A Guide to Christian Theology - Lesson 34
Types of Grace
You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the historical, biblical, and theological aspects of the sacrament of Communion, as well as practical considerations for its practice, including who may partake, how often it should be observed, and what elements and modes of reception are appropriate.
Types of Grace
II. Meanings and Traditions
A. The Presence of Christ
B. Church Traditions
C. Other Church Practices
II. The Corinthians
III. Particulars and Conclusion
- In this lesson, explore the significance of systematic theology, blending academic insight with personal devotion. Learn to interpret biblical texts, understand how theology shapes beliefs, and fortify your faith against deception. This study fosters personal, biblical, and responsible theological growth, vital for spiritual development and discipleship.
- Learn diverse ways to tackle theological questions, focusing on Holy Spirit baptism. Understand deductive, inductive, and retro-abductive methods. Acts 17:11 and Acts 15 show how community perspectives contribute to nuanced theological discussions, promoting unity amidst differing viewpoints.
- This lesson provides insights into theological certainty levels, categorizing beliefs into "die for," "divide for," "debate for," and "decide for," highlighting essential doctrines, divisive issues, passionate debates, and less crucial matters, while underscoring the significance of understanding diverse perspectives and theological terms across different Christian tribes.
- Explore general revelation through creation and conscience (Psalm 19, Romans 1). Responding leads to God, though not salvation alone. Special revelation possible. Diverse salvation views, favoring knowing Jesus. Seared consciences don't always void salvation.
- Gain deep understanding of special revelation: history, divine acts, and communication revealing God's character and redemptive plan via Messiah. Lesson highlights Bible's key role, conveying God's nature, guidance, and transformative power, emphasizing ongoing divine-human communication.
- This lesson delves into the concept of divine inspiration in Scripture, citing 2 Timothy 3:15-16 and 2 Peter 1:16-21. It explains "God-breathed" as a term highlighting God's creative influence on words, rejecting mere concepts or dictation. Inspiration involves human authors, their personalities, and styles, conveying God's message to the entire church.
- In this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of God, including their definitions, biblical support, and implications and applications.
- In this lesson you will gain insight into the Bible's clarity, sufficiency, and authority, and the Canon.
- In this lesson, you'll grasp a deep understanding of God's character. His foremost quality is compassion, like a mother's love. He's gracious, patient, loving, faithful, and forgiving, extending favor even to the undeserving. Yet, He's just, not sparing the persistently rebellious. This lesson dispels misconceptions, urging contemplation of God's profound blend of love and justice.
- This lesson delves into holiness via Isaiah 6, emphasizing dedication over separation from sin. It challenges misconceptions and calls for church reform.
- This lesson delves into the fundamental characteristics of God, particularly the Trinity, emphasizing God's essential relational nature within Himself and its biblical implications, while also addressing theological controversies and highlighting the complexity of the Trinity.
- This lesson explores different approaches to knowing God, inspired by Thomas Aquinas, discusses the doctrine of immutability, and highlights how God can change in his attitude and actions based on biblical evidence, emphasizing the value of in-depth Bible study and open dialogue in understanding God's nature.
- This lesson covers key theological concepts: sovereignty, election, and free will. It explores differences between Calvinist and Wesleyan-Arminian views on God's sovereignty, impacting God's plan and human responsibility. Emphasis on defining terms to prevent disputes. Speaker is a "Calminian," blending Calvinism and Arminianism for a balanced perspective. Valuable insights into theological complexities and scripture interpretation.
- Exploring various theological views and problematic issues surrounding the concept of providence, we will gain a comprehensive understanding of the role of prayer in providence, as well as the compatibility of God's sovereignty and human responsibility.
- This lesson explores Jesus' dual nature, divine and human, delving into emotions, knowledge, sin, and his role as the Second Adam, offering theological insights.
- Learn about Jesus' life and mission, challenging traditional beliefs like the virgin birth. Explore his spiritual journey, resurrection, and more, fostering critical thinking and alternative perspectives.
- This lesson provides a comprehensive examination of atonement, its various dimensions, and the theological concepts surrounding it.
