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The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Reformed Theology: Introduction

 

In this series of articles I want to deal with some differences between two branches of Christ’s Church that hold in common many precious truths of God’s Word and yet are divided as to what the purpose and agenda of the church should be. 

Reformed Theology and Dispensationalism are those two branches.  We are brothers in Christ because we hold to the doctrine of Christ.  We hold to the plenary inspiration of Scripture and to its  inerrancy.   

Personally, I do not like these labels.  We are brothers and sisters in Christ.  Why must we magnify our differences and thus be divided? 

May God use this series of messages to help us think through our positions and determine how we can best use our energy and resources to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission together. 

Other articles that touch on this theme are found in my series on ABORTION  and the series on PROPHECY.

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July 30, 2006 Posted by | Reformed Theology | Comments Off on Reformed Theology: Introduction

Reformed Theology: #1 Our Agenda

 

Just what is our purpose and agenda in life as Christians?  Is it to build Christ’s Kingdom by preaching the Gospel and working to bring the secular culture under Christ’s dominion, as Reformed Theology teaches us;  or is it to simply preach the Gospel and  allow God to effect the changes in hearts by the power of His Holy Spirit,  as Dispensational Theology would teach? I wish we did not have to divide Christians under those categories.  Nevertheless, when it comes to the agenda of the church, that is a basic issue we need to have settled in our minds and hearts or we will accomplish  nothing for God.  Though we have these differences, we have much more that unites us as brothers and sisters in Christ and for that I praise God. But in this article I want to deal with the differences in agenda between those who hold to Reformed Theology and those who hold to Dispensational Theology.  To illustrate the difference  I take you to a story in the life of Jesus found in Luke 12.

 

 JESUS’ AGENDA 

 

As this chapter opens, large crowds are  listening to Jesus preach and  observing His miracles.   Verses 13 and 14  record the story of two brothers who interrupt Jesus, asking him to settle a dispute over their inheritance. They ask Jesus to set things right.  Jesus refuses to get in the middle and settle the dispute.  Instead He deals with the sin of covetousness.  What does this teach us concerning the agenda of Jesus and also of our agenda.?   Jesus came to seek and to save the  lost.  Luke 19:10.  He came to die for sinners. That includes all of us.   He did not come to set the world straight and establish His political kingdom on earth.
Jesus said to Pilate in John 18:36 and  I paraphrase,  “My kingdom is not of this present world system. If it were, my servants would fight to help me conquer it.  They would fight to keep me from being crucified.  My political kingdom is yet to come.  That will take place at a later time.” See my series on PROPHECY  for the full story.
 

 

OUR AGENDA

 

It is not our purpose to set the world straight and usher in Christ’s Kingdom. No, our business is to be ambassadors for Christ and bring His message of the Gospel to the world.  Later when Christ’s kingdom is established,  II Timothy 2:12 tells us that we will be involved in Christ’s Kingdom, reigning with Him.  Reformed Theology teaches that  Christians should presently be involved in kingdom building.  Certainly they agree with us that we accomplish that through preaching the Gospel. We are helping to establish the reign of Christ in the hearts of believers.  They would agree to that also, but they would add that we are also to be involved in  being actively involved politically and socially in bringing in the Kingdom of Christ which they believe began with His resurrection two thousand years ago. . Dispensational Theology agrees that it certainly is our responsibility to be light and salt in this sin darkened and contaminated society.  That is what we are to be,    But our work involves being an ambassador for Christ. Our calling is to  present the life transforming Gospel well summarized in II Corinthians 5:18-21   The Gospel does the work of saving the lost,  changing their lives and bringing them under the rule of Christ.   For that reason as a Christian, I have no other agenda but to be a genuine Christian and to spread the Gospel wherever I go.  It is my only agenda.  Our business as a church is not primarily to be actively involved in political, social or even moral issues in the world. Should we deal with moral issues within the church?  Absolutely, but it is not our responsibility to deal with moral issues among the lost.  See I Corinthians 5 on this matter.   As individuals, the methods and the degree of our personal  involvement in these matters should be as God leads.   

