No one wants to go to heaven. This “innocent person” who just “wants to be with God” doesn’t exist. Before the conversion of a man’s heart it is only ever seeking after its own good and personal pleasure. Humbling itself before a holy and righteous God is the furthest thing from that mindset. We all want to be validated for our sins and to feel justified in our thoughts, intentions, and actions, but we don’t want an authoritarian figure to exist at all because, if one does exist, it could tell us that we’re wrong. The more you learn about scripture, the more you bathe yourself in it and allow it to teach you, the more you see that this is true.

Look at the Jews in the wilderness – the minute that the tower of fire and the tower of cloud went away, and only one generation after they were fed daily in the wilderness, that their clothes and shoes never wore out, and that all of their needs were met – once that generation of people who physically saw and experienced that were in the ground, they started following their own desires and seeking their own plans. God had literally wiped out the people who lived there before them, and they responded to this by seeking out the demonic worship of the people who lived there before and self-worship that they wanted in their hearts all along.

There’s only about 1-1.5 generations between a great act of God and rebellion. Read through Judges if you want a window into the heart of man – read the book of Judges.

When Joshua dismissed the people, the people of Israel went each to his inheritance to take possession of the land. And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the LORD had done for Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of 110 years. And they buried him within the boundaries of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash. And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers.

And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel. And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals. And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the LORD to anger. They abandoned the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth.

Judges 2:6–13 (ESV)

These literally are the genetic descendants of Abraham – whose fathers and grandfathers were fed by God in the wilderness, who were the children promised to Abraham when he had only one “official” child, in the land that God had promised to Abraham, and this people turned from the faith of Abraham and sought the “gods of the land” – they went after the things that the people in the area had known, thinking that they knew better how to appease the “gods of the hills” and the “gods of the valleys” in Canaan so they could get the best crops and get peace. They forsake the God of all CREATION – who created the WORLD AND ALL THAT’S IN IT, for the “gods” of a specific set of hills. Why? Because that one would probably let them do whatever they wanted.

Look at every one of these people – God allows them to live their lives to their own worship and to their own plans for their own glory.

Each of the stages in Romans 1 were led with God allowing, or giving people up, to whatever they wanted – and why? Because they, of their own desires, refuse to acknowledge him. They won’t, but he allows them to do it on their own, and those whom God allows to do anything on their own, using their own sovereign free will, only ever end up seeking their own worship and their own desires.

Now, look at those whom God has saved – it’s clear that God interferes with their lives:

God violates the “free will” and “free heart” of man which follows after whatever it wants to its own glory, and changes that heart by inserting his Holy Spirit. He regenerates our seared consciences and turns us from our self-worship to, first, acknowledge the authority of a creator, then to understand the commands of the creator, then to bring us to the point of sorrow over our sin where we see our lives in reflection of this perfect and holy God. Once that’s taken effect in the heart / soul of a man, then it works on the mind until we can do nothing else than to ourward repent of our sins – but even this is just the capstone on a building that God has been creating in our hearts – a temple within us to our God and King, not made with hands – of our own desires and plans to worship God – but by his own actions to his glory so that he, not us, is the one to get the glory for the transformation in our hearts and minds.

IF, therefore, in the kindness of God, he allows people to pursue that which they most want in the world – their own self-worship (today known as humanism) – no matter how they frame it, calling it Christianity, or whatever, and he knows that they are only seeking to gratify their own desires but they wrap it in this “religious” coat, but this self-gratification is what they want most in the world. So God allows them to do so, to pursue the deepest desires of their hearts. Their consciences which reflect God’s character and nature scream at them when they sin, but they don’t care because it’s merely a whisper against their real god – their own desires – and therefore when they die, none of them can say that they “didn’t know” that they shouldn’t do those things which led to death.

So, those who pass into hell are doing so because God is allowing them to go to hell. The thing they want most is validation and to be left alone, so God gives them their hearts’ desire.

But for some people, those of the elect, we don’t get that. We don’t get to experience our hearts’ desires, nor do we get God leaving us alone. He interferes with our lives – he reaches into our chests and removes our sin-hardened hearts and replaces it with a heart that can hear his commands. He transforms our thoughts so that we no longer long to seek for our own desires, but instead we desire his thoughts, and his desires. He conforms our views to his views, and reveals to us the breadth and depth of our sins against him, and the impact of that sin, then, when we can stand it no more, our mouths erupt in repentance – revealing a faith which we’ve had since God first converted our hearts, but now can no longer be hidden within us.

