The Abomination of Easy-Believism – Part 4 – The Real God of the Bible

 

by Mike Ratliff

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5 ESV)

Several years ago my wife fell down stairs while visiting our daughter in Oklahoma. She broke her leg. She actually shattered one of the bones right above her ankle. It required surgery and some metal plates to be used to hold her bones together. Our former Pastor came and sat with me in the waiting room while my wife’s surgery took place. We discussed all sorts of things. One of the things that we spent a great deal of time on was Easy-Believism and how those who adhere to it have an incomplete view of God. He said, “It is quite foolish to think that one attribute of God, His love, can trump His Holiness or His Righteousness or His Justice.” This from a man who is not Reformed in his theology and has even preached sermons siding with John Wesley in the Calvinist vs. Arminian debate. 

The Easy-Believism vs the Genuine Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ debate is not part of the Reformed vs. Arminian debate even though some are implying that it is. I have received several comments and emails from folks who are insisting that a series like this is an attack on the Love of God as expressed in the Cross by elevating God’s Sovereignty higher than the Bible actually does. Does God’s love trump His justice? Does His love trump His omnipotence? Does His love trump His Own Word in what He says about Himself? 

There is one God, only one. He is the living God. He is not subject to the whims of Men nor is He limited in any way by creation. He is all sufficient. He is infinite and all knowing (John 4:24). He is perfect in all His attributes. He is one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14). Each Person in the Trinity are equally deserving of worship and obedience. 

God the Father orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and grace (Psalm 145:8,9; 1 Corinthians 8:6). He is the Creator of all things (Genesis 1:1-31; Ephesians 3:9). As the only absolute and omnipotent ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Psalm 103:19; Romans 11:36). He refers to Himself and is referred to by the Son as Father because He is the Heavenly Father of all who are in His Kingdom. As the Creator of all things, He is the Father to all people (Ephesians 4:6), but He is the Spiritual Father only to the redeemed (Romans 8:14; 2 Corinthians 6:18). His glory is paramount and He has commanded all things that come to pass (Ephesians 1:11). His sovereignty is complete and within that He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events (1 Chronicles 29:11), but He is neither the author nor approver of sin (Habbakuk 1:13). Being Holy, Righteous, the coming Judgment is certain, therefore, the wise fear Him (1 Peter 1:17). He chose the elect in eternity before creating the world (Ephesians 1:4-6). He saves from sin all who come to Him, adopting them into His family (John 1:12; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Hebrews 12:5-9). 

God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, possess all of the divine attributes of God the Father (John 10:30; 14:9). God the Father created everything according to His will through the Son (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2). At His incarnation as Jesus, the Son remained God. He only took on the essential characteristics of humanity except that He had no sin nature. In this, He became the God-man (Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 2:9). Since Jesus Christ is both God and man, He represents both humanity and deity in indivisible oneness. (Micah 5:2; John 5:23; 14:9,10; Colossians 2:9). He was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23-25; Luke 1:26-35).  He was God incarnate (John 1:1,14). The purpose of His incarnation was to reveal God to man, redeem men, and rule over God’s Kingdom (Psalm 2:7-9; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:29; Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 7:25,26; 1 Peter 1:18,19). 

In His incarnation, the Son laid aside His rights as the second person of the Trinity, assumed the place of a Son, and became a servant. However, He remained God (Philippians 2:5-8). He ministered for three years when He came of age. At the end of that time, He was arrested, tried, and executed on a cruel cross. In this He accomplished the redemption of the elect through the shedding of His blood and death on the cross. His death was completely voluntary. While on the cross He took the judgment of the Father against the sin of the elect. This redeemed them and He became the propitiation for their sins (John 10:15; Romans 3:24,25; 5:8; 1 Peter 2:24).

All sinners who believe are freed from the punishment, the penalty, the power, and eventually the very presence of sin because of the efficacy of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. These believers are declared righteous by the Father. He gives them eternal life and adopts them into His family (Romans 3:25; 5:8,9; 2 Corinthians 5:14,15; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18). It is Christ’s resurrection on the third day that seals the justification of the elect. He is now at the right hand of the Father interceding for the elect as their Advocate and High Priest (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:38, 39; Acts 2:30,31; Romans 4:25; 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1).  Christ’s resurrection confirmed three things. First, He is God the Son. Second,  the Father accepted the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Third, it guaranteed the resurrection of all believers. (John 5:25-29; 14:19; Romans 4:25; 6:5-10; 1 Corinthians 15:20,23). Jesus Christ is the one through whom God will judge all mankind (John 5:22-23).

