Adopted as sons and conformed to Christ's image

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by William C, Jul 14, 2003.

  1. William C

    William C
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    The issue of predestination is a difficult one for all of us, if we are truly being honest. It's not a concept that our minds can easily grasp.

    But notice that when the scripture speaks of being predestined, it does NOT say we are predestined to believe or be saved, instead it says we are predestined to "be conformed to Christ's image" and "to be adopted as his sons." These are two realities that none of us have even experience at this point in our lives. None of us has been fulling conformed to Christ's image and none of us has been adopted as his son yet. These are things that we still wait and hope for in our future. Surely you all agree with that. Please tell me if I'm wrong.

    Therefore, when Paul speaks of being predestined, couldn't he simply be refering to what God as predetermined will happen to those who freely choose to follow him in faith?

    In other words, couldn't Paul have simply been saying to the church, his audience, that God has determined beforehand that you, the believers, will be conformed to Christ's image and adopted as his sons in His time. And not necessarily that God has determined beforehand who would believe and be saved. There is a big difference in a lost person being predestined to be saved and believer being predestined to be changed.

    If you don't agree with this please explain why and give me some scriptural support for your views. Thanks
     
  2. Yelsew

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    Brother Bill, if you "see" the issue from humanity's point of view, then you are correct. However, if you "see" the issue from God's point of view you are incorrect.

    God sees all who believe in Jesus and do what Jesus said to do as being conformed to the image of His Son. Therefore one who is conformed is adopted by the Father to be a son of God. Scriptures tell us that by believing in Jesus we have the power to become the sons of God.

    The new Marine recruit is a clear example of this. When the recruit first enters the corpes, he is not yet a marine, he must be conformed to the Marine standard. When he comes out of Boot Camp, he is closer to being a marine, but is yet unproven. It is only when the Marine ownes up to being a Marine that he is truly a Marine.

    The same applies to Christianity, when one first becomes a Christian, one is not conformed to Christianity. It is only when one ownes up to being Christian that one is seen to be conformed to the Christ and is therefore a "little Christ" and is seen by God as a son in the manner that Jesus is the Son.
     
  3. Frogman

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    I agree that the finite mind cannot fully comprehend these things.

    I disagree with 'owning' up to anything if this is what is the determinate that 'conforms' us to the image of Christ.

    Let us use another unscriptural example, but one just as clear.

    This example will be one I may have used here before, one of two trees.

    An apple tree and an oak tree.

    The apple is of the same nature as the oak, the oak is the same nature as the apple. Both are trees, examples taken from the whole group of tree species.

    The apple will never be an oak, and the oak will never be an apple.

    The apple can only produce the fruit it has been designed to produce and the oak can only do the same according to its nature. (This same comparison can be applied in individuals).

    Now, what makes an apple tree an apple tree?

    and
    What makes an oak tree an oak tree?

    Are these made such only because they believe and have admitted they are truly an apple or an oak?

    Or are they an apple and an oak by eternal design and no amount of admission can alter the nature of either of the trees; at the same time no amount of denial of the true nature of the tree can alter anything. Can an oak tree produce the fruit of an apple tree?


    God Bless
    Bro. Dallas Eaton [​IMG]
     
  4. David Mark

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    Knowing myself and what God says about me before and after my confession of faith, I find it realatively easy to beleive that I was predestined to believe. If I thought it was luck or something good in me, I would have reason to glory in myself.

    As a side note:

    I’ve often wondered if because of my apathy, disobedience, unbelief, or whatever, that there were going to be folks who might miss heaven because of me. What a responsibility that is to put on a little child or servant who can barely get through one single day, because of all the evil in the world and the abiding sinful nature.

    Without at least considering predestination or (in essence) believing that God can and will save everyone he chooses to save, I am left with the responsibility of saving the souls of men and women. I cannot do that. I cannot even save my own soul. God drew me to the Savior. I did not seek the Savior (though I do now). What peace is there in living day to day with the overwhelming thought of folks being in Hell because of me? There is no peace in that if I am fervent, devote and honest. I’m just a little child (in the Lord).

    Well done thou good and faithful servant is what I long to hear. Not: Take a look at all the folks you sent to eternal torment.

    This sort of says to me that I was part of that group Jesus was praying for. I take comfort in that.

    Here is something I can appreciate. A precedent! This says to me, that if God has given any to Jesus, they will not perish. Unless there is a specific prophesy to be fulfilled. I take comfort that God himself desired me to be saved. When I was not born again, I must have been at my most resistive and rebellious state. In spite of me being dead in trespasses and sins, even then I became born again. I was not looking for it. It found me. It leads me to believe that If God himself desires something, it will happen. There is precedent after precedent in the Old Testament that proves that man cannot thwart the will of God (ever). Therefore I do not glory in myself, but I glory in the grace of God and I magnify his name. It also helps me believe the power of the gospel message itself. Preach the gospel and people will get saved. It’s not the messenger’s power or ability it’s the message.