And eventually, our thoughts, now God’s thoughts, and our desires, now God’s desires, are revealed in new decisions and new actions from a changed heart and the rest of the world can’t ignore this change within us.

That’s the true picture of what salvation looks like, and how God handles the sin of mankind. God doesn’t play “duck duck goose” and randomly pick people to save while maliciously choosing to condemn the rest – but God, choosing to allow his creation to live life as they want to live it, will allow them to do so – even if it means that they will ultimately be condemned, but because the heart of man only wants to serve itself, he chooses to save some and does so in a way that only he can get the glory for that conversion, because if it were up to us, we’d only worship ourselves for our “decision to follow Jesus”.

Jesus’ rejection of men does not come from their continual rejection of him. God, if he is incapable of saving people whom he has intended to save, is not God, but a mere reactor to the will of mankind. Every soul whom God has elected for salvation will be saved – from birth to the grave, their salvation is sure. They, however, cannot see it on their own and from their experience they only know their own walk in rebellion, their conversion, sanctification, and eventual glorification.

God’s rejection of men comes from their relentless attack against his character and nature. They are born without hearts that can understand him or his nature, they live their lives in self-worship, which is sin in that it rejects God’s role in creation, salvation, and his sovereign rule over their lives. That said, they have his laws written upon their heart in their conscience – they know of their relationship with him through the revelation of God through nature, and no man has an excuse before him that they did not know. Their consciences battle within them against them all the days of the lives, but they are still living in rebellion – focusing on their own self-worship and appeasing their own self-glorification.

God rejects the world and the non-elect, in his love for them – in giving them exactly what they want. They want self-autonomy from God’s laws, so he gives it to them. They want self-managed gratification by fulfilling their evil hearts desires, so he gives it to them. They want to reject everything that God has given them, yet still using the gifts he’s provided for them (the wealth, food, clothing, shelter, and freedom) to pursue their own destruction. And God gives it to them. At no point were they approved by God, not from birth to their deaths, but God, in love for his creation, grants to them what they want because they know the result is their destruction, but the draw to worship themselves and their own desires is too much for them to stop them from serving it.

God rejects men, because their desire is that he reject them.

God’s saving of men is where God stops giving men what they want. Salvation requires that God inject himself, against the will of men, into their hearts. He converts their self-focused hearts to understand their sin against him and their rejection of him. He fills them with His Holy Spirit and converts their soul to break their hearts over their sin against him. He reveals to them the love of God in that he has stood idly by as they sin against him, and he still served them in taking care of all of their needs. He then opens their minds to the reality of their sin debt against him, and the eventual end of that path which is their eternal destruction. God reveals to them his glory, his power, and his nature – and turns their hearts and minds from worship of self to worship of him until they can do nothing but fall on their knees in repentance and faith. Once it leaves their mouth that they repent and believe, it merely represents a wholly converted mind that has been transformed by their converted heart.

The heart of man cannot, on his own, embrace the goodness and greatness of God. To state that man has this ability is to say that God is a liar when he says that the hearts of men are corrupt from the womb, and that the hearts of all mankind os desperately wicked. The salvation of mankind comes from God is directed to God for the glory of God, to the shame of man because our self-worship is too important to us.

Praise be to the God and King of all creation who interferes in the lives of his creation, who violates the self-destructive will of man, and saves men against their will, so that there are witnesses in this age to his glory, to his praise, and for his name.

You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

~ Romans 9:19–24 (ESV)

God has, by his own will and desire, created certain people for salvation and others for damnation. This is clearly seen throughout all of scripture, where man’s choices are overridden by God’s will. Jonah tried to run from his calling, but God forced his hand. Moses tried to shift the work of preaching to the people of God and leading them out of Egypt, but God forced his hand. He allowed Aaron to speak for him, but Moses didn’t know that he had already sent Aaron to him to meet with him for that purpose. The people of Israel said that they could keep God’s commands, but God in Deuteronomy 28 knew that they’d fall away and prescribed their punishment which they were to receive time and again to them. Saul wanted to crush the Christian rebellion against Jewish authority and Jesus forced himself upon him. Every time that there is a choice to be made, God is the actor on that choice, and it’s often not what people would have expected. Abel over Cain, Isaac over Ishmael, Jacob over Esau, David over all of his brothers, creating the people of Israel instead of choosing a large and well established nation. I could do this all day.

