Romans 9:22-24… (22) “What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? (23) And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, (24) even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”
You might see this verse and think I am going to talk about Pre-destination or election. Well I am but not quite like you may think. I was looking at the five points of Calvinism and the arguments against Unconditional Election etc and do you want to know what I really think? Who cares? That is what it boils down to. Whether or not you believe in Limited Atonement, Pre-destination or Pre-tribulation Rapture, none of these are salvation issues. What I mean is, where you stand on these issues has nothing to do with your relationship with Christ. I think these are in danger of being self edifying issues in which we can show off how big our brain is.
It seems to me that each interpretation is based on the color glasses one is wearing. Love colored glasses, Grace colored glasses, Wrath colored glasses, etc. The book of Proverbs says knowledge puffs up. So many theologians are so caught up in their own interpretations of these issues that I think the two most important commandments get pushed aside. Jesus said that all the commandments could be wrapped up in these two, Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and love they neighbor as they self.
1 Corinthians 8:1
“ Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.”
Do I have a stance on these issues? Sure I do. Some may think I am just running away from something I don’t understand or that I am intimidated by such grandiose thinking. I can hold my own with a theology fight, I assure you, but how would that honor God? Like a wise woman once said, “I know what I know; I want to know what you know”. Some of us are so busy trying to know it all that we won’t open our minds to what our brother or sister may know. I was once one of them. Thankfully God humbled me.
I see all these books on subjects like Revelation. This theologian has got it all figured out, unlike any before him. That is amazing since Revelation is a book of past, present and future, a book of history, poetry and prophecy. Don’t get me wrong, I think it should be studied and explored. The problem began when one’s ideas or thoughts became higher than the next man’s. We soon became ready to cast stones at all who disagree and that is where I believe the first two commandments were trampled on. How about the importance of unity within the body? We must not get so caught up in exaggerated ideas of our own self importance. (That is not mine, I hear Alistair Begg say that on his program). Romans 11:33
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!”
Romans 9 says a lot, and is at the center of a lot of debate. Here is what I want to point out, Romans 9:22 starts with two very important words, “What if”. You see I don’t think Paul was trying to back one of our measly arguments. After all God knew that all this would cause more division among the body of Christ than any other religion. No, I THINK that Paul was trying to get at the heart of the matter. What if God pre-destined us? What if he prepared some in advance for Glory and some for destruction? Would He cease to be Good, Worthy, Holy, Gracious, Awesome, Healer, Savior, and most importantly Loving? God cannot be unloving, for 1 John 4:8 says …”for God is love”. We know He loved the world, just read John 3:16.
I praise God that I am currently serving under one of the most knowledgeable and humble men I have ever met. We don’t always agree, but that is ok. Can I be wrong? Of course but I am ok with that because like Phillipians 2:12 says, I must work out my own salvation with fear and trembling. My point to all this is that we need to humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord. For God is a God of Love and Mercy but also of Wrath. He is to be loved, honored, respected, obeyed and yes feared. None of us have Him or His word 100% figured out. Oh and take it from me, if you don’t humble yourself- He will.