||2014-02-12 12:43:20, 조회 : 1,891, 추천 : 346
| Hello to another wonderful day to learn more about God. Today we will be coming from chapter 6 – He Who Began a Good Work. The author starts off this chapter with verses from Philippians 1:6, which I found very significant to begin this chapter. |
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to
completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
In the last chapter we have gone over two of the acronyms within TULIP, Total Depravity and Unconditional Election. In this chapter I will continue to explain more of the acronyms. We begin with the L, limited atonement, which others like to view it as definite atonement.
Calvinists view that the death of our Lord Jesus Christ was for all people, in the sense, that it was intended for the salvation of many people in every nation, tribe, language, and people. He had died for every person who desires salvation on God’s term. Furthermore, it is an impossibility that a person will repent of his sins and trust in Christ if Christ has not actually died for them.
Unfortunately, many people, even those who are Calvinist, find this doctrine troubling and attempt to avoid such doctrine at all cost. And there are reasons for such people to be troubled with the doctrine.
One main reason is the fact that such atonement is limited. Calvinists say that Christ died for the elect, and His death guarantees their salvation. The limitation in this case is in the specific number of people for whom the Atonement was designed to effect. Another reason is that it seems to contradict with the Bible, especially when Jesus teaches that He has died for “the world.” As well as many texts within the Bible suggesting that Jesus had died for every person. Even when we spread the message, we say it in such a general term to people that we want to them to believe that Jesus had died for all, and not just a couple. However, no matter how cruel or un-justifying the doctrine of atonement may sound in the Calvinistic view, it does the best job at interpreting the teaching of Scripture on this topic.
There is a logical view on this doctrine. As we have discussed, fallen human beings are in bondage of their sinful nature and are incapable of understanding spiritual things, submitting to God’s Law, or doing anything pleasing to Him. Also, if election were truly a matter of God’s unconditional choice then we would expect an atonement that actually saves the lost. Jesus’ death has satisfied the claims of divine justice against the sins of the elect and purchased for them all that is required for their salvation. Even within the Scriptures, it tells us that Atonement is the removal of an obstacle that prevents sinners from saving themselves.
God has ordained that we may not be saved apart from faith in Christ, which is one of the blessings Christ purchased for us. It is emphasis on the efficiency of Christ’s death to produce salvation. Those for whom Christ died are forgiven, reconciled, freed, and redeemed. To help us view this matter more clearly, we can go over Romans 8:28-39. What apostle Paul is writing about in this passage is that believers are secure in Jesus Christ. Nothing in all creation can separate them from God’s love for them. Proof of God’s love for us is the death of Christ. Because God gave His Son for the elect, we may be fully assured that He will graciously give us all needs to bring us safely to heaven.
However, there may still be a confusion on the word “all” or for “the world.” If we take them out of contexts, it really can seem as if it means Jesus had died for everyone. However, when we interpret the words in context, we have abundant evidence that “all” and “world” do not in every case in Scripture refer to each and every human being who has ever lived.
For example, Romans 8:32, Paul says that God has given up His Son “for us all.” What Paul clearly means is that it was to believers, those people who actually receive the benefits or the death of Christ. He is not speaking of all human beings. Or even Romans 5:18, “There, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men” Paul's point is not that all men will be saved, but that people are saved through Christ in a similar manner as they have been lost through Adam. All who are Adam’s children stand under condemnation, but all who are Christ’s spiritual children will be justified. So we can clearly see that these words such as “all” or “world” is not meant to be taken out of context, but to be read as whole.
Another issue which arises with Definite Atonement is the question of preaching. Some people argue that if only some are saved, it is not necessary to preach to all, or something along those lines. However, we do not need to know who is elect and who is not, nor do we need to tell the unbeliever that Christ had died for that person. All that we need to know is that Christ has purchased for Himself a vast number of people too great to be counted, and so He has commanded us to seek them out. So we offer salvation to all. We continuously help people until they know themselves to be new creatures in Christ, not simply because of a decision they have made but because of the testimony of the Holy Spirit and the evidence of a transformed life.
Now, we will be moving on to the fourth point of Calvinism, Irresistible Grace or Effectual Calling. The fourth point is that God determines to give a soul new life, the grace by which He does so cannot be resisted. Due to fallen human beings being unable to understand or love the things of God, it is necessary for our hearts to be worked on by God so we may overcome the enmity towards Him. And a key thing we must remember that this is done by God and we are passive.
