Saturday, February 18, 2017

Election: The Calvinist Arminian Debate; Are both wrong? Part 3

This is the third post in this series. You can read Part 1 and Part 2 here.

It is my belief that all of the discussion in the New Testament about election is there to explain why the Jews who were God's elect in the Old Testament missed out on their Messiah, and why the Gentiles who had not believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were included in the New Covenant in great numbers while the Jews were not.

Romans chapters nine, ten, and eleven are Paul's mini opus on this subject. Paul began his apostolic mission evangelizing the Jews in the diaspora. However, God had chosen him ultimately to be the apostle to the Gentiles, and not just to the Gentiles but specifically to the new creation/ new creature of the New Covenant. The timing of the New Testament writings are unique. There is a transition taking place from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. It is a gradual transition that took place in various stages. This transition began with John the Baptist, the last Jewish prophet other than Christ, and moved on through the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The next phase in the transition was Pentecost, and the birth of the first Christian church... still strictly Jewish. It went on from there to the home of Cornelius, where God gave the Holy Spirit to Gentile God fearers. Shortly after that, God showed Paul that he wanted him to move on to the Gentiles and Paul was given revelation about the New Creation.

Also, during this period, it would appear to the onlooker that God had two plans in the works. One, the Old Covenant Jews following the Torah, and the second, the Christ followers made up of believing Jews and Gentiles. Both were claiming that they were the true people of God. Both sincerely thought that they were following God. Jesus told his disciples that the time would come that those who would kill and incarcerate them would believe they were doing service to God. So, when Paul wrote about awaiting the manifestation of the sons of God, he was speaking of a time when God would demonstrate who his true people, true followers were. Jesus had prophesied that this would be accomplished by the destruction of the temple. I like the way that the NLT phrases Romans 8:19 NLT "For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who His children really are." How would that come about? The first century believers thought that it would be established by the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem. Yes, the manifestation of the sons of God was accomplished by the destruction of the temple. This is a theme throughout the book of Hebrews that I believe is the Rosetta Stone of the New Covenant.

The emphasis on election then was not to show that God arbitrarily elected some to salvation. It was to deal with the reasons for the rejection of many of the Old Covenant Jews. However, Paul also states that the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable. The unbelieving Jews were not eliminated from God's plan for all which was eternal life. They were hardened for a time, until the fullness of the Gentiles were brought into the New Covenant. If you look at Part 2 of this series you will discover that there are three distinct ages... Adam to Abraham.... Abraham to Christ.... Christ to the year 2000 give or take.... and there is now quite likely the beginning of yet another age. I would also call those ages, "humanity in general".... "Old Covenant"...... "Christian Church".... and the age we are now approaching "New Jerusalem." I predict that this age will be one of inclusion. However, the Old never dies easily, and Judaism is still alive and well today.

So then, there is an alternate way to look at the facts. If presuppositions change, the paradigm can shift, and for me it has. Once a person has changed the presuppositions, then either paradigm can be valid and that is where using the preponderance of the scriptural evidence comes into play to convince one of the correctness of a paradigm. There is an equally valid alternative way to look at election. This is my reason for this series. It will never be understood completely without reading the entire series and that means looking forward to subsequent posts as well.

More to come!

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