Great challenging discussion question

A great challenging question was asked in this week’s Gospel Advocate, adult class Foundations Bible study book (Galatians, Paul’s Credentials, Lesson 2, p. 29):Image result for paul damascus road

How can we show God’s call of Paul did not remove his freedom?

The context of the question is based on the larger scripture passage of Galatians 1:11-24 but it probably finds its more narrow scope from Galatians 1:15 which says, “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace,“.

As you’re probably aware of, the doctrine of God’s grace and humanity’s free-will is very much opposite from the doctrine of God’s grace and it being “irresistible” to the soul of mankind. So, how would you use the provided scripture context to answer such a question? If you would like to, you can provide additional scripture references that enhance the underlying point Paul was making. I’m looking forward to reading any suggestions.

I have some answers for your consideration as well. I’ll place them after the “read more” tag so they do not influence your thought process. Continue reading

#apostle-paul, #bible-questions, #free-will, #gospel-advocate

The result of too much I, me and my in our eye

Thinking about I, me and my too much leads to an “I think” way of life.

The “rich man” of Luke 12:31-21 thought he could take it easy after taking care of himself.

He thought wrong!

His body was his, his choices were his, and his one life to live was his – but his soul paid the price of his myopic thinking.

The “I think” way of life often takes the “captain’s hat” off of truth and places it on our fickle head. The obvious problem with that course of thought is our ship will sink every time. That’s because the aforementioned hat belongs to Jesus. If we keep our eyes on him, we’ll find a lot less of I, me and my in our eye.

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Hebrews 2:9-10 NKJV)

#free-will, #judgment-of-god, #making-wise-choices, #responsibility

It’s my life, I’ll do what I want!

Every generation has its “Frank Sinatra’s.”

Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with singing talent and everything to do with the mindset which says, “It’s my life, I’ll live it my way!”

This mindset is right and wrong all at the same time.

The mindset is right in that your life is your life, your body is your body, your choice is your choice, and it’s all only going to happen once.

The mindset is wrong in that your soul is not your soul – it belongs to the one who gave it to us, and the choices we make are our responsibility:

  • Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7 NKJV)
  • For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV)
  • And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27 NKJV)

You see, our life is our life, our body is our body, our choice is our choice, but because we don’t own ourselves will we have to answer for the way we used these one-time privileges.

At the end of the day, it is our life and we can do what we want – but don’t forget that eternal life belongs to God and he always gets the final word.

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these God will bring you into judgment.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9 NKJV)

#free-will, #judgment-of-god, #making-wise-choices, #responsibility

November 2016 Issue of Christian Worker (Difficult Old Testament Passages)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics that you will find:

  • Can God Repent? (Billy Bland)
  • God and Man’s Free Will (Cody Westbrook)
  • Job 19:25 —Job’s Redeemer (Daniel F. Cates)
  • Isaiah 11:6-9—The Wolf and the Lamb (Kerry Clark)
  • Proverbs 31:4-7 —To Drink or Not to Drink (Richard D. Melson)
  • Malachi 1:2-3 —Jacob Have I loved and Esau Have I Hated (Troy Spradlin)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions…or by clicking on the link provided here in The Fellowship Room under the “Friends” category to your right.

Copyright © 2016 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#bible-difficulties, #book-of-job, #character-of-god, #christian-worker, #drinking, #esau, #free-will, #jacob, #old-testament-lessons, #premillennialism

God gave us free will in order that…

God gave us free will in order that we might choose his good, well-pleasing and perfect will. Rm 12.2

#free-will, #will-of-god

Cornelius was no Calvinist and You Shouldn’t be Either!

I was told the other day by an adherent to Calvinistic theology that (and I quote):

“The free human will can do a lot of things; but it cannot will anything pleasing to God; because the natural human mind cannot submit to God’s law.”

The first thing/question that popped into my head after thinking about what they said was, “A free will that’s only free enough to do things that do not please God? Doesn’t sound very “free” to me.” After all, if a person has no free will concerning their will toward God they have no will at all!

But then I started thinking about what the scriptures say (outside of the plainly contradicted verse of Romans 2:14) concerning people before they became a Christian and whether or not their will had any will to do the will of God and one person in particular came to mind, and that was Cornelius. Cornelius is a case that simply reveals how wrong Calvinistic theology is when it comes to their complicated and contradictory teaching on the free will (or the lack thereof) of men and women, for the scriptures (with emphasis added) say concerning Cornelius that:

There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius! “And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.” (Acts 10:1-7)

Cornelius was a good man, but like all sinners who are not in Christ he was not saved. But despite the fact that he was not saved, i.e. he needed to be quickened due to being dead in sins (Ephesians 2:1-5), Cornelius did things that were pleasing to God, and they were pleasing even to the extent that the Bible says that his works reached Heaven itself! That’s right; Cornelius did things that were pleasing to God before hearing and obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ. Cornelius was doing what Calvinism says can’t be done – he willed, and he did things that God took note of in a positive way. Sure, Cornelius still had to come to the Father through the Son because his good works could never justify his sinful deeds, but the point still remains, and that point is that God Himself took note of this man’s free will that willed to do the will of God.

Furthermore, take note of what the angel of God said to Cornelius. It was the angel who told Cornelius that Peter would tell him what he must do. What had to be done had to be done by Cornelius and it had to be done of his own free will, for if his will was anything other than free it would not have been Cornelius who was doing it, nor would there have been anything for him to do. There was nothing that he could do to make God owe his salvation to him, but something had to be done by Cornelius’ will, which willed to please God, in response to the gospel of Christ for this was and still is the will of God concerning the lost (John 3:16).

This is why I say that Cornelius was no Calvinist and you shouldn’t be either!

Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” (Acts 10:34-35)

#calvinism, #conversion-of-cornelius, #free-will, #individual-responsibility, #pleasing-god, #theology

Robots? – JAM

A robot is just that, a robot. Nevertheless, in Iraq and Afghanistan the bomb-disposal robots perform such an important life-saving service that soldiers often become attached to them. One soldier risked 160 feet of enemy machine gun fire to retrieve his robot, and another soldier brought his robot in for repairs with tears in his eyes because of the “injury” to his beloved “Scooby-Doo.” Several units have given their robots promotions, Purple Hearts and even a military funeral. God created man in His image and included in that is the ability to become emotionally attached to each other, to animals and in this case; even to a robot. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess

#free-will, #just-a-minute, #robots

Abortion and Free Will

National Review’s blog, The Corner reports: Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, recently explained that her Catholic faith does not preclude her from being an advocate for a woman’s right to an abortion. She characterized it as an exercise of free will, which is endowed by the creator.

Her Catholic Bishop disagrees and published an article repudiating her claim. He said, in part:

It is entirely incompatible with Catholic teaching to conclude that our freedom of will justifies choices that are radically contrary to the Gospel—racism, infidelity, abortion, theft. Freedom of will is the capacity to act with moral responsibility; it is not the ability to determine arbitrarily what constitutes moral right.

Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. The absolute truth of Scripture negates any efforts on our part to supersede God’s will.  God knew all of the complications and situations that can arise in our lives when He provided Scripture. Therefore, we cannot use situations to obviate the will of God. God does not believe in situation ethics.

It requires great courage to be obedient to God in the face of an overwhelming flood of criticism from the world. But, God provides all the strength we need to accomplish this task (Philippians 4:13; Ephesians 3:16).

#abortion, #free-will, #pro-choice, #pro-life, #truth