Yet, some people have brought up issues to go against my last statement. This doctrine is continuously put down because it seems as if God is violating the will of the human being. People even say that Calvinist believe in a divine tyrant who crushes our humanity by dragging us kicking and screaming into the kingdom of God. However, this is really a strange way to characterize a work of pure, voluntary compassion. Sin is a moral disease, a sickness unto death. If God had chosen to cure us, should we complain that in doing so He has destroyed us?
Rather what we should do, and it is the proper thing to do, is to thank Him. We’re talking about a God that is perfect in all ways and is infinitely holy. If he “violates” our will, will it not be only for the better rather than the worse. The wrong view of this is believing that receiving salvation is the disease rather than sin. We, ourselves, cannot come to God no matter how hard we try! It is necessary for God to “violate” our will so we can say when we die that we are in a better place. What God has done by this way of saying “violation” is made us better in every way possible, how can we possibly see something so beautiful as a curse.
The last point of Calvinism which we will be looking at is Preservation/Perseverance of the Saints. Calvinist understand that perseverance requires the full engagement of the human will. As we see in Scriptures, it continuously urges us to persevere and warns us of the dangers of abandoning God.
However, it is not to be thought that the ultimate hope for salvation is within us but in the power of God. There are a lot of texts within the Scripture that stands as evidence for this doctrine, that God will preserve His saints to the end.
To begin, we will look at Romans 8. If God graciously gives all things to them to whom He has given Christ and promises that nothing can separate them from His love, then it follows necessarily that He is assuming responsibility for protecting them from abandonment. Also, when we read Philippians 1:6, we see apostle Paul writing to the Philippians that the God who begins a good work in a person’s life can be trusted to carry it on till completion. This is also the only possible conclusion that we can come up with from Jesus’ promise that He will lose none of those whom the Father has given Him. But we must remember that it is also us that bear responsibility.
When He ordained that we shall be saved, He also ordains that we shall work out our salvation by stirring ourselves up to trust and obey. He prefers to grant us the dignity of cooperation with His purposes, and therefore teaching us to care for the things He cares for. God wants us to be fully engaged in working out our salvation, but He also wants us to put our confidence in Him and not in ourselves.
An issue which we might see with the doctrine is the fact that we often do see people who claimed to put their trust in Christ but fall away. This does become a painful thing to watch, and we are led to only two conclusions we can make when dealing with such situation. One is the possibility that the person was never a Christian to start with. This is even clearer a possibility when we look at the parable of the soils in Matthew 13:1-23. They may have received the Word with joy and appear to want to walk with Christ, only at some later time to fall completely away.
Another possibility is that the person is indeed a Christian, but God has allowed for the person to fall away for some time in order that he may learn the wrong in sin and the right in forgiveness. For example, David had committed both adultery and murder, but we know with confidence that he had went to heaven. Another is Peter, he had denied all relationship with Jesus at the very moment when Jesus most desired his companionship. It seems that God often allows His children to wander for the sake of teaching them the value of their salvation. But this should not be the sufficient evidence to be confident of our salvation. Assurance of salvation is only available to those who are bearing the fruit of repentance.
Lastly, another issue that NEEDS to be answered is the idea of passiveness. If God determines who will and who will not believe, then there is no point of prayer and evangelism. However, this is to be thought over and not to be taken at all without real research. The same Bible that declares that God is the ultimate source of our salvation also insists that it is necessary for human effort to be put toward salvation. We are COMMANDED to pray, preach, bear witness, believe, hold fast of our faith, and to persevere to the end of life.
So we can see that both is needed and that the Bible is NOT contradicting itself in any way. We must realize that God uses means. There is a bridge between the doctrines of divine sovereignty and human responsibility. God uses human efforts to bring people to Him, all the time. And this is something everyone can relate to, everyone had someone to bring them to church, whether it be a close friend or a relative. For me, it was the blessing that I was born into a Christian family, who could have done that without the hand of God. But it is also the work of my father who continuously tells me to come towards God. So we can see that God does actually work through us.
And so to conclude this presentation, I hope that you were able to grasp the key concepts within the last three points of Calvinism. Also, now that we have finished discussing of the points of Calvinism, I hope that you will be able to take such concepts and bind them to your thought process. Not only that but, I hope that you will be able to ever more increasingly come to God. Thank you!
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