Who Then Can be Saved?

R. C. Sproul* concludes that there are basically four options we are faced with when considering the relationship of a sovereign God to His fallen world. What say you? Please take a second and vote… elaborating if need be. Thanks!

*Chosen by God

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About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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19 Responses to Who Then Can be Saved?

  1. Scott Sholar says:

    Thank you for sharing, and God bless you.

  2. I believe, as Catholic, that Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient for the whole world (1 Tim 4:10) — but that his grace is effective for those whom He calls (John 6:45).

    … But, Sproul says Catholicism is a grave heresy, so I guess I’m going to hell anyway.

    • mtsweat says:

      Thankfully, we are saved by the sufficient sacrifice of Christ, and not by men. As has been stated by some here, we probably grasp much less of this doctrine than we like to take credit for. Hence, a couple of thousand years of arguing. My Pastor reminds me, “There is only One True Vine. If we abide in Him, the fruit of evidence will soon reveal itself.” Thanks for stopping by Joseph… blessings good friend.

    • ccragamuffin says:

      @JRichardson…glad you chimed in. As a heritage catholic, I am always interested in a word from that quarter. All Christians believe in the fundamental truth of God’s sovereignty, but how that sovereignty works out is where we often find strife. It is very interesting that the Catholic Church has not declared how God elects the elect (!!)…Is it based on His foreknowledge?? On His predetermination?? There are many “Catholic” views…and much discussion! But no consensus. No official word. There is much to learn from that! Blessings.

  3. Elder Wesley says:

    Tracy, its funny to see that when you blogged that post about all good works coming from Christ no one questioned it. But apply that to salvation and you’ll get some naysayers. HAHA!

    https://mtsweat.com/2012/09/13/work-my-fingers-to-the-bone-what-do-i-get/

  4. Elder Wesley says:

    With verses like Ephesian 1:11 and Isaiah 46:9-11 We see that God decreed unchangeable events.

    In Acts 4:27-28 we read: “For of a truth, against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.”

    and finally “the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases” ~Proverbs 21:1

    and the question, ” must it be a contradiction that His desire, what He takes pleasure in, is not what some of His created beings would take pleasure in? ”

    to say we go against his revealed will (the law) is not to say we go against his ‘unrevealed’ will. The Cross was prophesied like 4000 years prior to its happening, that was the will of God. he could not do that unless people sinned and broke the will of God. So yes we can do the opposite of God’s pleasure but he ultimately uses that for his pleasure and glory, so in the end, the answer is yes it is a contradiction in the terms you wish to use it.

    Finally, Your views on 2 peter 3:9 isn’t even discussing salvation but the second coming. And his audience is the “beloved” which are people already saved. There would be no point in saying that none will perish if he was talking about salvation to the already saved.

    God does not wish all men to be saved or else they would be.

  5. Clark Bunch says:

    2 Peter 3:9 in the ESV reads this way: The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

    I believe the KJV says God is “not willing” than any should perish. God is willing, however, to let us choose as we desire. He gives us liberty, free will, and most use that to reject God. When the prophet Isaiah says of the crucifixion “it pleased God to crush him” does that mean God the Father enjoyed seeing Jesus suffer on the cross? God promised judgement toward sin, and on the cross God’s wrath was poured out. And in so doing you and I may be saved.

  6. Elder Wesley says:

    God said (according to some), ” I want everyone to be saved, that why I blinded some you from the truth (John 12:40)” LOL!

    • ccragamuffin says:

      @Wesley, if we continue to read in John 12 a few more verses…”NEVERTHELESS even among the rulers many believed in Him”…and so which is it?…did God say He would not let them see Truth or did they see Truth?

      If God does what He pleases (is inclined toward)…must it be a contradiction that His desire, what He takes pleasure in, is not what some of His created beings would take pleasure in? “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, HOW OFTEN I HAVE LONGED to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but YOU WERE NOT WILLING” Matt 23:37.

      This is very, very humbly offered. I remain concerned that our faulty logic is somewhat arrogant to assume that we can connect the dots and arrive at a complete picture of the unsearchable riches of God’s graces. Can creatures in time and of time, determine theories that explain He Who Is Without Time, the I Am.? I wonder about our propensity to devise theological theories that force and bend and stretch so that dots can be connected in ways not intended. Just thinking.

  7. Elder Wesley says:

    CCragamuffin,

    Simple argument here:

    God does what he pleases(Psalm 115:3) It pleases him that all should be saved (2 Peter 3:9). Not everyone is saved (Matt. 7:21). So which is it? Everyone goes to heaven, or that he does not do what he pleases?

