I always have to ask this question… if man is not free to choose, then what is the point of belief? “Though not seeing, they still believe…” If we have no choice but to believe, then the whole thing in my mind would be nothing more than spiritual semantics. I think the greatest glory for God is found in man being totally free – free to receive His love, or reject it as it were. Free to accept or reject God Himself. In fact, faith really is the ability that God gives to man to receive the things of God. Mike
Hi Mike! :)
This is pretty much how I used to see it, and I still have to admit that logically it makes a lot of sense. It’s also only through such reasoning that faith seems to be spiritual semantics. I don’t think belief has a point. It is what it is, and it is a testimony to the miraculous working of God in us. None have truly sought after God, and the fact that you and I have has to say something about something HE has done and not us. If we ask why we believe while others don’t and we come up with any other reason than the grace of God we’ll only end up testifying to man.
I like 1 Cor 4:7 – “What do you have that you have not received, and if you have indeed recieved it, then what to you have to boast in?”
I like this statement, too. It’s a very sobering question that’s based upon the miraculous life we have miraculously received.
“Faith comes by hearing…” An ear does not create sound, it receives it. So does faith. For too long I tried to live by a faith that generated the work of God. Because of an allergy, my ears will ring loudly – I drives me as crazy as my ear generates sound of its own. Ears are not created for that purpose and neither is faith. Both ears and faith are RECEPTORS.
Yeah, me too. My ears ring all the time and the ringing just got louder this past fall after I was recovering from illness. I wish I could just hear nothing when it’s quiet. I guess I played too much loud rock music in the band and put my head too close to the speakers. Then again, my dad didn’t listen to loud music and his ears rang all the time too when he was older.
He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God. John 8:47
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. John 5:24
Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice. John 18:37
The hearing itself is miraculous for it designates that we are of God. No doubt it can be said that we chose him, but that is only looking at it pragmatically. Jesus said that his sheep hears his voice and they followed him. Just notice the lack of wording on John’s part indicating that faith somehow boiled down to some kind of choice. Actually, John says differently:
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:10-13
This is totally miraculous. Whatever this believing and receiving is it has nothing to do with the will of the flesh or of the will of man. Also, notice how it says that no one received him, and then John writes, “But as many as received him”. John presents this apparent contradiction again:
“What He has seen and heard, of that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true.”
If no one receives his testimony, then how can their be those who have received his testimony? He slaps them right together to express the miraculousness of the whole thing.
It is all about the pleasure of God, and the thrill He gets out of free moral beings turning to Him, receiving what He has to give, and responding to Him. So it is with God and His bride – US! he desires us to be active participants, willing and eager so to speak. He does not have any desire to rape or force us to Himself. He is patient, gentle, loving and kind. Does not seek His own way. Bears all things, beleives all things, endures all things. He is faithful and true. Freedom is exactly that. Freedom with no strings attached, expecting nothing in return. that freedom makes me WANT to return and serve and love. It’s His kindness, love and grace that draw me back EVERY time.
I’m not sure where you get this idea of “the thrill He gets out of free moral beings turning to Him” when the free moral beings all rejected him. And the objection that anything other than man being able to make the choice would result in rape is only man’s reasoning, not God’s. Me thinks we confuse him with what we have known of the flesh.