 

THE APOSTLE PAUL’S AGENDA

 

 

Would you take a close look at the Apostle Paul?  When he went to Corinth, a city involved in temple prostitution, and intellectual wrangling;  note his agenda in I Corinthians 2:1-2  “And I brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.  For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”  Why did Paul not get involved in kingdom building?  That was not his agenda.   Wherever he went he just preached the Gospel and souls were saved and added to the Church. He spent the rest of his time teaching and discipling Christians, warning them of the dangers of false teachers and building them up in the knowledge of Christ. 

Read carefully through Acts and the Epistles.  Nothing is said of kingdom building. Throughout the New Testament there is only one dual agenda.   1. Evangelizing the lost   2. Discipling believers.

 

Nowhere do we find the early Christians involved in trying to change the political or social structures of that day.  Not once did Jesus or His Apostles try to abolish slavery, the established economic system of the day.  Read through the short epistle to Philemon, a letter Paul wrote to Philemon, a Christian slave owner,  about his runaway slave, Onesimus, whom Paul had won to Christ.   Paul tells Onesimus to return to his master and behave as a Christian. He writes to Philemon to take back  Onesimus and treat him as a brother.

So in the story in Luke 12,  Jesus does not get involved in political or social issues..  Instead, He deals with the covetous heart issues that precipitated the disagreement between them.

If you are a Christian, where are you going to devote your time, energy and money?  Are you going to devote your life to trying to make a better world, or are you going to devote your life to evangelism and discipleship?  The Liberals of the past century tried building the Kingdom and made absolutely no headway. The moral state of the world today is in far worse condition than it was a century ago. Liberalism has failed.

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July 29, 2006 Posted by | Reformed Theology | Comments Off on Reformed Theology: #1 Our Agenda

Reformed Theology #2: Is Christ’s Kingdom Making Progress?

In this article I will attempt to show you the Kingdom of God is not making progress in the world today, as Reformed Theology would teach. 

 

In Luke 12:1-3 we have the account of Jesus approaching  Jerusalem and eventually,  Calvary. He warns His disciples of dangers of evil, which He likens to leaven or yeast.  As you know, yeast has a permeating affect on dough.  It gradually affects it completely.  As yeast permeates and affects dough, so evil in all ages seeks to permeate and affect God’s people.

Leaven Always Associated with Evil

It’s evident that the mention of leaven in the Bible  consistently refers to the permeating and defiling affect of evil.  Would you examine this assumption  with me? In Exodus 12:17-20  Israel is instructed to eat unleavened bread.  There was to be no leaven in the house.  Why were the Israelites to avoid leaven?  Because the unleavened bread pictured Christ, our Passover.  Christ, the sinless one, had no trace of the leaven of sin in Him. See I Corinthians 5:7. 

In fact, read the entire 5th chapter of I Corinthians.  It’s all about the leaven of sin in the church. There we are clearly commanded to confront those unrepentant Christians living in sin and remove them from the church rolls and from Christian fellowship with the hope that they will repent and turn back to Christ and then be lovingly restored to church fellowship.   Leaven here is clearly a picture of sin. 

In Luke 12:1  Jesus warns people to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees which is clearly identified as their hypocrisy.  Israel was warned to not be taken in by their superficial, false piety. 

In Matthew 16:6,12 Jesus warns Israel to beware of the leaven of the Sadduccees.  That evil leaven was their unbelief.  They were the liberals of Jesus’ day.  Again, would you note that the leaven of  both the Pharisees and the Sadduccees is a type of their sin. 

In Mark 8:15 once again Jesus warns of the leaven of Herod.  Again the leaven pictures the evil of Herod’s life. His evil led to the  beheading of John the Baptist. Are you getting the picture?  Leaven consistently speaks of the influence of evil.

Leaven and the Kingdom of Christ

Now in Matthew 13, the chapter in which are recorded Jesus’ parables of His Kingdom, we see in verse 33  that leaven is related to Christ’s Kingdom. Let’s read the verse together.  “Another parable spake He unto them. The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.”  Are we to believe that suddenly leaven is a picture of something good;  The Kingdom of Heaven?  Reformed Theology says yes.  It’s quite obvious, is it not? 

