In Paul’s letter to the fellow believers in Rome he ask a rhetorical question,“Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” I have seen this verse used time and again to prove God is Sovereign of the evil and the good. That it’s all planed out from beginning to end including those merely playing the villans role. Thank God the bible is full of actual stories that contradict this idea of God as puppet master.
Choice it seems is built into the biblical narrative from the very first story told of Adam and Eve. As Dr. Michael Lodahl put so well in his book (The Story of God) “Scripture Testifies of God not only as the Creator of all things but also the One who has lovingly, compassionately, and freely entered into covenantal relation with the creation.”
Paul’s question rhetorical question is actually taken from the book of Isaiah and not as some might think from the mind of Augustine and Calvin.
You turn things upside down,
as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,
“You did not make me”?
Can the pot say to the potter,
“You know nothing”?
But let us answer Paul’s rhetorical question with one big affirmative Yes!
Wrestle With God just like Job did over Gratuitous Evil.
Wrestle With God just like Abraham who argued with God over the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Wrestle With God just like Moses did over his Identity at the burning bush, or as Moses defended others in the face of God’s judgment.
Wrestle With God just like Jacob did over the course of your life and refuse to let go.
Wrestle with God in the Garden as Jesus did, until the Leap of Faith is Required.
Wrestle With God
Wrestle with God until He touches you
and gives you a New Name,
but know this most of the time the God you are really wrestling with,
is the god of your own understanding.
Job: The Lord gives and The Lord takes away blessed be His name.
Calvin: You are absolutely correct Job for God is Sovereign.
Job: I am blameless and upright before my God.
Calvin: I’m sorry Job but you do err in not knowing how to rightly divide the word.
Job: What word are you talking about Calvin.
Calvin: The word of God starting with the book of Genesis and proceeding to the Book of Revelation. In that Book it is declared that all have fallen short of the glory of God. Further more you are dead in your trespasses and sins, you were born spiritually dead.
Job: No I was born a Human being in the Image of God, my father taught me to honor God and make sacrifice.
Calvin: You where born guilty in the sight of God, according to the clear teaching of Scripture.
Job: No I was born with the same potential to serve God as was any Human ever Born.
Calvin: You have broken God’s Law and He demands Perfection.
Job: What Law?
Calvin: The covenant Law given to Moses.
Job: Sorry I’m drawing a blank here Calvin but maybe where there is no Law it can’t be broken.
Calvin: You sound like a Pelagian Heretic.
Job: No I am a servant of the God whose name I do not know, and I am blameless and upright before His eyes.
Calvin: but you need to be perfect in His eyes.
Job: Says who?
Calvin: Basically any body whose somebody in the church world from Anselm to Me.
Job: Sounds complicated I think I will stick with my simple faith and conscience.
Calvin: Well broad is the way that leads to destruction.
Job: I will stick with my God and my proclamation of Innocence, God is mighty to save.
Calvin: On that we agree Job.
GOD: So do I
Satan: I tend to agree with Calvin
God: You would.
Paul in the book of Romans tells us of people under the Law, “that they have a zeal for God and souls but not according to knowledge.” This is where we find ourselves in the church 2000 plus years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many who have a passion for souls in this earth find themselves passionate about a Method whose time has come to an end.
The problem is that they are so married to their method i.e. “repent and verbally confess Jesus paid the price for your sins.” They care more about the defense of their method, and then they do souls that need a God-loving relationship. Much of their time and theology is spent defending a method, which they have convinced themselves is the only way to a God relationship.
This method has become in fact a man-made obstacle to the Gospel of Grace, but as Jesus taught, “those who are not against Him are for Him.”
When some in the church started to mix New Wine and Old Wine Skin, they in fact began to preach the gospel according to John the Baptist and not Jesus of Nazareth. Once leaving the work of the Spirit behind for a mixture of Law and Grace, it became necessary to have a motivation for their method. Hence the need for Hell as the motivation, and confession as the means of Water based Salvation.
