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

5 comments:

Laura said...

Wow... this is big! I can't wait to read what you have to say further on this topic. Such a complex topic, I believe... questions I've asked many times as I've stumbled across some of those verses.

I love you, friend. Today I miss you terribly!

Praying that God is blessing you mightily these days!
Laura

selahV said...

Thank Kerri. I look forward to reading your thoughts. selahV

Joel Tay said...

Good point. Belief/faith is something that God gives the true convert.

In Jer 32:40, God makes a new covenant to man, by giving them a new heart so that they will not turn away from Him. If their hearts can turn away, God would have broken his covenant. Note that God is the one who gives the elect a new heart to fear Him.

Or

Act 16:14-15 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay." And she prevailed upon us.

:P

Kerri said...

Laura,
Yes this is big, isn't it? You would know that more than anyone else I think. I love you so much and miss you terribly as well. Would love to sit and have coffee with you and talk Bible and kids. I miss that more than anything. Thanks for your prayers.
much love,


Hariette,
Thanks for your comment. Examining a lot of Scripture now with much prayer, and happy that you'll be reading. Your comments are welcome any time. Love you . . .


Joel,
Thanks for stopping by and for the Scripture references. Much appreciated. Love in Christ . . .

Carol said...

I just found this site that talks about these subjects. It's kind of a long read but it looks interesting.

http://www.buildupzion.org/doctrine-articles/115-confusion-about-election-judgment-justification-and-salvation?start=1