| Accountability for Conscious Rejection of God's Mercy|
Continual, persistent, conscious rejection of God's mercy makes men accountable to God's wrath.
"The wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience." The Greek word for "disobedience" is ἀπειθέω - "to be unpersuaded" Here is the definition copied from Bible Hub - (literally, refuse to be persuaded.)
The writer's use of ἀπειθέω underscores the willful aspect of the hearer's refusing to be persuaded by the word of the Lord. Accountability for persistent refusal to be persuaded is carefully documented whenever God declares His wrath upon any people, and especially when He sends judgment upon His own chosen people.
This accountability is thoroughly established in the New Testament. Men will be condemned and will suffer God's wrath because of their conscious, persistent rejection of the gospel. Having heard the word of truth, they refused to be persuaded by the word they have heard and are thus categorized as "those who refused to be persuaded."
This conscious rejection of God's word, His law, and even God Himself is carefully documented in the history of the prophets and the people of Israel. The writers of the New Testament employed the specific language found throughout the prophets. Our Lord came to fulfill the words of the prophets and He Himself used the same language to establish the accountability for rejecting God's mercy.
One example of this can be found in a thorough study of the word ἀθετέω - "to set aside" [Usage: I annul, make of no effect, set aside, ignore, slight; I break faith with.]
This word is used by our Lord in these key passages:
Luke 7:30 - "But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him"
Luke 10:16 - "He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me".
The same word is used as a summary of the rejection of the Jewish people who witnessed the glory of the Lord's works done in their very midst.
John 12:48 - " He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day."
To fully appreciate this "rejection" and to soberly contemplate the implications of Jesus using this term, one needs to understand how often it is found in the prophets' summaries of Israel's persistent refusal to be persuaded to return to the Lord. Our Lord KNEW how and where this word was used to describe Israel's persistent, prolonged stubbornness. The Lord was always careful to document His reasons for sending devastating judgments.
If you desire to research this yourself, allow me to suggest one method available to those with access to the digital bible helps that are readily available and free.
If you download esword, a bible software program, and you download the Apostolic Polyglot into esword, you can use the search engine feature to access every use of a particular Greek word in both the Old and New Testament. The Apostolic Polyglot version is displayed in an interlinear format with the Strong's number affixed above the words. When you "right click" upon the Strong's number, a box will appear that allows you to choose a search for that specific word in either the Old Testament, New Testament, or both.
This feature will allow you to locate and study the use of any Greek word in the New Testament so that you can see how it was used in the Old Testament. The writers of the New Testament would have been keenly aware of these words and would have had them in their minds when they chose to use them in their own admonitions.
As a sample of this method, and in order to minimize the space required for posting every scripture in its entirety, I have listed several examples of the Greek word ἀθετέω for those who desire to look into this further.
ἀθετέω strongs #114
II Chronicles 36:14
I Thessalonians 4:8
If anyone has questions about how to use the method that I put forth, please ask me and I will attempt to help clarify.
I have only provided one such word to study. For those who desire to look further into the idea of man's accountability for conscious rejection of God's mercy, there are many other words that establish the continuity of this truth in their Old Testament and New Testament settings.
If there is an interest shown to look into this further, I will provide more examples using these other words.
Alan and Dina Martin
| 2018/11/24 7:57||Profile|
Isa. 26:9 –
For when the earth experiences Your judgments
The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
| 2018/11/24 9:03||Profile|
| Re: Accountability for Conscious Rejection of God's Mercy|
Great stuff Mak: I love esword and Ive used it for the last 20 years when it first came out.
You might also find it interesting that without the inworking of God himself, the sinner always rejects, he always goes astray, his heart though moral in his own estimation is estranged and alienated through wicked works.
This truth of 'conscious rejection' highlights the depravity of sinful humanity. In the face of all that God has said and done by way of judgments, man ignores it and says "I have made a better plan than others, I have prepared better than others, I have secured myself better than others, I shall not suffer the same fate".
| 2018/11/26 13:38||Profile|
| Re: |
There seems to me that there is a subtle difference between what Mak wrote and what Marvin is saying. Subtle, but huge in import.
If God makes it impossible for some (actually, the vast majority) of humans incapable of responding toward Him, then how are they in truth accountable? It’s a logical absurdity. As Mak points out scripture is clear that man IN FACT is accountable because he, himself, rejects God.
How would my son be accountable to me if I command him to do the impossible, particularly if only I have the means of making it possible? If I tell him to mow the grass but I have locked up the lawnmower and hidden the key, how is he accountable for not cutting the grass?
| 2018/11/26 14:25||Profile|
| Re: |
Thanks for using such an excellent example for me to further clarify.
