…. 
 
“In great mercy, according to His divine character, God bore long with Lucifer. The spirit of discontent and disaffection had never before been known in heaven. It was a new element, strange, mysterious, unaccountable. Lucifer himself had not at first been acquainted with the real nature of his feelings; for a time he had feared to express the workings and imaginings of his mind; yet he did not dismiss them. He did not see whither he was drifting. But such efforts as infinite love and wisdom only could devise, were made to convince him of his error. His disaffection was proved to be without cause, and he was made to see what would be the result of persisting in revolt. Lucifer was convinced that he was in the wrong. He saw that ‘the Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works’ (Psalm 145:17); that the divine statutes are just, and that he ought to acknowledge them as such before all heaven. Had he done this, he might have saved himself and many angels. He had not at that time fully cast off his allegiance to God. Though he had left his position as covering cherub, yet if he had been willing to return to God, acknowledging the Creator’s wisdom, and satisfied to fill the place appointed him in God’s great plan, he would have been reinstated in his office. The time had come for a final decision; he must fully yield to the divine sovereignty or place himself in open rebellion. He nearly reached the decision to return, but pride forbade him. It was too great a sacrifice for one who had been so highly honored to confess that he had been in error, that his imaginings were false, and to yield to the authority which he had been working to prove unjust. 
 
“A compassionate Creator, in yearning pity for Lucifer and his followers, was seeking to draw them back from the abyss of ruin into which they were about to plunge. But His mercy was misinterpreted. Lucifer pointed to the long-suffering of God as an evidence of his own superiority, an indication that the King of the universe would yet accede to his terms. If the angels would stand firmly with him, he declared, they could yet gain all that they desired. He persistently defended his own course, and fully committed himself to the great controversy against his Maker. Thus it was that Lucifer, “the light bearer,” the sharer of God’s glory, the attendant of His throne, by transgression became Satan, “the adversary” of God and holy beings and the destroyer of those whom Heaven had committed to his guidance and guardianship. 
 
“Rejecting with disdain the arguments and entreaties of the loyal angels, he denounced them as deluded slaves….
 
“Still the loyal angels urged him and his sympathizers to submit to God….” Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 35-40.
 
Predestination might look like God’s predisposition, as if God foreordains sin or salvation; but that isn’t true at all. He gives His creatures their part to choose who they will serve.
 
“From the beginning, God and Christ knew of the apostasy of Satan, and of the fall of man through the deceptive power of the apostate. God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence, and made provision to meet the terrible emergency.” Desire of Ages, p. 22.
 
Although the Godhead can foresee the future, that shouldn’t assume that They alter the future. Rather they leave it in place, unaffected of Their total manipulation. However, They do have an input, of which they take full advantage. But, that advantage doesn’t alter our choice or the future, it simply keeps the future on track against Satan’s efforts to derail it for his unfair grasping for undue power.
 
Could Satan have the freedom, no flesh would be saved. He would destroy even the very elect, were it not for God’s protection and providential engineering.
 
We can be thankful for our freedom of choice, not because of the devil, but because of God. And, that freedom includes choosing to follow the devil. If we so choose to enlist on Satan’s sinking ship, God must let us close our eyes and shut our ears, and allow our heart to wax gross, “lest at any time [we] should see with [our] eyes, and hear with [our] ears, and should understand with [our] heart, and should be converted, and [the Spirit of the Lord] should heal [us].” (Matt. 13:15).
 
So, God predestinates all our transformations into the image of His Son by foreseeing all of our choices in life. And then He works in every way possible to improve our potential for salvation. The battle between the Spirit of Christ and the spirit of Satan rages over the head of every soul. God is not willing that any should perish, but to come to repentance. How many will repent?
 
“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.” (Rev. 13:3; 18:3).
 
“And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” “How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.” (Rev. 17:18;18:7).
 
Many will not repent, but will follow after the Beast and the woman riding on it. They will sell their soul for her wine, which speaks peace when there is no peace from God. And therefore they will never need repentance. They will be the “ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” (Luke 15:15).
 
But, what about Paul repeating what God said, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy”?
 
“For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth.
Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.
Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth He yet find fault? For who hath resisted His will?
Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast Thou made me thus?
Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
What if God, willing to shew His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
And that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory.” (Rom. 9:15-23).
 
None of Paul’s arguments ever deviated from the principles of Old Testament scripture. Paul counseled Timothy:
 
 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2Tim. 3:16).
 
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2Tim. 2:15).
 
Paul was not an anarchist, a proponent of Law abrogation, or a blasphemer. He knew that life was dependent on our obedience to the laws of God.
 
“(As we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.” (Rom. 3:8).
 
“Ye shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (for all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) that the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.” (Lev. 18:2-28).
 
 “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” (Rom. 3:31).
 
The above argument from Romans 9 of Paul agrees perfectly with cause and effect that we see in the Old Testament. Both Old and New Testament lawgivers agreed. “What if God, willing to shew His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory.” (Rom. 9:22,23).
 
“See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand.
For I lift up My hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever.
If I whet My glittering sword, and Mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to Mine enemies, and will reward them that hate Me.
I will make Mine arrows drunk with blood, and My sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.
Rejoice, O ye nations, with His people: for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance to His adversaries, and will be merciful unto His land, and to His people.” (Deut. 32:39-43).
 
