| Re: |
Todd. I understand better now your line of thinking and do see now that if I held to your way of thinking then what happens to the vast majority of people who God has not taken the Gospel to is a huge challenge to how the love of God works out. I think you would clearly agree that believing in Jesus is the primary way we get to Heaven. So, the vast majority don’t hear but at the same time the vast majority of those going to heaven have heard. Otherwise, the Gospel going out was never that necessary in the first place. Not trying to put words in your mouth just following through on your logic.
| 2020/5/20 15:06||Profile|
| Re: |
Some people might say “how do we not know that Jesus has not preached to Sodom and Tyre and Sidon?”
I won’t go quite that far.
Some people would also say “God is a debtor to no man.”
I can’t go quite that far either.
I just trust that the Judge of all the earth will do right.
Really right, not a pretend right.
A “pretend” right is saying that everything God does is right. If we think God does something that does not seem right, then it likely means God is not doing what we think.
| 2020/5/20 15:52||Profile|
| Re: |
I know Todd that you've probably heard this before, but just in case, there is a line of thinking based in Scripture that says God has a special or family love for His children and He has a different love for mankind generally. One is that of a Father and the other is that of a love of pity that is genuinely concerned about the good of those who have made themselves, by their sin, His enemies. The Creator's love of pity and loving concern is indeed great and very concerned for physical, emotional, and spiritual need. It is a temporal love though that will one day end when His patience with His enemies has run out.
The love of the Father though is exceedingly special and far reaching beginning before time and extending forever.
Most people who hold to your view, perhaps not you, view God's love as the same all the way around when it comes to mankind generally. No distinction between the Father's love of His own children and the love of the Creator for His enemies.
The problem of this view among other conflicts it has with Scripture is that God may love me today with a Father's love but tomorrow He may pour out His wrath and hatred toward me forever if I don't believe in His Son. This seems logically strange to me and I'm sure given how I see you think, you would agree. That is why I assume you in the past seemed to struggle with the eternal destruction idea of Hell. How could lavish love turn so abruptly into unending hate?
Further, as you say, how could someone who loves me so extravagantly not make sure I get the opportunity to hear about Jesus. Not just me, but billions of others. It seems wholly inadequate to just throw my hands up in the air and say "well, I guess it will all make sense one day" or "won't God do right?" Of course we know He will be righteous, but often that means justice and not mercy.
I think we have all been struggling with the definition of God's love more than anything else. For me, it isn't a struggle at all as I receive what I see in Scripture as a strong statement that God has an electing love that began in His will before the foundation of the world. Undeserved by far.
As a father, I get this. I love my own children. I love the brethern. I love my neighbor. I love my enemies. In the Bible, each of these loves is defined differently and the standards of affection, responsibility and sacrifice for each is set forth explicitly and they are different. I see a perfect symmetry in our Father's love and levels of love. He has loved and will love His children forever, affectionately and without limit. He loves His enemies, whom He has known forever, with a far reaching love, even to the giving of His own Son to die for them, but there is a limit to this love. It is a great and undeserved love that God deserves amazing praise for. But there is a limit. A limitation as to who gets to hear of Him and how long His patience will endure them.
I would struggle if I thought God loved me immensely today but someday soon He would hate me forever with unbelievable eternal wrath. I would struggle if God loved me immensely but failed when He could easily do it, to get me the Gospel of His beloved Son so I could know Him and love Him if that is what I really wanted and He just arbitrarily decided not to get me that Gospel. So, either God is unloving or His love is discriminating. I think that is where you get to. It makes no sense to sugar coat or white wash reality by saying I'm sure He provides a multitude of ways for billions of people to know Jesus or be saved other than the Gospel. There is a boat load of Scripture that casts great doubt on that approach.
| 2020/5/20 17:15||Profile|
| Re: |
I can agree with every word you are saying if and only if you throw out the doctrine that God decides in advance who will and who will not “get in.”
If you aren’t willing to throw out that doctrine, then you are left with the inescapable conclusion that man’s sin has nothing to do with it- rather it’s only God’s choice that matters- for who can resist God?
| 2020/5/20 17:48||Profile|
| Re: |
Thank you Robert for sharing your thoughts.
I am not drawn to the maze of attempting to trace the logic of God stating He desires to save all men and the logical implications of these definitive statements. I do not have to understand how God works to accept what God says. If He makes an indicative statement that He wills, or desires, all men to be saved, then He does - I accept this by faith.