It is true Dad locked up the means in which to obey him in his own place. The Son, is accountable to Dad to mow the yard, without the mower the son will fail to mow the yard and the Father will not receive from the son the obedience and good works he was assigned. What is the solution?
For many, it seems there is no solution. The son is powerless, the son is going to fail his duty, the Father is going to be given nothing for his command to duty.
For many, the answer lay in the Father's cruelty, it lay in the Father's giving a command to the son and not giving the son the power/enabling/tools to offer the obedience the Father required.
To others, there is a solution. What is the solution? The Father said "ask of me", "pray to me", "seek me", The very things that God will give to the son in order for him to obey starts with the son returning to the Father and saying "give to me what I need to fulfill your will". Father, open the door, unlock the lock, show me how to use the mower that I might do your will and mow the yard".
In this analogy there is an implied relationship between the father and the son, whereby the son has access to the father and by petition access to all the Father has.
But the darkened sinner, the alienated, the estranged, the outcast and the unholy do not have that relationship whereby all that the Father would give is able to be received. For them, they do not know there is a mower, they do not know God has provided a means to satisfy his own commands.
But we also know that the sinner is not simply incapacitated, he is at war with God, in his heart there is enmity against God. In the sinners heart he stays away from God because if he comes his deeds will be reproved.
Not only does he not mow the yard, he refused to know of any mower, any offer to open the locked door, any kindness the father has offered to him.
The kind of person that is rejecting the God, is rejecting the means of God, the people of God, the gospel of God, God's providences.
It would be a gross mischaracterization to say "oh I would have happily obeyed God if he had only done his part". To assume something like that would be to make an assumption the whole of scripture never assumes, it in fact substantiates the very opposite.
| 2018/11/26 16:05||Profile|
| Re: |
I appreciate your response and I do follow it, but I do not see how your clarification solves the problem. The exceedingly large majority of persons that God does not reach out to first are still going to be punished for not doing the impossible.
You may be saying, in essence, that it is not unfair that God only chooses a few to reach out to; rather it is “super-fair” that he chooses any at all.
I have never been a fan of that argument, even when my youth pastor tried to make it when I was in the 7th grade.
| 2018/11/26 19:36||Profile|
| Re: |
Hi Todd and Marvin,
We do not need to create our own analogies, we have the analogies the Lord Himself gave to the prophets.
Consider this analogy in Jeremiah 2 "Yet I had planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality. How then have you before Me Into the degenerate plant of an alien vine?
Note: God calls Israel "noble" and "a seed of highest quality" The question is how did that which was so good become corrupt?
God gave Jeremiah another analogy in Chapter 13, the analogy of the "flaxen linen cloth". You are likely already familiar with what Jeremiah was told to do. Here is God's summary:
"Thus says the Lord: ‘In this manner I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 This evil people, who do not purpose to obey My words, who follow the dictates of their hearts, and walk after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be just like this sash which is profitable for nothing. 11 For as the sash clings to the waist of a man, so I have caused the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to cling to Me,’ says the Lord, ‘that they may become My people, for renown, for praise, and for glory; but they would not hear.’
Notice what the Lord charges - He focuses on their CHOICE
"This evil people NOT PURPOSING TO OBEY My words...."
LXX - Septuagint μη βουλομένους υπακούειν
Refusal to hear, not purposing to obey, is the basis for the devastating judgment and statements like "My eye shall not spare, I will show no mercy." All this from the God who "desires mercy" and "does not will the death of the wicked."
Over and over again, the Lord recounts His attempts to turn the hearts of Israel back to Himself, and He leaves no doubt in any reader's mind that Israel's refusal to hear, is DELIBERATE, PERSISTENT, and HARDENED. It is their rejection of His attempt to be merciful to them that provokes Him to pour out His full rage upon them.
This "refusal to hear", "Deliberate rejection of God's call to return" is best summed up in a word that gives a clear picture of prolonged unbelief.
That word is "ἀπειθέω" - the refusal to be persuaded
Consider how it is used in the New Testament
John 3:36 - He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and the one refusing to be persuaded by the Son shall not
see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
Paul chooses the same word to summarize all who will experience the wrath of God coming upon them.
Ephesians 5:6 and Colossians 3:6 - " Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons who refuse to be persuaded."
This same word is the main word used to summarize the reason for God's judgment in the following passages. For the sake of space and time, I will simply list the verses. If you study the context, you will understand why the New Testament writer chose to use ἀπειθέω.
God does not destroy men for being fornicators, liars, adulterers, murderers, idolaters, covetous, drunkards, gluttons, etc. He is willing to forgive all such sins, if men will hear His word, repent and believe. Many of us are guilty of these same sins and yet we have received mercy. Judgment comes upon men not because God is unwilling to forgive their sins, but because they persistently refuse to hear, believe and be reconciled to Him. They refuse to be persuaded to be corrected and reconciled to Him.
