Faith and Choice [part 3]

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Let me start with faith since I didn’t finish with the whole story last time.

I said that we grasp spiritual truths by faith.  Even as worldly wisdom is acquitted by natural means, that being through the senses and through experience in this world, spiritual wisdom or godly wisdom is captured through spiritual means which include faith and spiritual experience.

Now we know this is true from the Bible. 1st Corinthians 5 tells us:

“For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.

Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.”

Note first that it says “we know”. How do we know that we have eternal life [what this passage is talking about]? We know we have it by faith. Paul goes on to contrast the spiritual with the natural for he says: “for we walk by faith, not by sight—” and he equates it to knowing a spiritual truth.  Now to walk by sight means to use your physical [or natural] capacity to navigate this world. Thus it speaks to the worldly wisdom a person has. The contrast, to walk by faith, then speaks to one’s godly wisdom, to grasp and understand spiritual truths so as to navigate one’s life so as to live to be pleasing to God.

Faith then is not only a trust in God, but also our spiritual ‘eyes’ that enable us to ‘see’ how to live godly.  Or through faith, we live out our lives in godly wisdom, pleasing our Lord. Simply, through faith we walk in trust in God and in godliness.

But where does the faith come from? Dos it come from ourselves? No. Read my last post to see why it can’t. Faith then comes from God. It comes to us because the Holy Spirit reveals truth to our heart and enlightens our understanding so that He reveals Christ and thus reveals God to us.  The two passages I like to use to show this are in Romans 5 and 2nd Corinthians 4. First Romans:

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”

God, through the Holy Spirit, demonstrates His own love toward us… WOW! Note that it is MORE than just telling is that God loves you, it is demonstrating it. He does it while we still sinners. While we were still rebellious and as it says, enemies of God, God demonstrates His love for us in the cross of the crucified Lord Jesus Christ.  How do you know God loves you? You know because God has demonstrated it to you WHILE you were yet a sinner. You experience God’s love. Wisdom comes through experience.

The other passage:

“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

Those perishing are blind to the truth of the Gospel. they simply can not whole heartedly choose to surrender themselves to Jesus for they deny who He is. And they deny their need of that He has done. But to those not perishing [any longer] God through the Spirit reveals the wondrous light of God who shines into our hearts to give us godly wisdom: the truth of the crucified and risen Lord.

To trust in another wholeheartedly requires you to know that someone. The wisdom of the world cannot bring a person to know God. But the Spirit in revealing the love and glory of God in Jesus and His cross gives us the knowledge of God that secures our wisdom and understanding of Who God is and His trustworthiness. We see our sinfulness [“while we yet sinners”], and yet experience the love of God for us as well as seeing the beauty of His light and His great glory. That aching longing in us is met by this Comforting all powerful Creator who creates in us peace and security. That is One we can trust wholeheartedly and do.

But what about choice? Do these things negate our free will? As I wrote earlier, we all know that we have the freedom of the will to choose according to how we see or understand or perceive the world. And we choose knowing that there are factors which influence our choices, even if we do not know what all of these factors are or how much they influence us. But the choices we make are ours and we own them.

The natural man can not grasp spiritual truth. He makes choices based on what he does understand, and how he perceives the world.  That is the freedom of his will. God does not violate this man’s freedom in any way. The spiritual man, or the person to whom the Holy Spirit has opened up the eyes of the heart and given to them godly wisdom and thus this person experiences both the love of God and sees His holiness in Jesus, chooses freely to surrender himself to Jesus. To see God is to know God. To know God is to love God. To love God is to desire Him. To see God is to desire Him. The choice this person makes to give himself over to God flows from his own perception and understanding of the world which now includes the knowledge of God. God does not violate this person’s free will either.

So let me recap.

The natural man can not grasp spiritual truth. He does not know God and thus can not trust in Him whole heartedly,  Thus when presented with the Gospel, he can’t from the heart believe it.  He makes his free will choice based nohow he understands and perceives the world and thus rejects it. See, he sits on judgment on with his worldly wisdom.  He does not hear in his heart the call of God.

The man to whom the Spirit reveals the veracity of the Gospel truth, comes to know God, to experience God, to feel God’s love, and to see God’s glory. Thus person desires God. For God is quite desirable, above all the things of the world: His love is deeper, His glory brighter, and His draw is stronger.  The man who experiences God wants God and chooses Him. He doesn’t sit in judgment of the Gospel but is saved by it. He sees his need and the great sacrifice of Christ that meets that need and desires the wholeness that union with God brings.

 

 

 

 

 

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About parsonsmike

seriously into the Word of God
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