Matt Merker reviews Monique M. Ingalls’s ‘Singing the Congregation: How Contemporary Worship Music Forms Evangelical Community’ (Oxford University Press).
— Read on www.thegospelcoalition.org/reviews/singing-congregation-contemporary-worship/
Speaks for itself and has a lot of other good links to other good articles.
Let me say in the beginning of this post that I’m not Catholic (I strongly think their view of salvation is wrong) nor did I vote for Trump. Also I am not a racist, being a minority myself nor am I anti-Native American since I married someone who is much more Native American than Elizabeth Warren. I’m writing this post for the sake of truth: There’s been more fake news from the mainstream media against these high school kids from Coivington High School and the more I look into it the more disturbing it gets.
I have also talked about this with a liberal friend on social media and when I showed them what I found I didn’t get a reply. But I have seen him become more cautious in his comments with others as a result of what I shared and his friends pointing out that there’s something to…
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Am sitting at the car dealer having some work done, so I thought I would share a question.
Think about it. the Bible tells us that we are all in the same boat coming into this world – lost sinners, every one. Yet we treat some who profess Christ different than others.
Celebrities of all sorts who one day profess that they met Christ are instant ‘heroes’ of the faith and are put on pedestals. We might pray that they would connect with a Bible believing church or grow strong in their new found faith, but many times we just get all excited that so-and-so found Jesus and shout about it all over the place, as if their proclaiming Christ is somehow more special than all the normal average folks that God saves on a regular basis.
Why do we do that?
Not long ago we wrote a blog post titled “The Most Precious Golden Chain?, the Golden Chain of Redemption, also called the ‘Ordo Salutis’, or ‘Order of salvation’, from Romans 8:29-30. Here are those passages with the links in that unbreakable Golden chain underlined:
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” (Rom 8:29-30)
The ‘links’ in this chain are foreknowledge, predestination, calling, justification, and glorification, to use the noun forms of what we are told that ‘he’ (GOD) ‘did’ for each and every one of his remnant people (the ‘whom’ in the passages). Once you understand God’s foreknowledge the remaining links are easier to understand.
The topic of this post is the first link in the chain, God’s foreknowledge, perhaps one of the most contentious issues in Christendom, right up there with ‘election’ and ‘predestination’. The intent of this post is a bit like the Fox News motto, ‘We Report, You Decide. This is not about convincing anyone of a personal opinion – that’s God business. J
Having said that, let’s tackle the first link in our chain, ‘Foreknowledge’.
The Definition of Foreknowledge
The meaning of the term is simple – it literally means ‘before’, or ‘earlier’ knowledge’ (Gr. ‘prognōsis’). In our passage of scripture we are told that God, based on knowledge He had beforehand, God took actions on behalf of those whom he would save from their sins. (see Matt 1:21).
The two definitions of foreknowledge in view here is that 1) God simply knows everything, which for most of us is true, and/or 2) God knows ‘His people’ in a much more intimate way. The question for us is “What does the Bible tell us about God and His knowledge? We’ll report and you can decide.
By far, the most prevalent definition among Christians in our day is the first definition, meaning that God looked down the corridors of time, saw those who would freely choose Him, then chose them to be the recipients of the other actions in our Golden Chain (predestination, calling, justification, & glorification). Let’s look at foreknowledge in Scripture.
First of all, the term foreknowledge/foreknow does not appear in the Old Testament, but it does appear in the New Testament:
In reference to Christ:
“this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge (prognōsis) of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.” (Acts 2:23)
In reference to believers:
“ Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge (prognosis) of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (1 Pet 1:1-2)
In reference to Christ again:
“He was foreknown (progonisko) before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you.” (1 Pet 1:20)
Note that the same term is used in 1 Peter, verses 2 & 20, in reference to both Jesus Christ and believers. That might be rather significant.
But our question remains, “What does “for those whom he foreknew” mean in Romans 8:29? Which definition of foreknowledge is at play? Is it definition1, definition 2, or BOTH? Since we know what ‘fore’ means’ let’s now take a look at the term know and how it is used in Scripture. Here are just a few examples from both the OT and the NT, Hebrew (yada) & Greek (ginosko):
There are more examples, but these verses clearly tell us that God’s ‘knowing’ of His people is much more intimate than just knowing about them or what they will or will not do.
So again, does the ‘foreknowledge’ of God simply mean ‘know beforehand’, that God knows beforehand the actions of men and acts in light of that knowledge (by far, the prevailing view these days), or does it mean more?
How we answer that question has implications concerning evangelism:
If we believe God saves based on the foreseen faith/free will decision of men, we can be prone to appeal to that ‘free will’ and share Christ in such a manner that that is appealing to the lost man, who is by nature at enmity with God, who dwells in darkness, hates the light and loves sin. What that means is making the gospel that is offensive to those whose hearts have not been opened by God, actually appealing. So we leave out the bits that talk about sin (they love theirs) and the need for confession and repentance because of it, and instead talk about how much Jesus loves, loves, loves and wants to make their lives better. Everything we do, from personal discussions about Jesus to our church services needs to become attractive in order to elicit a free will decision to follow Christ.
