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November 3rd to November 9th, 2019

(Overlooking the River at Beavers Bend on Sunday Morning)
A blog is a regularly updated webpage written by an individual in a conversational style; therefore I decided that I should write the nurse theologian retrospective of my thoughts, struggles and actions over the previous week. During the past week I read two books: “The law/Grace Controversy” by John G. Reisinger and “The Sovereignty of God” by Author W. Pink. For some, the distinction between law and grace is a struggle and others do not think much of these things.  The “Ten Commandments,” given to the nation of Israel, recorded in Exodus 20 and repeated in Deuteronomy 5, was the covenant foundation by which the nation of Israel entered into a relationship with the Lord God but it is not the covenantal foundation for the church. The covenantal foundation for the life of the church is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

(My Mother hiking to the overlook)
On Saturday morning I picked up a Bible translation from my shelf that I have not read in awhile. On December 27th of this year I will celebrate a 10 year anniversary of making a decision to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The Bible that I picked up off my shelf and began reading was the very Bible that I was reading when I was regenerated by the Holy Spirit. The translation is the New
Living Translation, which is an easier to understand translation than the NASB that I have been reading for the past few years. I picked this text up because I was struggling with the doctrine of the sovereignty of God in reprobation. I think that Romans 9:18 is the most difficult text in all of Scripture. In the NASB the text says,
So then He [God] has mercy on whom He [God] desires, and He [God] hardens whom He desires. 
(Our daughter Bethany and dog Mishka)
So, I turned to the NLT which I thought would tread more lightly  on the matter, and the text says,
“So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen.” 
When I decided to follow Jesus Christ I was determined (like Martin Luther) for my conscience to be held captive to the Word of God. Therefore, I came to except that the reason I made a decision to follow Jesus as Lord and Savior was because the Father had chosen me in Christ before he made the world to be holy and without fault in his eyes, to adopt me into his own household by bringing me to himself through Jesus Christ. (Eph.1:4-5)

(My Saturday Morning Run)
Therefore, I believed in the sovereignty of God in my salvation, that God shows mercy to whom he chooses and shows compassion to whom he chooses. (Rom.9:15) However, I am coming to understand that God is not only sovereign in salvation but he is also sovereign in reprobation. The first 1/2 of Romans 9:18 says what I already believed, that God chooses to show mercy to some but the second 1/2 of that verse is what I find to be difficult. God chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen. This verse is saying that the hardening of the hearts of unbelievers is not inactive on the part of God, he actually chooses to harden their hearts so that they refuse to listen. John’s gospel says the same thing regarding those who refused to come to faith in Christ. In 12:40 He quotes Isaiah:
The Lord has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts—
so that their eyes cannot see,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and have me heal them.
Almost 10 years ago I decided to follow Jesus Christ whose title is “the Word of God” (Rev.19:13) and I determined (like Martin Luther) for my conscience to be held captive to the Word of God. The Word of God says that God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so that they refuse to Listen. Therefore, I must except what the Word of God says but must admit that the sovereignty of God in the reprobation of the accursed is a difficult doctrine.

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