Here are other passages where ἀπειθέω makes men's accountability for refusal to hear abundantly clear.
I Peter 2:9
I Peter 3:20
I Peter 4:17
In case you have questions about the translation "refuse to be persuaded". I have taken this directly from scholars who assigned this meaning. For your convenience I have copied this directly from Bible Hub
Original Word: ἀπείθεια, ας, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Phonetic Spelling: (ap-i'-thi-ah)
Usage: willful unbelief, obstinacy, disobedience.
543 apeítheia(from 1 /A "not" and 3982 /peíthō, "persuaded") – properly, someone not persuaded, referring to their willful unbelief, i.e. the refusal to be convinced by God's voice. This is the core-meaning of the entire word-family: 543 (apeítheia), 544 (apeithéō), 545 (apeithḗs). All these cognates focus on man's decision to reject God's offers of faith, i.e. refusal to be persuaded in their heart concerning obeying His will (Word).
Alan and Dina Martin
| 2018/11/26 19:50||Profile|
| Re: |
Do you see the “refusal to be persuaded” as an issue of will, or an issue of inability?
| 2018/11/26 20:34||Profile|
| Re: |
I think all would agree that we are born with a selfish sinful nature. Therefore, Todd's question is the ultimate question. How can I be accountable for sin that I commit by virtue of a nature I inherited and did not personally and freely choose? And if we, before coming to Jesus, are freely able to fight sin and defeat sin because of prevenient grace, then why have none been able or successful? Clearly, there remain some sins, maybe a lot, that billions of people will be accountable for if they die apart from Christ that are due to a sinful nature we did not ask for, agree to or voluntarily accept.
It really is a huge question. One which no one will find a Biblical answer for other than simply that God allowed Adam's nature to continue on through his descendants for His own mysterious reasons; an inherited nature that will cause those descendants to resist God, be hostile to God and ultimately to be accountable to God in spite of the fact that the sinful nature was inherited.
Personally, I wish there were a Biblically explicit answer. We can't bootstrap one by a fairness argument from our own minds though.
Paul makes it clear in Romans 7 that the man of the flesh has a conscience that has some desire to do the will of God but he has a much stronger flesh that desires the sin and that man is unable to resist the desires of his own flesh, desires that are inherited, of his own nature, and that are stirred up by sin but desires that nonetheless belong to the man. The freedom from the desires that cause us to sin comes when we die with Christ, not before. The man of the flesh is unable to please God by the doing of His will until the flesh and sin is condemned in the man by being joined to and indwelt by another...Christ.
| 2018/11/27 8:13||Profile|
| Re: |
This Christmas season we will no doubt hear or see the movie "Its a wonderful life"...and oldie and a goodie.
No, I wouldn't start a study on angels by its presentation of an angel...so lets get that out of the way.
But the one pervasive message the movie delivers is
"One mans life can make a huge difference in others lives"
So, said Robert..."that billions of people will be accountable for if they die apart from Christ that are due to a sinful nature we did not ask for, agree to or voluntarily accept."
We all know Adam was the culprit, now because what He did, and what Eve did, everyone else suffers. One man affected the lives of countless others.
So, too, Jesus Christ who being one man, affected countless others by what he did.
I appreciate the candor in which Robert addressed this issue. There is nothing worse than ignoring the elephant in the room, or attempting to paint the elephant the same color as the wall and say "well, I don't see any elephant here".
We can yell loudly all day about man's choice and his hard heart and that's why God judged man. But that's not the whole story and anyone reading scripture knows this.
I've never denied the sinful nature of man nor his accountability before God as a moral creation, made to know God and his word and obey and love both. But the "elephant" is that God has a choice too in the salvation of man, you cannot paint it out with greek or with human reasoning or with scripture quotes...which are used to nullify other scripture quotes.
Our whole lives are predicated upon God's decisions we have no input into, nor do we have veto power if we did think we could nullify his decision.
Scripture presents both of these important aspects of God's person and working in the world, denying them by reason of their inconvenience to our way of thinking is useless and in fact becomes a stumbling block to knowing God as scripture presents him.
I don't hear anyone bring up the Romans 9 analogies? I don't read anyone willing to admit to God's choice? Why? Are we so hateful toward God that to admit his role in the salvation of man must mean we take a disliking to him?
When you can write the same quantity of insights into God's choices in the matters of men as you do the failings men, chances are, you can offer a more biblical perspective.
But, until then, its an uncertain sound a distorted vision.
| 2018/11/27 11:25||Profile|