Two Adams, two Tribes, two Destinations

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The hope-destroying head of Calvinism is rearing its head, once again, teaching that some people are chosen to be saved, and others to go to hell. As can be expected from a “gospel” so void of love, the adherents to this doctrine are vocal and have strong opinions about it. The various Bible verses that they quote to support their view, may easily lead to this conclusion if not viewed in the greater context of Scripture.

Questions about God’s election for salvation are quickly met by Calvinists with a “God is sovereign,” so He decides everyone’s final destination. Another favourite argument is, “Jesus wasn’t lost, you were; He found you, you didn’t find Him.” While it is true, it doesn’t begin to describe God’s plan for salvation of the lost. Calvinism denies man’s free will to choose or reject salvation.

To promote these arguments at a time when hopelessness darkens the lives of so many, is simply tragic, and a ploy of the devil to rob as many sinners as possible of the saving grace of God. We are all too conscious of our own sin; nobody ever feels qualified to be chosen by God for anything, except eternal damnation which we rightly deserve.

One can only wonder how to confidently present Jesus as a loving Saviour if you are not fully convinced that He wants to save the sinner you are trying to evangelize. How can such a gospel be good news anyway? How do you pray in faith for the lost with such a mindset?

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

Since all of us have received the call to preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15), we need to know God’s will when we petition Him for the salvation of the lost:

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 John 5:14,15

Few things are as clear as God’s will for the lost:
Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ Ezekiel 33:11

While some may argue it speaks of God’s desire for Israel, it should be considered that the blood of Jesus was shed for all—not only Israel, as Peter indeed repeated here:

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

Paul makes it clear that God’s saving grace appeared to all men:

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-14

Going back to the beginning, Scripture says that we were made in the image of God. It is obvious, then, that God did not make mindless robots who follow orders without choosing to do so. Adam is a perfect example of a man exercising his free will; he chose to follow the serpent’s suggestion instead of obeying God’s command not to eat of the forbidden tree.

Have you ever wondered why there were two trees in the garden? One of the reasons could be to give man a choice. Without easy access to the forbidden tree, Satan would have the right to point the finger at God and accuse Him of forcing man to follow Him. For God to be true, He had to give man a free will. The back story here is that Satan desires to sit on the throne of God, and be worshiped as God, (Isaiah 14:13-14) for which he needs followers.

When God boasted about Job when Satan came before Him, he quickly replied that God’s blessing motivated Job to honour Him. Take away the blessing, and Job will turn his back on God, he said, hoping to put pressure on Job’s free will to win him over. Job had good reason to turn his back on God, but he chose over and over again to stay faithful to the Lord:

But as for me, I would seek God, and to God I would commit my cause—Who does great things, and unsearchable, marvelous things without number. Job 5:8,9

The Bible gives us ample description of God’s character, and it would be true to say that God’s actions and judgments have always been consistent with His character. Although God can do what He wants, He has no reason to act out of character because He is God, and He doesn’t change. (Malachi 3:6) Scriptures testify of Him:

But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth. Psalm 86:15

For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.
Psalm 100:5

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

For this (prayers for all) is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:3,4

God is love, and while we find ourselves in the era of grace—not judgment—we can expect God to act in love toward all who desire to draw close to Him. There’s a lot of talk these days about God judging people and nations, and it will certainly come. However this is the era of grace, and it is freely available to all who want to draw close to Him.

The gospel message is clear: God gave His only begotten Son to die in our place. He poured His wrath for our sin out upon Him, so that we could be justified. The price that God paid to have man reconciled with Himself, speaks of the value that He placed on our souls. Considering that price, will God not be gracious and patient with man to make up his mind to repent and turn toward Him?

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

It is inconceivable to think that God elected some people for salvation and others to be condemned without giving them an opportunity to be saved. The very thought is in contrast with God’s character, and the price that He paid for our redemption.

Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” John 10:17,18

Jesus laid down His life for us as an act of His own free will; He wasn’t forced into it, but did so willingly as an act of love.

Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me—To do Your will, O God.’ ” Hebrews 10:5-7

Since Jesus willingly laid down His life, how can it be that some people would be chosen—without their will involved—to lay down their sinful lives in order to be saved, while others are simply condemned to eternal death? The election theory doesn’t add up.

The Bible speaks of two Adams: first Adam, a fallen man, who raised offspring after his own kind, and last Adam who raises a generation of His own kind.

And so it is written, The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 1 Corinthians 15:45-48

Everyone of us was born from first Adam as fallen beings; born as the wrong kind, with no way to redeem ourselves. Then God sent last Adam—Jesus, His only begotten Son, to take the penalty for our sin upon Himself. He made it possible for us to die to our sinful nature by putting our trust in His work of redemption, and rise up into a new life as a new creation all together. This is the miracle of the new birth.

For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:21,22

The sin that Adam committed was so devastating , that all who were born from him, were born spiritually dead. Enter last Adam, “even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” All men died in first Adam, and all shall be made alive in Christ, the last Adam. First Adam’s destructive work was reversed by last Adam—if the Calvinist doctrine of election is true, then first Adam is more powerful than last Adam.

That can never be! While all men do not enter into the new life, it is available to all. Man’s free will makes the decision to either take advantage of this offer of grace, or reject it. Love requires man to make that decision, because love never uses force. God is love; He reaches out to us in love, and desires that we reciprocate in love. His love is far greater than what is prescribed for us, for His love passes knowledge (Ephesians 3:19)

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

God is still going after sinners, bidding them to come before His wrath is poured out on all who do not believe. The Holy Spirit is still active, convicting sinners’ hearts of sin, righteousness and judgment, and we still have the command to preach the gospel to every creature.

Everyone has been given the choice between two Adams—the first and the Last, between death and life. God’s recommendation is that you choose life.

Lastly, a few words on repentance. Repentance is the bridge from deadness in sin to new life in Christ. Jesus, like John the Baptist, started His ministry with a message of repentance. This word, translated from the original used in the Bible, means to change one’s mind; to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins; to think differently. Contrary to popular belief, this is not necessarily an emotional decision, although emotions may play a role in it.

Repentance is the act of changing the way you think about everything; it is to adopt a new worldview, so to speak, aligning your thoughts with the Word of God. Repentance is therefore a lifelong exercise, not a single, quick decision; it is the daily bearing of your cross and denying the flesh. Here is how God spoke about it in the Old Testament through Isaiah:

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:7

The same invitation comes to us in the New Testament through the apostle Paul:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

Note that the sentences were framed as encouragement rather than a command—God leaves it to the hearers to respond in their own way, for this is how love behaves.

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