Partially adapted from the Overview of Theology found in the John MacArthur Study Bible, pages 2192-2193. 

Now, is God simply Love? Yes, He is love, but He is also Holy, Righteous, and Just. The Cross is incredible. Through it, Christ purchased His people. He bought them with the price of His blood. Amen! Praise the Lord! However, does this nullify God’s character? Is He not going to judge the living and the dead? I am very grateful that my sins have already been judged. However, those who do not believe, being dead in their sins, are condemned already. 

Easy-Believism is a form of the gospel whose advocates deliberately or intentionally refuse to include the necessity of surrender and submission to the Lordship of Christ at salvation. They also refuse to include the necessity of repentance from sin, but as we saw above, God’s interaction with Man is all wrapped up in saving men from the power and penalty and presence of sin without God having to violate His Holiness and Righteousness. He sent His Son to accomplish the redemption of those who will believe. To teach that He would then look the other way and not care whether a professing believer is walking in repentance or not is ludicrous. 

I read one complaint today in which the person taking issue with this series used the thief on the cross as Easy-Believism in action. Didn’t Jesus tell the man that that very day he would be with the Lord in Paradise? All the man did was say, “Remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” Is that all there was to it? Is this belief without repentance and submission to the Lordship of Christ? Here is the passage.

And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:33-43 ESV)

This is our Lord’s crucifixion. He was crucified between two criminals. As He was being crucified, what did our Lord say? He said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Those crucifying our Lord took his clothes and gambled for them. People watched. Some mocked Him. Now look at the contrast between the two criminals. One showed his faith by saying that Jesus was the Christ so why didn’t He save Himself and these two fellows. What sort to faith is this? Isn’t this the same faith we see in those who come to Christ in order to “get.” This is dead faith. This is the faith the natural man has. What about the other criminal? What did he say? First, he rebuked the first criminal saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” Is this not contrition born from a heart that is under conviction and is repenting? Notice, he now fears God and sees His sin. He sees that his punishment is just. This is a heart touched by the grace of God. He believes and recognizes that Jesus is really the Christ then says, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” This is a recognition of Christ as Lord for He understood that He was indeed the King of God’s Kingdom. I love our Lord’s response to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” God is faithful. He saves all of His people by grace through faith, which is a gift from the Father. No one can work for it or deserve it. 

My brethren, is this passage of the thief on the cross an example of what we are calling Easy-Believism? No, it isn’t All along we have been saying that God will save His people even when the one sharing the Gospel with them messes up. The tragedy of Easy-Believism is the validation to untold numbers of professing Christians that they are really saved even though they are not surrendered to the Lordship of Christ nor are they able to walk in repentance. Those who are doing this will have to answer to the Lord about this. Let us not make that mistake. 

Soli Deo Gloria!

55 thoughts on “The Abomination of Easy-Believism – Part 4 – The Real God of the Bible

  1. Pingback: The Abomination of Easy-Believism - Part 4 - The Real God of the Bible - Reformata

  2. Mike,

    It is funny how we seem to be on the same idea. I just finished retyping and editing an article on page 2 of my website. I had to re-type it word for word since the program will not let me insert it. What a pain!!!

    Love to see you confronting Easy-Believism. Thank you brother Mike!

    Josh

  3. I didn’t believe in death bed conversions, (as you know Mike) until I read the theif on the cross and realized that the Lord can and does come to get them even at the tail end of life if He chooses to do so. The theif knew he was going to die, and said plainly ‘do you not fear God’. Someone on their death bed will fear God knowing they don’t deserve to be saved. But do we have a wonderful, merciful, gracious God who will even save them on their death bed??? You betchya we do. Sometimes maybe the Lord has to play hard ball with a person to bring them to the end of themself. I’m putting my trust and faith on the One who can save even a couple of hours before death. If those are the circumstances for some then so be it. He is still in charge. You don’t know how you are going to die or when. So for someone to want to pull the ‘I’ll just say the prayer before I die to make sure I make it’ will be in for a big suprise. The Lord calls when He wants to, not us. I’m sure many people have had to learn that the hard way. The real God of the Bible is the one who does the saving when He says its time……..not us.

