LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Monday, September 17, 2007

Will You Rejoice?

It happens from time to time that we develop theologies that we vehemently pursue and defend because we have a profound intellectual investment in them. So it is good to put our theology to the test sometimes with little mental exercises.

Here is a mental exercise, and rather than instruct us in what it is going to teach us about what we believe - let's just have at it:

You love your children very much. You witness to them, but in their teenage years the world grabs a hold of your favorite son, and he hates your God, rejects him, and before you have the opportunity to persuade him otherwise, both you and your spouse, as well as this wayward son - you all die in the same car wreck.

You are standing there as God instructs your son to depart from Him into everlasting fire.

Here is where your theology is to be examined. Do you rejoice?

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30 Comments:

Blogger Daniel said...

I am putting in the first comment [1] so it appears that there is activity in this thread... ;^), and [2] because it is always easier to be the second commenter than the first, and I hate to stress anyone...

September 17, 2007 2:56 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Daniel, what took you so long to post? You were right. Took ages.
;-)

Phew, that's an interesting question. A few thoughts immediately popped to my mind.

1. I would rejoice because there will be no more tears in heaven, but I don't know that the white throne judgment is at the same time as the new heavens and earth? Am I messed up here in thinking and timing?

2. How does this particular question - will you rejoice - relate to different theologies, let say, oh, as an example, hmmm... okay, just picking two out of the blue, say, Reformed theology and Free Grace.... ?

Seriously though, does one's theology impact one's rejoicing or not at the judgment?

I've tended to think of my own rejoicing at crossing over from this world to *finally* see Christ and be with Him. The rejoicing in my mind has to do with at long last going to be home. Finally seeing Him! I mean, can you imagine?

Y'know there are some days - more often than not - that lately I can't wait to die. That may sound strange, but it seems so - well, "lifeless" down here. Like my real life is up there. And I've thought that if I die physically even though my daughter is young, well, I trust her in His hands regardless of my presence or not, much as it gives me pleasure to see her and be with her and teach her. But ultimately, her soul is in His hands.

September 17, 2007 4:56 PM

 
Blogger Antonio said...

Daniel,

Why not ask the same question but the circumstances are that your son dies and you live.

If I were a Calvinist, whatever reaction I would have would be fore-ordained from eternity past. But I figure, based upon how I would view my Calvinism, that I would have 1 of these two reactions:

1) Severe disappointment and grief that God chose my son for hell.
2) Rejoice that God will be glorified by the eternal damnation of my son.

Is it possible to have both reactions at once?

Antonio

PS: Daniel, I did muse on this subject someone on Unashamed of Grace: Calvinism and Children of Elect Parents: Can you Imagine your Children as Reprobates?

September 17, 2007 5:04 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

The underlying question here is whether you love Jesus more than you love your children, is it not?

I have asked myself this several times off and on. Because I want to set my mind - and heart - on things and the persons above, not here on earth.

Do I love Him more than my daughter? If I'm honest, I'll say more some days than others. I'm not consistent day to day, although my prayers as of late have been pleading with Him to remove the love of certain things from my heart and fill that space with love for Him - as He desires.

September 17, 2007 5:04 PM

 
Blogger Baptist Girl said...

It's a tough question because it is your child but our children are sinners just like everyone else, my children are the joy of my life.

We would rejoice....

Rev. 21:4 he will wipe way every tear from our eye. There will be no more pain or mourning, all will pass away. Our hearts and thoughts will be in complete agreement with God. If someone we knew was not there, we would be agree completely with God, that they do not belong there. Our focus in heaven will be on Jesus and not on who is not there. We will be rejoicing with each other, we will be in the presence of the Lord. Every tear will be wiped away.
We will be face to face with the Lamb of God Who loved us, every tear will be wiped away.

Cristina

September 17, 2007 5:42 PM

 
Blogger Daniel said...

Antonio!

You asked, Why not ask the same question but the circumstances are that your son dies and you live.

Okay here is the reworded scenario:

You love your children very much. You witness to them, but in their teenage years the world grabs a hold of your favorite son, and he hates your God, rejects him, and before you have the opportunity to persuade him otherwise, both your saved spouse, as well as this wayward son die in the same car wreck, but you live.

Later on, after you eventually die, or alternately are "raptured" (whatever you prefer) and you find yourself on judgment day, however you got there, witnessing the moment that God judges your son - telling Him to depart into everlasting fire.

