Saturday, May 3, 2014

Can Man Choose God Without Being Predestined? pt 1

One of the questions that is asked and a concern held by the non-Calvinist group is, what if God doesn't predestine someone and they hear the gospel, can they be saved? Can people be persuaded to seek God, even if they are not predestined? Can the un-elect be saved? Has God already ordained and set out those who can be saved? This question isn't complicated when you take the nature of time out of the equation. This question is based on the assumption that God does something in the past and then moves forward in time. It makes the assumption that man on His own will choose God, but God simply refuses.

If we look in 1 Corinthians, we get a clue to what is going on. Paul writes:
6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. 7But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.  8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.  11 For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.  15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.  16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 
1 Corinthians 1:6-16

It's the Holy Spirit that bring conviction, and it's conviction that brings a man to repentance and leads him to salvation. The Spirit of God brings us to saving knowledge of Christ, and without that, no one comes to salvation. The verse also says that the Spirit knows the depth of man's heart. So what is going on in a man's heart must make a difference. The Spirit probes the heart, and the depth of a man's heart and knows the desires and evils that dwell there.

I am not comfortable saying that someone is saved because they have a good heart, but the condition of a person's heart and their openness to come and hear the word are definitely part, as we see in scripture. Cornelius was God-fearing man, so God used him to be the first of the gentiles to receive faith from Peter. Even though the heart is evil, filled with sin and selfish, there is a condition that Bible calls hardness, and it's that hardness that closes a person off to the gospel. So here is where things get complicated, no one deserves to be saved, and there is nothing we can do to earn salvation. We are saved because of God's grace and love, but there is definitely things that we do. Those people who are open to the gospel, they are open to attending church, they want to find the truth and they love and care. Are they open because they are opened, or because God opens them up? I would say the answer is yes. Progression of events matter letter with a God outside of time.

Maybe the question we should ask is "will a man choose God without being predestined"? We will open this up more in the next blog, let's together ponder this and come back in a day or so and see what else God has for us in His word.

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