Aloha Friday Message – November 1, 2013 – the Call

1344AFC110113 – The Call

Read it online here, please.

John 6:43-46 But Jesus replied, “Stop complaining about what I said. For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. 45 As it is written in the Scripture. ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46 (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.)

Matthew 11:27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

John 10:25-30 Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else.No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”

Romans 8:28-30 And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.

Did God decided at the moment of creation which of us is going to Heaven and which of us is bound for Hell?

I cannot answer that question. I am not God. God knows the answer, and many theologians, preachers, believers, and nonbelievers think they know the answer, but honestly I don’t think anyone knows except God. When I think about this question, I recall two words that seem to me to be relevant when pondering God’s plan. The two words are predilection and affinity.

Predilection: a natural liking for something; a tendency to do or to be attracted to something; a preference for someone or something that arises without prior motivation to seek a preference.

Affinity: a spontaneous or natural liking or sympathy for someone or something such that the treasures of the one are the desires of the other, as the poverty of man’s soul and the abundance of God’s Grace.

God has a predilection for his creation. We have an affinity toward God. St. Francis De Sales wrote: “Mothers’ breasts are sometimes so full that they must offer them to some child, and though the child takes the breast with great avidity, the nurse offers it still more eagerly, the child pressed by its necessity, and the mother by her abundance.” Treatise on the Love of God (Chapter XV, “Of the affinity there is between God and man”). As such, each of us is the one with a void that the God Almighty is only too eager to fill. That great hunger that exists at the core of our soul can only be filled by God; it is as if everyone has a God-shaped hole in the soul and God eagerly rushes in to fill that hole. Some may see this as “Divine Election.” Others call it predestination. I reiterate I do not know what to call it or how to explain it. I only know that it is a central tenet of every Christian denomination I know of today.

If it is foreknown that you will accept the Christ of God as your Savior and that another will not, how can anyone be saved who has not been chosen in advance? A good definition of predestination would be helpful, so here is one I found that at least makes sense to me: “Predestination is the Divine decree by which God, owing to His infallible prescience of the future, has appointed and ordained from eternity all events occurring in time, especially those which directly proceed from, or at least are influenced by, man’s free will.” How does God predestine the Elect? Is it based on His foreknowledge of our response to His Grace or on His eternal decree when He created the world? If it is based on his knowing beforehand what will be our response to his Grace, then that is known as Conditional Election. If it is based on his eternal decree when he created everything, then that is known as Unconditional Election. This leads us to the debate among Christians about Conditional Election and Unconditional Election. I will not be able to choose between the two. I believe quite firmly, though, that God never predestines someone to Hell, and because God predestines no one to hell, I believe He gives His Grace, through Christ, to everyone and calls every one, no exception, to salvation. As we said recently here, “All are called.” Even those who have never seen a Bible or heard the Word, or spoken the name of Jesus have seen what God has created, and that should lead them to seek God in every way they can.

Titus 2:11-15 – For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.

In our Catechism we read: “To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. When therefore he establishes his eternal plan of “predestination”, he includes in it each person’s free response to his grace: ‘In this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.’For the sake of accomplishing his plan of salvation, God permitted the acts that flowed from their blindness.” They were called. They did not answer.

Do you know someone (or are you someone) that has not answered God’s call through Jesus? Do you think perhaps God is waiting for you to be the one who calls that person to faith in God? Not everyone is willing to take that first step of faith to believe in the Father, and without that faith, no one can come to Jesus. Jesus and the Father and the Spirit are One. It is God’s will that all be saved and none be condemned. Not all will accept that will of God, and those who do not do so act through their own free will. For me the bottom line is this: I don’t want anyone to miss the joys of heaven. God does not want the wicked to die (Ezekiel 18:32 and Ezekiel 33:11), and so he offers everyone Eternal Everlasting Life for those who believe in Jesus and who repent. Beloved, that word was the central message in all four of the messages during October. That wasn’t anything I planned! Apparently God planned it, because that is what happened. Predestination? I don’t know. For me it is more like predilection meets affinity. That explanation works for me. I hope you find something that works for you.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.

 

Last minute discovery at http://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/6820/can-you-explain-this-free-will-predestination-illustration/6854

It'sForYouIt has been pictured in this way. Here is a vast host of people hurrying down the broad road with their minds fixed upon their sins, and one stands calling attention to yonder door, the entrance into the narrow way that leads to life eternal. On it is plainly depicted the text, “Whosoever will, let him come.” Every man is invited, no one need hesitate. Some may say, “Well, I may not be of the elect, and so it would be useless for me to endeavor to come, for the door will not open for me.” But God’s invitation is absolutely sincere; it is addressed to every man, “Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely” (Rev. 22: 17). If men refuse to come, if they pursue their own godless way down to the pit, whom can they blame but themselves for their eternal judgment? The messenger addressed himself to all, the call came to all, the door could be entered by all, but many refused to come and perished in their sins. Such men can never blame God for their eternal destruction. The door was open, the invitation was given, they refused, and He says to them sorrowfully, “Ye will not come unto Me, that ye might have life.” … [But some will say], “I am going inside: I will accept the invitation; I will enter that door,” and he presses his way in and it shuts behind him. As he turns about he finds written on the inside of the door the words, “Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.

H.A. Ironside, In the Heavenlies (Ephesians), pages 27-28

It seems to me to be saying that you have complete freedom to act, but God knows all ends. You have freely chosen to walk through the door; but it was always known that you would (because God is God). My preferred analogy is this: given the choice between, say, eating poop and eating ice cream, my son will always choose ice cream. I do not need to use coercion, I know he will make that choice because I know my son. He has free will and freedom to act, but I will plan to give him ice cream because I know my son.

 

 

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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