Saturday, August 28, 2010

IN REPLY: IS ANY MAN PREDESTINED TO EVIL AND SIN?

NOTE:  There is much misunderstanding of Scripture on the matter of "predestination" and "God's Sovereignty" over men.  I loved this question that was put to me by a brother in Christ.  Here is his question, and my answer.


Dear A. Brother:


I have a friend that says we are "elected" by God and that some are not. I think his examples are Pharoah and Hitler. I say that God has said we have free will and that all are "elected" through their own choice, whether that is choices made or presently make, he says no, that from birth these individuals were put here for the purposes they lived and exemplify, he will reference the story of the potter and the clay relentlessly. My question is this, is he is right, and if so is there freewill? Personally I think that those individuals made choices that led them to be used by God to glorifying him. I think that if Hitler turned to God and chose Jesus then God would have accepted him with open arms. Believe me, I know that sounds crazy, but if I believe that Christ is a kind, forgiving God, then I must believe that all who seek him will recieve him, and if the other is true, then why bother, we have been chosen from birth and it is not of our freewill. Hopefully all that makes sense and any clarity would be apprieciated. Thanks A Brother....
A. Bondservant


Dear A. Bondservant:
 
From my understanding of Scripture, this brother doesn't realize what you've already sensed from the Spirit of God in your heart and mind.

God desires all men to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. 2:3).  There is not one person who's ever been born whom God destined to not know Him.  But God foreknows, too.  This mystery is too deep for us to judge, hence our commandment from Jesus, "Judge not, lest you be judged."  

Even Christ Himself wasn't sent to judge. In John 3:16-21 (this is the whole passage, not just the one verse Christians quote!) Jesus lays out for us a clear understanding of this.  He didn't come into the world to condemn anyone.  Neither are we to condemn anyone.  He came because "God so loved...that He gave".  We are to do the same.  End of story.  

Pharoah hardened his own heart, and to fulfill His own purposes, God let Him, and used the Egyptian leader in that position to accomplish His purposes.  Paul's point in Romans 9 is that God knew that Pharoah wasn't going to let His people go, even after all the plagues.  So God used that to fulfill His will for His people.  Cyrus, King of Persia, was used the same way.  Even Judas, who had incredible opportunities, being side by side with the Lord Jesus daily, decided on his own to betray Him.  To say Judas didn't have a choice would be contrary to Scripture.  We all have choices, and we're all responsible for those choices.

Proof of this comes in Romans 9, mentioned above, though many don't read the whole chapter with the "eyes of their understanding being enlightened".  Paul was argued with by some Jews about their "election".  He makes God's case about this very issue: Pharoah first as an example, and then the Jews themselves.  His point is clear--that God gives everyone free will, but that men, in their freedom, often choose darkness rather than light, at which point, God, in His infinite knowledge, uses even bad choices to further His will and His Kingdom.  This is at the heart of the issue of God's Sovereignty, which is a much misunderstood fact right now due to our general lack of Scriptural understanding.

Today, there are many whose personal choices to live in darkness and do evil are impacting all those around them.  Are these people necessarily lost forever?  I hope not, because until recent years, when God got through to me, I was in sin, struggling mightily, lost in the quagmire of disillusionment and darkness.  Yet God, who is rich in mercy, always holds out His hand to even the Hitlers of the world.


To talk as if some men were programmed by God to be evil, as if they are being "manipulated by God", is to make God some kind of wicked dictator who forces some men to be evil, and others to be good.  This is not God the Father portrayed to us in Scripture.  Our Father created mankind to be saved.  That is His will.  His ultimate Sovereignty is being worked out daily, even in the lives of those who choose evil.  He is bigger than evil, and bigger than our own sins, and His grace shown in Christ fills the universe, and is available to all men, no matter the extent of their evil.  He uses evil men to accomplish His purposes, but He would, as you say, gladly have embraced Hitler if this sad, hate-filled man had turned to Him.  And who among us can condemn Hitler?  If we had been him, and had his life, and known his inner demons, might we have been him?  Today the Spirit of God speaks to me of God's great compassion, not His condemnation.  Why shouldn't we feel love and pity for this man, who at one time was actually a sinless, tiny baby, wishing only to be loved and held and nurtured--not the monstrous character he became?  Where is our love from the heart of God?  

Nevertheless, Hitler could have turned at any time, but he chose darkness rather than light.  And he was no different than any of us, because we all have the capacity to do terrible evils.  Paul understood that.  He called himself the "chief of sinners", and "less than the least of God's people".  But for the grace of God, and my decision to hold to Christ, I could still be wallowing in that cesspool myself.  We cannot let ourselves off the hook by creating a God who manipulates men.

Great question, and one that needs to be addressed head-on, with a full understanding of Scripture!  We can have complete confidence that there is NO CONDEMNATION to those who are in Christ Jesus, and that is the point, to be in Christ Jesus.  If we are, we won't go around condemning others by saying they were destined to evil by God.

Your brother, 
A. Brother  

1 comment:

  1. I apprieciate this, it is serving to open those lines of communication. I will tell you that I feel that meeting you and having the oppurtunity to fellowship on a daily basis makes going to work worth every penny we don't earn.

    ReplyDelete

Please give me your honest response.

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