If we believe that God saves based on His intimate foreknowledge and predetermined will we need only lovingly share the gospel that Christ died for the sins of his people.
Regardless of what we believe, it is our great privilege to share the gospel far and wide!___________________________
There is much more that can be said about the foreknowledge of God, and I hope this short summary will stimulate your spiritual thinking.
And as always I like feedback:
1. Did I accomplish my goal of just presenting the facts? I’d love to hear your opinion.
2. What’s your belief concerning God’s foreknowledge and why? No answer necessary, just think about it.
In a future post, I’ll share some thoughts about what I believe and why. I believe it.
Thanks for stopping by!
Romans 8:6-10 (ESV)
6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
1 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV)
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
In these few verses addressed to believers in Rome and Corinth, the Apostle Paul describes and contrasts two types of human thinking, two mindsets or worldviews, if you will.
In our Romans passage, Paul speaks of ‘the mind set on the flesh’ and ‘the mind set on the Spirit’. He contrasts the old ‘natural’ mental state of the unregenerate (unbelievers) with the ‘new ’natural’ state of born-again believers in Christ. I use the term ‘new’ natural in reference to believers because while we are still capable of carnal/fleshly thoughts, our new nature in Christ changes our thought lives. You might say that believers are capable of being ‘double’ minded, while unbelievers, without the Spirit of God, are very ‘single’ minded and completely incapable of understanding spiritual truths (1 Cor 2:14). In fact, a carnal mind (the only one available to the unregenerate) cannot please God (Rom 8:8)!
Some Logical Implications:
1. It takes a supernatural act of God to raise a spiritually dead (carnally minded) person to spiritual life capable of spiritual understanding.
2. Spiritual understanding is necessary to comprehending the gospel message that Christ died for the sins of his people.
3. Free will decisions of unregenerate people don’t please God because unregenerate people cannot please him.
4. Regeneration necessarily precedes genuine saving faith, which pleases God.
So how is anyone saved?
Romans 8:29-30 (ESV)
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
Those whom are foreknown by God WILL be brought to glorification by the same God.
Does this mean that there are those who are not foreknown in the same way who will die in their sins? That is an inescapable conclusion, dear friend. And while we don’t know who they are, we are called to share Jesus with all whom we meet. Not only did God decree and bring to pass the salvation of his remnant people, he also decreed the means by which he would save his elect – the preaching of the gospel, That is our great privilege.
God gives life to cold dead sinners, and like Lydia in Acts 16, opens their hearts to heed the message of the gospel that we bring!
Do you like gold chains? Most, if not all of us, certainly do. Go to a jewelry store and you’ll find a wide variety of them, different styles designed for various uses, for both men and women. Am I right? That’s a rhetorical question. Personally, I don’t have any because I’m just not into jewelry. Some men are; just ask Mr. T (remember him?)! Our oldest son, when he was about 4 years old, just about had a fit when he say what I called a ‘Mr. T Starter Kit’ and Mom didn’t want to buy it for him.
Nevertheless,. There is one Golden Chain that many believers (if not most of us), aren’t all that fond of. It’s the Golden Chain of Redemption and it’s found in Romans 8, Verse 29-30:
“For those who he (God) foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brother. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified”
Essentially, what we have are five links in an unbreakable chain, about a group of people who were ‘foreknown’ by God and also ‘predestined’, ‘called’, ‘justified’, and ‘glorified’.
Of these 5 links, the first two are outside of time, as we know it. God both foreknew and predestined this particular group of people outside of time as we know it. We have a clue concerning ‘how far’ outside of time as we know it in Ephesians 1 and 2 Thessalonians:
The next two links are inside of time as we know it. Each person in this group of ‘foreknown’ and ‘predestined’ ones is ‘called’ and ‘justified’ during his/her lifetime, in preparation for the final link, ‘glorification’, when they are all raised in newness of life to be with Jesus forever. Is that beautiful, or what!?
The chain is unbreakable in at least two ways. First, it is God who is performs all of the actions represented in these 5 golden links. If that isn’t enough to prove the indestructible nature of our chain, each of these Divine actions is presented to us in the past tense, meaning that from God’s perspective, it’s a done deal! Each and every person of whom this text speaks, everyone ‘foreknown’ of God WILL be ‘glorified’!
Sadly, whatever ‘foreknown’ means in our text, there are those who will not be saved but will die in their sins. The Bible speaks of those who will suffer eternal punishment rather than eternal life. That means that there are those who are NOT ‘foreknown’ in the sense of our text. But that’s another post.
The question for you today, my friend, is this:
“Are you to be found somewhere in this Golden Chain?”
I can assuredly proclaim that if you have been convicted of your condition in sin, have repented of it, and believed in Christ as your Savior and Lord, you are not only ‘found in’ this Chain, but you are eternally secure in its warm embrace! If you are a believer in Christ you were indeed ‘foreknown’ by God, ‘called’ by God into a Holy life, ‘justified’ by the blood of Christ and will one day be ‘glorified’!
This is cause to rejoice and be exceedingly glad!