FAITH as SOVEREIGNLY DETERMINED DESTINY

BY:  JOHN R. GAVAZZONI

2014

 

Has God determined by His will that men be provided with salvation if they meet the requirement of saving faith, or has God determined to provide even the required faith? Scripture is actually quite clear on the matter and I want to address the question once again, as I did in a previous article, in response to the suggestion of an appreciative reader who asked that I include scriptural support for that previous article, "Faith as Provision." That is what I'm setting out to do, this time in terms of clearly connecting the will of God and the work of God with God's provision of faith as presented in very explicit biblical passages.

 

Assuming that I and the reader are in agreement that when Paul writes, "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:3 & 4 KJV), that God will work His will into the hearts of men, converting their unwillingness into agreeably participating in His will, for with God, the divine process moves from desire rooted in perfect love, to purposing that which He desires, then working to bring His will to fulfillment, for God "worketh all things after the counsel of His own will." (Eph. 1: 11 KJV) We are not to imagine some disconnect between what God desires, and what He can effectively will. Such playing fast and loose with scripture amounts to adding to and taking away from the Word of God. We need to be assured, of course, that for God to will anything means that He will, without fail, accomplish it. When it comes to God, to will something means that it is His work to bring about the issue of His will.

 

God willed creation into existence through His Word, by unilateral agreement alone within the Godhead. God willed to give us His only-begotten Son as our salvation, and did so simply according to His will. God, without asking for anyone's permission, prayers, or outside contribution, raised His Son from the dead, BECAUSE He desired to, and willed it to be. Jesus was handed over to wicked men to be crucified according to the pre-determinative will of God. How majestically the Lord confronts us with His absolute sovereignty through the prophet, Isaiah: "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure." (Chapter 46:9 & 10 KJV) Again through the mouth of Isaiah, the Lord declares of the predicted Messiah, "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord SHALL PROSPER IN HIS HAND" (Chapter 53:10 KJV) [emphasis mine]. What God is pleased to do, He wills and works to do, and of that, nothing will be withheld from Him.

 

But what saith the scripture specifically of the relationship of the will of God to saving faith, and to the working of His will? Simply: "This is the work of God that you believe on Him whom he hath sent." (Jn. 6: 29 KJV) Those are the words of the Lord Jesus, Himself, in answer to the question, "What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" The Lord's answer explained that "working the works of God" were not of their doing, but God's, and God's work could be summarized as "that ye believe on him whom he (God) hath sent." Jonathan Mitchell's translation makes it most clear: "Jesus considered and answered, saying to them, 'This is God's work (the work whose source is God): that you folks would continuously trust and progressively believe into that One whom He sends forth with a mission (or: into the One Whom That One sent forth as an Emissary.'" Please get that: It is God's work -- His work toward the fulfilling of His Word that people believe in Jesus. God has willed and is doing the work that we believe on (actually into) His Son.

 

Let's trace this to its very truth-core. Ultimately speaking, Jesus is THE Word of God to which the message of God as recorded in scripture attests. Jesus is THE entirety of all that God has to say to man, and scripture is the inspired record of Him as THE Word. Scripture is the normatively inspired word regarding THE Word. Calling upon Isaiah again, we find that when God sends forth His Word, out of His mouth, it will not return to Him void but will accomplish that which He pleases, and shall prosper in the thing whereto He sent it. (Chapter 55:11 KJV). This is a parallel passage with the other from Isaiah about the pleasure of God prospering in the hands of the predicted Messiah.

 

According to the Book of Hebrews, finally understood, the Word of God is not an "it." It is a Person! That is, in times past God spoke to us in "sundry times, and in divers manners" (KJV) to the Fathers through the prophets, but now He has spoken to us in a Son. (Chapter 1:1 & 2) He is the self-fulfilling Word of God. He came to be our life and, within that life, we receive His Son-responsive faith in the Father that is intrinsic to, and a constituent of, the wholeness and purity of that holy relationship between the Father and the Son. Faith is the gift of God according to Eph. 2:8 and 9. "For by grace are you saved through faith; and THAT (the faith) not of yourselves: it is the gift of God."

 

Can that gift be finally rejected? No! A person may put up some resistance for a time, but saving faith sent to us within the Word of God, in due time, accomplishes that for which is was sent. Do you think God sent His Son to be rejected? Well the answer to that is, yes and no: Sent first to be rejected so that love so great might have the opportunity to reveal its non-retaliatory nature, and its ability transform enmity into devoted friendship. Though men may, in their allowed moment, reject Him, ultimately their rejection will fail; and where the sin of rejection abounds, the grace of acceptance will abound much more and then the Word of God will prevail. Let it be known and declared: the Word of God is sent to do the work of accomplishing the will of God, and as such, the Word is irresistible.

 

I have, on occasion, dared to say, that if one wants to face a daunting challenge in the above context, that challenge would not be to somehow manage to respond positively to the Word of God, but rather just try NOT to so respond. Now there's a challenge that no man can meet. In the Book of Revelation, Jesus is portrayed as having written on His thigh, "the Word of God." Figuratively, the thigh speaks of strength in scripture, and Jesus is strong - irresistibly strong AS the Word of God. "He sent His Word, and healed them." Plain and simple. The Word sent works successfully to accomplish that for which it is sent. So as regarding our believing into Christ, we have nothing to boast of in ourselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAITH as SOVEREIGNLY DETERMINED DESTINY [John R. Gavazzoni] 2014          2

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