articles of chapter 6

The Bondage of the Will

The Reformer Martin Luther, about 500 years ago, accepted the idea of a positive preordain for the saved, but left the negative preordain open concerning damnation. On this basis, it is understandable Luther’s perceptions that one cannot influence one’s own salvation, the doctrine of The Bondage of the Will, of which he wrote in 1525. It seems to be very close to Calvin’s doctrine. I will study more closely related biblical verses. Already at this point, I want to say that in my understanding in many places the Bible calls upon man to repent and to obey both the commandments of God and Jesus in order to be saved. It means that man can compete with himself and thus with his own effort get God’s forgiveness and through faith and grace achieve salvation. Salvation can require hard work, while damnation can be easily achieved., while damnation can easily be achieved.

Jam 2:5 Listen, my beloved brothers. Didn’t God choose those who are poor in this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to those who love him?

Rom 8:29-30 For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Whom he predestined, those he also called. Whom he called, those he also justified. Whom he justified, those he also glorified.

There are a number of passages that can be used as a justification for predestination as Calvin:

Rom 9:15…I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy. 21 Or hasn’t the potter a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one part a vessel for honor, and another for dishonor? 23 and that he might make known the riches of his glory on vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory,

God is like a potter who has the right to create vessels for any use, even to be abandoned. We do not know about God’s intentions, we know just what he declares in the Bible. God has indeed created people for different purposes. Therefore, in his word, he has allotted to each a measure of faith..

Rom 12:3 For by the grace given to me I ask every one of you not to think of yourself more highly than you should think, rather to think of yourself with sober judgment on the measure of faith that God has assigned each of you.

Why has not God-given everyone faith according to the same measure? And yet, God desires all to be saved. 1 Tim 2:4 … who desires all people to be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth.

One could draw the conclusion that salvation is possible even for someone whose faith is weaker than those that God has chosen before the world began:
Eph 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without blemish before him in love;
5 having predestined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his desire,
6 to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he freely bestowed favor on us in the Beloved,
7 in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, which 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him
10 to an administration of the fullness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, in him;
11 in whom also we were assigned an inheritance, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his will;

But are people marionettes with no will of their own who do not understand their own good and do not even think about the importance of choice? Reformed theology solves the problem of human undecided behavior in another way: Since God is omnipotent he has created us so that some know and understand to receive Christ in their free will. God’s mercy and the free will of man are therefore not in conflict with each other.

So, if God has preordained certain people for salvation, then what is the fate of others? Are they doomed to destruction? But God says he wants all people to be saved!

2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some count slowness; but is patient with us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. – The Bible cannot be controversial, so some explanation for this seemingly contradiction must be.

In the Catechism, the Lutheran Church is committed to Luther’s teachings, which he has expressed in the Catechism this way: I believe that I cannot from my wisdom and my power believe in Christ and come to him, but that the Holy Spirit has called me through the gospel. – The Holy Spirit calls many: For many are called, but few are chosen. (Mat 22:14)

Why are not all called? – The answer to this may simply be that the message of the gospel does not reach all people, but those that are reached they are all called. The fact that there are so few chosen ones is due firstly to the fact that only a small part of those invited will accept the invitation. Another possibility is that before God’s creation, God has seen and determined that a small number of people he calls and elects to lead mankind as “kings and priests” together with Christ: And made them kings and priests to our God, and they reign on earth”. (Rev 5:10)

At least the apostles and even Christ Himself was chosen according to the Ephesians before the creation of the world. Perhaps Judas Iscariot, even though in this regard the foreknowledge of God meant that He knew beforehand that Judas was going to betray Jesus. God has called many others: few have come to be elected, or would I say be accepted in God’s eyes. However, it has often happened that the chosen person will not endure until the end, but abandons his faith under external pressures. The pressures and temptations, and the great miracles at the end time, will misguide people and are actions of Satan. No one, in my view, was predetermined in condemnation. Jesus wondered if he could find faith when he comes for the second time.

The reformed theology of Calvin (and Ulrich Zwingli) emphasizes the glory and sovereignty of God. Did Jesus by his death redeemed actually only those whom God had chosen to save? If it is considered that Jesus died for all, then the principle of human free choice is adapted; without the free choice, the death of Jesus for all is not acceptable. Jehovah’s Witnesses have also put forward the idea that Jesus, unlike the Scripture, is not the Mediator between all men and God, but only the chosen ones of God, a small flock of 144,000. These chosen ones are Jehovah’s Witnesses in their edifice.

 

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