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Oddly enough, it’s sometimes progressives who are most eager to move the culture backward.

As we reflect in horror at the utter callousness with which some persons and organizations speak of (not to mention crush) the tiniest humans, it’s worth remembering that the ancient world was unabashedly open to the killing of children. For starters, they had almost none of the sentimentality we have towards kids. There was no Disney, no summer camps, no play dates. Family life–even if there was such a thing–certainly did not revolve around children. In general, children, were useful at best, burdens at worst, and almost never coddled.

If there was one dominant fact regarding children in the ancient world it was their high mortality rates, especially among infants. Many newborns were stillborn or died in labor. Those who made it safely out of the womb often went hungry. There were too many mouths to feed and too little food. As a result, children were often abandoned, exposed to the elements, literally left on trash heaps to die. From 230 B.C. onward, the most common family in Greece was a one-child family. Families of four or five were rare. Some families might want two sons, but rarely would they want two daughters.

Unwanted children were disposed of, often sold into slavery. Others were aborted in the womb. Many more were simply killed as infants. Newborns were not considered part of the family until the father officially acknowledged them and received them into the house by religious ceremony. Consequently, ancient Greeks and Romans thought little of little babies and did not hesitate to get rid of them.

In the ancient world, it was uniquely the Jewish people who prohibited abortion and infanticide, the latter of which was not outlawed until Christianity took on a privileged place in the empire. Christians have always opposed killing children, whether infants outside the womb or infants inside the womb. The two were one and the same crime. “You shall not abort a child or commit infanticide,” commanded the Didache, a late first century church constitution of sorts. Despite the muddled arguments of progressive Christian groups and demoninations (whose obfuscation with language is positively Orwellian), opposition to abortion and infanticide is not simply one position for Christians, it is the Christian position.

Jesus welcomed children when others wanted to push them away (Mark 10:13-16). He said the measure of our love for him would be measured by our love for children (Mark 9:36-37). He took the children in his arms as if to say, “Honor these little ones, and you honor me. Send them away because they are weak, socially insignificant, and bothersome, and you’ve demonstrated you don’t understand the values of the kingdom.”

As abortion is again in the public eye (though willfully ignored by major media outlets), let’s pray for our society to change its mind regarding the smallest and most helpless of its citizens. Let’s pray for the church to lead the way in protecting, honoring, and caring for children–not matter how unborn or unwanted. Let’s pray that every judge, politician, and doctor becomes convinced of the sanctity of unborn life and acts accordingly. Let’s pray for the flourishing of pregnancy centers and women’s clinics that provide an alternative to abortion. Let’s pray for the women contemplating such a tragic choice, and for the family members encouraging them in the wrong direction. Let’s pray for men to be men, to stop fooling around and to stop fleeing when they have. Let’s pray that hundreds of politicians, thousands of pastors, millions of would-be moms and dads, and 300 million hearts are gripped by a Jesus-inspired view of children.

Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world. Even the ones with an umbilical cord.


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81 thoughts on “Jesus Loves the Little Children”

  1. Ross Riggan says:

    Grahame,

    I’ll respond to your post on my blog reallyseeing2.blogspot.com when I get a chance.

    Neville,

    You err when you combine the terms children of Abraham and elect. Jesus did condemn the Jewish people for relying on their “physical” lineage and the covenant of circumcision for their guarantee of right standing with God. Jesus did not say He would create elect out of stones but sons of Abraham. Who’s your daddy don’t matter. Reformed contenders would also say that calling for people to repent is of great necessity so no contradiction there with John the Baptist. The supper discussion in response to the gentile soldier was not an elect discussion, but just that: a comparison of Jews and Gentiles. Many sons of the kingdom, of Abraham will be thrown out and others, Gentiles will be brought in. Jews and gentile discussion here, not elect vs non-elect.

    Your argument for Romans 9 might hold water if it weren’t for the fact that God brings up specific individuals, not groups where He says its up to God to choose or harden (Esau and Pharoah). So Romans 9 does not demolish but help establish what the rest of the Bible does confirm.

  2. Ross Riggn says:

    Grahame, I have my response on to your Romans 9 comments on my blog: reallyseeing2.blogspot.com. Did you get a chance to read my first response, also?

