Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What Separates the Elect from the Unelect?

One of the foundational keys to Woven Theology is the concept of timelessness of God.  God is not in, bound or subject to time.  Most of the issues that concern predestination come from putting God inside of time, having Him make a decision about a human being before the human exists.  In this, God is perfectly just in His election, but this leaves me with a huge question.  What is the extent of foreknowledge, but more importantly, what separates the Elect from the Unelect?

If God looks at an individual, and they become the elect because of a work or an action, they are not elect, but they have in fact earned God’s merit and salvation, and that is works theology.  Right away we have to throw out the concept of earned salvation because it’s defiantly contrary to Bible teaching.  Let’s define a work, anything that a human being can do and take credit for that merits or achieves salvation.  If we do anything that gives us Salvation that doesn’t come from God, we can take credit, we can boast and therefore, we merit our salvation.  We have compromised too much on this point, and that is rejected outright.

So, what is left to examine?  I think foundational we need to pose a question about how God views us.  Since God is not trapped in, subject too or limited by time, it stands to reason that from God’s eternal vantage point, He sees us complete.  Everything we have said, done, and thought, combined with our attitude and outlook, added with who we are, where we come from, our family, how and where we are raised, who invested in us and prayed for us and who shared the gospel with us. All of these things fit together to form us, from what we normally eat for breakfast to where we went to college, who we married and what size shoe we where.  God sees the complete picture and in seeing that complete picture He is completely justified in who He elects.  This is not based on what we’ve done, but who we are.  This will also include how others pray for us, share with us, invite us to church.  We don’t earn salvation, but we are commanded to pray for the salvation of others.  That means our prayers make a difference as God calls and elects.  We are told the belief of a parent matters, the belief of a spouse matters, the prayers of family members matter.  All of these things come together to make up who we are.  We don’t earn Salvation by being in church, but perhaps we are in church because we are called, and perhaps we are called because we have a heart that is open to being in church. 
Now what we have done, but who we are.

Those who are unelect, they have a closed and hard heart, are surrounded by pagans, no one is praying for them, no believers are sharing with them, when God sees them as a completed individual, they are immersed in sin, selfishness and destruction.  As Christians in time, this means that there is time for us, because their life isn’t over.  Someone who appears to be far from God from our perspective may have something that God knows about that will happen.  They will later receive prayer, teaching and they are ultimately the elect.

I bring this up because often people argue with election, saying “then there is no point in sharing the gospel with people” but since we are commanded to do so, the election of an individual may be dependant (at least from our perspective in time) on if we share the gospel and pray for them.  The reality is that election is completely and totally up to God, yet it is the responsibility of the individual to have a soft heart, an open ear and be in a place for God to speak.  It’s also dependant upon us as Christians to share, pray and witness, knowing that is can change them as a person.

I realize how abstract this concept is because it has so many moving parts.  Us as beings in time, working in time and through time and trying to think about God being outside of time working on something that cannot be earned, yet we are responsible for our reaction, our actions and our duty.  This is why it’s Woven Theology, God is weaving a tapestry of Salvation that is based on nothing but His sovereign will but includes the actions and reaction of every person involved.  The relationship between man and God is grown and matured by us being involved in God’s plan, not because He needs us but because He designed it.

Let’s look at the Apostle Paul.  When he was Saul, his heart was heart, he persecuted and he was an enemy of Christ.  When God looked at Saul, he say him as a completed person, someone who experienced grace and was open, someone who was prayed for and covered in the prayers of many.  God saw a man that others invested in and he in turn invested in others.  God was pleased and glorified to elect Saul to become Paul and share his faith with the world.  In the same way, God looked at a man like Judas.  I don’t know all of the story and history of Judas, but he was greedy and callous.  He stole from the money of the group, he betrayed Jesus for money and his heart was cold.  Jesus said it was better if he was never born, and in the end he couldn’t live with himself and committed suicide instead of seeking forgiveness.  The man Judas was, his heart condition caused him to be in a position that God’s wrath remained on him, even while he walked with Jesus.

As I continue to think through this, please share your thoughts and help me flesh this idea out more.  I will pray and continue to search the scripture and ask you to please do the same as you join me in this exercise of faith.

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