Lent 06: Day 22

Some thoughts at the end of the week.

I wanted to thank those of you who read these meditations this week and especially thank those of you who posted comments.

I knew the Reformed/Arminian post would elicit a comment or two. Let me say that I believe God is in absolute control of all that was, is, and will be as in him we live, and move, and have our being. At the same time, I believe I am completely responsible for every decision I make, every act I perform, even every thought I think and everything I do has meaning and purpose. How do you reconcile those apparent inconsistencies. You don’t, but to take a page from the heart of the reformers, you never attempt to resolve that antinomy ( A contradiction between principles or conclusions that seem equally necessary and reasonable; a paradox.) by in any way deminishing the authority and sovereignty of God.

When it comes to God and us, his creation, there are many things that cannot be reconciled. The biggest is how Jesus can be at the same time God and man, fully each. The incarnation is the greatest paradox in all of history. I believe that the antinomy between God’s sovereignty and my choices finds its anwer in the incarnation. What that answer is, is not revealed to us at this time in the redemptive story.

One commenter from England, Jan Mckenzie, said’

I don’t believe God always gets his way. He says he is “not willing that any should perish” but many do.

Let me, in all humility say that I respectfully disagree. God always gets his way and that verse actually proves it.

If you look at the verse, taken from 2 Peter 3:8-9.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

For me, the key to that verse is “but is patient toward your.” Who is Peter addressing when he relates that God does not wish that any of them should perish? The “you” in that verse are the recipients of his epistle.

Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Peter is speaking to believers, those of whom Jesus spoke when he said,

What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? Luke 15:4

Jesus loses no one, and even if the unfathomable should happen, he pursues that one until he finds them. He is the author and finisher of our faith; and it is he who is faithful to complete what he has begun.

I will not belabor the point, for I do not believe this eternal truth, as I see it, need be grasped for salvation or to love the Lord. We all see through a mirror darkly, but I long for the day when we will see and be seen face to face, clearly, and to the uttermost; when we will have understanding rather than argument (used in the best possible sense).

Having said that, I am back to struggling to meet the Lenten commitments I have made (yes it was I who needs to do what I am responsible for before the Lord). May God richly bless your efforts to think his thoughts after him (one interesting definition of prayer) and may he use it as a vehicle to change you, in your heart of hearts (back to Lewis’ understanding of prayer). And may we, in the end, meet as brothers and sisters in Christ, sharing in the Glory of him who gave his all to save us. May your Lord’s day be filled with joy and bursting out with songs and prayers of thanksgiving. Amen.

  1 comment for “Lent 06: Day 22

  1. March 27, 2006 at 6:10 am

    Hi William,

    I’ve been south to Exeter for the weekend and haven’t been able to keep up with your post.

    The past several days I’ve been thinking so much about why we (I) resist change when we hear the word of God in our conscience or read it on the page “bright and fair”. (Romans 7-8). My mind is in a groove, playing the same tune over and over in my head, hopefully in varitations on the theme, that may create someting worth hearing. I remain deeply troubled by the resistance in my flesh to the cross of Christ. But the Spirit wars on in faith.

    I’ve been thinking about Adam and Eve in the first sin against God. I had read something about Augustine’s understanding of them being under grace ‘before’ their disobedience. I’ll have to think more about that. But I wonder if we can apply the idea of irresistible grace to Adam, whether or not we perceive him beiing already under a form of grace in his moral perfection. Was it the will of God that Adam sin?

    Do I understand your comment on I Peter as making a distinction between the penultimate and ultimate working of God’s will? I do agree that God’s ultimate sovereignty will be established. Scripture is explicit about “all things” being made subject to him through Christ. (I Cor. 15.26-28). Yet the tense of the verbs regarding this subjection of ‘all things’ is future. Whether we say this applies to believers or not, isn’t it saying that in the past and present, somethings are not in subjection to his will, meaning they must be in some sense subject to the will of another?

    I’ll re-read what you’ve said and give it some more thought. This is just off the cuff.

    Hope all is well with you, William. Saturday nights seem to cut into my fast from tele for Lent. I’m doing much better overall, but find room for repentance. My goal is to give it up altogether. I have for periods in the past and have been a better man for it, “having put away childish things”.

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