  4. Paul & Luann,

    Yep, salvation is by grace through faith not works. God is sovereign and He WILL save His own. Do any of us deserve to be saved? Not me. :-)

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  5. I agree with much of your article, however there is one thing that I would like to defend, at least when it comes to the emphasizing of God’s love.

    I do not argue that God’s love “trumps” his holiness, justice, omnipotence, or even His Word. But what I would argue is that all of these things are impossible to understand correctly apart from God’s love. Agape is the foundation of God’s holiness. It is at the root of His justice. It is what drives His omnipotence. And it is what motivates Him to reveal himself in his Word.

    What I fear is that some may wish to cast a picture of God’s justice apart from His love, which would be a shame. I am not suggesting that you are necessarily doing this. But at the same time, we should never be dismissive of the argument that “God is love,” because love is the essence of His nature, whereas justice, omnipotence, and holiness are simply attributes of His nature.

    There is not justice apart from God’s love.

  6. Pingback: Five Points of Interest (22-08-08) | Cal.vini.st

  7. No Heath, the attribute of God that is the core of all other attributes is His Holiness. The angels don’t circle the throne of God crying out, “He is Love, Love, Love.” No, they cry, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” The way we understand God starts with His Holiness. His Sovereignty is Holy Sovereignty. His Love is Holy Love, etc.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratlff

  8. God is love yes. Lets understand Gods sovereignty always in light of that concept and in understanding of the Cross.

    Romans 12 (from memory), Brothers, I encourage you, IN VIEW OF GODS MERCY, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God.

    Always in view of Gods Mercy our understand must be (in my Yoda voice).

    JS

  9. I dont think Holiness and Love can be separated either.
    1 John — God is Love. Not God likes love but God IS love,

    Thats where the error that I think falls in the Calvinist side quite often. Often (but not always) to be technically correct and to avoid looking too “soft on sin” they dont amplify an essential aspect of the Cross…. that Christ died for the elect (however you define elect) IN their sin and that God IS Love.

    This is also what draws man out of sin is Gods love and mercy on the Cross– we need to understand that always. Sovereignty without these crucial elements of Gods character diminishes Gods holiness and the power of the Gospel.

    In Christ,

  10. No Jon, we understand His sovereignty in light of His Holiness. We understand His love in light of His Holiness. We understand His mercy and grace in light of His Holiness. If we do this then we do not try to rescue God from the bad press that people like you and Heath see in God sending people to Hell and drowning the entire Human Race except for 8 persons (Noah and his family).

    Answer this Jon. Does God will evil in the World?

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  11. I’ve also experienced the thief on the cross excuse by some who say that just acknowleging Jesus as God is enough for salvation. I usually reply that the thief never had the opportunity to walk in his faith because he was executed. People simply take that out of context to convince themselves of easy beliefism. But scripture verifies scripture. Unfortunately, those are the very people who aren’t spending time in bible study. Once again, preaching the hard things isn’t popular, but necessary. Thanks Mike.

  12. The Gospel message from the Cross is:

    1. “I am more sinful and flawed than I ever dared believe” (vs. antinomianism)
    2. “I am more accepted and loved than I ever dared hope” (vs. legalism)

    We cant portray 1 without 2 and we cant portray 2 without 1 without diminishing Gods Holiness.

  13. Not really Jon, God DOES allow evil in the world. He uses it for His glory through His wrath against it and those who do not repent AND through His mercy and grace in those whom He saves. He controls it for HIS purposes. Now, think of the cross in light of that. Think of our salvation in light of God demonstrating HIs sovereignty through BOTH.

    I am not arguing that God isn’t loving and His love is beyond our comprehension. No, I know that God is Love and I love Him more every day. But to view evil in the world and how God operates against it purely from the view of His love is wrong. We must view it from God’s viewpoint of exhibiting His Holiness for His glory. He saved us for HIS Glory. His love is a huge part of that, but the primary motive on God’s part is His glory.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  14. I am not getting into this interpretation from Job — since its Gods sovereignty not mine :)

    However, my point that I want to remain is this:

    We cant accurately reflect Gods character without painting a picture of Gods sovereignty, love and his holiness simultaneously. Lets not leave any of these behind.

    If we get to focussed on one thing, we leave behind the others.

  15. Jon, my point is that I AM NOT DOING THAT and your comments are implying that I am. Show me that I am leaving anything behind. You are the one who is zeroing in one one thing and ignoring the rest.