  8. ccragamuffin says:

    What say I? I also do not like the limited choices that Sproul provides 🙂 Multiple choice answers are not the best way to ask all questions! What say I? I think all Christians believe the fundamental truth that God is sovereign…but the disagreement is more over how the Lord expresses His sovereignty, and the role of sovereignty. Sovereignty is not diminished by self limitation. Isn’t a sovereign Lord that allows response seen in His constant plea for man to change? And is sovereignty the best paradigm to view Scripture through? What view best represents the biblical expression of God’s character?? I am confronted more and more with “love” expressing the nature of God. Divine love…not love the emotion. These thoughts and questions are lovingly submitted for consideration to a very courageous blogger/teacher and his viewers.

    • mtsweat says:

      What say you… is a good word, cc! As is evident by just a few responses here, this disagreement continues to be that pea under the mattress as it has been for all of church history. I think you make an excellent point in ‘His expression of, and the role of sovereignty.’ Prayers requested that a lesson of this sort will in fact be guided by His divine love… with a little courage tossed in for good measure. 🙂

  9. hankcr says:

    The idea that all people are given a chance to be saved is absolutely false in my opinion. When Israel was the only nation that God chose to deal with, millions around the world died and went to Hell having never heard of Israel’s God. Once again, when Jesus came, he came to the house of Israel. During His 33 years on this earth, Israel was the only people receiving truth unto life. Once again, millions of people dying and going to hell having never heard the truth the whole time Jesus was on the earth. This is just two examples of many that can be given in which God could have chosen to bring the truth to many, but did not do so. Hard to think about these things, but Scripture says that God accomplishes all His will and none can thwart it. Therefore, if God wanted all men to be saved it would be a done deal.

    • mtsweat says:

      More than anything else from this little study, I must admit my shock to find Luther’s strict stance on the issue. He literally un-friended Erasmus over the doctrine of sovereign election (the Church of Luther’s day hold that this was the proverbial straw that led to Luther’s withdrawal). He stated it was so important that “the gospel couldn’t even be understood without its principles.” Guess I know where the attitude of some of those “young, angry, and reformed” comes from now.

      Very valid points, Hank, and as you say, difficult to think upon…

    • ccragamuffin says:

      hankcr…thoughts humbly offered for your consideration…reading through Scripture I find that from the very beginning (Genesis 12:3) the Lord expresses His desire that Israel would be a bright light to attract all the nations. He was coming THROUGH Israel not exclusively TO Israel. Deut 4:56, Is 49:3, Is 60:13. Although many passages are now considered Messianic, we have to remember that they were a Word from God given to Israel for that moment also. Meticulous provision was made in the law for the strangers who WOULD come…provision was made, because the expectation was that Israel would attract the Gentiles. Isaiah himself, explained that he overheard the missionary gospel call of the Lord that was going out from the throne…”Whom shall I SEND, and who will GO for us”. I am overjoyed to read that the Lord expresses that He is NOT WILLING that that not any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Pet 3:9. His patience flows from a desire that all men would be saved. This is our blessing.

    • Clark Bunch says:

      “During His 33 years on this earth, Israel was the only people receiving truth unto life.”

      By the time of Jesus’ life on earth, Judaism had spread across the Mediterranean world. On the day of Pentecost, only days after Jesus death, burial and resurrection, there were many ethnicities from numerous countries that each heard the Apostles speak in their native language. By the first century, many others besides Jews knew the God of Israel, and Christianity quickly spread to Europe, Africa and Asia. Consider Phillip and his encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch.

  10. Clark Bunch says:

    When the disciples asked Jesus “Who then can be saved?” his response was “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

    The door is flung open wide for whosoever will. The sad truth, as indicated in scripture, is that most people will not. I did not vote in the poll as I disagree with Sproul’s list of “options.” Our choice is to respond when called or the reject the gift when it is offered.

    • mtsweat says:

      Greatly appreciative of the comment Clark. I threw this out here to see what bites may come back as I’m currently looking at the Augustine/ Pelagius, Luther/ Erasmus, Calvin/ Armenius controversies. Personally, I think Pelagius/ Erasmus/ Armenius may have asked question 2 a little differently than does Sproul. I think they concluded “God intervenes to provide the choice.” Of course the battle goes back and forth again and again (infinity noted here). Good offering by you… respond rightly to the gospel!

      • Clark Bunch says:

        I clearly fall on the free will side of the reformed theology debate. I believe God has gone to great lengths to offer that choice. He calls, he draws, but does not subject anyone to salvation that is unwilling to receive it. Five point Calvinism seeks to understand the nature of salvation, which I do not feel is necessary. It may not be possible. To me it’s somewhat of a cold, scientific approach to understand the mysteries of God in a somewhat clinical sort of way.

        I realize if offered a t-bone steak and a an old boot that a dog will always choose the steak. But a boot is not salvation and the dog does not have the Holy Spirit intervening on his behalf.

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