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The Rosetta Stone – 2 Thessalonians 2:13

Rembrandt Simeon Song of Praise1 150x150 The Rosetta Stone   2 Thessalonians 2:132 Thessalonians 2:13     ‘But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.’

First, because I have a real dislike for the image of double predestination, this verse comes right after verses that contradict any kind of Calvinist idea of sovereign election. So, it can not be used to affirm Calvinism. A read of 2 Th 2:10-11 makes it clear because the sinner did not receive the love of the truth, God will send upon them a deluding influence, blinding further. That’s why persons brought to their knees and then to God by tragic circumstances makes perfect sense. When you’re blinded, as I was, you need to be broken down before you truly can evaluate yourself and situation.

I’ve been mulling it over though and 2 Thessalonians 2:13 makes some things clear. I don’t see how Open Theism can be possible when reading this verse. God does see the future.  Greg Boyd is probably one of the most famous proponents for Open Theism or the Open View. I enjoy reading and listening to his sermons of which I catch at least a couple a month. He has a page on his blog listing the posts dedicated to defending against Calvinism. Yet this verse is somehow skipped over.  This is a very strong verse for my Calvinist friends. And Boyd goes into 2 Thessalonians right up to 2:12 and skips 2:13, which I have to say seems a bit strange. This is like a silver bullet for Calvinism and needs to be covered. Is it possible that the damage to Open Theism is too great?

I’m going to go back to my thesis that the writers of the Bible wrote with a human eye on time while Calvinist try to force God’s view of time on the writings. I talk about the idea more here in Doctrine, the Bible and Time.

John 12:32, He draws all men to Jesus. Then we go to the wedding feast, Matthew 22. He has his chosen people. Sends out his prophets. He invites everyone. Those who reject Jesus are not believers and are then not chosen. They are not clothed in Jesus. From the beginning He knew he would choose the people as individuals, actually He chose, as stated in 2 Thessalonians 2:13 and Matthew 22:14

Now I wish I could read Greek. Does it possibly say in 2 Th 2:13 that God has chosen you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit from the beginning for (your) faith in the truth?

Eph 2:8     ‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God’

Is the ‘this’ referred to faith or grace? So we are saved by God who gives himself as a gift, our salvation, the gift of God, Grace. But what of faith? Is this also a gift? Are we completely unaccountable for faith? If I am not accountable in any way for faith, then I immediately have an excuse.

Rom 1:20     ‘For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.’

So we’re without excuse.

2Th 2:10     …They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
2Th 2:11     For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie
2Th 2:12     and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

So if I am able to refuse the truth thereby being without excuse, then faith must be a product of the creature if not as well as God. Pro 16:9 ‘The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.’

It’s like saying I am the product of a very good night for my parents. But it wasn’t them alone. Of course God is involved in my creation even if you were a deist.

Jer 29:11     ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
Jer 29:12     ‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
Jer 29:13     ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

2 Comments

  1. Why don’t you write Greg Boyd? I doubt whether he omitted comments about this because he thought that it would be difficult.

    The other thing is have you looked at whether 2 Thessalonians 2:13 is referred to in ‘God of the Possible’ – Greg’s book on Open Theism? (I have just checked the Index of verses and he doesn’t quote from 2 Thessalonians 2:13 :-( )

    http://www.amazon.com/God-Possible-Biblical-Introduction-Open/dp/080106290X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1256082127&sr=8-2

    My on thoughts are that this passage is referring to Christians in General. God chose from the begining that those in Christ would be transformed into his image and reap eternal life (‘salvation’). By faith we become ‘In Christ’ and hence we now benefit from God’s choice from the beginning. Hence, the choice of God isn’t for the specific indvidual Christians he is writing to but to those that are ‘In Christ’ . Hence it was Christ who was chosen from the beginning to be the vehicle for this salvation. We entered into that ‘Chosenness’ by ‘faith in the truth’.

    • Maybe if we read Ephesians 1 into 2 Thessalonians 2 we can or should read it that way. Ephesians 1 has a clear transition between the corporate elect and the individual. I get much more of a sense of God looking into the ‘future’ to see the individuals who will have faith in this verse.

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