  3. Grahame Smith says:

    Yes thank you for your feedback. The debate will continue Im sure but in the end the most important thing is we are all follower’s of Christ.

  4. Grahame Smith says:

    Ross more will come re Romans 9 as this was just an intro. My position is that Romans 8 and 10 inform the information in chapter 9, that is how I was planning to tackle it. Across 3 chapters all are tied together.

  5. Neville Briggs says:

    Hello Ross,

    My dictionary tells me that ” elect ” means ” chosen ” In Deuteronomy Moses tells the Israelis that ” The Lord your God has chosen you to be a special people ” They were called the children of Israel because they were descendants of Abraham and Jacob. Elect and chosen are interchangeable.

    Reformed ( Calvinist ) contenders calling on people to repent makes no sense if they are calling on those who are not elect and supposedly cannot respond.

    Jesus observation on the Gentile soldier was about the Kingdom of Heaven being for people who choose to put their faith in Him, To the Jewish people , Jews and Gentiles meant elect and non-elect. It still does, you will find out if you care to examine some the contemporary literature from Jewish Rabbis ( e.g. A Rabbi Talks with Jesus. Jacob Neusner. Doubleday 1993 )

    Paul gives specific examples of individuals on Romans 9 to give scriptural support to his argument that God makes sovereign choices and God’s sovereign choice to extend the Gospel to the Gentiles is unarguable. Paul was not writing a dictionary of Calvinist doctrine, he was writing a letter to Jewish Christians in Rome and using the Rabbinical method of debate called Hallakah to prove that God offers salvation to all people on the basis that they exercise faith. In other words, just like God chose Jacob,no argument, just like God chose Pharoah,no argument, now God chooses Gentiles. No argument.
    The overall theme of the Letter to the Romans is; The just shall live by Faith. It runs right through the book.

    Of course this thread was started about the abortion debate. I submit that we need to get our biblical foundation right if we are to speak out against abortion of innocent children. If we can get away from the false Calvinist doctrine of unconditional election then we can know that all children are loved by God, That Christ died to save all of them.
    That God’s grace doesn’t mean some are in some are out, otherwise we could conclude that it’s God’s will that some children be destroyed. That would be barbaric.
    We can battle against abortion on the grounds that God’s grace means that we should do all we can to save them, because God’s desire is for all to be saved.

  6. Ross Riggn says:

    Neville,

    The meaning of the words elect and chosen are the same, but they are not always used to mean the same group in Scripture. If it did then God goes back on His word because He calls Israel His chosen people, but then in Romans 9 some are obviously not chosen, the group Paul wishes himself accursed for. So yes He chose a particular people group, but He has also chosen a spiritual, non-ethnic group generally referred to as the elect.

    Sharing the Gospel with all makes sense because it is what God commanded us to do. Which makes sense because we do not know who the elect are, so we share with all to be used of God to bring in His elect.

    Again, the supper discussion is to show that being a son of Abraham does not guarantee entry into the kingdom. Instead, He will bring many others in (gentiles) but even of those, very few are chosen. Mt. 22:14.

    No one said Romans 9 is a Calvinist dogma, but it Calvinism does draw upon this chapter for the truth it claims. No doubt Paul is in a section from chapter 9 to 11 speaking about the Israelites rejected, the remnant, the grafting in of the gentiles, etc. But, as Paul often does, he takes a sidetrack in the middle of Romans 9 showing and defending God’s sovereign choice of INDIVIDUALS, not groups. Obviously, individuals together make groups, but Paul is very specific to show that the sovereign choice does go down to the individual level. It is unavoidable. You can see the discussion between Grahame and me on that here: http://reallyseeing2.blogspot.com/2015/07/second-response-to-mr-grahame-smith.html

    No argument that Romans is about the just/righteous shall live by faith. This is the overarching theme. This does not negate the individual truths that Paul brings up in his letter, however.

    Calvinism in no way endorses or encourages abortion. In fact, it does just the opposite. Calvinism believes that the choice is God’s, not man’s. Therefore, the choice to create life is God’s… not ours to choice if that life endures or not. The opposite position could be seen to relate to abortion because it says that the choice is man’s.

