Cine decide mântuirea copiilor, ei, părinții sau Dumnezeu?

La întrebări grele se dau rar răspunsuri ușoare. John MacArthur, învinuit de calvinism și pus la colț de cei care l-au auzit ca face din mântuirea copiilor condiție a funcționării ca presbiter, încearcă să se explice. Strădania lui nu face însă decât să ilustreze cât de complicată este această problemă.

Deci, dacă Dumnezeu alege pe cine vrea, de ce-ar mai fi trașila răspundere părinții?

John face o pledoarie împotriva fatalismului pasiv.

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Now some people want to make this an issue of sovereign election.  Whenever you get into this discussion, there’s a lot of discussion about this statement, by the way, a lot of it.  And some people want to say, “Well, it certainly can’t mean you have to have converted children, because that’s all up to God’s election, that’s all God’s sovereignty.  And if He doesn’t choose to elect your children, then you’re in real trouble.”  Well, let me answer that by saying this: that is an unbiblical and fatalistic approach, and is not worthy of a proper consideration of the impact of a godly life or the responsibility for evangelism.  Salvation comes to people through the faithful witness and godly example of other people.  Is that not true?  Salvation comes to people through the faithful witness and godly example of other believers.  All through Scripture we are continually taught that a godly life leads people to salvation.  Election is the issue with God and the issue by which we give Him glory, but it is not the consideration to be in our minds in the process of spiritual living and witness.  All through Scripture we are taught that a godly life leads people to salvation.

Let me show you by way of reminder.  Matthew 5:16 – I’ll give you a number of texts; you might want to write them down – just listen as I read them.  Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and as a result glorify your Father who is in heaven.”  In other words, you can live a kind of life that leads people to glorifying God.  In Acts, chapter 2, we find that this is indeed what happened in the early church.  It says “they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching,” Acts 2:42, “to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, to prayer.”  They “had all things in common,” verse 44.  Verse 46, they were worshiping, “they were taking their meals together,” breaking bread; they had “gladness, sincerity of heart.” Verse 47, they were “praising God.”  Here are some powerful, transformed lives.  They had “favor with all the people.” The result, “the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”  Why were they being saved?  They were being saved because of the power of these transformed lives, the impact of godly example.

In Romans, chapter 11, the apostle Paul writes in verse 14, he says, “My desire in preaching to the Gentiles is to somehow move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them.”  Paul is saying, “If I can minister effectively among the Gentiles, if my life and ministry is effective there, it will create a jealousy that will save some Jews.”  In other words, “what I do has a direct impact on the salvation of others.”

First Corinthians 9:22, Paul says, “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak.  I have become all things to all men, that I might, may by all means save some.  I do everything for the sake of the gospel.”  In other words, he says, “the way I deal with people is to lead them to salvation by my life.”  He said, “I become a slave to all, that I might win the more,” verse 19.  “I become a Jew to the Jews; I become as without Law to those who are without Law; I become whatever I need to become to live a life pattern and to reach people that I might save them.”

In 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 31, Paul says, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.  Don’t give an offense to a Jew or to a Greek or to the church.”  He says, “Just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”  “I do what I need to do not to offend anybody, because how I live my life leads people to salvation” – you see that?

Look at Philippians, chapter 2. Here it is again; it’s the same great concept.  He says in verse 15, Philippians 2, you’re to “prove yourself to be blameless…innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.”  Here we are living in a world of sin and iniquity, we are to be blameless, innocent children of God, above reproach, in the middle of this crooked, perverse generation.  We are to be lights in the middle of the darkness, holding fast the Word of life.  Why?  “So that in the day of Christ” – that’s in the future – “I may have cause to rejoice because I didn’t run in vain or toil in vain.”  What does he mean?  “In the day of Christ I will see the impact of your life was to lead others to Christ” – that’s his point.  “In the day of Christ I will rejoice when we’re all gathered to Christ, and I will see the power of your living, your example.”

In 1 Timothy chapter 4, verse 12, Paul says, “Don’t let anyone look down on your youthfulness, in speech, conduct, love, faith, purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”  You ought to be a living illustration of what Christianity is.  That’s what a Christian leader should be, a living illustration of what Christianity is.  Then in verse 13 he talks about the preaching and the teaching.

Go down to verse 16, “Pay close attention to yourself and your teaching, persevere in both of those things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and those who hear you.”  How you live, along with what you say, brings salvation to people.

Look at 1 Peter chapter 2, 1 Peter chapter 2, verse 11, “I urge you as aliens and strangers, abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the pagans, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.”  You know what “the day of visitation” is?  The day of judgment.  He says, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if in the day of judgment the pagans who watched your life glorified God?”  In other words, they weren’t being judged; they were among the redeemed.  They were glorifying God in His judgment because it wasn’t coming on them. They were praising God for delivering them.  And what was the impact that caused them to believe?  It was the power of your good deeds as you observed, as they observed them in your life.  So stay away from fleshly lusts, keep your behavior excellent, because it can be on account of your good deeds that people will glorify God in the day of judgment, rather than fearing Him.

Look at 1 Peter 3:1, “you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word” – uncoverted – “they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.”  The power of a virtuous life, the power of a godly life, is laid out for us all through Scripture, all through Scripture.

