Read His Words Before Ours!
In full transparency, which is what we like to do here at Gracefully Truthful….
I struggle regularly with today’s question.
Maybe I chose it so we could hash it out together.
Within Scripture, tensions exist across many subjects.
I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of tension.
Black and white lines.
That’s my kind of language.
Tension ties my stomach in knots and screams at me to R U N.
But I’ve discovered two important truths about this tension.
It’s OK to wrestle with tension.
The knots in my stomach are known by God, and He isn’t threatened by my finite
ability to understand the infinite Almighty One.
He can handle my discomfort, and hold me in it.
If we could read the Bible with perfect clarity on every aspect,
never to be found wiggling in discomfort, the God of the Bible wouldn’t be all that big.
If a finite, 30-something woman, or even a finite 80-something biblical theologian, could fully comprehend the things of God, their god must be exceptionally small.
THIS, makes me much, much more uncomfortable.
How can I trust my eternity to a God I can fully understand when I can’t even comprehend eternity itself?!
So, tension or not, here we go.
Does God choose who to save and who to condemn?
Yes and no.
Christ teaches the ONLY way to relationship with God is through Jesus Christ and His work accomplished at the cross. (John 14:6)
God holds all authority.
He defines justice.
He defines holiness.
He defines sin as anything straying from perfect righteousness.
Therefore, He alone determines the means of our salvation.
There is NO other name under heaven, given to men, by which anyone can be saved. (Acts 4:12)
Good works cannot save us. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Kind thoughts will not save us.
Generous giving will not earn us merit on God’s scale of righteousness.
Only One is righteous and good, and He is God alone. (Mark 10:18)
Thus, only God Himself has the ability to save.
Moreover, only the God of the Bible can save.
No other “gospel” is the true gospel, only what is preached within Scripture. (Galatians 1:8-9)
If a religion defines Jesus with even a single discrepancy apart from how Scripture defines Him as fully God and fully man, the entire belief system is faulty.
Zero variations from Scripture are counted true and trustworthy.
God cannot abide the presence of sin, which means He cannot be with humanity because we are born in sin. (Romans 5:12)
We don’t just DO bad things apart from God’s standard of righteousness; rather, we ARE sinners in our core.
Sin is our nature.
Our separation grieves God’s heart, so He offered the only way possible for restoration.
God came to earth and lived our life in the flesh for us, but did it perfectly, without sin. Then He sacrificed Himself, shedding His blood (for there is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood, Hebrews 10:4), and dying our death in our place.
Christ bore our separation from God. He broke the unity of the godhead as Father, Son, and Spirit, allowing the full wrath of God to be poured out on Him in our place.
He rose three days after His death, proving He had conquered the grave and our sin. Now, He offers His own righteousness in exchange for our sin, if we will trust Him at His word, asking Him to rescue us from ourselves.
So, where is the tension?
Let’s be abundantly clear, God offers this redemptive exchange of righteousness for
sin to ALL who believe. (John 3:15)
He died as a sacrifice for the sins of the WHOLE world. (1 John 2:2)
Without Christ’s sacrifice, we would still be under God’s wrath because of our sin. (Ephesians 2:3)
Just as Jesus says that no one can come to God except through Himself,
He also says only those God has called and set apart can come to Him.
Jesus said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me
unless it is granted to him by the Father.”
We can’t help but ask, does God intentionally create people, only to leave them in their sin and never call them to life?
Let’s see what Jesus says of His own disciples, one of whom, Judas Iscariot, rejected the hope, love, and forgiveness offered through Christ’s sacrifice.
Jesus replied to them, “Didn’t I choose you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil.”
He was referring to Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, one of the Twelve,
because he was going to betray Him.
Here is what we know to be absolutely true, and the resulting tension.
God only saves people through Jesus Christ as He is explained and defined in the Bible. (John 14:6)
God only saves those who have been set apart by the Father. (John 6:65)
Christ died for the sins of the world. (1 John 2:2)
Christ’s offer of salvation is available to all. (John 3:15)
God offered salvation to Judas Iscariot through Jesus Christ.
Jesus died to save Judas Iscariot.
God called and set apart Judas Iscariot.
Christ’s offer of salvation was available to Judas.
Judas walked away.
In so doing, he remained under God’s wrath. He died a slave to his original sin nature, never having surrendered his heart fully to Christ.
Did God choose for Judas to be condemned forever under His wrath?
Listen closely, my friend: Judas chose for himself to remain under God’s wrath.
Each one of us faces the same choice.
Will we choose to surrender and trust fully,
Or, like Judas, will we walk away?
Here, there need be no tension!
Choose Christ, and live in His freedom of forgiveness and rescue from sin!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!