Etikettarkiv | allow

How should Calvinists live to PLEASE God?

calvinsm 49Here is another thought for Calvinists – who believe that God is micromanaging all of our steps.

The Bible tells us what is pleasing to God and what is not pleasing to him, and surely a behavior that is not pleasing to God is also against his will? Or why would God predestine things to take place which he does not even like happening? The problem here is of course the Calvinistic idea that nothing comes to pass against the will of God, and in order to be consistent with the Calvinistic doctrines it is not enough to suggest that God merely ”allows”  evil things to happen because that is rather the free-will approach. Calvinists do not believe that man has a will apart from God’s will, so they must believe that all things are predestined to happen precisely as they pan out (again – in order to be consistent with Calvinism). Therefore Calvinists are not really entitled to criticize anything or anyone, because that would be the same as criticizing God himself.

What is NOT pleasing to God?

1 Cor. 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

Seems like God was not pleased with all of Israel’s behavior during the Exodus (despite that Israel was ”chosen”), due to their idolatry, fornication, tempting God, etc. Neither did they enter the land of Canaan due to their unrighteous behavior, and this punishment could serve as a warning to us – so that we will maybe learn to not act in the way they did. Paul is listing things we simply should not do, and his warnings would be in vain if we were unable to act against the will of God. If Paul were a Calvinist, he would not need to spend time warning us about various matters but he would rather relax and remind himself of that God is behind whatever happens (which is fatalism). Unless of course people do evil things against the will of God, but that thought is not allowed for consistent Calvinists due to their understanding of God’s sovereignty (an unbiblical word that is much highlighted).

1 Thess. 2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.17 But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.18 Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.

Above we can read about some Jews who were guilty of having killed Jesus Christ, killed God’s prophets, persecuted Christians as well as forbidding them to speak to Gentiles about salvation. It is not surprising to learn that they did not please God due to these sins, and that they had to expect God’s wrath due to their evil behavior. So was is Satan or God who caused them to act in a way that did not please God?

Rom. 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

They that are in the flesh cannot please God, so the solution is to not be in the flesh but to live after the Spirit. Paul is clearly laying out the options for us – obeying sin or righteousness and if we obey the former we will be slaves to sin and not free. To be carnally minded is the same as enmity against God, and why would God cause anyone to have a carnal mind? Some Calvinists might suggest that God did not cause such things at all but that it is rather in some people’s own nature to be carnally minded. But were they carnally minded against God’s will? Did they have an option to not be born as wicked non-elect individuals with carnal minds? Did Jesus die for them? The answer would have to be No to all those questions in order to be consistent with Calvinism.

What IS pleasing to God?

Hebr. 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Apparently God is well pleased when we praise him continually, give thanks to his name and do good. Should we conclude that God is only pleased when the elect do such things, but not when it comes to the non-elect? Why would God prevent certain people (those who are born as non-elect, and for whom Jesus did not die) from behaving in a way that is pleasing to him?

Hebr. 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was notfound, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Without faith it is impossible to please God (and already when we come to God we must believe that he is), so would not this mean that God wants people to believe in him so that he will be pleased? It is easy to understand why God is pleased each time a person believes and repents for his sins, because that would mean yet another saved soul. There is joy in heaven each time a person repents. In the Calvinistic world, however, the only way to try to save their doctrines would be to somehow suggest that God does not want all people to repent, believe and do good (the non-elect).

Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance

How is God glorified?glorified

John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

Surely it is good for man to glorify God, or is it the same thing here that God only wants some people to glorify him? Above, Jesus is talking to his disciples (and all of us) and tells them that his Father is glorified when they bear much fruit so that they can be his disciples. Jesus continues to say that IF they keep his commandments, they shall abide in his love. Why would God prevent some people from glorifying him, bearing much fruit and keep his commandments? Did those unfortunate people who were chosen to be wicked non-elect sinners from the foundation of the world have a chance to do good deeds which could glorify the Father? Hardly if they were born as the non-elect natural sinners they were chosen to be long before birth. Salvation would be out of their reach due to being doomed from the very start.

1 Pet. 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Seems rather clear that it is pleasing for God to in all things be glorified, because he certainly deserves it and because we need to focus on our Creator and Savior. Yet, we are supposed to believe that God would not enable all people to do this? And he would still send people to hell for refusing to glorify him – which he prevented them from doing?

Rom. 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

Above we can read about people who choose not to glorify God despite that they have been shown all about God and his creation by God himself. So despite having the opportunity to accept the Creator, they still refuse to glorify him or being thankful for what he has done for them (of course, if Calvinism is true there would not be anything for the non-elect to be thankful for). Due to their failure to do so, God’s wrath is revealed from heaven over all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. It certainly looks like all forms of unrighteousness is detested by God, so it is hard to believe he would not only tempt people but cause them to perform evil deeds.