On the surface, yes.  Leaven seems to refer to the Kingdom of Heaven.  But let’s think about this.  Why does God take something that consistently pictures evil and suddenly makes it a picture of something good?  Furthermore, is this the way the Kingdom comes?  Does it gradually infiltrate and permeate the world?  I don’t believe so.

Does Christ’s Kingdom Come by Permeation?

The Parable of the Sower in the earlier part of Matthew 13 teaches that the Kingdom comes as the Seed of the Gospel is sown.  Some falls on good ground and bears fruit.  Other seed falls in places where it cannot germinate and sprout.  Birds get some of the seed and much of the rest is unfruitful.  The point is that the Kingdom does not come by permeation.  The Church is not gradually permeating and changing society.  Rather this sinful world system is gradually permeating and affecting the church.  The question is in the words of Jesus in Luke 18:8 “When the Son of Man comes shall He find faith on the earth?”  I doubt it.  If so, very little. 

What is the basic theme of the other parables of Matthew 13?  It’s just the opposite of the Gospel permeating and changing the whole world.  

See the Parable of the Wheat and Tares in Matthew 13:24-33  Note that with the wheat there are tares, that which looks like wheat, but has no grain within.   They are to grow together until the return of Christ who will divide the wheat from the tares.  Note that the wheat is not gradually covering the field. The tares are there also right to the end of time. 

See the Parable of the Mustard Seed in Matthew 13:31-32.  The mustard seed, though small, grows into a tree wherein the birds lodge in the branches.  This speaks of the Tree of Christendom, wherein the birds of false teachers and false prophets cast their evil influence.  See Revelation 18:1-2 

If all the Parables of the Kingdom speak of the presence and the evil influence  of false teachers in Christendom right to the end of time, why should we suddenly take one verse in Matthew 13:33 and make it teach that the Kingdom of Christ is gradually and successfully infiltrating the whole world  and that when that is accomplished, Christ will return?  That is the teaching of Reformed Theology.  For my full treatment of this subject of Christ’s coming Kingdom, please go to my link, PROPHECY SERIES  on this web site.

A respectful disagreement

Many of those associated with Reformed Theology are genuine, mature Christians who love the Lord and are zealously serving Him.  But, when it comes to their view of Prophecy, I have to respectfully and lovingly disagree with them.   The facts are that the true Church, is not gradually influencing and permeating this sinful world system to make it Christ-like.  In the fifty years that I have observed the church, just the opposite has taken place.  Satan is gradually  influencing the church to become more tolerant of false doctrine and a sinful life style.  

The church’s business is not to gradually bring about the Christianization of the world.  Rather the church’s business is to evangelize the world  and help the converts become  disciples of Christ .  The church’s business is to “preach the Word, be instant in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the Truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”  II Timothy 4:2-4  

So today God’s Word warns us of the danger of these three subtle, Satanic influences that can take root in our hearts and contaminate our testimonies.  If we  attempt to hide and cover our sins,  Proverbs 28:13 assures  us that we will not prosper.  Luke 12:2-3 warns us that the day will come when we will be publicly exposed.

Is the world getting better or worse?

The question Jesus asks in Luke 18:8  is worth pondering.  “When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?  Just before the Flood in Noah’s day some five thousand years ago,  God looked down on the earth and found only one righteous man,  Noah and his family.  Jesus warns in Matthew 24:37-39  But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.”  Read the rest of that passage for more details of life on earth just before the return of Christ.  Are you ready for His return?

July 28, 2006 Posted by | Reformed Theology | Comments Off on Reformed Theology #2: Is Christ’s Kingdom Making Progress?

Reformed Theology #3: “Thy Kingdom Come”

Whenever we repeat the Lord’s Prayer, we pray for Christ’s Kingdom to come and for Christ’s will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven.  Is that really our heart’s request or do we just mutter those words thoughtlessly? 

We will desire His Kingdom to come only if God is truly our Father through trusting the merits of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. We will desire His Kingdom only if we truly hallow and reverence His name. We will desire His kingdom only if we are living today in the light of eternity.

