1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.
– Romans 9:1-5 NKJV
Paul is grieved over the unbelief and spiritual danger of the nation of Israel in general. The New Covenant was specifically promised to the nation of Israel, though it was foretold to include Gentiles as well. But the situation in Paul’s day was that the majority of Jews had rejected the Jewish Messiah and the New Covenant in Him. In these verses Paul expresses his desire for their salvation and rehearses the reason why the promises are for Israelites first and foremost. Continue reading “Romans 9:1-13 – God’s Sovereign Prerogative”
(This is the 4th and final post in a series on 13:48. To start at the beginning of this series click here)
I concluded the last post by suggesting we understand Acts 13:48b in the following manner:
“…as many as were appointed [according to the foreknowledge of God] to eternal life believed.”
When Luke noted that those who believed had already been appointed to eternal life, the Calvinist imagines that this appointment was done without the consideration of how men would respond to the gospel. By ignoring that salvation is conditioned on a person’s response to the gospel they remain consistent with their belief in divine determinism, but they stray far from the plain teaching of scripture (Mark 16:15, John 3:18).
It seems reasonable to conclude that God is the one doing the appointing in this verse, though some non-Calvinists would argue that the Greek grammar in this verse could imply that the individuals are “appointing” themselves in the sense of “inclining” or “disposing” themselves to eternal life. But in the 2nd post on this topic I showed my reasons for rejecting that argument. In short, I tried to demonstrate that the other four times Luke used the Greek word tasso he never used it in that way.
Continue reading “Acts 13:48 – A Calvinist Verse? (Part 4 – Answering Objections)”
As we search the scriptures honestly and diligently to find answers to our questions about various issues about living in God’s kingdom we will sometimes find ourselves in deep waters. Sometimes we will stumble upon verses that seem to point us back to the conclusions of our Calvinist brethren. Verses that are clearly about predestination and divine election will seem to jump off the page. The reason for this is that divine election, predestination, the radical corruption of mankind, and other similar topics are taught again and again in God’s word. These doctrines are wonderful and reveal the loving plan of God for the human race in general and his followers in particular. It is not these teachings that are dangerous, but the false understanding of them which is promoted by Calvinism. Understanding them is very important if we are going to come to a well-balanced understanding of our faith.
Continue reading “Calvinism’s Missing Contexts – Part 2”