God’s Decretive Will Is Indeed Alive and Well!

I read a lot written about God’s efficacious calling or effectual grace and His decretive will. I cannot find many verses in the Bible that will even support such a position; in fact the vast majority of texts in the Bible clearly show the contrary to be true; outside of Jesus, God’s will on earth is NOT done as it is in heaven; disobedience is the mark of the day even for the elect.

Let me suggest, however, that God’s Decretive Will Is Indeed Alive and Well in our world; just in a different way. God’s decrees deal with the two most basic aspects of creation: life and death. God is responsible for life and man is responsible for death. The Bible tell us that God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the Breath of life and Adam became a living soul. When Adam sinned, he lost connection to that source of eternal life when God banned him from the garden and His perpetual presence. Since God is the source of life, that disconnect from His presence became a disconnect from life and the absence of life is death.

Jesus tells His disciples, “I am The Way, The Truth and The Life.” (John 14:6)

He says, “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”(John 4:14)

24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24)

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
(John 6:35-40)

47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” (John 6:47-51)

63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (John 6:63-64)

27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.” (John 10:27-30)

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
(John 11:25-26)

7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”‘ (Rev 2:7)

10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”‘ (Rev 2:10-11)

6 And He said to me,”It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. (Rev 21:6-8)

Jesus is the second Adam. The difference between Jesus and Adam is one of obedience; Jesus did the will of Him who sent Him. Adam did what seemed right in his own eyes. Adam was created never to die. Jesus was born to die so that Adam could live again.

In looking at Jesus as the creator and sustainer of life, the following application makes for an interesting parallel. Every automobile has two sources of power. There is a battery and an alternator. The battery is temporary power and the alternator is the constant, permanent source of power.

If the alternator goes out, a running vehicle will actually run for a while. However, when the battery runs down, there will be no fire in the cylinders and the engine will shut off and the car will not run. The alternator keeps the battery charged and actually keeps electricity going to the vehicle, which allows it to continue to run. When Adam sinned, God banned him from the garden and in a very real sense, like the alternator going out, the source of power to Adam was cut off and eventually he died.

Jesus is life. The Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts and our lives and guess what, He brings us “New Life.” Just like a battery without an alternator, there is nothing in us that can bring new life apart from what the Holy Spirit does for us. The purpose of the battery is to start the car so the alternator can start to supply power to the vehicle! The purpose of your life and mine, is to get our souls to heaven. Just like a battery is only needed to get the car started, so is it our responsibility to look to Jesus so that He can take up residency in our hearts and lives and give us life everlasting.

Here is the amazing part to this analogy; as long as a car is running, there is no need for a battery! The alternator supplies all the power necessary to keep the car running! Once your vehicle is running, the battery is not necessary for the car to operate.

Several years ago, I once carried our youth group to the movies and when we came out, there were a couple of elderly ladies in the parking lot with the hood up on their car. I went over and asked them if I could help. While they were in the movie, someone had stolen the battery in their car. It was late. I jump started their car with mine and told them, that they could drive their vehicle home and as long as it did not go dead, they would be fine. They thought I had lost my mind!

I followed them home without any problem. Their car drove perfectly fine with no battery.

Jesus is indeed all we need to experience life and all that He has for us; our responsibility is to get connected to Him and then allow Him to be the ongoing source of life for us, today and forever.

Now, take this illustration and associate it with the Great Commission, which must have been important to Jesus, because that is the last thing He said before He left earth the final time after the resurrection. Go and tell and make disciples. When I used my car and alternator to jump start the car with no battery, their car started and it worked perfectly and got them home. As God’s children, we have the source of life in our hearts and there are millions of people that we come in contact with every day that need to be “jump started” by the power of God in their hearts and lives and His power is eternal!

When He said, “I am The Way, The Truth and The Life” He really meant what He said!

Grateful to be in His Grip!

><>”

Advertisements

15 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Cindy Sandifer on January 3, 2012 at 8:55 am

    This is a wonderful message. You are so right about the absence of God resulting in death. I heard someone say that evil is the absence of God and that did not sound right to me. Thanks for the blog. You have answered that question for me.

    Reply

  2. Cindy,

    I would reconsider that thought, “evil being the absence of God;” I do think there may be more merit to that statement than what first meets the eye. If you look at evil as the absence of good, and since that which is truly good comes from God, THEN evil can be seen as the result of the absence of God and His influence.

    I think the difficulty comes in with OUR definition of evil. If evil is seen as sinister, that is one thing BUT if we see evil as anything displeasing to God (sin) then the whole concept changes. Personally, I prefer the latter.