His present  Kingdom and  the Future Kingdom

When we pray  “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done” we are praying about two aspects of His Kingdom. His present Kingdom in our hearts and His future Kingdom over the whole earth.

His present Kingdom in our hearts

In Luke 17:21 Jesus explained the internal nature of His Kingdom. He reminds us we do not seek for an external  political kingdom; rather He explains,  “The Kingdom of God is within us.” Christ reigns in our hearts. Paul in Romans 14:17 teaches us that Christianity is synonymous with Christ’s Kingdom. This Kingdom begins the moment we receive Christ as our Saviour from sin and surrender to Him as our Lord.  When we trust Christ as our Saviour, God our Father  “delivers us from the Kingdom of darkness and translates us into the Kingdom of His dear Son.”  Colossians 1:13  If you are a Christian, God has already translated you into the Kingdom of Christ.

Christian, don’t fight Christ’s Lordship!

For you to insist on having your own way and doing your own thing and ignoring God’s will for your life, will insure a life of misery and failure for you. If you are a Christian and living in Christ’s Kingdom,  the right thing to do is to surrender to His Lordship and  to seek first His Kingdom. In Matthew 6:33 Jesus promises us that God will see to your happiness and fulfillment and to the supply of all your needs.  That’s His business. Our business is to live only for His purpose and glory.

What are the practical implications of living in His Kingdom?

Peter explains in I Peter 2:9 the purpose of living in Christ’s Kingdom. “We are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession that we should show forth the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Beginning with verse 11 of this same chapter, Peter reminds us that as we live in the midst of  Satan’s Kingdom of darkness on this earth,  we  are pilgrims and strangers.  As citizens of Christ’s Kingdom,  we are to be  personally pure and submitted to the laws of our nation, for we have a dual citizenship.  Verse 16 reminds us that as Christians we are free, but we must not misuse our freedom,  presuming on the patience and grace of God by continuing to live in  sin.

First things first

The truths of prophecy, including Christ’s coming Millennial Kingdom, are secondary in importance. First and foremost, make sure Christ is your King right now.  According to II Timothy 2:12,  your surrender to His Lordship now will determine your position in the Millennial Kingdom.  The Kingdom Truths of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount  are not only for Jews during the Millennium.  They are, I believe, even more pertinent to Christians today as we live under the dominion of our Lord Jesus Christ.  To learn more about Christ’s present spiritual Kingdom on earth, go to the BEATITUDES link.  

Matthew 6:33 teaches Christians to seek first the establishing of Christ’s Kingdom in our hearts and in our conduct,  then God will provide all that we need for this life.  Christ’s spiritual Kingdom concerns must become our concerns.  That’s why we pray, “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done.”  

July 26, 2006 Posted by | Reformed Theology | Comments Off on Reformed Theology #3: “Thy Kingdom Come”

Reformed Theology #4: Pre-Post or A-Mill

  

When it comes to prophecy, all of us fall into one of three camps.

1. Premillennialists, of which I am one, believe that Jesus will imminently come for His Church of born-again believers and that following this rapture of the Church to Heaven, the world will be plunged into the Great Tribulation and the reign of Anti-christ for a seven year period. Following the Tribulation, Christ will return to this earth to reign for one thousand years (a Millennium)   I also  believe that as a Christian, Christ’s Kingdom is already in my heart; but I have already made clear my position on this in a previous article  in this series.   Study the previous articles of this series for a  more complete  explanation of the Pre-Millennial position. 

2. Post-Millennialists believe Jesus established His Kingdom at His resurrection. Since then His Kingdom has been growing and prospering as the Gospel continues to be preached throughout the world.  One day Christ will return to judge this world and reign forever.  For the Post-Millennialist there is no rapture; only one resurrection for the saved and the unsaved. They believe the Tribulation took place in the first century when Christian’s suffered for their faith under Roman persecution. 

