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Monday, January 7, 2008

Chosen by God

I will admit it. I have trouble staying engaged in most books about Christianity. I usually don't take the time to look up suggested Scripture references, so not only do I not get the soul-benefit of the living and powerful Word of God, I also feel guilty for not taking the time to do so.

That said, I am really enjoying RC Sproul's Chosen By God. The book is helping me to finally understand my professed Calvinist views. Now that I understand predestination more completely, I really do not know how one could learn about Calvinism and not espouse this correct biblical teaching ( I was warned by a friend not to become a "hyper-Calvinist" during my journey with this book, so I am trying to keep that in mind).

There are some misconceptions about Calvinism that Sproul addresses in this work:

"The student replied, 'A Calvinist is someone who believes that God forces some people to choose Christ and prevents other people from choosing Christ'". (p.122)

"I once heard the president of a Presbyterian seminary declare, "I am not a Calvinist because I do not believe that God brings some people, kicking and screaming against their wills, into the kingdom, while he excludes others from his kingdom who desperately want to be there'". (122)

While I personally have never heard so bold a statement against Calvinism, I do have Christian friends who believe that man has the "free will" to choose or not choose Christ.

That is an idea I had thought a lot about in past years. Why can't I choose Christ? Reminded by Sproul, I found the answer in Scripture (Eph. 2: 1-3)

"And you he made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others".

Also, Romans 3:10-11:

"There is none righteous, non, not one; there is none who understands, none who seeks God".

Also, Romans 9:15:

"..."I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion".

God tells us that we were dead. There is no way, as a spiritually dead person, that I can do anything for myself with regards to salvation. I was never able to choose Christ.

While the doctrine sounds simple enough, it always seemed to me that there was a fine line between Calvinism and Arminianism. I now see the great chasm that differentiates the two. It just makes me so grateful for a loving God who, out of His perfect goodness, gave me the desire for Christ.

Sola fide, sola gratia, soli deo gloria!

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