    ><>”

    Reply

  3. Bob,

    I have posted brief intro and link to the issue of Pharaoh and the hardening of his heart. It is related to this subject of God’s will. Check it out at http://faithandlife.posterous.com/the-hardening-of-pharaohs-heart

    Reply

  4. Les,

    I went there and then to Justin’s site.I think it is over-reaching to use both of the passages dealing with Jacob and Esau and Pharaoh here as indicative of God’s WILL as such. In Genesis 15, God tells Abraham that Israel will spend 400 years in Egypt. There were several Pharaoh’s and I see this as a molding of the position as opposed to the individual who happened to be filling the shoes that particular year. The position itself was one elevated to divinity itself. How much “harder could one go?”

    When God sent the plagues, I see the references to hardening as at most, not allowing Pharaoh to cave under the pressure until God had done what He was going to do for the benefit of the children of Israel. In fact I am not so sure that Pharaoh who saw himself as a god, may not have thought… hey I am not dead so the God of the Israelites may not be so bad after all… this could well have been the “hardening the Bible speaks of. Also note, the Egyptians gave the children of Israel gold and jewels as they left… I am sure that had something to do with the relief of their leaving… but that too was prophesied earlier as well.

    What is interesting to me is this text being used AT ALL in a Calvinist mindset to justify their position. Would seem to me that this would actually prove to be a difficult text for the calvinist tenet of Total Depravity … if Pharoah was not saved, then he had to have been totally depraved and if he was totally depraved why did God have to harden his heart in the first place? It seems to me, dead is as hardened as one can get. Is it possible to harden a dead depraved heart? No… In fact, if God is NOT going to regenerate him, there is no danger at all of him converting in the first place so hardening his heart has no purpose in the Calvinist mindset.

    To me arguing the hardening of Pharoah’s heart is almost an argument against TD?

    Just some random thoughts for thought.

    Grateful to be in His Grip!

    ><>”

    Reply

  5. Bob,

    You: “When God sent the plagues, I see the references to hardening as at most, not allowing Pharaoh to cave under the pressure until God had done what He was going to do for the benefit of the children of Israel. In fact I am not so sure that Pharaoh who saw himself as a god, may not have thought… hey I am not dead so the God of the Israelites may not be so bad after all… this could well have been the “hardening the Bible speaks of.”

    Have you ever run across this kind of interpretation on Pharaoh? Maybe others have this view, but I cannot remember ever seeing it before. Just curious.

    You: ” if Pharoah was not saved, then he had to have been totally depraved and if he was totally depraved why did God have to harden his heart in the first place? It seems to me, dead is as hardened as one can get.”

    I see why you don’t hold to total depravity. You don’t understand it. We who hold to TD don’t believe that every sinner is as bad as they can possibly be. Rather, we believe that sinners are touched in every area of their make up by sin. No part of the faculties of man is left untainted by sin.

    You: “so hardening his heart has no purpose in the Calvinist mindset.”

    Nix that thought as well. Everything God does has a purpose. In this case, Paul tells us in this case:

    “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.”
    (Romans 9:17-18 ESV)

    The word purpose is even used.

    Reply

  6. “I cannot remember ever seeing it before.” Now you have.

    You wrote, “I see why you don’t hold to total depravity. You don’t understand it. We who hold to TD don’t believe that every sinner is as bad as they can possibly be. Rather, we believe that sinners are touched in every area of their make up by sin. No part of the faculties of man is left untainted by sin.”

    What continues to amaze me is this notion that EVERYTIME a non-Calvinist makes a comment about a tenet of Calvinism, the response is almost ALWAYS… “you don’t understand”. I do “get it” that in the mind of MOST Calvinists, the reason I am NOT a Calvinist HAS to be I am “not getting it” or I would be one.

    Let me ask you a question. WHAT in my comment above led you to your comment that I do not understand TD? I will address my point AFTER I read your “understanding” of what I wrote. I am not so sure the misunderstanding is as clear as you have indicated.

    ><>”

    Reply

  7. Bob,

    Sorry if I am misunderstanding you. Here is why I said that you don’t understand it. You said,

    “if Pharoah was not saved, then he had to have been totally depraved and if he was totally depraved why did God have to harden his heart in the first place? It seems to me, dead is as hardened as one can get. Is it possible to harden a dead depraved heart?”

    Especially your comment, “dead is as hardened as one can get.”

    Your statement seems to say that Pharaoh, being totally depraved, needs no hardening because dead (dead heart as you say) is as hardened as one can get.

