My blog here at blog.xpistou.com is fairly young, and I find it somewhat funny that my blog writing days were resurrected while our Friday Night Bible Study group was going through Romans 8 and is presently in Romans 9. I have since been fairly committed to writing on what I have been teaching through in Bible study, and I can imagine that there are some readers who do not know me (maybe even some who do) who are saying, “There is another one of those Calvinists who cannot get their heads out of Romans 9.” This is certainly not true of me and my writings, but I do not feel the need to convince anyone otherwise at this point.
That said, we had an excellent discussion last night in our Bible study on Romans 9:14-18. Of the ten or so people that we had, we found that we were pretty much of one accord with regards to the doctrine of this text, and we briefly discussed how we each arrived to such conclusions in different ways. What we found is, though we came to our present commonality at different times, that most of us came to our present convictions in a similar progression. I would think that this progression is similar in most who have come to the same conclusions about God’s sovereignty over the destiny of souls.
This progression begins with our natural philosophy as humans and how we view the world through our natural eyes, and it ends with what Scripture declares as reality. All of us without exception were either reared or assumed by our natural philosophies that we were the dictators of our lives. If we were in the church, we believed that if we were to come to God we must either choose him or do some list of deeds to commend ourselves to him, be it a list of works or a kind of faith that is itself a work. If we were outside the church (or acted as though we were outside the church), we believed that we were in control of our lives and that we could pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and have “success” if we so desired.
Then at one point in our lives, through the proclamation of the Gospel and through the power and work of the Holy Spirit, a ray burst forth through our darkness and opened our eyes to see the light of glory of the Gospel of God in the face of Jesus Christ (cf. 2Cor. 4:3-6). We desired for the first time to truly follow after God for him alone, and we desired to know him better by studying what he had revealed to us in and through his Word. As we studied Scripture, we began to encounter texts like Romans 9 and Ephesians 1, and they struck us like a ton of bricks. We had no categories for such declarations, yet we did not, by God’s grace, throw them out, because we believed that all Scripture was breathed forth by God.
After wrestling with texts like Romans 9 (some of us for years), we finally submitted ourselves to the teachings of Scripture and finally gave God all the glory for our salvation. We finally found no reason to boast in our decision to choose Christ and in our inclinations towards him, because we knew that we did not choose God but God chose us and that if we love God it was because he first loved us. We marveled at God’s ways, and we were floored by God’s mercy given to us by his own good pleasure alone for his name’s sake.
We also discussed how we did not have all the answers and that we are to love one another as Christ loved us regardless of one’s present doctrinal correctness. We discussed how we should always be humble people, knowing that we are students for eternity of God and his ways and that we each have much room to grow with regards to our conformity to Christ. Yes, we can say quite confidently that we are correct in our understanding of God’s sovereign working in the salvation of souls, but there might be other areas where a brother or sister who is weak in that particular area might be strong in an area where we are weak. We need to recognize that as long as one is Christ’s, he is our brother and has something of value to offer to the body. We are to grow together into Christ’s image, and we can only do that with each other and our differences.
Categories: Fridy Night Bible Study