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Sermons

God's Purpose in Election

December 30, 2018 Speaker: John Bell Series: General

Passage: Romans 9:1–9:29

Introduction: The tension between God’s promises and Israel’s plight (1-5).

 

Question # 1 Have God’s covenant promises to Israel failed (6-13)?

 

Question # 2 Is God unjust toward Israel (14-21)?

 

Question # 3 What of God’s promises and justice toward Gentiles (22-29)? 

 

 

Two philosophical (but not biblical) principles against the doctrine of God’s absolute sovereignty in salvation.  (The following two principles and deductions are incorrect, biblically speaking.)

  1. Divine sovereignty is not compatible with human freedom, nor therefore with human responsibility.

Deduction: if God is absolutely sovereign, human beings cannot be truly free – all our actions are foreordained  – and therefore, human responsibility becomes a laughable concept. Since the Bible regards faith (or any act of the will) as a free and responsible human act, it cannot be caused by God, but is exercised independently of God.

  1. Ability limits obligation.

Deduction: since the Bible regards faith as obligatory (necessary) on the part of all who hear the gospel, ability to believe must be universal. For God to command a thing human beings lacked the ability to perform would be unjust.

This is where the danger starts: when we begin with philosophical principles and force scripture through their rationalistic grid.

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Compatibilism(The Bible as a whole, and sometimes in specific texts, presupposes or teaches that both of the following propositions are simultaneously true, and are mutually compatible)

 

  1. God is absolutely sovereign, but his sovereignty never functions in such a way that human responsibility is curtailed, minimized or mitigated.

 

  1. Human beings are morally responsible creatures – they significantly choose, rebel, obey, believe, defy, make decisions and so forth, and they are rightly held accountable for such actions; but this characteristic never functions so as to make God absolutely contingent (secondary, a responder, a reactor, dependent upon us in some sense).