Thursday, August 5, 2010
Getting the L Out of Here. Part 11
1 Timothy 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. ESV
When speaking with my Calvinists one thing is a constant. We can never settle on the definition of certain words. One of these words is all. Almost to a person all will be explained, especially in the above section, to be merely referring to all types of persons. Scripture clearly teaches that Jesus’ finished work was for the salvation of both Jew and Gentile so one tactic is to say that the word all refers only to some people’s understanding that the Jews had a leg up on the faith.
Aha, it is assumed, from the word Gentile being in the above part of St Paul’s letter to young Pastor Tim here again it is speaking against the controversy. However, one must not be too hasty to make that argument. Remember context both near and far is crucial in understanding scripture. Nothing in the entire letter is addressing the controversy of the Judaizers. Although extremely important was settling that controversy it is simply not addressed in this letter. St Paul is once again pointing out his apostleship to the Gentiles which once again amazing considering what a real Jew he was. So once again we see our Calvinists pressing their presuppositions that God does not want certain people saved therefore, all cannot mean all.
Over and over again I have been told that to believe God wants those who will perish in unbelief to be saved is a challenge to the Sovereignty of God. This is only the case when one takes the Sovereignty of God and will limit it to what is understandable. This is rather teaching the sovereignty of human reason rather than the Sovereignty of God to be something to be defended at all cost. Reason is indeed necessary for banging about here on a fallen world but should never be used to explain how a Holy and Almighty God beholds his creation nor his intention for it.
Isaiah 55: 6 Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
7 let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.ESV
So there we have how God sees himself. Truly angered at sin both in deeds and in thoughts. But always ready to be sought out and later on shows how he sends his word out to call his created people to himself. That word was manifested in the flesh, lived the perfect life for people, suffered for their sins and was raised for their justification. How anyone can see all that effort just to refuse to save some is totally foreign to scripture. Have reason serve us well in our daily rounds and have the scripture show us our marvelous and humanly unreasonable God.
In the name of Jesus. Amen †