- Learn about the Holy Spirit, baptism, and its role in Christian faith. Understand diverse perspectives on its workings in believers' lives, emphasizing its incorporation at conversion and empowering influence, supported by biblical insights.
- Gain insight into the relationship between spirit baptism and conversion, the various terms used in Scripture, and the importance of ongoing fillings with the Holy Spirit for special ministry tasks, character, and as a command for all believers.
- This lesson explores the role of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. It challenges traditional definitions, proposing that any ability empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in ministry is a spiritual gift. The primary gift is the Holy Spirit himself.
- Learn about the theological debate on spiritual gifts like prophecy and miracles. Explore four perspectives: cessationism, continuationism, functional cessationism, and word of faith. The instructor, a continuationist, emphasizes discernment and scripture while promoting respectful dialogue among believers with differing views.
- This lesson explores the Bible's view of humanity, emphasizing humans as God's unique creation, made from dust and breath, in His image. It delves into human origins, our role as covenant partners, and the interaction between spirit and body, supported by biblical passages, offering a holistic perspective on being human in God's eyes.
- This lesson redefines humans as image-bearers of God, emphasizing the role of reflecting divine attributes in all work, gender equality, and growth in Christ-likeness. It promotes dignity for all, with potential for deeper reflection as faith matures.
- In this lesson you will explore the origin of sin, rejecting dualism in favor of a Christian perspective where sin arises from the choices of morally responsible creatures. The lesson introduces the idea of a pre-creation rebellion by Satan, emphasizing that humans are called to engage in spiritual warfare by doing good and promoting Shalom in the world.
- You will gain knowledge and insight into the nature, marks, purpose, structure, and sacraments of the Church and learn about the different views and definitions used to define it.
- This lecture discusses the leadership offices of a church, including eldership, deacons, and church members, and how they function according to biblical principles of polity, which prioritize following what the Bible prescribes, closely following what it describes, and using wisdom and being Spirit-led in matters it is silent about, all with the aim of effectively sharing the Gospel and achieving unity and focus.
- In this lesson, you will explore baptism's significance, modes, and theological perspectives, and learn its role in church membership, unity, discipleship, and spiritual growth.
- This lesson provides an overview of the historical, biblical, and theological aspects of Communion, including practical considerations for its practice.
- You will gain a good understanding of death and its theological implications, including the biblical view of death, consequences of death, and resurrection and the afterlife. The lesson covers the definition of death, cultural views, and the portrayal of death in the Old and New Testaments. You will also learn about the physical and spiritual consequences of death, as well as the Bible's teachings on resurrection and the afterlife.
- From this lesson, you gain insight into the biblical concept of God's Kingdom, its significance in Christian theology, and its impact on eschatology, social justice, and the Church's role.
- In this lesson, you gain insight into eschatology, examine biblical perspectives, explore key events like the Rapture, Tribulation, Millennium, and Final Judgment, and learn the significance of eschatology for today's believers.
- By studying the eternal state, you gain insights into the new heaven and earth, resurrection, judgment, and eternal life, deepening your understanding of Christian hope and assurance.
- Through this lesson, you gain insight into the crucial role of church leaders, their essential qualities, and the challenges they face, while discovering the importance of support and encouragement for their growth and effectiveness in ministry.
- In this lesson, you gain an understanding of the nature of Scripture and learn to interpret the Bible within its historical, literary, and canonical contexts while addressing challenges in biblical interpretation.
- This lesson delves into the structure and authority of a church, examining different leadership models and emphasizing the overarching role of scripture as the final authority, while also highlighting the need for congregational involvement in decision-making processes and the unique nature of the apostles in early church leadership.
- Learn Dr. Breshears' local church leadership principles: focus on equipping, inspiring, empowering, unifying, exemplifying, caring for, overseeing, and shepherding members. Rooted in biblical teachings, emphasizes servant leadership. The lesson discusses congregational decision-making, women in church leadership roles with respect for differing views.
- Learn about church leadership principles, roles of elders and deacons, active membership, mutual commitment, gift utilization, and clear processes in this comprehensive lesson.
