Author Topic: Can we reject God's grace?  (Read 2725 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Can we reject God's grace?
« on: April 06, 2022, 12:10:58 PM »
The idea that we can reject God's grace has come up in another discussion.

What are the biblical basis for this idea? Could it be the result of our sinfulness: that we want to keep a little control over our eternal salvation?

I asked in the other discussion if Lazarus could have rejected Jesus' call to "come out"?

In another discussion I asked if Mary could have rejected God's announcement that she would give birth to a son and make it not happen? Could Zechariah have rejected Elizabeth's pregnancy and make it not happen?

All of Jesus' followers rejected (or at least refused to believe) his promise that he would be raised from the dead. Women come to the tomb expecting to see a body there. In the reports where they tell the disciples, they reject their message. The refuse to believe it. Their rejection of the word did not mean that it didn't happen.

We confess that "God created me and all that exists." There are people who reject that idea. Some do not believe that there is a God. Others believe in other gods. However, rejection of having been created by God doesn't change the fact that they and all things were created by God.

The same can be said about those who reject Jesus as the messiah, as the one who suffered and died, and rose from the grave. Their rejection of that belief doesn't mean it didn't happen. There are also millions of people who have never heard about Jesus. Their ignorance doesn't mean it didn't happen.

I've heard it argued that the rejection of God's grace means that one misses out on the benefits of that grace. Perhaps that is true, but at the same time, we have Jesus saying: "He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matthew 5:45b). We also know from experiences that bad things happen to believers as well as unbelievers, e.g., houses destroyed by a tornado; terminal cancer.

So, for discussion: (1) Can human reject God's grace? (2) What are the tangible consequences of rejecting that grace? (3) What are the biblical basis for your position?

What I have presented with the texts above is the idea that God does what God wants to do regardless of human acceptance or rejection. God blesses both believers and rejecters the same; and suffering can come to believers and rejecters the same.
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

David Garner

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Re: Can we reject God's grace?
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2022, 12:19:46 PM »
The best I've heard this explained is by a former (Lutheran) pastor.  He says if I give you $1,000,000.00 in an envelope and I say "here, I'm giving you $1,000,000.00," there is no doubt I have 100% performed what I promised.  I have given you $1,000,000.00.

If you throw the envelope away without opening it, I have still given you $1,000,000.00, but you have not received the benefit of it because you did not trust me as the gift-giver enough to receive the gift I nonetheless have given you.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

Dan Fienen

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Re: Can we reject God's grace?
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2022, 12:37:34 PM »
18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, ESV

If we cannot reject God's grace, why does Paul implore people to be reconciled to God? God reconciled the world to Himself through Christ. He did all that is necessary. Now, be reconciled to God.

Paradox is characteristic of Lutheran theology. We cannot by our own reason or strength come to faith on our own. It is not that God did His part for our salvation, now we have to do our part. We definitely have nothing of which to boast about that we did our part for our salvation. Yet, we can still reject Christ and reject the salvation that He worked for us. In my experience, when situations are paradoxical, the situation is not as simple as it first seems.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2022, 12:53:17 PM by Dan Fienen »
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Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Can we reject God's grace?
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2022, 12:39:18 PM »
The best I've heard this explained is by a former (Lutheran) pastor.  He says if I give you $1,000,000.00 in an envelope and I say "here, I'm giving you $1,000,000.00," there is no doubt I have 100% performed what I promised.  I have given you $1,000,000.00.

If you throw the envelope away without opening it, I have still given you $1,000,000.00, but you have not received the benefit of it because you did not trust me as the gift-giver enough to receive the gift I nonetheless have given you.

And the fact is that the bound will would always throw away the $1,000,000.00. The bound will always rejcts God's grace.

That's what the debate between Erasmus and Luther was about and The Bondage of the Will.
Don Kirchner

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Re: Can we reject God's grace?
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2022, 01:04:14 PM »
What he said.

Plus- The Blessed Mother’s freely offered “Yes” to God’s will shows her as she is: Immaculate.

Peter (Full of grace. Blessed among women. Theotokos. The Lord is with her, etc… still, pondered things in her heart…) Garrison
« Last Edit: April 06, 2022, 02:25:06 PM by pastorg1@aol.com »
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Dan Fienen

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Re: Can we reject God's grace?
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2022, 01:24:43 PM »
Could Mary have said "No" to God? Why should we assume that she could not? In fact, how do we know that Mary was the first maiden in Israel at the time that God asked? Couldn't it have been that He sent Gabriel to other women who turned God down and so they were not mentioned in the Gospel? How would we know?
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Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Can we reject God's grace?
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2022, 01:28:11 PM »
In fact, how do we know that Mary was the first maiden in Israel at the time that God asked? Couldn't it have been that He sent Gabriel to other women who turned God down and so they were not mentioned in the Gospel? How would we know?

