Sunday, March 11, 2012

A 400-year-old Controversy

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Dear, sweet, kind Christian people sometimes want to shy away from controversy within the church. But controversy is not always bad. It stirs people up to think and to study and thus to discover very precious truth that God's people need to appreciate. We are coming close to the second coming of Jesus and the end of the world, and we need truth in order to stand. If you want to run away when controversy arises, let me tell you where is the only place you can go to find none: the cemetery.

Jesus said, "Take heed that no one deceive you" (Matt. 24:4). The only way to be sure not to be deceived is to study the word of God for ourselves, for the Scriptures "testify of Me," said Jesus (John 5:39).

One controversy that has stirred good Christian people for 400 years is between Calvinism and Arminianism. The problem is what the Bible means when it says so clearly that "Christ died for the world," is "the Savior of the world," "gave Himself a ransom for all men," "tasted death for every man," is "the propitiation for the sins of the whole world," "all are being justified freely by His grace," "the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life," etc. Calvinists have always said those texts mean that Christ has accomplished salvation for some people--that is, only those whom God has predestinated to be saved. Arminians say those texts mean that "all men" have a potential for being saved, it's possible for them to be saved, but it is only IF; Christ didn't actually accomplish salvation for anyone UNLESS ... And between these two views a great gulf is fixed.

The story of Esau resolves this controversy of 400 years. It was an accomplished fact that he HAD the "birthright." It was his by birth, no one could take it from him, not even God, for it was his by the oath of God to the firstborn among Abraham's descendants.

But Esau "despised" what was HIS and what had been GIVEN him, and then he "sold" it. And "Esau" is the name of every person who will finally be lost. Christ GAVE salvation to him but he wouldn't have it. He refused to receive the atonement that would have reconciled his alienated heart to God and to God's holy law. He has unfitted himself for heaven. Don't be Esau!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 26, 2004.
Copyright © 2012 by "Dial Daily Bread."

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