    I often think about Jonah. God wanted to use Jonah, but Jonah did not want to be used and tried to run far away. God went through great lengths to accomplish his (God’s) will. I tend to think that God could have given up on Jonah and chose someone else. I guess he could have sent a herd of talking donkeys to Nineveh to get them to repent. Not so. It was going to be done and it was done. That encourages me. Granted, I don’t want to be thrown over the side of ship in a severe storm and then swallowed up by something. I’d rather just trust in the Lord with all my heart and do whatever he commands.

    Just me, thinking…
     
  5. tyndale1946

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    Only to those who believe like you do Brother Bill is it hard to grasp... Predestination... Means destined aforetime... I predestined you to live in glory... By my infinate foreknowledge I predestined Brother Bill to live with me in glory... I didn't ask Brother Bill do you want to live with me in glory... I didn't call Brother Bill on the phone... Send him snail mail or email or even black mailed him into going but said Brother Bill you are bound for glory... Because I chose you not according to what you have done but according to what my Son Jesus Christ did for you!... Brother Bill this is not a decision on your part but according to my loving kindness which was given you in election before the foundation of the world... You are signed... sealed and delivered... You are conformed into the image of my Son Jesus Christ because I loved you with an everlasting love and with loving kindness I have drawn thee before there was a Brother Bill!... You believe me don't you Brother Bill?... Your Friend GOD! [​IMG]
     
  6. Terry_Herrington

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    Thank you Bro. Bill. At least one poster, you, understand the true meaning of predestination.
     
  7. Sularis

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    The problem is that predestination and election are very similar yet are completely different in scope and range

    One refers to salvation
    The other to works in a person's life

    God has a plan - not a minutely down to the last second plan for everyone, but in enough detail - that both choice, and God's pre-planned plans can often come into conflict.

    God's will may be turned aside briefly, resisted until the point where God switches tools, but never thwarted. Think about Moses and Aaron

    The dynasty of kings throughout Israels history

    My tools are at home - so youll have to wait as I go back to work once more
     
  8. Yelsew

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    Frogman,
    "Owning up" to anything is taking that thing and making it your own. Faith is owning up to Jesus, By believing in Jesus, you make Him "your own". He is personalized to you, becomes part of you, lives through you. As such, you, by owning up, become part of that to which you are owning up. The believer who owns up to Jesus becomes part of the Bride of Christ which is attached to the Bridegroom in marriage.

    There is absolutely no works in "owning up", it is all spirit!
     
  9. Yelsew

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    Frogman, A tree is a tree is a tree!

    Any tree, unless it has another variety of tree ingrafted will produce the fruit that it is intended to produce for all ages. It cannot help itself.

    Man, on the other hand, though unable to produce fruit of any variety but what is common to man, does have the innate capability of not producing any fruit at all, or producing great quantities of fruit. But it is all fruit that is common to man.

    Granted, the fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT can only be produced in the man in which the Holy Spirit indwells. But man does have the attibutes that God gave to all men and the fruit of those attributes is similar to by not motivated by the Holy Spirit.

    Man is not totally depraved in the sense that he is helpless to do good. He is incapable of producing the fruit of the HS when the HS is not in control of the man.

    Popeye described the unbeliever perfectly when he said. "I am what I am and that's all that I am" The Army tries to improve on that by saying "be all that you can be...in the Army" which can be taken a couple of ways. BUT! God says, give yourself to me and I will make you what I want you to be, and that is the best option available. NO WORKS, only faith, the faith to give yourself over to the one who does the Job.
     
  10. Frogman

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    But God is not able to do any more than what man wants to do. Then even if man does give himself to God, God still cannot perform anything through man unless man lets God do this. I do not serve such a small helpless God.

    Bro. Dallas Eaton [​IMG]
     
  11. William C

    William C
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    Its not that God "cannot" its that God chooses not to. God's will is to work through a willing servant, not to force an unwilling servant.

    But, let's not confuse apples and oranges. God may "force" Jonah to preach to Ninevah but that doesn't prove that God forces Jonah's audience to respond. As I have stated many times on this board, proof that God effectually calls his divinly appoint messengers to preach the word is not proof that he effectually calls their audiences to listen and obey.
     