You can’t just, you can’t just go off on the concept of election and say, “Well, if they’re elect they’ll get saved; if they’re not elect they won’t get saved.”  The fact of the matter is, God saves people through the means of godliness in the lives of others.  And if I in my home am committed to living a godly life and a virtuous life and the proclaiming, saving gospel truth that is lived out in integrity, there is every reason to believe God in His grace will use that to redeem my children.  It may not always happen, but for a man who stands in the pulpit to be the model and who will not be scandalized by some activity on the part of his children, it is necessary. And God in His grace makes it possible.

Let me give you a couple of specific illustrations for the power of Christian parenting to lead children to salvation.  Look at 1 Corinthians chapter 7.

First Corinthians chapter 7, very interesting, there’s a lot of issues in this chapter about marriage. None is more interesting than the one in verses 14 to 16, where you’re talking about a marriage of an unbeliever to a believer.  First of all he says, you know, don’t divorce them.  If you’re married to an unbeliever, don’t divorce them; verses 12 and 13 talk about that.  Don’t-send-her-away or send-him-away thing means “don’t divorce.”  Why?  Well, verse 14, “The unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.”

Isn’t that interesting?  What he’s saying there is where you have one partner that is converted, another partner unconverted, the unconverted partner can be sanctified and the result will be holy children.  Now some would say that that sanctification is a temporal-blessing-kind-of-thing, and it may well include that.  But follow into verses 15 and 16, “Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.”  In other words, if you have an unbelieving partner, and they want to leave the marriage, they want out of the marriage, let them go; you’re not in bondage.  Verse 16, “For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?” That tends to interpret for me verse 14, so that it is possible that an unsaved partner can become saved by living with a believer, and that’s what he’s saying.

If you have a mixed marriage, stay there. It may be that God will lead you to bring that person to salvation, with the result that you both having come to Christ your children will be made holy.  Where you have godly parents, there’s every reason to believe you have the opportunity, the wonderful opportunity, to raise up godly children.  He says you don’t know that that’s going to happen, verse 16. It doesn’t always happen in a mixed marriage, but it can happen.  And when it does happen it tends to make the children not unclean but holy.  It should really be the norm.  It should be the pattern in a Christian marriage that you have holy children if that Christianity is real, and if those believing ones are faithful to live out what they say they believe.

An illustration of this further would be 1 Timothy chapter 2.  First Timothy chapter 2 looks at this whole idea of the godly life in the home.  First Timothy 2:15, this is a discussion about women and the role they play in the church, the life of the church.  He starts out in verse 9 and 10 by talking about how they dress and what they look like and they are certainly to dress modestly, properly, discreetly, not calling attention to themselves but calling attention to their godliness.  And then in verse 11, not just how they dress but how they behave in the church.  They’re to receive instruction with submissiveness, to be quiet, not to teach and take authority.  And the reason for this is creative.  God made Adam first, and he was to be the head and Eve was to follow along.  And it was illustrated how important it was that she follow her husband by the Fall.  Eve was deceived and fell into transgression, led the whole human race into transgression.  Why?  Because she came out from under the leadership of Adam and acted independently.  She acted on her own; the serpent was there; she didn’t go back and check with Adam – “Adam, this snake is talking to me. He’s telling me bad stuff. What do I do?” She didn’t lean on the strength of her husband; she didn’t follow his headship.  She acted independently, led the race into sin. She produced then a cursed society.  She raised up a cursed seed because of her sin.  Adam, of course, sinned in falling in line with her, but she led the transgression.  And so there’s a certain stigma on women that they led the race into sin.  Eve was first to go.  She led the race into that iniquity.

Verse 15 then comes back and says this, “Women shall be preserved” – from this stigma, delivered from this stigma, relieved from this stigma – “through the bearing of children.”  What is that saying?  This: women, who once raised a generation of cursed children because of a woman’s sin, can now raise a generation of godly, blessed children because of a woman’s righteousness – that’s the point.  So the woman is preserved from the stigma, delivered from it through bearing children if – follow this – if these women continue in faith and love and purity with self-restraint.  What does that mean?  It simply means if a woman maintains her godliness, her faith in the Lord, her love for God, her holiness and purity of life, manifested in self-restraint and self-control, therefore she walks in a godly way, she will bring forth children who will bless rather than children who will curse.  There is the promise to a woman that a godly woman can raise a generation of godly children.  Godly parenting is a norm for Christians.

This certainly is illustrated personally in the life of Timothy.  Look at 2 Timothy 3:15.  Paul says to Timothy, “From childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”  “From the time you were a little child, you were taught the Scripture which leads to salvation.”

Go back to chapter 1, verse 5, “I am reminded, I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I’m sure it’s in you as well.”    There you have it.  Grandmother Lois was a godly woman; she raised a godly daughter.  Godly Eunice was a godly woman; she raised a godly son, Timothy. This is the pattern.  Godliness passed from one generation to the next. It’s a wonderful and magnificent pattern.  God has designed that the primary unit of human society for which – from which, I should say – righteousness is passed generation to generation to generation is the family, the family.

Now all of that simply to say this: to simply pass this whole thing off as an election issue is not legitimate; it is not biblical; it is fatalistic.  The Scripture says people are converted as a result of how we live and what we preach.  And a godly life, proclaiming truth, living with integrity, is going to have a tremendous impact on the conversion of other people, and you’re going to see it in the family, in the home.



Categories: Studiu biblic, Teologice

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