You are called

This is the fifth in a series of excerpts from the new MBC resource, “What Every Christian Should Know About Salvation,” available at mobaptist.org/apologetics.

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While there is a general call to everyone to trust in Christ through the proclamation of the gospel, God also extends an effectual call to those He foreknew, elected, and predestined. For every child of God, there is a time when the Holy Spirit draws him or her personally to faith in Christ, resulting in belief and repentance that lead to everlasting life.

The words “call,” “called,” and “calling” in Scripture are derived from several Hebrew and Greek words and are applied in various ways. Generally speaking, these words mean  “to call, summon, invite, appeal, or proclaim.”

Concerning God’s call to salvation, William Mounce writes, “When God calls, it is a call that roots in predestination and ends in glorification (Rom. 8:29-30). God calls us by his grace. But his calling is not only to salvation; it is also to a life of serving him and our fellow believers.”

This call is expressed in two ways in the New Testament: A general call to everyone through creation, conscience, the canon of Scripture, and the gospel of Christ; and an effectual call to those God foreknew, elected, and predestined, resulting in belief and repentance that lead to everlasting life. God chooses His people unconditionally, yet eternal life is conditioned on faith in Christ.

This is not a mechanistic process by which God fatalistically picks some for eternal life and, with equal passion, morbidly chooses others for outer darkness. Rather, it is a mysterious working of the triune God as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit call upon all people to repent, while enabling those who receive the call to enter God’s kingdom.
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Should we thank God for earthquakes?

The Lisbon earthquake of 1755 changed everything. In minutes this thriving, affluent city was brought to its knees. Roughly 50,000 people died. The sky turned black. Fires raged. Then tidal waves washed over the port, drowning hundreds more.

Later, Voltaire wrote a poem challenging the prevailing view that this was a divine act of judgment. “Whilst you these facts replete with horror view, will you maintain death to their crimes was due?” he penned, adding, “Can you then impute a sinful deed, to babes who on their mother’s bosoms feed?”

Voltaire did not challenge the existence of God. He simply asked what kind of deity would create a world with such design flaws. It’s a question other great thinkers of his day dared to ask as well – a question taken up by today’s angry atheists and carried to the extreme conclusion that God does not exist.

The earthquake and tsunami that devastated Southeast Asia in 2004, and a similar disaster that struck Japan in 2011, are more recent examples of what may be described as natural evil. While many atheists concede that moral evil exists in the world, the idea of natural evil seems to prove either that God does not exist or, if He does, He is not a compassionate, all-powerful God worthy of worship.

Not so fast.
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You are predestined

This is the fourth in a series of excerpts from the new MBC resource, “What Every Christian Should Know About Salvation,” available at mobaptist.org/apologetics.

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The Bible refers to some people as “predestined.” What does that mean? How does predestination fit into God’s work of redemption? And if the Bible presents a fatalistic view of predestination, is there any room for human freedom?

As we search the Scriptures for answers, it’s good to remember that, for followers of Jesus, it is biblically faithful to say, “I am predestined.”

Predestination is God’s plan from eternity past to complete the work of redemption in every saint, fully conforming us to the image of His Son.

The Greek word proorizo and its variations, found six times in the New Testament, carry the meaning of “predestine,” “limit or mark out beforehand,” “design definitely beforehand,” or “ordain ahead of time.” Proorizo comes from two Greek words: pro, which means “before” or “ahead of,” and horizo, which means “to appoint, decide, or determine.”
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Did Jesus suffer in hell (part 2)?

This is the second in a two-part series on the whereabouts of Jesus between His death and resurrection.

In the previous column we addressed different views about where Jesus went between His death and resurrection.

Now, we briefly examine five New Testament passages that in some way touch on the subject. Keep in mind the most biblically faithful view: Jesus neither went to hell (Gehenna) nor to Hades (the temporary abode of the dead) but to heaven after His death.

Acts 2:27 – “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption“ (KJV).

In this portion of Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, he quotes from Ps. 16:10, a psalm of David and a Messianic psalm that Peter applies to Jesus.

The word translated “hell” in the King James rendering of Acts 2:27 is the Greek term Hades, which is similar to the Hebrew word Sheol. In both cases, it is a flexible term that most often refers to the temporary abode of the dead but can mean “grave.”

The New International Version (NIV) translates this, “Because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.” This is preferable because the context emphasizes that Christ rose bodily from the dead as opposed to David, whose body is still there.

The Christian Standard Bible (CSB) renders this passage, “because you will not abandon me in Hades or allow your holy one to see decay.” This translation acknowledges that David’s soul went to Hades without assigning Jesus’ soul to the same place.
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