21 March 2009

A Belief That Has Been Granted

I came across a verse in my normal Bible reading (and many other verses as of late) that has led to my reexamining my long-standing non-Calvinistic position.

First, a few givens:
  • Salvation is of God . . . it is His work of grace through faith . . . a gift to us that we in no way deserve. In fact, on the contrary, we all deserve God's judgment and wrath. This is a Biblical fact that is held by regenerate Calvinist and non-Calvinist alike. (the whole Bible!)
  • God does elect and predestine. The Bible clearly states this and both the Calvinist and the non must believe this as well. (It is the basis of His election that is debated as there are different definitions of the word "foreknowledge".) (Rom. 8:29-30; Eph. 1:3-14)
  • It is God's desire for none to perish but for all men to be saved, know the truth and repent. (I Tim. 2:3-4; 2 Pet. 3:9; Ezekiel 18:23)
Okay, so here's the verse I found: Philippians 1:29 which says - For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
The things that strike me about this verse:
  1. our BELIEF in Him has been granted to us (it doesn't say our salvation, or our ability to choose Him, it says our actual belief)
  2. it has been granted to us for Christ's sake - - NOT ours! (I take to mean His name sake . .. His glory and renown and his purpose)
  3. it has also been granted to us to suffer (again this is for His sake)
I have done word studies on the words "granted" and "believe" and they mean just what we would normally take them to mean. Granted - (χαρίζομαι) to be permitted or granted something/to give or bestow something willingly. Believe - (πιστεύω) to believe, have faith in, trust.

Alrighty then, well if this is true, where is choice? Arguably you could say that God has granted us the possibility for belief. But Paul is writing to believers telling them that their belief in Him was granted to them (it doesn't say the possibility of it).

Interesting!!! - - don't want to get too long so . . . .

more to come:
  1. a closer look at the word "granted" and a look at where else it is used in the Bible,
  2. thoughts on reconciling God's expressed desire that none should perish with His election of some for salvation (and, logically following, His election of others for judgment)
  3. thoughts on how the above can fit with who God is (His attributes and character as revealed to us in Scripture)
  4. thoughts on the word "foreknowledge"
  5. personal testimony

18 March 2009

Who Am I?

Who am I that God would forgive me?

Who am I that God would extend His grace to me?

Who am I that God would chasten me?

Who am I that God would justify me?

Who am I that God would sanctify me?

Who am I that God would call and send?

Who am I that God would indwell?

Who am I that God would bless me?

Who am I that God would reveal more of Himself to me?

Who am I that God would love?

Unworthy of His forgiveness

Unworthy of His grace

Unworthy of His chastening

Unworthy of His justification

Unworthy of His sanctification

Unworthy of His calling

Unworthy of His sending

Unworthy of His indwelling

Unworthy of His blessing

Unworthy of His revealing more of Himself to me

Unworthy of His love

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field, The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!
(Psa 8:3-9)