Here is where your theology is to be examined. Do you rejoice?


Now rather than pretending you are a cartoon version of someone you disagree with, why not join the discussion in earnest and tell us whether you would rejoice or not?

September 17, 2007 6:44 PM

 
Blogger donsands said...

There is a great infinte mystery here I think. And we being finite can have only partial understanding of something so divine.

However, I would say: No, I don't think we will rejoice. Though we shall give God all the glory and honor He deserves in all He does, whether showing mercy, or judging righteously.

"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."

September 17, 2007 6:45 PM

 
Blogger Daniel said...

Susan, you asked, The underlying question here is whether you love Jesus more than you love your children, is it not?

I don't want to put a fence around this discussion just yet. ;-)

September 17, 2007 6:47 PM

 
Blogger Daniel said...

Don. Your answer is the most interesting one so far. hehehe...

September 17, 2007 6:50 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Daniel,
I've been a little overnight trip, so I have a little catching up to do and have not read the comments yet.

If I am unchanged at that point (i.e. not yet glorified and therefore not yet perfected) I would not rejoice. However, after glorification, I believe I will no longer be looking through a glass darkly and will be able to rejoice in everything that our savior does and has done.

wayne

September 17, 2007 8:07 PM

 
Blogger Antonio said...

This is a loaded question with all kinds of things we must supply.

Now if I have been a Christian parent the whole time, my children would have believed in Jesus for eternal life by 5 or 6. If by the time they reached adolecense (sp?) "the world grabs a hold of [them], and [they] hate... [my] God, reject[ing] him..." and then died that way, and then I finally died, I would rejoice to meet them in heaven. Jesus is faithful to His promises even when we are unfaithful.

But my child would not be rejoicing at first. He would experience a time of severe grief and sorrow based upon his unfaithfulness, as Jesus Christ at the Bema seat judges his life by the Word of God. Eventually he will get over it (after an appropriate and sufficient grieving time), and later God will wipe every tear away.

If I were not a Christian until my child was a teenager, and at that point, he wouldn't become convinced that through faith in Jesus he has eternal life, and then he dies, I will feel remorse and sadness. And when I reached heaven, I would experience the great loss of not being able to spend eternity with them who I had procreated and loved.

I doubt our memories will be erased, nor will our capacity to experience tenderness with regards to opportunities lost, and friends and family lost.

I will rejoice in God my Savior, and by His grace, I will finish the race well and enter into Jesus' joy, being co-glorified with Him, sitting on His throne with Him, being one of His intimate companions forever.

It would be sick to think of anyone rejoicing in the circumstance that their child is thrown into hell. But I do see that Calvinism's doctrines would lend to that kind of unthinkable act.

Antonio

September 17, 2007 8:37 PM

 
Blogger Daniel said...

Antonio,

That was an quite interesting response. I am glad you took liberty to fill in blanks, the question is intentionally vague for that reason, as the way we fill in the blanks says more about us that if we had given a question more precisely.

I was actually thinking to myself as I read your reply - hey! Antonio is actually giving his opinion on a matter without using the opportunity to bash Calvinism, so I certainly had a chuckle when I say your closing dig.

You sir, are a piece of work indeed. ;-)

September 17, 2007 9:00 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

ANTONIO,
Antonio said........
1. Now if I have been a Christian parent the whole time, my children would have believed in Jesus for eternal life by 5 or 6.

How can you be so sure that they would believe?

Do you believe that salvation from parents witnessing to their small children is 100% effective or do you have a special gift?

If your child later changed his view at age 10 to firmly believe in R.C. works salvation and became a Catholic Priest teaching the RC doctrine for a long career until death, would you see him in heaven?

September 17, 2007 9:37 PM

 
Blogger Antonio said...

Daniel,

I appreciate you. I really do.

Blessings to you and grace,

Antonio

September 17, 2007 10:07 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

But by Antonio's scenario, the child's salvation depends on the parent.

In the first scenario, the child is saved because his parent convinced the child while the child was young.

When the parent was saved only when the child was an adolescent, then the child was lost because the parent didn't do the right job when the child was a youngster.

Each case depends on the parent for the child's salvation.

I can see here where theology influences thinking with respect to salvation.