The point made is that God is the one who chooses, but man merely responds to that choice. Look back at the covenants that we’ve seen – there are two types which are present. Covenant of grace, those which God provides onto a people (Noahic, Abrahamic, Davidic) and covenants of works, those which are doomed to fail, based on the people trying to keep their commitment with God’s commands (Adamic – led to the destruction of the world via the flood, Mosaic – led to the destruction of the nation of Israel). The covenants of grace were created because God chose to act for specific people in a specific way, but the covenants of works existed to point people back to God alone as our salvation and deliverer. Knowijng, then, that God is sovereign over his creation, and that we are part of that creation – not free moral agents who can do as we please, but subject to the will of the one who made, sustains, and controls all of the events and environment around us, who are we to say that God is unfair when he chooses to control those whom he will save and those whom he will send to hell?

Moreover, if God does choose to send anyone to hell, and if he is truly a just judge, then how is it that people can sin at all? This is where we see the realm of “free will” and that which it can pursue. The only free will that God allows is that which leads to sin. Think about it – WAAAY back in the garden, if Adam and Eve did the will of God then they’d never have eaten the forbidden fruit. Literally any other action was following God’s commands, but that which led them to sin. If you break down the ten commandments, we are called to honor God only in all that we do and to trust in him alone for our needs, much less our salvation, and we are to treat others in a way that honors God, as we are his image bearers, as are those with whom we interact. So any free will choice we exert on others is a violation of those commands.

For those who say that we can, of our own will, choose to do that which pleases God, scripture denies that right.

Truly no man can ransom another,
or give to God the price of his life,
for the ransom of their life is costly
and can never suffice,
that he should live on forever
and never see the pit.
~ Psalm 49: 7-9 (ESV)

Though you wash yourself with lye
and use much soap,
the stain of your guilt is still before me,
declares the Lord GOD.
~ Jeremiah 2:22 (ESV)

“And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’
~ Ezekiel 16:6 (ESV)

The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.”
~ Ezekiel 37:1-3 (ESV)

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
~ Romans 5:6 (ESV)

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
~ Colossians 2:13 (ESV)

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
~ Ephesians 2:1-2, 4-5 (ESV)

So it is God alone who determines who can be saved, and God also who determines how that takes place. That said, if God purposes to save anyone, as the commander of all spiritual and natural forces, he will keep that person alive and bend heaven and earth until they are converted. When you are so converted, it’s not because you are choosing one option from a billion others, but that God has so orchestrated all of the events of your life such that you can do nothing but choose him. And you’ll thank him for it for the rest of your life and on forever into eternity.

On Facebook someone posted the most irreverent question I’ve seen in a while.

How can a God who Commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves be so limited in His own ability to love that He could love only some enough to elect them for salvation and then be able to hate some even lesser to reprobate them.

I’d add a comment here about how I felt about it but I’m very tired. That said, here’s my response:

In brief, here’s the way it works. God makes the rules. He’s God. He describes himself in scripture as the potter whose creations complain that he’s made them as he has but he’s still the potter. He can do what he wants. To presume anything else is to presume that you know better than he does. Why does he allow kids to die from cancer? Why does he even allow cancer in the first place? It’s because he’s God. I won’t understand every thing about what he does and I’m glad for that. If he’s a truly holy and pure God, my corrupted mind won’t be able to understand all of it. When I look at all of the things that took place in my life when he converted me – all of the people and experiences involved that shaped me into the man I was, all of the struggles I endured that led me to the place where all I could do was finally surrender my life into the hands of my creator, despite all of it that I’d normally claim as terrible, I thank God for all of it. He is my creator. He is my king. Who am I, as a creature under his control to take in his air that he owns and allows me to use to give me life and use it to attack him or belittle his authority over me?

If left to our own devices we’d never “choose” him, because to do so would be to violate the core of the sinful man. Ask any atheist if they feel they’re forced to hate a God that they swear doesn’t even exist? God chooses, in his love, to save some so he can demonstrate his communicable attributes of grace and mercy. He allows others to go to hell, where they’d rather be, because of their own desire to be as far from him as they can manage. Read Romans 1:18-32. Time after time it’s not God forcing anyone to do anything – it’s him, loving them enough to allow them to have what they want. They WANT this. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against ALL ungodliness and unrighteous of men, but they don’t care. They suppress the truth of who God is and willingly choose to walk in sin. His attributes are made clear to them and they choose to abandon all of it in pursuit of the lie that they can be their own gods and determine what is right and true by their own volition. So he gives them up to their desires time and again. God doesn’t throw people into hell, he allows them to proudly walk in and lock the door behind themselves. The right question here isn’t “how does God choose to punish anyone”, but ” why would God choose to save anyone?”. I’m a failure. I screw up all the time. I willingly sin because I want that temporary freedom that I think I’ll get and I only receive the reminder that it was not only bad for me, but that it violated the one who died in my place to save me. I should be incinerated where I stand every moment of every day. Even on my best moment and with my best intentions I’m still a thousand miles from anywhere near where I need to be. The fact that God chose to save me boggles my mind every moment of every day. But here’s the fact – he did this by his own power and to his own glory because I know that I’d never do it on my own, and I thank him for it because that’s literally all I can do. I can’t work it off and I’ll never be good enough to be worthy of his saving work on my behalf. And for that I praise him.

God loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life. Sometimes that plan includes my wife going through horrible seizures, confusion, lack of mobility, and struggles with changes in medication. Sometimes that plan includes a lack of available finances so that we have to trust that God will help us to meet our needs despite everything that shows us that we should search out help elsewhere. Sometimes that plan means that we lose family and friends to cancer, or people we know turn on us for no reason at all. Sometimes it means that people we trust implicitly turn out to be pathological liars who only sought their own pleasure by contorting our lives around their deception. Sometimes it means that our best laid plans, no matter how well thought out or deeply conceived, will be shut down and abandoned.

God is the author of everything in our lives. We not only acknowledge this fact but we seek to live it out. At times that means that we lose friends and alienate ourselves from family members. It prompts uncomfortable conversations when opinions are raised against the solid Word of God and we are under pressure from family to relent to the opinion of those who we know to love us, or stand firm for the God who died to save us. Ultimately, trusting in Christ without living out what you say you believe only degrades the image of Christians and, by association, Jesus Himself, to the onlooking world.

My heart is bent toward legalism in everything I do. I want rules and regulations, not a God who says, “you’re forgiven” and leaves it at that. I search the scriptures for something that will give me a guiding principle, some sort of path to perfection, but it’s not there. That means that I struggle with the concept of understanding who I am as a Christian man on a daily basis. I want to serve this God who saved me but at some point my heart always brings the cart of my works, which were meant to be in gratitude for what He has done on my behalf, before the horse of His salvation and I end up trying to wrestle control of my life from God.

What does that mean for me now? I will, to the best of my ability, trust in God to direct my life and what I do by His own wisdom and plan for what He wants me to do. I acknowledge that I will fail on the way but I know that He is the one who is ultimately in control and I hope that I will remember to release control of the reigns when I find myself trying to grab them again and live my life for God according to my plan and not His. I will seek to stop making pronouncements for grand plans and ideas that I think will lead me to some next great plateau. I do plan to finish reading Calvin’s Institutes but that will come when God leads me back into it. I will finish reading all the books I’ve set before myself, but not to put them under my belt or to become a more respectable Christian, and instead so that I will be more able to appreciate the glory of God in as many facets of His character and nature as I can perceive and understand. In the end, I will trust in God to lead me and to control my life. Why? Because I know that He loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life.

