(Ephesians 2:8 KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:No believer can argue that. It is a plain, clear statement. We cannot earn our salvation. We can never deserve it. No Arminian, Roman Catholic or Orthodox believer who understand their own theology would disagree with that. The problem is using that truth as a springboard for the mantra that nothing we do makes any difference.
Let me try to illustrate my problem.
I have come to enjoy a good cup of coffee. In fact I enjoy many good cups of coffee. I don’t claim to be a coffee snob. As I tell my kids when they ask why I drink it, “I may not know what a really good cup of coffee is but I can tell when it is really bad.” So I experiment but don’t base my life on it.
Recently, as part of my ongoing experiment, I found a burr grinder that I could afford. A burr grinder chews up the coffee beans between gears or grinding surfaces instead of chopping them with whirling blades. It gives a consistency to the coffee. The grinder I got has about twelve settings from fine to course. It has a hopper on the top for the beans and you can set it for how many cups to grind for. It is a fun toy. Now for the punch line: Calvinists think of themselves as burr grinders.
The machine can do nothing on its own. It just sits there. When the Great Coffee Maker decides to make coffee, He puts in a precise amount of beans and sets the dials. He then presses the button and wala, out comes ground coffee. The coffee grinder has nothing to say about it. It has nothing to say about the type of beans, the coarseness of the grind or how many cups are being made.
I could live with that. It gives a glorious picture of God’s love and provision, but.... What about the poor coffee grinder in the next house where the owner likes tea instead. Through no fault of the grinder it gets thrown in the trash or put in a yard sale. That is where this idea breaks down for me. If I assume I am one of the ground (elect) I am happy, but what if I am not and want to be? I hate being just a wannabe. To me the picture doesn’t fit with verses like,
(John 3:16 KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.Notice the “whosoever.” And it is totally opposed to,
(2 Peter 3:9 KJV) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.Notice that God is not “willing” that anyone perish. Yet the road is narrow and few will find it. There has to be an understanding that gives God and glory but allows us free will.
Am I just setting up a straw man?
homo unius libri