I don't believe the question here is regarding the child's salvation with respect to the parent. It is regarding the parent's joy at judgment whether or not the child is saved.

September 17, 2007 10:25 PM

 
Blogger donsands said...

"But I do see that Calvinism's doctrines would lend to that kind of unthinkable act."

I don't see that at all. I see compassion to the highest degree, and understanding just how evil sin is, when I look at Calvinism.

Of course there are those who take Calvin's teachings to an extreme; the ultra-Calvinists.

As there are ultra-Arminians who say you can go to heaven without loving Christ, and you even don't have to believe in Christ, because once a profession of faith is made at some point in their life, they are good to go; such as Zane Hodges..

September 17, 2007 10:26 PM

 
Blogger Antonio said...

Don,

you write:

and you even don't have to believe in Christ, because once a profession of faith is made at some point in their life, they are good to go; such as Zane Hodges..

What? Should I have to even say that Zane nor I teach that a man doesn't "have to believe in Christ"? This is utter nonsense does not deserve a comment.

Antonio

September 17, 2007 10:51 PM

 
Blogger donsands said...

I thought I read where Zane taught that someone who "believed", could become an unbelieving believer.

I"m pretty sure he said that. I can substantiate it if you like.

But having said that, I do not want to take us down a rabbit path, away from Daniel's initial intent

September 17, 2007 11:11 PM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Ah, Antonio...still deifying Hodges huh?

What? Should I have to even say that Zane nor I teach that a man doesn't "have to believe in Christ"? This is utter nonsense does not deserve a comment.

Doh! Too late!

September 18, 2007 6:43 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Daniel, my 17 year old son, whom I've raised in the scriptures since infancy, now hates my God, has a violent and uncontrolable temper, punches holes in walls of our house, curses with abandon, and is well nigh being booted from living here...I already have a small taste in my mouth of how I will feel on judgement day...

September 18, 2007 8:05 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Susan,
Good point about what Antonio said. I guess I noticed something odd about his comment and just did not express it as well as you did. However, he usually ignores the little dead-ends that FG theology always seems to carry you to, so I guess we will probably never know how he reconciles the problem.......
Wayne

September 18, 2007 9:24 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Mark,

Just a small note of encouragement.

My son is now 19, but a few years ago he lived with us and we almost put him in a school for problem kids just so he could graduate high school. He had a lot of anger and living with him was, well, one of our trials.

My son wasn't raised with any faith. His Israeli father is atheist (most Israelis are secular), and I had no faith when he was born - coming to faith only when Gil was about 11.

Not unlike Antonio's second scenario, I often blamed myself because I figured had I been saved when he was younger, well, then he might have had a fighting chance. I would think – reminding myself of Paul's sentiment for his people – that I would trade my salvation for Gil to be saved because (1) I love him and (2) I felt responsible.

Eventually, I came to realize that in God's sovereignty, Gil's salvation doesn't and never did depend on me. That said, my husband now and I are not abrogating our responsibility to raise our daughter (now 4) in the faith, but I know ultimately that both the salvation of my son and my daughter depend on God and God alone.

I don't want to blather on about my own story, but to encourage you to have hope. All I do now for my own son is pray for God to have mercy on his soul and open Gil's eyes to the Truth.

We had a bar mitzvah for my son when he was 13 with messianic Jewish instruction, so he's not unfamiliar. But it's going to take the Holy Spirit moving in his life to take the veil off.

Your son - as mine - may have to walk a difficult path and fall down to finally lift his head up and realize he needs a Savior. I know I had to fall a whole lot before I realized it – tripping over my own pride. Pride and unbelief.

But have hope for my son. Lord willing, your son will move past this age and season in his life, and the Lord may yet open his eyes, even if He allows many, many stumbles along the way. Pray for God’s mercy. And don’t stop. I’ve been saying that particular prayer for Gil for years now. And I’ll continue as long as it takes. I may never even see it in my lifetime, but I have hope. God is merciful, and I have hope.

September 18, 2007 11:30 AM

 
Blogger Baptist Girl said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

September 18, 2007 12:15 PM

 
Blogger Baptist Girl said...

Rev. 21:4 he will wipe way every tear from our eye. There will be no more pain or mourning, all will pass away.

I do not think we will know that our children are in hell..How could there not be tears knowing that, Our rejoicing will because we will be in the presence of the Lord.

