f The Wittenberg Door: Forced Love? – Part 1

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Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Forced Love? – Part 1

"i'll never force you for i love you so,
i give you freedom. is it yes or no?"

god, according to the riches of his wonderful grace, doesn't force anyone into heaven. but he does force us to make a decision. i think sproul should write a book called "does god believe in apatheists?" and in it he should discuss the fate (predestination is an obvious falsehood) of all those souls who choose to not choose.

A friend of mine forwarded me the above quote and asked for my comment. It originated from a Christian with whom my friend was conversing on a message board.

The first issue mentioned above (just after the bad poetry) is the common Arminian response to the doctrines of Irresistible Grace and Unconditional Election. It usually takes the following form:

“So you’re saying that God drags people into heaven against their will, while those sincerely desiring to get in can’t because they’re not the elect?”

Banging on Heaven’s Door?

We’ll start with the second objection: Is it the case that there are sinners who want to reconcile with God but God won’t let them because they're not of the elect?

Here’s the problem with this objection: it doesn’t take into consideration the state of man. Scripture teaches that Adam’s sin brought spiritual death to us all (Gen. 2:16–17, 3:1–7; John 11:24-26; Rom. 5:12; Eph. 2:1–3; Col. 2:13).

As a result, men are spiritually deaf, blind, and completely corrupted (Ecc. 9:3; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 8:7–8; 1 Cor. 2:14); also, men are slaves of sin (John. 8:34; Rom. 6:20; Tit. 3:3) and children of the devil (Eph. 2:1–2; 2 Tim. 2:25–26; 1 John 3:10).

So how does natural man respond to the revelations God has given him? He suppresses the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18). Consequently, man in his unregenerate state hates God and is therefore not seeking Him.

10) as it is written,
"THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;

11) THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;

12) ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE."

Romans 3:10-12

Kicking and Screaming?

Now to the former part of the objection: Is God forcing people into heaven against their will?

As we’ve just seen, man is dead in his sins and in complete and utter rebellion against God. Man’s plight is not simply that he needs to add a few doctrines to his belief system—no, he needs to be made a new creation (Gal. 6:15; Eph. 2:10; 1 Cor. 5:17–18), to have his nature renewed (Due. 30:6; Ezk. 36:26–2; 1 Pet. 1:3).

Being made alive by the Spirit (John 5:21; Eph. 2:1, 5; Col. 2:13), the sinner is granted repentance. (Acts. 11:18, 16:14; Phil. 1:29; 2 Tim. 2:25–26). Now with a new disposition towards God, he lives a life characterized by thankfulness and service unto the Lord (Rom. 6:1-14; Eph. 2:10; Phil. 2:13). So, contrary to kicking and screaming, God’s people are made alive, turned, and eternally brought into the embrace of their loving father.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we’ll find out if “predestination is an obvious falsehood.”

--The Catechizer

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