  16. Mike, its my opinion got God allowing evil to show his Glory is a “fruitless” discussion.

    Gods sovereignty is displayed to us on the Cross:

    8(T)See to it that no one takes you captive through (U)philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the (V)elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
    9For in Him all the (W)fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10and in Him you have been (X)made complete, and (Y)He is the head over all (Z)rule and authority;
    11and in Him (AA)you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of (AB)the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;

    It says for IN CHRIST, the fullness of deity dwells. Its important for us to find Gods sovereignty be deepening our identity “in Christ” and the message of the Gospel.

    JS

  17. Jon, You are arguing for the sake of arguing. I center everything I preach in light of God, His purposes, His ways, and part of that comes to us in the cross. I preach the Gospel and we understand it in light of who God is. I am through with this discussion Jon for it is indeed fruitless.

  18. Now, is God simply Love? Yes, He is love, but He is also Holy, Righteous, and Just.

    Heaths must of overlooked your sentence there Mike, and then of course Jon runs with it. Do they read your articles???

    Wasn’t the whole point that you made Mike, that all of His attributes go together and because of His love for us we see how the others all work together for His glory including His love. I don’t see where you seperated His love from the rest. Wasn’t your whole point also that in the last 3 posts the sum of all is that easy believism’rs are the ones who single out just His love and run with it forgetting the other attributes and how they all work together?? That He makes the choices, not us??

    Maybe its just me, but thats what I have gotten out of all the posts on ‘easy believism’ and what an abomination it is.

  19. You are correct Paul and Luann. Yes that is exactly why it is an abomination.

    I have no problem viewing everything from the perspective of the cross, but to single out Love trumping God’s wrath, etc. is more than foolish.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  20. Amen Mike. They seem to not like to discuss the ‘evil or wrath’ unless its pointed at satan and not God. Yes they all go together. Anything from us, including love, that the Father views is as of filthy rags unless He sees it through His Son.

  21. We as humans can understand and show love on a finite level, we can show grace on an earthly level, we can show mercy on an earthly level, we can show knowledge on an earthly level and we can show presence on an earthly level.

    By we cannot show or understand holiness even on an earthly level because it must be completely imputed to a believer. We have none, we never have had any, and we cannot understand or show holiness. We must be declared holy by God who IS holy. God doesn’t say without love or mercy no man can see the Lord. It is holiness.

    So instead of saying holiness is this or that, let us understand that holiness is God, and God is holy. Mike is right, everything emanates from God’s holiness.

  22. PROCLAIMING THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST TO THE WORLD….
    The preaching of the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart of the Gospel and it is my passion and priority. That message has always been the Power of God to save multitudes of men, women, and children.

    The Apostle Paul told the Corinthian church that he passed on to them as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day, (1,Cor, 15:3-4). Nothing was more important to Paul, than Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. That is also my highest priority.

    It is still the Good News about Jesus and the resurrection (Acts 17:18) that convicts men of their need for a Savior.

    Like Paul, I must never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:14). All I do is only made possible by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection life. I give Him all the glory and praise and pledge to continue faithfully proclaiming that message to a world in desperate need of a great Savior. And this is not Easy-Believism, but the real message of God’s Word.

    Please take a listen to my PODCAST: http://www.kjelllee.org.
    My e-mail is: kjelll@optonline.net

    In Christ,

    Kjell Lee

  23. Once again, to make my point clear, I am not saying that love trumps wrath. You are misrepresenting my point. I am saying that wrath can only be understood in context of love.

    Also, you asked Jon if “God wills evil” and then turned around and answered your own question by saying God “allows evil.” There is a HUGE diffrence in these two positions. For God to WILL evil is in direct opposition to scripture. For evil to be permitted due to the choices of free moral agents who are designed according to God’s will yet depart from that will and chosose to sin, (hence for God to “allow evil,” ) is certainly a biblical position. But the cause of evil is never God. Evil is caused by sin, of which God can have no part.

    Show me, Mike, specifically, where scripture says that God “wills evil?”

  24. Heath,

    It is God’s will that evil exists. Evil exists. God exists. God is sovereign over everything. Therefore, God does will for it to exist. However, God does this in such a way that does not make Him evil. We know this because God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. He is not evil.