The picture we see here is that of cause and effect, not arbitrary decrees from heaven. Pharaoh had fitted himself for destruction long before God destroyed him. And Pharaoh’s chose for himself to be destroyed, by abusing the helpless captives under his keeping, which abuse—though oblivious to him—purified the flock, so that a polarization occurred. By God letting go the reins of human passion, because the empire strove for so long to be free from His convictions that for God to continue restraining them would break the law governing choice, then quickly pride went unrestrained, abuse mounted, the helpless were purified, the wicked did more wickedly, and in short time two diametrically opposed people were created—the very wicked and the very righteous. Until the Spirit loosed the cords of divine intervention into human affairs three groups existed. 1) a very small group of half-hearted wicked, 2) the vast majority of those who did not know right from wrong, and 3) a very small group of half-hearted righteous.
 
But, God giving Satan full charge while God protected everyone’s choice, all who were not seeking to know Jesus persecuted those who were seeking Him. The more the half-hearted wicked persecuted, the less half-hearted, and the more wicked they became. The more the half-hearted righteous were persecuted, the less half-hearted and the more righteous they grew. In the end the Lord could say, “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” (Isa. 13:12).
 
“Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” (Dan. 12:10).

 God’s judgments are righteous because we deserve more than what we receive from Him. The Lord is longsuffering, not willing that anyone should perish. 
 
“For My name’s sake will I defer Mine anger, and for My praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For Mine own sake, even for Mine own sake, will I do it: for how should My name be polluted? and I will not give My glory unto another.” (Isa. 48:9-11).
 
For the sake of the half-hearted, double-minded people seeking God, whose hearts were divided between Jesus and their idolatry, God let the calamities of the wicked loose on them. Because only thus could He move them and us to choose His laws and eternity with the God of life.
 
“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil [râ ‘âh “vexing” “wretchedness” from “affliction”, “adversity”, “calamity”]: I the LORD do all these things.” (Isa. 45:7).
 
Jehovah’s light would follow His darkness; His peace would follow His vexing calamitous captivities. The evil empires, which vex and pruify His people, commit themselves to destruction. And God’s people are delivered. Not by arbitrary decree, but by cause and effect.
 
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Ps. 23:4).
 
Once His wife is wholly reconsecrated to her Husband in the heavens, then He is her Saviour. He waits for cause to deliver her from her consequences. That cause is her restoration to fidelity.
 
“I, even I, am the LORD; and beside Me there is no Saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are My witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.” (Isa. 43:11,12). The church reconciled with her former Husband, she calls Him the only true God. “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.” (1Pet. 3:6).
 
“Ye are My witnesses, saith the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me.” (Isa. 43:10).
 
In the end the church is His powerful witness. They witness with all their heart because the Lord did for them what they couldn’t do for themselves; rid themselves of their half-hearted love. Then He can rid them of their enemies who have become wholly wicked.
 
“Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth.” (Isa. 43:9).
 
Of course, the nations have no argument for their abuse against those who they have helped prepare for paradise. All they can do in judgment is to say that God’s judgments upon them “is truth”.
 
“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel” (1Thess. 4:16) saying, “Touch not Mine anointed, and do My prophets no harm.” (Ps. 105:15).
 
“And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet” (Matt. 24:31), “and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1Thess. 4:16,17).

In the end, the wicked cooperated with Satan to be lost and they cooperated with Satan to save the purified, who also cooperated with God in their salvation.  “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! hos unsearchable are His judgments, and His wasy past finding out!” (Rom. 11:33).
 
“God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise.
And His brightness was as the light; He had horns coming out of His hand: and there was the hiding of His power.
Before Him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at His feet.
He stood, and measured the earth: He beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: His ways are everlasting.
I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble.
Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? was Thine anger against the rivers? was Thy wrath against the sea, that Thou didst ride upon Thine horses and Thy chariots of salvation?
Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even Thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers.” (Hab. 3:3-9).
 
The destruction of the wicked and the deliverance of the righteous was the product of cause and effect, not arbitrary predestination.
 
“If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2Cor. 4:3,4).
 
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” (Eph. 1:5).
 
Yes, we were predestinated; but not without cause. We first trusted in Christ after we heard the word of His truth and grace.
 
“That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” (Eph. 1:12,13).
 
“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” (Rom. 8:29,30).
 
God does predestinate us, but not without first watching all of our decisions from the dawning of our intelligence, even while still in our mother’s womb, and not to mention decisions made later under the influence of this sinful world. At that time He foreknew us and predestinated us to be conformed to the image of His Son. Were we setting our love upon Jesus? Here lies the cause of our predestination for salvation or damnation.
 
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28).
 
“He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.” (Matt. 13:11,12).
 
They don’t want to see with their eyes, or hear with their ears. They don’t want to understand and be converted. Therefore they deafen and blind themselves. This was stated before the parable of the seed and ground.  Each plot of ground was responsible for its own end result.
 
“Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” (Matt. 13:13-17).
 
Altogether what we’ve looked at explains the following statement by Jesus.
 
“All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” (Matt. 11:27).
 
“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28).
 
Who will hear His voice and come? Whoever is tired of their heavy load and chooses to let Him take the yoke off their necks. “Whosoever will.” (Rev. 22:17).

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