Join the club! It’s back to the #BibleBookClub here at TheAnonymousNovelist.com! I’m lovin’ this. It’s my mandatory #BibleStudy for the week. I must’ve been on Twitter too long this morning, I’m writing everything in #Hashtags…

Let’s Begin:

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” –1 Peter 1:1-2

What I see when I look at this passage is the word ‘elect’. It really jumps out at me as an anti-calvinist, (not really, but some days it’s hard not to be). I’m not opposed to the wisdom of the doctrines of Calvin, but the cultish aura of his “followers”, and the principles behind Calvin’s 5 points is disparaging to the gospel. I simply don’t see evidence to sway me against the nature of free will, grace, God’s judgement, God’s power to save and secure souls, and the mercy of forgiveness.

Pardon me while I go off on a rant.

The story of grace loses its luster and mercy its beneficence when you presuppose that Mankind is on a collision course with destiny. It removes God from the throne to attribute to Him power to control the world which needs no God. Think of it, if the perfect course of the world was set before the foundations were laid, God could simply sit back and watch as nothing would divert the impending course of the future. Why would we need God at all after His involvement in establishing the world was finished? Do we have an Omnipotent God incapable of securing the future He desires? Is the God of eternity too small to need a hand in constant maintenance of His perfect world?

  • A God who can create a perfect world, need not sustain a perfect world.

In His matchless ability, He has no need to care for a world over which He has unlimited authority. There is no need for God to oversee a world He can shift like the rivers of water. Why would God need to preside over a perfect world? If the world was perfect in the beginning, and everything which followed was part of God’s perfect plan from before time, then history to this point has been perfect.

Enter Stage Left- Mankind

Mankind was created for God’s pleasure, to preside over creation. Why? Because God could not care for His own creation? Of course not! But rather, because God loved Mankind enough to entrust Him with His perfect world. Because. For Man to truly enjoy and worship God in fullness while on earth, He must experience the Hand of God at work around Him. God sustains earth in ways science cannot even explain. He holds life and breathe in His hand, for this and all creation, Man worshipped His creator.

  • Mankind, given the choice between God and self, willfully chose self.

How did we ever get the notion that in a perfect world, with a perfect God, in perfect harmony, with a perfect Mankind created for His good pleasure, Man could sin. How? How could anything go amiss in a world functioning EXACTLY as God created it to? Did God, just for kicks, predestine Mankind to rebel and be condemned only to then redeem said sinner? First, God would have to put sin in Man’s heart. Previously, Man was a good and perfect creation. Sin wasn’t an option because God’s creation was good and God does not call sin good. Man brought sin into the world, but how?

You see, I don’t believe God would set in motion events spanning history simply because He thought it would be a great laugh and a chance to show off that He could save these pitiful creatures who He Himself had condemned to sin in the garden.

Then Why Did It Happen?

There’s another piece to this puzzle. There has to be. What I know about the nature of God goes against most everything hyper-calvinists believe about the order of the world. I cannot accept that God condemned a perfect world in order to save it. I cannot believe that a God who hates sins would cause it into being, ravaging His perfect world, killing His son, isolating His beloved creation from Him, and intentionally condemning Billions of humans, whom He loves to Hell.

  • Mankind is its own worst enemy and God knows it.

God created Man with one great weakness. A caveat, both the greatest flaw and greatest perfection of this creation: the ability to chose. God doesn’t desire the mandatory praise of creation like He does the voluntary praise of Mankind. If it were so, humans would be as plants, and our praise would be unending and unwavering. Yet, endowed by our creator with what we call a Free-Will, we have been given a choice between good and evil, life and death.

The Bible doesn’t say “For as by God’s sovereignty many were made sinners”. It says, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners”(Romans 5:19). God didn’t cause sin, He merely allowed it. Not because He desired our separation from Him and the damnation of souls for millennia. He allowed it because He loves us and desires that we chose to love Him back. God loves you enough not to run your life for you. That doesn’t mean He is hands-off, it just means that, (in my opinion), God isn’t actively making your decisions for you like a cosmic chess game where He plays both sides.

I love these next verses, for in the same way I hear Calvinist friends speak of the rest and peace of knowing, they’re not in control and that God is, (pertaining to salvation). I find a a great peace in knowing that I deserved death voluntarily by sinning, Christ paid for my death voluntarily by coming, I accepted Christ voluntary as my Lord, and He obligatorily saved me: for He promised to do so. I find peace in knowing it was my fault, but God’s loved pursued me, a sinner to save.

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”–Romans 5:12

You might ask, “where’s the hope and peace in that?” Well, it doesn’t stop there.

“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

I know I’m pulling all of this from a single chapter in Romans to emphasis something from 1 Peter, but it’s just so good. God, actively commends love toward us; those who fell by the willful disobedience of one man. We fell away, yet God pursued us throughout history, preparing the stage for Christ to come and save. He foreknew the outcome, He saw sin coming, but didn’t stop it from interrupting His perfect world. Why? Because He desires Mankind to choose to love Him.

Back to the passage at hand, 1 Peter 1:1-2.

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” –1 Peter 1:1-2

The elect according to the foreknowledge of God, not the fore-ordinance of God. God knew the jews would reject Him, so He elected to save the gentiles also, the strangers of God. The Israelites were His people, but now the gentiles have been grafted into the Children of God by His election. In light of what we just talked about, this makes salvation come alive to me!

Now, just because I disagree with Calvinist beliefs, many of my close friends see them in a different light. It doesn’t hurt our friendships that we disagree. Why? Because I don’t care as much about what you believe as much as I care about how what you believe effects your living and witness. But, I see God as a terrible judge and loving father, because I believe in Free-Will. I see His justice righteous and vindicated because I believe in Free-Will. Grace is only marvelous and amazing because we don’t deserve it.

This post ended up being a lot more controversial than I intended it to be… Oh well, I guess that’s not a bad thing… Let me know what you think. I’d love to chat about all this with you!

Stay classy.

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