    Is God limited in power in any way? No, of course not. Could God prevent evil. Absolutely! Why doesn’t He do that then? Could it be that He uses evil for His own purposes? The Bible, from one end to the other is crystal clear Heath that God is soveriegn over everything nor does he share it with man. Some say that evil is the product of man’s free will. However, God can and does override man’s free will continually, and always for His purposes. Therefore, He could easily do away with evil if that was His will. God is complelty in control and that includes evil. Satan, the ultimate rebel against God is defeated and can only do his evil with permission from God to do so, ala the book of Job.

    God willed evil for His own glory.He is not the author or approver of sin, but He wills it so He will be glorifed in the exercise of His wrath against it and for the exercise of His grace and mercy to save sinners from it. It is all to the praise of His glory.

    But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? (Romans 3:5-6 ESV)

    Israel’s rebellion against God was used by Him to DISPLAY His righteousness. It did no damage to it. In fact. God used it for His glory.

    but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 ESV)

    Notice the word “shows” here. It is the same Greek word as “show” in Romans 3:5-6. The presence of Our sin is used by God to show His love for us. This demonstrates the character of His love which loves enemies who “are evil.”

    What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory– even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? (Romans 9:22-24 ESV)

    See the word “show” here? It really means “demonstrate” in Greek. What is He demonstrating here? He is showing His wrath against vessels which He preprared for destruction, et cetera.

    God wills evil because He then is able to demonstrate His love, His Holiness, His Grace, His Wrath, et cetera for His glory. The Greek word for “desiring” here actually means “determined.” It is in Aorist Middle which means He is demonstrating this to HIMSELF for it is reflexive. It is for His OWN glory, for His OWN satisfaction. Without sin then these things would never be on display.

    For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4 ESV)

    These apostates have crept into the church. Who are they? They are those who were “long ago ‘marked out’ or ‘designated’ for condemnation.” Their designation was done by God before history even began. God ordained this evil, without being the cause of it, in order to display the majesty of His Holiness.

    in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory– (Romans 9:23 ESV)

    Notice that God also wills evil to exist so that He may demonstrate the riches of his glory for the “Vessels of Mercy” He designated them for His mercy before history as well.

    God wills for evil to exist, but He is not the cause of it.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  25. Mike,

    All I can truly add is AMEN to that last post !

    Thank you again for your contributions, patience, and displayed ability to speak the truth in love from a scripturally-backed perspective.

    Michael

  26. Isaiah 45:5-7 Look it up Heath. God created Lucifer, God created Pharoah, God created Esau, God created Judas, God created Saul, and etc………… Yes He created evil so He could display His sovereignty in His Glory to His vessels of mercy. Like it or not, God does it all from beginning to end and we are partakers in His plan. He knew the ‘bad guys’ were going to be ‘bad guys’.

  27. To add to the thief on the cross discussion, there is no doubt that it was the Lord who opened his eyes to the truth when he was on the cross because at some point on the cross the thief was insulting Christ along with everyone else. Matt 27:44 says “The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words”
    Also the cross was not plan B. It has always been plan A, the center point of all eternity. From one of Paul Washer’s sermons “It is only through the fall and the advent of evil that the fullness of God’s Character may truly be known; mercy, grace, unconditional love-how could these attributes be known except through the fall of man. If man had not fallen, there would have been no Calvary and no Saviour, the very thing that most explains God, draws us to Him and causes us to love Him. The cross is the centerpoint to which every other work of God’s providence points. In one sense the cross was necessary because of the fall but in another sense the fall was necessary so the glories of the cross of Christ might be fully known.”

  28. hey man what is going on?…just checking in to make sure everything is going smooth here is all…

    no more problems from “ur” friends i hope..(big smile)…

    and since i am here and enjoyed this conversation sooo much…yes GOD made everything…

    john1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    2 The same was in the beginning with God.

    3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

    vs three says it “all” as far as i am concerned on that matter…

  29. Jon,

    God does purpose evil as a means of his judgment. Even the antichrist is his instrument of judgment in the last days. “He will be successful until the time of wrath is finished.” Daniel . Jon, God purposed the Chaldeans (Assyrians) as instruments of his judgment. They were cruel and without mercy. They even placed hooks in mens jaws when they took them prisoner. The day of the Lord is fierce, cruel, and without mercy. That is just the way God deals with the wicked. I don’t like it, but who are we to stop him from judging the wicked. Who are we to tell him how he interacts with men? Will you find a jury to hold him in contempt? Yes, God is love, but to the unrepentant sinner, he does not always have an open ear to them.

