Is God Capricious in Salvation?
Definition of capricious
Is it just me? Why does God in the Old Testament seem to be so much different than God in the New Testament? I used to date a girl that was very capricious. Her unpredictability was fun for a time, but she was flighty and this didn’t lend itself to a stable or serious relationship. In the same way, I think that some people are hesitant to seek God because a superficial reading of the Bible makes Him seem so unpredictable.
In Part one of this post, I stated why I am glad that Jesus is not on His throne presently. I made the point that now this world is presently under an evil dominion. If He was on His throne, then it would be very disappointing.
Yet because He is on different throne now, His Father’s throne – the throne of grace, His righteous rule of peace and prosperity awaits fulfillment. So it is essential that we take advantage of the throne of grace today while His grace is available to us.
What Is God’s Eternal Purpose?
A misunderstanding of the purpose of God, can lead us to thinking that God is unpredictable. If we believe what many Christians teach, we think that the purpose of God is ‘salvific’ or all about people getting saved.
If this was true, then it is incongruous that God ordered so many souls to be killed who were opposed to His will. Furthermore, when we learn about the angels, we see that these created beings have no opportunity for salvation whatsoever.
When we understand that God’s eternal purpose is primarily not to save souls but to glorify His name, then it becomes more clear why God reveals Himself in different ways.
With this understanding we see that God is glorified when people get saved, but He is also glorified when His enemies are vanquished. He is glorified when He calls out a people for His name and He is glorified when His people are disciplined and preserved to become what He always intended mankind to be.
Why Does God’s Name Need to be Glorified?
Doesn’t this seem vain?
Not when you consider how God’s name and His authority has been challenged. All of us can appreciate order and rank in society. It is the foundation of human society beginning with the family. If children are allowed to be in authority, chaos is the result and the family is destroyed. When God’s authority is challenged, if His name is not glorified, then His creation will destroy itself. The stakes could not be higher.
So understanding that God’s name must be glorified in order for creation to exist, we can accept both the salvation of souls and the destruction of those that oppose God. With this in mind…
Which Throne Will You Choose?
There was a time in the history of the nation of Israel, where there was a transition from the family dynasty of King Saul who was from the tribe of Benjamin to the family of David who was of the tribe of Judah. God Himself had made it clear that He had rejected Saul and had chosen David to rule. (1 Samual 16:1)
So it was a time when people had to choose which throne they would have allegiance to. David was anointed King of Israel long before he actually ascended to the throne (1 Samual 16:13). For a time, he was in exile and he was considered by many to be a renegade because King Saul pursued after him in order to kill him. (1 Samuel 19:1,2)
During this time, David gathered a group of men around him that were unhappy and disgruntled by the condition of Israel and by their lives in general. David began to form these men into a formidable fighting force who later became known as David’s mighty men. (1 Samuel 22:2; 1 Chronicles 20:1)
These men were characterized in the following ways: “they knew the times and what Israel should do”, “They were men of war who know how to keep ranks”; “they knew how to keep battle formation”; “they were stout-hearted (not double minded) men (1 Chronicles 12:32,33). In other words, they were men who knew the will of God and they were determined to see it accomplished.
Understanding the Times
In a very real sense, Jesus is in exile awaiting the time when He will ascend to His throne as King of kings and Lord of lords. He will reign over the whole world from His throne in Jerusalem (Isaiah 9:7; Psalm 132:11; Isaiah 16;5; Luke 1:32 Acts 2:29,30). During this time of exile, He is looking for a few good men and women who understand the times and know what they should do to hasten the time when Jesus shall reign.
Since Jesus is presently on His Father’s throne, the throne of grace, (Hebrews 4:14-16) that means that there is still an opportunity for people to choose their allegiance. During times of war, it is not uncommon for an overwhelming, invading army to give space to the residents to choose to leave or even make themselves servants of the invading ruler in order to be spared certain destruction. When given this offer, the choice of allegiance is based on what is known about the respective natures of the two rulers.
We are each faced with such a choice of allegiance. While we are unbelievers, “the goodness of God leads us to repentance” (Romans 2:4) The goodness of God is a gentle, ‘still small voice’ (I Kings 19:11,12) that gives us a finite space of time to respond to His offer of mercy (2 Corinthians 6:2). Do we continue to serve the unrighteous gods of this world or do we choose to serve the coming King whose rule will be according to what is just and right?
Jesus Christ came into the world to make such an offer. His ‘sermon on the mount’ taught the nation of Israel the principles of His Kingdom and shows us the nature of His coming rule. Those principles were not to be external to the subjects of the King but they were to be matters of the heart, carried out with the motive to love God and serve Him from a pure heart.
