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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Rejoice for the Sovereignty of God!

Tonight I had the opportunity to get together with an old friend of mine who I had not seen in over a year. I enjoy his company, we are very similar people, yet could not be more fundamentally different. He professes to be atheist, though I think he leans more toward the agnostic side. According to him, the purpose of existence is fate. His objections to the existence of God, primarily to the Christian God, are largely experiential, though not ignoring the seeming logical improbability of a benevolent deity. He cannot accept how there can be a good God that allows the evil in the world. How can this loving God allow children around the world to die of hunger, AIDS, wars, etc…? He cannot accept that death is the consequence of sin, that the children suffer because of their parents actions (Adam and Eve). When I look at the evil and suffering in the world, it clearly points to the depths to which man can sink, revealing not the lack of care on God’s part for his creation, but rather that of the true heart of man: sin. It is not that we do sins, it is that we ARE sin. It is not that we do bad things; we are fundamentally bad, evil creatures. God did not create us this way, he created man perfect. That is not to say that man being perfect is therefore incapable of sinning, man was created perfect as a moral being. It was his choice to sin, and to do so with clear warning of what would come, regardless of whether he understood the full consequence of death. To see sin, and man as he truly is, God appears all the more gracious, all the more benevolent. Yes, people are dieing, yes children are suffering. That may sound callous, and maybe it is, but it is the truth. Hiding from that truth behind self-righteous indignation at God, blaming him for man’s sin, declaring him culpable for man’s sin on the basis of foreknowledge (omniscience), does nothing for man’s case, but rather strengthens my faith in God’s love. For God so loved the world (in spite of their sin) that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him would have everlasting life. (emphasis added by me) God in his benevolence, in his grace, passed over sins previously committed and placed them on Christ, the propitiation for that sin. God saw what would happen before he flung the stars into their heavenly resting places, and instead of abandoning man to his self-wrought prison of death and despair made provisions, provided a means by which to save some, namely those in Christ. Praise God!

I pray for my friend. I think he is seeking, and has been for a long time, but his mind is still hostile to God. I know from experience that in this condition that anything I say will be met with criticism and mockery. You cannot argue anyone into salvation by clever theology and logical trickery. It is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves lest anyone boast. I pray for God’s grace to open his eyes, that being born again he might see the kingdom of God, to which his mind is hostile, being in enmity to God. It is liberating though, that my words, imperfect as they are, are not the pivotal factor in converting anyone, but rather it is him who wills. I trust and hope in that.

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