How is God Speaking to You? (week 43)

Every week in 2011, I am putting up this post in order to hear from you about how God is speaking to you as you read the Bible. Some others have joined me to read through the Bible in a year together in 2011 but you can respond to this whether you are doing that or not.

So, what is God saying to you?

3 thoughts on “How is God Speaking to You? (week 43)

  1. I continue to struggle with the concept of God “electing” those to be saved. I have had recent conversations with other respected Christians in my life who feel God’s sovereignty is so complete as to almost entirely preclude free will… As I continue to make my way through the bible, I see a litany of folks making bad choices and God guiding/calling them back. Are we to believe that in God’s sovereignty, He causes them to drift, only so He can call them back? He hardens our hearts, only so He can soften them? I tend to believe that God and only God can call us to Himself, but that it is an invitation followed by opportunities and limitless grace. But like any invitation, it can be refused, and that is the measure of free will God allows. It does not mean He has any less power, but He is powerful enough and big enough to give us this freedom. No?

    • Ann, thanks for your comment. The concept of election is very involved but appears throughout both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Election is first and foremost God’s call of individuals and peoples together as His own new people. Thus, God in a sense elected Israel by calling them out of slavery and establishing them as a new nation that didn’t exist before. The same can be said of the church, which is a disparate group of people from Jews and Gentiles brought together through Christ as His new people.

      By nature, such a calling of God – or election by God – means that we cannot be the initiators. God is the initiator in our relationship with Him, even giving us the desire to look to Him. But when He calls out to us, we have the option of responding to that call or not. You see this clearly in Jesus’ encounters with people throughout the Gospels. There are many, like Peter, James, and John, who respond to Christ positively. There are many others, like the rich young ruler, some Pharisees, and Pilate himself, who respond to Christ negatively.

      As C. S. Lewis famously wrote, ” God has made it a rule for Himself that He won’t alter people’s character by force….He would rather have a world of free beings, with all its risks, than a world of people who did right like machines because they couldn’t do anything else.”

      I do often think of it as an invitation to a party. God sends out the invitations to be His but we have the opportunity to attend or not attend. Jesus Himself talked of the Kingdom of God this way in Luke 14.

      I like the way you described it in your last couple of sentences: “It does not mean He has any less power, but He is powerful and big enough to give us this freedom.”

      My take on this would be quite different than a typical Reformed or Calvinist view, which sounds like what you are encountering in your reference to conversations about the sovereignty of God. I do not think that it diminishes God’s sovereignty – His kingship – to give marked freedom to His subjects.

      • Thank you Matt. You are correct–this is a Reformed perspective. I’ve been trying to get my mind around the concept for over 10 years and am not one bit closer to accepting it as truth. Your interpretation matches mine and I love the CS Lewis quote. Peace!

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