A god who is like them

“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly [places] might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:8-11; underlining mine).

“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8; underlining mine).

“And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning [here] in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God” (1 Peter 1:17-21; underlining mine).

Excellent excerpt from comments on Romans 9:18:

“What about the work of Jesus Christ on the cross? Was it God’s plan from before the foundation of the world that Jesus Christ be crucified? Of course it was – it is the focal point of world history. This is the reason why God created the world, why God caused Adam and Eve to fall, why God caused everything in history up to this point, and why He caused and continues to cause everything in history beyond this point. Could puny man stop this event from happening? Of course not. Did Judas sin by betraying Jesus to the chief priests and elders? Did the high priest, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders sin when they looked for false testimony against Jesus and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate and incited the crowd to call for His crucifixion? Did the false witnesses sin in bringing charges against Jesus? Did the servants and officers of the high priest sin when they spat in His face, beat Him with their fists, and slapped Him? Did the Jews sin when they called for His crucifixion? Did Pontius Pilate sin when he sent Jesus to Herod? Did Herod sin when he sent Jesus back to Pilate? Did Pilate sin when he set Barabbas free and delivered Jesus to be flogged and crucified? Did the soldiers of the governor sin when they stripped Him, smashed a crown of thorns down on His head, mocked Him, spat on him, and struck Him? Did the soldiers sin by nailing Him to a cross to die? Were these not heinous, wicked things? Were not these things against the commands of God? Yet who would dare say that even one of these specific wicked actions was not decreed from before the foundation of the world and absolutely controlled and actively caused by God Almighty? Would anyone dare say that God did not control the events of the crucifixion, including all of the thoughts and actions of these wicked people? Would anyone dare say that God just ‘removed restraints’ and ‘left them to their own wicked inclinations’ instead of actively causing these specific wicked actions? Without the crucifixion, there is no atonement. Without the atonement, there is no salvation. Yet the crucifixion was, in and of itself, a wicked thing that people did to Jesus Christ. But it was absolutely necessary. It was absolutely controlled and caused by God Almighty, to show His glory in the salvation of sinners. Would anyone dare deny this?

Here is one who would dare deny this essential truth. It is the Calvinist W.G.T. Shedd, in his book entitled Calvinism: Pure & Mixed: A Defence of the Westminster Standards, published by the Banner of Truth, which is one of the biggest publishers of Calvinist materials:

‘When God predetermined from eternity not to restrain and prevent ‘Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and all the people of Israel’, from crucifying his beloved Son, but to leave them to their own wicked inclination and voluntary action in the case, he made this crucifixion a certainty, but not a necessity as is evinced by the ‘woe’ pronounced upon them by the Son of God. Luke 22:22. Men with hearts and dispositions full of hatred toward the Saviour of the world, if left to themselves are infallibly certain to cry, ‘Crucify him; crucify him’. John 19:6-15.’

Shedd says that the crucifixion of Christ was

‘a certainty, but not a necessity.’

This is nothing more than double-talk. He says that God did not restrain or prevent them from crucifying Christ but left them to their own wicked inclination and voluntary action. How, then, was the crucifixion a certainty? Shedd answers this by saying that

‘[men] with hearts and dispositions full of hatred toward [Christ], if left to themselves are infallibly certain’

to want Christ to be crucified.

What about the people who tried to stone Christ to death in John chapters 8 and 10? Is wanting to stone someone to death evidence of ‘more restraining grace’ than wanting to crucify someone to death?

This is just so patently stupid, it defies description.

Calvinists like Shedd cannot bring themselves to say that God actively caused any specific wicked action, including the crucifixion of Christ. Why is it so hard for them to admit what is so obvious from Scripture? On the surface, they want to protect God from being the so-called ‘author of sin.’ But what it really shows is that they believe in a god who is like them, who must conform to their own extra-biblical standards of what is just and right.”