Election–conditional or unconditional?

We had a fun time at the Christian View on Sunday answering this question:

“Is it possible that because God foreknew from (the) beginning of time who would be saved and who would not, that he, in effect, predestined his own—only because he knew?  In other words, his foreknowledge came first, then his predestined or elect?”

Or, another way of asking this would be, “Did God elect those whom he foreknew would respond?

Here’s how we appraoched it.  First,  we put the events of salvation in order:

  1. Election (before creation Ephesians 1)
  2. Calling (Ephesians 4:1, 2 Peter 2:10)
  3. Regeneration (rebirth) (John 3:5f.; Ephesians 2)
  4. Faith and repentance (Ephesians 2; Acts 20:21)
  5. Justification & Adoption (Romans 4-5)
  6. Sanctification & Perseverance (Romans 6-8, etc.)
  7. Glorification (heaven)

Next, we addressed the nature of God’s election.  Was God agreeing with what he foresaw humans would do, or was he choosing outcomes for humans prior to any actions or conditions.  I believe that it is the latter for the following reasons.

  1. To elect means to choose.  We would have to redefine election if it really wasn’t a choice God was making, but an acknowledgment.
  2. All of us were unable to choose apart from God’s acting upon us because we were dead in our transgressions and sins.  (cf. Ephesians 2)  The parable of the Wedding banquet says that all were invited and nobody came.  That’s a picture of the whole world invited, but universally unresponsive.  If God did look through the corridors of time, all he would have seen was totally unresponsive descendants of Adam.
  3. Romans 9:11-12 says 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad– in order that God’s purpose in election might stand:  12 not by works but by him who calls– she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”  In other words, the act of election is not based on how a person does anything good or bad, but on God’s choice apart from human inclination or behavior.

I think the reason we all struggle with this is because we want God to be “fair” and choose everyone or at least allow an opportunity for all to have become his own children.  However, God’s word makes it clear that if he was really fair, no one would get heavenly adoption.  If it were truly fair, we would all be condemned.

A great book to read on this subject is Redemption, Accomplished and Applied, by John Murray.

Pastor Tim

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Webster’s 1828 Dictionary – online!

Hi Friends,

Check this out. It’s a link to Websters 1828 Amercian Dictionary of the English Language

http://www.1828-dictionary.com/

Enjoy.

Try looking up “eternal,” “counsel,” and “providence”

Pastor Tim

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A question on approach in worship

Jim Stover added this question:

Pastor Brown, A few questions for you as to worship. How should we come into the sanctuary each Lords Day prepared to truly worship? To beat Sarah’s question. Why are you asking this question? It is being asked because I have noticed many souls enter the sanctuary on Sunday burdened with all there problems, sickness, worries, job losses, and other problems. Should we come to worship in this state of mind? Is not worship suppose to be all about worshiping a Holy God with praise, honor, thanksgiving, and giving glory to Him. Should we be taught to worship with more reverence to the Lord by leaving our problems outside the sanctuary? I’m only making reference to the time of worship, I know the church cares about all our problems and should…. (more at comment #3 of Ask a Question)

here’s my reply:

Well, Jim,

I think that scripture speaks to the issue of being downcast quite abit. For example,
Psalm 42:5-7 5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and 6 my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon– from Mount Mizar. 7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

it seems there are times when we are downcast or depressed for periods of time. They may be lengthy, as when people mourn a person’s passing. I think the worship is actually the solution, and so I would ask more about how they are when they leave!

I haven’t thought about ritual purity in the temple in relationship to emotional approach to God. Maybe someone else has got a thought about that, but I don’ t see a clear connection, other than possible analogy.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Tim

Any thoughts out there?

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Animals in heaven?

Recently in class, the question was asked, will there be animals in heaven?

That is an interesting question.  I’ve asked each of you to give me your comments and/or write a brief paper on why you think there will be animals in the new heavens and the new earth.

A further question is whether or not animals have souls.  If they do, are the similar are different from humans and what implications does that have for life in heaven.

One resource that will help you think about this question is an article by Peter Hammond, a Missionary in Africa.

http://www.frontline.org.za/articles/animals.htm

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Question about the fire of 2 Peter 3

This past week we explored a question about the fiery destruction at the end of the world.

2 Peter 3:10-13 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.  11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives  12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.  13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

Specifically, if it is literal, when will it happen?  And maybe more importantly, will I still be here  (a.k.a. “will I get singed, burned, smoke inhalation, etc?)  Should I buy fire insurance now?

The short answer provided is this:  we should regard this fire as a literal (actual) reality to be experienced by the world; and we will already be raptured/resurrected.  What follows is a brief summary of the signal events in the following order.

  1. Jesus returns (visibly, physically, publically)
  2. The dead in Christ rise
  3. Those who are alive are raptured/transfigured and meet Christ in the air
  4. The final judgment ensues, together with destruction of the elements
  5. He creates a new heavens and new earth (Rev. 21-22)

Here are some of the most important verses for each.  Sorry this part is a little long, but if you want it here it is.

1)     Jesus returns (visibly, physically, publically)

Acts 1:10-11 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.  11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

1 Thessalonians 4:16 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

2)     The dead in Christ rise

1 Thessalonians 4:17 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them [the “rapture”] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

1 Corinthians 15:22-26 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.  23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.  24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.  25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.  26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

3)     Those who are alive are raptured/transfigured and meet Christ in the air

1 Corinthians 15:50-54 50 I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.  51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—  52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

4)     The final judgment ensues, together with destruction of the elements

Revelation 20:10-15 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.  11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.  12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.  13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.  14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.  15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

2 Peter 3:10-13 the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.  11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives  12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

Matthew 25:31-36 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.  34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ …

Matthew 25:41 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Matthew 25:45-46 45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’  46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

5)     He creates a new heavens and new earth (Rev. 21-22)

Isaiah 65:17-19 17 “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.  18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.  19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.

Isaiah 65:23-25 23 They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them.  24 Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.  25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.

Isaiah 66:22-24 22 “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the LORD, “so will your name and descendants endure.  23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the LORD.  24 “And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”

2 Peter 3:13-14 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.  14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.

Revelation 3:12 12 Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.

Revelation 21:1-7 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.  7 He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

Revelation 21:8 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars– their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

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New location!!! Room 402/4/6

Greetings friends of “The Christian View”,

I just wanted to let you know that we’ve changed locations beginning  this week (Oct. 18, and into the future)

We are now in 402/4/6 (the rooms at the end of the building near the chapel).

See you there!

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Jesus – God and man…

One of the very interesting subjects we discussed this week at 11:30 was the identity of Jesus as both God and man.   When he was on this earth, did he set aside one nature (i.e. divinity) in order to engage the other nature (human).  In other words, did he flip between being man and God as necessary to fulfill his mission?

According to the council of Chalcedon (451 AD), the answer is no.  Here’s an excerpt from their statement from 451:

The Definition of the Council of Chalcedon

Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages,

even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.

but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures,

  • without confusion,
  • without change,
  • without division,
  • without separation;

the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ;

The “without” statements are an incredible summary of how the divine and human natures are united in one person–Jesus.  We certainly cannot comprehend this reality, but we do affirm it as a faithful summary of the biblical revelation.

What happens is that we all tend to top to one side of the other instead of maintaining proper perspective.  So here’s a poll to respond to:

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