Tagged: Election

You are foreknown

This is the second 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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God knows everything, which means nothing surprises Him. Satan’s brash rebellion didn’t catch the Creator off guard. Neither did Adam’s fall send the Lord into divine panic, forcing Him to sacrifice His Son in a desperate “Plan B.”

Every event in time and eternity plays out exactly as God knows it will. His foreknowledge is more than perfect, however; it’s personal.

If you are a follower of Jesus, it is biblically faithful to declare, “I am foreknown.”
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And a third angel followed them – Revelation 14:9-11

Previously: A second angel followed – Revelation 14:8

The scripture

Rev. 14:9 – And a third angel followed them and spoke with a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he will also drink the wine of God’s wrath, which is mixed full strength in the cup of His anger. He will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the sight of the holy angels and in the sight of the Lamb, 11 and the smoke of their torment will go up forever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or anyone who receives the mark of his name.” (HCSB)

HellA third angel followed them

A third angel follows the other two and pronounces woe on those who worship the beast and his image and receive a mark on their foreheads or hands. The consequences of rejecting God – who has revealed Himself in creation, conscience, Christ, and the canon of scripture – are spelled out plainly. The one who embraces the beast will experience the consequences of his or her rebellion.

First, the beast worshiper will “drink the wine of God’s wrath, which is mixed full strength in the cup of His anger” (v. 10a). The Greek word for “cup,” poterion, is used 82 times in the New Testament (HCSB) and denotes a drinking vessel of any sort. Commonly, a cup is a small bowl made of pottery, wider and shallower than today’s tea cups. However, the wealthy enjoy their drinks in goblet-shaped cups of metal or glass. The cup used at the Last Supper likely is an earthenware bowl large enough for all to share.

Figuratively, however, throughout the Bible the word “cup” may describe a measure of blessings or wrath divinely allotted to people or nations:

  • In Psalm 16:5, David calls the Lord “my portion and my cup of blessing.”
  • In Psalm 116:12-13, the writer declares, “How can I repay the Lord for all the good He has done for me? I will take the cup of salvation and call on the name of Yahweh.”
  • But in Isaiah 51:17, the prophet warns, “Wake yourself, wake yourself up! Stand up, Jerusalem, you have drunk the cup of His fury from the hand of the Lord; you who have drunk the goblet to the dregs – the cup that causes people to stagger.”
  • In the Garden of Gethsemane, as Jesus agonizes over His impending suffering and death, He prays, “My Father! If it is possible let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39).
  • And moments later, after Peter cuts of the ear of the high priest’s slave, Jesus tells him, “Sheathe your sword! Am I not to drink the cup the Father has given Me?” The cup Jesus endures, of course, is His sacrificial and substitutionary death on the cross to secure our salvation, a most bitter cup as “the One who did not know sin [became] sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). It’s also a cup Jesus endures “for the joy that lay before Him” because it results in our salvation (Heb. 12:2).

But now in Revelation the cup, which the Babylonians entice the world to drink, is turned into the cup of God’s wrath.

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Everyone whose name was not written – Revelation 13:8

Previously: He was permitted to wage war – Revelation 13:7

The scripture

Rev. 13:8 – All those who live on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name was not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slaughtered. (HCSB)

ScrollGod’s sovereignty and human freedom

The sovereignty of God and the freedom of human beings are two seemingly irreconcilable biblical truths. Just as Satan acts freely to empower a beast who acts freely, those who worship these evil beings act freely as well. They make choices for which they are held accountable, and unbelievers will join Satan, the beast and the false prophet in the lake of fire. At the same time, their deeds are known to God and always have been known by Him, just as the willful acts of believers always have been in God’s view.

While some argue that God merely foresees the faith of the righteous and the rebellion of the unrighteous, and others contend that God has determined all things (without becoming the Author of sin or the Creator of a fixed game), it appears the ways of God are beyond human understanding. If God can allow Satan and his minions to slaughter countless Christians for no other reason than their staunch faith in His Son, and through these sinful acts enable believers to conquer the dragon by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, can He not also allow unbelievers to worship a false Messiah and vindicate Himself in their judgment?

We do God a disservice when we accuse Him either of dispassionate sovereignty or spineless foreknowledge. He is sovereign. He knows all things. He has all power and authority. And in the midst of this mind-boggling transcendence, He created people in His image and entrusted them with the ability to make choices for which they are held responsible. Though the beast-worshiping unbelievers of Revelation 13 are excluded from the Lamb’s book of life, they would never have signed their names anyway – even if the Son of God opened the pages Himself and offered them a pen.

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The Doctrine of Divine Election – Download Free Study

The debate over the doctrine of divine election goes back at least as far as the 5th Century but came into sharpest focus in the wake of the Reformation. Calvinism is enjoying a resurgence today among many evangelical Christians. What is Calvinism? Arminianism? What “doctrines of grace” does TULIP represent? How are the sovereignty of God and the freedom of people compatible? Is it possible to go too far in embracing Reformed theology? And where do you fall on the “five-point” scale? This study takes a balanced approach to Calvinism and Arminianism and attempts to explain the similarities and differences between them.

Download the free study:  Chosen and Free – The Doctrine of Divine Election

The Doctrine of Divine Election — download free study

The debate over the doctrine of divine election goes back at least as far as the 5th Century but came into sharpest focus in the wake of the Reformation. Calvinism is enjoying a resurgence today among many evangelical Christians. What is Calvinism? Arminianism? What “doctrines of grace” does TULIP represent? How are the sovereignty of God and the freedom of people compatible? Is it possible to go too far in embracing Reformed theology? And where do you fall on the “five-point” scale? This study takes a balanced approach to Calvinism and Arminianism and attempts to explain the similarities and differences between them.

Download free study