3. A-Millennialists believe much like the Post-Millennialists, that there is no Millennial Kingdom of 1000 years now or in the future.  They believe that when Christ returns to this earth it will be to usher in the eternal state; not another period of time on this earth.  Though a Pre-millennialist, I have no desire to be divisive over these convictions.   I value the unity of the Body of Christ, more than my prophetic position.  In this article I simply show from God’s Word why I take this position.  

THIRTEEN REASONS WHY I AM A PRE-MILLENNIALIST 

1. Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer to pray for His Kingdom to come to this earth.  Would that not imply it has not yet come? 

2. Jesus stated in John 18:36 that His Kingdom was not of this cosmos (world system).  It’s true that Christ reigns in the hearts of true believers today, and that as believers, we have an influence on those around us; but we are not Christianizing this Satan-controlled, sinful world system.   We are not “ushering in the Kingdom” today. Rather, we are evangelizing the lost and bringing people to know Jesus as Saviour and Lord.  He hints in this verse that when He comes to set up His Kingdom, that He will by force put down His enemies. 

3. Jesus’ Kingdom was evidently not inaugurated between  the resurrection of Christ and His ascension. In Acts 1:6-7  the disciples were asking the resurrected Jesus when the Kingdom would come.  If the Kingdom had already come, they would not have asked this question.  Jesus did not answer their question, but rather, directed their attention to fulfilling His Great Commission of being witnesses of Christ to the whole world. 

4. The Kingdom did not come at Pentecost.  There is no mention of the Millennial Kingdom in Acts nor in the Epistles to the churches.  Their only commission was to preach the Gospel and edify the saints.  That, of course, is our commission today. Any references to the Kingdom in the Epistles are clearly speaking of the spiritual  kingdom of  Christ reigning in the hearts of believers.  

5. In Luke 19:12-27  Jesus illustrated truths about His millennial kingdom by telling a story of a nobleman who went to a far country to receive His Kingdom. In this story Jesus is teaching that He is about to leave this earth for a long period of time and that His servants are to faithfully serve Him in anticipation of being rewarded for their faithfulness when He returns to set up His Kingdom. 

6. Following a description of the Great Tribulation in Revelation 6-18, an angel announces in 11:15 the coming Kingdom of Christ. Evidently, the Great Tribulation comes before the Kingdom. Note that the inauguration of Christ’s Kingdom is prophesied in Revelation 19-20 after the Tribulation of  Revelation 6-18.  

7. In II Timothy  Paul charges Timothy and all pastors in this church age to faithfully preach the Word as we anticipate the return of Christ to judge and to set up His Kingdom.  II Timothy 4:1 teaches us that the Millennial
Kingdom is yet to come.  It was not established at  Christ’s resurrection. 

8. James, pastor of the church in Jerusalem, speaks in James 2:5  to Christians who are “heirs of Christ’s Kingdom which He has promised to them that love Him.”   To be an heir of the kingdom is to be a part of something that has not yet taken place.  

9. Peter in II Peter 1:2-11 challenges Christians to grow and come to maturity so they will enjoy an abundant entrance into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Here Peter speaks of something that has not yet happened. 

10. Paul writing in I Corinthians 15:50 explains to us that we Christians living in our natural human bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.  There must come a change first.  We must leave our mortal human bodies and receive our new glorified bodies first.   Then in the rest of that chapter and in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 , Paul describes what is known as the Rapture of the saints.  This is the Blessed Hope that Paul wrote about in Titus 2:11-13.  That’s why I am so excited about being a Pre-Millennialist and that’s why I anticipate the rapture.  I pray with John in the last chapter or Revelation,  “Even so come, Lord Jesus!”    The Revelation was written by John about 95 AD,  about sixty years  after Jesus had risen and ascended back to Heaven.  Jesus Millennial Kingdom will not be set up in this world until King Jesus arrives.  

11.  Revelation 20:1-6 speaks of Christ’s coming Kingdom coming AFTER Satan is bound and cast into a bottomless pit for a thousand years.  Is there anyone today who believes that Satan is presently bound and can no longer tempt people to sin?  