- This lesson explores sacraments, focusing on baptism and diverse theological views. Baptism signifies a profound commitment to Christ within a believer community, emphasizing understanding and promptness post-conversion.
- In this lesson, you'll grasp the essence of baptism, its questions, and debates. Discover belief's role, its confession, and the link to repentance and faith. Explore diverse views on baptism performers, methods, and locations. Gain insights and wisdom for informed baptism decisions in your faith community.
- From this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of Communion, also known as the Lord's Supper or Eucharist. It will provide you with insights into the controversy surrounding its terminology and the theological background of Communion, primarily focusing on 1 Corinthians Chapters 10 and 11. You will learn about various theological perspectives on the real presence of Christ in the Communion elements and explore different viewpoints on the frequency, leadership, eligibility, and practical aspects of Communion. Overall, this lesson will equip you with the knowledge to better understand and participate in the Communion meal.
- This lesson delves into two ends: individual death and the end of the age. It explores human death, material and immaterial aspects (Ecclesiastes 12:7, Genesis 3), fear, loss of autonomy, cremation, death determination, rewards, and urges preparation to meet Jesus, facing the undeniable reality of death.
- Learn about the Kingdom of God, its aspects, Christ's return interpretations, and key concepts like inaugurated, Messianic, and millennium kingdoms. Emphasizing humility and mission in theological debates, it prepares you for insightful discussions on Christ's return and tribulation.
- Learn about Christian views on heaven and hell. Hell is punishment for those who reject Jesus; heaven is eternal bliss with Him on a renewed Earth. Explore differing views respectfully.
Understand the core topics of systematic theology, from what we know about God to the future state of humankind. Special emphasis is given to such topics as Christ, salvation, the church, and the future.
A Guide to Christian Theology
Dr. Gerry Breshears
Types of Grace
Well, while we're talking about grace we had quite a conversation at the break, you should've been here. Continue to talk about grace. There are different levels of grace, different understandings of grace. One of them is what we could call ... Is often called common grace or general grace. And what we talk about with common grace is just the idea that God's not left his world alone. He didn't walk out of the world after the fall, he's still active in work. When I look at a passage like 2 Corinthians 2:7, I ... Well, he's talking here about God's restraint of sin. What we're talking about when we think of general grace is a couple things. He restrains sin. 2 Thessalonians 2, that was the patch I was looking for I got the wrong one. 2 Thessalonians 2 talks about the restrainer as present in this world. There'll come a time when the restrainer is taken away. And that's a common grace. If God takes out his restraint of sin things would be way worse than they are which is really scary. That's a piece.
In Romans 3:25 it talks about God doing the work on the cross in order to demonstrate his righteousness because he passed over sin in the past. How can God be righteous and not punish sin when it happens? And that's what Paul is picking up there in Romans 3 when he talks. He's demonstrating righteousness because he passed over sin. So there's a postponement of punishment in favor of mercy. So there's a restraint of sin, there's a postponement of punishment in favor of mercy. Again, this is all in your handout.
And he also encourages goodness, morality, beauty, and community. And I think he does that widely in an encouragement of goodness, morality, beauty, and community. And we find that a number of places. Romans 2 would be one of those. Romans 2:14. "Gentiles who do not have the law do by nature the things required by the law. They're a law to themselves even though they don't have the law." I think that's talking about God's general working, his common grace, that encourages morality and community broadly. The three dimensions of general grace or common grace: restraint of sin, postpone of punishment, encouragement of goodness, and community. And again, this is widely agreed to. It's not a debated point really that God does that. He's not left his world alone.
The question is how does he do that? When I look at how he does that, he does it through things like government, and conscience, and family. He does it through government. And so Romans 13 talks about the role of government as to punish evildoers and encourage good. He does it through conscience that testifies we're right and wrong. Though our conscious are defiled there's still a reality. So it seems to me that everywhere there's a common morality as you should not steal from your neighbor. Steal from the guy down the street, that's okay, but don't steal from your neighbor even in the worst of communities. So our conscience is a part of general grace.
And then there's the family. And I think God has ordained the family from creation as a means of grace in this common sense. When you look at what's happening in the serpent's work, he will always go for family and government, he'll try to corrupt both of those. And, of course, we see that happen constantly. And you see a pushback because God's grace does not stop. But there's a war going over, the nature of government and the nature of the family. So you look in the communist era ... The three things that were taken on by the communists in their atheism was family. Take the children out of the family and put them in communes, take the government and make it a place of the privilege, and then the church was a third means that they always go after. So the control of the church, only government-approved people will be pastors of churches as a way of doing that.
But in the communist era ... I've taught in Ukraine a number of times, Odesa. And the first time I went to Odesa I went downtown and I saw a project of work, it was the rebuilding of the big cathedral in downtown Odesa. Odesa is, of course, a major city in the Ukraine. So being a curious guy said, "How" ... "What happened to the church over there?" And the guy looked at me like I was a total idiot. And, of course, I was, I pleaded guilty. Help me.
He said, "Don't you know what happened here?" I said, "Sorry, I really don't. We're not taught about Ukraine in American civil studies." He said, "Well, don't you know what happened?" I said, "I don't, please help me." "Well, the communists came in and blew it up. They put charges in there, in this beautiful cathedral with millennium-old icons, and they just blew it up, turned it to ruins. Took the icons and burned them. Their way of destroying the church. And now we're rebuilding the cathedral because we believe in the goodness of God." The major part of the construction was finished while I was still teaching in the Ukraine. And I've been in that finished ... And it's a beautiful building to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. But that's what happens is going against that.
Now, they're supernatural, if you will. The church, gospel preaching, and Bible are means of common grace that are supernatural if you ... The natural government, conscience, and family. But supernatural, the presence of the church in the society, the presence of gospel preaching in the society, and the presence of Bible in the society. AI think those are means of grace that God uses in the good of the society. And that's part of the reason I think the mission of the churches do good in the community, not just create a community of saints which is also the mission.
Being something a history of ... A student of history, and I look what's happened just in the time that I've been alive. Being an old man I've been around a while. When I went to start going to school as a first-grader we had a Bible reading every day in school. We had prayer in school every day, and it was Christian prayer, we didn't have any Muslim prayers or any Muslims anywhere around there in Central Missouri where it's a white cloud church. And that gospel preaching was common. I came to Portland in 1980, and one of the things I found in The Oregonian was a repeat of the thing they had published at the end of World War II. It is a reprint on the 4th of July I think of 1980. And they reprinted an editorial that was in The Oregonian and it was a prayer, a Christian prayer. Well, generally Christian prayer was featured in The Oregonian at the end of World War II. Would that be done today? The answer is absolutely not, no way. They might report a prayer but they would not print as an editorial in The Oregonian.
See, things have changed in our society. The civil religion of the United States has moved from a liberal Christianity to Christianity as an oppressive evil force in this society. It's a dominant narrative. And again, I think that's an attack on general grace. I predict a revival, I actually do. I think we will but it's not happening yet. So that's general grace or common grace. Restraint of sin, postponement of punishment, and the establishment of goodness, encouragement of goodness in the society. And I think it comes around. So that's general grace.
Another level of grace is what's called prevenient grace. And I would happily get rid of that term because what in the world does prevenient mean? Well, it comes from Latin. Prevenial means go ahead. Pre is ahead, venial is come. So it's a going-ahead grace. And prevenient grace is enabling grace. So what it does is it enables us to do good things but does not guarantee that we'll do good things. So it's enabling, it's resistible, and it goes to everyone. This is enabling grace. This is common in the Wesleyan tradition. And the argument here, God gives his grace and it's an enabling grace, it's resistible, and it goes to everyone. That's a Wesleyan-Arminian emphasis. And for the Wesleyan-Arminian emphasis, God never forces anybody, his grace is always enabling.
And this is the other tribe, effectual. So in the Calvinistic tribe, there's a grace that's effectual grace. It guarantees its outcome and it's goes to the elect. And this is a debate among theological tribes. We all agree on general grace and really agree on everything I've just said about general grace. But in the nature of redemptive grace, is it prevenient, enabling for everyone, and resistible, it doesn't ever guarantee the outcome, or is it effectual for the elect guaranteeing the outcome that is confession of faith and conversion? That's a debate. The effectual grace ... I've got in the handout here. The Holy Spirit works powerfully in the heart of certain persons, infallibly leading them to conviction of sin and belief in the gospel. Effectual grace, God works powerfully in the heart of the elect, infallibly leading them to conviction of sin and professed faith.
So it's not that there's no action on the part of the person, there's absolutely action on the part of belief to repent and believe, but that effectual grace renders certain that they will do it. It's not fatalism, it's not monergism, though some Calvinists end up being monergistic, it's an effectual working in the hearts of the elect so they will always respond with the decision to say, "I repent and believe." But it's always effectual for the elect. Once an Arminian said, "No, no, no, it's enabling. It's enabling for everyone and you can resist it."
Now, if you've been paying attention so far you know that I'm neither a Calvinist nor a Wesleyan-Arminian, I am a what? I'm a Calminian. I think God works in different ways with different people. No, no, I am not [inaudible], I absolutely reject that, I absolutely reject that. There will be no religion named after me. I'll come out of my grave and render you ... I'll come and haunt you at night. No, no, no, no. So what I think is God works in different ways with different people. And I think there are power settings on his grace meter and sometimes he turns the dial up. But I don't think he always does that. Let me play with some stuff in scripture for you.
You've already heard my stuff with Paul and such but look at John. John 6:44. John 6:44 is one of the key verses here. It doesn't use the term grace but the concept is here. Jesus is speaking here in this context. He says, "No one can come to me" so that's spiritual inability. "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them and I'll raise them up on the last day." The grace word here is the word draw, or the Greek phrase is helko. The Greek term is helko. "No one can come to me unless the father who sent me draws them and I'll raise them up on the last day."
If you do the word study on draw in the New Testament you'll find that it's such things as what happens when you throw a net in and grab some fish and you draw the fish to the shore. So it means to drag. Or it's used when you are drawn before the magistrate. Don't worry about it the Holy Spirit will give you the words to say. And again, when you're drawn to the magistrate what does that mean? It means you're arrested and dragged in front of the judge. The effectual grace interpretation here is no one can come unless the father who sent me drags them and I will raise the dragged ones up on the last day. Okay, so there we go.
What else should we do? We just talked to a Calvinist, John 6:44. Now what should we do? Talk to a Wesleyan-Arminian and say, "Where do you go in scripture?" See, you got to get out of the echo chamber. And I'd go the other direction too but this is where I started here. Let's go to John 12:32. John 12:32. Again, Jesus is speaking. 12:31 because a powerful passage. "Now's the time for judgment of this world. Now the prince of this world will be driven out." Who is the prince of this world?
Satan. And we talk about God being the king of the universe. He is but this is disputed. This is occupied territory and the prince of this world is Satan. That's part of that war that I'm talking about. Then 32 he in contrast. "But I, when I'm lifted up from the earth," his crucifixion, will draw how many people to himself?
The elect just like it says in the Bible. What does it say? All people. Gosh, that's a problem. When I'm lifted up I will drag all people to myself. That'd be universalism. That's not good. Well, actually I'd like it if it were true but it's not what it says. But it says, "All people." So the Wesleyan-Arminian says, "I lifted up. I'll draw all people to myself." What's the Arminian? Or actually Wesleyan. Callously. I will draw. You can't come unless I draw you and I'll raise you up. So draw and raise up are the same thing. I'll drag you to myself. You can't get away because I'll drag you to myself. Effectual grace. No, no, no, I will draw all people. And what happened? We have dueling verses.
The theological method I'm trying to palm off on you ... I'm unrepentant in my attempt here to persuade you is what view accounts are the most biblical data, the fewest difficulties. Now what happens is, if you do Calvinist as true ... I'll come with draw means dragged and I'll come to John 12:32 and I'll say, "Well, it says God will drag all kinds of people so I'll draw both some Jews and some Gentiles," but it's not all people it's all kinds of people. I look at that and say, "That's not what it says. That's not what it says." And see what I do in my theological method is come and take as clearly as possible what the passage actually says, and then what view accounts for the most data with the fewest difficulties?