  7. Grahame Smith says:

    Message to Ross Riggins-Intro to comments for Rom 9

    While studying Bible passages about Reformed position, God’s sovereignty, and man’s free will, Romans 9 is often a favourite proof-text it seems. The chapter contains multiple passages, which appear to support Reformed theology. However the entire chapter must be placed in context with other parts of God’s word..
    After careful examining the context of Romans 9, it reveals to me that Paul was really explaining God’s right to predetermine and use the nation of Israel to produce the Messiah. From what I can see the Jews profited greatly from this process, however, such a relationship did not guarantee God’s mercy unto salvation. God maintained and exercised His right to use nations to accomplish His promise to Abraham, and furthermore, He demonstrated His prerogative to save individuals as He deemed best. As long as Israel would seek to establish their own righteousness by the law of Moses, over-emphasizing their national part in God’s plan, they would fail to be saved. God’s promise for mercy was ultimately extended to whomever would live by faith, not necessarily those who required the law of Moses, nor necessarily those who descended from Abraham.
    The spiritual salvation of individuals, especially a predestined, unconditional election, is not the subject of Romans 9 in my view. Vindication of God’s judgment regarding the nation of Israel is the primary point. However, detailed analysis of the immediate context, plus the context of the Old Testament passages, which Paul quoted, clearly teaches that God’s mercy has always been conditioned upon man’s repentance.
    Paul’s book to the Romans was written to a church containing both Jewish and Gentile Christians. Their opposing backgrounds presented difficult problems for the congregation. Paul developed common solutions for a common need, in spite of their cultural differences. He elaborates on God’s nature and justification, and he reminds them of their responsibilities to God as well as to each other. Paul anticipates the questions and reactions of each side and replied accordingly. In my view his letter is extremely logical, moving from one issue to the next along a consistent theme of justification by faith in the gospel for the Jew and Gentile alike. The main points I gleam from this chapter are:
    1. Introduction of theme, and Gentiles’ condemnation for descent into depraved idolatry.
    2. Jews’ condemnation for disobedience to the law of Moses.
    3. All stand guilty before a just God. Therefore, justification by His mercy and our faith.
    4. Justification by faith apart from perfect keeping of Jewish law.
    5. Hope and comfort by faith through God’s love and Christ’s sacrifice, contrasted with death, guilt, and condemnation introduced through Adam’s sin, perpetuated by all.
    6. Dead to sin through baptism into Jesus’ death, and resurrected for new life in God’ service.
    7. Jews freed from bondage of law of Moses, through Christ’s death, and all freed from bondage to sin through Jesus’ deliverance.
    8. Free from carnal mind to walk after the law of the Spirit. Security in God’s love in the face of tribulation.
    9. God’s right to reject national Israel for salvation after using them to produce the Messiah.
    10. Israel’s rejection of a universal call to both Jew and Gentile to believe on the Lord.
    11. Israel’s fall through unbelief, Gentiles salvation by faith, and salvation of a Jewish remnant through grace.
    12. Moral Applications: Therefore, be transformed and live sacrificially, devoted unto God.
    13. Submit to the government and neighbours – put on Jesus Christ.
    14. Do not condemn or cause brother to stumble, based on scruples as a Jew or Gentile.
    15. Serving others and glorifying God with one mind – Paul’s personal plans.
    16. Paul’s salutations and warning to avoid divisive amongst the brethren.
    Romans 9 is immediately preceded by the profound encouragement, promise, and hope of security in the Lord. (Please read Romans 8:31-39 for background.) After Paul’s, both Jew and Gentile readers might have questioned him based on the case of then current Israel. At that time, Jewish persecution was increasing. Their rejection of the Lord was becoming more complete, while the Gentiles were turning to the Lord in droves. Yet, it was clear at that time, that as a nation, the Jews were rejecting God and being rejected by Him. Both Jew and Gentile might ask, “Had God not elected and predestined Israel?” Paul seems to have anticipated such a question, because he moved from a proclamation of God’s love and the elect’s victory in Christ to the situation regarding God’s elect nation, Israel, in chapter 9.
    Ross the theological basis for this summary I will email to you as it will be much too long for the blog to handle. Blessings..

  8. Ross Riggn says:

    Hey Grahame, I have a response on my blog reallyseeing2.blogspot.com.