12.  Isaiah  11 and  35  describe the perfect condition that will take place on this earth during the Kingdom of
Christ.  With all the crime, natural disasters and heart ache in this present evil world today, are we really living in the Kingdom Age?   I doubt it.  

13. God promises in Ezekiel 36 and 37 and in Zechariah 12-14   that in the Kingdom Age the Jews will recognize and receive their Messiah, Jesus Christ.  Although individual Jews have received Christ today and are a part of the Church, the Jews as a nation still reject Christ.  In the meantime, in this Church Age,  thank God that anyone, Jew or Gentile, can receive Christ and be born again into His Heavenly Kingdom.  John 3:3-5  Christ Jesus reigns in the true believer’s heart. We know Him now as our Saviour   Psalm 22,   Shepherd   Psalm 23,and King  Psalm 24.   According to Jesus’ statement to Peter in Matthew 16:17-19  the Church and the spiritual Kingdom of  Heaven  are identical. 

  Let us rejoice in the truth that we Christians can presently enjoy His Kingdom in our hearts.  How dare a believer in Christ refuse to bow to the Lordship of King Jesus!   

July 25, 2006 Posted by | Reformed Theology | Comments Off on Reformed Theology #4: Pre-Post or A-Mill

Reformed Theology #5: The Doctrine of Election

Misunderstanding of the Biblical doctrine of election has troubled  and brought needless division among Christians.   Is it possible that we who call ourselves Bible-believing Christians could ever  be united on this doctrine?  That is my prayer as I write on this topic. 

A blessed doctrine

 The Greek word, eklektos appears 23 times in the New Testament and can be translated  both  elect or chosen.  I Peter 1:2  shines light on this doctrine.  

Note three things it teaches. 

 1. Election is according to the foreknowledge of God the Father and it took place from before the foundation of the earth.  See Eph. 1:4

2. Election is accomplished for the believer  through faith in the sacrifice of Christ’s shed blood for our sins.

3. Election is assured through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit leading to a life of obedience to God’s Word.  If you have questions concerning the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, study my series of three articles on   SALVATION  on this web site.  

God’s eternal plan

 Briefly, election is the doctrine of God’s eternal purpose and plan before this world was created, to personally know us, love us, save us and conform us to the very image of His Son, Jesus Christ, by His grace and through faith in His provision for sin.  Read and meditate on these passages as the Scriptural basis for this definition of election.  Ephesians 1:3-14  2:1-10  

God’s special people

 In  I Peter 2:9 we learn that Christians are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession; and that we have been chosen to show forth the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.  That’s not only encouraging to me, but it is also challenging.  As a Christian it is my responsibility  to shine for Christ in this world of sin and darkness.  

A troubling doctrine

 Though election is clearly taught in God’s Word, it is also a troubling doctrine because of the unbalanced teaching by some on this subject. The doctrine itself is not troubling.  In fact, it is a very comforting doctrine and a source of assurance for the believer.  

God’s wonderful chain of events

 In Romans 8:28-31 is listed  a chain of events God is working out for the believer which began before the foundation of the world. In that chain of events is Divine Election. Romans 8:33 asks,  “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?  It is God that justifieth.”   

A comforting truth

 It is comforting to know that I am one of the  elect of God.   Because I have put my trust in Christ and love Him  and He has cleansed me from my sins and justified me and therefore no sin can ever be laid to my account now or in the future. They’ve all been laid on Jesus and He has taken the full penalty for my sins.  Because I am resting in Christ’s provision for my sins,  I am assured I am one of the elect of God.  

A alanderous assumption

 The troubling aspect of this doctrine of election is caused through the teaching of some that God chooses or elects some people to remain lost and go to Hell.  Such preachers, using their reasoning, deduct that if God chooses some to be saved and go to Heaven’ it’s only logical that He must choose others to remain lost and go to Hell.  That is a false assumption  and slanders the character of God and is contrary to Scripture.  

Does God really will anyone to go to hell?

 It’s true that all of us are born into Adam’s race and are cursed and deserving of hell apart from our faith in Christ as our Saviour. Romans 5:12-19  But the Bible teaches that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. II Peter 3:9  He also teaches the well known truth in John 3:16  That God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 

Rejoice in the Truth of Election.

