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8.27.2005    |    String theory
No, not that string theory, which only purports to give us a glimpse at God's underlying laws of physics. Rather, the puppet on a string theory of mankind.

What, the free will folks cry, we are all given free will by God, are we not? Yes, and no. God's revelation to us of His Son should have been the convincing event; the one thing that should convince us that our vaunted free will in no ways will be sufficient to stand when God wills otherwise.

Consider the dialogue in John 19, verses 10-11, between Jesus and Pilate, just before Pilate hands the Lord over for crucifixion:
10 So Pilate said to him, "You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?" 11 Jesus answered him, "You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin."
There's that pesky reminder of Who is always in charge. Not the Jews. Not their Roman overlords. God. The betrayal of Jesus, his mock trial before Pilate, the Jews screaming for his death, all had to happen. Judas had no free will. Pilate had no free will. The crowd, the Roman centurions, had no free will in this matter.

Does this mean that we are all mere puppets on a string, and therefore we need not worry about sin? Not at all. Just the opposite, in fact; we are to use our free will to avoid sin as much as possible. But we're all sinners, no matter how much we worry about sin. We all have sinned, we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). There is none without this stain, except Jesus. The rest of us, as it pleased God then, and as it pleases Him now, will do what He needs us to do to reveal to us His eternal truths.

Was Judas a greater sinner than you or I? Likely so, insofar as God had determined, from before time, that the man Judas would not be saved, and hence was a worthy candidate for great sin. Likewise Pilate; likewise the mob; likewise (most of) the Romans who crucified our Lord. But they were merely God's agents, as we are now. God made it happen, to fulfill His promises of a savior from the root of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1-5).

The fact is that God's sacrifice of His only Son was preordained and arranged by God to reveal more of His glory to us. The fact is that all of mankind are sinners. The fact is therefore that there must never be any hatred applied to any of the actors in our Lord's Passion. The Jews, the Romans, Judas, Pilate -- they did what God had them do. In this matter they were not free agents, but puppets on a string.

To hate them is to make the grave error that our free will is, somehow, stronger than God's sovereign will.

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Blogger mrclm said...

Excellent post brother, AMEN!

Big Chris
Because I said so blog

5:53 PM, August 28, 2005  

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.