    For you and Neville and others, you pretty much know where I stand on these issues. I would love to continue the dialogue because I so appreciate the clarity that comes from really hashing out ideas. However, I think it best that if the dialogue does continue, that we do it elsewhere than on the 50 plus comment thread on Kevin DeYoung’s blog. You and others are always welcome on my blog and any further response I make will be there without any notification here.

    Blessings,
    Ross

  9. Grahame Smith says:

    Ross Ive sent a email to you re this review of Rom9. Ur blog has a word limit on it.

  10. Cody says:

    Hey Neville, I’ve decided I’m not going to get into an argument with you because I think you’re just here to make sure everyone knows how much better you are than Kevin DeYoung.
    P.S.
    If it makes you like me better I’m not a member of Kevin DeYoung’s denomination. I’m a Lutheran.

  11. Neville Briggs says:

    Judging the motives of the heart is a big call.

  12. Cody says:

    Well, here is the reason I did it. (It probably doesn’t justify it but you might be interested anyway.) If you wanted to reach the largest number of people you would post something in your own blog. Calvinists (like Kevin DeYoung) tend to say that people who take your position, should logically credit themselves for part of their salvation. I seriously doubt you do that no matter how “logical” it is. Likewise you are saying here that people of Kevin DeYoung’s denomination should logically consider people worthless. Since Kevin DeYoung just did a blogpost where he says the opposite, what is the problem? It really feels like you just want to make everyone see how much more spiritual you are. I find it obnoxious.

  13. Grahame Smith says:

    Cody following your logic we save ourselves. Neville hasn’t said that. God created us with free will which we all use every day to make decisions. God not wanting to create puppets gave us the permission to choose him or reject Him. That’s as far as it goes. Christ did everything necessary for ustocome into relationship with Him. The choice is still up to us or why bother to share the gospel with those who don’t know Him. One of the Pastors I supervise and I count as a friend is a Army Padre and certainly believes in Salvation through repentance and faith. With a Blog such as this you will always get different views on topics based on peoples Christian up bringing. Its to Kevin’s credit he allows it and encourages it.

  14. Ross Riggan says:

    The concept of free will is never taught in Scripture. It does speak of “willing” although indirectly in the passages that say things like, “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” So it mentions willing in terms of our believing, putting our faith in, even choosing Jesus. Nobody, not even Calvinists, say that we do not choose. We make choices every single day and are morally responsible for them. But again, the Bible never speaks of our will being free. What it talks about is a nature that is so corrupt that it is dead to God. It says that no one seeks Him. All have turned away. So I would even go so far as to say that our will is free to choose Jesus EXCEPT that we never would truly want to in and of ourselves. We can’t because we are dead to God. Just like Lydia, we need God to open our heart so that we will be free to choose Him. Apart from a Sovereign choice and enabling from God, we will NOT make that choice.

  15. Grahame Smith says:

    Ross I was keeping things short in my reply to Cody, I agree with out conviction of God the Holy Spirit no one can be saved as you rightly say we are spiritually dead in our sins. As scripture says the god of this world is blinding the eyes of those who are perishing. It is the Holy spirit that removes the blindness though conviction which allows people to make a choice. Rebirth only occurs through confession of sin and accepting Christ as Lord and Saviour. The issue of free will is an issue you and I have been debating for while so that hasn’t changed. I grew up in a Dutch reform Church (only church near by) so reformed theology was provided to me twice a week. Very caring and loving Christians. Life happens and things change, so I am in a different place theologically as result of very good Christian teachers. Christ is still the only way that we can agree on. Blessings