    Josh

  30. Jon,

    God raises up the destroyer to wreak havoc. From him comes the destroyer. Look that up sometime.

    They are instruments of his judgment.

    Also he hardens men’s hearts as much as he removes their pride. Even Jeremiah experienced a ‘stiffening of the forehead’ to make him stand firm and contend against ungodliness. He does whatever he wills, whenever, however, and with whomever. “Who are you O’ man?” (That is a quote from the Bible too) Whatever is necessary to fulfill his purpose in the earth, will be done. Evil is purposed as adversity. Satan only does what God allows. Satan doesn’t somehow sneak past God and does this or that. No, Satan must get permission to do this or that. God purposes calamity as either a judgment or a refining trial. Trials are not beyond his control.

  31. Paul and Luann,

    Lucifer was a free moral agent.
    Pharoah was a free moral agent.
    Easau was a free moral agent.
    Judas was a free moral agent.
    Saul was a free moral agent.

    So what is your point?

    And Mike,

    I am still waiting on the scripture that says God wills evil. You have interpreted passages to fit your argument. What happened to letting the scripture speak for itself? Those passages do not say what you are trying to make them say.

    In regards to your logical argument:
    If:
    1) God exists, and
    2) God is sovereign over everything, and
    3) In Him is no evil at all,
    then logic dictates that:
    4) Evil does not exist.

    Since we know that evil exists, then there must be a flaw with one of your premises. We know #1 is certain. We know #3 is certain. But why is it such a difficult idea for you to accept that God might willingly relinquish His soveriegnty in order to accomplish His purposes? Isn’t He God? Can’t he order creation however He sees fit?

    I submit that the cause of evil is sin and that God has no part in it. Sin is the result of a willful transgression of a known law of God by a morally responsible person. So evil is our fault, not God’s.

  32. The Scriptures declare that God made evil and since God made everything and knows everything that of course is true. The nuance must be pondered about the difference between a direct creation or a creation that ultimately produced evil.

    Since God says He hates evil, it would seem incongruous that God would directly create that which He hates. “The mystery of iniquity” is a good Biblical phrase to describe evil. The process is a mystery, but what isn’t a mystery is that God has never been at the mercy of evil and one day God will eradicate evil completely!

  33. Heath,

    No, you are wrong on so many levels that I don’t know where to begin. You are still viewing God from the wrong perspective. He is Holy and that dictates everything He is and does. God created those you say are moral free agents in such a way that they accomplished His will. Think of Joseph’s brothers who meant evil against him, but God MEANT it for good. Your logic is broken. You are forgetting that the evil is not in God, but He is Sovereign over it.

    I gave you all the passages you need to SEE that God wills evil. The reason you are not seeing it is that you are blind to it. Your religiosity is blinding you. What causes spiritual blindness Heath? It is idolatry (Romans 1). Lastly, Free Will exists, but God’s Sovereignty trumps it every time. You are elevating Free Will to a level of sovereignty that is blasphemous. I am praying for your repentance.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  34. there is NO freewill but for those in CHRIST, as HE said, whom the SON has set free is free indeed…also, in rom. paul says we were, before CHRIST, slaves to sin…that is not free…

    free choice is somehting everyone has, but those choices are bound within the will, and if the will is not freed by the SON, then it is not freewill, only the freedom to choose within the bound will…..

    this talk of free moral agents is pretty and all, but the closest i have found in the bible to it is GOD telling cain, or rather asking him, that if he did what was right, wouldn’t he also be accepted?”…but to try and make a case for free moral agents or whatever with that will run one into some problems…

    the list provided of supposed free moral agent has many problems as scripture tells us some did not have such freedoms and some…well heck man…atleast one on the list cannot, with scripture alone, be determined who he even is by most people…

  35. Heath,

    Let me get this straight. Are you saying that Satan someone sneaks past God and wreaks havoc, without having to obtain permission from God? Is that what you think?

  36. The Lord purposes calamity and adversity. God is in control of that. Satan must get permission to do this or that. If God gives him permission, then what does that mean to you?

  37. So true Mike. If man has a free will then that means God is not sovereign. That is rediculous to even think about. Like I said before, they can’t see past the total depravity part. They don’t believe they are dead, they just think they are sick and need to go to the Dr to get healed. Pityful. The Bible clearly says we are dead. No two ways about it. The free will gospel is whats getting a lot of people into trouble. You are right, they need prayer big time.

