I attended a Bible study for several months last year. It was led by a pastor. When we reached Romans 9 he read through the chapter quickly and the only comment he had was, “We have a free will.” I pointed out that verses 15-18 describe the fact that we have been predestined and his reply was, “It doesn’t say that to me.” He literally said the Bible doesn’t say what it is saying to him. He disregarded this chapter of the Bible because it didn’t agree with his theology.
I think this is a habit for many Christians; they hold doctrines in higher esteem than they hold the truth. Some will argue what they think is the veracity of their doctrines to the death, as it were. For instance, some will swear to the high heavens they have authority over sicknesses, diseases and demons, never considering they can’t even make it rain, much less heal the sick and cast out demons. Still others will argue that predestination is a false belief when the Bible is full of references that prove its truth.
(Before I go any further I would like to offer one piece of Scripture that dispels the argument that other Scriptures speak against predestination; for instance, ‘whosoever will,’ and ‘whosoever believes,’ etc. Acts 13:48 states that ‘…as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.’ In other words, those who believe are those who have been appointed to eternal life. I received this from the Lord.)
So what does it matter if one believes this and another believes that? To be honest, it’s not the differences of opinion that matter so much, it’s the unwillingness to be open minded. To find the truth one must go to the Truth, which is Jesus, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and one cannot learn from Him without an open mind. The Lord’s ways and thoughts are not our ways and thoughts. We must maintain complete openness to learn from Him. This is absolutely imperative.
Recently I read the book of Revelations twice in one day and didn’t receive one witness of the Spirit; no enlightenments, no word, not even a hint of understanding. I could have started digging into it and reached some conclusions on my own, but the Lord has taught me that my opinions are worthless in His kingdom. His thoughts are the only thoughts that matter. So I endeavor to never rely on any thoughts that come to me, unless I am sure they came from Him.
When I read the Bible, I read it with confidence the Holy Spirit will reveal to me what God wants me to know. I form no opinions. I listen only to the Lord, whether I am reading the Bible, or waiting before Him in prayer. It is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, who guides us into all the truth, John 16:13-15. We must walk by the Spirit, not by our own understanding. This is how we all will attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. This is how we will reach a point where we will no longer be tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, and by craftiness in deceitful scheming. This is how we will grow up into Him, who is the head, even Christ. This is our destiny. This is our goal. This is the will of God.
May the blessings of the Lord be upon all of us and may we always keep an open mind.
Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant