Tuesday, March 3, 2009

MERCY Or "Foreknowledge"?

Recently, I realized that someone "embraced" Arminianism, because she is "uncomfortable" with or could not just accept God's Word which says, "Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden" (Rom. 9:18, NIV).

She opted to believe how Arminians define "foreknowlege" -- God gives His Spirit to those He has chosen to be saved, because He knows beforehand that they would accept His offer.

I just don't know if she is also aware that the Reformed view of predestination did NOT just start from Calvin, but you could also read it in the book, City of God by Augustine -- not only in the letters of Paul.

Anyway, last time, we had a brief encounter. I told her, "I have something for you. It's Titus 3:5-6..."

And I continued to recite it, "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His..." -- "foreknowledge?" I asked her.

She was nodding in approval. But I shook my head and slowly quoted God's Word, "... according to His mercy..."

Our conversation was stopped, however, because someone had called her attention and talked with her for other matters. She just told me that she would look up the verse later.

If I could have continued, not only I would finish quoting Titus 3:5-6, but I would also tell her about a good illustration of mercy in the New Testament: the Samaritan who had mercy on the victim of the robbers (Luke 10:30-37).

The victim was "half-dead" -- unconscious -- and the Samaritan did not bother to ask, if he wanted to be helped. He just extended his mercy to him. And the victim had no ability to refuse the help of a Samaritan and prefer the assistance from a Jew. He did not have even the consciousness to ask for help.

We are victims of Satan -- spiritually dead -- totally helpless. Without the Spirit of God to enable us to draw near to Christ, we would not have any desire to follow Him. Even if we have the so-called freedom of the will, we could not exercise it for we are spiritually unconscious!

We read in Romans 8:6-8, "The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God."

Thus, if not for God's mercy, we would not or we are unable to receive His Spirit and be saved. It's by God's grace.

Could we not submit and bow down to the glorious weight of God's Word: "It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy" (Rom. 9:16)?

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