God So Loved The World & Hated Esau

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:16 NKJV

…(for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”

Romans 9:11-13 NKJV

These 2 passages are often used in the good old-fashioned Free Will vs. Sovereignty debate. Maybe a Calvinist will post the Romans 9:11-13 passage to stump the non-Calvinist, and then the Free-Willer will respond by saying, “Well, what about John 3:16?! Aha!” It would be a humorous exchange if it was not so depressing. First of all, both are setting up one passage of Holy Writ against another, which seems a strange thing for Christians who believe in the inspiration of Scripture to do. But, to be fair, each of them thinks that their opponent is misinterpreting the passage they reference, and so they attempt to give them a clearer passage that they cannot possibly fail to understand. But instead of dealing with the first passage quoted, each side runs to its storehouse of verses with which to respond.

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Drawn by the Father – John 6 (Part 2 – A Closer Look)

(To read part 1 of this series click here.)

John 6:37, 44 and 65

All that the Father gives to me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

What was happening in John chapters 5 through 8? What is the context in which Jesus makes the statements we are considering? If we don’t keep this in mind we will never correctly interpret these verses. Before we look at what was happening and why Jesus made these statements let’s first look at it from a Calvinist perspective.
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Drawn by the Father – John 6 (Part 1 – The Big Picture)

John 6:37, 44 and 65

All that the Father gives to me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

Calvinism’s challenge:

These verses are some of the clearest verses teaching the doctrine of Irresistible Grace. In John 6:44 Jesus makes it clear that no man in all of history can come to Jesus unless the Father personally draws him. And in verse 37 Jesus says plainly that those who have belonged to God from all eternity will most certainly come. The conclusion is inescapable; only those chosen by God will come and those chosen will most certainly come. This is irresistible grace plain and simple!
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Acts 13:48 – A Calvinist Verse? (Part 1)

Acts 13:42-52 (English Standard Version)

42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God. 44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

The Issues with the Verse

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Five Questions About Predestination – #3 How?

Question: How does one become a member of Christ’s predestined people?

Answer: By believing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ

When we talk about individuals being part of God’s Old Testament chosen people, Israel, because of their relationship with Abraham, it is not hard for us to understand the nature of that relationship. They were related to him because they had his blood running through their veins. But when we discuss the nature of the relationship between Christ and his Church we are not talking about physical ancestry. God’s New Testament chosen people are not determined by their race, but by their faith.
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Five Questions About Predestination – #2 – Who?

Who?

Question: Who did God predestine?

Answer: The Church of Jesus Christ

The question of when God predestined is not in dispute between Calvinists and other Christians, but the question of who God predestined is. Due to their misinterpretation of certain passages of scripture Calvinists have concluded that God, before the creation of the world, unilaterally predestined certain individuals to be saved. But this is a misreading of the Bible and a misrepresentation of God’s eternal purpose.

The implications of this error are clear. If God has already decided unilaterally (i.e. without any reference to their choices) which individuals he will save, and his eternal will is unchangeable and irresistible, than everyone’s eternal destiny is sealed before they are even born. This is great news for those lucky enough to be chosen and crushing news for those who were not. But thank God, this is error! God has not determined unilaterally beforehand which individuals will be saved and which will be damned. Instead, “we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe” (1 Tim. 4:10). Jesus came to “taste death for everyone” (Heb. 2:9). And he commanded his disciples to “tell everyone the Good News. Whoever believes… will be saved…” (Mark 16:15-16 – GWT). The truth is that God “is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9 – KJV). Continue reading “Five Questions About Predestination – #2 – Who?”