  12. William C

    William C
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    Only to those who believe like you do Brother Bill is it hard to grasp... Predestination... [​IMG] </font>[/QUOTE]Not according to other honest Calvinists on this board and many others I have read and spoke to.

    Glen, pretending this issue is easy only weakens your position and my respect for your opinion.
     
  13. William C

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    This is a human argument, not a scriptural one. Where does scripture say we are predestined to believe?

    What is wrong with wondering if your sinfulness could affect others? It seems quite clear in scripture that your actions do affect others, why try to remove your guilt for apathy and the like?

    Plus, what about what Paul says about the washing the blood from his hands when he preached the gospel and was rejected. This surely connotes that the messenger did carry some burden of responsiblity for his task.

    All of us agree with this (I think) Our responsiblity is not to save souls, its to preach the message. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation for faith comes through hearing the word.

    Honestly, you shouldn't be at peace unless you are fullfilling God's commission to go and tell. It's this thought process that has lead those in history to hyper Calvinistic tendencies.

    What do you think the "well done" is in reference to? It's in reference to doing that which we have been called to do as His servants -- to go and tell.

    Its clear in this text that Jesus is refering to those whom the Father gave to Him, the son, while he was on earth, and not everyone who believe in him through their message. That distinction is made clear in the verse you quoted (vs. 17)

    So do I, and I also take comfort in knowing that the He also desires to save the person I'm witnessing to as well.


    Look up Matt. 23:37

    If your speaking of His soveriegn decrees, I agree. But if you speaking of his permissive will (that which he permits), I cannot.

    Does God "will" that you sin? No. Do you sin? Yes. He has given you volition to choose. Is that going against the sovereign decree of God? No, it is against what God desires, or what theologians call his "permissive will"

    I couldn't agree more!

    I'll say it again. Proof that God effectually calls his prophets to preach his word, DOES NOT prove that God effectually calls their audiences to respond.
     
  14. William C

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    I agree. But its the Calvinists who take the verses about predestination in Romans and Ephesians and falsely apply them to their understanding of election as if they ARE one in the same.
     
  15. Yelsew

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    NOBODY has discussed God's abilities on this topic. No one has said that God is not able. No one has said that God can't but man can.

    While God's Grace prevails, and in light of what scriptures tell us God's will is, and while we take an active part in our own destiny, God allows man to set the tone. God does that because it is his desire that we want Him, not that we recognize the obvious differences in capabilities. Imagine that, a God that wants us to want him. Is that not what Grace is all about?
     
  16. David Mark

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    Dear Brother Bill,

    Sincerely, with all of my heart, if it's anything I really do need in my walk of faith these days is to be scrutinized and examined theologically (among other aspects) by a good, kind and trustworthy friend. What I am saying is that out of the gate I am considering you a good friend (among others here). You have an interesting "pick apart" piece by piece style (You agree here, You disagree there etc). [​IMG] [​IMG]

    With all that said, thank you for spending time with my post. I'll be back.

    With kindness, ;) ;) ;)

    Dave
     
  17. David Mark

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    I agree fully Brother Bill. It was indeed a human argument. The commandment to Love thy neighbor/brethren is demonstrated by my actions (no matter how I feel). These actions are carried out through a human vehicle. Therefore I often use human arguments to examine myself. Example: A con man wants something from man in return for his kindness, a Servant of God needs only to be noticed by God himself and does not seek the praise of men for his good deeds.

    To me this says: I was being drawn to the Son by the Father, possibly from the first day of my life. All the events of my life, the selection of my parents, the experiences, and disappointments I had as a child etc, were preparing me. As a result, at 19 years of age when I was asked if I wanted to be saved I said yes and I was led to the Savior. To me that is predestination. Yes, there seemed to be a choice but all the obstacles had been removed, my understanding was opened, and I willingly confessed the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. I guess I could have said no, but all the events in my life had led me to believe that this was the right thing to do. One way or another, now or at the judgment I was going to bow my knee and confess to God. I am glad that all the events in my life led me to “see” and finally believe before it was too late. I believed because God desired it and revealed his Son to me. Was I predestined (forced) to believe? I don’t really know. Did I believe? Yes. Did everything seem ordered in my life to clear the way? Yes. Did I have a choice? I must say yes. Could I have said no? I knew too much to say no. Everyone, now or later will know enough to confess. Either by faith or by sight.

    If I claim that I did any of this, then I have reason to glory in myself. But I did not do any of this. Can I use the way God drew me and ordered my life as a precedent? Why shouldn’t I? This again is a human argument, but it helps me to understand why the commandment was given.