Who is responsible for my salvation? God CALLED Abraham to himself just as Jesus called Lazarus from the tomb. Both were dead in their transgressions and sin before Him and God was under no obligation to save any of them. All of mankind stands condemned before our holy and perfect Creator and God is not obligated to save any of us. WE acted in rebellion against HIM. If my daughter steals my car and drives it off a cliff, totaling it, but she herself is saved. Am I obligated to forgive her? Is there some law on the books that requires me to forgive her for this transgression of my trust? In the same way, God is not obligated to forgive anyone. He has, by His own choice and on His own terms, chosen certain people before time began to save them by sending His own Son to suffer and die in their place. Jesus willingly substituted Himself for these undeserving haters of God and God the Father accepted His sacrifice on our behalf. If God, in His mercy, has done all this work for you, then does the work necessary to bring you to true repentance and trust in Himself, imparting to you faith and love beyond measure, are you then capable of rejecting His good mercy and act of grace on your behalf? What kind of a harsh and uncaring God would allow that to happen to those whom He has forgiven for all of their sins? You are not capable of out sinning God’s grace, and you are not able to thwart the plans of a perfect, holy, and uncontrollable God who has purposed to save you from yourself to Himself.

For the past two years we’ve been using Alpha and Omega‘s Switched on Schoolhouse. It’s a computer based curriculum that includes games, puzzles, and video walkthroughs by professors and teachers that lead the child through each lesson. One of the other features which we really enjoy is that it also will do 95% of the grading for you and is a stickler for spelling. For instance, if they get an answer right but misspell it, the system will automatically deduct 1% for each misspelling. One of my favorite features is that both kids can do their schoolwork at the same time. Just install the network client version, point it to the database on the primary computer and it’s up and running. It is also a great savings point for us as we can use the same software over again since Kylie is two grades ahead of Caleb – just create a new “student” account and assign it the 7th grade workload and “BAM!” he’s ready to go.

At the end of the last school year, Caleb came to us and asked that he be able to use books for this school year. He had been having trouble with his handwriting and he really wanted to spend the time to improve it. We agreed, but opted to stay with the Alpha and Omega publications so that he would still stay in the same teaching style. Unfortunately, in order to order the Lifepac (the equivalent curriculum to SoS) for 6th grade it would cost us $275 + shipping. We only had roughly 1/3 of that available. I figured that I could purchase it next month, but by that time Kylie would have already been doing her school work for a week and a half. I prefer that they do their work at the same time which makes things easier for us.

So, last night we left to pick up Kylie from her babysitting job before heading to Young Marines and our path ended up taking us past the local homeschool supply store. They have a huge selection of new and used so we thought we’d swing by and see what was available. As we headed to the used section, I immediately found a Lifepac Bible for 6th grade that had EVERYTHING (teacher’s book, tests, workbooks) minus the first workbook. Right next to that was the Lifepac Math for 6th grade with the same contents. It turned out that just that day a man had come in with a full set minus the first book in each. The price? $15 each. All I had to do was to go home and order the first book from AOP at $5 each.

$15 x 5 = $75 + tax = $80.25

$4.75 x 5 = $18.75 + shipping = $23.75

Total: $104

My budget? $105


1) God is sovereign in all things. He put it in the mind of the man to take his curriculum to the store on that one specific day at that specific time. The staff had time to organize and price it accordingly, then put it on the shelf. No one else picked it up (full sets are extremely rare to come by, especially with the workbooks in pristine condition), and it was exactly in our price range. God also orchestrated our day such that we would not just pick up Kylie early and head home so she could get dressed there as we would normally do, but our path took us directly past the homeschool store. Lastly, God put it in my mind to “just go and see what they have available”.

2) God knows the cares and concerns of my heart and He will meet them when they are in accordance with His will. In Matthew 6 Jesus told us:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

~ Matthew 6:25-34

Given that information, I can conclude that God knows my needs and He will fulfill them. He knows the things that are pressing heavy on my heart and it is His desire to meet my needs. Psalm 37 concludes:

Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

~ Psalm 37:4

See that? Delight myself in the Lord – not with sports, or with television, or with vain ambition and HE will give me the desires of my heart. Does that mean that if the desire of my heart is for a Porsche then I’ll get one? Nope. Not even if I really, REALLY desire it. See, if I am delighting myself in the Lord, then my desires will conform to His desires. My wants will become His wants. In this process, along with my prayer life, I am opening myself up to God and revealing to Him my nature that, through the transformative process of sanctification, seeks after Him and desires to become more like Him in every way. Therefore, my desires, conforming to His purposes, will be fulfilled.

In this case we see that God has met our needs again. Occasions such as ours last night at the homeschool store are not rare and are anticipated when we see an issue coming up where we have a specific need that we know is outside of our ability to control. May God be praised for all things. For our salvation, for our needs, and for homeschool curriculum.

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