Saturday, October 27, 2012

The message of faith we preach; Confessions of a recovering evangelical 7... another view of election

Before you read this blog post, may I suggest that you read Romans NLT, 9-10-11 at the Bible Gateway? Please read it in its entirety. Keep in mind election. I think you will find that Paul is explaining why many, faithful, Torah observant Jews will be judged harshly in 70CE, and why some Jews and Gentiles will not. It does not support hyper-Calvinism. Most importantly, Romans 11:32 , plainly, unequivocally, supports the idea of universal reconciliation. This makes the pure gospel message… grace alone, faith alone, for the glory of God alone very important.
(Romans 10:8-17 NLT)  In fact, it says, "The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart." And that message is the very message about faith that we preach:  (9)  If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  (10)  For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.  (11)  As the Scriptures tell us, "Anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced."  (12)  Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on Him.  (13)  For "Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved."  (14)  But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?  (15)  And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, "How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!"  (16)  But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, "LORD, who has believed our message?"  (17)  So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.
The above passage of scripture is from the New Living Translation. I would strongly suggest that you get a copy of that some way. You can get it through e-sword, a free online bible software that I highly recommend, or you can simply buy a pew bible, hardback for about $10. If you get it from e-sword there is a fee from the publisher for downloading because the rights to the NLT are owned by Tyndale House Publishers. At any rate, it is written in very understandable English, and it really makes some of the harder passages become crystal clear. While I admit that at times it is tweaked to support a fundamental, evangelical, orthodox view of scripture, the fact is that translators could not keep that going throughout the entire work because there are areas that there is huge disagreement among evangelical fundamentalists, and the ninth, tenth, and eleventh chapter of Romans is one of them.

I suggest that at the very least you go to one of the online bibles and read Romans, chapters nine, ten, and eleven in the NLT version in one setting. There you will find the explanation of why God chose some Jews and some Gentiles to be saved from impending judgment. You can more clearly see that God elected certain ones for the judgment of 70CE among both Jews, and Gentiles, and that by reading Romans 11:32 -36 you will more clearly see the mystery of God’s great love and his ultimate universal reconciliation of all mankind.

This makes the passage that I have featured here all the more important. The good news should be proclaimed and believed. Believing the good news has great reward even while still on this earth. The good news provides eternal assurance of God’s love but, here and now it provides the method for completely resting and trusting in God. It provides the catalyst for the transformation… that is the transformation of fallen humans into reconciled beings that are able to love unconditionally. That will finally only come when more and more groups believe the real gospel in community… what is the real gospel you ask? Simply put it is this: “(9)  If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  (10)  For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.”

How beautiful upon the mountain tops…


  1. Hi Joe, I appreciate your position on the transforming power of the gospel. Isn't U.R. just so much wishful thinking? "Might have mercy" is a far cry from "will have mercy." Jesus and all the apostles spent a lot of time preaching also while in danger too because the day of salvation is now. The rich man in Luke 16 realized this too late just as all dead men shall realize it. The urgency is real because the gravity of the situation is real and not imagined. If that is not true, then it is not really very important to make such a big deal out of the gospel if everyone is to be saved anyway. It would be nonsensical to spend any time and resources on a done deal.

  2. Hi Anonymous,
    I am happy that you are taking the time to read my blogging... thank you. The word might or may is included to help us understand it in English but is not there in the Greek... The best literal translation is "For God shut up all into disobedience, that He may show mercy to all." The may or might is not He may or may not... or... might or might not... The strength of the verse is in the Greek word pavais (pas)ALL are disobedient ALL receive mercy. I understand your eschatology and your hermeneutic... it was mine for many years until I discovered that it would not be the hermeneutic or eschatology of the intended readers. When it is torn from the original audience it loses any reasonable semblance of meaning. You should start at the beginning of the blog and see the developing proof for the eschatology and the hermeneutic. You may have a paradigm shift of your own, and it would be for the good.

    1. Hi Joe,
      "Might have mercy" is a proper rendering of the subjunctive. But I don't have a problem with your translation. In either case, it does not guarantee all will receive mercy, only that it has been offered to all. If it is not accepted in faith, it can not be applied. Gal 3:22 helps clarify: But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Not all receive mercy because not all believe.

  3. I love reading your blogs. It is very thought provoking and inspiring. I have battled this thought in my own mind many times, but keep coming back to the last phrase you wrote. "Believing in your heart, and confessing with your mouth that you are saved" So are you saying that all will believe and confess? How can one be saved if he refuses to believe and confess? I'm not arguing my point, just trying to make sense of how this all fits together.

    1. Hi Melanie,
      This is a great question... Paul meant no doubt that confessing and believing would save from the imminent impending judgment that came in 70AD. We can also use it secondarily to help us affirm that we are reconciled and redeemed. This will help us apprehend and assimilate this assurance here and now. Preaching the gospel aids in this apprehension and the apprehension puts us at peace and produces love. This is the reason that the gospel should still be preached in the light of universal reconciliation... If you have something but don't know it ... it will not benefit in the now.


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