Cristina

September 18, 2007 12:19 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

I do not think we will know that our children are in hell..How could there not be tears knowing that,

This raises another interesting possibility. At one time, I used to speculate that perhaps our memory of certain people would be erased - since there will be no more tears, and if we love certain people who later are in Hell, then, well, that love is hard to reconcile with the knowledge of their suffering.

Another thought is that even if we have knowledge of them when we're in heaven, He may fill our hearts with such overwhelming love for Him that any knowledge is simply that - knowledge about these people rather than "feelings" as we have in our emotive states now.

Of course, I don't know. But I do know that it is physically impossible on this side of heaven for me at least to generate love for Him - especially love greater than that for my children - on my own.

It is a continual prayer of mine for Him to pluck certain loves (of hobbies, trivial things, etc) from my heart - to remove the love of them from me because I am so weak in my flesh and they take up greater time of my numbered days than I should spend chasing the wind. And I ask that as He does so, to supplant a love for Him that He desires in its place. And He is doing it. But I find the need for me to pray that prayer is continual.

Anyway, with that in mind, I wonder if it won't be like that in heaven. That He will have to supplant that "feeling" or "love" - after all, He has to recreate our glorified bodies after our physical death. We can't raise ourselves.

Just a few thoughts, not well thought-out by any means.

September 18, 2007 1:37 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

As I was taking a walk just now with my daughter and thinking and praying about these things, another verse came to mind:

"Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."
- Matthew 10:37

September 18, 2007 1:56 PM

 
Blogger donsands said...

When the Lord says, "Depart from Me", there won't be rejoicing at that time methinks.

Once all is "New", and the unrighteous are departed, then there will be great rejoicing, perfect joy really.

No more sin. Hard to see me without sin. Impossible really.

The comments have been good interaction. This is a hard thought for all of us to think out, but a good one.

I remember hearing someone say, "If I die and go to heaven, and Jesus isn't there, it will be hell, but if I die and land in hell, and Jesus was there it would be heaven."

September 18, 2007 2:14 PM

 
Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

Mark, reading your comment about your son breaks my heart. I immediately think of my own boys and come to tears over this prospect. I pray for your son and that God would use you in his life.

September 20, 2007 9:43 PM

 
Blogger Daniel said...

Okay... fence time.

Will not the judge of all the earth do good? Of course He will. Will we rejoice when God does what is right? We who are redeemed will rejoice with all our hearts.

The love of God is stronger than death - even the death of worldly love like our own children.

The exercise is not so much about right or wrong, but about why we come to the answer we come to. Is our focus on God and His glory - where it ought to be - or is it on ourselves and our own interpretation, not only of justice, but also of God's worthiness. I don't think God is going to be weeping as he condemns the wicked. I don't think he will take pleasure in their suffering, but He will take pleasure in His own glory, and on that day, so will we - no earthly trapping will stand against the presence of the Lord in that day - whatever love we have for anything else - even if we could try and hold onto such things, will be swallowed up by the sheer magnitude of God's glory. Yes, there may be a gravitational pull coming off the moon so that the tides change - but this pull by no means sends any of us reeling into space. We don't even notice it because the gravity of the earth overwhelms every other gravity we experience. So it will be on that last day.

God will receive glory, and there will be no weeping amongst his children as He is glorified in all that He does. It isn't that we will be stony faced, keeping ourselves from weeping - it will be that we are leaping for joy.

That's how I see it at least.

September 25, 2007 3:31 PM

 
Blogger Daniel said...

Mark. Your son sounds exactly like me when I was seventeen - except I was totally into drugs and crime as well as being angry at the world and hating God. Really I couldn't stand it that I wasn't allowed to do whatever I wanted to do - and while I could rage against my parents rule by punching walls and tossing around furniture, and even bullying my siblings - yet all I was doing was trying to manipulate my parents by being so angry they would give into me and let me do whatever I wanted. The problem was that I couldn't rage against God's rule in that way, and that made me hate Him, and that hatred was funneled into every religious expectation that was ever placed upon me. It is of course a type of carnal "madness" - but God be praised! If you had told me that twenty some odd years later I would be preaching in a church every Sunday, I would not have believed it. Yet God knew, and God knows where you son will be in twenty. Hang in there man.

September 25, 2007 3:39 PM

 

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