  16. Neville Briggs says:

    Cody,

    1. You seem to be arguing; agree with us or go away. If Mr De Young wants to put a blog on the world wide web, then it is out there in public for anyone to respond in the way they choose. If the response is unseemly I assume that a moderator can remove it.
    2. Faith is the acceptance of what has been done for us. Our salvation is a gift, the Bible says that. But we do have a part to play, we must accept or refuse the gift. Accepting or refusing has no part in the content of the gift. All through the gospels Jesus commended people for their faith, in other words He gave them credit. The idea that we cannot do anything comes from Platonist philosophy not the New Testament. And nothing on the issue of faith in the NT suggests that exercising faith makes one superior. Faith is an act of worship in response to God’s gift because faith is the ascribing of glory to God who is worthy to be trusted. You might say that faith is not a work but a thank you.
    3. Yes I do believe that the Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity makes out people to be worthless, and I agree that Kevin De Young posted a blog that said the opposite. I commented on that not because I am more spiritual or smarter, not because I have a low view of Mr De Young’s character, but to challenge the contradiction. If Calvinists want to make public declarations of their doctrines, then they should be prepared to publicly defend them.
    4. You tell me that I am obnoxious to you because you feel something about my views. Disputing my views is fair, holding my character in contempt is unfair, that is unknown to you.
    If I could persuade you, any impression of character that you get from my posts probably owes more to my clumsy prose style than my disposition.

  17. Cody says:

    Grahame, oh dear! You misunderstood me. I was saying that I’ve heard (and if debate about this a lot) other people say that is what your viewpoint entail. Remember I put quotations marks around the word logically. It would be ridiculous for you to change your view because someone says it logically entails something bad. So why should Kevin DeYoung do the same thing? If his views aren’t causing him to be a nihilist and you don’t believe this is a matter of salvation and damnation, what is the real problem here?

    Neville, (1) I don’t respond to this blog whether I agree with it or disagree with it because the author doesn’t comment (because unlike you and me, he apparently has a life) What you choose to do is your choice. I’m just saying how it comes across to me.
    (2)See my response to Ross Riggan above.
    (3)What do you think would happen if Kevin DeYoung changed his position? How would his life improve? What would be the practical benefits?
    (4) I agree with the last sentence.

  18. Neville Briggs says:

    Ross says ” the concept of free will is never taught in the scripture.”

    In Exodus 35 :29 says ” The Israelites brought a freewill offering to the Lord. all whose hearts made them willing ”
    In Psalm 119 the psalmist implores God to accept the freewill offerings of his mouth.

    With respect, it is absurd to say that we have choices but not free will. Choices have to be free will or they are not choices,

    It is the Calvinist concept of determinism that I cannot find taught in the scripture.

    Cody, I do wonder why the author of this blog does not respond to comments.

  19. Ross Riggan says:

    Neville,

    In my last post, I did say that we make choices everyday that we are morally responsible, and that I would even concede that we have a will that chooses whatever it wants. But the key is not that our will is so fouled up, it’s our natures that are dead in trespasses and sins. We do not choose God in and of ourselves not because we lack a will to do so, but that our nature will never will to. No one seeks God. It’s in Scripture… several times.

  20. Ross Riggan says:

    Also, with respect to “free will offerings”, that was part of an old covenant, law system, the purpose of which was what…? To show us our sin, to prove that we cannot “will” to be saved by law keeping. We cannot earn it by our moral choices, because ultimately, we do not want to. We do not want to keep the law. I do not see this supporting free will in Scripture.

  21. Grahame Smith says:

    Message to Ross and Neville
    Perhaps this passage may help in the debate where it looks at the veiling of the Gospel to people

    But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).
    In 2 Corinthians 4:4, Paul is saying that people who do not want to see the glorious truth of the gospel will remain darkened in their mind because the god of this age is certainly not going to reveal it to them. If they want to understand the gospel, all they need to do is turn to the Spirit of God for understanding, and he will remove the veil from their hearts and the blindness from their eyes so that they might be understand and obey the gospel of God. “Paul knew that … the gospel could and did pierce the veil” (Wright, 2 Corinthians, 42).

    That this is the proper way to read 2 Corinthians 4:4 is supported by the verse itself. Paul writes that those who are perishing “do not believe, lest the light of the gospel … should shine upon them.” Paul does not write that they do not believe because they cannot believe, or because the god of this age is preventing them from doing so.

    No, Paul says they do not believe, because they do not want the light of the gospel to shine into their lives, thereby calling them to submit to Jesus Christ and Lord and follow Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.

    Paul is not the only one to make this sort of statement in Scripture. The Apostle John writes similarly in his Gospel, where he explains that although Jesus came unto His own people, they did not accept Him (John 1:1-8). And why did they not accept Him.