    That is not the essence of TD. There are plenty of people who are TD (everyone is) and are not as hardened as they could possibly be. In fact they seem to be pretty good people. If they were a pharaoh overseeing a bunch of Jewish people, they would never dream of treating them the way Pharaoh did.

    That’s what I meant about you not understanding.

    As to your interpretation…well it’s certainly novel.

    Reply

    • Thanks for the reply. While I most certainly do understand that TD does not say man is depraved as he can be, etc… I was speaking in terms of Pharaoh’s TD in that he was completely incapable of “doing any righteous thing” apart from God’s efficacious calling. Now… your retort might be… But Bob… Pharaoh was NOT the elect so there is no there is no efficacious calling and your argument is without merit.:” (See I can argue your position as well as mine… and I may even start considering that… in the future to avoid this common moniker that I do not understand Calvinist positions.)

      Here is my point. You introduced the example of God hardening Pharaoh’s heart as a proof text of sorts that suggests God hardens people’s hearts at His Own Will and pleasure… as opposed to changing them in efficacious calling and conversion.

      Is that NOT what you were alluding to in your own post earlier or actually Justin’s post?

      So my point was, with respect to hardening or efficacious calling, there is no reason for God to harden Pharaoh’s heart in this context as you suggest, because Pharaoh’s heart is already depraved and apart from efficacious calling there is no possibility of him doing any righteous thing (anything pleasing to God…) in the first place

      My point is, either the two concepts are equally applicable or they are not applicable at all as you seem to suggest.

      That was the essence of my comment.

      ><>”

      Reply

    • Bob,

      You: “Is that NOT what you were alluding to in your own post earlier or actually Justin’s post?”

      Yes, God hardens whom He wil harden. Like:

      “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.”
      (Romans 9:17-18 ESV)

      You: “So my point was, with respect to hardening or efficacious calling, there is no reason for God to harden Pharaoh’s heart in this context as you suggest, because Pharaoh’s heart is already depraved and apart from efficacious calling there is no possibility of him doing any righteous thing (anything pleasing to God…) in the first place.”

      But there is a point. See the Romans 9 passage I quoted above. “For this very purpose…” That’s the point )purpose). That God might show His power in Pharaoh and that His name might be proclaimed…

      That’s the reason. I didn’t just make it up. It’s clearly stated in Rom. 9.

      Reply

  8. OK…. your response,

    But there is a point. See the Romans 9 passage I quoted above. “For this very purpose…” That’s the point )purpose). That God might show His power in Pharaoh and that His name might be proclaimed…

    What does this statement have to do with God’s efficacious calling or not, AKA hardening of Pharaoh’s heart? Is that not the basis for your argument… otherwise it does not really matter?

    ><>”

    Reply

  9. You: “What does this statement have to do with God’s efficacious calling or not”

    I don’t think I made the post about EC. You did that. Now we can extrapolate to that. But the passage in Ex. and Rom. is about God’s sovereign work in election.

    Reply

  10. I don’t know if I am amazed or dazed. Effectual calling does relate to God’s sovereign work of election… according to some!!!!!!!!!!!!! Geeeeezzzzzzzz

    ><>”

    Reply

    • Bob, don’t hear what I’m not saying. I didnt say EC has no relation to God’s sovereign work of election. I’ll repeat it again:

      “Now we can extrapolate to that. But the passage in Ex. and Rom. is about God’s sovereign work in election.”

      Let me clarify. The passage is about God choosing and His sovereignty in that. I clearly said you can extrapolate to EC. That’s because all aspects of our salvation is linked together. The passage says just prior to the part on Pharaoh,

      “though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
      What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!”
      (Romans 9:11-14 ESV)

      See the words above, “in order that God’s purpose of election might continue…”

      That is Paul’s primary argument, having to do with His choosing. Of course you will pick up on the words, “but because of him who calls…”

      Yes, God calls those He has chosen… irresistibly and effectually. But that is not the primary thrust of the passage. But I’m perfectly willing to talk about EC.

      Reply

  11. OK… back to first base…

    My original post was about ec… you posted the following…

    I have posted brief intro and link to the issue of Pharaoh and the hardening of his heart. It is related to this subject of God’s will. Check it out at http://faithandlife.posterous.com/the-hardening-of-pharaohs-heart

    I went there and made some references.

    Did your reference to Justin’s post not have anything to do with EC, which is what I was addressing or not?

    I am beginning to see why there may be so much confusion and “misunderstanding” when it comes to all this debate…

    ><>”

    Reply

    • Oh, I see why the confusion. No I did not have EC in mind. I do know that was what your original post was about.

      But as you quote of me and the link indicates, I was focusing on the “subject of God’s will.”

      Sorry I caused some confusion.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: