Repentance, Realisation and Reality
In Luke 13, we are told that unless we repent, we shall all likewise perish. The Speaker ? Jesus Christ. I n Acts 11:18 we find that there was a rather amazed reaction in some of the early Christians: So God has granted to the Gentile, Repentance into life.
Not to be found is this: life into repentance. In order to enter into life, you must repent and so find it. So in John 1:12, it is stated that those who received this singular, this unique, this incarnate from His eternal realm Jesus Christ, to these it was accorded authority to become children of God. Again, the reception comes first. That is the entrance criterion.
It is not new to God, who is who. In Ephesians 1:4, we learn that it is, in this post-Adamic era, God Himself who does the choosing. This is no autonomous sovereignty left for man to manage this matter.
Such gifts of course in principle could be refused. A grant whether of repentance or life is not per se an accepted grant for those assigned, though it be an amazing one, obtained at enormous cost (which makes the $100 million or so for the touted invisible aircraft, the F 35 look tiny), even that of the cross of Christ!
However, there is an effectual grant of grace, repentance and adoption because God foreknew the depths of their hearts, not their superiority or inferiority which if present would have dismissed love, liberty and reality. God make such things, and did in Adam and Eve, but the Fall invoked a loss of autonomy to man, and henceforth it was God Himself who did the choosing, but not so as to annul the whole nature of man and test and the evocation of love. Instead, His was the assessment in His foreknowing of ultimate disposition and response (cf. Proverbs 20:27, Romans 8:29ff.).In foreknowing, He did not dictate, making a mockery of love, which is immiscible with the mere mounting of force. He investigaged, knew and supplied His own testing modes, in that foreknowledge, thus an assesssor not a despotic imparter of destiny, condemning some for ever for reasons unaccountable, but not including the relevance to HIM of the will. There before creation is man in the mind of God, foreknown as before sin (for sin could not come for man until he was there to do it, after the creation) is man, his chosen route apparent and His associated destiny disclosed.\
This was the choice of God, to choose in terms of principles (as in John 3:19 explicitly) including the accurately foreknown and discerned result of divine discernment from the first, before ever any fall, or man or sin for him or her.
History can only confirm this divine knowledge, yet not as a slave but as a confirmation of the foreknowledge, with more or less exposure of the issues and the struggles that worked from the first, in each case in view. Some in our history experience more the sovereignty of God's action, some the relentless mercy, some the superficiality of their rejection, this being in the variation of exposure in the just workings of God. What we must remember at all times is this: the desire of God for the reconcilation of all things, whether on earth or in heaven, to Himself is present, even to the point of His having made peace through the blood of the cross. In Colossians 1:19, He declares this, and what prodigy will tell Him to stop kidding and conform to Calvinism or Armnianism, instead, to the glory of theologians, who have fallen into ignoring parts of the word of God such as Matthew 23:37, Luke 19:42ff., Isaiah 48:15ff.) and illustrated in massive lament as in Jeremiah 9, Isaiah 5:3-6). It is God who desires, discerns, decides the principles of His in His foreknowing, who dynamises and grants all means.
Scripturally, it appears impossible to pretend that God has had no better end in mind than that negatively chosen by many. He chooses to be an interpretive God with differentiating principles in the process, in accord with the non-violent character of love. He flatly contradicts, and that repeatedly, any notion of obscurity about His yearnings and desires for man, and the hopes He entertained for some other outcome (as in Isaiah 48 and Matthew 23:37).These are shown to have been vivid in His mind, causing lament when such delightul prospects found the would-be recipient "would not". So it was foreknown, beyond our time, and under the superintendence of God, discerned. Again and again, the Lord spells out the opportunity as in Luke 19:42ff.,which they bypassed so causing almost unspeakable grief to the Almighty. He does not desire to condemn but to save (cf. Ezekiel 33:11). But He does not sacrifice justice to secure mercy, but pays for its application, such is the intensity of His sincere love and gracious desires.
Thus in Luke 19, here were things to which the party concerned (Israel) COULD have responded positively, but did not, so causing a vastly felt grief in the Father of spirits and upbraiding for their failure, wholly unnecessary and utterly deplorable, to have acted aright. As in Matthew 23:37ff., I WOULD but YOU WOULD NOT. The will of man is both known beforehand to God and discerned together with its destiny, whether or not it is found negative from the first, or not (cf. I Peter 2:9).
The fallen human will is neither sovereign nor autonomous, but is relevant to the mode of choice of God, who knows it and discerns. It is not determined from without, but on display before Him before whom all things are manifest (Hebrews 4:13), including the heart of man before his creation, and indeed afterwards, for just as in a physical miraculous healing of flesh, normal distortions and pathologies are at work, but God's own personal power supervenes, thus composing a miracle, so with the heart of man, normal obscurational features in the sinful heart are not exclusive of God, who can penetrate past the normal program, and can enlighten in part or at will, or in this mode or that.
Without the cross of Christ there are no practical sources for grace. Here is a profound for dispersal, enough for all the world (I John 2:1ff.).But none is force-fed, as if to make a mockery of the staggering purity of patience and restraint on the part of Him whose wonders are internal, external, perfect in spirit and in attainment. Indeed, as the Psalm declares, it is He, the Lord, who ONLY does wonders.
Without the Lord's use of principles in choosing, there is no generic application of grace as in John 3:16 which does NOT tell us that God so love a part of this world that He gave His own and only begotten Son, that whosoever within that part of the world believes in HIm should have eternal life. It was statedly the world, and any who want to shave it down into some kind of defective sectionalism merely disrupt the wonder of divine action, and imply the equivalent of false advertising!
Scripturally, it appears impossible to pretend that God has had no better end in mind than that negatively chosen by many. He chooses to be an interpretive God with differentiating principles in the process, in accord with the non-violent character of love. He flatly contradicts, and that repeatedly, any notion of obscurity about His yearnings and desires for man, and the hopes He entertained for some other outcome (as in Isaiah 48 and Matthew 23:37).These are shown to have been vivid in His mind, causing lament when such delightful prospects found the would-be recipient "would not". So it was foreknown, beyond our time, and under the superintendence of God, discerned. Again and again, the Lord spells out the opportunity as in Luke 19:42ff.,which they bypassed so causing almost unspeakable grief to the Almighty. If ONLY you had known, in this your day, the things that make for your peace! He cried; and He wept.
But God who is eternal does not grow old in concern, or vacant, or a mere fiat force for operation on man. But the result is foreknown, and the impediment stated so often that it is a wonder it does not seem to be read - such are the imaginary prerogatives, of runaway theological systems. God is glorious and majestic, fearful and pure, restrained in His mercies not to turn them into mere dictates, but secure in His promises and immutable in His premises... He WOULD HAVE ALL reconciled to Himself, heaven or earth. He says so. Why vie with Him! Why not believe the sheer glory and wonder of it all, and accept ALL that He says (such as John `5:21ff)! There is no good reason.