Sunday, March 3, 2013

Pre-destination? or Freewill?

Does the Bible Teach Pre-Destination?
Eph. 1:11 - "In Him we were also chosen....."
Acts 13:48 - ".....all who were appointed...."
1 Pet. 2:8 - ".....which is also what they were destined for..."
Matt.  11:27 - "......and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal....."
Rom. 8:29-30

Dos the Bible teach Free-will (of man)?
Matt. 23:37 - ".... but you were not willing..."
John 5:39-40 - "....yet you refuse to come to me."
John 12:37 - ".....they still would not believe."

We conclude, God holds us responsible for our choices... because we have a choice!!  John 8:24 - your fault
responsibility - based on choice

So... which is is?  Divine Sovereignty?  or Free-Will?  -
Answer appears to be Yes/Both!!

We struggle with both being true - but Scripture displays NO tension between the two. - is perfectly comfortable with both views.
Acts 2:22-23 - handed over by God's free will and purpose, but you had free will to or not to nail Him to the cross.
Acts 3:13-14, 18 - you handed Him over, but .. God fulfilled.
Acts 4:27-28 - they did what had been decided beforehand.

Example:  Jesus - His death - pre-determined yet Hi chose  it freely - John 10:17-18
Example:  Judas (chosen but not elected) - the betrayal - pre-determined But he was responsible for the decision he made - Luke 22:22

This is a "mystery".  ie:  beyond reason but not against reason.  Beyond (our) comprehension, but not beyond Possibility or truth.
Compare:  Trinity - incarnation - ex nihilo creation

On one hand, it's difficult to be comfortable with these 2 views together!!
On the other hand, if you don't accept them together, you must one was or the other!

A Look at the Extremes

Extreme Calvinism - Pre-destination extreme
(Augtustine 4th/5th Century) --> Reformation (16th. Century) --> Calvin --> 5 Points

T - Total Depravity
U - Unconditional Election
L - Limited Atonement
I - Irresistible Grace
P - Perseverance of the Saints

All of this view stands or falls on point #1 which states:  all descendants of Adam and Eve have been and are born depraved, totally depraved.  So depraved spiritually that can't and won't respond to God's calling under any circumstances.  Therefore, God must determine to save unconditionally.  He extends grace so overwhelming that a person that has been chosen comes and accepts.

Extreme Pelagianism

(Pelagius - 4th/5th. century contemporary of Augustine) --. counter Augustine --> branded a heretic
He stated:
1)  NO inherent sin (no imputed) depravity
which lead to:
2) works-based salvation - he went so far as to say you don't need God to be saved or to respond.
The EXTREME END - 20th Century - "Open Theism" - which states that since man has free will, God can't possibly know what the future holds.

NOTE:  middle of the Road is not always the right place to stand!!

BUT - if you don't choose one way, you must embrace both!!! (dilemma of many Christians)

A Look at "Embrace Both" stance - (Overview of 'middle of the road')

1)  God is Absolutely Sovereign - boss over everything in every instance.  No dualism in the universe.

2)  I His Sovereignty He has granted us free will.
This = free will to choose, Not necessarily free will to accomplish, determine, choose outcome, choose path.
Example:  Salvation;  bridge = His doing

3.)  Our will is serious flawed by Adam's fall - separated by sin, inherent sin
4)  Our will is not damaged beyond an ability to respond to God.
Example:  Adam and Eve after the fall - still could hear God's voice.

5)  In our fallen state, He graciously assists us.
The Divine Initiative - (necessary to salvation) - A) He draws us to Himself - John 12:32
                                                                     B) He enables us to come - John 6:44, 65
6)  He allows us to decide - "whosoever will may come" - thus:  no room for pride as it was the Father who has drawn us, wooed us to come, not our own work.

7)  If we decide for Him, He graciously saves us.  -Eph. 2:8-9 - gift of God, not of works.

8)  Whom He gracious saves, He also graciously keeps (addressed last week)

MRP's advice: - 1)  Study this out, think on it
                       2) Recognize that No one view has all the answers!!! (all have holes)
                       3)  Don't be exasperated by inability to reconcile the 2
                       4)  Focus on Free-will!!!  - it's the only one you have any control over.

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