I was struck in church on Sunday by the Westminster Confession of Faiths questions and answers to adoption and justification. These two questions and the one that fallows about sanctification are the most informative to me of God’s character and love. These three acts of adoption into God’s family as a son (a son not in a sexist manner but to emphasize our part in the inheritance of God’s victory over death and sin), justification of all our sin, and sanctification are all works of the Holy Sprit and not of man. I am not the one responsible to free myself or to bring about glorification from sin. Everyday God is pulling me closer to life not because I am good but because he is merciful and loving. This is God’s extravagance that He would not only send his only Son to die that I might live but also that the Holy Spirit would then break and mold God’s people into Christ’s image. Now we are double fold made in the image of God or more correctly set about renewing a corrupted form Adam and Eve were created in.
Knowing all of this though one must question free will and the matter of predestination verses foreknowledge. In the first chapter of Malachi we are presented with the Lord’s true love of Israel as the nation doubts. The people ask how has God loved us? The book of Malachi presents actions in which Israel has been chosen above other peoples and set apart for God’s love. God has chosen them and others have not been chosen. Your friends, family, nice people on the street, and that stupid guy you hate unless they are predestined for heaven will burn in hell for eternity. How can a ‘good’ Christian even think about such things without having their life then filled with crazy proselytizing and despair? It would be easy to think contrary to Biblical understanding that the work Sanctification and Justification are things you do by yourself. If I’m the one that decided that I’ll pick God then people not doing so are at fault. The Holy Spirit enables these actions, not man. SO you are left to wonder why are they burning in hell? If Christ died for the sin of the World where is the lifeless’ justification? The smart answer comes with limited atonement but the soft heated don’t want to be smart.
If it were not for God my heart would be far too hard to turn and see waiting glory. What of free will then? Am I a person capable of such an act? I just don’t understand what free will is and if it exists what implications this makes to the foreknowledge of God. Can God even have foreknowledge? That whole logic train seems silly to me as foreknowledge is based on actions that did not happen. If there is some stupid plane in which blah did not happen and blah happened instead then why the hell is any plane of time legitimate? If truth is truth then there cannot be by definition some other truth or the first truth would be artificial.
I like the book of Malachi because it never questions this problem of why salvation but instead repeats the glory of salvation. Malachi says hey God loves you but you treat Him like a fool and question where the God of judgment is and why He has not provided for you. The book is then ended with some prophetic verses about Christ’s coming. When I reflect upon Malachi who is not bitter in understanding or misunderstanding but thankful. I still am angered and confused. The idea of God’s salvation is so perplexing that I am happy that I am not forced to think about it but am graced to own it’s promises.
I wrote this poem about this problem for me and Cain, Esau, the nation of Edom, and all the rest. I wrote it a bit ago so my voice has changed since then.
A collection of Sin Cain
Sin at the door,
waiting for your anger.
Am I my brother’s keeper, well
red Earth cries out.
Never hearing my plight,
now she will not yield. Enabled
sheep hear beating.
My hands knew your red scalp
Blood of my blood, He gave-took blood
Can’t stand your mark.
My Able brought your true fruit
Seth too from you-Oh that I may
I gave to you.
Esau have I hated.
Jacob have I loved. Election.
Its all for them
They never move nor wake
you moved them all and left me blind