Note: I said AN answer. Not THE answer. Not THE PERFECT answer. Not THE BEST answer. Maybe just the best answer I can give.
It is coming up in the sermon Sunday on Colossians 3:12-17, so I thought I could use the blog as a sort of appendix to discuss the topic.
I get roped into the conversa… ok, debate, all the time. The big question concerning how a saved person came to Christ in the first place. Do we pick God, or did God pick us? The answer is: yes.
For the record, I don’t consider myself a Calvinist. Or an Armenian. Or a Reformed Dispensational Covenant… guy. I am just a follower of Christ. Some people love to wax eloquently about these frameworks some men built around theology. I just don’t care. And I don’t mean that in a mean way. I just literally don’t care. I don’t think about it. I don’t read books about it. And I have never doodled John Calvin’s name on the front of my notebook.
I care about the message of the Bible and presenting it to people that know the Lord and people who don’t. Sometimes the Bible says God chose us. Sometimes it says we are to choose to follow Him. I simply want to preach the message of each passage, and let the Word of God speak for itself. Let the text be the message, let the message reflect the text. Do the homework, yes. Cross reference, yes. Scripture interprets Scripture, yes. Preach theological constructs from men, no. (The real danger in these is going to the extreme on either side, but that is a discussion for another time).
And at the end of the day, whether you are a Calvinist or Armenian, what difference does it make? It doesn’t change anything. I am to love God with all of my heart / soul / mind / strength and my neighbor as myself either way. I am to worship, to witness, and to pray either way.
My preacher friends are aghast that I am not a Calvinist, in the same way my wife would be if I wore skinny jeans. But I want you to think of the guy who comes to church because his life is a wreck. He needs to know the beautiful simplicity of the Gospel, Jesus revealed in His Word. His death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit indwelling those who believe. I have no interest in introducing him to all this Calvinism / Armenian stuff. Just pursue God, man! Get in the Word and on your knees and revel in the fact that the Holy Sovereign Eternal God loves you and became a man and forgave your sin and gave you eternal life. Then go love people and share that message. "Then what?" Do it again!
The Bible teaches God chose us and we chose Him. At the same time. This makes no sense to us because from the day we were born, we have always ever known 2 things: time and space. We can’t fathom a reality outside of those. But God is not bound by time or space. So whether it is the “who chose who” debate, or the Trinity, or “repentance: a command (Acts 17:30) or something granted by God (2 Timothy 2:25)?”, and many other issues, sometimes we can’t just systematically explain things into a neat and tidy little outline.
These things all make sense to an infinite God. Don’t be shocked that man can’t figure these things out. He is God and we are… not. Is it okay with you that there are things about God that we just don’t understand? Deuteronomy 29:29 says God has some things we don’t know, but He made sure to give us what he wants us to know in His Word.
If using these labels of identification help you, that’s cool, and you are still my brother / sister. Nothing said here was meant to be intentionally offensive, but to share my heart about these things because I am often asked about my position on them.
So if I have to pick a label, I’ll just go with “clueless but joyful”.
Leave a comment below. I know you want to respond somehow. And we can handle a lively discussion, right?
p.s. - does not wear skinny jeans, for the record