Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Election Update

As I 've worked through the 5 points of Calvinism the past couple of months, I've really found such a great peace about things that terribly disturbed me. The doctrine of election was such a stumbling block for me. Of course it's in the Bible. Everyone knows that (I think). But I didn't want to give it too much weight. I wanted to keep it securely tied to free will. Because there were things I didn't like about election. To me, if some were elect, then some were obviously not elect. And this was a problem for me.

Let me backtrack a bit. My Pappy (my maternal grandfather) was probably my favorite, most loved person in the world. I was his first grandchild, and the only one for six years until my brother was born. I was his "baby." My Grandma still calls me that. I prayed for him to be saved every day for as long as I can remember. Then one Sunday morning, when I was ten years old, he had a massive heart attack. He died. I had prayed for my daddy to be saved, and when I was three, he gave his life to Christ and soon was called to preach. I prayed for my aunt to be saved, and when I was seven, she received Christ. I prayed for my Pap to be saved... and he died... and went to hell. And I can't say or think that 20 years later without sobbing.

So this election thing bothered me. It bothered me that he could go to hell period. Because he wasn't just some nebulous "someone who rejected Christ." But worse still, could God elect some people and not others? Why not him? This was personal. Intensely personal. And the dialogue of my thoughts bordered on blasphemous. How could God do this? How could it be right? And yet at the same time I was so grateful for what He has done for me. And I knew that God's thoughts are high above our thoughts.

So, there were times that I was so overwhelmed by God and who He is, that my questions suddenly paled in comparison. And there were many more times that I simply pushed those thoughts back away, into their little corner, because I still couldn't figure it out.

Now don't think that I have it all figured out now. But a few things have become crystal clear to me.

Several posts at the Irish Calvinist dealing with election and limited atonement gave me yet another opportunity to work through these things. And Eric was ready to give Biblical answers to any questions I brought up. I also recently worked through what a truly biblical view of assurance of salvation was. And I was also confronted with an angle of this isssue in the Way of the Master evangelism Sunday school class at church. So it was time to once again try to reconcile the God I love with His ways that I cannot understand.

Then my brother was arrested again and went back to prison. He knows so much about God. He has a level of discernment in theology that just blows your mind when you try to put it together with a life that is obviously not the life of one who is attached to The Vine. In the midst of the pain his actions and continued lack of submission to His Creator caused my family, God spoke to me. I shared it with you then, but I didn't realize the ripple of impact it would have in my own heart:

God will always get glory from whatever happens. We just have to adjust our thinking. Even in terms of the eternal destinies of those we love most. My new prayer became, "God make my desire to see you be glorified more important than anything I feel, or anyone that I love."

And that really was the key all along. Do I want God's truth or Alicia's truth? Do I want God to be glorified, or do I simply want what I want? I had had a sneaking suspicion that if I really loved God more than I loved these people that I've loved and held here on earth, I would have a better perspective. God's glory is the most important thing. Jesus said, "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." Make my desire to see you be glorified more important than anything I feel, or anyone I love.

Once I put my issues aside and opened my heart to what the Scipture was saying I was able to grasp the complete depravity and hopelessness of fallen man. The free will is there, but we would never choose him without Divine intervention. We would choose our own way. Yet He chose us before the foundations of the world. For his glory. Soli Deo Gloria!


Kim said...

Wow...Alicia,I had no idea you have been struggling with all this! I'm so thankful that you have been searching the scriptures and counsel from others...it is sometimes hard to grasp...the balance between God's sovereign grace and man's responsibility...and about your grandfather,this made me so sad....I would wonder why,too! I ask why a lot,but have come to the conclusion,like you,that God has to do what He pleases for His glory...or He would not be God.

I sure do not understand it all.

BTW,I have gone to Irish Calvinist blog a lot lately...from your blog(thanks!)...now he is one of my favorites! he has a great deal of wisdon and depth that is hard to find in the blog world. My husband and I have been reading it.(actually my 14 year old,too!)

praying for you today-


Hannah said...

Just thinking...Does the fact that Pap never got saved make you witness to people more or less? Maybe your answer is quite literally...your answer.

Alicia said...

While I am definitely still working at being the witness I ought to be, losing Pap has made keenly aware that each time I see someone could be the last time that I see (or speak)to them. And I have taken the time to write letters, etc. probably at least partially influenced by that reality.

Hannah said...

This might sound harsh, but more often than not, I'm very glad that I didn't know Pap as well as you did. I don't think I would be able to wrap my mind around it either. Love ya.

Terri said...

I wasn't actually going to comment on this post but the more I thought about it the more I felt compelled to write. As you know, I do not believe in predestination so this is from my standpoint. PLEASE check out this link http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/destined.html

I am not a fan of discussing issues such as this via a blog, email or otherwise as I prefer to talk in person when things require such back and forth views & discussion. I wish that Joe & I could sit in your living room and chat but that isn't possible so I am going to try and avoid this subject in the future.

I don't think God condemed your Pap to hell but it is unfortunate and sad if he didn't choose to accept the love of God. HIS blood was/is applicable to ALL - all we need to do is apply it.

Alicia said...

We're so behind on a phone chat already! Just to clarify to you as well as my other readers, my original thoughts on election (expressed near the top of the article) certainly have grown and changed. I believe that we are all condemned to hell because of our sin, and he unfortunately did choose to reject Christ. I do indeed now place that responsibility back with him. Fallen man is at enmity with God. Only through His grace and mercy given to us at the cross, can any of us be saved from death.