  38. “Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work’ and I have created the waster to destroy.” Isaiah 54:16

    God purposes calamities and adversity. Satan was only allowed to do whatever God said he could, in the book of Job. Here are some other examples where God purposes evil for judgment and/or refinement.

    “For,lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs. They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves. Their horses also are swifter than leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat. They shall come all for violence; their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand.” Habukkuk 1:6-9

    Then if you remember back in Deuteronomy 28, God warns Israel of the consequences of disobedience. He said that nations who were more wicked than them would overcome them and take them prisoner.

    “The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; a nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favour to the young: and he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed; which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the incense of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee.” Deuteronomy 28:49-51

    The antichrist is an instrument of his anger, to carry out his purpose (his wrath) in the earth.
    “O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like mire in the streets.” Isaiah 10:5-6

    “For the Lord God of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land.” Isaiah 10:23

    “Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction. The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant.” Jeremiah 4″6-7

    Even the ten horns which are upon the beast, are ordained as God’s instrument of judgment upon the great whore (Babylon). God is in control of the calamities which come upon Babylon and the entire earth. Satan didn’t ‘sneak by’ and outsmart God. God wills the fall of Babylon.

    “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” Revelation 17:16-17

  39. When Satan wants to do this or that in the earth, he doesn’t ‘sneak by’ God and do what he wishes. No, Satan is only allowed to do what he is permitted. If you pay attention to the interaction between God and Satan, it was God who questioned Satan first. Although Satan was permitted to do only what God endorsed (God’s stamp of approval), the calamities which fell on Job were not beyond God’s control. Those calamities carried out God’s will in the life of Job. Job was refined (tested) while his countenance was sharpened. It was unpleasant, but nonetheless, a great example of how God’s sovereignty can be viewed as a frustration from the viewpoint of men. It however, was a great mercy which proved Job.
    The severity of God is displayed throughout the book of Job. Especially when judgment falls upon the relatives of the righteous.
    Jon Piper has a great video which exhonorates long-suffering. How many of us would still continue to hold fast to our integrity if our own loved ones came under God’s mighty judgment? Job understood that even calamities come into the lives of the righteous. Those calamities are not beyond God’s control. God purposes evil for two reasons… as either a judgment or a means of refining his people. (Job 2:10, Isaiah 45:7)

    Remember, it was the Holy Spirit who led Jesus into the wilderness. It wasn’t Satan. Yes, Satan was there waiting to fail Jesus, but how does someone fail a man who has an incorruptible nature? Satan is crazy. Although he may have tried to fail Jesus, it cannot happen…. period……..Completely impossible. Jesus was born with a nature unlike our own.

  40. Heath,

    In regard to the righteous (such as Job).. If God does not purpose calamity or adversity, then how is it possible for his people to be refined? You know that God is not a sorcerer, don’t you? He is a worker who must expose his vessels to heat (fiery trials) to mold them into the image of himself. Since God is not a sorcerer, then it is impossible for his people to be molded without fiery trials. We are not robots with easily programmable microchips. We have our flesh to overcome and imperfections to be made known.

    “If God sets out to make you and unusual Christian, He is not likely to be as gentle as He usually is pictured by the popular teachers. A sculptor does not use a manicure set to reduce the rude, unshapely marble thing to a thing of beauty. The saw, the hammer, and the chisel are cruel tools, but without them, the rough stone must remain forever formless and unbeautiful.” A.W. Tozer

    Only God knows what we can be exposed to and for how long. In the process of molding a vessel of silver, the heat causes the dross (impurities, imperfections) to rise to the top. Our character flaws are like the dross. God will show us those defects through fiery trials, which our flesh (carnal nature) wants nothing to do with.

    “The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable. Take away the dross (impurities) from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the refiner.” Proverb 25:3-4

    Remember that it was the Lord who approached Satan first, in the book of Job. It was the Holy Spirit who led Jesus into the wilderness.

    If God gives the stamp of approval for Satan to wreak havoc, then God has willed it. Satan does not ‘sneak past’ God and do this or that. God purposes evil for two reasons……. as either a judgment on the wicked or for the refinement of his people. Job is a great book which shows how God purposes calamity and adversity as a refinement for his people.

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