UNDERSTANDING PRESDESTINATION AND FREE WILL [part 2]

sbc-open-forum-avatar2Spiritual truths are grasped by faith.

We read from 1st Corinthians 2:

“Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written,

Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

This isn’t gnosticism. Gnosticism is where there was special knowledge known only to the initiated. The knowledge we have of spiritual truth we gladly proclaim all around the world. Those that reject it, know what we are saying, or the have the knowledge of what Christians believe, they just don’t agree that what we are saying is true.

And once we were them. So how did we come to know the proclamations of Christianity as true. Another way to look at this is speak of wisdom. Wisdom uses knowledge with understanding. What then makes the wisdom of Christians to differ from the wisdom of the world?

Paul wrote earlier these words:

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.”

Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

The wisdom of the world is inadequate to grasp the truth of God or as  we read above, the wisdom of the world cannot come to know God. This is important because it is because of faith in God that we escape eternal damnation and have peace with God. Faith is at its roots a trust in God.  But how can one trust in the unknown? When i say trust, i am speaking of trust from the heart, or a whole hearted trust. That means we must know the object of our faith and that such an object be trustworthy [or at least we must think it trustworthy].

So how do we come to know God and thus trust in Him: to have that faith which leads to eternal life and peace with our Creator?  Some say we choose to have it. But that is naive.  Such a faith then rests on our own wisdom, as we judge the thing we hear and decide upon it. For example, you see TV ads about buying a new car. You have to decide many things or at least decide its not for you. But you make those decisions based on the wisdom you have. Ot basically wisdom you have acquired from the world.  There is nothing wrong with such wisdom, for it is very useful in making wise choices about many and varied things in the lives we live. But as we read from the Scripture passage, it can’t get you to know God and thus provide the foundation for you to trust in Him whole heartedly.

The passage above though speaks of Christ as being both the power of God and the wisdom of God. And the passage before that says that we have the mind of Christ. The question then still remains, how did we come to have the wisdom of God? For in having that wisdom, we came to know God and thus to trust Him. And in trusting Him we have received peace with Him and life everlasting.  Where does one acquire the wisdom of God?

Good for us that the Scriptures are not silent on this very thing. In fact there is a passage between the above two passages which speaks on it:

“And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.’

Note that last line. If the choice we make about the proclamation of the Gospel is made from our own worldly wisdom, our faith would rest on the wisdom of men.  WE acquire wisdom from this world both through our own experiences and having the experiences of other people related to us. This is not wisdom from above but worldly wisdom. It is wisdom from men which includes yourself. It is insufficient to know God, and as noted, without knowing Him, one’s faith or trust in Him cannot be from the heart.

But an alternative, one that was mentioned earlier by the Apostle, is again noted here by him. Through the demonstration of the Spirit and power we can acquire godly wisdom that is a true and certain foundation for our faith. Earlier Paul told us that Jesus was both the power of God and the wisdom of God to those who were called. Jesus reveals to us the Father. He is the express image of the Father. And he is the only mediator between God and man.

As a side note, we are speaking of trinitarian theology: that is we are speaking of the Spirit revealing the Son who reveals the Father.  And thus through those revelations we come to know God as Father. Son, and Spirit, and to grasp a glimpse of His essence and thus to know Him and to trust Him. Simply: to know God is to trust Him. To trust God is to have eternal life.

Note in our original passage that there was a contrast between the spiritual man that grasps spiritual things and the natural man who cannot. The difference is not in the people themselves, as the Word explains but that the spiritual man has the Spirit of God revealing things to him that the natural man considers foolishness.  To reveal something, in this context, doesn’t mean just to tell someone something, for that is not the job of the Spirit but the role we Christians play: we are the ones to tell people the Gospel.  Thus both types of people hear the Gospel truth. But to the Spirit reveals Christ, the power and wisdom of God, and to the other, He does not. Thus to the former, they see the message of the cross as the power of God and the latter as foolishness [1st Cor. 1:18].

I’m sorry I didn’t get to predestination.  But I will. Eventually.  Next is faith and choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About parsonsmike

seriously into the Word of God
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