This is a continuation on the “once saved, always saved” topic.
It has to be baffling to a non-Christian to see what importance Christians give to seemingly unimportant points of scripture and doctrine. Sometimes it leaves them disgusted, sometimes just amused. I can see in my mind how people’s eyes glaze over when they see Christians pull out the dead horses and the rods….
And some of it is small stuff, but some of it has an accumulative or spiritually significant importance that is not immediately apparent.
I’m not sure what this particular one has, I do know it has been going on a long time. I tend to think it is fairly important, just because it pertains to some heavyweight themes. God’s Sovreignty, Man’s importance, Who is saved and who is not, etc. These have ripple effects in ones wider view.
I want to look at one relevant scripture right now.
I was looking at the previous discussion on this and the fact(in my mind) that salvation is progressive. I think this verse has the key to the progressive part that God plays in His role in salvation.
While I believe that God has provided salvation for all, I see quite clearly in this that He continues to be not only sovreign, but irreplaceable in the process. This is no Deist conception of God. God is not in the back seat somewhere in an irrelevant position.
And the whole idea that God somehow has better things to do elsewhere is insulting and ignorant at the same time… it throws all of creation into irrelevance. Like why did God create? To have some entertaining TV show to watch in off moments?
Back to the verse.
“And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father”
Sounds to me as though God is busy. There is a verse in Job which indicates the same thing:
14 For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
16 Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,
17 That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.
18 He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.
19 He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:
20 So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.
21 His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.
22 ea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.
23 If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness:
24 Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.
25 His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth:
26 He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness.
27 He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not;
28 He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.
29 Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man,
30 To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.
But in the admonition that one only comes if the Father draws Him, indicates two things to me. It shows me that God continues in the process, and that prayer of intercession for ones fellow man is very important in this process as well.
We don’t know what goes on in the inner recesses of any man’s heart. We don’t know how much of the imparted admonition of the Father that heart has absorbed. We don’t have to know, we just have to be faithful with the responsibilities given us. To sow the seed of the Word, and to pray for all men everywhere– not generally, but as God gives us unction.
There is an interesting word: unction. Some people consider that whole concept to be…. oily. Somehow unappealing and messy. They don’t like the idea that God communicates with men and gives them a mandate.
I understand the reaction, and that of fear, as well, when the conversation turns that way. It has been misused. But in the context of the Job statement, the idea is that we all have communications from God in many ways, some extremely subtle. But notice, God has a specific result in mind: “To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.”
This is important, because as surely as some of us believe in God communicating, some of us believe that there are other voices communicating, also.
I think this is the test that results in ascertaining it is God: it tends toward life, and life’s preservation: “To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living..
Not that that is perfectly clear or obvious, but it is an important clue to what exactly we are hearing in our inner recesses of the soul.
I digressed, didn’t I? Where were we? The importance of God, His sovreignty. I think the Calvinists have got the emphasis right. I just take issue with some of their detailing. I think this often happens when you stare too long at the brightness of the immensity and overwhelming magnitude of God.
I have seen it, most recently on a blog, that there is too much emphasis on Jesus Christ, The Son. I do not think that is possible. I think this is the only way we avoid the Icarus experience. We have to have a Rock to hide behind, within, when the Glory and magnificance of the LORD is revealed. Jesus gives us, shows us, who we are in God. Without Him, we have no idea of what our place in the whole matter would be. I have to say we don’t have a place without Him. The sin problem, you know.
So there is an ongoing process in salvation from God the Father speaking into your heart as you work your way through this existance. He calls you to a place of rest in Him – He calls you to a saving of your life…because you soon find how very lost you are. You do see that eventually, you just can’t get a grip on why that is. Why death? Why war? Why disease? Why impossiblities, lost relationships? Why Why Why?
Well, some of the reason Christians keep going over some of these things is the same reason someone else goes back to their points of “why?”. Meaning and direction. So are they sweating the small stuff? It depends on the importance you give to those details. It wouldn’t hurt to concentrate upon Life, though. Sometimes the letter killeth.