And I used to do this, and I probably still do and not even aware of it, though I try not to is come with a theological system and make reluctant verses fit my system. I interpret the unclear passage in light of the clear. And that means the passage I want ... That says what I want to say becomes clear, the passage says what I don't want to say is unclear so I reinterpret it. So the Calvinist coming to this passage says, "I'll draw all kinds of people to myself." And the Wesleyan-Arminian, the west end, coming to John 6:44 says, "I will draw" means come please come please. "I'll invite all people."
So what do you do? What do you do? Well, it's a couple things. First of all, when I look at it, John 12:32, I will draw all people to myself, I think that's true. Well, what about helko? Doesn't it mean drag? Actually, do your word study on it but include the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. And what you'll find if you look at helko and look in the Septuagint, you'll find places like ... One of my favorites in the song of Solomon where the bride, the Shulamite says, "Come and drag me into the bed chamber my beloved." I don't think she's wanting to conk her over the head and drag her in by her hair, it's more like attraction let's do it together babe. See that's not a drag that's a wooing. And if you look in the lexicon, if you look in the lexicon, the range of meaning for helko is drag all the way to woo.
And this is where I'd go is, let's do the word study and you discover it has a wider semantic domain than drag. Though it does mean drag, at least some of the time, but it also means woo and I think it's resistible. Why would you say that? Well, now I'm coming from one side let me come from the other side. John 6:44, "No one can come to me unless the Father sent me who draws them." Who's it that gets raised up on the last day? Who gets raised up on the last day? The one who gets raised up on the last day is the one who comes to Jesus. And see the way I've put it together is the drawing is a larger group than the commerce.
And I think there's a consistent between John 6:44 and John 12:32 in that this is a resistible drawing, a wooing, though sometimes I think it is a dragging as well because I'm Calminian, but I think here he's saying the Father draws. And among those who draw there are some who come. And it's the comers who are raised up, not the drawn who are raised up. And I think that's what the passage says. And the assumption that everybody who has drawn also comes I think is a questionable assumption when reading the passage. I put the dots together. If you're more Calvinist you end up saying that this draws all kinds of people in John 12:32, if you're more pure Wesleyan you'll say for sure that there are drawn people who do not come.
So one more passage as we unpack this particular piece. If I look at the Romans 2:4 ... Romans 2:4, this is a general revelation piece of things but let's just look at it here. Romans 2:4. "Do not realize that God's kindness," that's a grace word ... "God's kindness is intended to lead you to repentance." So here's a grace that's leading toward repentance though the term is kindness. Verse five and six. Verse five and six. What is the eternal status of people in verses five and six? "Stubbornness empower your strength rather against you in the day of God's wrath. The right judgment may reveal. God repays each person." Wow, that's pretty gnarly. God's wrath. I think that's like hell. Okay, how come? Because of what they've done. Okay, what'd they do? They refused God's kindness that was intended to lead you to repentance it seems to me. Okay.
What about verse seven? "To those by persistence in doing good, glory, honor, and mortality, he will give eternal life. To whom do you get eternal life? It's those who are doing good. Wait a minute, is that works justification? No. That's people who respond to God's kindness that leads to repentance. So verses five and six as I read it is, people who resist that kindness that's leading ... It isn't the word draw but it's a synonym. They resist it and get wrath. Verse seven is about those who respond to it and get eternal life. I think that's what it's talking about is this leading ... It's not the term helko but it's a synonym. This is a leading that is resistible. So verse five, six is resisted gets you hell, verse seven is responded gets you eternal life.
And he keeps going. "But those who are self-seeking, reject truth, follow evil," it'll be wrath and anger because they do evil, resisting. And then verse 10. "But glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good." What's the doing good? Responding to God's kindness that leads to repentance. So I think here's a leading that is resistible or respondable. So the way I put the dots together ... And you don't have to be a godly person to agree with me but it helps. I think God works in different ways. I think there are people of God who has an effectual grace in their heart and they do inevitably, to use that term ... They do always respond with conversion. I think you get bushwhacked on the road to Damascus, I think that's what God says. He is my chosen instrument.
