Part 1 found 7
What kind of God is the God of the Bible? Just how Sovereign is He?
Is He a God who hopes all things work out His way, and thankfully, because He knows the end from the beginning, He is able to see that, much to both His and the angels great relief, in the end, ultimately, He wins? Is that it? OR is God carrying out His will even now, so that all the events of time take place according to the counsel of His will (Eph 1:11), so that even man’s rebellion and sin will ultimately serve Him in some way? Just how Sovereign is the God of the Bible?
Is it true to say, as one man did, that “If it were up to God, everybody would repent and be saved”? OR was Jesus right when He said: “All authority is given to Me in heaven and in earth.” (Matt. 28:18) If Jesus has all authority, what kind of authority does He have? Is it authority in every realm except that of human free will? Is that a realm untouchable, as far as God is concerned? Is it true to say (as many do) that God is a “gentleman” who will never interfere with man’s free will? (Just think about that for a moment. If that is true, who is Sovereign, ultimately??? Wouldn’t that mean that man is Sovereign?) OR was Nebuchadnezzar right when he said: “all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He does according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say to Him, ‘What are you doing?'” (Daniel 4:35)
And another question, “Can anyone actually know the answers to these questions, or is the situation as some have said “great minds differ on these things and so we are not meant to know the answers this side of heaven?”
I suggest that the issues these questions raise are anything but trivial and that indeed, the answers are clear from Scripture. I also believe God wants us to know the answers so that we might know the extent of His love, grace and Sovereignty. I would also suggest that God holds us accountable to know these things because of the simple fact that He has revealed the answers in Scripture, and to be wrong on these things is serious error indeed. To err here is to misunderstand and (if we tell others our errors) to misrepresent the God of the Bible.
In this video below, we are introduced to the assumptions of the course and the first of the topics Dr. Piper will take us through – grace and whether there is a kind of grace that is irresistible.
Verses such as Acts 7:51 show us that people resist God’s grace everyday. That is not in dispute. The reformed person acknowledges that man in his unregenerate state will resist God’s grace all the way to hell, UNLESS God intervenes with what is called Irresistible Grace. This is a grace so strong, that it overcomes the rebellion and hostility in the human heart, so that the sinner is made a new creature with a heart that sees the beauty, wonder and riches of Christ as sweeter than anything else in this world, so that Christ becomes.. well.. irresisitible to him. In this scheme, salvation is not just hardly likely, but absolutely impossible apart from this kind of grace. What is impossible with man is only possible with God. God has to turn the heart of stone into a heart of flesh and change the “want to” of the human heart. The very worst thing that God could ever do is leave us in the hands of our boasted human free will and autonomy?
The question is, “does the Bible teach this concept?” What does it mean when the Bible says, “…these whom He called, He also justified.” (Rom. 8:30). Is it true to say that in addition to the outward general call to salvation which is made to everyone who hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The external call (which is made to all without distinction) can be, and often is, rejected; whereas the internal call (which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected, it always results in conversion. By means of this special effectual call, the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man’s will, nor is He dependent upon man’s cooperation for success. The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ.
I hope this brief introduction whets your appetite for this second installment of Dr. John Piper’s TULIP video series; by far, the longest of the course. Enjoy!
But before I go… just a few brief words about comments:
Comments are very welcome here. Please watch the entire video before posting comments (you might find that your question or concern is actually answered in the video).
I read every comment, though I do not respond to every one.
Blog commenting is one more avenue in which we can live out gospel-ignited love toward one another. A blog is not a place where we can take a vacation from Christian love; it is a prime opportunity to exercise it. Please comment clearly, thoughtfully, briefly and humbly.
Obnoxious comments will be deleted. This is my blog, so I determine what crosses the line into being obnoxious. I welcome discussion and even debate, but I will not allow this blog to become a platform for the ‘word-wars’ against which the New Testament repeatedly warns us.
No anonymous comments please.
Before you start watching the video, may I suggest that you pray that God would open up your heart and mind to His truth, to guard you from error, and lead you, by His Spirit, to discover rich things from His word, for His name sake and glory. With all that said, here’s the video. God bless you!
Part 3 of the TULIP seminar is now posted here.