I am content to ascertain by study whether or not the writers of the Old and New Testament made definitive statements about God's will. If Paul definitively stated that God desires all men to be saved. Then it is clear Paul believed this and taught this. The statement stands on its own. I will not subject Paul's indicative declaration to my subjective reasoning.
If Ezekiel heard God tell Him that He did not desire (will) the death of the wicked, but that the wicked would turn from his way and live, then I am content to hold this statement as indicative of God's will. The statement stands on its on indicative merit. I need not wait to accept it based upon whether it passes the test of human logic.
You seem to be holding these indicative, definitive statements to the test of human logic. Why is that necessary? God's ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not as our thoughts...you know the rest - they are vastly higher than our human logic will ever attain to. This does not mean we do not use our capacity to reason, but we do not subject indicative facts to logical scrutiny.
If John wrote an indicative statement that Jesus Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, then I am content to say definitively Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. I do not have to work out any logical support to hold this as truth.
Do you believe John the apostle's indicative statement that Jesus Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world? Do you believe Paul's indicative statement that God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth?
I am not interested in trying to reconcile every aspect of mercy and judgment with human logic.
And here are some thoughts in reference to the statement our Lord made concerning the judgment facing the cities in which most of His miracles were done. His statement does not draw our attention to the questioning why the miracles were not performed in Tyre and Sidon. His definitive statement draws our attention to the day of judgment where according to His definitive statement it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon than for Chorazin and Bethsaida. You are looking back with questions, while Jesus was directing us ahead with a warning. What is to be taken from His indicative statement is that on the day of judgment, it will be worse for the cities in which most of His miracles were done. I do not believe the destruction of Tyre and Sidon was "the final" destruction for them.
Let's take up the discussion from here. Please let me know if you understand my thoughts and you are welcome to respond to them in a way that will help me further.
Alan and Dina Martin
| 2020/5/20 18:33||Profile|
| Re: |
Mak, Perhaps you can help me understand the difference or sameness of God’s will and His desire?
| 2020/5/20 21:23||Profile|
| Re: Testimony |
Could the difference between Sodom and Chorazin be found in the testimony?
(My understanding) is that Jesus is differentiating between, the testimony of the “Abrahamic” to Sodom even involving Lot, with the testimony (+miracles) that came from Himself. With the later being a more “potent” or substantive version being able to identify that testimony to a literal incarnation in man who lived and walked among them. Suggesting (or stating) that His testimony of Gods mercy is the culmination of all Gods activities on earth. No one has ever made such a claim before, much less performed the physical miracles to back it up but Jesus did and as such considered it a more compelling expression of Gods “desire” which calls for them to repent and choose to yield to His “will”. Love always involves a choice.
In order for us to “come into” His will we must respond to His desire (His call) for us to come to Him. His desire offers us the choice to obey Him in love, that obedience is faith. Or to say it another way, faith is the response.
| 2020/5/21 1:19||Profile|
| Re: |
Mak, "Perhaps you can help me understand the difference or sameness of God’s will and His desire?"
My own present understanding (which is still in process) of the meaning of "will" and "desire" has come from the study of the words chosen by biblical writers in their various context.
There are two principal words that are translated "will" and "desire". English translators use different words for these two Greek words depending upon their best judgment.
The two most prominently used words are θέλω and βούλομαι. My practice has been to study the use of these two words and their respective word families in both the LXX (Septuagint) and the Greek New Testament. The writers of the New Testament drew their understanding of these word groups from their usage in the Old Testament.
In addition to this, I research the work of men who devoted their lives to studying the language and making their research available to us. I am so thankful to God that He raised up men who poured their lives into gleaning the original meaning of the writer.
Here is a sample of what I have gathered so far in my study of these two words.
θέλω - Usage: I will, wish, desire, am willing, intend, design. (usage in context determines the meaning) 2309 /thélō ("to desire, wish") is commonly used of the Lord extending His "best-offer" to the believer – wanting (desiring) to birth His persuasion (faith) in them which also empowers, manifests His presence
The corresponding Noun - θέλημα - Usage: an act of will, will; wishes, desires. (again - usage in context determines the meaning) 2307 thélēma (from 2309 /thélō, "to desire, wish") – properly, a desire (wish), often referring to God's "preferred-will," i.e. His "best-offer" to people which can be accepted or rejected.