And what Paul says, "I was set apart from mother's womb." But I think there are also people ... And I think everybody else is touched by God's leading to repentance that's why it says both Jew and Gentile here in Romans 2. Everybody is touched by the leading of God. And I don't think there's a single human being who says that, "Had I been touched by God I would've responded." Because I think everybody is touched by the grace of God but it's not an effectual drawing it's a enabling drawing. So I think God has different settings on his power meter. Sometimes he overwhelmed you, sometimes I think he enables you. I'd put it together that way.
And the goal here is for you to think how do you understand that redemptive grace of God. Is that an effectual working with the elect or is that enabling working with everybody? Or is that a different with different people because God works in different ways with different people? And good and godly people put the dots together in different ways. But again, the thing to do is don't despise people who come to different conclusions, say ... Smile and say, "I think we disagree. Can we talk about it with our bibles open" because that's the attitude I want to see you come up with. Where you come out on theological answer, I'm not nearly as worried about. Though I do have to say I think the Calminian's the best answer. Questions, comments?
All right. On the topic of effectual grace, how would you respond to somebody who would go with the Romans 9 narrative that says blatantly some cannot believe because they were almost ... God is using them and they were ... As they were predestined to it it says.
Where do you see that?
"What shall we say then? Is there an injustice on God's part? By no means. For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy and I'll have compassion on whom I have compassion."
"So then it depends not on human will or exertion but on God who has mercy."
Okay. Well, you see the quotation mark there in verse 15?
Yes, I see it.
Where is that coming from?
Let's see here.
That passage is coming from-
Exodus 33. And what's the context of Exodus 33?
God is hardening [inaudible].
No. No, no, no, no. Exodus 33, not Exodus 7. Exodus 33. Exodus 32 is the golden calf worshipers. Exodus 32 is the golden calf worshipers, that's his children. All of them including Aaron, for crying out loud, but not Moses. They're worshiping a golden calf and God says, "I'm going to kill them." Moses prays and he relents and doesn't kill them. Exodus 33, they head up to the land. When they go up there ... Coming down here to verse 18, Exodus 33:18. Moses says, "Show me your glory." Now this is a man who has been talking to man face-to-face. Talking with God face-to-face. A man talks to his friend back in verse 11. He wants more than talking to God face-to-face. Show me your glory. And he says, "I'll cause all my goodness to pass in front of you. I'll claim my name in your presence." Then he says, "I'll have mercy on whom I have mercy and compassion upon who I have compassion." Who is he showing mercy and compassion to? Golden calf worshipers. He's showing mercy and grace to golden calf worshipers.
I don't have to work to make God merciful. I know you weren't here the other day, but the first characteristic of God in Exodus 34:6, 7 is merciful compassion. I don't have to work to make God merciful and compassionate he begins that way. And that's why Paul says, "It's not by my works to make God merciful he begins that way." And there's a whole narrative of Romans 9 that I radically disagree with that says this about God's hardening of some and softening of others. I think he's talking of the history of Israel where they harden their hearts. And this particular passage in Exodus 33, the whole point is God is already merciful even with golden calf worshipers. So we don't have to work to make him merciful he begins that way. So his mercy does not depend on our works he's already merciful even toward golden calf worshipers. So I think that's where the Romans 9, that piece of it comes out.
I guess more of my question is revolving around the hardening of Pharaoh's heart. Does God use some people and harden them for his glorious purpose do you think?
The question is how does God harden Pharaoh's heart? I haven't gone through that. It takes a while to do it and I'm not going to do it today but I'll suggest you how to do it. In Romans 4, take a look at it. I'll just do a little bit of it here. Exodus 4:21. "I will harden his heart so to not that people go." And this is what the Lord says. "Israel is my firstborn son. Let my son go he may worship me. You refuse to let go so I'll kill your firstborn son." So he has a whole Passover thing in mind. I will harden his heart. Chapter five, Aaron and Moses show up, "Let my people go." And not to go back to Israel just do a three-day festival in the wilderness. And Pharaoh absolutely refuses. No way. I don't know this God, I'm not going to let him go. Has God hardened his heart? Well, he sure says no. But look in chapter seven verse three. What did he say?
