At church last Sunday, the pastor was continuing his series on prayer. He said that people do not need to kneel and close their eyes when they pray, for they can pray anywhere, even while they are driving their car. The pastor referred to Scriptural examples in which people prayed without kneeling. Jesus, after all, prayed to God on the cross.
That was a good point, but what especially spoke to me was something
that the person introducing the service said. The person introducing
the service was talking about times when he was disappointed with God
because he was going through trials or not getting what he requested
from God. In these times, he said, he rests on Romans 5:6, which states
that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. That is how God
commends God’s love, the passage states. The person also said that
Christ died for everyone, both believers and non-believers. For this
person, Romans 5:6 presents a truth that one can grasp throughout the
vicissitudes of life.
This spoke to me, for a couple of reasons. For one, I was frustrated
with God that week. Second, Romans 5:6 came to my mind one night. I
was reading Matthew Bates’ Salvation by Allegiance Alone, which
was emphasizing good works as a condition for final salvation. I felt
that I fell short, and that amplified my moodiness towards God. Like
the person at church, Romans 5:6 was reminding me of God’s love: it was
like an anchor.
And yet, Romans 5:6 can only be an anchor for a person who believes
that Christ died for him or her. If unlimited atonement is true, as the
person introducing the service believed, then Christ died for everyone:
even if I do not technically fall in the “saved” category, I can be
assured that Christ died for me, that God loved me that much. Suppose
that limited atonement is true, though? Suppose that Christ only died
for the elect, for those God predestined to be believers? In that case,
a person who believes that he or she is among the elect can be
comforted by Romans 5:6. One may arrive at that assurance by looking at
one’s spiritual fruits, by considering spiritual experiences, or simply
by feeling that one is among the elect.
There are other passages that can assure a person of God’s love,
though, whether that person is a believer or non-believer. God loves
those whom God created, for the reason that God created them (Job 10:3;
Psalm 138:8; 145:9). God loves God’s enemies and sends rain on the just
and unjust (Matthew 5:45). And I John 4:8 affirms that God is love.
Miracles and modern skepticism
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