Monday, February 3, 2020

Rom. 9 - 11 - Pre-Determined/Free Will

Romans 1 through 8 = bad news/good news.  (see previous posts)

Now whole mood changes here:  Rom. 9-11 - shifts to Jewish people, nation of Israel

On one hand, the Jewish people were Chosen!! - (to reveal God via specific revelation, to channel the Messiah, biologically, literally)

On the other hand, they (largely) Rejected God's Messiah.  So... the blessing of the gospel went (largely) to the Gentile world.

If they (Israel) were the chosen people and they rejected Him,
Question??  How much of this is Pre-determined?
VS.  How much = consequence of Free-choice(s)?  by the individuals, by the nation?

Relevance = how much has God Pre-determined in Your life??  Vs. how much = result of your own choosing??

The study of this = intriguing, confusing, vexing!!!

But ... (1)  the thinking Christian must address it!
          (2)  when it covers 3 chapters, we shouldn't avoid it!!

So --- TWO sides of the coin ... expressed in the same passage!!

Rom. 9:11-13 - example -  Jacob and Esau
Rom. 9:14-16 - example - God to Moses
Rom. 9:17-18   example - concerning Pharaoh
Rom. 9:19-21 - God's actions questioned
Rom. 11:7-8

Free-Will  (man's choice)
Rom. 10:1 - do they have a choice to be saved?
Rom. 10:3 - could they submit?  free to do so?
Rom. 10:9-13 - classic gospel presentation!!
Rom. 10:21 - why 'invite' those who CAN'T respond?
Rom. 11:22-23 - can the state be reversed?  by choice?
Rom. 11:32 - mercy for all???

ADD:  On one hand Eph. 12:4-5, 11
           However, 1 Tim. 2:3-4  (same author)
                           2 Pet,. 3:9 - everyone
                           Rom. 1:16 - everyone who believes

So... (1)  How much is Pre-determined?  How much is free will?
and   (2)  IF He chooses some to salvation/condemnation, adoption/rejection, success/failure, is that Right?
Just, Fair????

Approaches and answers = legion!!!
Pastor's answer .... has it appears to me..
(1)   God is Absolutely Sovereign - (in control of all!)
(2)  He is free to choose or reject
(3)  He can do so without compromising His Righteousness  (fairness/justice)
(4)  He can do so without violating man's free will!
(5)  This is beyond our understanding  (comprehension)
(6)  This is not beyond His Ability

Additional considerations:

I.  We are hampered in our understanding of this...
we have (A) Limited Knowledge                                                           
example:  compare ALL the accumulated Knowledge of Man vs. God
and        (B)  Flawed Thinking - ie:  our capacity to reason = seriously Flawed!!
(example:  Impeachment hearings!)
AND,   (C)  A SELF-CENTERED VIEW - (all about me!)

This doesn't mean that we shouldn't think, examine, question - Isa. 1:18
Rather = we should trust His unfailing love!!
Examples:  Job   Psalmist (1/3 of the book = laments)
Hab. 3:16-18 with Heb. 11:1
The answer is not to know everything but to trust God who does know everything.

II.  Se should be aware of Progressive Hardening
(often in Scripture as not seeing, hearing, calloused heart, etc.)

Note the order of progression in scripture:
(1)  Natural hardness - Rom. 3:23 - (born sinners so hardened) to
(2)  Habitual hardness - practice and practice sin and it becomes a habit.  to
(3)  Judicial hardness - God gives you up  (which may be the natural consequence (example:  calloused hands)  (OR)  God's direct intervention

Matt. 13:13-16
John 12:37-40  "would not"  => "could not"
Rom. 1:21, 24
So ... with Pharaoh - on one hand, "Pharaoh hardened", on the other hand, "God hardened"

III.  We should consider Partial Predestination
ie:  some things that appear to be pre-determined CAN be averted.
example:  Jeremiah @ the Potters house, message, application = Jer. 18:11
   "I'm preparing disaster", therefore TURN!! (&changing outcome!!)  Example:  Jonah & Nineveh.

Illustration:  John 3:18

Takeaway from this::

(1)  God IS in Control!  we needn't doubt nor dispute that!!
(2)  He has (sovereignly) granted you some control. 
compare:  allowing Satan to test Job, was on a leash, however = long leash!!
(3)  You should examine, study, be familiar with Pre-destiny!  (it's a scriptural doctrine)
(4)  You should FOCUS on free-will!! - which the bulk of the Bible focuses on.
ie:  the area over which you have say!! (on a daily, practical basis)

On one hand this study = necessary to honest examination of scripture.
However, it changes nothing concerning your decisions about God, Christ.

Example:  Moses to the people - Deut. 30:19
                Joshua to the people - Josh. 24:15

These challenges remain for the people of God, but now they include His Christ!!

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