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Telling Secrets

faith, fatherhood, and culture


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

After chewing on the Doctrine of Predestination and the Elect for a week, my mouth is tired and sore. Whoever said masticating rocks was a good source of nourishment? I keep returning to the simple question, “so what?” It’s clear that God acts first to save the Lost, that Jesus’ sacrifice is critical for salvation, and that the Holy Spirit does the work of regenerating a “dead” spirit. Does it really matter if there’s something called the Elect? I don’t believe Paul or Peter or the writer of Hebrews ever refer to themselves as “one of the Elect.” Paul begins all his letters by referring to himself and his audience as being “called” by God, but my understanding is that this calling is to the Lost, which is everyone. Jesus told stories about this: he leaves the 99 sheep to look for and call the 1 lost, he spends countless hours on his hands and knees on a hard packed-dirt floor looking for the 1 lost coin. Referring to ourselves as the Elect sets up an “us versus them” dichotomy that the Bible clearly warns against. We are all of us lost in the darkness, unable to make a fire to warm ourselves and find our way. Some of us have been found by a sweaty someone who has seen our tracks and doggedly pursued us, tapping our shoulder until we finally turn around to face the sunrise. Then we are invited to join the pursuit, changing as we run, fanning out across the land to bless the world as the Israelites were to do, bringing light into darkness. We are the Lost, known from the beginning, and somehow, by no merit of our own, found. This tastes sweet in my mouth and goes down smoothly, yet my stomach turns a little. There are so many like myself who are still stumbling around, trying to make sense of life, doing the best they can with what they have been given. Sometimes they don’t turn to face the light and that is bitter. But the sun still rises – may it shine on all of us.

  1. Blogger Keven Winder said:

    It's great to be on such an enriching understanding of ones faith. Let me congratulate you on having an understanding that somehow evades most non-pontificating people. Namely you have risen above the anthropocentricity of the "God is my Copilot" mentality to understand that God is foundational ones salvation. Please allow me to help out in a few ways. First, Paul, Peter and the author of Hebrews were profoundly aware of the elect and referred to them continually as the "called, elect, or beloved." It would seem that the hangup for you and many others is in the nature of God's Call.

    It really does matter as the Glory of God is at stake!

    You see God's call is not a general call to all people, rather it is an effectual call. When Jesus taught people that He was the ressurection and the life he did so after raising his friend Lazarus from the dead. He didn't open the tomb and say "Anyone in there who would like to come fourth, please do so now." No, he said Lazarus, come forth! for if he didn't specify Lazarus, the earth would have completely given up it's dead. Laz did not have a choice in comming forth, he could do nothing but respond to the call of God, thus Gods commands are effectual-God does not respond to man, and His plans are no more thwarted by our efforts than we can stop hurricains from coming on shore with a paper fan.

    The lost sheep parable in Matt falls in the Kingdom discourse and a note worth looking at is that the "little ones" are the subject of God's pursuit, and He rejoices over them moreso than the 99. The subject IS the little ones, and Gods pursuit of them, not the 99. This is a great stone to chew on.

    The next logical step in your stairway to a brighter sunrise, Caleb is on the horizon. If God's Call is effectual, would that stand to reason that Christs work on the Cross, his substitutionary death, sinless life, served to make all men saveable, or was it too effectual and actually accomplished its desired purpose, namely the forgiveness of sins, the justification of our souls, and the propitiation of a the horror of God's righteous wrath. We know that not everyone is going to heaven, so was his work effectual? This is the honey flavoured stone that left my mouth gaping in gratitude for my salvation. Good luck, and great thoughts. Keven

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