Saturday, July 29, 2017


Scripture can be confusing. For one thing, it seems to teach contradictory messages. Almost in the same breathe, it seems that Jesus also had contradicted Himself. On the one hand, He taught that we are responsible for rejecting God. On the other hand, He also taught that God alone determines who can come to Him:

  • Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not. "Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes....But I say unto you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee." At that season Jesus answered and said, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes: yea, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in thy sight. All things have been delivered unto me of my Father: and no one knoweth the Son, save the Father; neither doth any know the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal him.” (Matthew 11:20-21, 24-27 ASV)

On the one hand, Jesus blamed the Israelites of Chorazin and Bethsaida for rejecting Him. On the other hand, He "blamed" the Father for excluding the "wise and understanding." (Also see Matthew 23:  37 and John 6:40, 45.)

We tend to think that coming to God has to be a responsibility of either God or us, that it can't be a matter of both. Therefore, let me suggest a model that might incorporate both sets of scriptural truths:

  1. We have the ability to come to God but not the will. Therefore, we freely and culpably reject Him and deserve our just condemnation. We also become hardened to the point where we cannot come to God.
  2. Consequently, we will only come to Him by the elective mercy of God.

I hope that it has become clear how we are responsible for our damnation, but also how God is utterly responsible for our salvation.

Is God unjust? Certainly not! By justice, God would have destroyed the entire human race (Romans 6:23). That's just what His justice requires. He has given us the ability to choose Him, but instead, we have freely chose rebellion. However, mercy is free. It can discriminate and extend mercy to whomever He chooses to reveal Himself.

But why would God exclude the "wise and understanding?" Evidently, these are those who are "wise" in their own eyes, those who have become hardened to the appeals of God. Therefore, God will give them exactly what they want - hardness of conscience to pursue their own ways.

In view of this, is God unjust? Hardly!


  1. Is collective punishment, and punishment for the misdeeds of your ancestors unjust in your view?

    1. Much of this "punishment" seems to be endemic to the creation order that God has established. For example, I have suffered for the sins of my parents because they have been psychologically passed on to me.