Jesus showed His bonafides through the miracles that He performed. However, the rulers of Israel rejected this offer and attributed His miracles to the working of Satan. (Matthew 12:24) Instead of crowning Jesus as King, they looked for an opportunity to kill Him and they themselves became the instruments of Satan in condemning the Lord Jesus to an ignominious and horrifying execution by crucifixion.
With this rejection, the Lord began to teach that the offer of the Kingdom was postponed and will be offered to future generation who will receive Him as King. (Matthew 21:43) He taught this in a series of eight parables that described the age of time between His two offers of the Kingdom.
One of these parables taught that during this time, Israel would be like a hidden treasure that was buried to be retrieved at a later time. (Matthew 13:34) However, God would take from among the nations those that recognize Jesus authority and choose to submit to Him. Jerusalem would soon be destroyed and the nation of Israel would be scattered throughout the world. (Matthew 23:37,38; 24:2)
Yet also during this time, both Jew and Gentile would be called out from every nation, tribe and tongue to form the church that Jesus Himself would build (Matthew 16:18). Another parable taught that the kingdom of heaven, of which the church is a part, would be to Him like a pearl of great price for which He sold all that He had to purchase for Himself. (Matthew 13:45,46)
The Lord Restrains
In every generation there are those world events that reveal evil appearing to reign on the earth, but it is restrained by the sovereignty of God on His throne (2 Thessalonians 2:7). At the time of this writing (April, 2022), the world is going through a brinksmanship of world powers. Russia has invaded Ukraine in what may eventually be recognized as an exercise in self preservation, but is also setting the stage for the prophecies of Ezekiel 38 and 39 to be fulfilled.
There is no one nation or people group that has a monopoly on evil. There is an element of ruling elite that have given themselves over to worshipping Satan, but the majority of people in the earth have likewise given themselves over to the lies of the devil. Adam and Eve did not worship Satan, but they did incalculable damage by listening and acting on his lies.
The only way to avoid the counterfeit spirituality of Satan is to embrace the teaching of the Spirit of God whose purpose is to reveal Christ to the world through a tremendous offer of mercy.
This gracious offer of mercy is nearly over, the church age is finishing and the church is about to be removed from the earth in a instant of time called ‘the rapture’. Those who have died in Christ shall rise first and we which remain alive unto the coming of the Lord shall rise to meet them in the air, so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17)
When this happens, the restraining hand of God will be removed and the wrath of God will be unleashed on the earth. The power of God will destroy the wrath of the devil whose desire it is to rule and depopulate the earth through deceit and tyranny. Those who choose to serve the devil will receive the end of their desires. They will crown a false christ as king whose workings are after the deceit and destructive nature of Lucifer. (2 Thessalonians 2:6-10)
In the end, they will cry out to the rocks into which they have sought refuge that they would fall on them to escape the wrath of the Lamb that has come. (Revelation 6:15-17) But death will not come to those who refused to receive the gentle offers of grace. The Lord Himself will depopulate the earth of His enemies with grievous plagues from which there will be no escape. (Revelation 9:6)
In the Coming Kingdom, those that enter it will be a remnant of Jewish survivors of this ultimate holocaust that the Lord called ‘Great tribulation’ (Matthew 24:21). Only a third of Israel will survive this devastation (Zechariah 13;9). Among them will be a remnant of 144,000 Jewish believers that God has sealed and preserved from destruction during this awful time. (Revelation 7:4)
This will be the generation of whom the Lord spoke that will say, ‘Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord’ (Matthew 23:39); They are the generation that will bear the righteous fruit of God’s Kingdom which receives Jesus Christ as their King (Matthew 21:43)
God is For Us
“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.”
[2 Peter 3:9 KJV]
What we learn from all of this is that God has no delight in the death of His enemies, but the fate of creation itself depends upon His Name being respected and glorified. He has done everything necessary to provide for the salvation of souls through Christ’s death, burial, resurrection and ascension back into heaven.
“For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord GOD. “Therefore turn and live!”
[Ezekiel 18:32 NKJV]
As a result, we now are left with the choice to serve the one, true God who now occupies the throne of grace, or to serve the false christ who wants all of God’s creation to receive the fullness of God’s wrath.
Christ’s present work is that of Great High Priest, interceding between sinful man and the holiness of God. It provides mankind with the opportunity to look upon the evil in this world as a result of rejecting the rule of God and see it as a reflection of the evil that lies within each of us when we likewise reject the rule of God in our lives.
Honest reflection of our present condition will lead us to call upon the name of the Lord for salvation. The goodness of God led me to repentance concerning God’s rule in my life in October of 1982. If you have never trusted in Christ, may this be a day of reflection and repentance for you. If you choose Christ, you can have the assurance of God’s eternal love:
“What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? … 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
Don’t be capricious, but choose wisely, my friend…
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