Uh oh! It's contagious!   :o
Don Kirchner

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Re: Can we reject God's grace?
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2022, 01:40:17 PM »
Brianitis?!

Peter (It’s not ad hominem, it’s science. Better mask up) Garrison
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George Rahn

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Re: Can we reject God's grace?
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2022, 02:16:58 PM »
God doesn’t deal with our what-ifs.  With the scriptures they have to do with what God did and does.  Under Gods law, God is against us.  Under the Christian Gospel, God is for us and not against us.  From our side we never choose for God
« Last Edit: April 06, 2022, 02:34:35 PM by George Rahn »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Can we reject God's grace?
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2022, 03:45:25 PM »
The best I've heard this explained is by a former (Lutheran) pastor.  He says if I give you $1,000,000.00 in an envelope and I say "here, I'm giving you $1,000,000.00," there is no doubt I have 100% performed what I promised.  I have given you $1,000,000.00.

If you throw the envelope away without opening it, I have still given you $1,000,000.00, but you have not received the benefit of it because you did not trust me as the gift-giver enough to receive the gift I nonetheless have given you.


I have heard that analogy. What scripture passages support such an interpretation of God's grace?
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

peter_speckhard

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Re: Can we reject God's grace?
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2022, 03:49:04 PM »
The best I've heard this explained is by a former (Lutheran) pastor.  He says if I give you $1,000,000.00 in an envelope and I say "here, I'm giving you $1,000,000.00," there is no doubt I have 100% performed what I promised.  I have given you $1,000,000.00.

If you throw the envelope away without opening it, I have still given you $1,000,000.00, but you have not received the benefit of it because you did not trust me as the gift-giver enough to receive the gift I nonetheless have given you.


I have heard that analogy. What scripture passages support such an interpretation of God's grace?
All of them once you understand Christ as the key to the Scriptures. Do you honestly not think the distinction between objective and subjective justification is Biblical?

Matt Hummel

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Re: Can we reject God's grace?
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2022, 03:49:22 PM »
If you cannot refuse it, if you must accept it, it is not a gift. We lock up men who don’t get this premise. Are you telling us that God is a creepy stalker dude?
Matt Hummel


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― J.R.R. Tolkien

peter_speckhard

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Re: Can we reject God's grace?
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2022, 03:55:35 PM »
This is such a basic thing. Anyone in heaven is there purely by the grace of all three persons of the Trinity. Anyone in hell is there purely because if their own damn fault. That is what Scripture says. It rejects decision theology, double predestination, and dogmatic universalism, but leaves it a mystery then, as to why some are saved and others (possibly) not.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Can we reject God's grace?
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2022, 04:30:56 PM »
18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling[/size][/font] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, ESV

If we cannot reject God's grace, why does Paul implore people to be reconciled to God? God reconciled the world to Himself through Christ. He did all that is necessary. Now, be reconciled to God.

Good question. What is meant by the verb καταλλάσσω (in blue above) and the noun καταλλαγή (in maroon above)?

Generally, the words refer "to reestablishing proper friendly interpersonal relationships after these had been broken" (Lowe & Nida).

The active verb: "to reconcile" is used of God. In the above verses, God reestablishes the broken relationship with us vv. 18, 19. God is the actor. In simple fashion a basic sentence in English can have three parts:

subject verb object
actor    acts  acted upon
God reconciles us

However, in v. 20 a passive is used. This changes the order. A simple chart (if possible)

object is acted on      (by actor)
We     are reconciled (by God)

This reconciliation with God is nothing something we do, but it is something done to us. 

Quote
Paradox is characteristic of Lutheran theology. We cannot by our own reason or strength come to faith on our own. It is not that God did His part for our salvation, now we have to do our part. We definitely have nothing of which to boast about that we did our part for our salvation. Yet, we can still reject Christ and reject the salvation that He worked for us. In my experience, when situations are paradoxical, the situation is not as simple as it first seems.

You make the claim that we can reject Christ and the salvation that he worked for us. Again I ask, what is the scriptural basis for your assertion? (It seems to me that you are claiming that we must answer the phone.)
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

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Re: Can we reject God's grace?
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2022, 04:41:00 PM »
OK, I’ll bite:

The only television ad that made me do what it wanted me to do was a phone company ad.
As I recall it featured an old woman seated alone in a dimly lit room.
The voice-over said, “Call your mother.”

I picked up the phone and called Mom.

Peter (MaBell Gottesdiendt) Garrison

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