Thursday, March 19, 2009

Solomon's prayer

1 Kings 8:22-53 records a prayer King Solomon said to dedicate the completed temple to God. It is a beautiful prayer, and one part in particular stood out in regards to the Arminan/Calvinist debate.

Starting in verse 41 Solomon prays for foreigners of Israel (remember, Israel is a type of the modern church, so he is praying for the non-elect) to hear of God's great name and His strong hand etc. He also prays, "hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, that ALL PEOPLES OF THE EARTH may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this temple which I have built is called by Your name" (1 Kings 8:43 emphasis mine).

This scripture was inspired by the Holy God of Israel, so that means God inspired Solomon to pray for all people on earth? Why would He do that? Because His love extends to all people everywhere. God allows us to either accept the grace and forgivness he offers, or to reject it. Tragically, those who choose to reject this free gift are not forgiven and must be punished by a holy and righteous God. That is not because God has decreed that they, under no circumstace, could ever come to Him, but because of the hardness of their own hearts. Every person on the planet has the ability, when presented with the gospel, to come to Christ. It is their own fault if they are sent to an eternal punishment.

3 comments:

Jonathan said...

Great points! I agree with you that, "His love extends to all people everywhere. God allows us to either accept the grace and forgiveness he offers, or to reject it."

Each man, born with a measure of faith, can choose to exercise it when the Holy Spirit draws him.

I agree and disagree with you here, "It is their own fault if they are sent to an eternal punishment.

You disagree with yourself when you said, "Tragically, those who choose to reject this free gift are not forgiven and must be punished by a holy and righteous God."

I would agree with the latter. God does send people to hell when they have chosen to reject Him, when they have chosen to become an enemy of Him (Matt 12:30). No one is without excuse. God makes Himself known to all men (Rom 1:18-20).

God destroys cities and races of people who have rejected Him, after much mercy and longsuffering. He wiped out the world once before. He takes responsibility for that destruction. Does He send anyone to hell without first showing mercy and longsuffering? No. Everyone is given multiple chances. That is the story of mankind.

bossmanham said...

We agree completely then.

"You disagree with yourself when you said, 'Tragically, those who choose to reject this free gift are not forgiven and must be punished by a holy and righteous God.'"

I don't think I was disagreeing with myself there. Choosing to reject the gift of God is the reason those who do it are punished. That is entirely their own fault. God is the One who punishes, but it is after a life of calling those to Himself. The ones who reject the grace are responsible for their situation.

DonaldH said...

This is a good post. I like the content and the look! Good work, don't slow down, don't back down, don't come down. Keep it on this high level