Who is he that saith, and IT COMETH TO PASS, when the Lord commandeth it not? Lam. 3:37

lam. 3

Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, When the Lord has not commanded it?Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That WOE and well-being proceed? Lam 3:37-38 NKJV

The Book of Lamentations  in the Bible is a collection of poetic laments for the destruction of Jerusalem, and it  consists of five distinct poems divided into five chapters. It’s not known if the author is Jeremiah, or maybe one or more other authors. The first four poems are written as acrostics – chapters 1, 2, and 4 have 22 verses each, corresponding to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, where the first lines begin with the first letter of the alphabet, the second with the second letter, etc. The fifth poem is not acrostic but still has 22 lines. According to wikipedia an acrostic can be used as means to aid memory, and a famous acrostic was made in Greek for the saying ”JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD, SAVIOUR” (Ιησούς Χριστός, Θεού Υιός, Σωτήρ; Iesous CHristos, THeou Yios, Soter—ch and th being each one letter in Greek). The initials spell ICHTHYS (ΙΧΘΥΣ) which is Greek for fish.

It’s evident that we shouldn’t make doctrines out of poems, since poems normally mirror the truth in a poetic way. Poems must be read through the filter of more clear non-poetic texts.

What else does the same chapter say?

My flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones.—12 He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow.13 He hath caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins.—16 He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, he hath covered me with ashes. (KJV)

Hardly something we should understand literally.

21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.22 It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

The jews in exile could very well have been consumed by their enemies, but God is full of grace and listens to earnest prayers. Since God is compassionate, he is hardly the guy who predestines people (before the creation of the world) to be tortured in hell for the only reason that they ended up as the non-elect group of people that God had always wanted them to be (if we should try to be consistent with TULIP).

25 The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

It doesn’t say here that God decides to be good to only SOME random people, and that he makes them wait for him and seek him. No, it says that God is good unto those who wait for him and seek him, and the normal reading would be that people use their own free will to make this choice to wait for him and seek him.

29 He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope.

Another example of something that can’t be understood literally.

32 But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. 34 To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth.

God doesn’t literally crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth, but he does allow afflictions to occur (sometimes he even causes them directly, as he did with the global flood) and mostly due to the need to punish his people (Israel) for their rebellion and wickedness. It’s not always pleasant for a Father to discipline his children, but sometimes it’s necessary, and hopefully (albeit not certain) it might produce something good – depending on how those affected will react. God is always willing to forgive a truly repentant heart.

35 To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the most High,36 To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord approveth not.

God does not approve of people who turn aside the right of a man and who subvert his cause. This means that neither would God deny anyone the chance to be ELECT and saved (which those are who believe in Christ), and to be able to seek him and repent for past sins that have been committed. A God who does not subvert a man’s cause would not predestine him to be a wicked non-elect, and send him to hell for being this wicked non-elect person. That would be contrary to being a just and compassionate God, who makes sure that each person has a chance to get his soul saved.

37 Who is he that saith, and IT cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not?38 Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?39 Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?

(v. 38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That woe and well-being proceed? NKJV)

V. 37 is a common ”proof text verse”, because taken out of context (and ignoring the fact that it’s from a poetic book), it might sound as though nothing happens that God hasn’t approved of and even predestined. It’s important to understand what ”it” refers to in relation to ”who is he that has said”. The verses right before speak about being fair and to not subvert a man’s cause, and the verses right after talk about God’s PUNISHMENT FOR SINS. There wouldn’t be a need for God to punish people for doing his exact will, so the only reason for punishing people would be because they acted against his will. If they acted according to his will (by rebelling against him and by worshiping false gods), they would rather deserve rewards and much praise. Out of the mouth of God proceeds both woe (calamity) and well-being, and that means that God is able to show mercy and to answer earnest prayers, just as he is able to punish people for being rebellious. It’s on judgment day when we are really supposed to be judged based on our deeds, and receive both punishments and rewards, but God can also interfere here on earth. Not as in predestining people to sin (God doesn’t even tempt anyone, much less cause anyone to sin) but as in allowing things to take place which could be used for discipline in relation to his chosen people Israel. Sinners ALWAYS act against the will of God with no exception, and that would even include Judas Iscariot.

40 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord.41 Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.42 We have transgressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned.—47 Fear and a snare is come upon us, desolation and destructions of those that rose up against me, and their device against me all the day.

The text doesn’t suggest that we should search and try GOD and the manner that he has predestined us and our ways. If God has predestined each one of our steps, then there is no need to investigate the way he has ordained things because we can always trust that he has done a proper job. In reality God has not at all predestined our actions, and that’s why it makes sense to be asked to search and try our ways – if perhaps we have sins to confess and if we can amend our ways. The author admits that they (the Israelites) indeed have transgressed and rebelled against God, and he also feels that God has not pardoned (due to the physical pain that had affected them in such a severe way). However, in other verses in the same chapter, the author still feels there is much hope and that God eventually will listen to their earnest prayers and come to their aid.

61 Thou hast heard their reproach, O Lord, and all their imaginations against me; 62 The lips of my enemies And their whispering against me all the day. 64 Repay them, O LordAccording to the work of their hands.

Notice that the author feels that it’s about their reproach, their imaginations, they who rise up against him and their device against him. He feels it’s the lips of his enemies which are at fault, and hopes that God will repay them according to the work of their hands. If God is the one who has merely used Israel’s enemy as a tool in his hands and caused them to act the way they did, it wouldn’t make sense to turn around and repay them for those exact deeds.