    How does this help me to love my neighbor/brethren? It helps me understand that God must draw a man to the Son. During this time of “drawing” anyone could be going through anything or be entangled in any amount of error. I cannot afford to mistreat anyone I meet. I cannot afford to consider anyone a lost cause. In this I have much reason to meditate on Love thy neighbor and hide that commandment/law in my heart. That simple commandment takes precedence before my clear understanding of the complexities of the doctrine of predestination and election. I hunger for this knowledge, but it’s the commandment that I am going to be judged on, not whether or not my knowledge of complex doctrines was perfect.

    Am I pushing my wrong or right knowledge of predestination and election? No, I would only confuse you with my lack of understanding. I am seeking anything that encourages or helps me to love my neighbor/brethren better. After all of our discussions, I will go about my business and I will meet many neighbors/brethren. The opportunities to do the commandment are endless and always before me. Honestly, I rarely have the “open door” to tell my neighbors (outright) about Christ. Don’t get me wrong, I am ready to, but that door is not always open to do that. However the door to love them is always open. Herein is much choice on my part. Will I have my own way or will I strive to help others? Even those that don’t deserve my help.

    Therein would be my shame before the Lord if I did not keep this commandment ever before me and do it with all of my heart. I am not a preacher, pastor, or a teacher and most of the brethren that I meet are not preachers, pastors, or teachers. Most of us are just “regular folk” trying to get through one day without sinning. I would love to stand in Wal-Mart and proclaim that Jesus is the Christ to everyone. I don’t feel led to do that. So what am I supposed to be doing when I am in Wal-Mart? Love thy neighbor fits very well and is something I am commanded to do. It is something that gives me pleasure and is impossible to do outside of the Spirit realm. This is the love of God that I am speaking about. It’s about action and not necessarily about feelings. I can feel like a person doesn’t deserve kindness, but I can be kind to them. I can be deeply offended by someone at Wal-Mart, but I don’t have to offend them in return. That is not human love.

    The Lord has not commanded me to understand everything, but he has commanded me to love my neighbor/brethren. I’m convinced of it. This is what I am promoting.

    I will allow anyone to poke holes in my understanding of complex theology. I would be an arrogant servant if I ignored you. Spend time with me, walk with me, and poke holes in whether or not I love my neighbor/brethren and I will thank you for that (if you are right).

    Dave
     
  18. William C

    William C
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    David, first let me say that I appreciate you demeanor and willingness to learn. I hope that you too can challenge my understanding of God's wonderfully complex truths. We all need good friends. [​IMG]

    Nothing wrong with using human analogies to express scriptural truths, I only take issue with human arguments that don't seem to me to have any scriptural backing. I hope that makes more sense.

    This is where I think you could have made a mistake. You take a passage that was written in a very unique historical environment to a specific group of people and make a blanket application of it to your doctrine of soteriology. That is dangerous.

    First, who was Jesus' audience? Jews

    Were all Jews enabled by God to believe? No, in fact they were being hardened by God. (Read John 12:37-41)

    Second, what was the historical context in which this passage was written?

    Jesus was speaking while he was on earth, in flesh. Couldn't he be referring to the Jews ability to come to Him, while in the flesh, on the earth and learn from Him personally? Afterall, was just anyone given to be an apostles, or did God give Jesus 12 men (one a betrayer)? If you look at John 6 you'll see that Jesus refers to the apostles saying, "Did I not choose you the twelve?"

    Do you see what I mean?

    You take a passage where Jesus is speaking to hardened Jews about their inability to believe and you apply that universally to the nature of man when it is clear that the Jews of that day were uniquely hardened. Gentiles were not hardened in the same way Jews were. Acts 28:28 tells us the Gentiles will listen.

    Also, you have 12 of those Jews who were uniquely and effectually called out to be apostles, or messengers of the most high God and you apply that to the manner in which God calls those who hear their message as if it is the same.

    David, all I'm saying is be careful not to take passages out of their intended context and apply them to your already preconcieved ideas about soteriology. I made that mistake for years as a Calvinist myself.
     
  19. tyndale1946

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    What a bunch of bullfeathers... God not only prepares the message but he also prepares those who hear it... Why would he send a message to those who would reject it... There maybe those who reject it in the crowd but it was not meant for them anyway but for those who receive it... You ever go to church and felt you got nothing out of the sermon... Well maybe the sermon wasn't meant for you!... God not only prepares the messenger and the message but the one or ones that the message is intended for... Whether for blessing or judgement... To each his own!... Brother Glen [​IMG]
     
  20. William C

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    Wow, what a well thought out rebuttal. You say nothing about my arguments and you back nothing you say up with scripture.

    Where in scripture does it teach that the gospel is not powerful enough all by itself? Where does it say that God must do something first for the gospel to have effect?
     

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