Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Predestination and Salvation's call

The biggest issue I have with predestination is that I may not be, or people I'm connected to may not be part of the elect.  Though I can be comfortable with God's sovereignty in many areas, that he may distinctly not chose a family member or indeed me makes me very uncomfortable (and unable to know how to adequately respond).

I'm comforted with the passages that also promise whosoever will may come to God, but  isn't that a bit like lining up to play football and being the last to be picked? You're not really wanted there, but since there's no-one else you can play the game?  Perhaps I have the wrong view of election and predestination, perhaps its for similar reasons I struggle to believe that God has to regenerate a person's heart before they can respond to God, when clearly those who might respond to God already understand that their efforts to reach him on their own merit aren't enough and they need 'saving'.  The unregenerated heart still feels the disappointment of success in worldy terms and still reaches for more longing for wholeness and belonging that nothing other than God can bring. This seems to me to  be 'built in' to the dna of a person.  It would be a very odd person who would wish that should God be convincingly demonstrated to exist they still wouldn't care a fig what He thinks of them.

In the end, though for God to be God doesn't he have to set the rules of play?  Isn't it really up to God who he saves and who he doesn't?  Why should he be subject to my preference?  Yet he is loving, gracious, holy and just.    but for totally selfish reasons the challenge for me is to know who God has chosen and who he hasn't.  I want to know if I can ever say to anyone again with certainty that 'God loves you', or is there some way that I can see a permanent banishment from God as somehow loving?    I want to be able to resolve satisfactorily in my head and heart that Jesus' sacrificial gift was perfectly executed, and includes everyone irrespective of whether everyone responds and without what appears to be heretical universalism.   I want to know what the point of evangelism is, if salvation is simply a spirit enabled, sovereign act of God, and HOW to evangelise without misrepresenting the truth and preaching a gospel other than one that saves.

Maybe the truth is that  there is a synergy in the saving grace from God. Maybe it is not we reach for God or he reaches to us, but perhaps it is that both reach for each other from the beginning of time? perhaps looking for a linear logic to understand the cause and effect is too limiting for an action of a God who is so sacrificial in his Love for us? perhaps the paradoxical approach is the only one that fully combines the scriptures which extol the grace of God and our need to respond to the yearning for God that is within every human heart?

But what of comfort?  What of the certainty of where we go when we're finished with our mortal body as we await our resurrection and face the final judgement? "God knows" seems poor comfort when a person has lost the physical comfort of some loved one's presence.  Do we need to be able to determine whether those who have lived with us are included in Christ?   and do we need certainty of salvation to attempt to live right? Isn't the law, still the law?

All I can say for sure right now is that with everything in me that can, I want to love God.  I'm convinced that to the fullest of my ability to respond, I'm organising my thoughts, actions and hopes heavenward, mindful that there are some areas of my life that are yet to be subject fully to his law - even after all these years of trying to follow Him.   If my sins are able to be counted paid in Christ, then I am grateful his sacrifice, grace and love is sufficient for me.  Even if I am not counted as covered by his blood, it does not remove the need to comply with his law which is still a better [perfect] way to live with each other even if there is no eternal reward.  Whether I am or not chosen, elect or disqualified from his saving grace, I hope I can graciously live to bring little shame to his name while I am alive in my body.  God is still God, He is still creator and author of life, I still owe him everything whether he wants me with him forever or just for now.  He is important, I am just a flicker in the flame of life... a gust in the wind... a moment in history.

I'm at a funeral today. I hope that it gives me opportunity to talk about death, life and God. I hope that my own struggles don't get in the way of pointing to Christ. I hope that in pointing to Christ I don't lead people to disappointment, but to life. I pray that to whatever measure possible in my regenerated or unregenerated heart I can be influenced by the Spirit of God to be wise, humble and loving.  I pray that theology doesn't just affect thinking, but action, and that action comes from the heart and the head.  If the power of the resurrection is available to me, I trust that i will use it well to proclaim Christ, and him crucified so that those who can respond to the Gospel of Christ [by whatever method is valid] can do so and there may be a party in heaven for those that are welcomed in.