Thursday, August 02, 2007

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

For whom did Jesus Christ die? That is the question. Did He die with no one in particular in mind? Did He just intend to put His sacred atoning blood up for grabs so that any "Joe" off the street could choose to treasure it or trash it? Or did He "foreknow", intimately know, each and every individual for whom He would make the supreme sacrifice? Did He sovereignly ordain that each person whom He foreknew would be granted the new birth and given the gift of faith? Let's look to Genesis.

In Genesis 3:15 we have what has come to be called, "the proto-evangelion". This is our LORD Yahweh's first pronouncement of the coming Messiah:

"And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel."

It is evident in this passage that there are two "seeds", the "seed" of the woman (Eve) and the "seed" of the serpent (satan). For those of you who are jumping ahead and saying, "the 'seed' refers to Jesus!"; yes that is correct. But do I have to go get a Hebrew grammar text and demonstrate that "seed" in this context has a dual application? Don't test me, cause I'll do it! "Seed" refers to the woman's ultimate "seed", Jesus; and it also refers to each of the woman's offspring throughout time.

The two "seeds" from this point in Scripture forward are embroiled in an epic struggle. We observe this struggle as it is played out between: Abel and Cain, Jacob and Esau, Israel and everybody else. The "seed" of the woman being God's people and the "seed" of the serpent being those enslaved to sin and satan. I hear an objection coming, "we all are enslaved to sin and satan prior to salvation". This is true; but thanks be unto God we have received the "adoption as sons". So this "adoption" that we receive necessarily identifies us as the "seed" of the woman. Question: as with any parent who desires to adopt children, does God have the right to choose whom He will adopt and whom He will not? We find no fault in the couple who chooses to adopt child "A" over child "B". Why do we find fault if the ruler of the universe exercises the same right? The adopting couple chooses based on something they see in the child. God would find nothing in us to make us worthy of His choice, but does so based on His own sovereign will. Who chooses more wisely?

But who did Jesus die for? The "seed" of the woman or the "seed" of the serpent? The "seed" of the serpent by nature hate God. They detest His law. They would destroy Him, if they could. The Jezebels, the Manassehs, the Herods, the Neros, the Nietzsches, the Russells of history demonstrate this. Did Jesus die for them? Millions of the serpent's seed died never even having heard of Jesus? Whole barbaric civilizations came and went before Jesus was ever born and died in their sin knowing nothing of redemption. Did Jesus die for them? Could they make a "decision" for Christ never having heard of Him? What about those who were wiped out in the flood, did Jesus die for them? Those whose "every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5)? Such are the "seed" of the serpent.

The "seed" of the woman, according to Scripture have been chosen from before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). These having been regenerated by the Holy Spirit are given the gift of saving faith (Eph 2:4;8-9). These have been granted repentance (II Timothy 2:25) and then place their trust in Jesus Christ alone for the salvation of their souls. For such, and such alone, has the LORD Jesus Christ shed His precious blood.

There is also much debate over the use of words like "all", whole", and "world" in Scripture. Many point to these words and argue that they indicate that God's intent in sending Jesus to the cross was for every human being to have the opportunity to be saved. Hogwash. Have you ever said (or heard some one else say) something like this: "the whole world is ___________" Did you mean that every human being (past, present and future) was doing "____________" including yourself? And if you did, how did you know? Words like these are often axiomatic, general terms that describe a perceived overall condition. The Bible sometimes uses axioms just like we do today. Consider the following examples.

"And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, "If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness"(Numbers 14:2). Did all the children of Israel complain? The babies, Moses' wife, Moses and Aaron themselves.

Picky you say? How about this one?

"The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, "You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him" (John 12:19). Had the entire world gone after Jesus? Obviously the Pharisees had not gone after Him. Are they not part of the entire world? What about the ancient aborigines in Australia?

"If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you"
(John 15:19). Did the whole world hate the disciples? Did the disciples hate the disciples? Did Jesus hate the disciples?

Get the picture? Words like those above when used regarding salvation refer to every kind of people. People of every single tribe and tongue and nation; but not every single member of every tribe and tongue and nation. When people try to apply these words to every single human being they habitually forget all those who died prior to Jesus' incarnation. As listed above, these people were long dead before Jesus came. How could they have been included in the "all", the "whole", the "every" or the "world"? Even if everybody since Jesus' death is covered, that leaves out a major chunk of humanity!

Since every single human being (past, present, and future) deserves death and hell, there's no sin in that. Some receive mercy, some receive justice, no one receives injustice. If you have been saved by Jesus Christ, rejoice! You have received mercy! If you think you had anything to do with it, you'll learn better in glory!

Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!

P.S. I highly recommend "The Death of Death in the Death of Christ" by John Owen. It's a tough read, but you will be highly blessed. Trust me! :-)

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