Even though Jesus taught clearly that a person is not born of the Spirit by the will of man, or of the flesh. John the Baptist preached the gospel of repentance with the emphasis on the will of man, his message was “repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” There was great judgment in his message much like the Prophet Isaiah in the first third of his ministry, judgment, judgment, and more judgment. It therefore makes perfect since that the church’s method from Augustine’s “Original Sin” to Charles Finney’s “hot seat” would be “repent or you will be going to Hell.”
Point of Truth:
Jesus came proclaiming that he came not into the world to judge it, but have no fear the church has taken up the slack.
The Gospel of Grace cannot be proclaimed effectively using the method of John the Baptist, for although John is the greatest man born in the flesh, he is the least in the Kingdom of God. Imagine what the gospel would look like, free from the method of John the Baptist; many are trying with great ZEAL!
Much more to follow…
A local Pastor asked a question on his face book page, if there is no hell then what are we saved from? The first thing I have to say is that the question itself assumes Hell is mankind’s destiny unless saved. Rather than seeing Hell at least the one made for the devil and his angels as a destiny for a very few wicked beings. Some mix the Augustinian view of Original Sin with a little Calvinism, Arminianism, Dante and that’s how Jesus saves you from the Hell we are all destined for.
The reason why this Pastor has this assumption has nothing to do with what Jesus or Paul taught, but rather what the Doctrines of Men teach. Jesus tells us why he came, “to seek and save that which is lost” not bound for Hell. Further He teaches in
Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
19 and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.
Not to save us from Hell but to save us from the effects of the fall on Mankind and the Creation. Hell is for a very few and those that find themselves there walk in with eyes wide open, and a life committed to Evil. This kind of Hell focus though is a distraction away from the true reason for the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Or as Rob Bell calls it a “Goat Gospel” as he says “The Good News is much bigger than that.
Jesus saves us from sin and death, He saves us for a Future time and a Future world. His saving work is not even about Heaven but as my Catholic friends would say “worlds without end amen.” Jesus Christ paid the price for all who have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, which is everyone. No where that I am aware of does Jesus say I have come to save you from Hell, but rather I have come that you may have Life. You see Jesus has come to save us and the creation from the rule of Satan, whose future is Hell.
All will stand before The God who is love, justice and full of Mercy. God alone shall judge the quick and the dead, because Jesus Christ has saved us all from the Power of Death and the Grave (Hell). Jesus does not save us from Hell or from God, but rather from the Power of Sin, Death and the Grave.
“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” ( Revelations 1:18 )
It is God who sent The Word in order to save the World He loved, to all who will believe. The when, where and how of that faith in Jesus, is to be determined by God and not some narrow man-made doctrines.
Jesus; John teaches is the price paid to ransom us from sin and death and not us alone but the whole world. 1 John 2:2 Jesus as the Last Adam is now the head of all mankind as Adam was before Christ’s death and resurrection. God created Hell as an abode for the wicked, not your next store neighbor who happens not to believe in your version and interpretation of scattered verses.
Jesus did not come save us from Hell unless you mean the Grave, because scripture doesn’t teach I was born destined for the Devils Hell. It’s Men that teach that and they I believe are dead wrong, and have brought a lot of Hell where it doesn’t belong. I am quite sure however they are as forgiven and covered by the blood of Lamb as we all are.
Therefore, as through one man’s (Adam’s) offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s (Jesus’) righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.
2 Kings 14:6, But the children of the murderers he slew not: according unto that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin.“
Calvin’s hypothesis lead eventually to a Mature and Loving enhancement of his doctrine, UNIVERSALISM. Which is good news, for without it Calvin would not have gained that which he could not find. Oh the look on his face when he saw Servetus besides Jesus, as Servetus said I forgive you Atonement is Universal and Irresistible, and Calvin discovered God was not Calvin’s god, thank God…
JUST A THOUGHT