The Blessing of Guidance - Page 4 (series: lessons on Romans)
by John Lowe
John Wesley, the fiery Methodist preacher, supported Arminianism because missionary work was meaningless if people are already predetermined to be saved or condemned. George Whitefield, an equally great evangelist, however, remained a Calvinist to the end. Meanwhile, the controversy raged in the Catholic Church as well. The Council of Trent leaned toward a semi-Pelagian position. Luis de Molina formulated a doctrine known as Molinism, which tried to give free will a role in personal salvation, while Cornelius Jansen promoted a very rigid form of Augustinianism. Jesuits favored the former and Dominicans the latter. The controversy overflowed into science and social sciences when it was discovered that there are scientific laws that are as deterministic as predestination in affecting human genes and conduct. If heredity and environment have rigid laws, how can human beings be punished for actions or conduct over which they have no control? THUS, PREDESTINATION REMAINS NOT SO MUCH A DOCTRINE AS A MYSTERY.
Saints are people who have been separated from the world and consecrated to the worship and service of God. Followers of the Lord are referred to by this phrase throughout the Bible, although its meaning is developed more fully in the New Testament. Consecration (setting apart) and purity are the basic meanings of the term. Believers are called “saints” (Rom. 1:7) and “saints in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:1) because they belong to the One who provided their sanctification.
When Christ returns, the saints will be clothed in their “righteous acts” (Rev. 19:8), because they will have continued to live in faith through God’s power (1 Sam. 2:9) and Christ praying for them (Rom. 8:27). The saints are also those to whom
the privilege of revelation (Col. 1:26; Jude 3) and the task of ministry (Eph. 4:12) are committed.
There are some things a believer is absolutely sure of. He knows, for instance, that God is in control. He believes that an invisible hand is always on the world’s tiller and that wherever providence may drift, Jehovah steers it. That re-assuring knowledge prepares him for everything. He looks over the raging waters and sees the spirit of Jesus treading water, and he hears a voice saying, “It is I, be not afraid.” He knows too that God is always wise, and, knowing this, he is confident that there can be no accidents, no mistakes; that nothing can occur which should not happen. He can say, “If I should, by God’s will, lose all I have, it is better than having all those temporary things. The worst calamity is the wisest and the kindest thing that could happen to me if God ordains it.” “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” The Christian does not merely believe this as a theory, but he knows it in fact. Every event in a believer’s life has worked out with divinely blessed results; and so, believing that God rules all, that he governs wisely, that he brings good out of evil, the believer’s heart is assured, and he is enabled to calmly meet each trial as it comes. The believer can in the spirit of true acceptance pray, “Send me what you will, my God, so long as it comes from you; there never was anything wrong that came from your table to any of your children.”