God’s Choice vs. Man’s Choice (2 of 2)

God's or Man's choice 1

(Continued from yesterday)

Yesterday we examined 3 out of 4 combinations of God’s choice versus man’s. Let’s look at the last one today:

God vs Man Choice

4. God bypasses the person, but he chooses to receive Christ:
a. If God has the final say (Calvinist), he is lost.
b. If man has the final say (Arminian), he is saved.

The Calvinist view is that if God passes over an individual and leaves him to his devices, his fallen state is such that without the enabling of the Holy Spirit, he does not have the ability to choose Christ on his own. Arminians disagree, believing that though a sinner is spiritually sick, he still has the capacity to receive Christ. Who is correct?

The Bible description of a fallen man is:
Jn 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;
• Eph 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
• Eph 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, …
• Col 2:13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, …

Jn 6:44 says “no one can”. “Can” speaks of ability. No one has the ability to come to Christ “unless the Father draws him”. The precondition for coming to Christ is the Father’s drawing, His enablement. Why can’t he come on his own? Because he is “dead” according to Eph and Col. A spiritually dead person does not have the ability to respond to Christ’s invitation, unless the Father draws or enables him. Arminians feel that man has prevenient grace so that he is only sick and not dead, and can still choose to accept Christ. I don’t find this in Scripture. It is a view held by many who overvalued man’s ability and understated God’s sovereignty, but there is no biblical basis for it.

Furthermore, the Arminian position would lead to an absurd conclusion, a reductio ad absurdum. Let’s play along and assume that a non-elect person does have the capacity to exercise his free will to choose Christ. If man has the final say, he is saved despite God bypassing him. Man becomes sovereign, not God, which is wrong by definition. What if God has the final say? Since God did not choose him, He overrules the man’s free choice of Christ. This would make God a capricious despot denying eternal life to a person who receives Christ. That is certainly not the God of the Bible. So I am persuaded both by Scripture and logic that the Arminian position is untenable.

Finally, why would God waste time in letting us convert those predestined to hell? He wouldn’t waste time. We witness to all as we don’t know who the elect are, but we won’t succeed in converting the non-elect. They would either resist God’s offer of salvation, or there would be false conversion in which there is an emotional response which withers away, but no real life that perseveres because it does not abide in Christ. God permits such activities to train us to be obedient and sharpen our evangelistic skill. Plus we learn to be more Christ-like in the process as you pointed out. Hope this is clear.

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Can Jesus Sin? (2 of 2)

impeccability 1

(Continued from yesterday)

There is another argument from His attributes – His immutability i.e. He never changes:
Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Now if Jesus could sin while He was on earth two thousand years ago, that means He could sin now even though He is in heaven, seated at the right hand of the Father. For that matter, He could sin even in the future, after the consummation of all things, since He is the same forever. That is a totally preposterous proposition! So reductio as absurdum argues that Jesus could not sin. It is impossible for Him to do so.

Answering Objections
What about the peccable side’s argument? I think they can be easily answered. His temptations were real, even though He was not capable of succumbing to them. Again let me use an illustration. Roll back the calendar half a century. Let’s assume I challenged Bruce Lee the kung fu master in his prime to a duel. Although he will beat the daylight out of me and there is no chance at all for me to win, it does not mean that my duel was not real. It’s real alright, just that my opponent will not lose for sure.

The same is true for Satan tempting God the Son. He can tempt all he want, but there is absolutely no chance of a finite creature, no matter how powerful he may be in human terms, tempting his infinite Creator to sin and win. Jesus’ humanity always submitting to His deity guarantees that He cannot sin, period.

What about Jesus’ death proving that His humanity could be divorced from His deity, because God can’t die? And if His humanity is not inseparable from His deity, then isn’t He susceptible to be tempted to sin? I think this is a flawed argument.

Death is not inherent in human nature as God designed it. Death entered the world because of sin:
Rom 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—
All men die because all sinned. But Jesus the Perfect Man did not have a sin nature and never sinned, so it is not inevitable that He must die.

His death is not out of necessity, but voluntary – He chose to die for the sheep:
John 10:15, 17-18 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. … For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative.
• Php 2:8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Rather than prove that He is vulnerable in His human frailty, it proved the exact opposite, that as Perfect Man He is obedient to the Father and in full control every step of the way. Jesus had absolute resolve to love the Father and save the world; He could not have sinned because He never had any desire to.

Do not try to reason from the human to the divine. Think from the divine, the biblical revelation, to the human and you won’t go wrong.