 So if you have been born again through faith in Christ, rejoice in the truth that God foreknew you, He loved you long before you were born,  He chose, elected and predestined  you to salvation. In John 6:44  Jesus teaches that His Father draws you to Christ. He does that by the convicting and wooing of the Holy Spirit.  Apart from His drawing,  we would have no desire to be saved.  

Don’t meddle with God’s business.

 But someone says,  “Wait a minute.  Look at Romans 9:13 and 18  Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated. Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.”  Doesn’t that sound like God is capricious and that He chooses to save some and damn others?” 

Romans 9 is not primarily talking about salvation. Instead it is teaching the sovereignty of God in regards to choosing the line through whom Christ will come.

 In verse 21 we are pictured as clay and God is the Potter.  He does with His clay what He chooses. If God saw fit to choose Jacob over his older twin brother, Esau, to be the chosen tribe through whom Jesus would come; that is  God’s business.  No one has a right to question Almighty God’s sovereignty.  

God uses evil tyrants for His glory.

 In II Peter 3:9 and Romans 9:17-22 we read about the long-suffering of God.  These passages are teaching that even though God endured evil men like Pharaoh to live and enslave Israel for a time, yet God who is long-suffering endured these vessels fitted for destruction and used them for His glory by using Moses to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage and drowning Pharaoh and his army  in the Red Sea.  

Thank God for His drawing power.

 We are all sinners and undeserving of the least of God’s mercies.  Except for the fact that God has intervened and drawn us to Himself, all of us would be under His judgment. Romans 9:29  

The Stumbling Stone

Would you take time right now to read Romans 9:30-33?   What is this passage saying to us? 

Romans 9:30   We Gentiles who knew nothing about God and were not able to keep His commandments;  through faith in Christ have attained the righteousness of God and been made fit for Heaven. 

Romans 9:31  Israel, who had God’s Law, but also  failed to keep it; have not attained God’s righteousness which only comes through faith in Christ. 

Are You Stumbling on Jesus?

 Romans 9:32  Why has
Israel, as a nation,  failed to attain God’s righteousness?  Because they stumbled at the Stumbling Stone.

Who is pictured as a Stumbling Stone?  None other than Jesus the Messiah. He was prophesied in Psalm 118:22 and in Isaiah 8:14-15 as a Stumbling Stone.. 

Those who refuse Christ, fail to attain God’s righteousness.  Without that righteousness none can go to Heaven.  

Stumble no longer!

 Romans 9:33   The Jew or Gentile who puts his trust in that Stumbling Stone, is saved and will not be ashamed.  

Then in Romans 10  Paul pours out his heart for his kinsmen, the Jews, who seek to establish their own righteousness and reject the gift of righteousness that comes through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Thank God for many Jews and Gentiles who have put their trust in Christ in this Church Age and are now one in Christ. 

 Read about it in Galatians 3:24-29 and rejoice in your Messiah and Saviour from sin.  

You Can’t Blame God If You Go To Hell.

There may be some of you reading this who still refuse to humble yourself and admit you are a sinner in need of a Saviour.  You make excuses by blaming God for not electing you to salvation. Your problem is not election.  Your problem is your sin. and your pride.  You don’t want to admit that you are a helpless sinner in need of a Saviour.  You think you can save yourself through your own efforts.  You stumble; not on the doctrine of election, but on the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He is your Stumbling Stone.  I pray that you will face this fact right now and cast yourself on Jesus and on His blood sacrifice for your sins. 

Election is not a doctrine to argue about.

 Election is a truth upon which you can rest as a believer.  Quit trying to fully grasp the doctrines that are so high that they are beyond our reach and ability to grasp.   

Worship God whose ways are far above ours.

 If you are trusting Christ, read Romans 11:33-36  and worship God whose ways are far beyond our ability to fully grasp and fully understand.  May God bless you and fill you with joy in the knowledge of Jesus Christ your Saviour.  

July 24, 2006 Posted by | Reformed Theology | Comments Off on Reformed Theology #5: The Doctrine of Election