    John explains why later. He says that they did not accept Him because their deeds were evil and they loved darkness rather than light (John 3:18-21). They did not want the light to shine in their lives, because they knew that if it did, they would have to change their beliefs and their behaviours, and so they chose to remain in darkness. Nevertheless, such a condition is not permanent. Jesus himself says that veil of darkness can be removed when the gospel is preached (John 6:45).

    This seems to shed some light on choices and free will in 2 Corinthians 3–4.

  22. Neville Briggs says:

    So we have free will, but we can’t exercise it because of our nature.
    That means we don’t have free will, because we can’t do it.
    We have free will but it’s not free. You’ll have to forgive me but I find that an absurd contradiction .

    So it follows that if we are a corpse and can’t do anything then God can’t condemn us because it’s not our fault, we are helpless. It’s our nature, we can’t help our nature. ( that’s the homosexuals argument by the way ) .

    People aren’t corpses, they are living beings made in the image of God. They may not naturally seek God because of their fallen-ness but they can and do respond to the Gospel. The Bible teaches that their condemnation will be refusal to respond, not inability to respond.

  23. Ross Riggn says:

    I am not for claiming we have free will. I said that by way of concession. Not because I believe the term free will in any way describes our actual condition. Our condition seems much more like an enslaved will. But again, the problem does not lie in the will so much as the nature. We only will what we want and Scripture says as Grahame pointed out that “men loved darkness rather than light.” That is our nature, and it renders our “free wills” for all practical purposes enslaved to sin, because sin is all we want left to ourselves. It’s not a contradiction at all. You don’t will what you don’t want.

    The objection you raise, Neville, in your second paragraph is exactly the same argument raised in Romans 9:19 and following. The objection you raise and Paul raises (for his critics) would make no sense unless the situation was that our natures and thus essentially our wills are enslaved to sin and we ultimately have no sovereignty over that decision. What’s Paul’s answer to the idea that God hardens (leaving them in their dead, non-seeking God state)? Who are you to answer back to God. Will the thing molded say to the molder, “Why have you made me thus?”

    We are made in the image of God, but you are wrong, Neville… We are dead image bearers, corpses if you want to use that term. Romans 2 says so. Many times in Scripture, the veiled is pulled back enough to show that when people do actually leave their dead state and respond to the Gospel, God has done the drawing. God has opened the heart to give attention to the Gospel. People will be held accountable for refusing the Gospel, even if they never had the capacity to “come up” with the desire and will to do so. And others will be given that ability to respond and will receive grace and mercy. If that does not seem fair to you, I refer you back to Romans 9:20, “Who are you, o man, to answer back to God. He has the right to use some people vessels of wrath and others for mercy. God said it. Not me.

  24. Ross Riggn says:

    Grahame, you said in the Corinthian passage, “Paul does not write that they do not believe because they cannot believe, or because the god of this age is preventing them from doing so.” The passage explicitly says that the god of this age is blinding them. It’s not that he is certainly won’t help them see the light. No, the passage explicitly says that the god of this world is actively blinding their eyes. Either that means he plays a part in their remaining in unbelief (blindness) or it has no meaning at all.

    You said all we need to do is turn to the Spirit of God for understanding. How can a Romans 2 man do that? How can a Romans 3 guy who does not seek God turn to the Spirit of God for understanding. He does not unless the Father draws him. And then just like the John 6:45 passage says, those who have learned from the Father (once He drew them, vs 44) will come to Jesus. It’s is all right there.

