Friday, July 20, 2007

T.U.L.I.P. vs R.O.S.E.(Part III)

Let's take a look at our Lord's high priestly prayer in chapter 17 of the Gospel of John.

Just prior to His betrayal and arrest, Jesus in chapter 17 prays for Himself, His disciples and all those who will trust in Him for salvation through the disciples' teaching. Let's consider some facts about Jesus and about prayer.

Fact #1: According to John 9:31,God does not hear the prayers of sinners (except the prayer of repentance). Jesus is the perfect and sinless Son of God. Therefore, Jesus' prayers would always be heard by God.

Fact #2: According to I John 5:14, we have this confidence that if we ask anything in accordance with God's will He will hear us. Jesus clearly proclaimed that He and His father are one and that He always does the will of His Father. Therefore, God always hears His Son's prayers.

Fact #3: I John 5:15 states that if indeed God hears us in whatever we ask (according to His will), we KNOW that we have the requests that we have asked of Him. As established by fact #2 Jesus always prays according to the Father's will; therefore, Jesus (above every other being in history) most certainly obtained every request that He has ever asked of His Father.

With the above facts in mind, let us consider John17:6-9, 20, 24.

17:6 "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.

17:7 Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You.

17:8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.

17:9 I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.

17:20 "I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;

17:24 Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

Jesus states in His prayer that He has made known the Father's name to those whom the Father had given Him. In verse 9, Jesus make it very clear that He is only praying for these same people. In fact to avoid any confusion, He further clarifies His request by stating He is "not praying for the world but for those whom You (the Father) has given me, for they are Yours". Now, some might argue that this prayer was made soley for the disciples. I think that upon further inspection this would prove too much. According to the facts listed above, restricting this prayer to the disciples only would mean that only they would ever be saved. Jesus makes misconstruing His words nigh impossible in verse 20 when He states, "I do not ask for these (the disciples) only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word . . ."

It is apparent here that Jesus is distinguishing between two different groups of people. One group consists of His disciples and those who would trust Him because of their teaching. The other group consists of the world, i.e., everybody else. It is also apparent that this high priestly prayer is basically a prayer for the salvation of the people included in the former group. In accordance with Fact #1 (above), the Father would definitely hear this prayer of Jesus because Jesus is not a sinner. In accordance with Fact #2 (above), The Father would also hear this prayer of Jesus because it was in accordance with His will. In accordance with Fact #3 (above), Jesus would definitely obtain His desire in this prayer be cause of its adhereing to Facts #1 and #2.

Without question, I believe that each and every person who is included in the group for whom Jesus did pray are the exact same persons for whom Jesus made atonement. What about the other group, the world?

Did Jesus go to the cross and make atonement for those whom He did not even care to include in His high priestly prayer? Jesus was certainly aware of the truths expressed in the facts listed above. If He intended to atone for the world's sin also, why did He leave them out of His prayer? Surely had He intended for the world to be saved, His prayer would have cinched it.

Conversely, it follows that the atonement of the world's sin was not the Father's will. If it had been His will, Jesus could not truthfully state that He and the Father were one and that He always did what the Father did. This is so because, nowhere in Scripture does Jesus ever pray like this for the world.

Did Jesus still atone for those for whom He did not care to pray but they still somehow end up in Hell? Based on the listed facts this is impossible. The Father would have heard, agreed with and granted Jesus' request for the entire world's salvation.

Did Jesus or the Father intend for the precious blood of Jesus to be shed for those that they knew had no chance in hell of getting to heaven? For this to be the case, the Father would have to intend to waste the precious, innocent and altogether holy blood of His sinless Son to a great degree. Consider, Jesus in addtion to atoning for sin also suffered the unfettered wrath of God while on the cross. The combined weight of all the sin of mankind and the wrath of God all endured knowing that it would be wasted on the vast majority of mankind. Is man so precious in God's sight that He would treat His perfect Son's blood as such a common thing? I think not. I believe that God is victorious in everything He does. Every drop of Jesus' precious blood was effective in bringing to salvation those He intended to save. Not a single molecule of it was wasted. If His atonement is just available, and only made it possible for whoever would take Him up on it; then there was always the possibility that no one would ever take Him up on it. I'm sorry, but I just believe God thinks more of His Son than that!

Jesus also identifies who His atonement is intended for in chapter 10 of John's Gospel. One of Jesus' famous "I am" statements was the He is "the Good Shepherd".
In verse 14 He states, "I am the good shepherd. I know My own and My own know Me, just as the Father know Me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep". In verses 26-28, Jesus told some of the Jews that they did not believe Him because they were "not part of my flock". He continued to say that His sheep hear His voice and follow Him and that He gives them, His sheep, eternal life . . .

The language in these passages is very exclusive. Earlier in the chapter Jesus makes it clear that He calls His own sheep by name (v.3-4)In verse 14, who is that knows Jesus? It is His own. Who is it that Jesus lays His life down for? It is the sheep. Matthew makes it clear in his Gospel that there are sheep and there are goats. In the end the sheep go on to eternal life with God, the goats go on to eternal damnation. So, who here wants to pitch his tent on the belief that Jesus intended to atone for the goats? Again, this absolutely smacks of treating the blood of Jesus as a common thing.

In my next, and hopefully concluding, post I will tackle Genesis 3:15 and the use of the words "all", "every" and "world" in Scripture. Study up!

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!