[I have copied these this compilations directly from Bible Hub because they are a fair representative synopsis of many scholars]
βούλομαι - Usage: I will, intend, desire, wish. 1014 boúlomai – to plan with full resolve (determination)
boúlomai ("resolutely plan") is a strong term that underlines the predetermined (and determined) intention driving the planning (wishing, resolving). In contrast, 2309 (thélō) focuses on the desire ("wishfulness") behind making an offer (cf. TDNT, 1, 629)
βουλή - the corresponding noun: Usage: counsel, deliberate wisdom, decree (again: usage in context determines meaning)
a resolved plan, used particularly of the immutable aspect of God's plan – purposefully arranging all physical circumstances, which guarantees every scene of life works to His eternal purpose
One way to glean the dynamic nuances of the meaning of these two terms is to study passages where the same writer has decided to use them together. When they are used alongside each other, the writer had a distinction in his mind and that distinction is what we are attempting to discover.
This entire process takes time and repeated efforts. The fullness of the meaning of desire and will are a work in progress with me. As I read the scriptures, I continue to pay close attention to every usage. This is much like the path of the righteous which shines with the first hint of light at dawn until the direct full light of the sun at high noon.
The rational deductive process is accompanied by dependence upon the Holy Spirit to guide and grant the mercy and grace of discernment. Translators can make mistakes (I MYSELF CAN BE IN ERROR). There is a God-born desire in me that longs to discover the reason the writer chose to express his thoughts the way he did.
It is in this process of study that I believe God has given understanding (brought passages and meanings together) and opened up the scripture to see how precise and dynamic it is. I seek to remember that I am always in need of a Spirit-guided mind. I bless God that He has granted men the mental capacity to reason and discover, but I do not trust reason apart from God's guidance.
This post has become lengthy. I will reflect upon critical passages where both θέλω and βούλομαι and present, as well as passages where their meaning is relevant to the topic at hand and post them at a later time. In the mean time I encourage you to do what I have done. I have read every passage where these words are used and sought to lay hold of the basic meaning. The process has been so enriching to me personally.
Alan and Dina Martin
| 2020/5/21 6:57||Profile|
| Re: |
I have seen in many comments the notion that if God desires something for every man, then He "must" supply every man what is necessary or sufficient to make His desire a reality………… I think it is worthwhile to set forth explicitly how God's "desire" for something to happen means that He does what is necessary and sufficient to make it happen.
Jesus said: “Apart from Me you can do NOTHING” (John 15:5).
Peter said to Jesus, "If all will fall away because of You, I never will fall away………Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" -- (Matt. 26:33,35)
But before the rooster crowed, he had denied Jesus three times.
But his faith was restored. How? Because Jesus had prayed for him.
Luke 22:31 –
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Isa. 53:6 –
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.
Silly lost sheep cannot find their way back, but the Good Shepherd will not rest till every sheep is saved!
Mat. 18:12-14 –
What do you think?
If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying?
If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray.
SO IT IS NOT THE WILL OF YOUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN THAT ONE OF THESE LITTLE ONES PERISH.
By whose will and provisions are we cleansed and made righteous?
Jer. 31:33 –
But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I WILL put My law within them and on their heart I WILL write it; and I WILL be their God, and they shall be My people.
Ezek. 36:25-27 –
Then I WILL sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I WILL cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
Moreover, I WILL give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I WILL remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
I WILL put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
Heb. 8:12 –
For I WILL be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I WILL remember no more.”
Given God's desire that all men be saved, at some point prior to final hardening and destruction wouldn't God by your positions have done those miracles in Sodom
Is there really no “second chance” after a man dies?
Ps. 90:3 –
You turn man back into dust
And say, "Return, O children of men."
| 2020/5/21 7:38||Profile|
| Re: |
Thanks Mak. I look forward to what you present.
I am particularly interested in Scripture where God says He does not desire the death of the wicked but then He without any contradiction kills the wicked. I totally understand their sin caused it. It seems though that
in this obvious and pervasive case that will and desire are two entirely different things on its face. You could not say God does not will the death of the wicked. Second, isn’t it reasonable to assume that if God wills something that He must also desire it. In the case of the death of the wicked , them , God does not desire the death of the wicked on one level but at some point His desire for justice and righteous rises higher than His lack of desire for the death of the wicked. What I’m getting at is God’s desires are manifold and coexisting and it would be potential error to take one expression of desire and make that a monolith for some doctrinal application.
| 2020/5/21 7:55||Profile|