  25. Grahame Smith says:

    Ross in the immediately preceding passage, Paul is explaining that the new covenant in the Spirit has replaced the old covenant of the law (2 Corinthians 3:6). He goes on to say that even though the new covenant is exceedingly more glorious than the old covenant, the Jewish people do not accept it because their minds have been veiled (2 Corinthians 3:14-15).
    In fact, Paul even says that their minds are veiled regarding the proper way to read the Old Testament as well (2 Corinthians 3:14). The only way to read the Old Testament, he says, is through Jesus Christ. If someone does not believe that Jesus is the Christ, the veil remains. So that helps to set the context.
    Furthermore Paul, is not saying that either Jew or gentile can never believe and will never believe. Quite to the contrary, Paul has clearly stated how the veil is removed, thereby implying that it can be removed. How is this? Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 2:16 that “when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” While initially it might seem that Paul is referring to the initial act of faith in Jesus Christ by which people receive eternal life, the following verse shows that this is not at all what Paul is referring to.
    In 2 Corinthians 2:17, Paul clarifies that “the Lord” he has just mentioned in 2 Corinthians 2:16 is not Jesus, but the Holy Spirit. He says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit” (N. T. Wright argues that the Spirit of the Lord is active in the fellowship of the saints, and this is where and how the veil is removed. See Wright, Paul and the Faithfulness of God, II:726).
    What this means is that when Paul talks about blindness and the veil in 2 Corinthians 2–3, he is not talking primarily about how a person receives eternal life by faith in Jesus Christ, but about all the other truths of the gospel which are contained in the rest of Scripture, and which are centred on the person and work of Jesus Christ.
    The “gospel,” remember, is not simply the message that eternal life is given to those who believe in Jesus for it. This truth is central to the gospel, but it is not the entirety of the gospel. The biblical gospel contains everything related to the person and work of Jesus Christ and the ramifications of these truths for our lives as His followers.
    With all of this in mind, what Paul is saying is that nobody can understand the gospel unless they turn to the Holy Spirit for illumination and guidance. Once we do this, He not only removes the veil from our minds, but also helps us live out the truths of the gospel so that we are transformed “from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

  26. Neville Briggs says:

    To say that God condemns people for not doing something that they cannot do, is utterly abhorrent, and contradicts everything in the Bible about God’s love, justice and compassion.
    I don’t believe it for a second.

    When Jesus said that people would be condemned for unbelief why didn’t He own up and say how that applied to those who were unable to believe. He didn’t say that, because it isn’t true.

    I have faith that God will do what is right. God will never condemn me for not doing what I cannot do, because that condemnation is not right by all the standards of justice that God’s Word establishes.

    So we can’t argue with God about choosing some for wrath and some for mercy. If God is doing that to little innocent babies then I will answer back to God all day long about His injustice.
    But I don’t need to because He isn’t.

  27. Ross Riggan says:

    Grahame, regardless of whether the turning is to the Holy Spirit or to any other Person of the Trinity, the problem is still the same: Ephesians 2 – we are dead in our trespasses and sins. We don’t “turn” on our own in any way that leads to salvation. Sure we can have an intellectual understanding of how Christ is the fulfillment of the old covenant and law and that faith in Him and repentance is necessary for salvation. We can have the head knowledge all day long, but until God quickens our dead, sin loving souls, all that knowledge is for naught.

    Neville, you have essentially said in your last post that no matter what Scripture says, you do not accept God’s Sovereignty in salvation so will never allow yourself to see it in Scripture. We don’t form our ideas about God and let that determine what Scripture says. We read the Bible, all of it, and put it all together to get as complete a picture of our God as possible. There is a sense in which I wish Gods sovereignty in election was not in the Bible because it is hard and seems harsh. But then again I’m just a man with a very limited intellect. Gods ways and thoughts are far above mine.

  28. Neville Briggs says:

    You’ve completely misunderstood me Ross.

    God’s sovereignty in salvation is clearly stated in the scripture; the well known John 3:16.

    The sovereign election in Romans 9 refers to God’s selection of those who are to carry out God’s plans for the times . As C.S. Lewis ? put it, we have two choices, submit to God and be his partner or resist God and be used by Him as His implement. I have no argument with that, it is not some definition of individual salvation.
    Calvinist teaching on election makes a category mistake.

    In the end I am sure it is not about definitions and analysing proof texts. Every day we need to get up and worship the God of love and compassion who desires all to be saved and none to perish. He promises that we might have life and that more abundantly.

  29. Ross Riggan says:

    We will just have to agree to disagree on what Romans 9 and other passages really mean. That’s ok though because we do both worship the same God Who is so loving that He desires all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. His sacrifice has made a way that even while we disagree over these secondary issues, we can still join arms as brothers around the throne and enjoy this One Who is Beautiful, Who loved us that we might be able to love one another. Maybe one day everything will be made crystal clear and we will with one accord bring praise to this One Who is Salvation.

    Blessings, Neville

  30. Grahame Smith says:

    Ross your last post says it all we have to agree to disagree but we follow and worship the same God and Jesus Christ is our Lord and Saviour. That is sufficient for me. We share His grace to others. Blessings to you

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (PCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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