FAITH as SOVEREIGNLY DETERMINED DESTINY
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,
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:
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:
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
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.