So the hardening is yet future. It's exactly the same as 4:21. So apparently the hardening is still future. So apparently Pharaoh's heart is already hard before God does his thing. If you go down to 7:13. This is where you get a translational issue. In 7:13, if you look in NIV, it says, "Yet Pharaoh's heart became hard or it's a [inaudible] which translates literally, Pharaoh's heart was hard. If you look in ESV it will say, "Pharaoh's heart was hardened," passive participle.
And this is what got me going in this whole thing. I was reading my New American Standard answer book and it says, "Pharaoh's heart was hardened," passive partisan, meaning God hardened it. I looked over in the margin and it said literally, "Is hard." I said, "Wait a minute, there's a big difference between was hardened and is hard." So went back to look in the Hebrew and sure enough it said [inaudible] is not a passive participle. It just says, "Pharaoh's heart is hard." And in verse 14 Gods speaking ... And this is true in almost all the translations. Pharaoh's heart is unyielding NIV says. So god says, "This guy's got a tough heart." He does not say I have hardened his heart. You follow this down in Exodus 8, you get the whole thing with the frogs. Apparently, he doesn't like frogs in his soup, I don't know what the deal is. 8:15 Pharaoh saw there's relief. What does it say there in 8:15? 8:15 says what?
It says he hardened his own heart.
So it's like a dual thing that's happened.
Complex causation. Now here's where it comes out. You can follow it through. The fun thing is when you get down here a little bit further Pharaoh says to Moses, "Pray for me" and he does. I mean, there's a thing going on here. By chapter 9:14 God says, "I have hardened his heart." And in 10:1 it's an even stronger statement. I think what happens is God hardens his heart by forcing him to make a decision. And every time he says no, out of his own stuff, he becomes more committed to no I will not let them go.
God does harden his heart but not ... And poor Pharaoh never had a chance. He does it by forcing him to make decisions. He makes sinful decisions. And every time he makes a sinful decision it habituates his no. So God does harden his heart but he doesn't do monergistically he does it by causing him to make decisions. I think what Paul's appealing to ... And the point is, you guys are acting like Pharaoh. Israel is acting like Pharaoh and therefore you're getting God's punishment just like Pharaoh did except God killed him and God only punishes you.
So the interpreted Romans 9 ... More than I'm going to take time here to do. The two major interpretations. One is what John Piper does brilliantly in his justification of God. This is God, God loves some and hates others. God hardens some and has mercy on others. Talking about individual salvation. I think it's a history of Israel and the God who is merciful to Israel repeatedly. Go back to Romans 9, if you will. God who has been merciful to Israel, they still harden their hearts and that's why they're condemned which is where the whole thing begins back there. In Romans 9:22, this is where you get the common but I think mistaken understanding is God has some vessels of wrath prepared for destruction and some vessels of mercy prepared for glory. So some, sorry, you're a vessel of wrath. Others, great, you're a vessel of mercy. I don't think it was the same.
What if God, although choosing so is wrath and power made he bore with great patience, the object is wrath? That's talking about Israel who he regularly goes apoplectically angry toward. Wrath comes but he actually is patient toward them. How come? Because they did this he's patient with them in order to make his glory on his object of mercy, the Gentiles. So it's not that he hardened some and ... For destruction and softened some for glory. Israel has every right to be destroyed and he doesn't destroy them because he has a purpose for them. He remains faithful to his purpose even though they richly deserve to be crunched. I think that's what he's saying.
So I see this as a history of Israel, it's acting like Pharaoh. But instead of God killing them he continued to have mercy on them for the sake of Messiah. They're acting just like Pharaoh, full hardened heart, but instead of drowning them in the Red Sea he continues to work with them for the sake of the Gentiles it's coming out of. I think it's a history of Israel, not a study in individual salvation. I think that's a way better interpretation.